Sunday, March 18, 2007

Sigrid's Journal 6 - Justice Denied


Secondmonth 19 (continued)

Rellik was highly opposed to our plan to go to the Temple of the Hor Quan. He said he had urgent business to attend to in Ao Manasa (which I can only assume is Mischa's death). To avoid a one-man mutiny, we decided to head back to Ao Manasa. After all, it's not like the Temple of the Hor Quan is going anywhere anyway. We made good progress towards Ao Manasa this evening and Blank says we should arrive in Ao Manasa tomorrow between 1st and 3rd afternoon bells. I doubt that will be the case. Mark seems to think the Captain is accurate, so we made a small wager. If we arrive between 1st and 3rd bells, Mark will win. If we arrive any other time, I will win. We both agreed not to tell Blank about the bet, as he could influence the results. Mark also agreed he would be below deck doing non-navigation work, just so he doesn't impact the time of arrival either.


Secondmonth 20

The captain was right. Mark may have won this one, but I'm sure I'll be able to get my gold back (and more) with another wager sometime. After our mid-afternoon arrival, we headed to the Twisted Fish for drinks and rumours. There had been another Yellow Rose killing, but no one seemed to know the victim's name this time. I thought to go ask Ea-Shamar about the murder, but everyone else was insistent that we go talk to Mischa again. They told me they only wanted to scout out the house a bit, to learn the best way to approach in order to kill her. In hindsight, I really shouldn't have bought the “scouting” story, but what can I do about it now? Nothing.

We arrived at the Mevarin household, dealt with the butler. He let us in with a little less suspicion than last time and escorted us to the parlour to meet with Mischa. I asked her again about her father's research, but she didn't have anything new to add and seemed a little annoyed that we were bothering her again. For some reason, something felt off. I didn't trust her. I had a hunch, but I needed to Touch her to be sure. I thanked her for her time, bowed and took her hand to kiss it. It was then that it hit me. She killed her father. It had been her. I stepped back. I had known something was off, but I hadn't expected this. She was the Yellow Rose killer? I thought there must be more to the story than that. I started to ask her about it, when suddenly, Rellik stabbed her in the back. I hadn't even seen him go around her chair. Sneaky race-traitor. It was then that I froze. Rellik had just commited a very heinous unjust act right in front of me. Sure, Mischa was a murderer, but Rellik didn't know that. Even if he had, stabbing her in the back would not have been the way to deal with her. It's dishonourable. My code of Justice required me to act. It required me to protect Mischa. It required me to attack my fellow crewmate (and perhaps even “friend”, if you use the term loosely) to defend a murderer. I lost myself for a few moments, but when I snapped back to my senses, Blank and Soern had joined Rellik in attacking Mischa. Why? What was their motive? They had no quarrel with Mischa. Rellik's immoral contract did not involve them. Why did they jump into the fray? Was it simply because Rellik was their fellow crewmate (and “friend”)? Was that the only thing that mattered.

Soern paralyzed her with a spell and she collapsed to the floor. This was my second opportunity to step in and save her. But I did not. And with her collapse, the investigation into the Yellow Rose murders collapsed as well. There was more to the story, but I would never hear it from her. If I had protected her from Rellik, I may have gotten more information from her. I may have been able to either sleep soundly because I discovered that she actually was behind the whole thing, or I would have had a new trail to follow. Instead I'll just wonder and worry about it.

Just as Rellik struck the killing blow, the butler entered the room. He looked down and Mischa and started yelling about how he had known we were pirates all along. He turned to run. This would have been my third opportunity to serve Justice. If I had allowed him to get away, he probably would have reported us. Rellik would be caught, and that would be that. But for some reason, I grabbed hold of the old man. A moment later, Soern magicked him immobile and I had to keep holding onto him, lest he fall onto the floor. I used a Touch on him. I really doubted he had anything to do with this, but I was grasping at straws. This man was one of the more innocent that I have encountered. He's much more innocent than I am, that's for sure. The worst thing he has ever done is steal cheese from Master Mevarin to feed to the cellar rats. When I asked him about this, he referred to it as his terrible secret. We threatened to report his terrible secret to the world if he ever told anyone we had even been here today. I really didn't feel very good about myself, threating an old man like that. My behaviour has changed drastically since I have joined this “motley crew”. I'm certainly not serving Justice very well anymore. I yelled at the men for killing her and killing my trail to implicate anyone else in the murders. No one really seemed to care much though.

We did a quick search of the house, trying to find anything that may implicate Mischa in the Yellow Rose killings. In her private quarters, we found a hidden compartment containing two yellow roses and two vials of (presumably) Crystal Scorpion Poison. We left one rose and one vial in the compartment, leaving it slightly ajar to make it a bit more conspicuous to any guards that may be searching the home. Rellik decided it would be ironic to leave a yellow rose on Mischa's corpse, so he did, slipping the other vial into her belt pouch. Blank raided the liquor cabinet (which Soern said contained “magic” booze). Soern also tried to steal Mischa's jewelry, but I protested, telling him that he would just implicate us in the murders if he tried to sell her stuff on the market. Not only did I allow a murder to take place right in front of me, now I am helping cover it up to. I serve Justice very poorly.

I had one last hope to continue my investigation into the murders. I had to talk to Gannen, preferably before he had a chance to hear about Mischa's death. We left the house through the back and headed to the lower city to visit the Black Angle. On the way, Soern talked about how he was going to buy some wonderous magic item from Cer-Athane to make him smarter. After a quick glance in his belt pouch however, he changed his mind. Soern doesn't need to be any smarter. He's already so intelligent and knowledgeable about almost everything that I can't talk to him without feeling like a complete logsleeper.

When we got to the Black Angle, Gannen wasn't there. We took the opportunity to talk to Mazquar. On a whim, I brushed against her and used Touch. She gets entertainment out of playing tricks on other people. I suppose that's nothing too concerning. We had been talking to her for a little while when Gannen came in. I stood up to greet him as he walked over to the table and “accidentally” fell into him, using the opportunity to Touch him. Unfortunately, my mind hit a wall and I learned nothing. I apologized profusely and grabbed hold of his arm to pull myself back up off the floor, using Touch again. My mind again couldn't see anything. This man was either very strong-minded or was very lucky today. The others chuckled at my apparent clumsiness. I decided to give it a rest before I broke my wrist or my ankle. I sat down at the table with everyone else and we talked to Gannen for a little while. At some point, Gannen and Mazquar went to the bar to purchase drinks. I attempted to follow, but Blank grabbed my arm and pulled me back to the table. He informed us that he had used his witchsight on Gannen and had determined that he was a Champion of Death of about the same strength as we were. I stood up so fast, I knocked my chair over. The last time I met up with a Champion of Death I had still been a Champion of Life. Let's just say, that meeting didn't go very well. Rellik and Blank got me to sit down again. I thought this was the proof I needed. A Champion of Death poison expert would obviously be involved in these killings. I had my man, now I just needed to deliver him to Ea-Shamar. But that could wait. He came back to the table and sat down. He had no idea I was onto him. One thing still bothered me though. How had he been able to resist a Touch of Justice? It was entirely unfair. For extra proof, I decided I would succeed a Touch on him. A few drinks later (and trust me, it took alcohol to reach this decision), I decided the best way to do this would be flirtation. I leaned against him and put my arm around him. It was then that I received a major shock. The most unjust thing he had ever done were his illegal arena killings. Certainly being (or aiding) a serial killer would be more unjust than consensual arena combat. Still up against him, I looked at his face and said, “You didn't do it. You're not the killer.” He looked back at me and was about to say something when Ea-Shamar burst through the door with an arrest squad. They all had blades out and looked as though they would use them. Everyone looked at her, and suddenly I realized I was still half-hugging Gannen. I slipped away from him just as Ea-Shamar announced he was under arrest. He? I was incredibly confused. I thought she might have been here for us, but why him? I stood up and confronted her about it. She told me to step aside, and that Gannen's fate was in the hands of the Magistrates now. I looked over at Gannen as Ea-Shamar's arrest squad shackled him. I yelled at no one in particular that he was innocent of this crime (though he's certainly not an innocent man) and this was wrong. No one seemed to listen. Ea-Shamar eventually told me to shut up or she'd arrest me for disturbing the peace and interfering with the guard.

I went to the bar, fearing that this was entirely my fault for informing Ea-Shamar about Gannen in the first place. Gannen left peacefully, as if he realized there was nothing he could do (or perhaps he just had faith in the Magistrates not to convict him. After they lead him away, I sat at the bar for a while and tried to figure out what had just happened. I started talking about Justice and Injustice, and how the line between them was messed up. Blank consoled me. Though he doesn't look it, the Captain is a very wise man. He told me that the line between Justice and Injustice may have only been in my mind in the first place. Blank also commented that if you look at things from different angles, Justice and Injustice are one in the same. What I have seen the past few weeks has show me that he may be right. And if the concept of Justice is so skewable, then how am I supposed to Champion it?

I decided that I needed to talk to Ea-Shamar immediately. Blank said to meet back at the ship when I was done. He informed me that we would be leaving the city tonight. He explained why, but I wasn't really listening to him. I needed to talk to Ea-Shamar. I went to the castle, but the guard on duty insisted that she wasn't there and she was terribly busy anyway. I needed to see her. I needed her to understand that Gannen didn't do this. But I couldn't talk to her. I failed Gannen, just as I had failed many in the past month. I failed Sa-Follen's guard when I cut him down as he ran away. I failed Baern when I allowed Rellik to rig his match. I failed Mischa when I didn't protect her from my own crew. Why did I fail these people? Is it because they meant nothing to me? People should matter. Life should matter. But perhaps the people I am close to matter more than the others.

I wandered the market for quite a while, picking up candles, oils, and incense. I need time for meditative reflection. I need some time to think, to feel, to see. That is what I will do. Perhaps I can figure things out. I have commandeered the storage room at the bow of the ship and have told the crew that I am not to be disturbed.



Rae said...

I didn't put any of my meditative thoughts into this entry. I'm going to devote all of Journal #7 to that. Journal #8 will be whatever else happens during the campaign tomorrow.

Qwertyuiopasd said...

comandeering a part of a ship. very um, justful.