Shadows Rising

The Imperial Inquisitors -- Part IV

Truth is a matter of perspective

Lucien surveyed the scene — I can probably take them, he thought to himself, but it would be close. Putting his keen mind to work, he broke the silence by offering a truce, and took leave of them to consider his next steps.

Better check these bodies, George said to himself — maybe there is a clue that will help us find Idon. Searching the corpses, George found a small parchment written in a language that none of them understood — the only discernable feature was the signature, which was a single letter “L”. Lilith went over and stabilized General Ollk, and Vetos persuaded the group to let him take Ollk to a trusted friend who could heal her injuries. Reluctantly, the group agreed and made their way back to Axis.

After arriving at the safe house, Ollk began to stir — although still weak, she thanked the group for assisting her. Vetos remained behind to help heal and protect her — with the general secure for now, the group decided to head to Ollk’s garrison in an effort to find more information and to persuade her forces to help unravel the mystery of the missing wizard once and for all.

On the way to her garrison, however, they were intercepted by a familiar face — Lucien stepped from the shadows, followed by Hendorn who, in a shocking turn, placed them under arrest for the attempted murder of General Ollk and with the undermining of the truce between the Emperor and the Crusader. They were bound and taken before an Arbiter’s Court.

At trial, the Arbiter allowed each of them to give opening statements. As the person bringing the charges, Lucien was allowed to go first and painted a truly tragic story, implicating the five Inquisitors in the murder of General Ollk, the murder of his lover who was also a member of The Five, and in an ongoing conspiracy to undermine the critical truce between the Emperor and the Crusader.

On their turn, the four present Inquisitors denied the charges, and in their defense, repeatedly claimed that General Ollk was not dead and that Lucien had twisted the facts in order to avenge the death of his lover. They claimed that it was Hendorn who had sent them on their mission to find the missing wizard Idon and that Lucien was obfuscating the facts in order to prevent them from completing their assignment.

The Arbiter then called Hendorn to the stand who denied ever sending the five on any mission — he told the court that such an assignment was unnecessary, as Idon had never gone missing. At that moment, Idon appeared in the court, stunning the four InquisitorsIdon proceeded to tell the court that he has been working secretly for the Emperor in an effort to uncover a nefarious plot to undermine peace with the Crusader, and that he suspected these five Inquisitors as the primary agents sowing discord throughout Axis and the Dragon Empire.

Having heard enough, the Arbiter passed judgment, sentencing the five, one in absentia, to an immediate death. After the sentence, Lucien offered some final thoughts on how it was good to see justice being done, and George offered a powerful reflection on the obvious lack of justice that the Inquisitors had received.

With that they were surrounded and bound by the guards — as they were about to be led out of court, a voice called out from the back of the room. Gingerly leaning on Vetos, the quiet but determined voice of General Ollk cut across the room.

“If it please the court,” she said, “I’d like to offer additional evidence.”




Vis’ Thoughts

A conspiracy to divide the Emperor and the Crusader. Idon has been working to uncover a conspiracy to divide…

Idon isn’t missing, and Hendorn didn’t send us on this mission. All of it has been false – and in retrospect, so much is out of place! I’m angry enough after Lucien, the Arbiter, Idon, and Hendorn to still have quite a bit left over for myself. Too furious to speak straight, and either way there are no words to get us out of this. Lilith and George seem happy to take this one – my time is better spent thinking.

So. It starts with a fake-Hendorn, who sends us to South Garrison, then a shady figure sends us to Dea, putting us in a position to clash with the Crusader’s forces. Then to Ollk – was that our own decision? Was it influenced by Dea’s actions in a way that could have been predicted and planned by… by whoever? Then Ollk’s garrison, Lucien, befriends us and leads us to an ambush with the strange beard-creatures. They have a note signed with L, for Lucien possibly – is he behind Idon’s conspiracy? Certainly we’ve done enough of their work, but then why would Lucien go to the Courts, undoing the divide he just created? Is it his own play for power within the Crusader’s forces, and the conspiracy is irrelevant or invented? Was the first Hendorn correct and this one, and Idon too, the false ones?

Either way, it is clear we shouldn’t have let Lucien walk away from the Mandrake Grove. I thought about it – I did, when he walked away I bit off some version of “we might regret this,” really – but how to explain that to my compatriots who would have to be the ones to carry it out? I wish I could be sure his pain over Rook was genuine. He deserves every bit of it – and then we would have defeated him in at least that way.

…Though, calling him a drunk in the Arbiter’s Court is decent as well. Bravo, George! For all your seeming blandness, you’ve been a better ally than I would have guessed. Lilith, too – I hope I get the chance to annoy her by assuming her reason for concealing her deity is that they are evil, as Lucien charged. The two of them will make criminals out of themselves escaping, along with poor Clayton who is so useless in this battle of words, but I hope they will be alright.

Now, you. I understand you’re sulking because you’re offended at being arrested, but get over it – it’s been thousands of years since you were in power here, and your name means nothing anymore. If I had fully answered Lucien’s accusation of being possessed, the only thing I would have accomplished was to confuse the whole room. The vague fateweaver hand-wave was the best option. Point being, I have no intention of joining the others in any conflict with the Emperor’s forces, because regardless of the opinions of his underlings I will not be done in his service yet. There must be another way forward, but first I need to get out of a potential noose, and for that I need your focus. Yes?


Never mind, for now at least. Apparently Vetos is here to save the day.


Clayton’s Log

Ok, I bet that Hendorn and Idon are actually fakes created by Lucien to frame us, He also probably gave the Arbiter a hefty sum as well. I swear I’m going to cut that head of his.

Either that or the original order for us to find Idon was faked by Lucien in order to get us to kill his lover so he’d have an excuse to lead us to that forest where some conveniently placed “unknown enemies” ambushed us. And then he reported us for the murder of Ollk to put us as the fall guys in some elaborate plot he has going on.

I want a raise after this.

Also, the fact that there’s no body is a perfectly good reason as to there being no murder. You can’t exactly prove someone’s dead without there being a body, no?


Lilith’s Internal Monologue:

HAHA Vis, NO you do not get to hear which Gods I’m praying to to help stabilize Ollk, you shall never know, bwahahaha.
That’s strange. Signed L. NO Clayton you bumbling fool its not me, you idiot. I swear to all the Gods… I’m amazed that someone like him could be the same rank as me, good Gods. But anyway, who is L… maybe Lucien… but why would he have sent a letter to the bearded folks? He says he’s on our side… although I did kill his boyfriend… but he fought them too. Hmm… thats bizarre.

Ok, FINE Vetos I suppose we’ll go to the stupid… tailor shop… ugh I can’t believe we’re relying on Vetos’ fashion contacts, we are so screwed!


curses to all the Gods she knows


Seriously, Arbiter? Come on you can’t believe Lucien just because of his pretty story and emotions or whatever!!!! WHO CARES IF I KILLED HIS BOYFRIEND! We certainly DID NOT kill Ollk!! Wow, you know for a moment there I thought that a court would… ya know.. CARE about PROOF and the actual TRUTH of what happened, but NO. You rely on a drunk’s bloody sob story!!! Arg!!!

HENDORN!!!! What do you mean you never sent us on this mission, it was THIS BLOODY MORNING!!!! What is going on! Was the real Hendorn not the guy who sent us on the mission? Or is this Hendorn not the real one, and the real one who sent us on the mission is somehow out of the picture? Both? Neither? Ack! This was supposed to be a simple search and rescue mission, we were NOT supposed to get caught up in all of this Crusader drama! You think we were trying to disturb his alliance with the Emperor?? I could care less about the stupid Crusader!!! WHY would we do that!!!?

IDON WAS NEVER MISSING!!!!!! Alright, that’s it, I’m done. Screw this nonsense WE’RE INNOCENT!!! What the hell is going on!!!!
And great… now we’re sentenced to death, well I guess I gotta start thinking about how to fight my way out of here… Maybe I’ll go back to Santa Cora… make a life with the Priestess dreamily WAIT NO LILITH, you meant SEEK PROTECTION with the Priestess! GODS, now I’m blushing, GREAT! URG this is so not what I should be thinking about right now!…

OLLK? and VETOS? I don’t know whether or not to thank the Gods or curse them for leaving my fate in the hands of a colorful, robed, wizard… I guess we’ll see…

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