Investigating the death of Apollodorus Jerbitonis

Helmut meets with Roberto asking him to attend Alexei outside of his Sanctum, the War room.

Alexei is sitting at the table with books and maps writing a letter. The walls are decorated with banners and patens from his past along with weapon racks.

[i]To My Prima Ariel,

I write to you to assue you that young Roberto has arrived safely at Mons Electi, though not uneventfully. He was accosted by magic and had his mundane supplies raided, a shameful and dishonourable tradition in Normandy I'm afriad. I am sorry that this happened, and I doubt it was random. He also met with Valerian and Rotgers in separate events with both leaving their usual impression. My own thoughts were that Rotgers was responisble for the raid, but that is perhaps not the case.

Shortly after Roberto's arrival, he informed us of his troubles, and immediately after we received a guest and his prisoner. The guest was Valerian and he claimed to have found a bandit responsible for Roberto's robbery and possibly others. The man had been beaten and subdued and asked Roberto if he could identify the man as the one who had robberd him but he could not fully identify him. Roberto declined to press charges and Valerian led him away to face the other charges.

It was only a bit later that I recognized the man, so beaten about the face was he. It was Calefacto (I believe that is his name?) of House Tytalus. I am not overly familiar with him but I know him as someone who lives at Val Negra with you. He is due to face High Crimes soon and I would want to know of what, if anything you would have done with this. I am sure there is more to this than I know and I do not wish to make rash decisions regarding it.

Ever your Servant,
Alexei Von Kroitsau [/i]

He puts down the pen and awaits for Roberto's arrival.

Robero arrives in his usual outfit and demeanor. He greets the other magi hertilly and is clearly impressed by the war room.
If allowed, he will read over the letter. He scowls, grimaces, then scowls again.
[color=brown]I would prefer if you didn't refer to me as "young Roberto". And I think you need to focus more on Valarian, the danger her covenant mate faces, and of other nefarious deeds transpiring.
And the part where you say "ever your servant", that sounds a bit submissive and docile. Now me, I would say "get your princess but over here and deal with $#!+". So perhaps your approach is better. Still, maybe say "ever stalwart at your side" or "semper fididdle".

Alexei offers wine to Roberto and shows some of the trophies before presenting the letter.

He smiles at his response chuckling before taking another sip of his wine. He nods at the initial request from Roberto.

"Very well Sodale. It was more of an affectation that our Prima applied to you, it is not meant as an offense. But I must be getting old..." he runs a hand through his hair. "I remember saying something similar to my own Pater Tristan in his missive to our Primus at the time. I shan't offer the response he gave me though." he said as he strokes his cheek in memory of Tristan's cuff.

"But I assure you that Valerian is on my mind, tending to the castle and the up coming Tribunal is key to that. But this is part of how to defend Calefacto...if defense is called for. I have no intention of working hard to spare a brigand. I will not sully my honour to become like Valerian in order to defeat him. I do want your council on this youn..." he pause and smiles. "My apologies. Roberto. What else should be added? If you want to send your own letter as well we can work on it." he offers a chair.

"But tell me of other nefarious deeds if you will."

[color=brown]I thank you for the wine. I had brought some Andalusian wine with me, but it was lost in the wreckage and looting incident.
As for this Tytalus magus, my only concern is that he gets a fair trial. Innocent or not, he deserves a fair defense and good council. In my mind, he is not guilty until the evidence is presented and judgment made. If found guilt in just tribunal, let him face his penalties like a man.
As for other nefarious deeds, you know much more than I. Perhaps it is time to tell me everything you know about Valarian, the Duresca Scrolls, and everything else that is going on.
This is a good vintage. Where were the grapes grown?

"I'm glad you like the wine, it is from local wineries I believe. I've often wanted to have some fields planted within the Regio...the aura would likely produce a spectacular vintage." he takes a sip and thinks a moment. "Might cause some Warping though."

"I'm sure he'll get a trial, fairness...well, to be honest this Tribunal may be as fair as any when justice comes by democratic vote. If he is a bandit then justice is to be inflicted upon him, if innocent, then justice shall set him free. But...was he here for something else and been framed?"

Alexei pours more wine. "Valerian...I thought I was honoured when I first met him. He seemed about to take me under his wing, even gave me the honour of guarding the Prima of Bonisagus. An honour indeed. But it was also to get a token for the aegis. Apollodorous and several others rushed off to Greece to save one of Apollodorus's amici. Then we hurried back and were attacked by Valerian and a cabal of other conspirators. One fled when he saw me, when he saw it was not just Valerian and some Grogs they faced. Valerian attacked Apollodorus and brought down part of the castle, but in the end it was a dagger in the back, literally, that slew him. Valerian disappeared but we captured one, That one later killed himself. We did some research into Apollodorus and his studies; he is older, far older than we imagined. Also descended from House Tremere. He had been researching the Duresca Scrolls and many other incidents and believed Guernicus was behind all of the major incidents in the Order's History."

Alexei drains his cup, his mirth gone. "I don't know how much of it is true, but a Hoplite of Guernicus comitted outright murder...not something that one would do on a hoax or unfounded theory. As for Valerian, he is still a Hoplite and still performs his duties. He is more than what I've thought, perhaps not much more...but I wish he were more clear cut in his villainy. We also met in front of the bishop of all people and obviously has connections in the church and mundane politics. And he's powerful, a strong warrior in magical combat. Do not underestimate him as I have, it is perhaps only that I was not much of a threat to him that he didn't kill me, he easily passed my defenses."

Valarian sounds like a one trick pony. Our best defense is to invent some sort of Terram ward, effective against sling stones or collapsing towers. I presume you must have developed one by now, so I would find a copy of that lab text quite useful.
Or maybe I can invent one.
So you say Valarian dropped a tower on him, but a dagger is what killed him. Something is missing here. Valarian didn't kill him, whoever stabbed him did.
What did you do with the body? The dagger? Any magical analysis upon either? And how much do you really know about this Appolodorus? Maybe we need to learn a little more about him.
Another glass of wine please?

BTW' I just realized the time differential. Roberto would have inquired about such a ward earlier, and if you guys don' have one' he would invent it by now. I will lay out a plan in Road to Bibracte, whic I am using for the space in time between here and then.

((Roberto is supposedly setting up his lab right now or something (note I've actually handwaved the whole setup a lab from scratch bit, like I did for between this meeting is at most 3 seasons (Autumn 1226, Winter 1226 and Spring 1227) but it is very likely that this meeting happens in Spring 1227, immediately prior to the Tribunal.
You're starting to get caught in the trap I've laid here. There's so much shiny in the summer covenant that you bite off more than you can chew... :smiley:
My work here is done. Muhahahaha!))

It is not the aspects of summer that overwhelm me, it is the time bifrocated multiple threads :smiley:
If this meeting is held at in autumn or start of winter, that gives me two seasons to work on a ward. Which I calculate will be what is required to invent this sort of spell from scratch. If held at the start of Spiring, I can invent a weaker one in a single season.
Or use a Lab Text, because you guys really should have done this by now :laughing:
A PeVi or MuVi anti-Terram magic spell is another thought.

[color=brown]To follow up further...
Where else has he worked? Who else knew him? Friends? Associates? Surviving filiae? Family? Housekeeper?
Why the dual identity? Why was he so paranoid? How did he come by the "secrets history" he knew? Where or who did he learn it from? What was he planning to do with it?
And I need to know a little more about the day he died. The whole story, starting with you getting out of bed and brushing your teeth.

Alexei nods at the rapid fire of questions before sighing at the end of them. "That's a lot of questions and I have few answers. He was in the Thebes Tribunal, that much I know, likely was there when he was in the Tremere. He has surviving filiae and grandfiliae in Tremere, here in Normandy. The Housekeeper, our steward died shortly after him. Much of what we know was from him. He changed his indentity when he left his House and joined the Jerbiton, I imagine so he could throw off his pursuers. He came by these secrets through intensive research and interviews, I also believe he spoke with beings in Regios that pass through time slowly. He ultimately planned to make a grand revelation, I don't know when, possibly at a Tribunal."

"As for the day he died...I still don't know the whole story. One of his amici and my own good friend returned from an isle in Greece in terrible danger from some infernal or dark fae creature he called vamphyres or something. There was a clutch of them and we were to go and try and rescue his friends and their prisoners. When we arrived we debated and argued about how we were going to do it...yes...the Quaesitor had objections to my plan, they wanted to tunnel through the cliff side..." Alexei pauses for long moments as he struggles to recall. "She said...something...perhaps his real name...and he panicked, nearly abandoned the attack on the creatures. Instead we split, several went to the rescue, while Apollodorus and myself and some others returned here. We found some dead grogs and the assassins who immediately attacked us. When they saw he wasn't alone two fled. That is as much of the whole story as I can recall right now. I am...I have been criticized for being uncurious at times. That we were attacked was enough for me. The proof of the conspiracy was that a Hoplite of Guernicus would so brazenly attack without declaring a March or Wizard's War."

((The Housekeeper?!?!))

(I don't know whay I said that, I had something else i was going to write, got interrupted at work, then went back and think I put in what i thought I must have meant...I was a bit rushed.))

[color=brown]Okay, in the tale you just told me, you had mentioned nothing about that. You are leaving out a lot of details.
You woke up that morning. Then what?
When and where did an attack take place? Who attacked and how? Where were you, where was he? Who saw what? Be precise, just tell me facts, not conclusions.

Alexei is taken aback and pauses right before he was about to speak. He sits back and squints at Roberto as if studying him and his intent, the pause extends a few more seconds before he speaks again.

'Are you investigating me?' he wonders to himself.

"I am a routine does not change much. I rise early with sun and raise my parma and engage in calisthenics. From there I meet with the sergeants for a watch report and then have breakfast, often with some of the Covenmates other times with some of the covenfolk. They appreciate my gentle gift and the side effects of my magic. From there I have my studies. That day was no different, it was dark when I was summoned to the courtyard, Mufarrj had returned and was badly burned, the magus had sent him back from the location in Greece. We assembled the turb, I cast several spells to enhance our effectiveness and we were off.

"When we came back it was Apollodorus, Fiona, Viscaria, Therophosa, Jacques, and myself along with grogs. Opposing were Valerian, two other black robed magi that I don't know and could not recognize, and one more who we took prisoner and he later died unidentified. Valerian disappeared after he did his deed. Otherwise it is exactly as I have said, but you won't be able to speak with Viscaria or Therophosa, they are not with us." Alexei's initial inclination was to become annoyed at the persistent questioning, but now he wondered...was he missing something after all these years? "But if that's still not enough you shall have to tell me what you want more specifically, I shan't go into sundry details of my morning consitutional."

Roberto smiles.
[color=brown]Sorry if I seem interrogative. I just wanted to shock you into being specific. And to perhaps remember what you may have forgotten.
We are getting closer. Now, when you say Valerian "did his deed", how exactly did that go down? You and the others are fighting with Valerian and two men in black. Fighting how? Fists? Spells? Insults? Apollodorus was in a tower? Are you sure? And you think Valerian collapsed it. Are you guessing or are you sure? He runs away after? You dig Apollodorus out of the rubble, and he had a dagger in his back? Any other corpses?
Where is the dagger?
I am not investigating you. Not a Q-man. I am trying to solve a mystery.
Where is the dagger?

Alexei leads Roberto through the Covenant to where the battle took place ((the courtyard I believe)). "I and others were here, above, including Apollodorus. We were casting spells at each other and I teleported down. But Valerian dropped the ceiling above Apollodorus onto him and the rest of us. That was the last I saw him alive or ever again; the body was never found. Regarding the dagger...I truly don't know about that, but someone mentioned it at some point, my own recollection was he died under the rubble and his body detoriated rapidly due to his advanced age. But ge deflected some of the debris away from others, dying a hero's death. Valerian disappeared and I chased after the remaining assasin, he was heading toward a vacant lab. It is a poorly guarded secret that there are Regio entrances inside it, though we do guard what we can of them, they are not well understood. The one that was left nearly made it through when rocks were dropped on him as well and I stabbed him through the leg and then we bound him thoroughly. He had a means to poison himself, or posibly Valerian did it remotely, perhaps through an Intangible Tunnel spell. He was dead by poison before we could question him."

((Point of fact, there is no dagger, nor is there/was there a body recovered.))

((There needs to be a clear distinction that Alexei is detailing the story as he remembers it and what happened in observed facts as players. No one ever saw a dagger, nor was one ever recovered. You can say, as a player, I don't recall all the details, and I'm just making Alexei say this, it just means that Roberto needs to move onto other people to investigate the matter, and he'll get a different set of facts from them.))

((OK...that's what i originally thought. But in a recent discussion someone said there was mention of a dagger or something so I figured I must have been wrong. and when you say no body was discovered, you mean Apollodorus obviously, not the prisoner. I'll amend the latest post))

Well then, this changes everything. maybe the guy isn't even dead.
[color=brown]Who else witnessed these event? I need to talk to them.