Lady Aysel Dunn’aelc… it is pretense, thought Aysel, or was it really? The form of a lady was hard to keep, this was true, but the motions, the games, the politics, it came back to her so easily now that she had to wield these things she had learned so early in her childhood against a master of the game… Karl “The Benefactor” this is why she did this, to earn status in Greenrock, and to keep a keen eye on him, she could fight him no other way now, he was too powerful, the brownies had spoken of how one could only do so much, but here and now, Karl could do to much before he caught up with himself.
She sat at Salvia’s tavern now, dressed in a fine satin gown the color of the darkest of red roses with silver trimmings and gloves that glowed nearly like the moon in the candle lit room. Her fingers cradled a goblet of mulled wine as her thoughts went through their own mulling. The cry of the herald interrupted the stream of thoughts:
Hear’ye Hear’ye… All citizens are invited to the public trial of the villainous murder that goes by the name of Torin the Devil. Silence is expected at the court room or it will be dealt with severe punishment!
Aysel rose from the table nearly knocking over her goblet, cursed a bit to herself; for her momentary clumsiness and for the Planar, tossed a few coins to the waitress then opened up her umbrella and waded into the rain, heading for the Pinnacle.
She looked upon the newly placed statues again, wondering why she had let them bother her to the point of trying to destroy them when they first were erected, it was a silly thing, the rage that had moved her to do it, but the calmness had come to her shortly after, she began to think of what he had said to bring the calm upon her, but it was nothing particular, it was just him… her mind lingered on it when a soldier walked past, checking the torches that surrounded the statues, ones that replaced some that she had destroyed in her anger.
The soldier began walking towards the pinnacle building when she stopped him and asked him of the nature of the crime and trial… Torin had killed five patrollers and injured several soldiers in a fit of rage, to go after Karl. She frowned slightly and tried to maneuver herself into a position to speak with him before the trial… it was not to happen, she dropped her queries and allowed him to escort him to the court room. The gathering was large, waitresses, merchants, commoners, and then faces that she new well.
Zeta, Protheus and Eorindel were with her as well, they were the people that had been with her at the beginning of this for the most part, people that she would normally tell all her thoughts and plans to, but now, it was too dangerous, only one of them knew everything, the one that no one would expect her to associate so closely with. He stood on the other side of the room, silently taking all things in, checking the bars, the guards, even the crowd, but yet he still kept his own cool pretenses… the thought echoed into her head… he needed those pretenses, just as she needed her own, it was survival.
Zeta sat next to her on the padded benches of the court room, she had pretenses as well… her whole kind did, that was how they survive, she is strong and ironed willed, yet she too scans the whole of the room, looking at every single piece in this chess board. Pretense was survival here, thought Aysel… The Drow… the halfling, and myself… we all use the methods we can… but Eorindel… she glanced over past Zeta, Eorindel’s temper could be his tragic flaw. He was thick headed at times, and there was passion in his anger, it was not necessarily bad, but in these times, his temper and passion caused more harm then good. She feared for him the most, if Torin could be angered to the point of capture and trial… then Eorindel could be provoked as well.
She sighed silently and turned her attentions away from her fear for the other elf, Protheus was still standing, and the soldier that had escorted her in was upon him now, ordering him to sit down. She would have laughed if not for the mood; he cast his pretenses and the traits of his race well, hiding analysis in the midst of impertinence. Soon after the drow gave in the trial began, she listened less to the accusations and statements then to reactions. Karl came in and gave each of us a defeating look… he had his own pretense, though he feigned little in the area of power and manipulation. The trial began, Karl summoned Torin to a magical circle… it resembled the others, but was smaller and more for containing then summoning.
The Judge spoke:
Torin Sharwind, otherwise known as Torin the Damned, Torin the Devil, and murderer of children you stand accused of heinous crimes against this city… how do you plead?
Torin stood silent… there was something wrong, Aysel felt it with all her gut… the eyes… there was something wrong with them. She puzzled on, just allowing the look to pass barely through her eyes. Eorindel whispered to her and she brought a hand to her lips trying to motion him not to test the will of the court… the judge spoke again.
Tell me devil spawn is it true that on the day following the hanging of one spy known as Serra Snyden that you and some flame double attacked this office?
Trembles and a frown visibly passed over Aysel then, she could not help it, she had not known of this. The past few days, she had been isolated, blending with the ladies of the court, tending to the ill, how could this have happened and she not known about it… Serra… oh Serra… The thought echoed in her brain, her thoughts were not so much on the trial any more but the reactions of Torin.
There… the eyes, she was right… they would normally glow red… now they glowed blue, something was wrong, perhaps after the trial she could look closer.. There were several possibilities for this, from Eorindel’s expressions she knew he favored the fact that perhaps they had caught the double and not Torin himself, but it could also be that Torin had retreated to somewhere in his mind, away from the trial and imprisonment in order to protect the remainder of his allies. It could also be that the thing was a doppelganger that Karl had control of. The fourth possibility was the one that frightened her the most, the possibility that Karl had gained power over devil’s as well. She knew he had power over the celestials and demons… but she didn’t know about the devils… the very possibility rocked through her. It could be any of them or something she hadn’t even thought of, but this didn’t matter, it was what Karl sought to do, he was successful, he gained more status with the people, and had taken away another two of Aysel’s dwindling list of allies.
The punishment was set, they would keep Torin as a way to flush out his allies, and court was dismissed, Protheus, Zeta, Eorindel left slowly, allowing themselves to trail after the Soldier who “escorted” the Lady Aysel. As they left the court room, he offered the chance to look at the prisoner.
As Aysel looked upon him, a sudden realization and guilt hit upon her: If she hadn’t pressed Serra to look for answers for her, she would have been happy and safe in her library, and Torin would have never lost his temper and fallen into the trap. If Serra was not dead, she was captured at least, and held out of her reach… and Torin… The drow said something then as she was about to turn away.
Until next time…demon
Torin, the real Torin would have never stood for being called demon… where ever he was, it was not in that body in that cage of a cell. It was time to speak with her shadow again, she brushed up against him as she left, leaving a small note in his hand…
Later that evening, two elves stood talking on a balcony overlooking a city far to the east, after a while the shadows move and they are no longer seen from the ground. One leaves and the other one lingers for a while, looking out at the moon until coming to some sort of decision… she removes something from her pack, it is an ancient winged helmet, and it glows of a new determination.