Fredo wrinkles his nose at Togomor's back as the man waddles away. Kroft joins him when he passes the door to the observation room, and begins talking animatedly. Sighing, wishing she'd have saved it til they were in her office, to buy a little more time, he enters the interrogation room and shuts the door behind him. He checks the braziers flanking the door; they're full of oil and should burn brightly for another few hours at least.
Finally, he turns to Trinia, walks slowly to the table, and sits down. Slowly, neatly, without saying a word, he lays a piece of parchment, a quill and ink on the table. He looks at Trinia. She seems relaxed, reclining a little in her chair, a contented smile on her face. "I apologize for that 'prisoner' talk," he says. "I thought it would make Togomor more receptive." No response from Trinia. Very well.
"That being said, you are the Queen's prisoner now. She will probably have you hanged. I know you knew that was a possibility...so why did you confess? Without that, it would have been much harder for the Queen to demand custody of you." Still no response. Fredo sighs. He picks up the quill and fills it. "Can you at least tell me why, when and how you decided to kill Eodred?" he says, sounding remarkably blasé about it. He still doesn't believe she killed the King, but there's not a lot of point trying to convince her if her mind's been addled by magic, and Fredo never had any great love for the man. And if he can convince Trinia to tell "her" story in full, maybe he'll find a hole or two in it that will cast doubt on her confession.
|The Harrow GM|
Raijinn and Burahl
The elderly man's brow furrows - wrinkles spread across his entire face when he does this, like ripples on water, and he strokes his hairless chin. "This is very troubling indeed. I have noticed the roots of unrest spreading throughout the city, and it troubles me that it has reached the very highest level. Hmm. What is it precisely that you need and how can you be sure that one of us will even be allowed in to speak to her?"
Trinia opens her mouth as if to respond, but her face freezes for several seconds as no words come out. It's as if she's listening to something, but no voices or sounds can be heard. After the delay, she responds, her voice impassive and her eyes flat, "Poison. Poison in his drink."
Burahl looks up to the old man and answers him with conviction in his words.
"We would like someone to cleanse the taint of the previous interrogation from her and begin the questioning anew. Let her speak the truth and nothing else. I believe they would allow a priest of Iomedae passage and permission to do this, if any semblence of law and honesty is to be uphold. If they don't allow this, they might have larger problems if it comes out."
"What poison?" says Fredo insistently. If Trinia cannot provide specifics, that is a point of doubt to raise. He pushes harder, his quill trembling in his fingers, waiting to mark down answers. "From what chemist did you purchase it? On what date did you purchase it? Use it? What was the drink? Who delivered it? To what room in the castle?"
|The Harrow GM|
Raijinn and Burahl
The old priest looks down, silently, for a few moments. "If you are right, then something big is at work...but it isn't as if the aristocracy is particularly known for serving the will of the people, and I doubt our new teenage queen will be any exception. I have one of the spells ready to use that would be useful, but not the other, and there's no telling how many times I may have to attempt to cleanse "the taint", as you say, before I am successful...But that's an issue that will have to wait. I will be back." He turns away from the pair of you, and though his old legs are frail, he hurries away and to the area where the priests stay. He returns just a few moments later dressed in more appropriate outdoor weather, having changed into real pants, shoes, and a coat with the symbol of Iomedae emblazoned into its chestpiece. "Come. You have a prisoner to show me."
Each time she opens her mouth to answer a successive question, the same delay repeats itself, as if she wishes to say something but she doesn't know what to say for each question.
Her words are stilted at the first few questions. "The-" a short pause. "Uhm." Another. "The...uh...spider venom. From the-" another pause. "The uh...spider venom vendor."
Her words begin to flow more evenly after those questions, and it seems as though she just knows what she wants to say now. "I used it every day while I was in the castle, on the King's tea that he partook of while I took his likeness."
Burahl hurries together with Raijinn and the Iomedaean priest back to the Citadel where Trinia hopefully still resides in her cell.
Burahl doesn't know that Fredo is trying to buy them time, but he hurries along as fast as he can.
"Raijinn, hurry along without me, you two make pace much faster without me. Don't wait up for me, I'll catch up to you two at the Citadel. Time is of the essence here."
"Sure, sure," says Fredo, keeping his face impassive but smiling inwardly. "But let's focus for a moment on the spider venom vendor." He only knows of one such person, and knows from his repeated and careful poring over the man's records that he never sold anything to Trinia Sabor. If she says yes, he'll definitely be able to impeach her confession. "Would his name happen to be Gaedren Lamm?"
Aha! Bet no one ever expected him to be a plot point ever again...
|The Harrow GM|
Trinia nods emphatically, her lips pursed and her eyes caught in a look of excitement, after only the slightest delay. "Oh, most certainly. That was the one! Yes. Gay-drin-Lamb. He's the one that sold me spider venom."
Just outside the room, Raijinn and an out-of-breath Iomedaen arrive at the door at just the same time as a returning Togomor. Looking down on Raijinn with a contemptuous glare (as Togomor is actually quite tall) he asks, "What are you doing here?"
"Well, Trina," says Fredo, putting away his quill and ink, "you have been very helpful. I'm glad we got the chance to talk." Feeling very satisfied with himself, he picks up his notes and goes to the door. He opens it only to find Togomor bearing down on Raijinn and another man Fredo doesn't know.
Quickly, and with the aid of a little magic prestidigitation, Fredo rolls up the parchment with his notes and hides it up his sleeve. "Ah, you're just in time," he says, looking at Togomor but intending the words for Raijinn as well. "She sang like a bird while you were gone. Cressida should know what she said. Could you take me to her please?"
|The Harrow GM|
The fat man draws himself up, intending to be intimidating, but something about the look on his face prevents it from being terribly intimidating. "I'm sorry, but I don't think you get to see Cressida today, at least, not about Trinia. Her guilt has already been determined. I am just here for prisoner transport."
The old man looks expectantly at Raijinn, as if to ask what do I do? while Burahl, huffing and puffing, catches up.
"We remain unconvinced. And given that we are the ones who brought her in, you may indulge us." Raijinn says simply, but forcefully. He gestures for the old man to enter the room.
"If you attempt to take her before we are satisfied, I will consider it an admission of guilt that you have tampered with her testimony." Raijinn stared up at the larger man, his eyes blazing. While his hand subtly creeping towards his sword, he thought, 'I may need your assistance sooner than I had hoped, Matai.'
"One could make a case," he continued, with a nod towards Fredo. "That working to imprison an innocent girl while a king-killer goes free is an act of treason." He let that sink in for a beat before quickly adding, "Of course, if she did do it, then there is nothing to be lost by making certain. If you'll have a seat, we can have this worked out quite soon." He finished with his patented terrifying Tiefling smile.
"There's nothing to be lost by making your case stronger, is there?" says Fredo soothingly. Raijinn hadn't seen the interrogation. He has no idea how outclassed they all are. "While you were gone, she told me how she killed Eodred, and where and from whom she purchased the means. You can put it all in a pamphlet if you want, get the people really hating her, and loving the Queen. But Cressida's got to know too." Cat saunters out of the room, stepping only on the mortar gutter between the flagstones like an acrobat walking a tightrope.
Burahl huffs and puffs as he catches his breath.
"My friend here is right." He pants as he straightens himself, leaning on his quarterstaff now as if he really was an old man.
I haven't run like this for years, I should train for this more often. He clambers forward in front of the priest.
"It would look better if the interrogation was done a second time by an independent party. That way you could say her guilt is beyond any doubt, no one could question it. I'm afraid that the people might hate the 'Kingslayer', but they would hate the Queen more if they found out that one of her trusted vassals did the interrogation. They do not trust our new Queen yet."
Burahl gestures to the priest standing behind him.
"This man represents the church of Iomedae and our independent party,"
As Burahl gestured towards the priest he turns and faces the priest. He gives a wink and mimicks "Follow my lead." Then turns back to face Togomor.
"Iomedae holds justice high in her standard and people would not argue the judgement of a devoted priest of her."
|The Harrow GM|
As the three arcanists chatter on, Togomor's blood vessels on top of his head grow, and grow, and grow, to the point of bursting. His eyes only flick cursorily at the Iomedaen priest before they return to Goffred and Raijinn, the instigators of what appear to be all of his problems.
"You dare to question my interrogation tactics? I speak with the authority of the Queen! If I wished, I could wipe each of you from existence, and you dare to threaten me with your little sticks?" In his angry tantrum, his girth serves him well - he's quite a bit larger than any of you, and quite a bit heavier than possibly all of you together.
His voice drops to a low hiss. "If you stand in my way, you will be standing in the way of the will of the Queen. She wishes this woman executed. With the information we have, we could put out pamphlets that do exactly what you say - make the people hate her and love the Queen - but with one more unfortunate side-effect: reveal to the people that you attempted to defend the king-slayer. What do you think would happen then? Would it be safe for you to go out on the streets? And what do you think will happen when our lovely Queen learns that you've been standing in her way? She wants this woman executed. That means she's going to be executed. Do you understand?"
"So is that a confirmation of your unjustified methods of interrogation? As well as sentencing an innocent to death on order of the Queen?"
Burahl is unfased by the man, only looking at him with an inquisitive look and hatred in his eyes.
"We're here to help the people of Korvosa, that means that justice has to be served as well. If the Queen wishes the same for her people she'll indulge us and earn some of our trust and cooperation for the future."
|The Harrow GM|
Sorry, fellow players, I chickened out. Call me TPK-shy.
"Your methods need work," says Fredo, surreptitiously crushing a vial of iron filings in his fist and cupping the jagged debris in the palm of his hand*. He steps back into the interrogation room. "If you want to implant false memories, you must be more thorough about it." He makes sure to project what he says next to Majenko, along with a plea to take the information to Cressida. "Trinia 'admitted' to me that she purchased the spider venom she used to poison the King from a man named Gaedren Lamm. She didn't come up with that name; I did. I asked her whether she had bought the venom from him, and she said yes. I happen to know he never sold her any such thing. I can prove it. So can my friend, who is long gone already." Fredo prays Thaven hears and runs to get Cressida. He might find her before Majenko. "It seems to me you're left with two options. You can try to kill us all now. Maybe you'll succeed," he says, gesturing toward the priest. "But you'll earn the Queen the ire of the Guard and this man's church when she needs the city united behind her. Or you can let Trinia go and we can pretend this whole thing never happened."
Zellara, he thinks, desperate for any advantage, if this comes to a fight, can you appear in front of Togomor and fill his whole field of vision? I don't want him getting a good look at us.
*Ready an action to cast enlarge person.
|The Harrow GM|
Them sekrit plans.
Togomor scoffs at Goffred's temerity, but it's clear that his mind is buzzing.
An overwhelming sense of caution and fear comes over Goffred from the Harrow deck, but no danger is forthcoming right at the moment. Togomor is too busy considering his options.
Meanwhile, the old Iomedaen that Burahl and Raijinn have brought slips into the interrogation room. Apparently he's intending to cleanse the enchantment spells as quickly as possible. Togomor's eyes flick to follow him, but he does nothing to stop the man. He grits his teeth and growls with frustration. "This isn't the end of this, little man.", he says, and the next time Goffred blinks, the huge man is gone.
From inside the interrogation room, a flash of light is accompanied by Trinia's confused babble, asking why she's in there and who the man is, while from around a nearby corner, Cressida comes running. "What happened?"
"Togomor left," says Goffred, exhaling loudly and wiping his hand on his robes. He can feel his heart beating against his chest. "He declined to take Trinia with him." Seeing the Field Marshal's confused expression he elaborates, a little annoyed at having to repeat himself and a little embarrassed at what must seem like boating to Burahl and Raijinn. "We confronted him with proof that he had coerced Trinia's confession. She was incredibly suggestible. She told me she'd poisoned the King. You remember Gaedren Lamm, the crook from whom we rescued the children? Well, I asked her if she brought the poison from him, and she said she did. He kept very complete records; they never refer to Trinia Sabor. I'll drop them off at your office later if you want to read them.
"That girl is innocent of any crime," says Goffred categorically for the first time. No more procedural weaseling; Togomor's reaction is proof. "She's been the victim of a frame-up, and both we and the Guard were almost made complicit. We're under no obligation to render the Queen a scapegoat, no matter the effect it will have on the riots. We have to get Trinia safely out of the city, and we have to somehow tell the people the truth of her innocence."
Burahl walks into the room where Trinia still is residing.
"Miss Sabor, I deeply apologise for what almost transpired." Burahl bows as deep as he can.
"The interrogator who questioned you, he put thoughts into your mind, how we don't know exactly. We heard you confess everything he wanted. We hoped to intervene before he could take you away. That is why this Iomedaen priest is here."
He gestures towards the priest next to her.
"He has just rid you of the spells taking hold on you."
"Forgive us, we had thought Marshall Kroft or her subordinates would perform the interrogation, we didn't know about the Queen's personal henchman."
Burahl backs up a bit to give her room to come to her senses, before finally asking one more question.
"What sort of form did he actually want you to sign? We were told you signed a form of consent or such prior to the questioning, do you remember what was in it?"
That went far smoother than I expected.
|The Harrow GM|
The Field Marshall listens carefully to Fredo, disbelief morphing into acceptance of the situation as she realizes that Fredo couldn't be lying about this - Togomor's absence, the presence of the Iomedaen and the continued presence of Trinia reassure her of this. Not to mention that Goffred is far from a liar.
Kroft Sense Motive: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (18) + 14 = 32
"Hm." she says, the look of acceptance turning into one of consternation. "I'm sorry about this, I didn't foresee...I didn't foresee that the Queen would take the easy way out. This makes things quite a bit more complicated, you know. It'll be very, very difficult to get Trinia out of the city at this point, what with everybody looking for her, and surely you'll understand when I tell you that it's not like we can put out an official statement declaring her innocence."
The kindly Iomedaen nods at Burahl before he steps back into the corner of the room. "I will observe, just to make sure my spells will hold. You understand, yes?"
Trinia's eyes flit from him to Burahl, and she tries to stand. Her hands are, of course, manacled to the chair, and she finds that she can't raise more than a few inches off the ground. Her lip quivers. "Th...thank you. It's alright, it isn't your fault. You didn't know. They didn't have me sign any forms, just that I had to agree to be subject to whatever spells were necessary to complete my interrogation. I didn't want to be presumed guilty, so I agreed..."
Burahl nods at the priest's words. "I understand."
"She has to speak the truth now, yes?" Burahl asks the priest
If he confirms he will call for Marshall Kroft.
"Marshall Kroft, if you please. You can hear the truth from Trinia's own lips and in her own words. Ask what you want."
Burahl will move somewhat closer to Trinia and stand beside her, one hand on her shoulder. "Just answer the following questions truthfully and we can get these manacles off of you. Get all this nasty business behind us."
"Next time," says Fredo, looking over his shoulder to Trinia, "though hopefully there won't be a next time, you agree to nothing until you get an advocate to look at it first. It's too late now, but that should have included this new spell," he adds, turning to the priest. "I want a full report, in writing, of what it does. Particularly if it helps clinch Trinia's innocence."
Frowning, Fredo turns back to Cressida. "As for how we're going to get Trinia out of the city, the less you know about it, the better. Obviously your priority is maintaining the Guard's deniability. Fine. The less you know the more free you can be in your denials. We can smuggle her out, and we don't have to print the truth on your letterhead. Just...don't be an active impediment. Is that too much to ask?"
Raijinn is seething and lets out a low growl at the Field Marshall's response and practically spits out a reply. "Official decrees only declare guilt, I suppose? This is hardly just."
"Difficult or not, the girl will not live her life in fear on a lie of convenience. I would like to say that you can make things right by allowing her to stay here, but it's clear that this isn't safe either. For anyone."
While knowing on some level that the fault lies not with Kroft, Raijinn is still disappointed with her seeming inability to act on what she knows to be right. Excuses. He looks at her with disgust, wondering how he can ever arrest anyone again. Such disrespectful treatment of prisoners is shameful. He turns from her, walking into the room to hear Trinia's conversation with the priest. He stands in the back, arms folded, eyes hard.
'Provided the girl is truly innocent, I will get her out of here.' He resolved. 'Even if it means stealing a Sable Company hippogriff. Even if it means treason.'
|The Harrow GM|
The priest, confused about having gone from someone who helped to the target of the group's anger, holds his hands up against Goffred's accusation, and in his weakly old-man voice, he says, "I haven't cast any spells on her that affected her, only the greater dispel to ensure that the other spells were removed."
Trinia merely nods at Goffred, so absorbed into listening to this clash of righteous anger that she doesn't have anything to say.
Kroft's facial expression conveys some sort of combination of guilt and defensiveness - obviously she feels bad about having been complicit in a framing, but to be attacked in this way..."Raijinn, official decrees agree with the Queen. No matter what I think of her methods, I am still her subject. She still has all of the power. She'll send the Guard out looking for Trinia, or she'll get more personal lackeys to do it. I can't keep her here, but not because I don't want to. It's because it really isn't safe to keep her here."
"We all have our obligations," says Fredo grudgingly. "Just don't be too zealous in this case, alright?" Majenko, he thinks, tell Raijinn and the others I have a plan, and that I'll explain it to them later i.e., after we finish playing out this scene and are alone. It doesn't require the Guard's participation. Figuring he ought to do his job properly this time, he goes to stand beside, and a little behind Trinia.
"I meant no offense," he says to the priest. "but notwithstanding the Queen's pretensions towards autocracy, Trinia has rights." He looks down at her. "As I told you when we first met. If you're not going to insist on them then someone has to."
Thaven returns to the observation room as well, rubbing his temples, trying to stave off the headache that is rapidly lodging there. "I feel like I'm watching a game of tennis. Back and forth, back and forth and I have no idea what's going on. Things used to be easier when I could just shoot things."
"I know the feeling Thaven. Guys if we want to get Trinia out, we will have to hurry. I don't think that plump excuse of a man is going to sit still and letus get away with it that easily."
"Marshall Kroft, if you have any questions for Miss Sabor I urge you to ask them now, else release her from these manacles so we can get her to safety."
|The Harrow GM|
"Of course. I welcome your presence." The priest nods.
Cressida picks up a chair, turns it around, and sits in front of Trinia, in a backwards chair. "Alright, let's get this over with. Go ahead with your truth spell, priest."
The priest nods, and with a supplication to justice, he invokes a spell. A steady aura, enforcing the priest's will, settles over the room.
Everyone in both rooms has to make a DC 18 Will save whenever they say a falsehood or be unable to speak at all.
Cressida waits a moment, then she asks, "Okay, Trinia. Did you murder King Eodred Arabasti?"
Trinia shakes her head emphatically. "No, I didn't."
"Were you involved at all in the King's death?"
"No, I wasn't."
"Do you know anything about the plot to kill the King?"
"No, I don't."
Cressida turns to Goffred, and then to the illusory wall behind her, and then back to Goffred. "So, have I violated her rights? Is this satisfactory to you? I mean, even though we have an Iomedaen here instead of a Abadarian, it's satisfactory to me. Of course we can't go public with this...but I can't justify keeping her here until the Queen sends more lackeys. You can take her if you want.
Although...I can't guarantee that I won't send more guards out after her soon enough. It'll be expected of me."
Will Save: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (13) + 3 = 16
Guess you can get everything out of Burahl now... Oh no all my little secrets... ^^
I am totally satisfied with this outcome Marshall Kroft, it is as it should have been from the start. Sadly we will need to make our retreat as well for the moment, saving miss Sabor and bringing her to safety are not things the Queen and Togomor will condone."
Spellcraft: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (16) + 12 = 28
Will: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (5) + 6 = 11
"This strikes me as invasive an unnecessary, in light of Togomor's admission," says Fredo, tight-lipped. He can feel the weight of the spell pressing on him to reveal his plans. "But it has the virtue of being definitive."
|The Harrow GM|
"Good." says Cressida, grimly satisfied as she unlocks Trinia's manacles.
Trinia's lip quivers as she rubs her wrist before she stands and gives Goffred a big hug. "Thank you...thank you so much." she says into his shoulder.
By the way, in case it wasn't clear enough in description and for Thaven's benefit, I went ahead and I found a good picture of Trinia here.
Fredo's eyes go wide and he blinks in surprise as Trinia grabs him. But after a moment his hands find their way to her shoulder and the back of her head. Her close-cropped hair peeks through his fingers. He feels the buzz of her voice and warmth of her breath through his robe. "You were innocent," he says. "That was all that mattered." He considers what it might have been like if she had been guilty. That would have been no call to fight any less hard...but the stakes would have been a lot lower. Defending the guilty, like Verik, like Aless, that's easy. The innocent? That's terrifying.
He lets her go, and Trinia pulls back. "Unfortunately," says Fredo, clearing his throat, "we are far from out of the woods. Trinia, we need to get you out of Korvosa. I have a plan, but it may require a little time to set in motion and it will definitely require explaining to everyone concerned. And you need to stay safe in the meantime." He turns to the priest. "Brother, is there a room or sanctum in your temple that is proof against divinations?"
|The Harrow GM|
"Well before recently my store was secret. It seems people have a way of getting to know secret hideouts."
Burahl ponders his mind if he knows any secret hideouts or secret passageways out of the city, perhaps some of his more shady and low profile customers mentioned such a thin during a visit.
Knowledge Local: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (7) + 12 = 19
"Lamm's place burned to the ground," says Fredo, thinking hard. "But the point is not to meet somewhere secret, but somewhere Togomor can't pursue us magically..." He sees the look on Thaven's face and gets an idea.
"Why don't you and Trinia borrow a hippgriff?" he says. "You can hide among the city's towers or low-hanging clouds to avoid ordinary eyes, and can outpace most magical flight. I have to make some arrangements. We'll meet back at Zellara's at nightfall."
I like a love triangle as much as the next guy...but if you love something, you let it go ;)
|The Harrow GM|
The heroes stand about, Trinia being a sort of awkward silent witness, for several minutes, speaking in hushed tones of preliminary plans.
Eventually, some sort of decision is reached, and everyone splits up. Raijinn and Thaven accompany Trinia as they leave to wait it out until nightfall, and Goffred goes to the section of the barracks given over to the Shoanti to speak to Thousand Bones. Burahl, meanwhile, heads over to his little underground shop.
Arriving at his secret potion shop, he finds the door still locked and the inside undisturbed. In fact, a cobweb or two has begun to build from the days Burahl's been spending away from home.
Goffred finds a solitary Thousand Bones at a desk, staring at the grain of the wood with his fists clenched. Although Goffred doesn't enter loudly, he wasn't exactly trying to be stealthy either, and so when Thousand Bones doesn't notice his entrance, it's a little bit strange.
Burahl makes sure he isn't seen before he moves into his shop. He clears the cobwebs a bit away from his shop, enjoying the old and familiar scent of the musty cellar.
He checks his packs on supplies, before getting the ingredients to brew up a Shield Potion. I'm guessing with have 2 hours or so, if we have four, Burahl will make an Enlarge Person potion as well.
|The Harrow GM|