The heavy fall of snow and overcast sky seems to be portent of the events of the day. The whole of the Order of the Silver Chalice has returned to Helgabal for the trail of their Lord Commander Davosiel Naïlo. Although he has held the position for only a short time he has gained a fervent following among what is left of the Order. Between the War of Everlasting Darkness and now the constant attacks from the giants and their kin, there are but twenty-three of them left.
The chamber of the throne room was filled. Both sides of the chamber tight with bodies to see what could possibly be levied against one of the divine knights of the crown. A majority of the nobility had shown up for much the same reason. Also filling the space was the elite guard of King Reagent Ree (whom was not present yet) and a sizable number of men-at-arms. After an hour or so of waiting the Magistrate entered the chamber and proceeded to the three step dais before the throne and the temporary seat of power on the main floor of the chamber to the left of the throne. He snapped a tight salute to the throne and turned to address the crowd before him,
“Ladies and Gentlemen, Your King Reagent.”, all members of the crowd stood and faced the King Reagent as he entered the chamber. The knights and the men-at-arms at once snapped to attention with a cacophony of steel. King Reagent Ree made his way to the Reagents throne and sat himself down. “You may proceed.” he growled in an impatient tone to the Magistrate. Everyone was seated once again.
“Today marks a dark day for the Order of the Silver Chalice. Their Lord and Commander, Davosiel Naïlo stands accused of treason and heresy. To be accused of such crimes is to tarnish the armor of all of these great men you see before you. Heroes all of them, virtuous in all respects, and honor bound to uphold the laws of Damara and their respective deities. These are the men to which every child aspires to be. These holy ordained men are the very heart of Damara. Let us hear from he who would levy such charges upon a high elf of such repute as Lord Commander Davosiel. Ambassador Oronothor of Thay, please come forward.”
A bald pallid heavy set man, in heavy woolen red robes, makes his way into the chamber, flanked on either side by his attendants. He proceeds down the aisle way at a leisurely pace thudding his heavy walking stick on the marble tiled floor with every step. Its sound echoes around the chamber like distant thunder.
“I am Oronotor of Thay. Ambassador to Helgabal from Thay as well as former Ambassador to the Drow outpost of Pharvorul.” a murmur of whispers runs through the crowd. “The war with the Drow is over, and to no small degree did I facilitate a non-aggression treaty with them and their merchant houses prior to my return to the surface. I did not choose to be and ambassador to those dark skinned devils, but it was my duty. A duty I did for Thay, as well as for Damara. This outpost lies beneath Damaran soil. It would have been a likely staging point for invasion should the war have continued. By my negotiations did that outpost not become militarized, and it actually would have become a trading partner in time.” another round whispers and boo’s erupts “Be that as it may, I did my duty. While at that blasted outpost some event occurred, the Drow had opened the Abyss in their very own cavern and began to be overrun by demons and undead. I locked myself away with the intention of waiting things out. Well image my surprise and elation to have four very skilled surface elves arrive at my embassy and rescue me from certain death at the hands of some demon. Well these elves were no saviors. The one I thought I could trust, a symbol of “divinity” was no more a paladin than my attendant here. The four of them began with their extortion of whatever moneys I may have. I told them I would give them anything they needed only escort me to the rune circle I had prepared for such an escape. Oh they agreed, and then for what I can only assume was their own sick pleasure they allowed a Drow child to cut out my throat!” He lifts his head to display a garish scar the length of his jawbone. “A Drow child! What are these elves of the light doing with an adolescent Drow girl, while on the surface and elsewhere in the Underdark their brethren die by Drow blades? I would call that treasonous to say the least. Meanwhile, I lie in the sand bleeding gasping my life’s last breath when their healed remembers he serves a god of good and mends my wounds. Of course, I was outraged. I little drow girl had cut my throat and these four did nary a thing. I called for justice. I pleaded with the ‘paladin’ to kill her right there. He witnessed the crime and did nothing! A supposed paladin of Corellion, the very antithesis of drow virtue, did NOTHING! Heresy!. Then they let her GO!” Again the crowd erupts into whispers and Oronotor begins shaking his head “I told the lot of them to bugger off and returned to my hiding spot. The paladin must have had a change of heart. Oh did his tone change, he chased me into my embassy, and I did fear for my life at that time, but with honeyed words he said that he’d take me to my portal, to safety, but only if I told them how to get out of the Underdark. I really had no choice, so I made the best out of the situation that I could. I let them lead me along to the niche I had prepared, I told them I’d give them my gems only after I was underway for fear they would gut me before then. I told them I would look them up if they returned to the surface, and I am a man of my word.”
The Magistrate stands and says “If you have nothing more to say please, have a seat.”
By now the crowd is a low rumble of whispers.
“If it pleases the crown, I would now like to call for Lord Commander Davosiel Naïlo.”, the King Reagent nods to the Magistrate. With a motion the doors to rear of the chamber open and a lone high elf garbed in the fineries of his station confidently marches into the chamber. He marches to before King Reagent Ree, bows to Ree, then salutes the throne further up the dais.
“What say you to these accusation Lord Commander Davosiel?” asks the Magistrate.
“Unfounded lies and slander. A dog from Thay, a nation ruled and presided over by the undead, will not defile my name, nor the honor of my men by proxy. The human filth before you is a rapist and child molester. Drow or not, some things are unforgivable. I am a Paladin of Devotion, the Holy light in dark places. I carry and uphold the law of Damara and my Deity. In the case of Oronotor and this drow child, I ruled that the books were even. She was given her recompense for heinous acts done to her and he was granted mercy from death. My god has not lessened his grace upon me since then and in fact has blessed me more by the day. If it were heresy would this occur? If it is treason to not slay a child, then I plead with you talk to any man or woman of the military, children are non-combatants. I treated her as such. Now for the dishonor brought upon me by these baseless accusations, I give up my right to be judged by the crown and by my peers and request, no, demand trial by combat!”
The crowd gasps and erupts in a roar and Oronotor nearly falls out of his seat.
“May Corellion burn me to ash if this not be a righteous course.”
King Reagen Ree, smirks and cocks and eyebrow. “Granted…”
Oronotor stands to his feet and loudly protests, “What in the name of the Abyss! By the Black Hand , I am the one here that has been wronged! You would risk the ire of Thay by forcing their Ambassador to combat! IS this to be your legacy King Reagent Rea! Your abdication is but a week away and you…”
“SILENCE!” growls Rea, his face red, jowls shaking in rage. “You will not presume to speak to the reigning King in this manner!”
His voice softens to a low growl, “I could grant you time to prepare. I could even allow you a proxy to fight in your stead. I will deny you these things and this trial will end right here. RIGHT NOW! When your wretched soul flees back to Thay, you tell Szazz Tam he can muster his forces and cross the Rashemian Plains if he sore about it. MY legacy will be to remove the fester and rot that is Oronotor of Thay from MY kingdom. High Commander Davos, take up your blade and prove your innocence.”
Davos turns towards Kane, holding out the Stygian Shard, grasps the white leather wrapped hilt and pulls the blade free of its scabbard. A plume of condensed air rises from the frost and ice that coats the blades edge. “Thank you Kane, I’ll not need armor for this one. Oronotor of Thay, I proclaim my innocence to you, to all in witness before me, and to my deity. May your blood purge the taint of your lies.”
Oronotor composes himself, spits on the ground, and mutters, “Self-Righteous Fool” He closes his eyes and drops into the intonations of a spell. His fingers begin to gesticulate as energy gathers between them. Davos moves with practiced ease and grace. His elven feet carry him the twenty or so feet in the blink of an eye and his first strike connects heavily across the man’s ample midsection hewing robe and flesh, as he passes behind the Thayan. He spins a quick circle and connects again across the back of the man’s knees, where calf meets thigh, and the heavy man drops to his knees, the remnants of the spell lost upon his lips. Davos closes from behind and pulls a dirk from his belt. The steel glints in the torch light of the chamber as divine energy flows from Davos into the blade. A hint of satisfaction and… malice, etches Davos’s features as he pulls the dirk from one side of Oronotor’s jawbone to the next, perfectly following the path of his existing scar. Oronotor gurgles for a second as a trickle of blood escapes the side of his mouth. A burst of crimson sprays from the wound across his attendants and those seated closest to the melee. The large man falls forward upon the marble flooring, his face impacting with a sickening slap.
Davos, bends slightly, wipes the already frozen blood from the Shard, and crosses the silent chamber. He hands the blade back to Kane. “Keep this blade. I no longer wish to have anything to do with it. It reminds me of the Underdark and the horrors that befell us there and,” looking back at the body of Oronotor, “of things that followed us out of there.”
“Very well done Lord Commander, you are exonerated, come we have much to discuss.” King Reagent Ree sneers. “Now clear this chamber.” He looks to the Thayan ambassador’s attendants, “You two leave my kingdom and take him with you. If there is even a drop of him left in my audience chamber you will not make the gate. Do you understand?” The two trembling attendants begin wrapping up the body and cleaning what is left of him from the floor.
Within minutes, the chamber empties in awed silence. The King Reagent and Davos have left to a chamber for private discussions and the rest of the Order stand in the chamber, some shaking their heads, and others relishing in the spectacle of what just happened.