WORK IN PROGRESS…
Upon returning to Greyhawk with the fallen assassin G’aldem M’lek in custody, the gate masters wave the party inside and heartily greet them. In the city square, they’re greeted with a different reception: a group of sixteen City Guard, four of whom are armed with strange metal rods with polished, clear orbs atop them. A familiar face steps to the front, the Captain of the Guard Garyn Waller:
“Lyssa of Bayerton. You are commanded to come with us. You are wanted for your connection in the murder of Lord Soren of House Cerzan.”
The party quickly surveys each other with shocked expressions.
“What did you do, Lyssa?!” Moira asks with wide and worried eyes. Lyssa looks back at her with concern.
Vetnik urges Captain Waller to reveal what grounds they have to charge his companion with such a heinous act. Captain Waller gives him a copy of the subpoena, signed off by both the Magistrate of Greyhawk, Certrian Gorven, as well as a priest from the church of St. Cuthbert, Garvin Bortheus, who also conducted an official scrying at the behest of both the city and House Cerzan. His divinations revealed details about her presence in his home at the time of his death.
As the guards approach to detain Lyssa, Thom began to protest on her behalf. He also used this time to get close enough to Lyssa, and with his Gourd of Travel in one hand he took hold of her arm with his other. Instead of the pair instantly teleporting away, the party as well as the guards, watched as one of the orbs of the staves flickered with a brilliant cyan light. Thom shook his gourd and noticed that all the seeds inside were accounted for. Before either could react, the guards rushed the party and tore Lyssa down from off of her horse and began to quickly bind her hands with rope. As she struggled and spat at the guards, Thom slipped through them and jumped to her side. Lyssa looked back to her companions (namely Moira) and silently pleaded for aid. Moira’s face was a study in disappointment, but despite her expression, calls down to her friends. “I will tell of your good deeds!”
For his interference, Thom is also apprehended. As a guard attempts to bind his hands, Thom uses a technique taught to him by his parents to twist his arms in such a subtle way that it prevents knots from being tied as tight as they ought to be. The party watches as the guards begin to drag Lyssa and Thom off. Captain Waller leaves Vetnik with a copy of the warrant and follows the rest of his company to the jails. On the way, Lyssa intentionally stumbles and falls to the ground. On the ground, she tries to tap into a spell but before she can release the magical energy, a second stave flares. The guards quickly swarm her, yank her up, and rush her to the jails. In the chaos, Thom uses the opportunity to pilfer a key from a nearby guard’s belt (unsure of what it unlocks).
“Until further notice, I am her counsel,” Thom informs Captain Waller.
“And you want to stay in a cell?”
“Well, until I get better counsel than myself.”
As Thom speaks to the Captain, Lyssa is quickly ushered off into a solitary cell made especially for those with magical abilities.
They free Thom, and he agrees to go counsel her alone.
“Do you have royal blood?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, I know your father is a little harder to pin down, but does your mother come from any noble stock?”
“I mean… she. We are Ygranere.”
“I’ll press for trial by combat. Until then, disavow any wrongdoing. If that fails, we’ll improvise.” Thom discreetly palms Lyssa the key he lifted from the guard and takes his leave.
Outside, Grunt slips away from the rest of the party to inspect the jail in search of possible entrances and exits unknown to others. While he searches, Xoston probes the party from Greyhawk for their thoughts.
“Is your companion some kind of murderer?” Xoston asks.
“Honestly, I’m not sure.” Vetnik.
“Hm. Better she didn’t accept the badge of Raven’s Claw if she is. I am sorry to leave you in this terrible state but Boromis and I must be off with G’aldem to fulfill our contract. We can have shares delivered to a place of your choosing.” Xoston gives Vetnik a hearty and (hopefully) comforting handshake. He turns to bid the rest of the party goodbye and sees them in a less than hospitable state. He simply nods at them, giving them silent thanks. “Your names will be mentioned to the nobles of the region. Do we mention your companions name in light of this delicate matter?”
“Withhold it for now,” Grum commands.
“Is she going to get her share?” Vetnik asks, to which Xoston nods his head.
“Then withhold her name.”
Outside, Moira is sad. Vetnik urges them to go talk to Zemilay and Xanti Lyks, “maybe she can scry herself?”
“I’m going to consult a higher power. We will meet in the morning, to attend Lyssa’s arraignment.” Moira kisses him goodbye and with a heavy heart parts ways. Thom waits at the jail overnight to keep tabs on Lyssa’s detainment
At the Manor, Vetnik and Trisoll discuss the issue at hand.
“I hope it’s not what they said it was.”
“My mom should be able to help us out if my dad can’t.”
“Nice new armor btw.”
They come home to find only Lyks, Xanti is out. Burbis greets them buzzing in his own annoying way. Trisoll calms him down.
“Remember when we used to practice listening, Burbis?” Tri
Trisoll occupies Burbis while Vetnik pushes ahead to see Zemilay in his study. Inside, he’s enjoying a drink with George. George stands and formally greets.
“It’s ok. Burbis let us in.”
“Bless you for taking his attention away from us!”
“Not to be rude, George, I am here on serious matter.”
“Well, then I will excuse myself.”
“No need, I appreciate your candor, George.” Ze “What’s going on? It’s rare of you to come to me like this.”
Vetnik explains the abridged version of the charges brought against Lyssa.
“She shouldn’t be too long, Master Talthraudii.” Geo
“Who was murdered?” Ze
“Lord Seron of House Cerzan. It all matches up with a timeline.”
Zemilay and Vetnik wait for Xanti for an hour and sees the look on the men’s faces. “What troubles you, my love?”
Vetnik and Zem informs her. “What can I do to help?”
“See what you can scry.”
Xanti goes off to her private scrying chamber in the nude and gleans quite a level of detail: time frame, place of murder, the murder itself. She struggles getting the time frame but sees the murder in vivid detail. She relays the detail to Zemilay and Vetnik. The pair of men go to the jail in the wee hours of the morning.
Grum waits with Thom and imagines what it’s like to cut loose like Lyssa. Thom, Grum, Grunt do both surveillance and protection.
Lyssa sits in solitary, mulling over her actions.
Zemilay is allowed audience. Vetnik + 3 guards. Lyssa hears the tap of Zem’s staff and Vetnik. Lyssa is quiet, only telling Lyks “I thought I was doing good.”
As the pair of men leave, Lyssa skids her stolen key across the floor. Vetnik picks it up and the pair head to Vortis’. First attempt to knock, no answer. Second attempt is answered by an agitated Vortis. “Oh, Vetnik! Why am I being awakened?” Vetnik hands him a cask of wine.
“Last year’s vintage was better, but thank you.”
“I’ll take that into consideration.”
“What does this key do?”
“How did you get this key? Did Lyssa manage to get this off a city guard? They need better training. It’s a door key, not a cuff key. There are several—why am I telling you this?”
Vortis asks Vetnik to leave the key, no questions asked. Vetnik denies his requests and says he’s going to give it to Moira. Vetnik bows and leaves for the church of Cortox. He leaves to have a drink at the Friendly Strangers. Though the cabaret is done, the bar is still open with Tic Toc working the room. He tells stories of the Heroes of Greyhawk, including Isygrad. He’s sullen, hearing tales of their heroism contrasted with the flaws of his own groups.
In the morning, the party meets at the court to see Lyssa’s arraignment. All of the party attend. Moira seeks out Vetnik for his strength and together they sit towards the front. Grunt sits on his own, unnoticed, while Trisoll sits in the back. The twins sit together. All spot throughout the crowd Cerzan family members, aristocrats. Violetta is in attendance as well, opposite the aisle from Moira. Zemilay stands in the back with Trisoll.
The magistrate enters and announces the case. The Cerzans puff up at the mention of themselves. Eldon testifies and recounts his encounter with Lyssa and Blackrazor. A priest of St. Cuthbert (Garven Bortheis) testifies against Lyssa after scrying.
Thom takes the stand as Lyssa’s counsel. “Is that all you have?” He pleads that her magic is Wild in nature, her intention might not have been to kill him! The crowd is not still swayed completely – though such a compelling and unique argument goes documented nonetheless!
The Cerzans take the stand next. Corbin, the new head of the family is too busy. The 2nd son, Stanak, gives a aristocratic yet charismatic speech about the loss of his father. “When I have wretched the estate from my brother’s control, I will do all in my power to ruin your house, witch!” Brianna takes one look at Lyssa and spits at her feet. Grigor steps up and addresses Stanak and argues his ability to better handle the estate. Catrin takes the stand and she looks at Lyssa and says “My father was everything to me! I hate you, I hate you for what you have done!” Lucien comes to Lyssa, dejected and sighing. “Why did you have to kill my father? I would have worked to change it had you only come to me.” Eldon cannot attend tending to Bayerton. He sends a letter detailing her aggression but also gives her props for retrieving wave. “Though she is possessed by a temper most dangerous, she did come through on her promise.” The youngest daughter, Loraleen, carrying a small toddler, unable to look at Lyssa. “My father… every feast day he would bring me treats from Jelee Rolls. We would spend every Sunday together… I don’t know how I’m going to get through.”
“Why did you kill my granddaddy?!” the toddler whines.
“Objection!” Thom cries out. “This isn’t a court case, this is a sentencing! Nothing has been prove yet!”
“Who is here to speak on the behalf of the accused?” magistrate asks. Moira and Grum stand up at the same time. Trisoll steps forward from the back wall. Grum slides down, seeing the crowd’s reaction to Moira.
“I have known Lyssa of Bayerton for many months. I have seen a woman possessed of an anger and a leaning towards evil. It disturbed me but I reached out to her. I have seen her turn from that path.”
Moira’s charisma shifts the morale only slightly, neutralizing the crowd.
Violetta steps up. “I will speak on Lyssa of Bayerton’s behalf, for I am her mother.” She speaks of her neglected childhood and dour economic conditions. “A person of purity and goodness could never come from that. She has shown true growth. Cortox knows she has a great destiny ahead of you,” she says sobbing. She turns to Lyssa, emotionally shattered and begins to move towards her before being ushered away. “I beg you to forgive me!” she pleads. “I beg you!”
Trisoll moves forward but thinks better of it, then sits down. As he does, Vetnik rises. “I am Vetnik Talthraudii, Grand Knight and Earl of Granrud. I am here to speak on behalf of Lyssa of Bayerton. I was personally very suspicious of her when I first met her. As a nobleman, I request a certain amount of respect from those in my company. I stand for honor and nobility, and the company I keep must carry out these qualities as well, and despite whatever setbacks we may have had in the beginning, she has shown herself worthy to fight alongside. I hope you take what I’ve said into consideration.”
Grum stands and introduces himself as an “adventurer and traveler.” He narrates the times she’s put herself in peril for good.
Zemilay urges Trisoll to speak up and as a result, he gives an incensed speech on her behalf. “You guys, she’s my friend! She’s good, you’ll see.”
Old man Zemilay approaches the stand and delivers a speech on his charge. He pleads that she was a victim of “circumstances beyond her control.” He calls upon Lucien to also reconsider the wages and fairness their family deal out. “I have done much for this city.” The crowd reacts positively, knowing his deeds and the deeds of his company.
The magistrate takes recess to consider the testimony provided. Violetta comes to Lyssa to comfort her. “Everything will be alright, I swear!”
“Lyssa of Bayerton. I find you guilty. However, based upon the words of your companions and the words of Zemilay Lyks. I am willing to take your sentence down to life imprisonment.” The court erupts in a series of boos, cheers, and gasps.
Violetta offers herself up as token slave. Lyssa protests but Violetta willingly gives herself to the Cerzan family. Lyssa watches helplessly as the Cerzans cart her mother away, now a slave, while Moira urges Lyssa to come back to the Manor with them.
“Next time, there’s a spell called “Non-detect”. Try using that.” Thom whispers to Lyssa
“Next time, I won’t be so sloppy.” Lyssa replies through gritted teeth as she watches the Cerzan carts roll away back to Greyhawk Heights.
Lyks transforms into a small bird and trails the Cerzan caravan. He finds out she is being sent to work at the lumber operation in Dafflewood in the Velver Dyver River. Lyks flies back to Greyhawk and broadcasts Violetta’s whereabouts to Lyssa.
To vent steam, Grum suggests the party go find the man who defiled his mother’s street sign. Moira rejects the notion of revenge, which angers Grum. Vetnik convinces her to come along and safeguard from any serious harm, relying more on a prank than true vengeance. Grunt continues to joke about removing the bounty hunter’s hands.
Thom polymorphs and sneaks up to Carrin the Stalker’s home as a snake. He leads the party, scouting ahead. He is in the process of making ransom notes and together, the twins hatch a plan: Thom will slither in while Grum casts ventriloquism, giving the serpent a menacing voice. “I know what you did” he hisses. Carrin freaks out as Thom slithers through his legs then transforms into a Naga. Carrin bolts to the door, but Vetnik presses his weight against the door to keep it barred. “The sign!”
“What… what sign?!”
“The sign in Newhope. Clean it!”
Thom shapeshifts into a fly and buzzes out a nearby window. Grum chuckles watching the old bounty hunter whimpering. The twins chuckle as the bounty hunter scrambles to get cleaning supplies. Humiliated, the party saunter back to Pimpleton Manor.
Back at the manor, Lyssa meets Zemilay to discuss the whereabouts of Violetta. George escorts her to the study. Lyssa enters to find maps laying out on the table. He goes right into it and gives her coordinates how far away her mother will be after tonight. Zemilay tells Lyssa she’s set to leave in the morning. In a huff, Lyssa tries to leave to go get her mother, but Zemilay pleads with her to stop and think rationally. She turns to him with burning red eyes and Zemilay quickly uses Mind Read on her and finds she only vengeance on the brain. In an effort to cap it, Zemilay casts Emotion over her. She’s overcome by his spell and she calms down, feeling strangle optimistic all of a sudden.
Moira is impressed with the way Grum cooled himself.
“Well, a lot of it is just pomp. I’d never do it.” Grum reveals.
“Well, you scared the mess out of him and that was good enough.” Vetnik congratulates.
Moira asks Zemilay about how they plan to save Violetta from slavery. Thom expresses concern that the Cerzans will know it was they that freed her. Moira suggests they use Lucien as an ally. Thom and Grum are adamant about freeing Violetta then breaking the family apart. Trisoll asks Grum to make arrangements for smuggling Violetta goods. He in turn contacts Marit to help with the smuggling, and she delegates it to her scouts.
Thom hears a rumor about Dagger Rock, a small mountain in the Bright Lands which serves as a lair for a Blue Dragon. Two weeks travel. He also gets wind of a town overrun by an orc army.