1224.2b: The Trials of Duncan and Faileas

Throughout the first two days of the Tribunal (when there's not other business being discussed when the meeting is officially in session), there is a buzz over what looks to be this cycle's Big Pressing Issue. The matter of Faileas and Duncan. It seems to be common knowledge that the former apprentice (Duncan, for those keeping score) is definitely a diabolist, having turned to the Dark Arts to push his magical knowledge beyond what should be possible for a "mere apprentice", even one with an obsessive and insane master.

Speculation on what happened to Duncan and why no one's been able to find a trace of him runs wild. Some say he's hidden in a Regio somewhere, some say that he's using his Dark Arts to obfuscate his whereabouts (since demons are masters of deception, it only stands to reason), some say that there never was a Duncan, that he was simply a demon all along sent to damn Faileas and corrupt the Order from within, some say that Faileas freed himself from whatever prison Duncan had put him in and killed his former apprentice (as the Code demands), but has gone into hiding or taken his own life out of shame of what happened.

The one thing that everyone seems to agree on is that Duncan must die, if he hasn't already.

Late morning of the third day, Guiseppe del Mato of Flambeau rises. [color=red]"My sodales, there is a man, though I am loathe to use that word, who was hand-picked by one of our oldest and most esteemed colleagues, Faileas of Criamon, to join our Order in the due course of time, and who would be trusted with, not only the secrets of his great House but those of the Order of Hermes. For reasons of his own, he decided instead to pursue his own nefarious goals, in so doing made his own soul forfeit and imperiled the souls of each and every one of us. This is intolerable.

I accuse Duncan, the apprentice of Faileas, of diabolism, and demand that the Tribunal sentence him to death immediately! With your permission, Quaesitor, I would prosecute this charge myself."

Whitburh stands. [color=red]"You may prosecute this charge, sodalis, and I know that you will do so in the interests of the Order and to the best of your ability."

She then looks around the hall. [color=red]"Duncan, apprentice of Faileas of Criamon, you stand accused of diabolism. Are you present to present your defense?"

After a long, dramatic pause, she looks in the general direction of Insula Canaria's table. [color=red]"It seems that the accused is not here. Are there any among us who would act as defense principle in his stead?"

Trimalchio whispers "Does any of us know the first thing about Duncan? I can play Devil's advocate with the best of them, but I'd just be asking for them to hunt him down and bring him in for questioning instead of marching."

[color=red]"Duncan was Faileas's apprentice,"' Doineann whispers back. [color=red]"I don't know why he took an apprentice, as afraid as he was that he was on the verge of Final Twilight. But he became obsessed with seeing Duncan gauntleted before he passed on. The two spent almost every waking moment for the next ten years locked away in his lab. Faileas seemed to think that Duncan would be ready if he was taught year-round, instead of three months out of the year and working in the lab or studying from books as is the traditional method.

[color=red]"About four years or so ago, there was a lab accident...or that's what Faileas told us. None of us had noticed anything had happened. It was a couple of years after that, when Fiona came to visit and had her lycanthropy scare, that we found out that he had somehow replaced Faileas and had turned to diabolism."

[color=red]"Little bugger called Fiona his mater and said she had taught him the secret of the Parma Magica before he made off with a good part of our library. Some Quaesitor she brought with her from Normandy did the investigation, cleared Fiona of teaching Parma to someone who hadn't sworn the Oath, determined that Duncan was indeed a diabolist from what she found."

Talia wants to get a sense of the room...

The vast majority of the magi are at least passing aware of the Duncan situation, and the mood seems to be predominantly "off with his head", with a few concerned about depriving Faileas of his magical power by taking his apprentice. Testimony has not been presented yet, however. If you were to take a vote right this instance, then the Tribunal would sentence him to death.

After a couple of awkward minutes, a deep voice booms from the back of the room. [color=red]"I will speak for my brother, if no one else will."

The voice belongs to tall man in a hooded robe, as near as anyone can tell. He is cast entirely in shadows, which makes him hard to make out. The shadows move with him, regardless of the light coming in through the high windows or from the torches, but if one looks hard enough one can barely make out his features.

[color=red]"I was wondering when you would arrive, Dubhar. But, for the record, could you state your name."

Dubhar approaches the dais, stopping just past the first trestle, and turns to address the Tribunal. [color=red]"I am Dubhar, filius Faileas, of Criamon. And I am here to speak for my pater's last apprentice, Duncan." He then sits on the front-most bench, looking up at the dais.

Whitburh gives Dubhar a condescending smile before she rises. She picks up a handful of parchment sheets and holds them up. [color=red]"I have here the official report, compiled by the Quaesitor Laeticia filia Iusticium of Guernicus, of the Normandy Tribunal, concerning the events of (early Summer) 1221." Whitburh then proceeds to read the document. In summation, Fiona ex Miscellanea, formerly of the Covenant of Insula Canaria, and now of the Covenant of Mons Electi, Normandy Tribunal, was lured back to Insula Canaria by an attack on one of her vulgar family members, a giant named Angus Mac Ossian, When she returned to Loch Leglean, she had grounds to believe that she had been cursed with lycanthropy (which grounds turned out to be baseless). In the course of trying to determine if she were so cursed, and to cure her if that were the case, the members of Insula Canaria decided to ward her to a certain spot, with a ward against Vim to try to sever the link that had caused her infection, as it were. Faileas (or, more rightly, Duncan in Faileas's guise) assisted with the wards but did not cast any himself. Once the others had left, Fiona was trapped within the warding circle when he began an undetermined Infernal ritual. She was able to escape the ward and raised her Parma once more, at which point, Duncan claimed her as his mater and disappeared. Within a few minutes, books started disappearing from the library, but the magi of Insula Canaria were able to erect a ward around the remaining books before their library was completely plundered. Laetitia examined the scene, and interrogated all concerned (save Duncan) and determined that there had been an Infernal ritual underway that was interrupted by Fiona's escape, but she was unable to determine the intent of the ritual. She also determined that the most likely time for Faileas to have been replaced by Duncan was in the Spring of 1220, as there was supposedly a lab accident in which Faileas was believed to have barely staved off Twilight, and it was after that time that he started to behave "irrationally."

(I know...that was a long summation, but it basically sums up the part of the thread that's the basis for this whole thing.)

After she reads the summation, Whitburh then summons the elders of Insula Canaria (Drystan, Doineann, and Eilid) to get their story, which pretty much jibes with Laetitia's finding. A little richer in detail, and some variance for their point of view, but close enough.

She then calls Fiona ex Miscellanea, an extremely tall (almost nine feet tall), red-headed maga, who also corroborates the findings.

((I don't have a good handle to jump in. Talia might ask questions of any witnesses, if it is permitted, but it hasn't progressed far enough to let her do so.))

((That's why I paused at that point, to allow questioning of the witness by members of the Tribunal (e.g. the PCs), and to ask for clarification of points of the Code. If there's nothing by, say, this weekend, then I'll present the defense's case, such as it is, and then proceed to Faileas's case.))

A magus dressed as a highlander stands up. I am Donnchadh filius Nantosuelta and I had a question on the charges. Why is not Faileas charged with teaching diabolism to his apprentice? While the apprentice has committed many crimes he is still the apprentice of Faileas. Unless this body recognizes that Duncan has past his gauntlet.

((And while it makes a great story. why is Parma Magica the only skill that can be taught in 2 minutes rather than a full season :mrgreen:))

Talia stands, "I'm confused. Was Duncan ever declared a magus by Faileas? Has he presented himself before another magus of his House who can affirm that Duncan passed his gauntlet?" She stares Dubhar down at that. Leadership total of 7. Might be a good time to burn some confidence and really intimidate him, so we could push that to 13. This can happen after Donnchadh's line of questioning happens.

((Canonically it is presumed that apprentices get exposure in Parma bringing them to a score of 1 over their apprenticeship, but that the final secret that makes it work isn't taught until the gauntlet is passed.))

[color=red]"The Tribunal is not yet over," Whitburh says icily. [color=red]"To the best of anyone's knowledge, Duncan is still technically Faileas's apprentice. His fifteen years' apprenticeship has not quite passed, and Faileas has, apparently, not yet given him his Gauntlet. Should anyone kill Duncan without the Tribunal's judgment, they run the risk of being accused of depriving Faileas of his magical power, under the code. We must settle this issue of Duncan before we can deal with Faileas."

[color=red]"No, he has not."

Whitburh looks somewhat amused at Talia and Dubhar's interplay.

Donnchadh scratches his chest and then crosses his arms and sways from foot to foot. He seems very unsure of speaking up. I'm sure it is my misunderstanding of the Code but if Duncan has not sworn the Oath and he is still an apprentice. I mean how can you convict an apprentice when he is not of the Order? Is not his Master responsible for his actions? I mean if everything this apprentice has done is true than convicting the Master, who has sworn the Oath should be trivial.

After Dubhar is silent ((that's how I'm reading Whitburh just watching, anyway)), "What's the matter, cat got your tongue?"
I'll make an OoH roll for Dubhar, to see what she knows, total of 10.

[color=red]"Yes, by most interpretations of the Code, a master is ultimately responsible for his apprentice's actions," Whitburh explains. [color=red]"However, the Tribunal has not ascertained the extent of Faileas's culpability in Duncan's actions. If Duncan is found to have compacted with the Infernal, and has knowledge of the Order that would endanger our collective souls, then he must be stopped. Without formally renouncing Duncan, then Faileas could bring charges against whoever killed Duncan."

Donnchadh looks down at his feet and shuffles them then scratches himself again. Ahh. Mmmmm. Well, not if Faileas were marched for teaching his apprentice Infernal arts. And then he sits.

Aodhan was working on a wax tablet with numerous doodles and esoteric equations while listening to the trial proceedings. At the current conundrum, he shrugged his shoulders.

"Have a Bonisagus claim him as his apprentice and then renounce him. That way the Pater can't claim he's been illegally cost his apprentice."

Whitburh flicks her arms quickly and looks at Aodhan, plainly surprised. [color=red]"Yes," she says thoughtfully, [color=red]"that would deal with any questions of Faileas being deprived of his magical power. And since, as near as anyone can tell, he has not been instructing his apprentice as is required under the Code..."

[color=red]"Are there any Bonisagus willing to claim the abandoned apprentice Duncan as his own?"

For a long moment, there is silence, broken only by the soft snoring coming from the rear of the hall. An osprey swoops down from the rafters, where several avian familiars perch, and lands on the table in front of a elderly man, chin resting on his chest. The osprey taps the magus on the forehead, startling him awake. [color=red]"I'm awake, I'm awake," he says, his speech somewhat slurred. [color=red]"What was the question again? Ah, yes. Erm...I suppose I could. Won't do any good, though. The darkness spawned by the shadow will not rise until the morning falls."

"I'm not concerned with depriving a magus, who is either dead or dealing with diabolical forces, of their power. If he's alive he can press a claim. But none of should forget that demons lie, and so do the people who consort with them. It may be that Duncan killed Faileas, or it might be the other way around. The facts, as we know them, are that Duncan is alive and Faileas is presumed dead. Duncan is not a member of the Order, and he has apparently a magus with the knowledge of the Parma Magica who has not sworn the Oath. He has no rights in the Order, unless he swears the Oath. And if he should happen to do so, he will have some tough questions to answer. But I find him before I have heard he's sworn the Oath, I will do my best to destroy him."
She makes an CoH roll to ensure her reasoning is based on a sound understanding of the Code...
And it explodes, and it's a 10 for a total of 24.

Yep. That's pretty spot-on.

Once the Prosecution finishes their case and there are no more questions, Dubhar makes his case for the defense. He seems to be arguing two points: the first is a character defense based on Faileas. Dubhar argues that Faileas had always been an upstanding citizen of the Order, who had never faced censure at Tribunal before, and he finds it inconceivable that Faileas would ever take an apprentice that he even suspected might someday turn to diabolism.

The other is that the Prosecution's case against Duncan is flimsy at best. He questions the Prosecution's witnesses about what had happened, focusing on the fact that none of them have any real experience with the Diabolic, and that their claims that what happened was Infernal was based on their preconceptions of what Infernal must be like. He reminds the Tribunal that, to ignorant outsiders, magi of the Order are inherently diabolic because of their practice of magic. He goes on to deride Laetitia's report, calling it "inherently flawed" because it relies heavily on the imperfect understanding and recollection of the witnesses rather than her own independent investigation (which turned up nothing of value).