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Subject: Session 2-15: Esteren Civil War rss

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Andrea G
United States
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Panda Empress, First of Her Name
Filian arrives late to the execution, and he is appalled by the number killed. He is also concerned that the execution is a move by the morcail to cover his tracks. Catriona admits to being upset and asks Caerian whether a demorthen should make himself responsible for an execution like this. Caerian agrees that this is something a demorthen should not do. When Filian questions the Duke's soundness of mind, a passing noble tells him to watch his tongue -- questioning the Duke is high treason. Realizing that this is neither the time nor the place for this discussion, they decide to go elsewhere.

Back at the MacLeur household, the group retreats to the relative privacy of the garden. They find a little fountain in a rather open area to sit near to continue their discussion. Fiona tells them that they're all missing the point -- these 77 people were part of a riot that would have killed other people and deserved to be executed. Ruairidh agrees with Fiona, that 77 people had been killed to discourage future riots. Filian tells them they're getting off-track -- he's sure someone is using the executions to hide the activities of the morcail. A bell rings, and Lady MacLeur arrives to announce that it's tea-time. Filian asks if they can have tea out here in the garden, and she obliges by bringing out a table and the tea.

As they're enjoying their scones and shortbread, Catriona tells the group that they've got to come to a decision and that they've got to do something. Caerian tells them he knows Turian spread the rumor, and Fiona demands proof. Caerian describes the demorthen he knows spoke to several townsfolk about the death of the child, and Fiona suggests going to find him after tea.

After tea, they approach the sacred grove and find it surrounded by palace guards. Filian request entry and is told to leave. Fiona finds it unlikely that the demorthen they're searching for is inside. Caerian suggests returning to the bar he had followed the demorthen to in the hopes of finding someone he recognizes from that night. Once there, the bartender tells him the demorthen's name is Eoghan. He directs them to the blacksmith district if he is not at the Sacred Grove. The bartender also mentions there are quite a few palace guards out on the street today for some reason. This concerns Filian.

The party asks around the district for Eoghan's address and find him not at home. Fiona decides that the party will wait, and they make themselves comfortable. After about two hours, Eoghan finally arrives home. He invites Caerian in and then slams the door quickly behind him before the others can follow him in. Caerian asks if they can come in as well, and Eoghan says the room would grow too crowded -- and also one is a magientist. Caerian tells him Ruairidh is reformed, and he is teaching the others about the spirits. Eoghan relents and invites the rest of them in. Eoghan confesses to having overheard the conversation between Caerian and Turian in the Grove.

After the group leaves, Fiona suggests they turn him over to either Lady Aoda or Turian. As they are discussing their options, Eoghan leaves the house. Unfortunately, while they're trying to determine whether they should follow him, he disappears around a corner and vanishes. Catriona says she agrees with Fiona -- they should go talk to Turian and Aoda. Filian suggests talking to both of them, and Fiona adds they should speak to them together.

At the gates of the castle, they are told Lady Aoda is in a meeting and cannot be disturbed at the moment. In fact, the meeting is so secret that the guard will not allow the party to even view the participants of the meeting, and so he asks them to wait outside. Catriona, of course, immediately wants to know who is in the meeting, so they wait in the courtyard. After three hours, Turian returns from the Sacred Grove (he had gone there an hour or so before the party arrived at the castle), and Fiona quickly stands to address him. She asks him for a moment of his time in his office. Once there, Caerian explains what they learned from Eoghan. He is obviously upset and promises to send someone to collect Eoghan for "corrective action" and to interrogate him to find out what he was lying about. Before they leave, Filian asks if he can tell them why the Sacred Grove was locked down, and Turian tells them it was a response to executions this morning; a few people tried to enter the Sacred Grove to "discuss" the executions.

By the time they get back to the courtyard, they learn the meeting has ended and Lady Aoda left the castle about five minutes ago. Caerian chooses to wait outside the castle for Lady Aoda. They leave and head back towards the MacLeur household. En route, Catriona tries to bring up her opinion and is quickly shut down by Fiona. She gets angry and storms off, taking Filian and Ruairidh with her. They head for the Frozen Waterfall. Filian tries to comfort Catriona by telling her that Fiona just acts this way -- she doesn't really mean it.

Fiona receives a message about a quarter after eleven requesting her immediate presence, fully armored, at the Chapter House. It's close to midnight by the time she arrives. When she arrives, there are a lot of Hilderin Knights there who seem to be waiting for something.

The larger bell at the castle begins to gong, which can be heard throughout Seol. Sir Alban expresses to the gathered Knights that there has been an attempt on the Duke's life. The suspect is Lady Aoda, and the Knights' help has been requested to help uphold order. Fiona is stationed close to the castle for the next few days.

Back at the MacLeur household, guards knock on the door and arrest Filian as a supposed conspirator of Lady Aoda's. They demand the location of Catriona and Ruairidh. Filian directs them to the Frozen Waterfall.

Catriona is too upset to sleep but does not hear them approach; Ruairidh was still awake and heard the commotion outside, but he doesn't realize what's going on until someone bangs on the door. Catriona opens the door immediately, but Ruairidh tries to slide the bed in front of the door to keep them out as he climbs out the window. Unfortunately, he loses his footing and drops onto a cart that happens to be parked underneath. It still hurts, but at least he's still alive. Somehow, he manages to slip away from the guards and follows Catriona and her escort of guards to the castle.

Fiona catches sight of the guards escorting Filian and Catriona to the castle and learns from the guards they've been arrested by Turian. Catriona accuses Fiona of having them arrested (again), and Fiona denies having any knowledge of it. Of course, she can't abandon her post to go with them or to talk to Turian on their behalf. Unfortunately, there's nothing else the guards can or will tell her (and they won't let Fiona talk to them for long), and they escort the pair past Fiona and inside.

Caerian, meanwhile, is still standing in front of the castle when guards begin to storm out. He steps into a shadow and uses his demorthen powers to hide himself from the guards. He remains where he is and watches Catriona and Filian escorted inside, and then he sneaks in behind them.

Catriona and Filian are taken not to the prison but upstairs to a well-furnished room, where Catriona continues to accuse Fiona. Filian points out that the bells are tolling, which means something bad has happened.

Caerian, inside, is trying to get to Turian's room. Inside, Turian sits at his desk with his head resting in his hands. Caerian steps inside, moves behind him, and attempts to kill him by throwing his spear at him. It does hit him, but it seems to bounce off a rib. Turian screams out in surprise, jumps up, and then he calls for the guards. Caerian continues his attack; he grabs the spear and throws it at him again. Turian is thrown backwards by the force, hits his head, and he slides down the wall. He's dizzy, and his eyes are glazing over. Caerian thrusts the spear deeper, and Turian's body goes limp. From behind him, he can hear steps approaching. He animates a tree outside the window to take him as far from the room as its limbs reach.

The guards outside Filian and Catriona's room rush away suddenly, and they try the door to find it unlocked. They leave the castle swiftly and find Fiona, who is dispatching a runner to go back to Sir Alban with news of Turian's death, Ruairidh, and Caerian, who seems to appear from nowhere. Fiona is baffled -- weren't they under arrest? He tries to persuade them to stay but with no success. The group notices Caerian is covered in blood, and Fiona notices his short spear is missing. Caerian admits to having killed Turian. Fiona, of course, immediately tries to arrest him and is stopped by Catriona, who tells Caerian to run. Fiona tells the guards to arrest the whole group -- but the group escapes.

Filian suggests they go to the Modairs, as they did not attend the hangings and so may protect them. They settle on sneaking out of the city through the sewers, and Filian just happens to know an area of the city that has easy access to the sewer system. Just as they pass the Modair household, however, Lady Aoda steps outside. As soon as Caerian sees her, he tells her it seems Turian was responsible and had made the decision to kill him. He is now throwing himself at her mercy. Behind her, he can see the household is armored. She stares at him for a full minute, then puts a hand on his head and says he did well. He begins to cry and, even when ordered to rise, continues to bow his head. He warns her that they're being hunted by the Knights and Palace Guards. She tells him that they'll see about that, and they begin to walk back to the palace. Each guard they come across comes to her side.

Filian chats with Yannig Modair as they walk, and he learns that it was clear to him that Turian was about to make his move tonight. He gives Filian a weird smile as they walk. Arriving back at the castle, there is a large force of Hilderin Knights assembled there.

Sir Alban has learned that the Duke is in a comatose state. Before he collapsed, he had indicated Lady Aoda was not to take over. To Turian, that meant she had made an attempt on his life, and so he had begun to take steps to maintain law and order. Lady Aoda tells them to step aside, and Sir Alban accuses her of trying to murder her father. The rest of the party quickly rise to her defense, which Fiona rebuts. After a short conversation, Fiona asks Lady Aoda again if she killed her father, and Lady Aoda says she certainly did not.

The Knights are humiliated and disperse back to the Chapter House, allowing Lady Aoda and her retinue entry. The party (sans Fiona) is thanked profusely, and Caerian asks for permission to search Turian's room. She grants it then summons Fiona. When Fiona arrives, Lady Aoda offers her her forgiveness and approval for the actions she took. Fiona asks she show equal forgiveness and mercy to the rest of the Knights, and Aoda grants it.

Caerian begins by searching Turian's private chambers, which is sparsely furnished, and there does not seem to be anything of note in there. They move into his office and check his body for his ohm stones, where they find nothing unusual. On the desk, they find a letter he was writing to the King stating that there was an attempt on the King's life. He has taken the murderer, Lady Aoda, into custody and that he has taken control of the duchy for the time being, but he requests a new duke be assigned as soon as possible. They also find another letter addressed to Lady Filomena (head of the magientist school). Breaking the seal, they find a letter asking they collaborate on a solution for Lady Aoda's deteriorating mental condition. They find a secret compartment in one of the walls, and here they find two more ohm stones that Caerian does not recognize. They look ancient -- he thinks they come from a time from before the founding of the Three Kingdoms. They also decide to find out what became of Eoghan. They locate the Captain of the Guard, Sir Gunthar, and they learn that the guards that were sent have not reported back at all. He asks to be kept informed.

Caerian then raises the question of what to do with the unknown stones. He believes they may be proof that Turian was a morcail -- but he doesn't know for sure. He is also concerned about what may happen if they show them to Lady Aoda, as they know she is at least partly influenced by a feond. He also doesn't know if they'll ever figure out what the stones are.
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