Last night the kindly deformed turnkey – even though he’s human he reminds me of my old Graltontown friend Crookjaw – made the very courteous offer to bring me bread for breakfast this morning if I serviced him. What a champ. I gave some consideration to using my lion-paw to rip his dick off but in the end I decided that maiming a jailor would probably get me additional charges. There’s really nothing you can do in this world without the damn legal system getting involved. Point is my breakfast was a bucket of slop this morning same as everyone else – luckily I didn’t feel the need to eat it. Martialla and I were discussing our legal strategy through the wall when Stannum growled at us from his cell where he remained in a heap on the floor.
“Shut up will you! My head is killing me.”
“Probably because you got clubbed in the skull. Why exactly were you struggling anyway? They already had you, it was over, what did you hope to accomplish besides earning yourself a crack on the nob?”
“What the Hells else was I supposed to do?”
“Save your fighting for when it would do some good.”
“And when would that be?”
“Later today maybe, or tomorrow at the latest, they usually move these things along pretty swiftly. You see my very good friend you’re an unclean commoner, and as such you have no rights in the legal system really, but I am a member of the aristocracy and as such I shall be requesting trial by combat and you will be my champion. If you win we’re both off the hook, it’s a fun little loophole that most people don’t know.”
“You’re a noble lady?”
“But of course, my cousin is Baroness Joust.”
“She’s the Baroness, but what are you?”
“Trust me it’s fine, I have the same rights. My cousin Emmalina is a lawyer and she told me all about it.”
“Why should I help you?”
“Mostly because of that part where you’re also saving yourself from being hung. I believe stealing from a place of worship is a capital offense, although they may just commute your sentence to eternal bondage since the church of Adariel is all about mercy and all that. But also because we fought side by side and that makes us blood brothers. Er, sisters? I guess you’re my blood brother and I’m your blood sister. Isn’t blood sister something else though? Those are gladiator women down south right? Blood siblings I suppose. The point is we’re fire-forged friends now. But the mostly the other thing where you’ll die if you don’t do it.”
Later that day I was brought out into the courtyard where a quartet (quadumvirate?) of judges was handing out “justice”. Most of the judges that I’ve known have been ancient bald men with white beards who could barely lift the gavel – these four were young looking strapping fighting types. Not sure why they were wasting their time with this sort of thing while there’s a war going on. Actually I know exactly why, wars tend to be dangerous and sentencing poor people to hang by the neck until dead for stealing a goose is pretty safe. And fun probably. Colonel Ciarán was there, looking smug surrounded by his four cronies and several other liveried lackeys and hangers-on. The short ugly guy with the fancy girl-hair looked very angry when they trotted me out. I suppose he feels bad about me lying and stealing his horses and making him appear the fool. Some people, I tell you.
The head judge who was called Poitoupett explained the charges against me and went on at length about the testimony and evidence against me. When I was finally given a chance to speak I invoked my right to trial by combat to much harrumphing and muttering from the gallery. Poitoupett silenced them and turned back to me.
“Anyone can claim to be a noble when it suits them. What proof can you offer?”
“In my affects you will find a letter from Baroness Juost to me giving me instructions to meet with several of the Juost family vassals on her behalf in which she clearly identifies me as her cousin. And to clarify I claim rights by relation only, I do not lay claim to a noble title myself.”
One of the other judges leaned forward “Your affects were searched and we found no such letter.”
“I’m sure whatever mutant gaoler you had paw through my underwear had a gay old time but I assure you it’s there. One must take precautions to protect their valuables.”
The second judge seemed annoyed by this “Your items were thoroughly searched.”
Poitoupett dismissed him with a look “Bring her things.”
One of the jailers jogged out with my various bags and rucksacks from which I produced Baroness Juost’s instructions and handed them to Poitoupett. He and the other three judges spent a great deal of time examining it and one of them did some magic on it as well. He seemed disappointed by whatever his divining told him. Poitoupett returned the letter to me and I returned it to my Bag, handing it back over to a bailiff or whatever a judge’s minions are called. A third judge jumped in at this point.
“What else do you have hidden in that satchel exactly?”
“Nothing that would concern an august body such as this.”
“You may be carrying contraband.”
“I invoke also my right to confidentiality as befits my station. I am under no obligation to reveal my personal possessions to you. In truth you have already violated my rights by searching my things without my leave but since you couldn’t know at that time I was of a protected class I won’t hold it against you this time.”
He started to speak again but Poitoupett cut him off “You know the law My Lady.”
“I believe that it’s very important to be familiar with your rights. These rights are the foundation of our legal system and are in place for the protection of every subject of this great Kingdom. Failure to know and utilize these rights leads to their erosion and then where are we? No better than lawless Northmen or unjust Vielanders. It is every person’s moral duty to know the law and their place in it.”
Poitoupett nodded with the tiniest hint of approval “Well said. When will your champion be ready?”
“He’s ready now Your Honor.”
As I was being led back to my cell Colonel Ciarán jogged over to me (quite sprightly for an older fellow) and grabbed me by the arm.
“You think you’re smart? My man Auttaine is going to make short work of whatever tavern-brawler you’ve seduced into helping you and then you will hang.”
“Mr. Jailer this man is grabbing me by my arm, which is a violation of the terms of my imprisonment, please break his nose.”
The look on the jailer’s face was priceless – the look of a common man with a shit job who’s just realized that he had carte blanche to wallop a rich man in the face. Sadly the Colonel saw the look too and quickly snatched his hand away from me as if I had turned into a serpent. I dropped him a sassy wink as I was being led into the prison.
“How are things going with your wife Colonel?”
Once I was placed back in my cell across the way Stannum was up and grasping at the bars like a drowning man in river man clutching at a shoreline tree root.
“We’re set. I hope you can do more than kill orc women and children because I have to assume a retired military Colonel has a few rough characters in their entourage and I’d hate to see you get hurt.”
A few hours later we were back in the yard for the trial by combat. Auttaine was apparently the name of the fellow at the crossroads with the silly horned helmet because he was the one waiting when Stannum and I came out. Stannum was given his gear back and a few minutes to get ready in which Horns gave me a dirty look like Uggo Girl-Hair did – when did people get so sensitive about someone lying right to their face? I mean grow up people. I had no idea if Stannum would win but I figured either way it would work out for me. Either he’d win and I’d be free or he’d die and then I’d escape.
They were pretty evenly matched, Stannum was the better fighter but Auttaine was a warrior-priest of some kind and his magic made up the gap. I won’t bore you with the blow by blow – these things are all much the same, two jugheads in plate mail battering away at each other with swords. Not my idea of a fun afternoon. In the end, though grievously wounded, the former Hero of the Lost Sword was victorious, vanquishing his opponent by ripping off his stupid helmet and stabbing him heroically through the bridge of the nose. Two onlookers had to help him pull the sword out of the poor guy’s head. After that the judges said some stuff and some papers were signed and so forth and we were let go. I keep most of my valuables in various hidden compartments but I always have some loose change – when I got my items back I realized that a handful of coins were gone. I turned to say something to Martialla and then realized that she wasn’t there.
I flagged down one of the jailers “When are you going to let my friend out? I’ve got places to be.”
“She’s not being let go.”
“What? What do you mean?”
“She’s not a noble, she’s not entitled to trial by combat.”
“What, that makes no sense. We were accusing of stealing horses together, if I’m innocent how can she be guilty?”
He just shrugged and walked away.
Hair regrowth progress : .0585%
Funds: 817 platinum, 54,799 gold
Inventory: Wig of Alluring Charisma +4, Enchanted White Pathfinder’s Gear (effects as Iadaran Dress Uniform) Animal Totem Tattoo (Lion), Belt of Giant Strength +4, Versatile Vest, Ring of Sustenance, Campfire Bead, Expedition Pavilion, +1 Human Bane Endless Ammunition Light Crossbow, Deck of Curses (two cards used), Ring of Urban Grace, Feather Token (tree), +1 Human Bane Dagger, Bewitching Gown, Grappling Scarf, Wyvern Skin Robe (Robe of Arcane Heritage), Holy Symbol of Adariel (Sanguine Protection) Ela’s Walking Stick (Rod of Ruin/Agile Alpenstock) Bag of Concealment, Bag of Holding, Black Marketers’ Bag, +2 Keen Short Sword (2), Belt of Incredible Dexterity +2, +1 Flaming Light Crossbow
Pocketed Scarf, wrist sheath, assortment of Fake Signet Rings, silver chain set with moonstones, gold and emerald ring (2), 852 garnets, severed hag head, gold necklace with jade pendant, white squirrel fur slippers, ivory combs, receipt, tax collector’s badge, Calastar (Superior Riding horse, Horseshoes of Speed, Endless Feedbag), Wine (expensive) 4 bottles, Gold bracelet with ivory inlays, silver necklace set with rubies, gold earrings with jade inlays, 5 gold trade bars
Revenge List: Duke Eaglevane,
Piltis Swine, Rince Electrum, watchman Gridley, White-Muzzle the worg, Percy Ringle the butler, Alice Kinsey , “ Patch”, Heroes of the Lost Sword, Claire Conrad, Erist priest of Strider, Riselda owner of the Sage Mirror, Eedraxis, Skin-Taker tribe, Kartak, Królewna & Bonifacja Trading Company, Hurmont Family, Androni Titus, Greasy dreadlocks woman, Lodestone Security, Kellgale Nickoslander, Beltian Kruin the Splithog Pauper, The King of Spiders, Auraluna Domiel, mother Hurk, Mazzmus Parmalee, Helgan van Tankerstrum, Lightdancer, Bonder Greysmith, Pegwhistle Proudfoot, Lumbfoot Sheepskin, Lumber Consortium of Three Rivers, Hellerhad the Wizard, Forsaken Kin, Law Offices of Office of Glilcus and Stolo, Prison guard thief, Colonel Tarl Ciarán