Equilibrium - 5120-07-12 -The Trial

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A summary and log of the trial of Socius Leiffen, the final entry in the Equilibrium storyline and a coda to the storyline All That Remains.

Summary

  • Following the events of All That Remains and Equilibrium, Socius agreed to stand trial for his role as general of Vlashandra's armies, which decimated the town of Wehnimer's Landing and killed countless townspeople.
  • On Koaratos 12, Socius was put on trial for the murders in Wehnimer's Landing and the trial was overseen by a magistrate from the frontier town. As a stipulation of his agreement to go to trial, Socius's punishment could not be death or extradition.
  • Alosaka spoke for the prosecution with a handful of letters from impacted families in the Landing. Faerinn led the defense, with Rohese, Akenna, Alisette, and Naamit speaking in turn. A letter from Callid was also read.
  • Socius was found guilty for his crimes despite a hard record of insanity, which the magistrate specifically noted.
  • As punishment, the magistrate declared Socius exiled from the Landing permanently, and bid him to pay recompense to the town at large for each person impacted as a result of his actions.
  • After the trial, adventurers requested an accounting of Landing inhabitants in kind. Socius then left to begin amassing the worth of his estate with help of Ilsola.

Log

An edited and condensed account of Socius' trial. This log takes place from the perspective of Alosaka, the adventurer who placed the bounty on Socius, which then led to this trial. He speaks for the prosecution here.

Preliminaries

[Safe Haven, Great Room] This large cavern has been arranged as a multi-purpose room, providing shelter in times of need and a gathering or practice space for citizens and militia alike. Flanked by an archway and a door, the entrance passageway stands opposite a large hearth, constructed of local materials and shadowed by a large tapestry featuring the Mist Harbor crest above it. The modular nature of the room features some padded benches for meetings that can be pushed aside in times of need. You also see a stern-faced clerk, a sinuous bone white serpent that is sitting, an antsy taiga spirit that is flying around, a black-eared red and grey fox, a wide tunnel with the militia crest mounted on the wall above it and a large mithril-banded hatch. Also here: Barrister Faerinn, Darcena, Lord Thrassus, Relic Hunter Madmountan, Loremaster Rohese who is sitting, Lady in Waiting Lynaera, Juspera who is sitting, Defender of Mist Harbor Naamit, Lady Alisette, Defender of Mist Harbor Akenna Obvious exits: none

A stern-faced clerk nods a curt greeting.

A stern-faced clerk corrects, "Waiting for things to proceed."

A stern-faced clerk notes, "I am quite ready to be done with this entire business, but I was asked to be here to keep a record, so here I shall remain, for now."

Faerinn says, "I think we're all read for that."

You say, "I'm sure we're all ready to be done."

A portly magistrate shuffles in, his face neutral.

A portly magistrate says, "Good afternoon, all."

Speaking to a portly magistrate, Faerinn says, "Good afternoon, your Honor."

A portly magistrate gazes around the room, nodding to himself slowly.

A portly magistrate says, "Well enough, I suppose."

Naamit reminds, "Speaking for the Prosecution we had Alosaka. The Defense - Faerinn, Naamit, Akenna, Rohese and Alisette."

A stern-faced clerk squints, then nods slowly.

A stern-faced clerk says, "As I was about to inform Your Honor, the lady is correct."

A portly magistrate says, "Before we begin..."

A portly magistrate blinks

A portly magistrate asks, "Is the defendant present?"

Socius says, "I am here."

Speaking to a portly magistrate, Socius says, "I am here, as I said I would be. Nothing has changed from my initial bargain with Alosaka."

A portly magistrate sniffs, a clear look of disbelief on his face, and turns away from Socius.

A portly magistrate says, "Very well."

(Faerinn adjusts his glasses.)

(Alosaka grips his opposite sleeves with his fists to still their shaking.)

A portly magistrate says, "I would like to lay the ground rules for this trial, so that there is no confusion."

A stern-faced clerk takes out a ledger and quill and begins to write furiously.

A portly magistrate says, "First and foremost, this is a trial of the Wehnimer's Landing Justice system. I am a representative of that town, duly empowered to render judgement in this matter."

A portly magistrate says, "I am given to understand that the defendant, the Butcher of Darkstone Bay, has agreed in his generosity to stand trial for these charges, and to accept any punishment save death or imprisonment."

You clear your throat.

You say, "If I may, sir."

A portly magistrate nods slowly to Alosaka.

You say, "I believe Socius agreed to accept any punishment except death or extradition."

A portly magistrate glares at the clerk.

A stern-faced clerk coughs, keeping her eyes firmly on her ledger.

A portly magistrate grumbles, "Thank you for the correction."

You tilt your head down.

A portly magistrate says, "Now then... as I was saying. We are here to determine two things today. Guilt and Punishment."

A portly magistrate asks, "It is my understanding that Faerinn will speak for the Defense, and Alosaka for the Prosecution?"

You nod.

Faerinn nods to the portly magistrate.

You say, "If you will accept my fumbling words, yes."

A portly magistrate nods once, then settles himself on a nearby bench.

Speaking to a portly magistrate, Faerinn says, "That will be me for the Defense. Yes."

Opening Statements

A portly magistrate states, "Then I now declare this trial underway. Alosaka, if you would, please recite the charges?"

You nod.

You say, "I charge that the defendant, Socius, led the armies of his master Vlashandra in assaulting the town of Whenimer's Landing. That he did this knowingly. That in the course of this assault, an unknown number of citizens of that town, to exceed a thousand souls, were killed."

You say, "A number of lesser crimes were undoubtedly committed in this process, but they are subsidiary to these."

A portly magistrate nods slowly, turning his gaze toward Socius with an unreadable expression.

You say, "It will be shown that the defendant has demonstrated no remorse for these crimes. That is all."

A portly magistrate says, "I see. Thank you, Alosaka. Well spoken."

A portly magistrate asks, "Faerinn... what say you and your client to these heinous charges?"

Faerinn nods.

(Faerinn pulls himself up to his full, towering height before striding out.)

You sit down.

Faerinn says, "Since the fact of Socius Leiffen s pardon and dropped charges in Wehnimer’s Landing is being disregarded by this trial, Defense will prove another angle. That Socius Leiffen cannot be held accountable for his actions due to interference from outside preternatural forces. Fortunately there lies precedent in Faendryl law for testimony from ghosts, and malfeasance eroding the free will of others."

You see Barrister Faerinn Greatsinger the Insightful.
He appears to be a Half-Elf from Ta'Loenthra.
He is of a towering height and has a balletic body. He appears to be very young. He has curved, long-lashed sea green eyes and lightly tanned skin. He has long, curly honey blonde hair woven into a wrist-thick herringbone braid that is bound with a vine-etched glossy faenor band. He has an angular, blonde stubble-covered face, a thin nose and a line of jagged-edged scars along his jawline. He has an urglaes black and despanal ombre glaze brushed onto his immaculately manicured fingernails.
He has a tattoo of snarling opossum hunched over a bloody scrap of meat on his wrist, and an ebon-veined gold bar set with a single shadow amethyst in the upper ridge of his left ear.
He is wearing a pair of yew-framed glasses, an immaculate bourde cravat adorned with an ostentatious jet-flecked ivory starburst pin, a dark velvet smoking jacket fastened with modwir toggles, a flat-paneled apple red damask gown finely wreathed with gold tracery, a pair of blush-tinted silk stockings under a pair of blush ribbon-laced slippers stacked on lasimor heels.

Faerinn says, "My recommendations are that until such a time that Palorus Leiffen is released his estate should bear the responsibility and damages to Wehnimer’s Landing. As for Socius Leiffen he should be barred from leaving the Isle of Four Winds and Mist Harbor proper until such a time that his father s curse can be lifted."

Faerinn says, "I have evidence and statements to prove these facts to be presented during the course of these proceedings."

A portly magistrate remarks acidly, "Counselor, I'll thank you to keep your grandstanding to a minimum. You will do your client no favors without some severe modulation of your tone."

You fold your hands in your lap.

Speaking to a portly magistrate, Faerinn says, "Very well, it is your court afterall."

A portly magistrate says, "I'm quite certain you will have a large amount of paperwork with which to back up your claims. I have it on good authority that you sent requests for witnesses to the four corners of the lands."

A portly magistrate exhales loudly.

Faerinn smirks.

A portly magistrate says, "Very well. Thank you, Counselor."

Faerinn nods.

Akenna offers Faerinn a sheet of bone white parchment.

Faerinn accepts Akenna's bone white parchment.

Prosecution's Witnesses

A portly magistrate says, "Alosaka... I have a series of letters from individuals backing your case, but I would like to first give you the opportunity to speak, or call witnesses to speak, before I read them into the record."

You see Socius Leiffen.
He appears to be a Human.
He is plain-looking in every regard save his eyes, and has a huge scar running the length of his right cheek and down across the front of his neck. He appears to be in the prime of life. He has piercing light green eyes and deeply tanned skin. He has a bald head. He has an intense face and a narrow nose.
He is wearing a simple green cloak with crimson runes along its hem, an brushed leather tunic, a sleek leather pouch, some sturdy leather trousers, and some deep ebony boots with suede laces wrapped around the calf.

You stand back up.

You say, "I will defer to those statements, sir. They speak better than I can. If I may readdress the court after, I would be honored."

You tilt your head down.

You sit down.

A portly magistrate nods in agreement. "Quite acceptable, I assure you. And a solid strategy to boot," he remarks warmly.

Letters of the Victims

A portly magistrate shifts to one side and withdraws a folded letter. With great ceremony, he unfolds it and begins to read aloud, "My father was an invalid, having lost both his legs in service to the town. The building in which he was being cared for was overrun by monstrosities under the control of the Fist, and my father, an honored veteran, was torn to pieces before my own eyes."

Rohese lowers her gaze.

Rohese closes her eyes for a moment.

Akenna tilts her head down.

Phanna frowns.

You feel more refreshed.

Alisette tilts her head down.

A portly magistrate glares at Socius for a moment, then notes in a harsh tone, "Counselor Faerinn... will your client stipulate to being this selfsame "Fist" that is spoken of?

You turn to face Faerinn.

Faerinn peers quizzically at Socius.

Socius quietly says, "I will. I was known by that name for a time."

Faerinn nods.

You nod.

A portly magistrate sneers at Socius, then says in a mocking tone, "Thank you, Butcher, for making this go smoother."

Juspera clenches her fist.

Akenna frowns at a portly magistrate.

Juspera whispers to the group, "He seems biased! Is he biased?"

Juspera scowls.

A portly magistrate folds the letter and replaces it in a pocket, withdrawing a small scroll, which he unrolls and begins to read aloud, "My younger sister was only five years old, and was unsteady on her feet. She'd only been running for sport for a few weeks. When we all were forced to run from the reapers, she fell. Before any of us could turn back to her, she was ripped to shreds in front of our eyes. My mum hung herself from grief four days later."

You tilt your head down.

Alisette lowers her gaze.

Landrai frowns.

Darcena ponders.

Talinvor glances at Socius.

Rohese takes a slow, deep breath then pinches the bridge of her nose.

Juspera fidgets.

You breathe as quietly as you can.

A portly magistrate rolls up the scroll and replaces it in his robe. "There are more, but to belabor the point might be considered cruel. That is, to one capable of feeling any remorse. Still, in the interest of decorum, I will refrain from those along those same lines," he notes in a neutral tone.

Socius Takes the Stand

A portly magistrate turns to Alosaka with a smile. "Alosaka, do you have aught you would like to add?" he queries.

You nod.

You stand back up.

You say, "If I may, I would like to ask Socius to confirm several things he said when he returned to Mist Harbor, after leaving Vlashandra's service."

A stern-faced clerk finishes scribbling on one page with a flourish. Barely missing a beat, she flips to the next page and continues her scratching.

A portly magistrate says, "Of course, I'll allow it. I'll remind the Butcher to keep a civil tone."

You nod.

Socius nods slowly, his face an expressionless mask.

You turn to face Socius.

You ask, "Socius, upon your return, you said that you accepted Vlashandra's "mission," which was to harvest body parts for her. Is that correct?"

Socius quietly says, "That is correct."

You nod.

You ask, "Upon your return, you said that, and I quote, "I am what I am, memories or no." Do you recall saying that?"

Socius neutrally says, "Of course. And even if I did not, the truth of the matter remains."

You nod.

You ask, "Upon your return, you said that you would not apologize for what you had done. Is that correct?"

Rohese glances away.

Rohese's expression is thoughtful, but her furrowed brow indicates she's working something out for herself.

Akenna glances meaningfully at Socius.

Socius quietly says, "I did say those words, yes. And at the time, I meant them."

You say, "Hm."

You nod.

Speaking to Socius, Faerinn asks, "And now, do you still mean them?"

You ask, "Final question, then. Thank you... Do you consider yourself a man who is easily manipulated, or weak-willed?"

A portly magistrate barks, "Counselor! You will have your turn!"

Rohese bites her lip.

Juspera winces.

A portly magistrate turns to Socius, stating in a cold voice, "You will answer Alosaka's question, Butcher."

Darcena mutters under her breath.

Juspera's jaw drops.

Akenna scowls at a portly magistrate.

Naamit gazes watchfully at a portly magistrate.

Faerinn says, "Objection, this is outside of the affadavit of this court."

A portly magistrate notes in a bored tone, "Overruled."

You fold your hands.

Khobra glances between Socius and yourself.

Rohese slowly empties her lungs.

You ask, "Socius... are you weak-willed? Easy to manipulate?"

Socius quietly says, "I would say that the question is a difficult one for me to answer. I do not reckon these things the same way as others do. I would state that it is generally perceived to be difficult to dissuade me from a course once my mind is made up."

You nod.

Speaking to a portly magistrate, you say, "That will do. Thank you, sir."

You sit down.

A portly magistrate nods his head in approval.

Defense's Witnesses

A portly magistrate says, "Very well, then. Counselor Faerinn, I do have a number of letters for your side as well. I can read those into the record whenever you like. The floor is yours."

You turn to face Faerinn.

A portly magistrate leans back slightly, eyes firmly on Faerinn.

Rohese smiles at Faerinn.

Faerinn nods to the portly magistrate.

Alisette turns an inquisitive ear toward Faerinn.

Socius Speaks Again

Speaking to Socius, Faerinn says, "You have said earlier that you meant your words about not apologizing, at this time. Please elaborate."

Socius nods slowly at Faerinn.

Socius neutrally says, "It is no great shock to most here for me to state that I have very little ability to understand the emotions of others."

Socius neutrally continues, "As such, I am forced to rely on others to provide the compass for my actions at times. This has not always been successful, but is the clearest method that I have at my disposal."

Speaking to Socius, Faerinn asks, "So after finding and consulting this compass, have you reconsidered?"

Socius neutrally says, "In this matter, after speaking with several in whom I have placed my trust, I have been duly educated in the niceties of a situation such as this, and would gladly offer an apology if that would help to alleviate the issue, and return my home to its relative state of safety."

Darcena sniffs.

Juspera blinks.

Rohese shakes her head, totally at a loss.

Juspera buries her face in her hands.

You fold your arms over your chest.

Darcena mutters, "Apologies are nothing when they are empty words."

Akenna slowly empties her lungs.

Akenna gazes heavenward.

Speaking to a portly magistrate, Faerinn says, "If if would please your Honor, I would like to have the eye witnesses speak at this time."

A portly magistrate nods slowly. "Call your witnesses, Counselor."

Faerinn

Faerinn says, "Very well. I believe I was first on the list."

Talinvor asks, "Calling yourself as witness, counceller?"

Speaking to Talinvor, Akenna says, "He is on the list."

You shrug.

Faerinn says, "I mentioned that magic bind this man's memories and emotions."

Faerinn says, "This curse was examined by Rohese, Akenna, and Naamit; and confirm by the shade of the caster, Palorus. The effects are to bind Socius s memories as well as emotions to keep him focused on the mission of destroying the Rot. Alosaka argues that Socius was always this way."

A portly magistrate raises an eyebrow skeptically.

Faerinn says, "Yet he got that scar says otherwise. A boy of 16 has feelings one of his peers and pranks the boy not knowing not to express it. The prank went too far and both were injured. Socius was sent away for a time and showed grave remorse for this."

peaking to Socius, Faerinn asks, "Do you remember this Socius?"

Socius blinks once, a troubled expression flitting across his face.

Socius carefully says, "I do indeed."

You say, "Sir, Lord Faerinn is the witness, not Socius."

Darcena hisses, "Who gave you those details."

Faerinn nods at Socius.

Faerinn says, "Regardless, these are all normal feelings that a sociopath is incapable of having. Something changed, and it was the same magic that left Socius vulnerable and fooled into recruitment by Vlashandra. A vulnerability documented by former town administrator Selbi."

A portly magistrate notes in a fatherly tone, "Peace, Alosaka. This goes to the heart of the man's character, and will be needed when we move to the punishment phase."

You tilt your head down.

You nod.

A portly magistrate comments, "Yes, Counselor... I have a statement from Administrator Ilsola regarding this... Selbi..."

Faerinn nods to the portly magistrate.

A portly magistrate claps his meaty hands once, then declares, "The court will recognize, and stipulate to, the state of mind of the witness in the manner and for the reasons you lay out, Counselor."

Faerinn nods to the portly magistrate.

Rohese

Faerinn says, "Very well, your honor, then I would like to call my next witness, Loremaster Rohese to testify."

Rohese nods faintly.

You turn to face Rohese.

Rohese stands up.

Rohese clears her throat.

Rohese removes a crisp white parchment from in her black suede satchel.

A portly magistrate nod graciously to Rohese. "By all means, Loremaster. Let us hear your testimony."

Lynaera nods encouragingly at Rohese.

Speaking nervously to a portly magistrate, Rohese says, "If it please the court, I would like make a statement with regard to the character of the defendent."

Rohese gazes thoughtfully at her white parchment.

A portly magistrate nods in agreement. "By all means, this is relevant testimony."

Rohese nervously begins, "What can I say about Socius that hasn't already been said?"

Rohese surreptitiously glances at Socius.

Rohese softly says, "Cold and calculating. Ruthless and fierce. Unpredictable and unapologetic."

Rohese gazes thoughtfully at her white parchment.

A portly magistrate glances at Socius, nodding slowly.

Rohese softly admits, "These are accusations constantly levelled at him and they're true."

Rohese softly says, "I cannot deny that."

Rohese shakes her head.

Rohese softly adds, "He's also steadfast and loyal. Protective and principled."

Rohese smiles at Socius.

Rohese softly says, "Socius is a killer. He has no conscience."

You tilt your head up.

Rohese softly continues, "He also has no memory of his past."

Rohese softly says, "But one has to ask how a man that is capable of absolute love and respect for his father has become this way."

Rohese looks thoughtfully at Socius.

Rohese softly states, "Palorus Leiffen should be here to answer that."

Rohese nods once.

Rohese softly says, "One also has to ask how a man who is capable of placing all of his trust in a tutor who died to protect him and his legacy behaves this way."

Rohese glances appraisingly at Socius.

Rohese softly states, "Selbi should be here to explain that."

A portly magistrate raises an eyebrow towards Socius.

Rohese softly says, "One then has to ask why a man who normally acts only out of self-interest suddenly does the bidding of a representative from the Hall of Mages."

Rohese looks thoughtfully at Socius.

Rohese softly states, "Vlashandra should be here to account for that."

Rohese softly says, "Socius's actions are those of a man who is not in control of his own life."

Rohese softly says, "A man who has no memory of his past to be able to give a reliable and true account of himself."

Rohese softly concludes, "He isn't the one who should be on trial here today."

Rohese put a crisp white parchment in her black suede satchel.

Rohese glances over her shoulder.

Speaking softly to a portly magistrate, Rohese says, "Thank you."

Rohese curtsies gracefully to a portly magistrate.

Rohese takes a seat in an empty space on a bench.

Faerinn nods at Rohese.

Rohese folds her hands in her lap.

A portly magistrate gives Rohese a long, thoughtful look, then nods slowly. "Thank you, Loremaster, for that," he remarks.

Rohese nods appreciatively to the portly magistrate.

A portly magistrate drums his fingers on his stomach for a moment, regarding Socius with a calculating look.

A portly magistrate calls, "Counselor, have you another witness?"

Akenna

Speaking to a portly magistrate, Faerinn says, "If it pleases, your Honor, I would like to now call Akenna to give testimony."

You glance at Akenna.

A portly magistrate nods in agreement. "Lady Akenna, what have you to say in regards to this man, or this case?" he queries.

You fold your arms over your chest.

(Akenna strides forward and nods to the Magistrate.)

Akenna says, "Before we begin..."

Akenna says, "I have a letter from Mister Socius."

Akenna says, "It is from The Fifteenth Day of Lormesta, 5120." (ed note: Jan. 15, 2020)

A portly magistrate nods understandingly.

Akenna says, "To five you context of this letter, I had written him after the Flock had taken over Mist Harbor. I was angry with what had transpired."

Akenna clears her throat.

Akenna reads, "Lady Akenna,"

Talinvor dismissively says, ".. 'taken over'.” (ed. note: Talinvor is a member of the Flock)

Talinvor scoffs.

Darcena stares at Talinvor.

Darcena folds her arms over her chest.

Alisette glances sternly at Talinvor.

Akenna says, "I will not mince words with you, as it is not my way, and I value your loyalty far too much. What occurred last night will not be tolerated, and I swear to you on my father's name, justice will be served."

Akenna continues, "I ask that you remain steadfast for but a short while longer. Hold to the faith you have shown me in the past, and I will prove worthy of it once more."

Socius blinks slowly, expression remaining carefully neutral.

Akenna says, "I will brook no harm against the townsfolk, and for every harm they have endured, the inflictors of that harm will pay... and dearly. This I swear to you. ~S."

Speaking to Socius, Akenna says, "I don't know if you remember it."

A portly magistrate regards Socius coldly for a long moment.

Socius quietly says, "I do remember it."

Akenna says, "But a man who had no feelings, no trust... would not have written such a letter."

A portly magistrate blinks once, a thoughtful expression on his face. Then he shakes his head slightly and all traces of it are gone.

Akenna says, "Socius Leiffen was used by a woman who not only used him, but a gnome named Callid...She used townsfolk of Wehnimer's landing and deceived them."

Akenna says, "Much like she deceived Socius."

Akenna asks, "Why are those who willingly helped her not on trial here today?"

A portly magistrate squints in surprise, interjecting, "Forgive me, Lady, but did you say Callid?"

Juspera glances at a portly magistrate.

You blink.

Alisette stares at a portly magistrate.

Khobra raises an eyebrow.

Speaking to a portly magistrate, Akenna says, "Yes, magistrate."

Faerinn ponders.

A portly magistrate grunts, then rummages in his robe, withdrawing a grimy piece of parchment.

You blink.

Akenna cocks her head at a portly magistrate.

A portly magistrate notes, "Well, Counselor, it seems that at least one of your missives reached the ear you wished it for. This will come later, however."

Faerinn nods to the portly magistrate.

A portly magistrate apologizes, "Please forgive me, Lady. That was most unkind of me, but I wished to be certain."

Akenna nods to the portly magistrate.

Akenna says, "It is no trouble at all, Magistrate."

You feel more refreshed.

Akenna clears her throat.

Akenna says, "I know that Socius' father was his compass. I and others tried hard to retrieve those memories, I did so because I know that without them, Socius is dangerous."

Akenna says, "We were halted though, from continuing by his own father, the binding magic left in place because it posed a threat to Socius himself."

Akenna slowly empties her lungs.

Akenna says, "The man who stands before us now, is a shadow of who he was."

Akenna says, "That is all I have to say."

Faerinn nods at Akenna.

A portly magistrate nods understandingly. "Thank you, Lady Akenna," he remarks.

Akenna inclines her head.

Akenna takes a few graceful steps backward.

Alisette

Speaking to a portly magistrate, Faerinn says, "If it pleases, your Honor, I would like to now call Alisette to give testimony."

Faerinn nods at Alisette.

Alisette stands up.

Alisette holds the sides of her linen gown outward and performs a graceful curtsy.

A portly magistrate nods in agreement. "Quite so, Counselor. By all means," he comments.

Alisette says, "I am Alisette Korafest. I am a Landing citizen."

A portly magistrate nods in understanding.

Alisette explains, "My family and I were amidst the slaughter in the Landing. I wanted justice. I wanted punishment."

You turn to face Alisette.

A portly magistrate shoots a hard look at Socius.

Alisette emphasizes, "For anyone involved."

Alisette paces back and forth.

Alisette admits, "My family and I also assisted Vlashandra in her lies. We helped open a portal under her lying direction and bade a Lich King welcome. We are guilty of perpetrating her goal."

Alisette explains, "But then I met Socius. I came to witness the attempt to unbind his memories."

Alisette admits, "I touched him. What assuaged my being when I did so convinced me that he acts and feels not of his own volition. There is pain greater than most of us could bear within him. There is a coldness. forced there."

Alisette glances at Socius.

Alisette gulps.

Alisette confides, "I felt honor. I felt loyalty. And because of the deep pain within him, I felt that I could not hold this man to death for what he did."

A portly magistrate raises an eyebrow slightly, then gives a slight nod.

Alisette says, "So I had a change of heart after this event."

Alisette offers, "I also think that in his current state, others now seek to take what they view is his under the guise of this trial."

Alisette states, "I feel that the ones who should answer for the slaughter in the Landing are not in this room."

Alisette offers, "Or perhaps are, depending on what the end game is here."

Alisette stares at you.

Alisette stares at a portly magistrate.

You narrow your eyes.

Alisette adds, "I have forgiven Socius because of that moment of touch. I feel there is some push to achieve control of his home."

Socius flushes slightly, a look of anger flickering across his features.

Alisette honestly says, "I believe he is what he is, but there are those still trying to manipulate him."

Alisette stares at a portly magistrate.

Alisette says, "That is all."

A portly magistrate grunts slightly, then nods. "Thank you for your testimony, Lady Alisette," he says neutrally.

Alisette holds the sides of her linen gown outward and performs a graceful curtsy.

Alisette sits down next to a large hearth.

Naamit

Speaking to a portly magistrate, Faerinn says, "If it pleases, your Honor, I would like to now call Naamit to give testimony."

A portly magistrate stares at Socius, but speaks to Faerinn, "Control your charge, Counselor. He appears unstable."

Socius quietly says, "I will keep my peace, as I have promised."

Speaking to Socius, Faerinn says, "Focus is it to calm, like your teacher showed you."

A portly magistrate tilts his head, then remarks, "I will see order kept, and I have been told over and over again of this one's predilection for mass violence. In fact, that's the reason we are here. I will take whatever cautions are necessary, for all our sakes."

Speaking to a portly magistrate, Naamit says, "Socius will bring no harm to this court."

A portly magistrate remarks, "That is my sincere hope as well. Now then, Counselor, you may call Mistress Naamit if you please."

Faerinn nods to the portly magistrate.

Faerinn nods at Naamit.

Naamit says, "Very well."

Naamit says, "I can corroborate the claim with regard to Selbi, which Rohese provided. Socius bade me to act as a decoy on the day Selbi disappeared, to help her to safety in a complicated scheme. He cared deeply for her, and one of the results of that caring, both for her as a mentor, as well as this isle as a whole, was the loss of his memories. That speaks to his capability for goodwill."

Naamit glances to her right.

Naamit says, "But that is not what I've come to discuss."

Naamit says, "Instead, I would like to review the facts of this case. Few of our prosecution's witnesses and even fewer of his fellow adventurers made the trek to offer their testimony today. Why? A lack of interest in this trial by the victims and arguably, systemic lies and obfuscation of fact on behalf of the prosecution? The charges should be overthrown for three reasons--" Naamit folds her arms over her chest.

You glance at Faerinn.

Naamit says, "Reason one: Alosaka has accused that Socius killed in excess of a thousand people. Yet, that number appears grossly inaccurate. Were as many people killed, based on the population of the Landing, there would be significant and dehabilitating impact to its local economy, especially given the Blight that has ravaged the area for so long."

Speaking to Faerinn, you ask, "Introducing a co-counsel?"

Naamit reasons, "Yet, as I witnessed this very morning, life has moved on in Wehnimer's Landing, there are festivals and dancing in the streets. Its residents see little lasting impact of the excursion. This calls into question the accuracy of the prosecution's claims as well as its witnesses, and sullies the evidence he has brought to light. This should be grounds for acquittal."

A portly magistrate notes quietly, "Peace, Alosaka."

(Alosaka huffs quietly.)

You tilt your head down.

You nod.

Naamit asks, "Two: Socius is being used as a scapegoat. No one in the Landing has sought to bring the mastermind of these crimes -- for surely Socius is not it - No one in the Landing has tried to bring the masterminds to justice. Where are Vlashandra? The man she brought through the portal, for whom she sought blood sacrifice of the town's residents that began everything? Who else was behind this?"

Naamit argues, "We do not know, and they have been no where to be found, because the Landing's own residents do not care enough to investigate. Clearly, a lack of interest by the affected and a reason to dismiss the charges."

Naamit places her hand on her hourglass girdle.

Naamit shifts her weight.

Naamit says, "Three: As was apparent during the raids on Wehnimer's Landing, The Fist, as he was called, became embroiled in a material and moral battle of will with those he led and those who set him upon this mission. On Ivastaen 7, Socius was not present, instead it was a another man, whose lackluster performance bore the majority of the deaths in the Landing. It was only after Socius tore down this pseudo commander in his yellow cloak that the forces fully retreated on Ivastaen 11 with the call of Socius's horn, bringing an end to the night's raid."

Naamit adds, "Again on Ivastaen 18, the creatures again assaulted the Landing, but Socius was not there then, either, having already given up on this folly campaign waged by Vlashandra. Socius was not the mastermind of these assaults and merely a puppet of a larger scheme, and therefore, the focus of this trial is misguided."

Naamit takes a deep breath.

Naamit firmly says, "In closing of my testimony, the mastermind of this siege must be identified -- and Socius is not he. Due to the questionable evidence of the prosecution's claims, coupled with the lack of interest in finding the true perpetrators by Wehnimer's Landing's populace as a whole, and finally, the fact Socius himself walked away before the "job" was finished is proof this trial should be thrown out. Thank you."

A portly magistrate drums thick fingers on his thigh for a long moment, regarding Naamit coolly before commenting, "Thank you for your testimony. You raise some interesting points, and this court thanks you for that," he comments.

Faerinn nods at Naamit.

A portly magistrate asks, "Counselor... have you any more witnesses to call at this time?"

Speaking to a portly magistrate, Faerinn says, "That is my list unless others have arrived in response to the missives, your Honor."

Recess and an Unexpected Departure

A portly magistrate nods slowly, then declares, "This court will take a ten minute recess, at which time I will read a selection of the letters that this court has received into the record. Once that has been done, I shall render my verdict regarding the guilt or innocence of the defendant."

A portly magistrate stands and shuffles over to the clerk, starting an intense, whispered conversation.

Speaking to a portly magistrate, Faerinn says, "Thank you, your Honor."

Speaking to Socius, Naamit says, "If you are thirsty, I have tea for you. It is good at calming nerves."

Socius glances at Faerinn.

Speaking quietly to Naamit, Socius says, "My nerves are quite calm, but some tea would be welcome nonetheless. Thank you."

Socius accepts Naamit's lavender teacup.

(Alosaka sits with his legs crossed, bent forward slightly at the waist, with his hands resting on his knees.)

You close your eyes for a moment.

Speaking to Talinvor, Socius notes, "There are those who have proven themselves worthy of my trust, and those who have not. From those who I call friend, gifts are accepted in the spirit they are offered."

Socius takes a drink from his lavender teacup.

A stern-faced clerk gasps, her expression going hard as she glares at the magistrate.

Faerinn blinks.

Speaking to a stern-faced clerk, Faerinn asks, "Problem?"

A portly magistrate makes a settling motion with one hand, quieting the clerk.

You tilt your head up.

You glance at a stern-faced clerk.

A portly magistrate says, "No problem, Counselor. Just a matter of order."

You fold your hands in your lap.

Speaking to a portly magistrate, Faerinn says, "This is recess. Anything said outside of the proceedings are inadmissable."

A portly magistrate says, "Indeed, and you are correct. Just a... disagreement with regards to how to proceed, is all."

Faerinn nods to the portly magistrate.

A stern-faced clerk slams her ledger shut, spins on a heel, and stalks away, muttering under her breath.

You frown.

Akenna raises an eyebrow.

You glance between a portly magistrate and a large mithril-banded hatch.

Speaking to a portly magistrate, Akenna says, "Looks like you lost your clerk."

A portly magistrate gives a gentle smile to the room, shrugging his shoulders in a carefree manner.

A portly magistrate says, "She's overwrought, I believe. It is no matter, we are nearly finished."

Socius takes a drink from his lavender teacup.

Speaking quietly to Darcena, Socius assures, "I try not to make the same mistake more than a dozen times or so. I have listened to those whose counsel better serves regarding my behavior today."

Speaking to Socius, Darcena asks, "Are you, then, still listening to me, Socius Leiffen?"

Speaking quietly to Darcena, Socius says, "I am indeed. I see you, Darcena, as the Iyo would term it."

Socius takes a drink from his lavender teacup.

Darcena nods once at Socius.

The Magistrate Reads an Unexpected Letter

A portly magistrate claps his hands once, loudly, and calls out, "This court will reconvene."

A portly magistrate settles himself on a bench, exhaling loudly.

A portly magistrate remarks, "Counselor, if you have no objection, I would like to share some information that I feel might be germane to the matter at hand."

You glance at Faerinn.

Speaking to a portly magistrate, Faerinn says, "Then, please, do so."

A portly magistrate says, "In fact, this is the root of the disagreement with the clerk a few moments ago."

A portly magistrate says, "The clerk was... not impartial in this matter. And given that the entirety of my preparations were derived from her efforts, I find that my own attitudes were somewhat skewed as well."

Speaking to a portly magistrate, Faerinn says, "That is no small thing to admit. Thank you, your Honor."

A portly magistrate gives Socius a long, calculating look, then notes, "For that attitude, you have this court's apology."

You frown.

Socius gives the barest nod.

A portly magistrate continues, "However, we are here to seek justice, and that must not be curtailed. I have a letter received from one 'Callid', and I should like to read it into evidence."

You nod to the portly magistrate.

A portly magistrate says, "Now, we have lost our clerk, but I will be submitting this to the records office when I return."

Faerinn nods to the portly magistrate.

A portly magistrate says, "I would also like to note... this letter is... somewhat disjointed, to say the least. I will attempt to translate as best I can."

Speaking to a portly magistrate, Faerinn says, "Thank you. He was not exactly of sound mind last we say him."

A portly magistrate holds up the grimy parchment and begins to read aloud, his tone hesitant, "The Fist tool not break bring clay family mold love requirement."

Faerinn cringes.

A portly magistrate coughs, shaking his head slightly, then notes, "The letter changes noticably at that point, the penmanship becoming much clearer."

You work your fingers under your sterling silver circlet and scratch your head.

A portly magistrate continues, "Vlashandra came to me with the man now known as Socius, though I was never given that name. She referred to him as the Fist, and it was clear to me from the moment we met that he regarded her with the utmost disdain and distrust, but that he felt compelled to carry out her orders."

Alisette mouths, "Compelled."

A portly magistrate reads on, "He never spoke once in my presence, but from the moment we met, he never once took a single action of malice or intent without being specifically ordered to do so. He had motive and opportunity for the greatest cruelty imaginable, but not once did I ever see him take any actions in that direction."

A portly magistrate notes, "And here, it... well, reverts somewhat..."

A portly magistrate reads on, "Tool not hate, tool just work no blame. Do what made for is honor and art and love and purpose and family family family."

You evenly say, "Clearly the writings of a... cogent mind."

A portly magistrate folds the letter carefully, a look of distaste on his face as he avoids some of the grimier bits, then places it in his robe.

A portly magistrate exhales

Speaking to a portly magistrate, Faerinn says, "Thank you for that, your Honor."

A portly magistrate says, "Very well, then."

A portly magistrate regards Socius for a long moment.

You fold your arms over your chest.

A portly magistrate says, "Alosaka... Faerinn... you have both done your duty well, and this court thanks you for that."

Faerinn bows to a portly magistrate.

You tilt your head down.

You nod.

Faerinn bows to you.

The Verdict and Sentencing

A portly magistrate says, "Socius... I have reached a verdict, but I would say a few words, as is my prerogative at this time."

Socius nods slowly.

A portly magistrate says, "A great deal of what I have heard today troubles me, much of it for different reasons. I have heard individuals speak on your behalf with a great deal of fervor, and I have heard deeds ascribed to you that would drive any sane man to madness."

A portly magistrate says, "I believe, though, that you are not a sane man. I do not believe you could be, given your deeds, and the testimony brought before this court."

A portly magistrate says, "A matter that troubles me somewhat, I will confess. It is not in my character to punish an individual for something over which they had no control... and by all accounts, you are such a one, with regards to the charges laid at your feet."

You frown.

A portly magistrate says, "However, Socius... in this instance, the cost was simply too high. One such as you, possessing the wherewithal that you clearly possess, must at all times take every precaution to NOT be used in the manner you were. In this, you have failed, and this court has no choice but to declare you guilty."

Juspera gasps.

Faerinn nods.

Alisette holds back her tears, her eyes glistening with pain.

Naamit purses her lips, the glaes ring within them appearing a bit more prominent.

Darcena nods slowly.

Talinvor nods appreciatively.

You nod.

Akenna frowns.

Thrassus's eyes crinkle slightly at the edges.

(Raelee's eyebrows raise every so slightly.)

A portly magistrate asks, "Furthermore, I will be bypassing recommendations of sentencing, and utilizing magistrate privelege to issue my sentence. Are you prepared to hear it?"

Socius quietly says, "I am."

A portly magistrate says, "From this day forth, you are hereby banned from the town of Wehnimer's Landing. You may consider yourself permanently exiled. Your mere presence would incite rage and pain beyond your ability to understand."

You stand back up.

Darcena objects, "That surely is not all. That doesn't lessen the voices."

Darcena scowls.

A portly magistrate says, "Furthermore, I order you to personally compensate the town at large a fee to be negotiated under the oversight of the Town Council and Mayor for every single life you have impacted through your recklessness."

Darcena says, "Ah."

Darcena nods once.

You glance away from Socius.

You close your eyes for a moment.

A portly magistrate says, "I am given to understand that you are quite wealthy in your own right... and therefore the Town will require a full listing of your assets, so that a penalty might be assigned that will serve as a solid reminder of your actions, and the cost that they bear."

Faerinn nods to the portly magistrate.

A portly magistrate says, "Finally, Socius Leiffen, I will conclude with this... your power is too great to run unchecked. I would hope that this would serve as a reminder of this fact. The Town of Wehnimer's Landing will be sending a recounting of your deeds to every habitable area on the map. You are simply too great a danger to have anyone fall unsuspecting to the mayhem in your soul. I would advise you to stay here, for the sake not just of yourself, but all your future victims."

A portly magistrate says, "This court is adjourned."

Naamit asks, "A point of clarification Magistrate?"

You slowly and deliberately empty your filled lungs.

A portly magistrate nods to Naamit.

You nod to the portly magistrate.

Naamit asks, "When was the last census taken in the Landing and do you have proof of your citizenship numbers that will accompany the dispensation of funds?"

You bitterly ask, "Oh, let's quibble now, over this slap on the wrist?"

Speaking to a portly magistrate, Faerinn says, "Thank you for your ruling, your Honor, and listening. These are terms I think we can all agree and live with."

A portly magistrate says, "I will be speaking with the Town Council... given the deeds ascribed, we may be driven to a new census, so as to make sure that appropriate levels of compensation are set."

Speaking to you, Akenna reminds, "This is what you asked for... even after he was pardoned. You got it."

Faerinn grins at a portly magistrate.

A portly magistrate stands, rubbing his face with his hands.

Speaking to Socius, Alisette says, "I will see to it that my portion of the money is not accepted."

A portly magistrate says, "Thank you all for your attendance. I will be returning to make my report."

Alisette nods once at Socius.

A portly magistrate shuffles out.

Afterward

Socius nods appreciatively at Alisette.

Speaking to Socius, Faerinn says, "There nothing too unreasonable."

Faerinn slowly empties his lungs.

Speaking quietly to Socius, Naamit whispers aloud, "I don't know what I hoped for coming out of this trial, but I am glad you are not being placed behind bars for it."

You slowly and deliberately empty your filled lungs.

Speaking frankly to Socius, Darcena says, "I hope that you will not feel that this is the maximum effort you should provide, but rather that you will find a non-monetary way to balance the scales as well."

Socius slowly empties his lungs.

Faerinn says, "To be honest the bars aren't stopping Landing criminals lately either."

Speaking to Socius, you say, "The magistrate said you were not sane. I don't know if he is correct, or not, but I will accept his judgement."

Speaking to Darcena, Socius says, "I will heed the counsel of those who have stood by me."

Socius turns to face you.

Speaking quietly to you, Socius says, "I thank you for abiding by your word. In my experience, there are too few who do so. Thank you."

Socius bows respectfully before you, his eyes fixed firmly on the ground.

Speaking to Socius, you say, "And I hope you... consider an apology to your victims, as you indicated a willness to do."

Speaking to you, Faerinn asks, "You did perform very well today. Maybe there is a barrister in you yet?"

Speaking to Faerinn, you say, "I'll stick with stories, thank you."

Speaking to you, Faerinn says, "Maybe turn that furvor towards Malluch Burdos who was supposed to be in prison."

Speaking to Faerinn, Socius says, "Thank you for your efforts on my behalf. They are well appreciated."

Socius turns to face Naamit.

Speaking to Socius, Faerinn says, "You're welcome. You're gratitude is appreciated."

Speaking to Naamit, Socius says, "And thank you for your support, as always. If I may return the favor, I shall."

Socius quietly says, "If you will all excuse me... I will report the results of this meeting to Administrator Ilsola, and begin the magister's task of itemizing my belongings."

Socius says, "Thank you all, once more."

Socius wanders off.