Case 3: The Case of the Diabolical Pride

OK, this one will require a bit of work and I'll be quite busy tomorrow, so here is the case for November 3rd an hour early. Again I'm not sure if each case should be a separate thread, but given the volume of responses to the first two perhaps that is best? Mods, feel free to combine them if felt necessary...

Case 3: The Case of the Diabolical Pride

The Tribunal is protected by a moderately powerful Aegis of the Hearth. The magi sit among the ancient stones of Stonehenge, after a hard day deliberating on pressing matters. That pompous show off Henricius the Hammer (a Tytalan magi who deems himself "Exorcist in chief to the Tribunal", and who is renowned for his war on demons, and many Perdo Vim enchantments) is droning on about how he uncovered a coven of infernal witches in a small village in Norfolk, and destroyed them and banished a score of demons and a demon prince back to Hell. (You have all heard his boasts before -(he has Reputation (Order of Hermes) Demon-slayer 4, and Reputation: (Order of Hermes) crushing bore 5). Henricius has been talking for an hour when those of you near the Praeco hear him mutter quietly "Hell, won't someone shut him up?"

Just at that moment a flash of lightning in the distance attracts everyone's attention, apart from Henricius, who is still absorbed in his tale, mistaking bored indifference for rapt attention for all present. And then a noblewoman clad in a stunning gown of black samite rides up, her ivory skin offset by lustrous curls of pitch black hair, her dark eyes seemingly deep empty voids, yet strangely compelling. She leaps from her horse, and through the slit at the back of her dress her red devil's tail slips out, and alluringly curls around a shapely thigh, tip twitching like an annoyed cat. She stands just outside the Aegis and call out

"Praeco darling, I really need a word. Would someone be as good as to let a little She-devil in? I wish to bring charges against one known as Henricius, and I demand I am heard, and a cup of good wine, and a nice comfy lap to sit upon..." she giggles seductively "and above all, my hair is getting all messed up buy this wind, so let me in, and I'll make my case for justi--- vengeance. You know me well enough to know we never seek that other thing."

She smiles, and flashes a quick smile over lips as red as the ruby blood of babes, and licking her lips with her little forked tongue, adds if an after thought "I think that fine fellow" (with intense sarcasm) pointing at Henricius with an elegant finger and the tip of her prehensile tail "I think he deserves to be recognized for what he has done. So who will speak as my (and she laughs, in a manner both menacing and somehow cute), well, as my 'Devil's Advocate?'

Henricius stands up, grabs a wand tipped with a star ruby and clearly begins to cast a spell.

OK, what do you all do? :slight_smile:

cj x

Duck !

Ogle the shapely she-devil :slight_smile:

The Praeco shouts at Henricius "Stop!" He turns to the assembled Tribunal, and in a low voice asks "Can ... this thing..." - he gestures with one hand at the She-Devil, yet never turns his gaze in her direction " allowed to bring a case to Tribunal?"

cj x

"Ecelo Ex Misc, that is sinful in so many ways!" remarks the rather prim Olivia of Nigrasaxa :slight_smile: "Are you willing to speak for this... lady?"

cj x

Marcus ex Guerinicus tries to be as inconspicuous as possible and thinks Oh no not again.

"Dear Olivia, I always try to compress all of my sins into as few sinful acts as possible. Not only do I believe that soul accounting is based on the latter, rather than on the former, but it also leaves more time for other endeavors."

"But let me answer the question. It is obviously not my place to invite this ... lady within the Aegis of the Tribunal. However, if our hosts did so, and the Praeco agreed, I would be willing to speak for her".

"Ahemm. Some of you may obviously be concerned about our Oath against "dealing with demons". However, I would note two things."

"First, the Oath is vague about what "dealing" means. Does it encompass speaking with one? Does it encompass ignoring one who tries to draw our attention? The latter could be as easily construed as "dealing" as the former."

"Second, and more importantly, we have absolutely no way of knowing if the lovely lady really is a demon or not. She could as well be a faerie -- from her deliberate posing as a demon it almost seems more likely -- in which case ignoring her would definitely be rude and ... molesting. She could be something even more exotic, say, an automaton. Or simply one of our sodales who's lost control of some Mentem spell -- her mastery of Imaginem, on the other hand ... ahemm. Yet the Praeco called her a "thing" (and she calls him "darling") so perhaps they are already acquainted?"

Ecelo ex Miscellanea

"I can assure you I have never met her before" graons the Praeco, blushing furiously.

The demon giggles, clearly delighted at the Praeco's obvious discomfort. "Of course I'm a faerie" says the She-Devil with a mischievous, some mights say impish smile "you may call me Buttercup, for such is my name! So may I come in? " Yet despite all the heavy eroticism of every move, there is something utterly alien, and disturbing about her ways. Still, she seems to have taken a liking to Ecelino. She gestures at him to come over, outside the Aegis, so she can whisper to him...

cj x

"My lady ... there's a very fine boundary between courteousness and foolishness, and I'm afraid in this case it coincides with that of the Aegis. Besides, I would be discorteous to my sodales if I were to leave their company to join you. Not to mention the unruly wind."

"No, I stand by my statement. The Praeco, and in a different capacity the presiding Quaesitor, are those with the authority to decide what should be discussed at Tribunal. I bow to that authority. And our kind hosts, of course, are the only ones who can invite you among us."

Ecelo ex Miscellanea

The situation garners a fairly loud harrumph from the slightly drunk Jerbiton magus in the corner.

"What a load of nonsense. Failing to invite a fae is molesting now? Refusing to engage a demon is dealing now? This is utter nonsense, and you all know it. Stop trying to create problems for yourselves."

"There's one easy way to determine whether this thing is a demon or no. Hit it with an Eternal Oblivion spell. If it vanishes in a puff of sulphur and pouting, it was a demon and we can all get back to our ... ."

After contemplating the option of listening to more of Henricius' story versus the upcoming arguments...

"Actually... carry on. And someone pass the popped corn."

"Obviously, sodales, you are aware that by giving the lady Buttercup the right of sole entry, i.e. by providing an invitation and immediately withdrawing it after she has entered the Aegis, she will be able to remain with us within the Aegis but any attempt on her part to ... exert undue influence upon us will be severely curtailed.

Still, I would not blame those among us who have less than absolute trust in their Parmas if they should speak against allowing the lady Buttercup in. In which case, we may perhaps arrange for a discussion on the two sides of the Aegis? I'm sure someone here can keep the wind under check, and deliver the lady a cup of wine without leaving the Aegis. Though I'm afraid she'll have to do without the ... ahemm ... comfortable lap."

"As for attacking, unprovoked, a demon with spells ... well, it would not be the first time it gets condemned as a violation of the "dealing with demons" clause (HoH:TL,p.51)."

Ecelo ex Miscellanea

Alexis, a young Tytalus, adds his voice:

"Let us attend, then, to the words of the demon." He smiles sardonically. "It appears Ecelo is eager to speak on her behalf - or perhaps have it speak as his witness? Either way, as our sodales, this is within his rights. And while he feigns to defer to our esteemed leaders in this, it is apparent he wishes to have her serve in this capacity. Let us then invite the demoness in, and hear what she has to say."

As he is about to sit, he adds one more quick note - "Remember - it isn't that her words are lies. It is that they are poison. A labyrinth of meanings aimed to get you to think what she wants you to think, even as you try to out-think her. But of course" his bitter smile returns "this wise council would easily penetrate through such deceptions".

OOC - In a real game, I'd probably stay as far away from demons as I could, voting against hearing her out. But come on - let's hear the rest of this case...

As I see it - the demoness has no standing before the tribunal, but the tribunal can let her speak as Ecelo's witness or let her in as his companion. Given her Infernal nature, I'd say this is, ehem, highly unusual - and I wouldn't want to be friends with a magus that regularly invites demons in this way, or a member in a tribunal that regularly hears demonic counsel...

"Ah, no, do not put words into my mouth I have not said. I'm not particularly eager to speak on the lady's behalf, though neither do I cringe at the idea. I just volunteered to do so if our Praeco and presiding Quaesitor wish for someone to do so. The decision, and the responsibility, is entirely theirs. The choice of letting her through the Aegis, on the other hand, is entirely of the Covenant hosting us.

"Alas, you are probably far better than me at penetrating demon disguises, young Alexis, since you can clearly ascertain that the lady Buttercup is a demon. But from the little -- but still far too vast for my tastes -- experience I've had with demons, they are far more likely to hide themselves under the appearance of simple mundane or that of an angel, than boldly proclaim themselves charming demon temptresses. It may well be the case that we are all making fools of ourselves by cringing at every word a minor faerie is saying to us, and refusing to even look at her."

Ecelo ex Miscellanea

OOC -- In a real game I'd also stay away from known demons, but ... is this a demon? In my sagas I've never really experienced this level of paranoia, with magi even refusing to set their gazes upon an unknown creature for fear it may be a demon. And demons just popping up and saying "Hi, I'm a demon, let me tempt you?" With them being compulsive liars and all? The only time it happened it really was a faerie.

Still, I agree with you on two points. First, inviting one such creature into the Aegis would be excessive. Second, she does not seem to have the right to speak in Tribunal. But, I'm loving this and I'd really like to hear the rest of the case...

"Let us not bicker over trivialities" Alexis waves his hand at Ecelo's words, as if batting a gnat. "Let us invite this thing - whatever it is - to speak, and see what it has to say. I, for one, am interested in hearing its charges against the brave demon-hunter, charges you are so noble to bring forth for this Tribunal to hear - should our elders choose so, of course."

OOC - I agree the level of paranoia is excessive.

While I agree it might be a Faerie, I think it's unlikely; faeries usually don't dress-up as demons (it's the other way around). And demons will adopt what guise suits them; appearing as demons might serve their purposes, and seems to in this case.

Inviting such a creature into the Aegis would be unwise; but so would probably be just hearing her out... I would, for the sake of this scenario, adopt the above recommendation of letting her in but keeping the Aegis power against her by univiting her once she's in. Much more fun this way.

And while she doesn't have the right to address the tribunal or bring charges, she can be brought in as your companion (much as your familiar or custos) or as a witness on your behalf. You can make charges for her, and you can ask the tribunal to hear her speak (or, of course, speak on her behalf) - the Praeco willing, of course.


"I will not deal with devils, lest I imperil my soul and the souls of my sodales as well" - summon Oswald of Bonisagus, whose talisman includes a red coral for this very purpose, and get the being sent back to hell. Tribunals are screwed up enough by magi selectively telling the truth, let alone allowing a professional like a demon in.

If you really must take it seriously, check if there's anyone with holy relics or sense holy/unholy available - surely it's not just Darkwing of Ex Miscellanea (my current magus) who took sense holy/unholy out of paranoia?

"Very well" says the Praeco "someone float her over some wine - let it not be said our hospitality is poor. We will then have a few minutes silence" (looks meaningfully at Henricius) "during which I am sure we can all hear the lady if she wishes to speak. Considering what we overhear is not dealing with her, surely?"

Buttercup laughs derisively, with a noise like tinkling bells. "Oh you brave magi!" she proclaims "Very well - I wish to bring a case against Henricius, who recently slew a baker's dozen of hedge witches, midwives and herbwifes, burned their homes and orphaned their children. That is of course commendable - the death of innocents, slaughter of harmless old biddies and spreading of fear of my kind and the belief infernalists are everywhere we heartily approve of, and commend the man for his services to Hell."

"However... I must bring charges in this Court of Law against this fool for the slander he has spoken against my Realm! He alleges the folk charms of hedge witches are "infernal rites!" He claims their petty sins are "diabolical machinations!" He call all too human stupidities, crudities and cruelties devilish! I do not care how many ignorant old women and village idiots he tortures and slays, but I will not have my Realm slandered in this way by this moron! Devilish indeed! What an insult!"

cj x

Does anyone know how to get ahold of Seferiel?


The Praeco should be marched... :smiley:
He obviously summoned her by asking Hell for someone to shut up Henricus. And of course, she claimed the Praeco knows her, too. :smiley:

"Hmm, if I understand correctly, rephrasing the facts within the framework of the Hermetic Oath, there are two aspects of noble Henricius' actions that may be worth looking at.

The first is that, in his crusade against demons, he may have caused undue mayhem in the mundane world. This could be construed as "interference with the mundanes", particularly if he left witnesses. While Henricus' exposition of his deeds was certainly exhaustive, I fear it failed to address these aspects. Perhaps one of our junior sodales, ideally a Quaesitor with some experience in disguise and information gathering, would be willing to briefly assess the disposition of the mundanes towards us in the areas scourged by the holy fire of valiant Henricius, and suggest what measures, if any, should be taken to remedy any damage caused? A few days should probably be sufficient -- it may even be possible to have sufficient data before the end of this Tribunal.

The second issue is more ... unusual. It appears our lady Buttercup took umbrage at the ... ah, overflowing eloquence of valiant Henricius in describing his deeds. And she's not alone!. Ahemm... I mean, she claims that she's not alone in this regard, and that unspecified associates of her are of the same mind.

Thus, the fact that we are dealing with here is not Henricius's heroics, but his description of them. Now, the relevance of this strongly depends on the nature of the lady Buttercup. For should she belong to the Faerie Realm, well, we may have a case of "molesting the faeries" -- and, given how with denizens of the Realm an innocent word is often sufficient to cause retribution apparently beyond all proportion, we can imagine the effect of all we've heard from Henricius. On the other hand, should the lady Buttercup be a demon, as she claimed, the situation would be more complex; for again, Henricius speech may be construed as having brought the malicious eye of Hell to bear on us all, imperiling our souls -- but at the same time, agreeing with the lady Buttercup on having Henricius change his version might be construed as "dealing with demons".

I would propose the following solution. From now on, Henricius will describe his exploits to this Tribunal only under explicit request of the Praeco, and only by answering specific questions of the Praeco himself with a "yes", "nay", or similarly concise expression. This should prevent any further, unnecessary antagonizing of whatever entities have been roused by Henricius's words -- without entailing an actual "deal" with Hell, should the lovely lady Buttercup be indeed an emissary of that Realm. I'm sure this will find the agreement of noble Henricius, who is a true christian and takes to heart the prescription of "not letting his left hand know what his right hand does".

And while I'm sure you, sodales, will sorely miss Henricius's inspiring and captivating retelling of his exploits, I hope you will agree with me on the necessity of our sacrifice. Who would cast his vote with mine on this?

Ecelo ex Miscellanea

Well that makes things simple. There is no Hermetic crime of slander. Certainly not of slandering Hell nor do demons have standing to bring suit. I believe the laws of England do forbid slander so I suggest this being bring its case before an English crown court.

Now, as demons have no particular right of witness at a Hermetic Tribunal and their testimony by definition cannot be helpful, it is time to bid it leave. Goodbye and go with God.

M. ex G.