Act 2: The duchy of Drevnedub

Burven has been quietly riding along in the wagon, shifting himself slightly from time to time with the roll of it to better blend into the background. At the mention of such heinous crimes, he immediately
Sense Motive:
Dice Roll:
d20 Results: 2 (Total = 3)
eyes the doctor in a new light, trying to ascertain whether or not he even knew this man. Could he be capable of such acts? Would Olia be safe in his company?

As they progress, he
Dice Roll:
d20 Results: 8 (Total = 11)
looks to the walls and entrances, trying to line up a possible escape should these charges be fraudulent yet pressed.

Dr. Ninovete Vladislov?

The bard takes a moment to collect his thoughts, clears his throat and is about to speak when the small warrior on his right whispers some questions interrupting the good doctor's train of thought. Recollecting himself, the musician bows a proper courtly bow based on what he recollects about the locals, then stands straight looking the triers of fact in the eye and speaks in a diplomatic voice, "Greetings Your Honor, revered Duke Mstislav of Drevnedub, son of Dartomir and respected heir of the Master of the Woods, and his honorable noble court and faithful wise priests of Svarog!"

"I stand before you today accused of being the scoundrel Ninovette Vladislov also known as Cozel Petrano, Vlad Temnij and a host of other names, but I not the man you seek." Looking around at those who only knew him as Dr. Vladislov, the bard knows the jig is up as he fights back a lifetime of conniving and lying in an effort to tell the truth; a strategy most uncommon to the huckster. "My name is Closimir.........Closimir Petrovich," the man says with his head hung a little lower than normal.

"I won the wagon from a man who was going by the name of Dr. Ninovette Vladislov. He was a medicine man and used it in his trade. Yes sir, won it fair and square in a legitimate card game. Course he told me that the wagon was in fine shape and was pulled by the prettiest two fillies you ever laid eyes upon. But when I laid eyes on it, it was nothing but a broken down old rig pulled by two swaybacks one foot out of the glue shop."

Pausing for a deep breath then continuing, the entertainer concludes, "As part of his wager, the man you seek trained me how to brew the elixir. But he looks nothing like me, nor was he even my age. Now Ninovette Vladislov is a personna.....only a mark of the trade that came with the wagon. It is the use of this unfortunate business trade name which has resulted in my temporary misidentification my Lord."

"I was born Closimir. Any honest man will verify my face is not the face of the villian you want, and your priests can tell you that I am not lying and what I have told you is the truth. I simply am not the criminal you seek."

The leader of the nobles thinks for a bit, then replies:
"It is not surprising that you would deny to be the accused man. That would be the best defense after all. But you could also have expected to not be identified, and therefore risked entering the duchy under the same name as previously, for as you say, the name of Ninovete is established as a seller of elixirs..." he pauses, then continues
"The brewing and selling of such elixirs is in themselves a crime, and therefore there is no reason to put trust in your words. I say that if anyone will witness that this man is Ninovete, Ninovete will die!" he sums up, bowing to the duke, his wording and tone clearly implying that if the duke says that Closmir is Ninovete, the nobles will accept it and condemn him.
The duke however walks straight up to Closmir:
"The nobles of this duchy has to great trust in my abilities, it seems. I however will not testify to such an effect. I have never met Ninovete, and the only person that should testify in this case will not be subjected to such hardships. You will come to my castle, and spells will be cast to determine the truth or falsehood of your words this very day.
If you speak true, you will have my deepest apologies as well as help in setting up a honest business in stead of this shameful scam. If you speak false, you will only find death on the end of my blade here!"
he sums up
The Elders then rise, and one of them speaks:
"We will cast the spell in the grand hall of the duke. However, casting such a spell prevents this court from judging the accused. So is the law of Triman after the blessing of wisdom from Svarog. Therefore, if the accused admits under the spell that he is the wanted man, he will be held until a king is elected in Triman or a trial by battle is held."

Closimir bows to the Duke saying, "Thank you sir. The truth shall bear me out." Clearly the bard is relieved to at least made it past the first stage of the tribunal, which in and of itself could have been more than deadly. At least now, assuming their magic was not tainted, he had a reasonable chance of success in clearing himself of the noose.

Kain watches with interest, even more piqued when Ninovete declares he has just been using that name. He believes the Doctor however and as the Duke approaches he steps to the side, slightly in front of Closmir in case the man were to take a swing at him. His arms cross, with this many man-at-arms about he makes sure his hands stay well away from his weapons.

"Forgive my impudence lord.. Where is the girl? Surely she too could identify or, more likely, advise if this is not the man.."

He casts a glance toward Closimir, nodding as to show he had the mans back yet with eyes half closed indicating if he were lying the Duke would need to step in line to punish the man.

"That is not of your concern!" the duke snaps
"And I will not subject her to the suffering of having to relive her memories of what happened by having to identify the offender!" he says as he turns and heads for the central tower

A chill passes through Burven as the phrase 'Trial through battle' was uttered. A premonition of sorts, that this was where the paths were headed. With blood and blades deciding what is true, what man could not help but be proven false in these days of demons and witchery? Still
Dice Roll:
d20 Results: 5 (Total = 34)
These dice were omitted, altered, or moved: 1d20+18
Original Dice: 1d20+18
lurking, Burven tries to move with the flow, to watch these unfolding. For 'Docs' sake, he hopes it's true...he can't trust Olia's safety with such a man, and would have to set out away from the group if it proves true.

Closmir and the rest of your group are led up the stairs of the central tower by different guards. They carry swords and half plate, and seem to be the household guard of the duke. When Olia is seen exiting the wagon, one of the priests of Svarog as well as the duke approach her, and she is lead between them as they talk in lowered voices with her.
When you are inside, you walk up to the first floor, where you enter the grand hall. You notice that none of the commoners have entered.
The grand hall is really ancient in construction, with thick stone walls and columns supporting low arches of stone and wood.
The windows are almost only slits in the wall, and give to little light to see clearly inside. In stead, torches are lit on the walls, and there is a large fireplace in the floor in front of the chair of the duke, the nobles and the elders.
Between the fireplace and the seat of the duke you can see a faint depression in the floor with traces of ashes, indicating that lines and runes have been drawn there again and again for a very long time

Four of the elders have already started pouring blood from their veins into the pattern, casting spells and and drawing runes of power. The duke seats Olia in his seat and stands on the floor in front of her as the last elder steps into the circle drawn by the 4 others. He motions for Closmir to come forth

The bard is a bit turned off when he sees the savage magic of the local priests as they open their own veins and let their life blood run on to the floor. Glad I can sing or whistle my way to a good spell, Closimir thought to himself.

When he was summoned by the elders, the musician takes a deep relaxing breath, utters a quick silent prayer to Svarog, clears his mind and then steps forward as directed.

Dice Roll:
d20 Results: 1 (Total = 30)
These dice were omitted, altered, or moved: 1d20+18
Original Dice: 1d20+18
shadows the Duke, trying to
Dice Roll:
d20 Results: 2 (Total = 3)
listen in inconspicuously. He makes sure to stay within ten paces of Olia, so if need be he can come to her aid. After all, danger lurked in many faces, and some that dressed themselves up in propriety and authority, coming down like the Hammer of Svarog on evil-doers are far worse than those they accuse.

Trying to keep from being a spectacle, he does seek to get a clear view of the proceedings, trying to figure out what they're doing.


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