These thoughts were quickly put to the side as Al’ev ran into a very thin wire that ran across the path, triggering a trap that the entire group of adventurers had missed. He was forced to duck back as three kunai flew past his face. At the same time, near the back of the group, Crim suddenly realized the bag of kunai he had taken from the mysterious ninja woman who had challenged him to combat earlier had gone missing.
“Thanks,” came a hushed voice.
He wasn’t about to let her off that easy. Not seeing anyone, he guessed she had to be invisible and with that thought, saw the foot prints someone was making as they ran towards the forest. He lunged for the person and was successful in making his tackle. He called for help and Al’ev as well as T’lemya answered. After some bit of struggling, the kunai thief became visible and Crim became certain that this was the same woman who he had knocked out earlier. They were able to get her tied up and Crim was able to confirm that she was indeed the same woman from earlier. She managed to escape again, but not before he took back her back of kunai.
The heroes then continued on to Varalon. When they arrived, things seemed almost as if they were normal outside the city again as there was a very long line to get in. As they drew nearer to the city’s gates, they noted a double guard and most didn’t think twice about it. T’lemya and Crim, however, were uncomfortable and left the line in the hopes of finding another way into the city.
It turned out to be a very wise decision as most of the heroes were asked to stand aside and wait for various reasons. Only Desira and Velius were allowed into the city. They waited a long time, while Crim and T’lemya managed to sneak into the city. The wait came to an end when several soldiers along with the gate guard who had pulled them aside informed them that they were all under arrest under suspicion of murder as well as disrupting the work of the king’s lumber mill.
They all surrendered peacefully, as they were aware that doing otherwise would seriously compromise their position and likely mean never returning to the human capitol. They’d effectively be fugitives within human lands.
The group, minus Crim and T’lemya who had managed to evade detection, were led through the city and into the higher end areas. People lined the streets to see who walked in the middle of the guards and Al’ev and Harry made no secret of their presence, waving to the crowd as they went straight to the palace prison complex.
There they waited until the warden came down to visit them in their cells. They were once more informed of the charges brought against them and were told they were to have a trial where they were to be judged by their peers. Several wished to know details of what this trial would entail and they were informed that they could either choose to represent themselves or they could elect to hire an representative to defend them. The last thing the warden did was ask any of the group’s magic practitioners to drink a strange liquid which would cause them to find casting spells more difficult.
Most of the group’s caster’s reveled themselves in the interest of bettering their situation and drank the concoction. Caramel, however, decided to take a much larger portion of the drink after hearing that it contained alcohol. She had never tried alcohol before. The effects of the mix were extreme and Desira had to act quickly to save the phoenix’s life. The light Caramel normally gave off began to dim as the woman fell unconscious and the warden called for a medic to bring the antidote. There wasn’t much to give her, but it was enough to keep her stabilized, allowing the others to go back to considering the upcoming trial.
On their second day in prison they were identified by the logging camp’s second in command who turned out to be their accuser. Al’ev managed to get the man in a dialogue and was able to pull a few details of the prosecution’s case with a few days to go. This enabled them to start pulling together a defense as the man claimed that a “demon” had been the one to kill the head of the logging camp, Mr. Brawly. He was obviously referring to T’lemya, but Al’ev knew they would be hard pressed to prove the existence of a demon without her being here. The last thing he did was point out Caramel as being innocent, likely because she had protected him from any of the heroes after Mr. Brawly had been killed.
Sindri Stribog used this chance to speak with the warden privately in his quarters. The second charge that had been brought upon the heroes was completely bogus. While it was true they had disrupted the lumber camp’s operations when they had sent home all of the workers with compensation and informed the second in command that they were going to be speaking with the king about moving the camp. The warden informed Sindri this would be an excellent point to bring up during the trial.
The day of the trial arrived and they were led into the courtroom which was full of spectators. What the heroes didn’t know was that Crim and T’lemya had been busy bettering their chances at success by involving their Varalon contact, Little John. When a small boy broke through the line of guards escorting the heroes in and handed Al’ev a piece of paper with a man’s name on it simply saying to call on him as a witness, they began to suspect that something was at play.
The heroes were allowed two people to represent them and they collectively elected Al’ev and Sindri to do the talking, though they were allowed to speak with any of the defendants. With that out of the way, the trial commenced and the six jurors, who were surprisingly diverse, watched at the prosecution opened up the trial with her statements.
When she had finished explaining her side, Al’ev launched a counterattack of words which picked apart most of what she had said. He then yielded the floor to Sindri and the diminutive half-ling proceeded to destroy the rest of what the woman had claimed.
The heroes were surprised to find that the unlikely pair were turning out to make a very potent team in advocating their defense. The prosecution called their first witness, Mr. Brawly’s wife. The purpose of calling her to the stand seemed to be establishing that Mr. Brawly was not a violent man.
Sindri went first in his cross examination and was able to find out several important details. By the time he and Al’ev had finished questioning the widow, they had succeeded in calling into question Mr. Brawly’s character.
The prosecution called their second witness, the camp’s second in command who had accused the group of these crimes. The prosecution did a great job in calling the defending party’s character. She changed her story up a bit to fit the fact that Mr. Brawly was a somewhat bigoted human who looked down upon races that were not human. This didn’t dissuade Sindri or Al’ev and to anyone who was watching either of the two carefully, it was apparent how much they wanted to tear this man apart. If they wanted to destroy him or just his words was a bit harder to tell, however.
They launched multiple verbal assaults during their cross-examinations through the use of several pointed accusations. These accusations pulled into light several dark details about Mr Brawly. They also called into question the identities of the bandits who had been harassing the camp, stating for the first time that it was goblins who had been responsible for the previous attacks. Then they pulled out their first piece of evidence which explained why they had been in the area, the task list that Groatal had sent to them via the bag of sharing.
It turned out to be a very strong piece of evidence and allowed the heroes to explain that they were actually there to help with the bandit problem and were not, in fact, there to assassinate a known racist.
The prosecution had no further witnesses to call to the stand and the dragon blooded defense team went to work with a few of their own. They started with the servant of the Brawly residence, an elven girl who turned out to be a nanny for their children.
Through her, Sindri was able to complete a series of devastating blows to Mr. Brawly’s character, bringing to light the fact that she had been beaten by the man and told that, because she was an elf, she had no chance at finding another “job.”
The effect on the jury as well as the remainder of the court room was hard to miss and the judge had been forced to quiet down the room so the defense could call up their next witness, the man on the slip of paper that had been smuggled to them.
The man turned out to be a worker at the camp. Sindri and Al’ev took this and used this man’s experience with Mr. Brawly to confirm what they had already brought to light. it was the final stroke needed to destroy the man’s character.
The time had come for each side’s closing arguments and they went much the way of the opening arguments. While the prosecution managed to make her stance somewhat reasonable, Sindri and Al’ev had done a magnificent job of putting her into a precarious position. Their own closing arguments emphasized that there was little actual evidence that could possibly convict the heroes of Kassadin of murder. They emphasized that the man who had been murdered was not the beacon of good the prosecution would have had everyone believe. They emphasized many things and each one was an excellent point.
When the jury came back with a verdict of 2 guilty to 4 non guilty, it was clear that nearly everyone agreed. The heroes of Kassadin were allowed to go free. Al’ev and Sindri were asked if they would like jobs as attorneys in Varalon, but they declined stating that they had a world to save, though they would consider it in the future.
Caramel, who had been watching the trial from the audience used this chance to leave. The heroes missed when she left. They were using this time to negotiate the moving of the logging camp to a new area and were successful when it was stated that the Guild of Arbiters would assist in finding a more suitable location.
Finally, they were allowed to leave the court building and found Crim, T’lemya and Little John waiting outside. They learned of how they had assisted the heroes by getting a few jurors placed on the jury who would sympathize with them as well as procuring their final witness. They agreed to enter a mutual relationship of sorts, though Little John had started to say they were in his debt. Al’ev argued this point by saying they had all saved him from Goblin captivity and Desira backed him by saying they were also looking after T’lemya. The young man agreed to instead enter into a mutual arrangement where they would help one another out. The heroes agreed and said they would be willing to help him out, should he need it.
The heroes had managed to dodge the arrow of the Varalon justice system which had been pointed at their hearts. Al’ev told T’lemya the two of them would have to have a chat.
They were just deciding what to do next when one of the arbiters was rummaging through the bag of sharing and found a note.
I am very glad to see that you have all been proven innocent. My memories of the court session are very fuzzy to say the best but I seem to recall that your case was handled very well. I’m glad.
Currently I am still suffering the effects of my stupidity. The poison is not just muddling my mind as I feel very ill. Better than what it almost could have been, I suppose. Anyway, the point of this letter is to let you know that I went to seek help medically. I don’t intend to be long but please do not wait for me, I can meet up with you when I can as long as someone lets me know where I am going.
Hope to see you soon in higher spirits,
PS: Alcohol isn’t suppose to do that, is it? I think I’m allergic to it.
It was decided they would inform Caramel they were heading to Elven lands where Goat had mentioned there was a bandit who needed catching. Though most of them had reservations about leaving the phoenix behind, they set about preparing for the journey to Quellion.