Summer 1222 Tribunal: The Trial of Adorjan Megidezo

The tribunal is all seated in an underground amphitheater with four stories of box seats.

As Great William announces the first order of business, "Ratification of the Wizard's March of Adorjan scholae Bonisagi," a long line of men and women file into a box: approximately fifty people in various styles of hat, all in the same shade of crimson. (Those who make an Int+OoH roll of 12 or better will recognize that Prima Insatella herself, along with every Magical Mercere in existence, has come to see this trial.)

Guglielmo clears his voice. "Standard protocol is for the Quaesitor who declared the Wizard's March to explain the details of his investigation to the Tribunal. With Justinius missing, however, we are forced to proceed with what limited resources we have. Sir Guillaume d'Arras doctrinae Merceris, please take the stand."

Little William stands and approaches the main dais and takes a seat. Iudicium rises, and scribes a circle around the dais with the aid of his filia, Trutina. "You will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth," Iudicium chants. Guillaume nods.

Iudicium rounds upon the big Redcap. "Did you kill Adorjan of Bonisagus?"

"I did, Quaesitor."

"Can you describe for us the circumstances?"

"Justinius declared a Wizard's March after investigating a report that the magus had murdered a Redcap in furtherance of a demonic ritual. We went to his sanctum but he was not there; the girl we now know as Maga Cygna told us the site of Adorjan's infernal rituals, so we closed in upon the location. The girl had a wand that cast Balls of Abysmal Flame, but it was found to cast with no Penetration, so Adorjan's blood is on my hands alone. If the Wizard's March fails to be ratified, I alone will bear the responsibility for slaying another magus."

There is some angry tittering among the assembled Mercere.

Iudicium waves his hand for silence. "Were you present for the Quaesitor's investigation, Guillaume?"

Little Will shakes his head in the negative. "To my knowledge, he had with him only his favoured Hoplite when he investigated Bethany's murder. He summoned me afterwards, when he declared the March."

The aged Quaesitor purses his lips. "Thank you, Guillaume. You are dismissed."

Iudicium and Goliard approach Great William and whisper among themselves for a few minutes, prior to resuming their places. Guglielmo clears his throat and announces, "Cygna filia Gruis doctrinae Birna, please take the stand."

((Cygna's OoH lore check: Int 4 + OoH lore 1 + die roll of 2 = 7. Not even close.))

Cygna is fasting this day, in preparation for the ordeal and to ready herself for the consequences of her actions.

Cygna's jaw drops at this revelation. All these years that she had believed that it was her hand, wielding the wand, that had struck the killing blow, and they had known all along that her wand was impotent against Adorjan? That they had let her be deceived, had let her carry the burden of guilt and said nothing?

Cygna prays quickly that whatever words and actions she takes will further God's will and be in the interest of Justice, and that God's justice and Hermetic Justice coincide.

She then walks to the dais, back straight and held high. Not proud, but not shamed either.

((Cygna does have The body of evidence presented to Justinius that resulted in Adorjan Megidézó being cast out of the Order of Hermes embodied in her Memory Palace, so she should have the details down. Anything she says, she will believe to be the truth.))

As Cygna steps onto the dais, Iudicium and Trutina trace the circle around the dais, and the old Guernicus solemnly declares, "You will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth."

(Iudicium's stats are on my laptop at home, but IIRC this effect has something like 60 points in penetration, so I'll assume it works.) Cygna feels overwhelmed by a sense of trust and respect for the old Guernicus, and she feels the overpowering urge to please him, to do anything she can to make him happy. She recognizes that it must be a Mentem effect causing her to feel that way, but the feelings are just as strong all the same.

"Describe to the tribunal the nature of your relationship with Adorjan of Bonisagus," he commands, and Cygna wants, needs, that stern and unyielding face to soften with approval...

Attravere smiles and touches two fingers to his cap toward his brothers and sisters when they make their entry as a pleasant acknowledgement of their presence.

He'll look for Alessandro among the crowd in particular to offer a particularly respectful nod.

While people are still moving about getting seats during the announcement of the business, Attravere will quietly and quickly walk over to sit near his colorfully capped friends.

Alessandro smiles fondly, and Attravere gets a seat between his aged mentor and the hot number he hooked up with last spring, Azura.

"I want this bastard to burn," she whispers to Attravere. "I want to raise his ghost and dig up his body so I can eviscerate the sonofabitch over and over and over again and make him watch." She clenches her long narrow fingers into an awkward fist.

((yeah, her Mentem resistance is a measly 28, no way she's blocking that.))

[color=red]"Adorjan was a magus at Duos Flumen, where I grew up and spent my apprenticeship, first with Mikhail and then with my mater, Grus. Shortly after my Arts were Opened, I am told, Adorjan offered to teach me Magic Theory, in exchange for my assistance with his laboratory. He was what could be described as a harsh master, in that he firmly believed in mistakes should be punished. I was not the best of students, through no fault of his, and I felt the switch on my back on many occasion. I still bear those marks, not just from that first season but from later years.

"That entire spring, it felt to me that he would go out of his way to belittle me, to insult my abilities while at the same time commenting on how intelligent and gifted I was. I bit my tongue, out of respect for the magus, but he still seemed to provoke me at every turn until I could take no more and I started to yell back. That seemed to please him, and for the next couple of months, every time that I lost my temper, whether with him or with anyone else, he praised me. At the end of my lessons, he took me aside after swearing me to secrecy, told me that he could tell that I was destined to greatness, that I had gifts such as he had never seen before, and felt that by strictly adhering to the Code that I would someday swear, that I would only fetter myself. He said that he knew of a way that I would be able to garner more power than I would through Hermetic study alone. I believed what he told me, felt what he said to be true, and told him that I would do what it took to become as powerful as he knew I would be. He then took me to a hidden chamber in the woods near Duos Flumen, again swore me to secrecy, and explained that by swearing my allegiance to the Princes of Hell, at the proper time, they would aid me in my studies and my quest for power. He told me that I had earned the grace of Satan, and that I should bear his mark. He them Mutoed a length of iron into a branding iron, and graced my body with the sigil of Satan." Cygna's hand rises to her breast.

[color=red]"It was a few years before he asked for my assistance in the laboratory, although I did speak with him often, after dinner or when I was given some time to myself outside of my studies. I stole away, and we...Adorjan and I...spoke of my progress, my future, what he described as "my destiny." And, when we were alone, we would steal away and speak of the other paths to knowledge and power. A few months after the Gathering of Twelve Years of 1203,I became Grus's apprentice. I was not adjusting to the arrangement as well as I should have, I'm afraid. Grus was happily married, with three beautiful children. I freely admit that I was jealous of what she had. I was fourteen, and wanted something like that for myself. That winter, we worked on the wand that cast Ball of Abysmal Flame, and we often discussed my feelings toward Grus and David, of my jealousy of their happiness, and how I longed for something like that for myself. When we had finished, and it was time for me to return to my dominae, we once more withdrew to his hidden sanctum. He explained that Leviathan had found me pleasing and acceptable, and Adorjan placed the mark of Leviathan upon my body." Cygna's hand moves to her gut, then she folds her hands in her lap again.

[color=red]"A couple of years later, he invoked his right as Bonisagus to take me, and I assisted him in the invention of his Longevity Ritual. During the course of my working with him, he started to ask me questions of a...personal nature." Cygna blushes, but continues, obviously deeply embarrassed. [color=red]"He learned that I was yet a virgin, but that I had feelings for...certain boys in the covenant. He...encouraged my interest in them, and even offered assistance should I wish to pursue my amorous intent." She heaves a deep sigh of regret.

[color=red]"He offered to speak with them on my behalf (they were both of an age that they were no longer bothered by Adorjan's gift), and arranged a place for us to rendezvous for our illicit pursuits. I accepted his offer, and gave my body freely to them...and, over the next several years, to anybody who wanted me." Cygna looks down at the hands in her lap.

[color=red]"When my time in his laboratory was done, he again took me to his hidden sanctum, told me that my actions had greatly pleased Asmodeus, and placed his sigil on my body.

It was only a few months later that he invoked his right of Bonisagus again, this time to work on a device for the covenant's defence. He praised me at every opportunity, told me how impressed he was with the progress I had made since our first season together, and convinced me that I had more to offer Duos Flumen and the Order as a whole than anybody he knew. It was not long before I started to believe him, and my head swelled with pride and my own self-importance. Once more, he told me that I had been pleasing to one of the Princes of Hell, this time to Lucifer, and asked if I dedicated myself to his cause as I had the other Princes before him. I affirmed that I did, and was branded with the sigil of Lucifer.

"I did not assist or study under Adorjan for any length of time after that, but I did often steal away to speak with him, to discuss things and to learn what I could in what little time I was able to spend with him. In the winter of 1212, a few weeks before the Spring Equinox, he sent for me and said that it was time for me to prove myself once and for all. He did not tell me what he meant by that, but said that I must come with him. I did so, without hesitation, and he led me to a wood, about a day away from Duos Flumen, that had been one of our sources of Vis. When we draw near, he told me that we were to perform a ritual that would transform the Vis, give it an Infernal taint. I wondered what purpose that would serve, but said nothing. When we arrived...Bethany ex Mercere was there, cold, naked, shivering, shackled to a stone altar, one that had not been there before." Cygna starts to cry, but forces herself to continue her testimony, one that she is convinced will damn her as surely as she did Adorjan.

[color=red]"Adorjan told me to enchant Bethany, to make her docile for her part in the ritual." She shakes her head as the tears pour down her cheeks.

[color=red]"I should have realized what he intended, should have stopped him. But I didn't. I did as he asked, and he chained her, ankle and wrist, to the stone and drew a knife. That was when I realized what he intended to do, and that is when I finally realized.... I yelled at him, begged, pleaded for him to stop, to not kill Bethany. But he refused, said that she had to die for what she had done, had to die to complete the ritual. He raised the knife. I ran at him, knocked the knife from his hand. He started to yell at me, to curse me. He pushed me aside, grabbed the knife, and started to come at me.

"I panicked. I ran, pulled off my robes, took my heartbeast and flew home as soon as I could. As I started to run...I heard him chanting behind me...and then I heard thunks. Over and over and over." Cygna stops, and draws in on herself, crying uncontrollably and repeating [color=red]"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, please, God, forgive me." for several minutes.

As Cygna's story approaches the end, the fervent whispers in the auditorium crescendo into gasps and cries of shock.

Iudicium remains impassive as he regards Cygna. "I see. Yet Justinius spared you your master's fate. Tell me, Cygna, when exactly did you swear the Hermetic Oath?"

Guillaume leaps to his feet, shouting, "She is not the one on trial, you abhorrent sadist!" Jasmine Merceris grabs Will's arm with surprising strength, and he remembers himself.

"Answer the question," Iudicium demands calmly.

Attravere places a hand over her fist gently. "He deserves every punishment he'll receive in the underworld. You always were very passionate. I wouldn't want to see you dirtying these hands with that... bastard."
The hint of anger seeps into Attravere's tone as he decries the man.

Attravere clenches his hands in anger at the vivid re-telling of what had happened to Bethany. Some of that anger is also directed at Cygna now for her part in Bethany's death, even as she makes her repentance plain to see.

Attravere hangs his head and bites back a few tears in reflecting on the the suffering of a family member beyond what he had previously known. "She was awake." He whispers to himself.

Cygna straightens up, wipes her eyes, and looks at Iudicium. [color=red]"I swore the Oath of Hermes on the 10th day of December, in the Year of Our Lord 1212," she says. [color=red]"Less than a year after I abandoned Adorjan to his fate."

[strike][color=red]"Yes...yes, she was," Cygna whispers as she looks at Attravere, her eyes glistening. [color=red]"I'm so, so sorry. Please, forgive me. I know I don't deserve it, but..."[/strike] ((edited due to dangling modifier.))

Tektonius watches in mute horror to realize a sodalis of his House had done such heinous things, and worse yet, perverted a tradition of the Order to perpetrate his diabolical acts.
Tektonius also notes the Prima of House Mercere, and what appear to be many magical Mercere in attendance.

(Suspecting that Cygna probably couldn't hear Attravere whispering to himself in the stands, but don't worry, he'll bring this up later. Oh, he will.)

((Sorry, I thought when you posted that he placed his hand gently over her fist and told her not to dirty her hands with that bastard, that meant that he was right there. My bad.))

(No biggie! Was actually placing hands over Azura's fist from this post just before the big reveal. Just hadn't had the chance to post until after!)

Iudicium regards Cygna with a face devoid of any compassion, or any emotion but perhaps disgust. "These brands you mentioned... To determine the extent of your complicity, I must insist that y--"

"Objection!" Guillaume shouts, leaping to his feet. "You cannot magically compel a maga to disrobe in public, that is disgraceful!"

"Can't I?" Iudicium replies calmly. "As Presiding Quaesitor and the acting investigator, I am well within my rights to--"

"POINT OF ORDER, I said!" shouts Sophia. "Precedent set at this very Tribunal: No magus can be required to divulge information publicly that may be of a sensitive nature, without first enjoying the right for a Quaesitor of his choosing reviewing the case privately. Spiritus Draconis vs. Goliard Tremeris, 1174."

Goliard glares angrily at Sophia, even as Iudicium relents. "Very well. Cygna, one more question, and then Trutina can examine your... markings, in private. Did you ever actually see the corpse of Bethany Merceris?"

Without knowing whatever happened exactly to Cygna, Hiems knows this to be important to her, and to determine her future.
He doesn't want her to suffer, but he really feels like he should be there to vote for her, lest she be marched (he doesn't know the details, so he believed wrongly). And his sense of duty is potent.

He'll thus write a short letter to cygna before, asking her permission to assist that part of the tribunal.

If she agrees, he'll be torn and hurt to see her like that, and understand her feelings. But she was young, and foolish, and he suspects (perhaps wrongly) Adorjan used Mentem magics on her. Whatever the truth, she no longer is that person.

[color=red]"Yes. Bethany's body was where I had last seen her, although the stone altar she had been bound to was gone. Her...her body had been mutilated, defiled."

She will reply that she has no objection to her witnessing her trial, and would welcome whatever assistance he can offer (although she's unclear what kind of assistance he means).

Iudicium looks up at the loudly chattering magi in the amphitheater. "Trutina, escort Cygna to my laboratory and investigate these markings. This Tribunal will adjourn for a ten-diameter recess."

Trutina leads Cygna down through a network of preternaturally dark caves, and into a large laboratory that looks like it hasn't been used for decades. She dusts off a pallet and then motions for the Bjornaer to lay upon it. "He's not so bad when you get to know him," she says apologetically, while Cygna undresses. "He just wants to be thorough."

Her eyes glow as she inspects each of the brands, and finally looks Cygna in the eye. "I must ask you to suppress your Parma," she declares grimly.

She hesitates for a brief moment, then does as she asks.