The Case of the Wayward Apprentice

(Canaries players, continue at your own risk :laughing: )

In my saga, I am currently staging the Loch Leglean Tribunal meeting of 1224. One of the major cases, if not the biggie (at least as far as the saga's covenant of Insula Canaria is concerned) has to do with the universally-accepted Peripheral Code rulings that the master is responsible for the actions of his apprentice.

The situation is this. A Criamon archmagus, believing himself to be on the verge of Final Twilight, took on one last apprentice, and was hell-bent on seeing him gauntleted before he embraced the Great Mystery. To that end, he spent every season teaching the boy. No lab-work, no studying from books. Four seasons a year of one-on-one instruction.

This apparently went on for about ten years. Sometime around 1219, the apprentice Duncan turned to diabolism and replaced his master; at least, that seems to be the last time that anyone saw both of them. Faileas (the Criamon master) had been reclusive for a number of years, and he and the apprentice spent practically all their time in his sanctum, so his sodales thought it was odd, but were not concerned.

In 1221, Duncan was exposed but managed to make his escape (along with a good portion of the covenant's library). He has not been seen since. Nor has Faileas.

Now, it's the next Tribunal, and this will be brought up. I just have questions about the procedural side of it, based on the material in Houses of Hermes: True Lineages, pp. 56-58 (Tribunal Procedures).

My understanding or interpretation of Peripheral Code is that, since the master is responsible for his actions, and that his apprentice has turned to diabolism, that Faileas is responsible, and thus he would be the one charged with the High Crime of "Dealing with devils, lest I imperil my soul and the souls of my sodales as well." Assuming that this is the case (and if not, please explain where my logic fails), My questions are as follows:

Who would be the principles in the case? The Defense Principle would, naturally, be the accused Faileas, himself. But neither he nor Duncan have been seen since. Neither the Quaesitor who investigated the incident in 1221, nor Whitburh Frithowebba (the Quaesitor in Loch Leglean), nor any of the Hoplites have been able to find any trace of them by any means at their disposal.

Given that the accused is not there to present his defense, who would that duty fall to? Whitburh is the only Quaesitor in the Tribunal. Would she try to find someone who believed in his innocence, or at least would be willing to play devil's advocate (if you'll pardon the pun)? Or would it be a matter of "Oh, you're not here to argue in your defense? Sucks to be you"?

Given that this is a very serious High Crime against the order, I would imagine there would be no shortage of people wishing to act as Prosecution Principle? Who would be the preferred choice? One of his former covenant sodales? One of his filii (if they can be found)? One of the hoplites? Or whoever wants him Marched the most or wins the most Certamens leading up to the choice?

Publishing the case would also be problematic. Can't very well serve the defendant if he's gone missing. But if the Redcaps spend the better part of the last year asking around for Faileas, at every covenant and every aonaran's hut, would that meet the requirement?

If anyone's interested, this case is more or less a result of what happened in a thread in the In the Ruins of Bibrate saga, and while the events don't mirror exactly between sagas, they're pretty close.

Any input would be appreciated, as I really should have thought this through in advance.

I assume that the apprentice is known to be a diabolist for sure. In that case, the apprentice is free game through the Order of Hermes and can be killed on sight by any member of the OoH. No question about that at all.

Now, the tricky case is the Master. AFAIK, he is responsible. Responsible and guilty are 2 different things. He is responsible for the actions, and so must act to correct them. A fine would be in order for sure, and him hunting down the apprentice would be in order as well. If he is not a diabolist he would be heavily chastised, but not marched IMO. unless he had enemies that wanted that line of prosecution followed, and then it would come to a vote.

Since he does not seem to be around, I guess the case is moot, though. It is difficult to prosecute someone in final twilight. The tribunal becomes responsible for hunting down the apprentice, then.

Would that be simply because he's a diabolist, and all diablosts must die? Or is it because he's a diabolist with knowledge of the Order (as an apprentice) and those secrets must not fall into "enemy" hands?

And would the investigating Quaesitor (who resides in the Normandy Tribunal) be justify in ordering his death at the time, or would Whitburh at the time? Or is that something that can only be done by the Tribunal?

What the tribunal does is just sanction his hunting by anyone and spread the word through the Order. Diabolist + knowledge of the OoH = must die, top priority. Anyone hunting him down before that would be on the clear as well. It is just bad stuff stacked one above the other: any of them is enough to warrant his death, but piling them on just makes him more of a target.

There's two cases I see here: Faileas' crime (if any), and Duncan's crime.

Because Duncan isn't a member of the Order (he never swore the Oath), he's got no legal protection at all. A quaesitor can well order his death, and post bounties and so on, but there's no legal reason why anyone can't nuke the guy to flinders at any time.

Duncan is a Gifted individual who is not a member of the order, which means he falls into the 'join or die!' category. He's a diabolist, which excludes him from 'join.' This leaves '... or die.' The fact that he knows a lot about the inner workings of the Order is just additional reasons why he needs to be dealt with quickly.

Any magus with even a hint of Code knowledge will be aware of this, and as such won't wait for or need permission of any kind before opening fire. There is no tribunal case here, because Duncan is not a member of the Order.

As for Faileas' crime: he is guilty of producing an enemy of the order. However, if this occurred because of his lapse into (final) twilight, the tribunal may be somewhat lenient. Or not. It's a good cautionary tale on why you shouldn't over-train an apprentice. Faileas' guilt or innocence is the tribunal case, with the appropriate punishment to be meted out should he return.

In the event that Faileas does return, he would technically have the right to bring Duncan's slayer before Tribunal on charges of depriving him of magical power (his apprentice). In reality this won't happen, because the moment he shows his face and tries to put forward any kind of case regarding a known diabolist he's only going to expose himself to the sharp end of Hermetic justice.

I do not necessarily agree with Kid. Although Duncan has not made the Oath, he is part of OoH as an official Apprentice.

An apprentice rights equal to any other valuable property of his master.
If any Mage destroys another Mage's property without a proper Wizard's War declared beforehand, I am sure they would face some serious charges.
Duncan's apprenticeship became official as soon as his master opened his Arts. In any normal case, e.g.: Duncan is not a diabolist, this alone would protect him from any kill-on-sight approaches and would grant him treatment equal to any gifted individuals, who might become a full fledged Magi within your Tribunal with voting rights.

I hope we can agree on this one as this is the exact reason why first of all Duncan's diabolic nature have to be proven without doubt, I would definitely bring in all present Sodales to testify. (see a later point how it can be used later on to condemn thyself)

After Duncan is convicted and the penalty of death has been accepted, you can move to the next point: decide if Faileas is guilty in negligence and/or diabolism.
I would warn the players this point is to come on the point they are also aware of the Code.

Let his Sodales defend Faileas name or let them work out who would be the most appropriate defender or somebody might even step forward to defend his name.
If there are other Criamon in the Tribunal they will be most interested how the case is handled, especially as you mentioned Faileas is / was an Archmage. It would reflect quite bad on the whole Criamon House if one of their most esteemed one is proven guilty in such a crime.
Branding Faileas as diabolist can lead to some serious after effects:

  • whoever enjoys the fruit of his work, learn from books written by Faileas would have to present said books and branded free of diabolism.
  • all his previous apprentices will want to defend him from diabolism charges. If Faileas is proved guilty as they would become de facto possible-diabolists.

In case the extremely unlikely would happen and Faileas is convicted on the charge of diabolism I am sure Quesitors would confiscate all his manuscripts (books, sumae, lab text, devices etc) to review if these contain any reference to his diabolism. All his former apprentices would be questioned, etc, etc. All Quesitors are familiar how the House Tytalus diabolism was uncovered and all the lessons learned.

I would imagine Faileas would be proved innocent on both charges if the defense can prove the Final Twilight came before Duncan's treason.
If you want to shock your players you can have the hired/voluntary defender leave the scene after the second charge is resolved and bring in the third charge: negligence and diabolism of his covenant and/or sodales.

Quite certainly (unless proven guilty) players will be free from the diabolism charges (if you have someone with related background this will become quite interesting).
But they will be proven guilty for not recognizing Faileas Final Twilight and an Duncan acting alone for years and becoming diabolist and even stealing OoH books.
End of the day someone is guilty. Faileas was just proved to be innocent and his Sodales just condemned thyself when they have told all the Tribunal how they have uncovered Duncan is a diabolist.

As you mentioned, Duncan had stolen good portion of the library. The obvious question arises if those books were the reason for Duncan to become a Diabolist.
I am most certain if there are political enemies or simply someone would like to make a name for herself, will twist the imaginary knife by making it public what Duncan has stolen... one of the outcome of these trials would be to make it official, which is anyway a common knowledge: these books would belong to whoever finds and executes Duncan (of course, after a Quesitor or a trusted Bonisagus / Criamon has reviewed these books).

In my opinion, the only way your players can come out of this misery clean, if they hunt down Duncan and present his head for questioning to the Quesitor before the Tribunal.