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Subject: Session 2-14: Execution rss

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Andrea G
United States
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Panda Empress, First of Her Name
As the group discusses their options, they are interrupted by a servant. The servant asks them if they will be attending the executions tomorrow. They learn that the leaders of the uprising against the magientists are being executed by order of the Duke. Fiona offers the party a seat in the family box. Ruairidh is eager to see them punished, even though he himself played a role in the riot. Caerian says he will attend in order to speak to the spirits and to learn about consequences. Catriona is horrified at the prospect, but she is persuaded to attend after everyone else says they're going.

Ruairidh returns to the market and learns that his letter was delivered by his friend, Madoc. Madoc tells him he hasn't heard a response, but he has some information for Ruairidh: Lady Filomena is monitoring Lady Aoda. Somehow, she gets into the castle, and he believes she has someone on the inside -- he spotted a castle servant arrive at the school shortly before midnight, and the servant was ushered immediately into her office. Apparently, this has happened a few times before. Madoc suspects there may be more spies. He also warns Ruairidh that he distrusts the Demorthen Ruairidh has been hanging out with. Ruairidh tells him he doesn't really have time to talk about this, and he leaves.

Fiona reveals to the group that she learned Sir Harold did NOT send the squire to follow them. Catriona suggests trying to talk to him, but Fiona feels this would be ineffective.

There is also their suspicion that they're being spied on while in the Mac Leur household. There is a caernide head on the wall that Caerian chooses to investigate. He climbs up on a chair to investigate and finds there is something odd about this head. It obviously belonged to a very large animal. More importantly, it is bolted to the wall rather than hung on the wall; it seems it cannot be moved at all. He presses and pushes on the animal and discovers an opening in the throat big enough for someone to fit their head into. They decide to figure out how to enter the chamber and split up. Caerian and Catriona head for the basement and find that the basement layout is completely different from the rooms upstairs. He activates a tracking ohm, he finds a set of foosteps leading to an area where only a few kegs are stored. They are very light and lead behind the kegs, but the area doesn't really correspond to where Caerian believes the wall to be. The footsteps lead through the kegs, as though they've been moved into the way. The keg that needs to be moved is surprisingly lightweight, so it is easily moved. In the flickering light of their candle, they see that there is surprisingly few cobwebs in this area...and a trapdoor in the floor. There is a small room (about chest-height) and a small tunnel leading away. Caerian drops down into the room and begins to crawl through the tunnel. After a few turns, the tunnel goes upwards, and he finds himself inside the caernide head. There he finds a piece of soft, silky, green cloth from a very well-made cape. As he investigates, he can suddenly hear tapping on the wall.

Fiona and Ruairidh investigate the ground floor starting with the room immediately beside the meeting room they usually use. The room is a very small meeting room that is rarely used. Ruairidh notices scratch marks on the floor beside a cupboard but it doesn't appear to swing outwards like a door. They move the cupboard just to check, then Ruairidh taps on the wall. Suddenly, he can hear something tapping back that mimics his rhythm. He tries to talk to the wall, and Fiona suggests he try talking to the head on the other side of the wall instead while she moves the cupboard back. The animal head tells him that it's the spirit of the caernide, and, remarkably, Ruairidh does not recognize the voice. Intrigued, he begins to investigate the head.

Once the group reconvenes and examines the cloth (in the garden), Fiona recognizes it as a piece from one of her mothers' cloaks. Fiona suggests they confront her, but no one else believes they will learn anything from such a confrontation. Caerian suggests they follow her to find out who her contacts are. As they are discussing the situation, Robella Mac Leur happens into the garden with a book. Caerian and Catriona abruptly start talking about the hanging tomorrow, which confuses Fiona. Robella nods to them in a friendly manner, then mentions she is concerned about Filian's repeated illness. Fiona shrugs it off; she assumes he has another hang-over. After she leaves, they resume talking about their suspicions. Fiona asks how following her mother will help if her mother doesn't go anywhere. The rest of the party relents and allows Fiona to confront her.

It takes them several minutes to find her, and she seems to be out of breath. Robella says she was chased by a wasp, and that's the reason she's out of breath. When Fiona shows her the piece of cloth, she says she lost the cloak several weeks ago. Fiona grows upset with this news, because if a servant stole the cloak, then other things could be missing. Also, if they don't know who stole the cloak, then they don't know who was in the crawlspace. Fiona rushes off to check her things, leaving the party to speak to her mother. Caerian politely inquires about a few of the flowers until their discussion is interrupted by the sound of thunder. Caerian suggests they move inside, and he offers her his arm, which she takes. As they walk, Caerian asks if she's heard anything from the castle. She admits she's heard rumors that the Duke is not feeling well and that Lady Aoda has been behaving strangely. Of course, she credits Filian with saving the Lady and thanks the rest of the party for assisting him in his task. Somehow, the party manages to keep a straight face. The discussion naturally moves to the subject of Feondas and how Caerian believes the spirits are angry with the people of Tri-Kazel and how Feondas are an extension of that anger. When they get to the house, Robella suddenly realizes she's forgotten her book on the bench in the garden. Caerian quickly runs back to get it for her. It is a novel, and her place is marked by a silver bookmark shaped like an owl. The bookmark is on page 127. He returns the book to her, and she thanks him. Thunder rumbles again in the distance, and stormclouds are rolling in.

After going through her belongings, Fiona does realize that some lipstick is missing. She is very irritated about this and certain there is a thief in the house. Catriona sympathizes.

Caerian decides to hide himself in the basement to see if anyone comes to the trapdoor. Several hours pass without anyone appearing. Just as he is about to go, a servant appears and, after suspiciously looking around, moves behind the kegs. Caerian goes upstairs to inform the group (again, not in the room being spied upon), and Fiona recognizes the servant as Oran from the kitchen staff. They come up with a plan to discuss sending another varigal to the High Council with another note. (Reminder: Fiona is not good at being subtle.)

Once their conversation concludes, Caerian waits by the servants' door to follow the servant as he leaves the home. He waits for him to sneak out then begins to follow him. Oran stops at a tavern called the Marked Willow Tavern, and Caerian peers through a window. After some time, a man Caerian doesn't recognize joins him at a table, and Oran hands him a piece of paper. After about ten minutes, the man leaves, and Caerian follows him. Unfortunately, he loses him shortly after he leaves the tavern, and so Caerian carefully makes his way back to the Mac Leur house. Unsure if he's being followed, he makes his way to the Frozen Waterfall.

Back at the Mac Leur household, Robella emerges from her room to ask where Caerian has disappeared to. Fiona says she honestly doesn't know where Caerian is, then tells her mother some of her lipstick has gone missing. Her mother dismisses the claim by sarcastically telling the rest of the group to check their belongings. Fiona believes she's being quite serious and encourages the rest of the party to do as she tells them. She invites them to play bridge, but neither Catriona nor Ruairidh know the game. As she leaves, she says that Oran has just left, in case they would like to know. Fiona stumbles over some words and finally blurts out a "why?" Robella tells them perhaps Oran stole the cloak and lipstick. Fiona thinks this is preposterous. And then she leaves. Fiona tries to begin a dialogue with the members of her party to ask if they found it odd her mother brought up Oran. They pretty much ignore her and instead try to tell Fiona her mother was being insulting, but Fiona doesn't seem to think she was.

At the Frozen Waterfall, Caerian buys a varigal a drink and asks him to follow him home to see if he's being followed. The varigal tells him that with the current state of things, he is not comfortable with the request. Caerian moves to another table and waits until about midnight before sneaking out. When he arrives back at the house, he has to awaken a servant to open the door for him, and he tells the servant he was out enjoying the storm.

The party at the Mac Leur household has no idea where Caerian is, so they have no choice but to wait and eventually go to bed.

The next morning, Caerian is there at breakfast. Afterwards, he invites them to walk with him in the garden, where he details his findings from the night before. Unfortunately, no one recognizes the individual. Fiona tries to bring up her mother's interest in Oran again, but her concerns are dismissed.

At the execution, the party notices that many of the nobles' seats are empty, including the Modairs. (The Modairs' rivals, the Agun Family, are present.) The rest of the High Council, however, is present as well. The commonfolk area, however, is very crowded. When Turian spots them, he gives them a nod. It is returned by Caerian and Fiona, and Turian comes over to offer his greetings and to remark on the poor turn-out. They also learn the Duke's condition has worsened since yesterday -- he is no longer speaking even to Turian when he normally would. He tells them "it is always with a heavy heart I take a life" and leaves, which prompts Catriona to ask what he meant. Caerian and Fiona assume he signed the execution order on behalf of the Duke. It is a bit unusual for rioters to be executed -- but it wouldn't be out of place for those undermining the state to be executed. At noon, the drums start up, and about 20 people are led to the gallows and hanged. Then the guards leave and return with 20 more people. In total, 77 people are hanged. At its conclusion, Turian gives a speech reminding the people that such behavior will not be tolerated.

During the execution, Aoda looks disgusted -- she's clearly here because she has to be and is not enjoying this at all. Afterwards, Caerian approaches her. She reminds him that it was Turian's decision to execute these people and that it is probably all his doing in the first place, and he answers that he cannot make a move against Turian until he has proof. She pressures him to act, and he reminds her that they will be executed if they act without proof. She orders him to continue their investigation.
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