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IC [Freebooters on the Frontier] The Gate

Lysus

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Devilfish

Veronika pulls out a sheaf of paper and begins scribbling with her pen as Mayor Hundertwasser speaks. The dim light passing the pulled curtains and the flickering flame from the fireplace produce deep shadows around her red-rimmed eyes. Her tea and scone sit untouched as she listens intently to the Mayor's answers to Lukacs' questions. Once Veronika is satisfied that line of questioning is finished, she starts in on her own.

"It is most unfortunate you are not possessed of more information. Tell me, did you save samples from any of these incidents? I will need to examine this wilted black buckwheat and the red fluid from the pumpkins if at all possible. I doubt that you've been able to adequately preserve the fish or the cat remains, but if those are available I will require them as well. What color was the child's third eye? Was the grave consecrated or is an exhumation of the remains within the bounds of propriety?"
 

Atlictoatl

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"We anticipated this request, Lady, and have kept the fish in the mortuary for your examination. The buckwheat is still in the fields, though it has not held up in the rains. I assume the cat was buried and the pumpkins disposed of, but perhaps the Watch Captain knows otherwise. The Doctor would know more about the child, you met her this morning. Adrian, the Priest, will likely resist an attempt to dig the monster from its grave, but if it is important to you to see it, I will convene the Council to override his protests."
 

MrPrim

Bleak Academic
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Zsofika keeps her eyes on the mayor, not wanting to look around, to see the faces of the dead pressed against windows or lurking in corners.

"What of the parents. Of your monster." she sits forward, her expression unreadable, "What of them?"
 

Atlictoatl

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The Mayor cracks into a hard candy with her teeth from a half-full bowl on her desk. She offers the bowl around, if any of you are interested in such fare as a morning treat.

"The mother was driven from town, a servant in the household of the Notary. Petra Inksblood. Unfortunately, we do not know who the father is."

(Petra Inksblood is the attractive person of indeterminate gender with marks of two of the Avatars carved in their face.)
 

Lysus

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"Gods damn it, how will we interrogate this servant if you've no idea of her whereabouts? You act as if you want the Lord Rightbringer to come to your town. Let me tell you if that comes to pass nothing here will remain the same."

Veronika pushes her chair back from the table and rises, disgusted.

"I'll be inspecting those leads, but it's clear there's nothing more useful to be learned here. Shall we be on our way, Lukacs? Zsofika?"
 

Artaud le momo

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Lukacs

"Calm yourself Veronika," Lukacs says in an even voice. "We still have questions here. You can inspect the carcasses to your utmost delight after we are finished here."

To the mayor, he continues, calmly.

"We will need the name of this woman, and the names of any relatives or friends she had here. You say that you felt you could not take any action to locate the witch, but you then say you took matters into your own hands in destroying the monster and drove the mother out. Why the inaction on one part, and inaction on the other? It appears to us that you are being inconsistent. Why? And so again, I request that you tell us of whatever investigations you have already carried out, and what thoughts you have on the guilt or innocence of the other villagers here. We will also require your assistance in other matters. The others in the council, what are their names? Tell us about them. Do not skimp on any details. We require you to tell us how you feel about them, what you believe to be their motivations, whether they can be trusted, anything you might have heard in scurrilous gossip about them."

Lukacs stares right into the mayor's eyes. "And be very careful. We demand honest and full answers to our questions. If we find that we have been lied to or any truths have been omitted, there may be...unfortunate repercussions [At this point Lukacs glances toward the heated-looking Veronika]. We have found in our previous inquisitions that often the witch and their accomplices attempt to dissemble and conceal. It is often one of the most pertinent evidentiary signs of the witch."

He then continues to look deeply at the mayor and await her answers.
 

Atlictoatl

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"Gods damn it, how will we interrogate this servant if you've no idea of her whereabouts? You act as if you want the Lord Rightbringer to come to your town. Let me tell you if that comes to pass nothing here will remain the same."

Veronika pushes her chair back from the table and rises, disgusted.

"I'll be inspecting those leads, but it's clear there's nothing more useful to be learned here. Shall we be on our way, Lukacs? Zsofika?"
Lukacs

To the mayor, he continues, calmly. [...] He then continues to look deeply at the mayor and await her answers.
OOC: This looks like an Intimidation move to me, which is a STR Negotiation. We'll say that Veronika is Helping with an assist for +1.
Lukacs Intimidation with assist: 2d6+1 6 Do you want to Burn Luck to bump that to a 7?
 

Atlictoatl

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The Mayor listens to the first part of your speech with some confusion on her face, Lukacs. Then her face hardens as you threaten her. She stands from her seat.

"You do not need to tell me about witch hunts, Lord. My father was Mayor before me, and presided in that role thirty years ago." She says that like it should mean something to you. "I was but a child then, but I remember. I will never forget those days. Many of us here have not forgotten."

"But you are right, witch hunts are evidentiary affairs. Thank you for that reminder. You will no doubt be pleased, then, to learn that the Mayor and Council of Bridge of Saint Cleareyes invokes the Claim of Oversight. As is customary in such panels, the Council will require proof of your findings, to be presented in closed session. It will require a majority to approve a burning. If you wish to induce confessions through Measures of Stringency*, at least half of the Council must first approve it. Failure to adhere to the Claim of Oversight shall result in direct appeal to the Lord Rightmaker."

Your jobs just became more complicated. While any town can invoke the Claim of Oversight, a formal set of conduct designed to protect hamlets from the worst excesses of the zealotry of official witchhunters, most forego those measures out of a desire to work hand-in-hand with the investigators, and they turn a blind eye if certain... necessary measures need to be introduced into an investigation. The Claim of Oversight also allows a town to cite a complaint of no confidence in an investigatory team, which causes no end of problems for said investigators with the Lord Rightmaker. Rumors about her tolerance with her staff for such complaints abound. That's a fate you really don't want. It's already bad enough that the Mayor and Council have invoked the Claim, as it also binds your Lord against the Imperial See, should the Lord Rightmaker come to investigate herself.

*By Measures of Stringency, the Mayor is referring to torture and other extreme forms of interrogation.
 

Atlictoatl

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"As for your questions...," she says, sitting down. She's clearly not pleased with the tone with which the questions were made to her. "The demon child was the first incident, well before anyone suspected a devil-monger in our midst. We thought the babe a deformity and aberration, but had no idea of what was to come, nor can we be blamed for this supposition. Deformities have not been uncommon, after the wars. The mother... Vanda, I believe her name was, gave birth out of wedlock. To my understanding, the Notary hoped to shelter her... against my council, I might add... but after the birth of the monstrous creature, there was no chance of that. The Waterdrinker spoke her thoughts with regards to the perfidy of that union. The town answered."

"I do not know the fate of the the young girl, but Petra Inksblood will."

"Petra Inksblood is the Notary. Their beauty as a child was unrivaled, until their mother gave them their scars, dashing their dreams of the capital. Their knowledge of the laws is unrivaled in this part of the world. Their household is chaotic, for they care for their halfwit brother, and seem to take in strays. I don't trust their valet, but the rest of their household is harmless. They have been a loyal citizen for as long as I have known them, which is all of my life."

"Szilágyi Lana is the one to watch. The Tinker's wife, and the Blacksmith's sister. She is a cunning woman. Hard. Unforgiving. Cruel, even. I am sure you noticed her scowl throughout the morning's proceedings. She does not want you here. Her fourth daughter, Zenobia, was born with a strange birthmark on her neck. Her brother does his smithing work, but has otherwise been a lost man since his daughter was taken by the Tax Prince two years ago. I would not be surprised to learn the family harbors ill feelings for that. Her husband is a nasty, weaselly man. Her ancestral home burned down what must have been a decade ago, a symbol of the anger of that family. If there is any place to look, I would council starting there."

"Ivana Glaser is the most hard-working person in town. She's our Doctor. She could have held a station at the Medical College of Ehre, you know, but she would not leave her family behind. Her father has been our town apothecary since the days of my own father. Her husband is a fine musician, and lost on such a remote town. He belongs in the capital. Her son is a delight. Her butler, a cook, thinks too highly of himself, but anyone who can make such divine cupcakes must be forgiven if his ego is a bit large. You would be wasting your time to spend too much of it in her household."

"Adrian Schlager is a priest of the Three Avatars. It is said that he castrated himself the day his wife died, but I cannot verify such things. He is a devout man, though it has taken its toll of him. He openly sought to keep his daughter from following in his footsteps, but she is a willful child. He maintains our public library within the temple. His household all keep their silence, to a man, including his dog, though the Eastern sculptor is a temperamental man, prone to outbursts. Somogyi Gyula is his name."

"Magyar Tünde is known for leagues for having the best ale of any inn. She has benefitted the town immensely with her contacts and ability. Her brother is a mute, but makes a fine ostler. Her husband is my brother. He has always been a quiet man, but he's good for her. Despite being a stranger, she has done well here. The people will accept her son as one of their own. That's quicker than most Outsiders have achieved."

"If you wish to know more, Lord, then I refer you again to our Watch Captain. Kristina von Stroheim. While I have received her reports, her details will be of far greater use to you. She is a competent woman, though still haunted by her duties in the war. She and her deputy have my trust. Her brother's a bit odd, but aren't all writers?"

She crunches on more of her candy, and sips from her third spiked milk, watching you all with hooded eyes, before ringing a bell on her desk. Román enters immediately.

"Madam Mayor?"

"Please escort our Lord and Ladies Investigators to their next appointment. I believe the Watch Captain wished to take them to the mortuary." The Mayor turns to you all. "That is, if you are done with me?"

The look on her face says that you are. Or, at least, that she is done with you.
 
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Atlictoatl

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OOC: I failed to assign alternative skin colors per our gameworld to the characters who have appeared. Where it's not too awkward and I can still edit, I've gone back and edited them into the relevant posts where they were introduced. It doesn't matter or signify anything (except, perhaps, for the blue-skinned folk), but for completeness' sake, I'm reproducing them here to get everyone caught up.

The Mayor is grey-skinned (light black).
The Notary has dark blue skin.
Szilágyi Lana is grey-skinned.
The Doctor has dark black skin.
The Priest has light ivory skin.
The Innkeeper has dark black skin.
The two women who were acting oddly both have dark orange skin. The man has medium blue skin.
In the Mayor's household, Román has medium black skin and the guard with red hair has light yellow skin.
 
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