Faithseeker 6: In the Court of the Just Hammer
The Abbey of the Just Hammer in the Dalelands at the beginning of Kythorn in the Year of Wild Magic
Selia is summoned to the abbey court as a witness in the poachers’ trial. She’s asked to briefly state what she saw and then is allowed to leave, but decides to stay and learn the pony-murderers’ fate. The poachers confess to the crime and with tears in their eyes explain that they killed ponies for meat out of necessity, as their families were starving. Their small village is frequently raided by dark marauders from the Cormanthor forest, leaving the villagers with nothing and pushing them towards crime to survive. Selia listens to the story with horror – in her mind she immediately forgives the poachers. The judge, although not as moved as Selia, is just as merciful. The men are sentenced to lead the army of knights to the raiders’ hideout, acting as guides and scouts. Selia is very impressed by just ways of the abbey court and it makes her even more appreciative of Torm Tyrion as a deity.
When she leaves the courtroom she bumps into Keldoth. The illusionist is clearly in trouble – his hands are tied and he’s escorted by two Tormites, who are watching his every move. Selia learns that his trial is coming up next. She decides to go back to the courtroom and see how she can help her friend.
Selia learns that Keldoth is accused of stealing from the patrons of the local tavern during an event he organized, called the Spectacle of Shadows and Mists. After the show was over, all the guests – including Hervor, who enjoyed the illusions only ironically – realized that their coin’s gone. After brief and effective investigation they found the pouches in Keldoth’s baggage. Keldoth claims that he’s innocent and accuses Hervor of framing him. After all, Hervor not only has the skills to do it, but also a motive: he clearly hates Keldoth and wishes to see him ruined. Hervor testifies that Keldoth worships Leira, which should invalidate everything he says. This causes the judge to call a cleric, who detects a chaotic aura around Keldoth. However, he does not sense any evil in the room. Selia and Eghlen testify as well. They recall the events of the last week and say what they learned about the conflict between Keldoth and Hervor. Selia also stresses how well-behaved Keldoth’s been so far. The abbot, presiding as the chief judge over the proceedings, decides that the case should be postponed, as there are many aspects to consider and he must think carefully before he can pass the judgment.
Selia visits Keldoth in his cell in the abbey’s dungeon. The illusionist swears he’s not guilty and asks for help, convinced that Hervor framed him out of spite. Selia agrees to aid him. She starts by searching Keldoth’s room in the inn. The search is unsuccessful, but when Selia leaves the room she bumps into a short man with a scarred face. She tries to ask him about last night’s events, but the man explains with obvious uneasiness that he just arrived and has no idea about anything. He seems familiar, though, so Selia asks the innkeeper about him. The old man seems to be quite upset about the last evening’s situation and Selia’s badgering about the guests and their weird appearance spooks him enough to leave the counter without giving the young aasimar any leads.
Selia goes for a walk to clear her head. In the courtyard she meets Tyspian, who is preparing his horse for the journey. The knight explains to the aasimar that one of the patrolmen made an unsettling discovery on the road: an elf with a slit throat was laying in the bushes close to the Abbey, stripped to his underwear. It seemed the crime took place only a day or two before, so the killer may still be nearby. The knights are to search the area surrounding the Abbey for clues or, if possible, the murderer. Selia wishes him luck, but she’s preoccupied with her friend’s troubles. When Tyspian leaves the abbey, Selia decides to confront Hervor.
Hervor stands his ground: he denies any involvement in the case of missing pouches. Selia immediately believes him and decides to ask for help instead: she promises she will repay him his fair share of the treasure that Keldoth stole many years ago if Hervor helps her now. Hervor agrees – he senses that he has a better chance to get the money from Selia than from Keldoth. They go back to the tavern to look for more clues. There, Hervor recognizes the man Selia has bumped into earlier that day as one of the bandits that attacked them on the Blackfeather bridge. Selia jumps towards the man and disarms him. They interrogate him, but the man – who introduces himself as Rurik – denies involvement in stealing the pouches. Hervor, motivated by Selia’s promise to repay for what Keldoth stole, reminds Rurik what is the punishment for banditry and promises to forget about the small incident at Blackfeather bridge if he admits to stealing pouches. Rurik caves in under the pressure and confesses to the suggested crimes in the presence of Tormite paladins on duty.
The next morning, everyone comes back to the courthouse for Keldoth’s trial. Rurik is brought in. Selia tries to explain her version of the events, but the judge is not convinced. He notices, however, that Rurik’s clothes do not fit him at all, and remembers that the murdered elf, recently found on the road by patrolmen, was stripped to his underwear. Abbey’s tailor is called to the court where he examines the fabric of Rurik’s clothes and recognizes elven material and sewing patterns. Rurik is panicked and he hastily withdraws his confession stealing poaches, saying he was blackmailed to admit to the crime by Hervor. This forces Selia to tell everyone about the events on the Blackfeather bridge and Rurik’s involvement in the fight. Eghlen confirms Selia’s story. The judge, after a careful consideration, decides that since Rurik is clearly a violent man who previously tried to kill Keldoth, he had a motive and skills required to both kill the elf on the road and steal the coin pouches in order to frame Keldoth. Rurik is found guilty of assault, murder and theft and sentenced to imprisonment in the abbey’s dungeon. Keldoth is cleared of all charges.
In the evening, Selia invites Tyspian, Keldoth, Hervor and Eghlen to sup with her in the inn. They celebrate the triumph of justice. When Keldoth learns what Selia promised to Hervor in exchange for his help, he offers to teach her about social interactions and how to defend herself against evil manipulators such as the bard. Selia is not convinced about Hervor’s evil intentions. Hervor also offers to give Selia some tips on how to interact with others. The dinner ends with everyone going to their rooms in a good mood.