Under the Thirteenth Revolutionary Council
Wealday, Oathday, and Fireday, 29th-31st Desnus, 4719
This is it. The end of the beginning -- the real start of the Conspiracy. You head off into the streets of Isarn, half an hour before curfew, needing to get home before some brainless brute of a city guardsman -- or perhaps worse, a gang member -- spots you and decides to hassle you. Not that you can't handle two or three or five of them, but doing so would ... have an impact on your image. While that might be good, it might also be problematic at this point, so it might be best to get home as quickly and discreetly as you can.
The walk there should be good for you, though -- give you time to have some thoughts on finding out about Sœur Glauque, the morose, fatalistic Gray Gardener of whom Dolorès spoke. Then, of course, there's sussing out more ... personal ... information on Maël Lambert, all the while trying to be subtle while simultaneously trying to discover who else might be looking for that sort of information -- a someone who might be the unidentified Frère Nickel.
All in all, a busy three days ahead.
Jerome strides calmly, the cloak's collar up against the wind. He doesn't make efforts to hide: the pains he took to look mundane were a better protection than any skulking in the shadow, and the deep grey of his clothes blends against the city's background better than any black catsuit.
A honey trap is the best way to move against Maël. He won't resist a significant sum of money. It's best if I move against him myself- my Lord's gifts should mask my identity and make me unrecognizable. Better to send one of my urchins first - pretend that I care about not appearing in public. From there, I will find a way to lure him where I need. Depending on the circumstance, I may just dispose of him there and then.
The lawyer ungloves his left hand and bites his thumb, letting a round drop blossom on the fingertip. Not an ideal sacrifice, the blood should be more and drained by a slave, but maybe enough. Without breaking stride, he lets five drops fall on the ground, his tainted blood drying almost instantly in the darkness, and clutches the pentacle sewn inside his right glove, black thread on black cloth.
"Power." The word is a whisper against the evening silence, not meant for mortal ears, a silent breath just slightly vocalized. Power comes to those who seize it. Help us grab the chance and establish domain once more.
"Glory." Those who are strong enough shall be exalted. Their fame and their deeds will spread, inspire dread in our foes and confidence in our allies. The greatest might is that which needs no action but its fame.
"Asmodeus!" Lord of Darkness, King of Hell, Prince of Law. Allow this humble acolyte to remind these upstart revolutionaries what it means to face the might of those who serve You.
A silent prayer, a mockery of what the rites were. But all that Jerome can do, in these dire circumstances. Perhaps I can exsanguinate Lambert, before killing him. It has been so long since we performed proper rites.
"A copper -- sss -- for your thoughtssss," comes the lazy hiss of the viper slowly waking up, curled safely in the wide pocket sewn into the back of your cloak specifically for her. "Did your meeting with that inssssipid meal-mouth Jeggare go -- ssss -- better than usual, at leassst?" Amelie has never hid her contempt for Jeggare from you, but in his presence, she remains quiet and wary, moving only if she absolutely has to. Sometimes she simply sleeps through it, silent and still, finding it safer to avoid discovery and keep herself a secret -- whether as spy, weapon, or for whatever other reason is up to you. But Jeggare she sees a self-deluded do-gooder; she has similar opinions about the others, but arrogance in an Asmodean of any sort isn't a new thing.
Approaching the bridge, you see a handful of the Isarn City Guard coming up to the other side. While the bells have yet to ring the start of curfew, the Guard isn't well-known for restraint and decorum.
Very sound choice.
Jerome lets Amelie enjoy the evening air from his shoulder. With her, he can speak their own language of whispers, certain that nobody will overhear. "He's a good, forthright man, blessed with a noble and charitable heart. In other words, a fool. Still, he's an useful and resourceful one, and our aims are aligned for the moment. And the same goes for the others involved: I have a feeling that they wish for freedom more than they wish for order, as if we weren't watching the consequences of unbridled democracy. Letting the ignorant and uninformed decide, feh! What are they going to do next, hold a committee to decide whether the sky is blue or red? But they are the best hope that we have of giving back a semblance of order to this place. Still, I wonder if really infiltrating the Gardeners is so important. Who cares about a few hundred souls in those blades, other than the Pharasmins?"
These are words that he has thought oftentimes, but still move anger in his heart. And when the guard appears, for a moment he's tempted to let some blood flow, twist their minds in murderous rage against one another. Let the Shelynite find beauty in that, if he manages, he and the troops he's so proud of. The shadows become slightly deeper as he indulges thoughts of bloodshed.
But weariness sets in. And the last thing he needs is the guard to be alerted to his actions. Instead, he finds a shadow and waits for them to pass by.
Stealth: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (7) + 8 = 15
Amelie gives a soft little hiss of disagreement, but she's wise enough to keeep her tongue behind her lips as you step into the shadow.
Unfortunately, it isn't quite enough; one of the guards (only a trio has come across the bridge), though he doesn't seem to really be paying any attention, is particularly sharp of eye. "Hey, there!!" he calls out, bringing his two compatriots to a halt. The spear he bears is no longer carried casually over his shoulder, but instead presented with a basic sort of capability. "I see you, mister -- come out where we all can see you!!"
Jerome cocks his head and gently touches the pentacle carved inside his glove, weaving magic into his words and gestures.
"But I can't, dear friend. I'm not in this place. I'm a vision you are experiencing, born of your inability to cope with reality."
And like that, he disappears from sight.
I'm casting invisibility using Conceal Spell, so that they need to make a Perception, Sense Motive, or Spellcraft check with a DC of 21, getting a +2 bonus, to realize I'm casting a spell.
I don't really get from the text if they also get a Perception or Spellcraft check, DC 22, with a +2 bonus, because of the somatic components or that is just in case it has one but not the other.
1d20 ⇒ 3
1d20 ⇒ 12
1d6 ⇒ 6
1d6 ⇒ 4
1d6 ⇒ 6
I presume, by the way, that most standard Isarn City Guard units are somewhat less on Int, and so have skill points in Intimidate and either Sense Motive or Perception; they are still guards. More intelligent ones have all three.
DC 21 Perception: 1d20 + 0 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 0 + 2 = 3
The Somatic (movement) component adds another roll for them, because you're moving your hands, but again, a tough check for a guard to make.
DC 22 Perception: 1d20 + 0 + 2 ⇒ (8) + 0 + 2 = 10
Aaaand that's a fail, but he's going to spook. Poor you. ... Hm. Okay, so being invisible means you have total concealment, which gives him an automatic 50% miss chance ... and AC 18 anyhow. Miss chances ... will all be rolled like attacks -- roll low, you miss, high you hit.
Spear Thrust: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (18) + 3 = 21
Miss Chance: 1d20 ⇒ 2
Oooo, lucky you.
The guard stares at you as you talk to him, and then yelps as you vanish right in front of the three of them. While the other two fumble to get their shortspears into proper position, the one who'd spotted you moves over and stabs his own shortspear into the space where he saw you; his spearwork is unsettlingly good, and the thrust is firm and would probably have caused you a bit of pain. But he can't see you while you can see him just fine, and you lean aside to let the strike go wide. "-- the hell?!?" he exclaims. "You saw him, right?? I mean, you heard him, didn't you??"
His two fellows nod, though they seem somewhat unsure of themselves.
Jerome fights the urge to cackle at the guards' bewilderment as he slips past them and across the bridge. "You see the situation of this city, chérie?" he whispers to Amelie. "Guards who can't even recognize a simple spell. One would think they'd be trained better."
1d20 ⇒ 2
1d20 ⇒ 2
1d6 ⇒ 5
1d6 ⇒ 5
1d6 ⇒ 1
"How could they?" Amelie hisses, her contempt clear to you. "There is no-one to train them, and if they know too much -- the blade!! Besides, there are surely many in the blades who are owed to the Prince of Hell; those who keep the blades also keep them from the fulfillment of the contract, hsss?" The logic is ... well, Asmodean, certainly. "So what is on the docket for tomorrow?"
The viper converses with her master in such a manner all the rest of the way home, alleys and doorways much better hiding places from the patrolling City Guardsmen than the shadow of a pillar on one of the Kantele's bridges.
For the moment I'm setting aside the plans to use the Libraries system. It sounds better suited for raiding libraries on your way while you are adventuring (which can be awesome), not for having something to reference. So I'll leave the BR as it is, for now.
I've also fixed a few hiccups here and there in my build (I hadn't assigned all the background skills) and named my employees.
I'm delegating to Marie-Hélène (one of my Sages) the work of keeping tabs with Lambert and looking for information on Belmont myself. I'm thinking she could hire a low-life or two to keep tabs on him. I haven't recruited any team of robbers because it sounded weird to have them be part of the law office, but maybe it would be better to do that, rather than using hirelings, once I have more money.
Preparing and casting ancestral communion and bestow insight to retry the Knowledge(religion) check with a +4 insight bonus, rolling twice and getting the best result. As per my False Arcanist class feature, I'm letting people think that I know arcane magic, so there shouldn't be problems if my underlings hear me casting spells. Please let me know if I'm wrong.
Knowledge(religion): 1d20 + 9 + 4 ⇒ (19) + 9 + 4 = 32
Knowledge(religion): 1d20 + 9 + 4 ⇒ (20) + 9 + 4 = 33
"Tomorrow we hunt, my friend. We pit our minds against the paper, struggling against a sea of information to distill a drop of information."
As another day dawns, the hustle and bustle of daily life fills the Prosecutors' Offices. Jerome, sharply dressed in a charcoal suit, takes his usual time checking on the work being done before calling Marie-Hélène, one of the two attorneys working under him. The woman is a dour elf better suited to searching for information than arguing causes, which is exactly what is needed at the moment.
"There are rumors on the grapevine that we may be up against Lambert soon." he tells her, businesslike. Technically, it's not a lie, if one interprets creatively words such as "we" and "against". "I'd like you to take any staff you want and go through everything you can find about any cases that sleazy sad excuse for an attorney might have taken on recently. If you need to hire external personnel to follow him around, you have my blessing, just file the expenses as informants."
Once the daily business is taken care of, Jerome closes his office door. As efficient as his team is, it's better not to let it be known who he is investigating. Instead, he reaches for the wellspring of supernatural energy inside of him, looking for knowledge. The spell he casts is one the dwarves developed to share the wisdom of their ancestors, and it works wonders with Jerome's unconventional ancestry. Insight and knowledge fill his mind as he seeks in his mind's eye any information he can about Sœur Glauque.
"Mmmm, documentation," comments Amelie dryly. "The bane of sophonts everywhere."
Marie-Hélène has been part of the legal system of Galt since, it seems, forever; her eyebrows don't even move as you ask her to do what is common practice, researching a likely opponent. "Is he getting paid enough?" she wonders, perhaps cynically but certainly with her eye on how the legal system -- or at least the majority of the defense attourneys with ten or more years under their belts -- of Galt works. "I believe we've encountered him a time or two before," she adds, her expression going somewhat vague as she accesses the files in her mind before looking into the files held in the office -- or elsewhere. "Mmmmm, but we've never gotten him at his best." She considers the situation, then nods once, firmly, and turns away without another word, getting to work with several of the young attourneys and about half the pages in the office, two pulling information from what you have here and sending the rest on scavanger hunts (of sorts) into other offices and through city streets to the morass of the documentation kept in Annex #1, "The Stacks", detailed transcripts of every event to have taken place inside a courtroom in Isarn for the past two hundred or more years.
Once you are behind closed doors, Amelie slithers out and onto your desk, her triangular head tilting for a moment as she looks up at you, then twisting to descend to the floor; one of her favorite hiding places is beneath one of the desk's drawer stacks, out of sight but not out of striking range for fools who sit in front of you -- and of course, she can hear everything that's going on.
Except for spells like the one you just cast.
For a few moments, there is silence, the absence of any sort of presence; then to your eyes, in one chair before you there is a spectral figure, a hint of shape and form and shading. Speak to your need, comes the breathy whisper of the form in the chair.
I read only now that I need to consult before making the check. For obvious reasons, I'd like to keep that 33, but I can reroll if you wish.
Why, Marie-Hélène, you don't know how close you are. I believe he's finally getting paid his proper due.
Jerome nods in acknowledgment of the ancestral echo. He speaks softly, considering every words that comes out of his lips with exceptional care. An imprudent word in negotiation with spirits of this kind could have horrid repercussions, and being overheard could be even worse, although cover stories are easier to craft. "I need information on one of the Grey Gardeners, one going by the name of Sœur Glauque. I seek leverage if such exists, and any knowledge that you can grant me."
I want to twist that repulsive Norgorberite through her own secrets. Let her learn how arrogant it is to believe the truth to be something to be hidden away forever.
"I have reason to believe that any useful detail I come to know will further the cause of the one I serve."
The lips of the phantom (for you can see them, as if only a barely-hinted sketch with the lightest of pencils) do not move, and yet there is a sussuration of sound, as if there were a thick door between you and a hundred voices conversing in a vast room. When the apparition finally does speak again, it is in several different murmured voices, simultaneous but ever-so-slightly out-of-step with each other, actors delivering the same lines but in their own clashing cadences; it requires intent and focus to force the 'speech' into something inteligible. "She is one whose eyes you have met. Armed only with your wits, and she with a hammer ..." The ghostlike figure finally fades, and you must take some time to consider the few words it's given.
Oh, my. Who'd have thought.
His mood uncharacteristically light, Jerome steps into the repository and goes over his case files, setting aside all that were overseen by female judges.
"What do you think, Amelie? Do you agree that a hammer is a judge's weapon?" he muses idly at the snake. "It's certainly a symbol of their might, but I believe there is more to it than harm, there is purpose and power. Though the same could be said about a paladin's sword."
Knowledge(local): 1d20 + 9 + 2 ⇒ (13) + 9 + 2 = 24 Looking for suitable profiles among the judges.
Amelie does not follow, only listening to you rummage around in the files. She is a snake; she is active when she needs to be, and conserves her energy when she doesn't. That also means she doesn't slither around at your heels like some contemptable dog, nor raise her hissing voice louder than she must -- or when it'll be just as good for her to answer after waiting for you to come back.
In a low hiss from under the desk, she replies, "Yesss, that would be ... appropriate, I ssupposse. The sspiritss give you riddlesss again? There'ss a sssssspecial place in the Hells for them -- it'ss called Sssstygia."
And another question for you. Since you acquired the Book Repository before I got into the whole thing with Libraries and what could/would be represented by them, would you like to shift your Repository over to Book Repository (Barrister) (representing case files, legal studies, and books of law) instead of (Local) (representing gossip newspapers, notes on overheard conversations, books about 'famous people', and the like)? The former would be more appropriate, and rolling such would also be more appropriate to what it is you're looking for -- and through.
I was thinking about having her pass mostly as a pet. Her ability to speak Common and look unassuming makes for an excellent spy.
For the repository, it would work very well for me. It was planned to be a collection of law manuals and case notes, after all. To be sure, do you mean that it would aid the Profession(barrister) checks when I can consult it, or that I should get a Lore skill?
"They tried. Is there a law of sorts preventing them from speaking clearly?"
KS Religion: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 4 = 9
Regarding the Repository, you would use your Profession skill. While I do not ban Lore skills, and I understand the existence of them, their use is ... IMO generally useless. So it'd apply to your Profession skill, when you can consult it for its required time, which is I think an hour.
BTW, it appears that Ancestral Communion is primarily a dwarven racial spell:
Normally, only dwarves may learn or prepare these spells, though spellcasters of other races with strong ties to their ancestors, or special individuals who greatly honor dwarven ancestors, may sometimes be granted the ability to call upon these magics.
While I will not withhold this spell from you -- it's a neat spell -- I will note that being able to cast it will mean that Jerome has those strong ties to his ancestors, and thus his family, its name, its honor, etc. Close ties to your ancestors may mean extended family ... or it may mean planar ties.
It is, honestly, a wonderful idea, and would definitely hook Jerome in deeper to his background -- and his ties to Galt and Isarn. But I figured I'd give you fair warning that it will have consequences down the road.
Another little sniff -- or maybe it's a tiny hiss -- comes from beneath the desk. "Probably. I think so. Their little fun, I suppose, while they're waiting in line for one of Pharasma's judges." After a few moments, there's the rasp of her scales against each other, and a minute or so later she's wending her way up your chair to rest across and look over one of your shoulders. "What," she asks in the soft hiss you know from experience won't carry through your office door, "are you looking at?"
I see. I don't own the rulebook, so I could only check that it wasn't tagged as race-specific (the way windy step is, for example). I can totally see Jerome being tied to his ancestors, planar-wise: that is why I went for a Devil-Spawn devil-worshipper.
For Amelie I have put a link to the Bestiary page and marked the differences: I had made a proper stat block but it got eaten twice.
As for looking for Glauque, Profession(barrister): 1d20 + 18 ⇒ (6) + 18 = 24
"There was implication that one of the Grey Gardeners is a judge who oversaw a trial I was in. A female one. So I'm looking for any who fit the profile and then we can go investigate."
[spoiler=This & That]Thank you for Amelie, and sounds good re: the race-specific thing. Also, using your original KS (Local) roll of 13 for this, which gives a result of 13 + 18 = 31.[/b]
Amelie's weight presses slightly on your shoulder, her scaly, thoughtful hiss flickering against your ear as she reads along with you. How much she understands is ... honestly, an interesting question; she isn't the smartest snake in the world (so to speak), but the spirit that resides inside her snake's body has a rather peculiar viewpoint on things, a viewpoint that often forces you to review the way you look at them ... which seems to be the point of her Infernally-sent presence.
While in court she conceals herself in the same place as she does for Androk -- listening, not speaking -- she has no real knowledge of appearances or behavior, only speech. She does, however, have a middling-to-good memory for those voices, and between the two of you, the list narrows from roughly eighty female judges before whose benches you've stood, down to six still living and active.
"... morose, fatalistic, observes and sketches. Might be more impressed by observation than action in recruit ..."
It's all you have to go on ... but if you can find out their caseload, you should be able to go and sit in on a few of their cases, observe their behavior over the next couple of days, and hopefully get a lead before Fireday evening.
BTW, I'm not sure if I mentioned, but whenever I'm talking to Amelie I'm doing so through Speak with Master, so it's unintelligible by others.
Jerome probably would have been chatting here and there to Amelie even if she hadn't been able to speak back. Decades of practicing harangues and accusations, working with other prosecutors and lawmen to find the best tone of voice, arguments and timing, got him into the habit to bounce his thoughts off a sounding board. Of course, that didn't apply to deep secrets and things best left unheard, but one of Amelie's advantages was that nobody could understand them unless they were consciously speaking Taldane. And occasionally, her insights could be enlightening.
Let's call it a Diplomacy (Gather Information) check for today.
Then, for each day, a set of rolls for each of the three judges you're going to watch for that day -- call it two hours each:
- Perception (to keep an eye on the judge)
- Sense Motive (to deduce things about what you can see)
- Bluff (to act all innocent about it)
Make the Diplomacy roll, we'll do a little RP with that, give you information so that you can decide on your schedule, then move forward with the first day's rolls.
Re: Speak with Master, I presume she uses that to speak with you, and you 'merely' talk to her 'as though she could answer back'? (Which may make you a little quirky, but if you don't have an oddity or two, people will make them up about you ... ;) )
The thing that -- at least at present -- Amelie is most useful for are two things, and both are rooted in the same thing: questions. Sure, sometimes her otherworldly (one might say 'netherworldly') information proves useful, but most often it's her questions that help you out. Most often they demand you to force your thoughts, ideas, and plans into a logical structure, so that you can explain them to her. Occasionally, however, they are of the 'out of the mouths of babes' type, comparatively innocent questions from a point of view that is significantly less complicated than your own, and thus sees something you're missing: the forest for the trees, as it were.
questions : 'out of the mouths of babes', innocent questions that make y
Copying mistakes happen, no worries.
Profession(barrister) to substitute for Diplomacy, includes Book Repository's bonus: 1d20 + 18 + 2 ⇒ (20) + 18 + 2 = 40
It seems hopeless, to find a specific person in the maze that is the judicial system of Isarn. And for most people, it probably is. But Jerome is not most people, and has been working the system for half a century by now. The judges currently overseeing each trial are not reserved information, and it takes just the tiny bit of technical talk and simple purpose to have the full assignments for the week in his hands. It's astounding what people will do for you if you just ask as if it was your right.
At the Monolith (V1):
. . Oathday: 10 AM, 1 PM, 4 PM
. . Fireday: 10 AM, 11 AM, 2 PM, 4 PM
. . Oathday: 12 PM, 3 PM, 4 PM
. . Fireday: 11 AM, 1 PM, 4 PM
At Les Colonnes (North Bank, opposite the Monolith)
. . Oathday: 10 AM, 12 PM, 3 PM, 5 PM
. . Fireday: 12 PM, 1 PM, 3 PM, 6 PM
At L'Cadre d'Fer (South Bank, just north-east of Old City Alchemy, V9)
. . Oathday: 10 AM, 11 AM, 12 PM, 3 PM, 4 PM
. . Fireday: 12 PM, 2 PM, 5 PM
. . Oathday: 12 PM, 3 PM, 5 PM
. . Fireday: 12 PM, 3 PM, 6 PM
At Le Diamant (V11)
. . Oathday: 12 PM, 2 PM, 4 PM
. . Fireday: 12 PM, 3 PM, 4 PM
Cases typically take an hour to two hours. Some judges may come in early, others may stay late, others may split their day with a long lunch or such and do both for one reason or another.
If they were a supplicant, it would certainly be difficult to find someone, but you are a legalist working inside the system, and the target -- well, targets -- of your inquiry are judges. Getting the list of their dockets for the next couple of days takes some finagling, knowing the right clerks to talk to, and a fair amount of walking (or running, in the case of your young errand folk), but well before you go home you have the list, and can figure out who to sit in on, and when. Now it's just a matter of figuring out how long you care to sit and observe, as well as how long it may take to get from one courtroom to another. Within the same building is easy, a matter of five or ten minutes, but outside of them is a bit longer of a walk.
I guess I'll go with Bertrand (Oathday, 10AM), Lambert (Oathday, 12PM), Olivier (Oathday, 3PM), Mercier (Fireday, 12PM), Moreau (Fireday, 3PM), Martin (Fireday, 5PM). This gives me an hour to move between locations on Fireday and stay for two full hours at every seating.
Here are the first day's rolls.
Perception: 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (3) + 17 = 20
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (12) + 17 = 29
Profession(barrister) for Bluff: 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (12) + 17 = 29
Perception: 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (14) + 17 = 31
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (17) + 17 = 34
Profession(barrister) for Bluff: 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (12) + 17 = 29
Perception: 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (10) + 17 = 27
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (20) + 17 = 37
Profession(barrister) for Bluff: 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (18) + 17 = 35
*goes to look* Wow. Somehow, somewhere, I actually clicked the ∅ on your thread. Now that THAT'S fixed ...
SM: 1d20 ⇒ 17
SM: 1d20 ⇒ 20
SM: 1d20 ⇒ 19
The Courts of Isarn
Oathday, 30th Desnus, 4719
You are not, of course, the only observer -- nor even the only legal observer -- in the courts. There are family (there are always family), and likewise the aides and students of the more than five hundred legalists that serve the courts in their various capacities; sometimes there are a few advocates themselves, there to observe proceedings, whether because they are interested in the outcome (rarely) or because they are studying the judge to see what techniques and tactics are more liable to sway him or her.
One notable aspect of Isarn's current judicial system is that there is no such thing as a jury; the judge of the case, advised by two barristers of the government, technically is the sole arbiter of guilt or innocence. While most judges listen to the barristers (who are not, it should be noted, the prosecutor or the defense attourney) who advise them on precedents and the tangle of Galtan laws, a few are 'hanging judges' (or their opposite) who generally need a really persuasive argument to turn them from their typical judgement. There are a hundred and one judges at various levels in Isarn; some hear (with due gravity) cases that are little more than complaints about petty debts and minor trifles. Others adjudicate upon greater crimes, while still others listen to appeals. With how the legal system works, you never know what kind of case you're going to be handed, so it behooves every attourney to study the judges when he can.
Clarisse Bertrand is one of the serious powerhouses of the Isarn judicial system. Though appointed only relatively recently -- within the last handful of years -- she is one of the ten senior appellate judges, a late-fifties grim and determined sort of woman who you'd best pray to the gods you don't get. She is the only senior judge who sees appeals cases of particularly intimidating individuals; it is sometimes said that if a vigilante is ever brought to justice, Clarisse Betrand is the last judge they'd see. Though not a 'hanging judge' by any means, she does tend to confirm guilty verdicts and reverse those of innocence; the barristers who assist her (you know from experience) had damn well be on point when they're working with her.
Unfortunately, because of the courtroom's small size, things aren't where they generally are supposed to be; it's tough to get a good look at what she's doing, though you do remember that she takes a fair amount of notes, many of which she uses in her formal judicial opinion. The trial you're at, the final one for a brutish half-orc Caydogs thug, results in a 'guilty' confirmation, and the howling (then gagged) prisoner is dragged off to spend a last few days in misery before going to lay with Madame Margaery. The gavel strikes, and though you're not absolutely convinced, you're reasonably sure she isn't the Gray Gardener.
Noemi Lambert, on the other hand, you have no personal experience with -- an elf is she, on the bench for longer than the Revolution (and one, so it is said, of the few who can still say that), but that may well be because of the cases over which she presides. In the much larger courtroom where the senior judge hears a morass of minor cases, young attourneys who have recently passed the bar and entered service act as prosecutor and defense for a series of cases brought up, argued, and decided upon all in the space of ten or fifteen minutes. She has kept her head down, as it were, and adjudicates ... well, relatively fairly, from what you can tell.
From your position you can observe the woman making brief notes, listening to the commentary and advice from the more experienced legalists to either side of her, but fairly clearly charting her own course. She does seem to focus considerably upon the two before her bench, as well as the accused and the witnesses; her gaze is almost hawklike, though you do notice it shifts in your direction once or twice. You emerge from her courtroom thinking that while her focus certainly matches the commentary about Sœur Glauque that Dolores gave and makes her a strong contender, you're not quite certain she matches. Call it a strong maybe.
The third of the day, Adelaide Olivier, is a bottom-rung criminal court judge. An inverterate note-taker, she seems to be able to write, listen, think, and question all simultaneously. More than the others -- far more than most judges of your experience -- she involves her judicial assistants in questioning and cross-examining, often listening to a comment from one of them, then indicating that they should ask their question of the accused or witness, or even of the prosecution or defense. The entire time, she continues to write notes, her gaze moving between the sheets in front of her and one of those before her bench.
For all that, however, she seems to be almost as well-versed in the complexities of Isarn law as those there to assist her; the case you watch her handle is eventually postponed, as she instructs those before her bench to look up two obscure references -- one such 'assist' given to the prosecution, the other to the defense. The two barristers are fifteen- and twenty-year lawyers, and though they look uncertain (and on the part of the prosecution, more than a little argumentative), they have little recourse but to obey and return three days hence to continue argument. Olivier's eyes watch them as and after she gives her instructions; all of this together give you a sense that she is a definite contender.
Naturally, it would be best if you could manage to actually see Sœur Glauque and her habits yourself; working with secondhand information is difficult at best. But it's Oathday and almost five bells, and who knows where the Gray Gardener might appear.
Jerome stretches on his way out of the Monolith, his spine crackling like fireworks after the hours of forced sitting. He himself is starting to feel morose and fatalistic as the information gathering goes painfully slow. Tomorrow, there will be spells he can prepare to assist in his task, but at the moment he has no substitutes to mundane footwork. First, he heads to his office to disguise his appearance, using the secret passage in the back in order to avoid suspicion, and then it's time to go asking around. There is no easy way of getting secrets from the Gardeners, but nothing worthwhile was ever easy.
If you would like to roll Disguise in secret, my bonus is +10. Afterwards, I'll be Gathering Information for 1d4 ⇒ 2 hours, halved to only one thanks to my skill unlock.
Profession(barrister) for Diplomacy: 1d20 + 18 ⇒ (6) + 18 = 24
Information is information -- someone has it, you want it. The only question is whether or not you can locate the 'someone', and what the cost of the information may be. After all, some prices are too high to pay -- or so they say. Unfortunately, the Grey Gardeners are a difficult topic to introduce, and talking with any amount of openness is even more difficult. By dusk at the seventh bell, the most you've managed to discover without tipping over the apple cart is that there is -- or perhaps was -- someone up before the senior appellate judges last month who allegedly possessed detailed information on the identities of the Grey Gardeners in Isarn at that time, as well as their movements. According to the morose and already-half-pickled late-twenties young attourney who murmurs this to you, said individual was found guilty of treason but died in the courtroom moments after the final verdict (and sentence of execution by final blade) was read.