Episode 8 : The Lady Koormana Jafnari
 

Meanwhile about 2 am Crayg Rydorsson noticed that a woman had passed Zandhurst the Astrologer's house at least three times. On the third time he let slip "Pssst.", at her. She turned and looked at him and slowly approached. Crayg Rydorsson had his bow out and an arrow notched, this she saw. Subtly she cast a spell truth and affected Crayg Rydorsson next words. She asked about Zandhurst the Astrologer. Crayg Rydorsson responded by saying that there have been some problems here in the afternoon Zandhurst the Astrologer had been injured and that he was just watching the place to keep it safe.

She cast another spell this time forget. Crayg Rydorsson knew she had just cast a spell on him and that it had just failed. He raised his bow to respond in kind and began to take aim. She cast another spell and used leaving to be 50 yards away further down the street. Crayg Rydorsson fired the arrow, it struck her in the abdomen spinning her around and she lay stunned on the ground her heart trying desperately to continue to pump but not succeeding with an arrow through both chambers. Crayg Rydorsson approached her and could see that her left hand was silver. This could only put her as one person Koormana Jafnari, an exclusive entertainer at one of the Inns of Happiness that reside in the noble quarter of Middleburg.

As Crayg Rydorsson was bending over her relieving her of her purse he heard the sounds of the city guard and the words "What's going on here then?". There were three guardsmen and they where almost on top of Crayg Rydorsson with their weapons drawn before he could get away. Felix, the sergeant, ordered Crayg Rydorsson to put down his bow and as Crayg Rydorsson obeyed Felix ordered him seized. The sergeant then checked Koormana Jafnari and found that she was almost expired. She had a red arrow sticking out of her side, coincidently the same type of arrows that were in Crayg Rydorsson's quiver.

Felix ordered Crayg Rydorsson bound despite Crayg Rydorsson protests of innocence and saying he had only fired his bow at her in selfdefence as she had cast an evil magic spell upon him. He went on that he had gone to her body so that he could stem her bleeding wounds so that she could be brought to trial. He went on to say that he was being victimized by the heavy hand of the law who only wanted a conviction. All this protesting was done while his hands were being bound, his weapons confiscated, and the purse of Koormana Jafnari removed from his hand.

Crayg Rydorsson was taken to the city guard house, stripped and then thrown into a dark and dank prison cell. Using a piece of cloth Crayg Rydorsson tried to make a shinny patch on a piece of metal so that he could contact the Demon Humzaar. The hours passed and then the cell door opened and in stepped two guards. They placed lanterns on the walls and set Crayg Rydorsson on a small stool in the middle of the cell. Now into the cell stepped another guard and a noble. The interrogation began.

The noble cast many truth spells and Crayg Rydorsson kept to his story that he had acted in selfdefence and that Koormana Jafnari had attacked him and that he had legitimately been defending his life. The interrogation went on and on, the questions kept coming, why did you kill her, who are you working for, what group are you with, where are they located, what do you know of Hashem? Crayg Rydorsson talked and talked and told of an Eastern cat named Hashem that could talk. Crayg Rydorsson spilled the beans, setting into motion the unfortunate series of events that were to follow. The interrogation eventually ceased, Crayg Rydorsson was left lying on the floor of his dark, dank little cell. It looked like he was headed for a tossing.

Crayg Rydorsson started to rub with all his might at the one clean spot on the cell door. "Friend, friend, are you there?", after another couple of hours the spot eventually became shiny enough to elicit a reply. The Demon Humzaar came into view on the cell door. "Hmmm, looks a bit damp in here. How can I assist my friend, Crayg Rydorsson?". "I need to get out of here.". "Spot of bother have we, hmmm?". "Yes, I'm being put on trial for the murder of Koormana Jafnari, and I'm going to get tossed!". "And if I were to assist you to evade justice, what's in it for me, hmmm?". "What do you want?". "Well I haven't had a baby for a long time, in fact I haven't had three babies for a long time. I think that would be a fair price for getting you out of this cell and not being tossed, ok.". "Well that still depends on how the trial goes, I'm not giving you three babies if I get off anyway.". "Shucks, but it would be such a nice gesture on your part.", replied the demon. "Well how about I get you away so that you don't get tossed but only after the court delivers the guilty verdict.". "Thanks for the confidence in the display of Middleburg justice, but I'll take that for a deal.". The air parted and the sickly green taloned hand of the Demon Humzaar entered the world and shook the hand of Crayg Rydorsson the pact was made.

Events now began to move swiftly this night, the Coven made plans and set them into motion. Sabritee Jafnari had not taken the news of the death of her sister Koormana Jafnari at all well. Sabritee Jafnari promised bloody vengeance upon the murderer and all those associated with him. Dram Earthguard was also upset for his bed would not be warm this night. They and the remaining Coven took a dim view of the news that Hashem had escaped them and was now at large in the world again. One of their group was dead and it was all because of Crayg Rydorsson and his little group. The Coven used their scrying device to seek out the friends of Crayg Rydorsson and plan their demise. Sabritee Jafnari's blood lust fitted in well with the Coven's plan to extract payment in blood.

That morning Blue Bigfoot still stood watching outside the Restless Pig when he saw two men approach a vantage point from where to view the Inn unobserved. Blue Bigfoot watched for awhile then slipped from his vantage point and went inside through the back entrance. In the Restless Pig there were a number of unusual characters, at a table by herself sat an elderly woman. Blue Bigfoot went to our normal table by the window where the party usually had their meals and pointed out the position where the two men were concealed and watching the Restless Pig Inn.

One of the men stood watching here while the other walked across the road into the Inn. He approached Harpo Strongfellow, the Innkeeper, and began talking. Blue Bigfoot got up and went to the bar to get a refill of his tankard. The man stopped talking as he came closer. Harpo Strongfellow said, "Its ok this is my son you can talk in front of him.". The man nodded and continued, he was after the whereabouts of a Crayg Rydorsson or his group. Harpo Strongfellow said, "He used to live here but that was a few weeks ago, I haven't seen him since. That's right son?". "Yes, pa and he left with a weeks rent owing, didn't he.". "Well if that's the case I'll be going. Don't mention that he's being looked for, ok.".

The man headed towards the door, came to the table of the elderly lady sat down spoke to her in a low voice momentarily then got up to leave. Blue Bigfoot headed out the backdoor and around the back and finally came up behind the other Inn watcher. As the first man was leaving he stumbled into, "Graham, the big mouth.", the lodger on the room below us. He asked Graham if he knew where Crayg Rydorsson or his group could be found. Graham the big mouth replied, "Why don't you ask his friends, that's them sitting over at that table over there.", and pointed to Garack, Vernon Zarck and Thor Frekwaldson. The man asked if Graham knew where Crayg Rydorsson lived, Graham the big mouth replied that, "Well Crayg Rydorsson and the rest of that group live on the floor above me, that's the fourth floor, there all renting a room right now.". The man turned and looked at Harpo Strongfellow who was busy washing glasses and trying to get a speck of grime from the inside of a glass. "Thanks, that's what I needed to know.".

The man came over to the table and inquired, "So your friends of Crayg Rydorsson are you, do you know where he is?". A universal "No.", came from the table. "Well in that case I'll leave you now but I'll be back later to see him. This is for him and for you as well.". The man dropped on the table a scroll and left the Inn. He walked over to the watcher and kept on walking straight past him ignoring him as he went on his way, message delivered.

Garack opened up the scroll and read what was inside, the message was simple and to the point it said, "You are all marked for death, The Coven.". Thor Frekwaldson stood up and went to the doorway of the Inn and watched the man go down the street when he had gone a little way Thor Frekwaldson stepped out and followed him.

Garack went over to the elderly woman's table and sat down and inquired as to her business here. The elderly woman cast the spell suggestion on Garack and said to him "The docks are busy this time of year, don't you have important business down there right now.". "Oh, yea you're right, I should be there right now in fact!". Garack now had the irresistible urge to visit the docks. Garack stood up and rushed out of the Restless Pig, closely followed by Vernon Zarck who kept trying to make him come back into the Inn, but Garack kept insisting that he had to get to the docks real quick. Garack turned and said, "Listen Vernon Zarck, I've got some really important business to attend to and I should be there right now. I'm running late as it is so stop slowing me down!", as he raced ahead.

They rushed off in the opposite direction to the way the Thor Frekwaldson and the message deliver had gone. The halfling watched the watcher for awhile, before he became bored and decided to go and visit Grimwold Mindbreaker at Zandhurst the Astrologer's building. Blue Bigfoot knew that the rest of the group would eventually turn up here. The Restless Pig was getting a little too hot for the halflings liking. The elderly woman waited, Sabritee Jafnari could be very patient when she pleased and her spell phantasm was working exceptionally well this morning.

The trial of Crayg Rydorsson had been posted up outside the court room as being scheduled for 1 pm this day. The mechanism of Middleburg justice moved swiftly when the appropriate gears were well greased and just the right amount of pressure applied in just the right places. Grimwold Mindbreaker who had been out that morning heard the news of the encounter that Crayg Rydorsson had had with Koormana Jafnari that night. He found out that Koormana Jafnari had died and that Middleburg justice seemed to be moving swiftly, far more swiftly than usual, he could see the Coven's hand in this. Grimwold Mindbreaker found out that Crayg Rydorsson's trial would be held at 1 pm today and he was going to be there. He returned to the Doctor's apartment just below Zandhurst the Astrologer's apartment.

Garack arrived at the docks with Vernon Zarck in close pursuit. "Now, what was I meant to do here?", said Garack as he scratched his head. Garack looked at Vernon Zarck saying "Lets go to Zandhurst the Astrologer's and find out what's happening, ok.". So off they both went to Zandhurst the Astrologer's. A couple of blocks from Zandhurst the Astrologer's they noticed that they were being followed by a well dressed man. He would keep himself fairly well concealed in the crowd but as he had been sighted behind them at a number of separate locations it he had become obvious.

Garack and Vernon Zarck decided that they were going to have a talk to this fellow. They headed into a quieter neighbourhood near Zandhurst the Astrologer's and went down an alley. Vernon Zarck wondered into the alley and dropped his snake familiar just past the boxes in the alley. He wondered on up the alley to come to an alcove to his left, here he hid. Garack went behind the boxes into another alcove just behind them. They waited. After about half a minute the well dressed man appeared at the entrance to the alleyway and stopped. He assessed the situation.

Dram Earthguard using leaping, leapt to the opposite end of the alleyway. He saw Garack and Vernon Zarck as he flew past on landing he spun around. Garack said, "Hey you, we want a word with you.". Dram Earthguard cast vacuum at Vernon Zarck. The vacuum imploded at Vernon Zarck's head and deafened him momentarily, Garack drew his sword and started to charge forward at Dram Earthguard. Dram Earthguard responded by sending a vacuum at Garack. The vacuum imploded just behind Garack and an ugly braking of bone resounded throughout the alley. Garack collapsed into the mud and could not move his legs, he tried to lever himself up from the ground to inch closer to Dram Earthguard.

Vernon Zarck using leaping, leapt to the front of the boxes and the entrance of the alleyway, here he prepared a spell. Dram Earthguard cast vacuum down the alleyway at him. Boxes shattered apart, but Vernon Zarck was not hit. Vernon Zarck using leaping, leapt down the street, making two hops instead of one. Dram Earthguard using leaping, leapt to where Vernon Zarck had been and looking up the street he could see his intended victim landing further on. Dram Earthguard using leaping, leapt to get himself up to Vernon Zarck as Vernon Zarck again used leaping to move further on. This happened a couple of more times with peasants being startled by the sudden appearance and disappearance of the two spellcasters.

Vernon Zarck now using leaping, leapt to place himself into a crowd and looking back could not locate the figure of Dram Earthguard, he stopped and prepared a spell. Boom, went the vacuum that imploded about him. This disrupted his spell. There were cries coming from the people that had been hurt by the vacuum. There were two dead on the ground, a cripple, and five with minors injuries. Vernon Zarck somehow had managed to walk out of the impact zone almost unscathed. Vernon Zarck using leaping, leapt again down the street, hopping from rooftop to street level, to building entrances and into shops. He continued this frantic hopping until he was sure Dram Earthguard was not right behind him and that he could see no spreading crowds, caused by their sudden appearances.

Garack meanwhile while lying in the alley managed to call over a couple of passersby. "Hey, you two, come here.". "I've just been mugged, I need your help, take me to the Temple of Lumina and I'll give you each a silver.". The two looked at each other, they came over to Garack and each took an arm and lifted him up from the ground. They brought him out of the alley. Garack saw a passing cart "Get one of them, that will make things easier.". They stopped a cart and for a promised fee of a silver, Garack was put on board and taken to the Temple of Lumina. The priests came out and had Garack brought inside.

An examination of the wound that Garack had sustained could be easily fixed. The priest muttered the shatter repair and major nerve repair spells. The neck bone was restored and the nerves reconnected. Feeling came back to Garack's legs and he felt as right as rain. He leapt up from the table and steadied himself, he muttered to himself, "Just wait till he get my hand on that guy he's going to pay.". The priest turned and said, "Pay, yes, that's right that will be five silvers, throw them into the fountain over there, and speak praise to Lumina for allowing you to walk again.". Garack advanced to the fountain and mumbling the words "Praise be to, err, Lumina.", and he tossed the coins in and left.

Free from his pursuer Vernon Zarck first of all doubled back to the alleyway were Garack had fallen. Here he picked up his snake familiar and inquired as to what had happened to Garack. He was told that Garack had been carted off to the Temple of Lumina. Vernon Zarck decided to return to the Doctor's apartment, here he told Grimwold Mindbreaker of the events that had unfolded an hour before. Vernon Zarck also thought that if this was only one of his opponents he needed more firepower, to get this he made his pact with the Serpent Staff of Mahaaran. In the Hall of the Damned at the base of the Pillar of Damned Souls another name appeared chiselled into the rock that name was Vernon Zarck, now damned for eternity. To make matters worse the Serpent Staff of Mahaaran had an option on his soul if Vernon Zarck died through violence.

Garack headed back through some of the markets when he saw Thor Frekwaldson headed in the opposite direction. Thor Frekwaldson told Garack of the news of Crayg Rydorsson's adventures last night and the resulting imprisonment and trial later today. Thor Frekwaldson wanted to be there early to checkout the layout of the Courthouse and the plaza surrounding the Courthouse. They approached the Courthouse and inquired of the trails today. They were told that the Crayg Rydorsson trial was just about to start, if they wanted to watch from the public gallery they were free to do so but they must first relinquish their weapons. They agreed and handed their weapons in at the registrar desk, they now entered the courtroom, taking up seats right at the back.

 

 
(c) 1997 One Night in Middleburg Rolemaster Campaign Journal by Ross Stopford  
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