Episode 9 : The Trial Of Crayg Rydorsson
 

Grimwold Mindbreaker was not to know that the Coven had engineered to have the trial of Crayg Rydorsson brought forward two hours, so beginning at 11 am. This they hoped would stop any rescue attempts and swiftly remove a thorn in their side from the scene. The court was called to ordered, the three Chief Justices of Middleburg residing. Crayg Rydorsson was brought into the dock from the holding cells downstairs in leg and arm irons. Crayg Rydorsson looked desperately around the courtroom for some indication of the presence of the Demon Humzaar. His eyes focussed on the round polished emblem of the House of Middleburg that was set into the bench just below the judges. In this polished surface Crayg Rydorsson could see the smiling face of the Demon Humzaar, who gave Crayg Rydorsson the quick thumbs up and winked.

The second in line to Trygnol Trandhoek, Chief Prosecutor of Middleburg, delivered the Crown case before the court. The court heard the evidence of the crime scene and heard from the loyal and valiant city guard who had apprehended Crayg Rydorsson red handed. They heard from character witnesses for Koormana Jafnari, how she had been but a simple and kind entertainer who worked at one of the Inns of Happiness in the noble quarter of Middleburg. The case was now almost fully presented when an outburst came from the public gallery.

The source of this outburst was Garack who along with Thor Frekwaldson had been sitting watching the Crayg Rydorsson case. Garack had seen high above the public gallery and off to the side of the court an area reserved for the nobility, from where they could watch the proceedings generally without being seen. However Garack having been become bored with the presentation of the evidence had let his eyes wonder about the entire courtroom, then his eyes came to this alcove. Garack's eyes fixed on the alcove and then brought into focus the face of the man that had left him crippled, only hours before, in the gutter of a back alley.

Garack let loose a torrent of abuse at the man, "Hey, you up there I'm going to do you. No one gets away with trying to kill me you swine!", the Chief Justice said, "Silence in the court.". Garack continued "Wait till you get outside you snivelling coward, I'm going to do to you what you did to me.". Now the two people, a man and a woman, left the alcove and pulled the curtain back into position. "I said silence, I'll have you removed if I don't have silence.", said the Chief Justice. Garack continued "Coward, I'll do you, deaths too good for you, you wait, just you wait, come back here you coward!". "Enough!", said the Chief Justice, "Remove them both! Now!". "But I never said anything.", said Thor Frekwaldson. They were both escorted out of the courtroom and out of the Courthouse by the city guards, pausing only long enough to get their weapons from the register desk.

Garack said, "Bloody favouritism, I'm going to kill that guy that attacked me this morning, if it's the last thing I do!", talking to Thor Frekwaldson. "Just wait till I see him next time!". They had walked about two steps down the Courthouse entrance steps when the boom of a vacuum imploding next to them reached their ears and left them ringing. The vacuum did not work well this time for Dram Earthguard having almost no effect on Garack and Thor Frekwaldson. Both Garack and Thor Frekwaldson spun around and split apart from one another to present harder targets. Looking back they could see at the Courthouse front a window that had been opened and behind were standing Dram Earthguard and Brenda Thumb-Daughter.

Garack aimed his bow at Dram Earthguard and fired his arrow which hit the window pane. Thor Frekwaldson timed his arrow perfectly, as Brenda Thumb-Daughter moved her arm to point at Garack, he fired at the now exposed arm, hitting it square. The artery in the arm was sliced wide open and arterial blood spurted across the inside of window glass. Brenda Thumb-Daughter fell against the back wall and slide to the floor. Dram Earthguard dropped from view beside her. Only with the amulet that her father had given her had she survived that arrow, it reduced the severity of the critical hit and slowed the flow of bloodloss. Having no target, being severely exposed on the steps of the Courthouse and hearing the rush of the city guard coming from inside the Courthouse, Garack and Thor Frekwaldson decided that now was the time to exit the scene. They each sprinted to separate exits from the Courthouse plaza and made good their escape.

Within the hour the three Chief Justices of Middleburg were ready to hand down their verdict in this case. The court brought down the expected verdict. The verdict dictated by the Chief Justice of Middleburg was that Crayg Rydorsson be taken from this courtroom and be tossed this very afternoon. Crayg Rydorsson shouted forth that this was a travesty of justice and that he was an innocent man. He cursed all the judges to hell, stated they were in the employ of The Coven and cast from the dock minor impair spells at them. The court guards began to move to where Crayg Rydorsson stood yelling and shouting in the dock when they stopped as the smell of sulphur permeated the room and white plumes of vapour arose from beneath the dock. Crayg Rydorsson plunged from the view of the Chief Justices. Crayg Rydorsson fell into a pit that had just appeared underneath his feet. He fell and fell and did not hit the bottom, the entrance now but a speck of light high above. On and on he fell and after falling a couple of hours he fell into sleep, and thought he heard in the distance the voice of the Demon Humzaar whispering in the dark.

Meanwhile in the courtroom pandemonium had broken out. Still issuing from the dock were the sulphurous vapours straight from hell. The Chief Justices ordered courtroom sealed and vacated the area themselves. The Prince of Middleburg was informed of this incident. The Courthouse now had a direct passage to hell sitting in the docks. Trygnol Trandhoek, Chief Prosecutor, was told of all that had happened in the Crayg Rydorsson case. He considered the situation and issued orders for another public notice to be issued, this time he ordered the waving of the right of public execution and the immediate execution on sight of Crayg Rydorsson for the safety of the public.

Meanwhile back at the Doctor's apartment as the Courthouse events were taking place action was also to be found. The Coven had posted watchers near Zandhurst the Astrologer's on the look out for the particular people belonging to the Crayg Rydorsson group. The watcher this morning was Crayg Spicemaster he stood concealed from Zandhurst the Astrologer's building in the shadows of a drapery shop. He watched all the comings and goings that took place that morning. He was however spotted, and as he was on watch alone this virtually sealed his fate.

Grimwold Mindbreaker cast subjugation at him and he was successful. Crayg Spicemaster left his place of watching and entered the Doctor's residence. Now Serra Ibin Raaviat cast illusion and in the spot where Crayg Spicemaster had been standing only moments before. She put the illusion there of Crayg Spicemaster tossing a coin and catching it when it came down. This was to allay any who came to relieve him, at least momentarily, that all was well.

The halfling by now had turned up and saw the real Crayg Spicemaster walk into the Doctor's house and a moment later he spotted the illusion of Crayg Spicemaster tossing the coin at his original watching place. The halfling ducked into a vegetable and fruit shop a little way on. Blue Bigfoot watched from the area beneath a table at the edge of the shop, he did not want to see the probable unpleasantness going on in the Doctors and anyway someone should be on watch outside.

Inside the house Crayg Spicemaster was made to sit in a chair to which he was tied. All of his magic items and weapons where removed from his person. Grimwold Mindbreaker now released him from his subjugation and allowed him limited free action to speak. Grimwold Mindbreaker also cast truth on Crayg Spicemaster so that anything he spoke in response to the questioning would be the truth. Vernon Zarck began the questioning of Crayg Spicemaster but all that Crayg Spicemaster provided to aid us in our pursuit of The Coven were profanities.

About twenty minutes later a well dressed woman accompanied by a really large and heavily robed bodyguard approached the Doctors house. She looked at Crayg Spicemaster and then she froze, she had seen through the illusion. The people inside the Doctors had seen her come along and then freeze. They reacted before she could. Vernon Zarck used the Serpent Staff of Mahaaran to send a cold ball into her and her companion. The Bang resounded through the little street and people scattered. The woman dropped, as did the bodyguard, he rose his robes torn and now revealing the large figure of a troll. Grimwold Mindbreaker cast leaving on the troll and sent him 100' into the air, he came down with a might splat and did not move. Vernon Zarck used leaving to get the woman into the Doctors residence, as it turned out her neck had been broken by the force of the cold ball. Serra Ibin Raaviat quickly casts detect essence, detect channeling and detect mentalism spells and removed all the magic items that were on her body. Vernon Zarck used leaving to get her body back out into the street. He used leaving to get himself across the street and up onto the rooftops five floors above. Finally the uncooperative Crayg Spicemaster had leaving cast on him sending him 100' above the woman. He then dropped. The bodies then had a cold ball shot at them by Vernon Zarck in an effort to cover some traces of the way that they had died.

Grimwold Mindbreaker and Serra Ibin Raaviat left the scene of the carnage as they had an appointment to make at the Courthouse for the trial of Crayg Rydorsson. As they were to find out when they arrived the trial of Crayg Rydorsson was already over and the verdict given.

Ten minutes after they had left, the city guard, not just the city militia, started to appear and cordoned off the area of the fighting. Blue Bigfoot remained under the fruit stall safely out of the way and Vernon Zarck remained on top of the rooftops. Then temptation struck Vernon Zarck as the city guard grouped around the two human bodies, there were at least a dozen city guard all huddled. This proved too much for Vernon Zarck and he lowered the Serpent Staff of Mahaaran and let slip a fire ball. The fire ball exploded amongst the city guard, the snow vaporized to steam and the whole area had a strange mist hanging over it. Three city guard were killed outright, the rest wounded as well as some on lookers who were just a little bit too close. Those city guard that saw where the fire ball had originated from now sent arrows back at Vernon Zarck. Vernon Zarck used leaving to get away across the rooftops towards the Courthouse, confusion remained below.

The halfling saw some of the city guard help the troll up. The troll had survived being struck twice by a cold ball and having leaving cast upon him sending him on a 100' drop as well. The halfling never wanted to meet a troll one to one, perhaps the stories told in his childhood were true and not just told to scare little halflings. Now into the midst of the city guard came four people on horseback. One wore the Crest of the Noble House of Middleburg and one was a woman. The halfling tried to get closer for a better look but the city guard kept all well back. The riders inspected the scene and examined the bodies of Crayg Spicemaster and Asvena Harda-Daughter and ordered the troll to be brought back to the keep. The four rode off. The Coven was not having a good day, Crayg Rydorsson had escaped their clutches and another two of their group lay dead upon the streets of Middleburg.

Grimwold Mindbreaker and Serra Ibin Raaviat arrived at the Courthouse and found that the Courthouse had been sealed and the Courthouse plaza was alive with city guard and was cordoned off to the public. Grimwold Mindbreaker inquired of one of the many onlookers what had happened. "The trial of Crayg Rydorsson ended about half an hour ago, the story I hear is that he summoned a demon from hell in the very courtroom as the verdict was given. The demon burst from a tunnel under the judges and killed them. It snatched Crayg Rydorsson from the docks and carried him back to hell through the tunnel. That Crayg Rydorsson must be a bad um. There saying that the tunnel to hell is still open and imps from hell are fighting to get out or so I heard.". Grimwold Mindbreaker and Serra Ibin Raaviat decided that now might be the right time to get off the streets, the Restless Pig might not be safe either, and Zandhurst the Astrologer's definitely was not safe after the firefight this morning. They decided that maybe the sewers would offer the best protection and concealment.

 

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