Festival of Choices PRP Act 2 Scene 2
This plot is split into three groups, whose actions will serve as 'unseen hands' affecting what the other groups encounter. Each group will have two sessions, one to set up and make a plan, the other to execute. I'm hoping to keep these loose and casual and zippy, and wrap up by 11 pm server time.
I did take signups for this PRP ahead of time. However, schedules and availability always change, so if you're interested in joining, please reach out to Ember! At worst, you'll be waitlisted.
This is Scene 2/2 of the BLOODY AND DISGUSTING CRIME group of the plot.
Oct. 8, 2020, 8 p.m.
Outside Arx - Mourning Isles near Redreef Shores - The Festival of Choices
Comments and Log
Previously, in 'The Case of the People Whose Guts Were Supposed to Be on the Inside'...
It's the Festival of Choices on the small coastal barony of Redreef Shores, a time to get out of the awful snow and into simply huge amounts of wine.
Unfortunately, among the choices made in this festival was someone's choice to sacrifice twelve people in grisly, disgusting ways that seemed to indicate attempts at occult rituals.
Working as detectives, Our Heroes investigated the suspects. Of particular interest was Tricia Cashmore, the daughter of a wealthy merchant family. When snooping around her home, they discovered that she had been pursuing an interest in demonology and other horrible parts of the occult, and posing as the deceased Baroness Leticia Redreef to exploit the dementia of Watkin "Wattie" Blackpearl, her apparent tutor in these matters.
Speaking of Messere Blackpearl, he and another veteran of the Red Sails, Maisie Varga, are being kept in the Crimson Keep, as the two most likely number-thirteens for the killer's designs.
Eirene, Thea, and Drake were those who investigated the Cashmore estate. Thea proposed helping herself to one of Tricia Cashmore's vintage 'Baroness Leticia'-styled gowns to disguise herself. Haakon and Samira have stayed with Blackpearl and Varga, and Samira has now disguised herself as Varga in an attempt to lure out the killer. Tricia Cashmore and another suspect, Abel Jarin, are currently being brought to the Keep by baronial guardsmen.
As our exciting adventure begins anew, we find these three strands -- and a fourth, that being Lady Trueth Redreef -- converging just outside the Crimson Keep, as Haakon and Samira exit, and the Cashmore-snoops arrive from one direction, while the guards and suspects arrive from another...
Drake thought the idea of dressing up in disguise was a bit silly. But. That's so very Thea, and so, after mulling it over, he couldn't come up with a larger objection to this plan. In his heart, he is worried. To say nothing of fooling the man who was teaching the girl... and her errors so far in actually learning anything about the Abyss... eventually, she might find something real, and use it, and the results would be disasterous for her, and, for those around her, or for everyone. He looks increasingly anxious about the situation.
Still, Thea is the one who has the master plan here where it comes to talking to Wattie, so he'll leave that to her for the time being. If the man can get arrested himself and his crimes proven, perhaps the whole thing will come to a satisfying conclusion and no one else will be hurt. Drake walks behind the two ladies for now.
Eirene sighs as she shakes her head. "People like her," meaning their would-be blood-magic user, "aren't as dangerous as someone who knows what they're doing, but they're more likely to endanger people closest to them simply by accident. But if this Wattie person is the one who knows what they're doing, even if they're being manipulated... the keep may be in danger just by having him there." She pulls up her cloak against the snows and notices, oh look, there's the person in question. Or the question in person. Which-ever.
Thea comes out of the clost, smooth this gods forsaken, mothball smelling gown down. "How do I look,"she asks, trying to make herself appear as Baroness as she can. "I'm open to other ideas by the way, but this was all I got. Maybe from a distance...,"listening to Eirene too. "The ones that don't know what they're doing are usually the ones that cause more harm,"hurrying to Drake, touching his arm for a moment. ONe of reassurance. "I'll be be fine,"a grin appearing. But the Malvici or uh--Baroness pauses when she hears Eirene.
Having traded her practical garb for Maisie's dress, Samira walks alongside Haakon as they exit the Keep. "Maybe if I pretend I'm a few inches taller, I'll look the part," she mumbles low to her companion. She devotes attention to attempting to move in a way that might look similar to Maisie's mannerisms, although she's alert and watchful - on the lookout for any signs of trouble.
Haakon had briefly entertained the idea of disguising himself as Wattie, as both were of a height. Unfortunately, whereas the old man was spindly, pot bellied, white haired and seemingly harmless, Haakon was broad shouldered, powerfully built and prone to bouts of explosive profanity when certain doublets don't fit.
So yeah, no dress up for the Prodigal, alas. Unaware that the other detectives (who also played dress up) were bound to meet them, he was muttering to Samira, "Assume there's more than one and they're watching.. what say you? To her house to gather a bag, or flee straight to the docks?"
Trueth has not dressed in disguise because she's Lady Trueth Godsdamned Redreef and she belongs on this island. Currently she's helping herself to a bag of candies as she stands in to be the local occult authority - take that as one will. Seeing some of the others come up, she waves a bit, then lowers her hand. She waits impatiently, looking toward Haakon and Samira. "Alas, this is harebrained," she says to no one in particular.
"Un-HAND me! Do you know who my father is?! Do you know whose red dye it is that flows out of Redreef's port?! Do you know how much silver he makes in a DAY that's more than you'll ever see in your misbegotten LIFE?!"
These are the rantings of young Tricia Cashmore. The dark-haired young woman is about nineteen or twenty and is currently in a state. Her arms are being held by two guardsmen and it's clear that at some point, she tried to run. Her dark hair is all fucked up. She wears her makeup in the style of Baroness Leticia, all dark and dramatic cat's-eye points, but her gown is that of a modern young woman who intended to spend a night out drinking and dancing at the Festival. The gown is torn, and if it wasn't for the Lycene-lace merrywidow underneath, her entire breast would be out.
Next to her is Abel Jarin, a solemn-looking man in his thirties with dirty blonde hair and a beard. He doesn't have guards dragging him, just one walking a pace behind him. He clearly didn't try to run.
"Y-- Lady Trueth!" Tricia Cashmore clearly recognizes the blonde noble. "Tell these BUFFOONS that I am innocent!"
"Harebrained or brilliant. I'll let you know which one afterward," Samira remarks to Trueth, flashing a grin. Her lips purse as she considers Haakon's question. "Her house first perhaps? See if we can't draw them out that way?" She overhears the young woman ranting nearby and rolls her eyes, muttering under her breath something about 'entitled snots bragging about being fuckin' rich' before remembering she's supposed to be staying in character as Maisie.
Drake would normally show interest in a woman in a state of some undress, but... in this case, his look at Tricia is not a purient one in the least. When Tricia yells for Trueth, Drake looks in that direction, but only for a second. Then he folds his arms and looks back at Tricia again. He takes a few steps toward her, and looks her in the eye, in spite of her ranting... at least trying to catch it. For the moment, she has his full attention.
Then, Drake pulls her journal, which was among the papers he found, out of his coat. "Is this yours?"
Eirene checks perception and investigation at normal. Eirene is successful.
Eirene checks perception and investigation at hard. Eirene is marginally successful.
Haakon sniffs in flat humor on the heels of Samira's response, but any answer of his to her or Trueth is cut off by Tricia's arrival. "... Shit. If that's her, there's no fucking course where she killed and gutted a dozen folk." Let alone veterans of a war. "...Who the fuck is that with her?"
Trueth checks Charm and Diplomacy at hard. Trueth fails.
Eirene lets Drake pull ahead and she falls back. The pregnant lady folds her arms over her chest and studies the pair of suspects, silently sizing them up as the one rants and the other waits. Her blue eyes are steely and penatrative as she looks beyond the surface projections of the pair. She doesn't seem to see anything worth pointing out.
Thea aka, Baroness Leticia, walks with her back straight and rigid. "How does one--,"she starts, but remembers her place. Instead, shes the woman that is SUPPOSED to be dressed as Leticia as well. Testing her luck, Thea decides to step up to her and lean close, but not too close, keeping her eyes from being seen. "Who are you again, I seemed to have missed it with all your bellowing,"Thea calmly mentions to the woman.
There's a long moment where Trueth just sort of watches Tricia flail about. She looks at Tricia for a long moment and then smiles at one of the guards, "Oh, yoohoo! Excuse me. You should release Tricia into my custody because... I do believe that my family would love to speak with her about whatever trouble she's gotten herself in. After all, this is our island, is it not? And... Tricia... is..." Trueth makes a hand motion up and down in the woman's direction, "really of no use to you or particularly anyone as much as she talks about her father. So, could you just let her come with me? Thanks."
When Drake steps up to the ranting Tricia and presents her black journal, the young woman stops barking long enough to stare at him, wide-eyed. Her eyes track to the book, then Drake, then the book, then Drake. "...what are you doing with that...?" she asks, quietly, quite visibly shaken by the sight of it.
And then Tricia sees Thea behind Drake. Thea, in one of her gowns, mocking her. "...DID YOU STEAL MY FUCKING ///DRESS///--?!" she screams.
Tricia tries to thrash free of the guards, presumably to try and snatch her journal or her gown back, and the guards give Trueth an apologetic look. "Mmf-- sorry, Lady Trueth-- she's-- ngh-- clearly in a state-- as you can see--"
Abel Jarin just seems faintly embarrassed by the misfortune of being arrested alongside Tricia.
Haakon gives a snort as Tricia flails about again. "But if she runs, I get to put a harpoon through her guts," he 'complains' with a dry sniff. Looking over Drake, Thea, and Eirene, he chooses to address the third. "Lady. You all find aught of use? We were about to go fishing," he notes with a tilt of his head toward Samira.
Drake checks command and diplomacy at hard. Drake is marginally successful.
Eirene answers Haakon, "Princess here," she says with sarcasm dripping. "Was either manipulating that Wattie person into giving her lessions in the dark arts while playing 'dress up'." She motions towards Thea and the older styled gown. "Or she had someone doing a damn find job of seeding her room with evidence." She pauses as she looks at the pair, "But something tells me neither is our wetwork person. That much... um, eviceration tends to get blood everywhere and neither has a drop on 'em. Even cloaked, gloved, and masked, it would probably leave a trace somewhere, like shoes, hair."
Drake lets the lady yell at him, but he continues to keep a straight face. As she looks astonished at the book, it's at least a good start. He walks over to her, and puts his hand under her chin. This is not his usual smoothness, but is a somewhat forceful move, designed to pull her eyes to his whether she wants to or not. "You're Tricia. Yes? My name is Drake. This book obviously belongs to you. I saw the look in your eyes." He takes a breath, as the woman, though clearly agitated, at least stops frothing at him. "Believe me... when I say I understand the sanctity of a private journal. And in a normal situation I would not, would never. Try to pry into the private words of a lady. No matter her station or her disposition."
Drake takes a step back, letting her chin go, and holding up the book again. "But this is different. You were trying to learn Abyssal magic. I make that accusation now, in full view of all, because I want you to understand how deeply, deeply serious this is. Do you deny it?"
Trueth smiles apologetically at the guards, then chimes in to Tricia. "I'm sure it's not one of your gowns, it probably just looks like it! You know how people love to copy fashion!" She goes back to nibbling her candy and looking at the going-ons. "Oh dear," she does mutter.
Thea lifts her eyebrow at the woman. "Tricia, that's your name? Oh hello. I swear this gown said it belonged to someone else." She smiles at the woman before looking to Trueth, nodding her head. "I hear that's the thing. This old thing was just--laying around,"listening to Drake as well. A bit suprised at that new tone. Huh...
"Can't imagine her managing to kill all of 'em on her own. Gods, would someone shut her up from her screeching?" Samira mutters, eyeing Tricia with a look of disdain. She glances sidelong toward Haakon, offering an amused smirk at his remark before following his gaze to Eirene. "Ol' Wattie, huh? Can't say I would've have pegged him as the type. If not them, any idea who might've done the dirty work?" She glances to Haakon, crossing her arms over her chest. "Maybe there's still time for fishing after all."
Haakon narrows his eyes as Eirene lays out the discoveries. "The old lackwit.. were giving lessons.. in the dark arts." A pause and he looks aside to Samira abruptly. "Be right back," he mutters before hustling back into the castle.. where the harmless old fool (possible sorceror of indeterminate competence?) had been in a room with their other remaining survivor.
Abel Jarin and one of the guards exchange a look as Tricia continues causing a scene. There seems to be a moment of common 'yeah, I dunno, either' between captor and captive.
Tricia calms down when Drake speaks to her, but she doesn't actually seem CALM -- just SCARED. She flutters her lips, trying to come up with some kind of answer. Any kind of answer. "I-- I-- I-- I--"
Then Tricia's eyes move to Haakon hustling away, and she stammers, "He made me-- I swear--"
It takes Samira a moment longer than Haakon to realize exactly what this new information means, but his hustle back to the castle helps the pieces click in her mind. "Maisie." Her dark eyes widen in sudden understanding and she takes off after him, tugging the fabric of her dress up to her knees so she can move swiftly.
Eirene's not about to run but she does start to move quickly. Without waddling. Because dammit she may be seven months pregnant but she is no duck. "The abyss?" She questions their reasoning for moving quickly and looks at Trueth. "You should probably come with, there might be a need to order your guards into something."
Thea watchs Haakon take off and Samira not long after. "Guess I might as put this--dress to use INSIDE,"turning that way. Her eyes turn toward Drake and the woman for a moment, checking on them, on him. With a tilt of her head, she goes to follow. "What my aunt said,"Thea says to Trueth with agreement. "Maybe through that candy at them too,"joking a bit.
"Where's he going?" one of the guards says as Haakon starts dashing off. "What the..."
The three guards, two of whom are still holding Tricia by her arms, and their two captives all begin to follow Haakon now. They move a pace or two behind Eirene, largely because stomping past a pregnant noblewoman is a fantastic way to get fired from being a guard.
Trueth is happy to follow along at their direction, but she keeps her bag of candy for now. She focuses on helping Eirene along if the woman needs it. "If my attempts to order guards go as well as they did back there, we'll all be in trouble."
Drake holds onto the journal, keeping it with him and following the guards who are now moving at a faster pace. It seems like this is going to be a confrontation now, so he best be prepared for it.
"...oh, did it curve... up? Up. No. It was... it was more of a squiggle..."
There's a puddle of blood on the floor and Maisie Varga's bottom teeth are all currently visible, still set in her mandible which is still attached to her chin and her neck even if the rest of her head above it has been smashed into paste. The veteran sailor lies on the ground in a crumpled heap, and next to the splattered remains of her head (caved in like a rotted pumpkin) is the heavy decorative sculpture that was used to quite literally bash her brains in. The degree to which the sculpture was smashed into her, again and again, suggests that it wasn't enough to simply donk Maisie on the head and kill her. The intent was to reduce her head to something akin to applesauce with bits of bone and hair stirred into it.
"It was... mm. No."
Wattie Blackpearl dips his fingers into the blood on the ground and then, with great pain and struggle, creaks his way back up to his feet. He's writing things on the wall in a language that may or may not actually exist, drawing things that look like sigils.
"It went... this way... and then... or did it go that way..."
This is the scene that the party discovers when the door is kicked in. The door will HAVE to be kicked in, because it's locked, but between Haakon, Samira, the guards, anyone, it's no real obstacle.
When the door IS bashed open, Wattie turns around in a confused, blinking, startled moment. It's only when he sees Thea in the group that his eyes widen and grow wet with tears.
"B-Baroness Leticia," Wattie says, his voice awed and reverent. "It... it worked... you came back." Wattie begins to walk forward, toward Thea, covered in gore.
Eirene checks composure at hard. Eirene is marginally successful.
Thea checks composure at hard. Thea is successful.
Haakon checks dexterity and archery at normal. Haakon is marginally successful.
Haakon reaches the door and finds it locked. "Fuck," he growls, slamming a shoulder into the barred portal- "Fuck!" before the combined efforts of those outside burst it open inward. At the sight of that gory scene and the dreaded end fully realized in blasphemous death, Haakon expresses his displeasure first by eloquent speech and next by deed: "FUCK." Anger fills the shouted profanity as he hurls the barbed whaling spear half in and half out of Wattie's abdomen, impaling the old man and nailing his rapidly dying body to the wall behind. In summation, "Goddess fucking FUCK."
Eirene's a little pale, sufficient to say. But she has seen this, or worse even, - though hard to say there's been worse than this but her relative calm manages to stay intact. Then Haakon spears the old doddering Abyssalist and she looks torn. Torn between approving and torn between wanting to have asked him what the fuck he was doing going after the other victims. Her eyes drift up towards the gory symbols on the wall and she just looks angrily puzzled; her brow is heavily furrowed in confusion. "It's like he has no fucking clue what the fuck he's really doing, it's like my kids randomly scribbling alphabet letters and saying they spell made up words."
Drake checks composure at hard. Drake is successful.
Trueth checks Composure at hard. Botch! Trueth is simply outclassed. This is monumentally beyond them and the result is ruinous..
Samira checks composure at hard. Samira marginally fails.
Making her way into the tavern, Thea just halts at the door. "What the fu--,"she starts. She takes in the blood, the smashed in head of---a woman she doesn't know. But then, THEN there's a bloody man stepping toward her. Then. THEN, calling her Baroness Leticia and well--there's a spear through hiim. "Fuck!" She turns her head and blinks. Stepping out of the way of the now dead body, Thea quickly starts to survey more of the scene. "I'm going to say that Leticia was dead, he looked a bit surprised..."
Drake had been so distracted by the apprentice that he wasn't even thinking that her instructor would get up to this while their backs were all turned. For a moment, his stomach turns at the grisly sight, and it's enough of a shock to his system that he doesn't immediately act... though at least he does not shout or turn away, either. He does feel momentarily frozen on the spot, long enough that by the time his senses come back to him, Haakon has already swiftly and immediately acted.
Trueth walks into the scene and looks at everything very carefully, very very carefully for about point two seconds before she starts screaming. Her candy bag goes flying. Pieces of candy are sent flying into blood puddles. And then Trueth is down on the ground with her hands over her head screaming, and when Haakon thrusts his trusty harpoon into Wattie? She starts backing against the wall on all fours, putting her hands over her head and murmuring things about this 'can't be happening'.
Haakon throws his spear, and it strikes true. Wattie is pinned to the wall, and his old-man pot belly has been punctured quite severely. The old man seems to not realize what's happened for a moment. He has the same confused, doddering expression he did when he was annoying the hell out of Haakon and Samira earlier. And then a terrible clarity seems to settle over him as he looks down and sees the spear sticking through him. "Oh..."
Wattie grips the spear but doesn't try to pull it out. Blood seeps from the corners of his mouth as his eyes turn back up to gaze at Thea. "It was worth it... to see you... one more time... Baroness... Letic..."
And then he's gone.
As the guards try to push their way in, Tricia Cashmore stands in the doorway in stunned, wide-eyed terror and grief. She looks almost green in the face: this is a woman who has never before seen anyone dead -- or anyone die.
Once Samira manages to burst through the doorway alongside the others, her gaze immediately snaps to Maisie's bashed-in head. Her fingers curl around the fabric of the dress she wears - Maisie's dress - as the blood drains from her face. She looks as though she's close to losing it completely, unable to tear her gaze from the dead woman's body even as Haakon expertly spears Wattie to the wall. "Worth it? Worth it?!" Her voice climbs an octave as she repeats the dying man's words, but by then, of course, he's gone.
Eirene gives an almost sympathetic look at Trueth, "Someone get that poor woman out of here so she can try to forget this," she says, firmly yet gently to the guards. "And get her a fucking shot of whiskey." She stops and then points at Tricia. "YOU. You come the fuck here and LOOK AT THIS." Her finger points imperiously at the corpses, wall and floor.
"THIS is what happens when you dabble in blood magic. People. Die. Messily. YOU DIE. Messily." She barks the orders as if she was the Baroness herself, not caring it's someone-elses' keep becuase she is Eirene. "It ends in pain and darkness and death, and if you're lucky, your soul will go back to the wheel and NOT to feed the Abyssal forces you thought you could master."
Drake looks down at Trueth, looking sad for her as she doesn't quite hold this together. He crosses over to kneel down, then puts a hand on her shoulder, trying to soothe her as much as possible. "...I'm sorry you had to see that. But it's over."
Haakon pulls back hard on the chain that is anchored to the harpoon's balance point, butted up against Wattie's belly. The spear head is pulled loose of the wall and the corpse slumps to the floor, still impaled on the weapon. "Will need to cut it out of him," he mutters to himself. His eye slips aside to Eirene. "Want to make little rich girl help, or would that make it worse? I've no fucking clue what lackwit rich girls will learn from or get worse for."
And then, just as Eirene finishes that volley of what she has to say, a dark figure appears behind Tricia Cashmore.
The Bloody Baroness has arrived.
Ember Redreef looks displeased. She always looks displeased as a default state, but in this moment, she actually looks gravely and inconsolably angry, in a tight, choked kind of way that seems primed to boil over at any moment. Her glare could kill at twenty paces. With her cloak draped over her shoulders, umbra and black fur and lined with blood-red silk, Ember looks like she might as well be something someone tried to summon.
"Tell me what happened here."
Thea hears the man. Really. "All of this for---to bring back the dead." Thea twitches her lips at Trueth, frowning a bit,"Drink a bit. A lotta bit. This sight may not leave your vision for a long time." When Tricia enters the tavern, her gold-flecked green eyes round on her as well. "Was all this WORTH it? Do you--see what you've done? Or did you need your nose rubbed in the blood spilled everywhere?" There's no remorse in her flat tone. None. "And you were worried about a fucking dress---,"pausing when Ember arrives. The Bloody Baroness. In a bloody tavern. How ironic.
Drake and Eirene managed to have calm down Trueth enough that she's just rocking back and forth when Ember shows up. Her eyes are still wide looking at the carnage in front of her, but she's a little more aware of things now, and looks at Tricia rather expectantly as she gets to her feet to - well, hide behind Ember.
Ember reaches an arm out from underneath her cloak and takes Trueth to herself, holding her cousin in close like a protective mother bear. She still looks singularly furious.
With the Bloody Baroness behind her, the rest of the group and a bunch of dead folk in front of her, Tricia is at a loss for words. "I didn't... Why do you think I... I didn't do..." She's reeling, unable to get a complete thought out in her shock.
Eirene looks at Drake and Haakon. Drake has the journal, Haakon has the still bloody harpoon so... she lets them explain unless they defer to her natural bossiness.
Drake gets back to his feet.
He walks over to Ember with some determination, and hands Tricia's journal to her, quietly. Then he looks at Tricia. She's shaken. What she's seen was real, and maybe, hopefully, that's enough. But he still speaks to her, quietly. "Please take it from me. I've seen firsthand what Abyssal magic can do to a person left unchecked. Your teacher was a fraud. But you were lucky he was. If he was successful, the results could've been worse than even this. If this sight alone rattled you... imagine seeing someone you love fall to the darkness in a way you can't follow them. And you already know you should give up this persuit for good."
"Seems Wattie here was dabbling in things best left untouched in an attempt to rouse the dead, Baroness," Samira begins, finally managing to snap her gaze away from Maisie. She eyes Tricia with a look of contempt, gesturing to the protesting woman as she adds, "And this one was attempting to learn the same. Hopefully she's seeing the error of her ways." The Culler crosses her arms over her chest, scowling at how things have unfolded. Or perhaps that's just her default facial expression.
"Cane upon a chopoed up body like this in the streets," Haakon begins by way of explanation. "Guard said there had been a dozen other, done the same. Guard had brought those two here for watching, as they were of a service together, some years past. Others can speak to the detail of that one-" Tricia, "But seem this daft fucker-" he draws a flensing knife and begins cutting Wattie's abdomen to free his harpoon. "We're murdering folk like a lackwit ape playing at magic to draw back some dead woman." Super helpful, Haakon.
Eirene nods sharply to Ember, being used to no-nonsence rulers like her own niece the Duchess of Southport. "As they said. There was a series of ritual killings done by someone with a degree of knowledge. Not a formal degree but enough to where they thought they knew what they were doing. Or they had forgotten..." she looks at the old dead man, not kindly either. "This pretty miss was encouraging him to teach her, using your mother as inspiration. I assume this old man was a retainer in her household?" It's mostly rhetorical. "I am sorry we didn't figure this shit out until he was able to kill Maisie. That, Baroness, I do regret."
Thea smooths down the old dress, one that may be a bit too big. She's been hanging out by looking for a drink. She has nothing to add, it's all be said.
Trueth mutters to Ember lowly, "He was trying to summon your mother..." A shiver runs down Trueth's spine and she clings close to Ember, clearly horrified by the thought. "He thought that Lady Thea was your mother when he saw her in that gown, and oh, sweet Mangata..."
Haakon curses under his breath. "Fuck me, I even thought it. Said 'why would they leave him until last'. Just couldn't fathom a feeble old fuck like that having to muscle to butcher a dozen folk. Rust and fucking RUIN," he swears again while working the harpoon loose. He's putting profanity in his epithets, now.
"Shh. Shh." Ember whispers that down to Trueth, without looking. She holds Trueth's head toward her shoulder, and in cradling the back of her head, threads umbra-gloved fingers in Trueth's blonde hair. It would look very touching if the circumstances were different and if Ember didn't also look ready to run someone through with a sword.
"...Wattie," Ember says, her eyes turning to look at the old man's corpse. "My parents' majordomo. He was devoted to them. He would have done anything for them..." Ember draws in a breath through her nose. "He used to give Marina and I sweets when we were girls. To discover that this was his true nature..." Fury seeps into Ember's tone.
"And... Maisie? Varga?" The Bloody Baroness's brow furrows. She clearly doesn't recognize the woman on the floor, because... how could anyone? "The Red Sails knew few finer sailors. This is..." Ember doesn't finish the thought. She squeezes Trueth to herself a little tighter. She's too proud to show when she's rattled.
"Thank you all for your help in this. The Barony of Redreef Shores will not forget. And... Lord Drake... you need not worry about this young woman partaking in any more occultism."
Ember's eyes settle on Tricia, and the Baroness speaks: "For the crime of aiding and abetting Abyssal deeds, I sentence you to death." To the guards, she says: "Bring her to the dungeon."
"Ah. No, wait." Drake lets out a sudden huff, looking at the Baroness. Yes, that does seem like what she would do. And she has every right. But... he's soft-hearted, in his way. "Surely she's been punished enough by what she had to witness. She isn't responsible for the deaths and she..." He looks at Tricia, and at Ember again. "She certainly knows now the error of these ways."
Eirene murmurs to Samira, "We should probably get you changed..." She looks a little chagrinned about the clothing swap in light of circumstances. "You too," she adds to Thea. "And then we some holy water, holy fire, and some holy fucking soil to scrub this place down with. Even though these are gibberish as far as unholy symbology goes, it's better to be safe than sorry." She turns to Haakon and adds, "We should probably wash your harpoon off too..." Grimacing. The unpleasant part of it all is the fact some poor servant will have to see this mess.
"Fuck her, fuck blood magic, put her fucking head on a spear overlooking the port with a sign that reads: such always to fucking sorcerors," Haakon opines, distinctly less kind hearted than Drake. "Even the shitty ones." A nod to Eirene. "As you say."
Trueth is all too happy to be coddled by Ember, though happy isn't quite the right word for it. She whimpers a bit, turning her face into Ember's shoulder when she mentions the sweets that Wattie would give them as children and she sees her own candies strewn about in the blood on the floor. Trueth does not come to Tricia's rescue when Ember sentences her to death. Not one iota at the moment, still shivering against her cousin-in-law with tears welling up in her eyes.
Drake checks charm and diplomacy at daunting. Drake is marginally successful.
Thea is already asking Eirene,"Can we burn his body too,"but pauses at her gown. "Oh--um, Baroness? Would you like your mother's dress back?" Thea goes off to start helping as well as far as cleaning up.
Samira says nothing in response to Drake's plea for leniency, a singular nod offered in silent approval of Haakon's remarks. She's still too angry to support second chances, it seems. Eirene's words remind her of her current garb, a glance snuck down toward the dress that most assuredly does not belong to her. "That's a good idea," she agrees, wrinkling her nose. "Damn, I wish things had turned out differently."
Tricia receives her death sentence and immediately her voice catches in her throat with a choked squeak and she begins to cry. She seems like she doesn't understand what's happening. Like someone tore some of the pages out of her copy of the script.
Drake's sincerity gives the Baroness pause. She still has a baleful stare on her face, but Ember rubs Trueth's scalp idly while she considers the Wyvenheart's words -- as well as those of Haakon and the others.
"You must write Lord Drake Wyvenheart," Ember says toward Tricia. "He has spared your life today. That you will continue to live is solely because of him."
Ember pauses a beat. "Write him... when you've healed. Bring her to the dungeon. Fetch a sledge. Break both of her hands and each and every finger."
Ember seems resolute in this punishment, and then turns her gaze toward Thea. "My..." She looks both angry and confused for a moment. "...that's not my mother's dress," she says. "My mother owned a similar one -- she wears it in her portrait in the audience hall -- but that looks like it's seasilk. My mother would never lower herself to wear anything quite so vulgar or common." Ember squeezes Trueth gently again. "If she was here today, she would probably be more offended at the idea of owning a gown made of anything less than luxury brocade, than... mm."
Eirene checks composure and etiquette at normal. Eirene is marginally successful.
Eirene's expression nearly quirks at the idea of seasilk as vulgar or common, but she's able to keep it in check all things considered. "Lady Thea and I are both healers. We can -- I can go and ensure that she won't lose said fingers," she says coldly. She, too, has no empathy in this regard. And it doesn't look like this is the woman's first rodeo either...
"No," Ember says to Eirene, pointedly.
Thea gives a sigh of relif. Because--awkward of wearing a dead woman's dress. Not that she's saying it aloud. "I wouldn't imagine she would, no." Thea does agree with Eirene still,"I do need to change though,"before she hears the fate of Tricia. Her lips thin a bit and agrees,"Yes. No--Eirene is right, we--I can help too, make sure she doesn't loose anything." The younger Malvici's tone is impassive. It doesn't lack anything. It just is. Her eyes drift to Drake, checking on him.
But when Ember's answer is spoken, well...Thea clears her throat. There goes that.
"She can learn to write with her mouth or her toes," Trueth posits. "I've seen it done."
The talk of losing fingers is the last part of the conversation that Tricia gets to enjoy before the guards take her by the arms and drag her off. She doesn't rant, doesn't scream... just looks stunned and confused and stares at Drake until she's pulled through the doors and away, down toward the dungeon.
Eirene's not about to argue the point nor does she seemed inclined to. She gives a sharp nod of agreement.
Haakon grunts once as his weapon is finally pried loose if the corpse. "Your land, your rule," he states plainly once the verdict is given. A sniff and shake of his head as he surveys the scene.
Drake cannot argue that the woman's fingers should be broken. It's fair, really. She can't write, and ... begging for her life was at least all he could do. He watches her go with a sad look on his face, something else possibly unsaid here. "Thank you, Baroness, your sentence is just. I know she will not do this again and she will write me as soon as she is able once more. I'll keep her honest myself, if I have to."
Ember nods to Drake. "You are a credit to your House, Lord Drake. Be careful I don't ship her off to you." Ember regards the room, and those assembled in it. "Let us move away from here and allow the... scene to be... dealt with." She keeps Trueth held close while she walks, like a mother cradling a child who happens to be two inches taller than said mother. "I expect that Wattie... Messere Blackpearl's home will need to be searched. As well as Cashmore's. Thoroughly."
Eirene nods to Ember, depsite the fact the Bloody Baroness cannot see it. "I would suggest as much, Baroness. And then a disposal of all the items in fire. Blessed, if it can be helped. And then dump the ashes into the sea... best to not leave anything behind in case it is tainted. He... had some knowledge but it's garbled and... well, nothing will rise from the dead here, thank the Gods, but it's like putting words into a random order and expecting sentences. He knew the words but not the sentences."
"I'm good with helping search and burn things,"Thea is quick to say. "I need to get out of this--dress. Let me know what you all need, and Im there!"
Trueth is not about to move from Ember's side, hugging along her and shivering all over. She is easily escorted from a terrible blood magic ritual gone wrong. "I think I just want to go home," she tells Ember softly. Her empathy begins to kick in and she shakes her head. "I do not think Tricia knew fully what she was doing..." But then she quiets.
"A sound course of action," Ember replies to Eirene. "Would you assist Lady Thea with this, my Lady?" Regardless of Eirene's answer, Ember then turns her focus toward Trueth. "You are home, cousin. You are in Redreef Shores. With family. Where you belong."
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