I have encountered a set of serious circumstances that have presented to me the need to make very well thought out and correct decisions while balancing my moral and ethical center all in the midst of it. The Ascending Wardens have recently made decisions out on official military patrol that are of a near capital offense (attempted murder). Furthermore, upon returning to Aeroglyph from patrol, the capital was assailed by some foul beast that had attacked the city before and in this most recent attack plagued the Runeguard of Alluvia with a curse that will bring, seemingly, death upon all Runeguards.
In my travels with the Ascending Wardens, I have been put in a position of making not only decisions about actions by members of this group that are morally depraved to say the least, but as well how best to address them within the confines of the law and yet still be able to pursue the divine counseling I received by a month ago. It is incredibly complex and frankly has reminded me of a statement that Justice Malkut made to me several years ago when I was inducted into the Sect of the Inquisitor Harrier’s:
You will be required to make decisions without the luxury of counsel from those that you would like to seek council from. You will be the decision-maker. You will be the Inquisitor Harrier that must above all stand true to your calling of purity through law both in structure and writing and deliver the fair balance that exists between unbridled and senseless vengeance and justice served by it.
We recently left Aeroglyph on a routine military patrol to attempt to mitigate advancing forces of the Imperium. It is definitely an important duty for most of the Wardens since a majority of them are from Alluvia. I of course feel a moral and ethical sense of duty to help for several reasons.
1. My destiny appears to be entwined to some unknown degree with the Ascending Wardens based on divinations from the Order.
2. The Alluvians’ do honestly appear to need all of the help they can get as they have been dealt some serious setbacks by evil forces clearly aligned against Alluvia, bent on their destruction.
3. Rhodontius and Alluvia are allies, and what better of a way to strike a consistent diplomatic chord by selflessly helping Alluvia in whatever capacity I can offer?
4. There is a moral corruption that is sinking into the hearts and souls of two of the Ascending Warden’s and I feel a compulsion to try to help to the best of my abilities. Lord Swift and Sundari have serious problems of the soul. I hope the Word of Our Lady will help to bring some sense of relief, focus and direction for these wayward souls.
The patrol was very routine in nature. We moved across our patrol area and eventually came across a farmhouse. We immediately took note of the Imperium flag that hung outside and moved up on the farmstead to investigate.
Upon our arrival, the family seemed very nervous. Not sure if we were Imperium disguised, or actual Alluvian’s. Their fears were quickly laid to rest and the family informed us of what had happened. Imperium forces had confronted the family about their subjugation to the Imperium and demanded fealty. Apparently the family had been scared so badly that they have not removed the flag even after the Imperium soldiers’ departure for fear they would come back, see the flag gone, and slay them all. Clearly the Imperium has made their stance known and must be set upon in order to send a proper reply.
After the families gracious hosting of us, we left the next day out on patrol. The weather has been getting colder and colder with a good layer of snow in the fields, so we’ve been sticking to the roads of course where we can avoid fewer issues with holes and other hazards for our mounts and the like. This unfortunately led us to a point of being setup for an ambush that ultimately led us to the crux of the moral and ethical depravity that I mentioned above.
Approximately a two day’s ride out from the farmstead we ran across a largely unmarked crossroads. The only identifiable way marker at that crossroads was a berm approximately forty feet long in the southwest quadrant of the crossroads that was approximately fifteen feet high. Almost a complete day’s ride past that is where we encountered a small set of large trees that overhung the road and within one of them was an assassin.
I have to concede that there is no way I would have seen the assassin on my own. Fortunately, Adora (the Runeguard I mentioned before) has an incredibly keen eye and spotted him. Furthermore she made a rather clever innuendo that alerted Corian (the profound Elven archer I mentioned earlier as well) whom took action and immediately shot the man right as he was about to sound what appeared to be an alert horn. The man shot, fell from the tree down into the snow with the horn a couple of feet away. Quickly everyone reacted and ended up capturing the man. This is where the problems truly occurred regarding the moral and ethical depravity I mentioned earlier.
A short time after his capture, I would say within a minute or two actually, a series of horns began to sound. This apparently was some form of challenge/response system and the reply that his now assumed scout was to make was missed. It was agreed upon that this man would need to be interrogated in order to get information relative to not only the force that was in the area, but as well as any troop movement information overall. The scout (I’ll just refer to him as a scout from this point forward as that is what it seems like he was in function) was tied up, and I made an attempt to extract information from him. Unfortunately I think I was a bit yet charged from the surprise that this scout put upon us and didn’t get a good line of questioning or fear implemented.
Lord Swift then took the reigns as it were and began to ask some questions. It seemed that he was getting about the same level or response as I was initially when all of a sudden Corian approached and drove the pommel of his sword into the scouts’ hand which outright shattered it. While certainly right on the line of acceptable torture, the Imperium scout still did not break. It was at this time that I asked Corian to step-aside with me so I could speak with him. We were approximately fifty to sixty feet away at this point.
While being as diplomatic and understanding as possible, I informed Corian of my moral dilemma regarding the torture of the scout. I informed Corian that I support the interrogation, but for the sense of morality, I couldn’t let much more severe actions to be taken against the prisoner scout. Corian seemed to be amenable to this, whilst I do admit that he was a bit worked up from the frustration of the situation, and frankly I don’t blame him: I was as well. It was apparently at this time that Lord Swift then involved himself again by drawing a dagger across the face of the scout, but again to no avail. In fact, so well trained was the scout for counter-interrogation that he collected his nerve and even spit in the face of Lord Swift. This is when everything went awry.
At the point that Lord Swift finished drawing the dagger across the face of the scout (and I will testify that the cut along the cheek of the scout was quite ok in light of the seriousness of the situation in defense of Lord Swift’s actions thus far) and questioned his desire to continue to hold out with the information desired that the scout spit in the face of the noble. Certainly, I will admit that that is a known offense in practically every country I have heard of, and a pretty serious one here in Alluvia. Instantly, Sundari responded by directing a lethal amount of force vis-à-vis a punch to the throat of the scout so hard that veins and arteries immediately bust as witnessed by the swelling and darkening of the entire front half of the neck. Additionally, the man could not be heard making any noise whatsoever even though he appeared to be grasping for his breath. This was what led me to recognize that the blow was lethal since the larynx had completely collapsed cutting off the scout’s air supply. Had it not been for the swift reaction of Adora to utilize lifesaving magic’s upon the prisoner, the scout would have died within seconds.
At the commotion that was caused by the near fatal blow by Sundari, I rushed over and figured out what had happened. I immediately declared that what had happened was a felony in the nation of Alluvia and that Sundari would need to be taken in to face criminal charges for the attempted murder of a bound prisoner. To my utter astonishment Lord Swift primarily and quite loudly came to the defense of Sundari and supported her actions by saying that the two nations were in the midst of a war as well as confirming that spitting upon a noble was a crime. Incredulous! Murdering, or attempting to murder a bound prisoner was supported by a titled Lord of the Land! I without hesitation disputed the validity of the Lords’ assertion that he was legally within his rights to take or defend such an action and Lord Swift with an egregious disregard for the law, morality and a sensical approach to civilized warfare told me I was wrong and attempted to banish me from the group. My ability to tolerate such immorality and flagrant violations of the law had at this juncture ended.
At the continued belittling of my person and the law I challenged the Lord to a mounted duel. Not surprisingly, the Lord passively denied the acceptance of my challenge to him by continuing to speak very loudly and ignoring my continual challenge to him from horseback. Lord Swift additionally continued to berate me at which point I informed him that I would not leave the Ascending Warden’s company and that I would in fact continue on in the same direction. At this point, Corian and Adora both intervened with words meant to diffuse the situation and additionally, Corian pointed out that the missed response signal would likely be bringing a significant response shortly. At that point, the rationale of what Corian stated sunk into everyone’s mind and everyone agreed that moving out immediately would be in the best interest of everyone there.
Immediately following the agreement that everyone would move out back towards the last crossroads a full day back, Corian and Adora stated that they would stay behind just long enough to place the bound scout into the tree. They figured they would be no longer than a bell behind us. Everyone else immediately mounted up and left for the crossroads. We eventually arrived at the crossroads while not encountering anything until we arrived at the crossroads proper.
Upon our arrival at the crossroads we took note of a large wagon tipped over and the clearly audible screams of what seemed like a human female in absolute fear of her life. However, the snow fall had been and continued to obfuscate our vision beyond perhaps thirty to fifty feet. As such, I informed everyone that I would circle around on Tal-Quar-Ian so I could be in a good position for charging if need be.
As I rounded the end of the wagon at an arc and equal distance to maintain a safe and tactically sound distance I took note of five trolls. They had a human female it seemed at the time (which I later confirmed was in fact a human female) in their grasp and were hauling her away: likely to rape, kill and consume her. I yelled out to the trolls a challenge that was meant to inform both everyone behind me of the danger and as well to hopefully intimidate the trolls. Naturally, as is the case with trolls, they are too dumb to know when righteous death visits them and they continued on their path to leave.
I immediately charged in and delivered a damning and holy blow with my lance to one of the rear trolls and as I continued by the now trampled and impaled troll, yelled out to attack them. Over the course of the melee, everyone fought bravely in the defense of the woman fearing for her life. However, as is the nature of fighting trolls in such numbers, the danger caught up with Lord Swift and a couple of trolls eventually dealt what were near a lethal set of blows to him as he fell from his mount to the snow floor of the battlefield. I, with the assistance of the others posing a tactically sound distraction, delivered all of the trolls to an appropriately violent and painful death.
After all of the trolls were slain, I poured the Holy magic’s of Our Lady of Vengeance through the dying body of Lord Swift and revived him to near complete health. Upon the Lord’s return to a conscious state I inquired of the lady where her traveling companions were and she replied by informing me that they had taken off to the northwest to pursue another band of trolls. I thanked the young lady and immediately took off in pursuit of the other group. Often most men do not know of the perils of trolls and find themselves woefully ill-prepared to fight and permanently kill them.
After a few minutes of riding at an all-out gallop following the many horse tracks I caught up with the human band in the midst of battle with the trolls and lent what aid I could to them. Victory came swiftly and the humans suffered no deaths at the hands of the trolls thank Ilosia! I informed the men who I was and what had transpired back at the crossroads. They provided their heartfelt gratitude for saving the young ladies life and we all traveled back to the crossroads together.
Shortly thereafter we all agreed that Corian and Adora must have been caught in some unfortunate snow or what not and likely must have decided to camp overnight and meet up with us in the morning. So, with a bit of trepidation as to their status, I setup a large pavilion tent with the assistance of the others and we took a much needed rest. However, our hopes were sadly dashed when a few bells later Corian came rushing into camp on the back of Torque (her tamed tiger companion) with Adoras’ cold body tied down over Torque. Apparently a battle with a significantly powerful and vile force took the life of Adora while Corian was barely able to escape. Thankfully at least Corian and Torque survived instead of it being a complete slaughter. Additionally, Corian took into his company an old man that appeared to be addled minded and as one would expect, lost. A kind gesture for certain. However, the old man ended up providing one hell of an unexpected event but a few bells later.
Apparently the old man was some sort of a wizard either playing very odd and frankly creepy games, or he is an incredibly powerful wizard that is severely mentally disabled: either way that is scary. However, as I was later informed by Corian, while I slept the old man conjured some manner of magic such that he actually brought Adora back to life. The entire situation was extremely odd and has me very taken aback. I will need to take some time to truly process that situation. There are so many questions! Where did he come from? How did he just ‘happen’ across Corian and thus, our path? How did he manage to utilize such powers while not seemingly having much of his wits about him?
In the end, with Adora delivered back to the living and seemingly everything set straight relatively speaking, we all moved out back to Aeroglyph. Several days later we all arrived unmolested back to the capital. However, while clearly luck had blessed us all in many ways to see us back to the capital, Aeroglyph as well as all of Alluvia would not be so fortunate. As we arrived, and we were all figuring out what we would see to, a foul beast with profound magical power appeared over the city and proclaimed that the formerly mentioned price would be paid for not turning the Ascending Wardens over to the Imperium.
The Runeguard and other protectors of the city flew skyward or fired skyward with great magic and other more mundane firepower to only see it turned back. The creature then proclaimed a curse of some sorts and immediately the affects were witnessed. The runes that covered Runeguards bodies began to run like ink on a ragingly hot summer day. As the curse took effect, Runeguard as well began to become ill, vomiting, falling to the ground and in some cases having fits right before everyone’s eyes. One of the leaders of the city then yelled out to all Runeguard to leave the city and hopefully save their lives. Corian and I immediately looked to Adora and told her to run, and she did.
As Adora ran for her life, I looked around to see what I could just as the foul creature disappeared into thin air. I realized that my best way of helping would be to stay out of the way, but visible in the event that some martial assistance may be needed. As odd as it seemed, I figured this would be a good time to find some magister or noble that may not be consumed by any duties required at the immediate moment and bring to his attention the unfortunate and felonious activities of Sundari.
It just so happened as I approached a guard house that a noble by the name of Marquis Adole Unyarh was on site and said he would see me. Not only was the noble a Marquis, but he as well held the second seat of the Judicial Council of Aeroglyph and was naturally a justicar by position. I was told to come back in one bell for audience. I have hastily written this account while I waited and now I am summoned….