4th day of the 1st ride of Summer-Flame, 1262
We left the Lord Magistrate Strickland, who was becoming visibly more weary by the minute, to join our comrade Emrys and to discuss our next moves. We agreed to start a mild deception for the townsfolk, so as to suggest that Luca is a man of great importance, which we might find useful to exploit once we will engage the townsfolk. James guided us to Syldarael’s cottage. A truly lovely place of peace and beauty, where all the troubles seemed a little further removed from the here and now than they actually were. We greeted each other briefly, after which Emrys and Luca joined the elves inside to discuss the Allenham troubles. I sat myself in the fragrant garden in the light of the sun, enjoying the peace, while keeping an ear on the conversation inside.
Emrys managed to retrieve a wealth of information. We learned that Willow and Rickard were not directly related to the Allens, and therefore not a useful inroad into that family. We also learned that Allenham is owned by the crown, but that Rickard’s family lives on lands owned by Lord Harwin. In addition we learned that Strickland is fairly new to Allenham, and that he replaced a respected man by the name of Crossley. This Crossley is now retired and most likely living in Fulcaster. It appears that Syldarael has modest aims in the whole ordeal: she merely wants the violence to stop. She would prefer the marriage between her daughter and Strickland to proceed, but would cancel it if that is what it takes.
I’m sure I’m missing out details here.
We extracted ourselves from the cottage and talked amongst ourselves for a while, in order to discuss how to proceed. Emrys made very clear that resolving the Allenham situation was dear to him, so I pledged my support, reiterating that my fate has been tethered to this group. Luca was somewhat reluctant, and James even more so. We agreed that removing Strickland from power would be our best option, since he created the crack that breeched the dam, so to speak. James suggested that we simply punish him by hanging him from the neck and be done with it. This was rejected outright by the rest of us. Punishing Strickland is only part of the equation (whether by hanging or no), the other, more important part is to have the punishment produce closure for the victims of his crimes. If we could unite the Elders and the Allens against Strickland, his punishment would heal the community he failed so miserably. There is even a strangely beautiful poetic justice in it.
After such a punishment we would have to find a temporary replacement for the lord magistrate, someone like Crossley or Lord Harwin, and inform the crown that a new magistrate is required at Allenham in the Riverlands.
So we set out to the Allen Farmstead, making sure to avoid the mob in town. At the farmstead we upheld the ruse that Luca was an inquisitor in her Majesty’s service investigating rumors about the foul brigands in the vicinity of Allenham. He specifically sought to speak with Herman Allen to see how the recent unrest at Allenham might be connected by the doings of these brigands. We found that Herman Allen is not too bothered with employing Elders, but bears some resentments about the allocation of new lands,, He is of the opinion that Strickland unduly favors Elders for new allotments over humans. From what I could gather, he was honest, direct, but held back some information. Well, who would want to confess having a hand in hanging six people? He seemed reasonable enough, so coming to an agreement between the Allens and the Elders at the expense of Strickland seemed feasible enough.
What happened next made all our machinations pointless.
We headed towards the town-hall to confront Strickland. Upon approaching the town-hall, we noticed a ruckus further into town: an angry mob! We hastened to the scene. We were glad to see that we were still in time to save the Elders that were being rounded up: a Halfling family. Luca and I commanded to group to stop, while Astrid and Emrys menacingly approached the group, Emrys employing an impressive illusion that made himself and Astrid appear frighteningly large! At that point I was even thinking that this might benefit our endeavor. Having rescued Elders and brought the rabble to a halt, we might have the sway to build whatever deal we might want to build! But then fate took a wicked turn.
As sense was dawning on the mob and the halflings unhanded and whisked to safety, arrows started landing into the crowd with deadly precision. A panic ensued, and numerous townsfolk perished in the deadly hail. We turned our attention to the assailants and chased them away as fast as we could. In my rage I summoned a furious wave of water that washed them away. All the same, they murdered eight unarmed men women and children, Sedna only allowed me to save ninth, a young lady by the name of Tomeira. A pox on these murderous brigands! May their water ever taste of salt and bitter!
In the confusing aftermath we all vented our anger and dismay in varying ways. Strickland was summoned to the scene and forced to take control of it to some degree. We also forced him to convene the most important people in this town for an emergency meeting tonight. This horrific tragedy might yet mend fences in town, but against these murderous brigands, what good will that do?