The Strange Case of Seamus Harper

by gerolf on November 11th, 2014

My dear Yolente,

I am very concerned about your latest letter. I was not aware that the children were sick. I will talk to the Prime Medicus here and see that she writes to the surgeon at home and make sure he understands the correct procedures for dealing with this illness. I cannot say she is a good friend of mine but we are familiar enough that I know she will help. Add that to the fact that I do not think she has an evil bone in her body.

I trust the wedding went smoothly. I have not yet seen Olga or Sven but, perhaps, them being Vandagan themselves they stopped in the city to enjoy a few of the luxuries that we cannot receive down here.

Yesterday saw a spike in magical activity in this city. First there was a sheet of fire that sealed the entrance into the cathedral. In my haste I ran through it and burned my feet. I may have fainted. Please do not tell the children that. I want them thinking that their uncle is still a strong important man, even though, clearly, I am not. Then the Magnate’s horse was put down and the woman blinded by another mage. Thankfully the Grand Inquisitor was at hand.

There is an issue I am facing that I wish your honest answer on. Normally I would go to the Lord Regent with this issue, but I fear I may have said some things that I did not mean in a letter to him. I imagine that it will take a great many months to smooth over those wounds. His stubbornness rivals only mine, which is not always a good thing.

My situation is this: I fear I have staked my reputation on the life of a man not worth saving. Almost a year ago a man attacked a woman in cold blood. The details are unclear and the only real testimony we have is that we know the man and the woman were lovers. We know that the man has close ties with the Brotherhood of Common Goods, a sort of gang that runs the southside of the city. We know that the woman was suspected of, and has now been confirmed as, a mage. He confessed to the attack but he claims it was in self-defense as he was attacked by a mage. The mage was a major figure in the city and was generally well liked. At the time of the attack all of the city sympathized with her, except for a few of the inquisitors and the knights.

I was just an acolyte at the time and was not told much until after I took the office of Grand Inquisitor, even then it was that she was dead. It wasn’t until I saw her go into Her Holiness’ office that the truth of the matter was revealed to me. This is what would start a long tale that ends with me wishing the man had never existed.

At the time I would have just as soon saw the man hang as forgive him. It is true that a part of me still feels that way. However promises were made by others that I must uphold. I cannot appear weak in the face of strife. Further, he confessed to me, and me alone as his confessor. Church law and my own morals feel that there is more to the story than what is being told to the public.

What I learned in my time as Grand Inquisitor is to be critical of the evidence. As a member of the Holy Inquisition you are not only above the Law, you are the Law. As such you cannot trifle with the lives of people. You must move swiftly but fairly and when you do light the pyre you must be absolutely sure of your decision. I do not think the Reeves are equipped nor have the expertise to conduct a proper investigation at this level of visibility. While I respect, and generally like, the current Lady Justiciar, their actions have been increasingly sloppy of late. So sloppy in fact that if the current magistrates were inquisitors I would not trust them with any case. Can we trust justice to be served under such conditions? I do not know how the Lord and Saints will inspire the Reeves, but I have my doubts.

In my opinion, as an inquisitor, the evidence is muddy at best. We are faced with the word of a known thief versus the word of a known mage. The only other concrete information we have is the testimony provided by the Prime Medicus who said that the wounds to him were likely defensive while the wounds on the woman were not. I have a storm of sworn character testimony both for and against the man. For someone accused of attempted murder, he has a lot of people who consider him a friend.

Had this been my case, I do not think that it would be enough to brand him a heretic. I would love to give the man to the Reeves and put this whole mess behind me, but then the man did something wholly unexpected: He turned himself into the Lady Earl Marshall.

Come to find out the Lady Earl Marshall and the Archbishop, along with several others who expect to me to support their cause, had promised him protection if he came forward to the church. Now, I would like to pause for a moment and point out that my inquisitors were able to do what the Reeves were not. I don’t bring this up to besmirch the Reeve’s abilities, but only to highlight the incredible skill and professionalism that the Knights and Inquisitors have. When the Reeve’s came to us for help, the Knights answered. We found there missing person, even if events transpired against us.

We had him. He was in the Lady Earl Marshall’s house while I talk to the then Lord Justiciar, with whom I had come to an understanding. Then the Arien fool left our protection. We didn’t have enough time to question him and get him to safety, to fulfill our promise to him. He went into hiding in the southside, under the Brotherhood’s protection.

Then the fool walked into a coffee shop with the Lady Justiciar, the Lady Earl Marshall, two other Reeves, and His Grace. He was promptly arrested and hauled off to the tower. This is where the story becomes complicated. As if it wasn’t already the dull headache in the back of my head. It is one of the things that has increased my drinking.

I had never expected to die on this hill, on the hill over the soul of one man who, really, I have no interest in. Frankly I could not care less about what happens to the man. What I care about is what will happen to me. Do I betray the Reeves and put a halt to this mess and smuggle him out of the city, or do I betray the knights and let the Reeves put them to death?

Neither option appeals to me very much. I feel like I have been backed into a corner by my friends. The Lord Regent even accused me of abusing my authority! I politely reminded him that he shouldn’t abuse his either.

I could put this issue to rest with a stroke of my quill. It is out of respect for those I thought were friends that I have stayed my hand. I have even turned over Order documents in the hopes that our investigation will be taken into account. As you know that has taken me swallowing my pride. What you may not know, is that releasing documents take the approval of the Grand Inquisitor or higher. I do not think they know how much I am trying to help.

So, dear sister, what should I do? All of the people who I would trust, or burden, with this information seem to have turned against me, or have come with their own opinions. It is by the inspiration of the Lord alone that I have lasted this long.

Pray that cooler heads prevail. Pray that SOME one will relent. I will not betray my knights, but I cannot betray the Reeves.

~Gerolf

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