Part 42: Act Two Chapter Eight - The Trial II: Calliope Harborman, KC
We've repelled Torio's attack, time to mount our defence.
: Is the counsel of the accused prepared to give his statement?
: These allegations are a farce, my lord. I mean to show you the innocence of this woman - a squire of Neverwinter - and the falsehood of the accusations against her.
: The evidence of the ambassador from Luskan is a transparent, ill-conceived ploy to destroy the life of one of Neverwinter's loyal squires.
: And as for you, Sand, I would refrain from such accusations without first presenting proof.
: My lord, the difference is, in my statements can be found the truth.
Callum's our first character witness. Although I went to Old Owl Well to ask him to testify for us, that's not actually necessary - he'll show regardless.
However, we'll always have the final say on who goes up on the stand for us. We can always say no to a witness, which means we won't get any points from their testimony but prevents Torio from cross-examining them and taking points away.
: For our first witness, I summon Callum of the Neverwinter Nine... fresh from his victory over the vicious orc tribes in Old Owl Well.
: The soldiers of Neverwinter and the realm itself owe a deep debt of gratitude to her, and it is a travesty that these foul charges have been levied against her.
: Thank you, Lord Callum. We are ever grateful to hear the words of one of the Nine.
That's it. That's his testimony.
I suppose it's sort of a help.
: I did.
: Yet... the accused was not a member of the Neverwinter forces at that time. Why was the accused there?
Uh oh. This is our Shadow Thief history biting us on the arse again - Torio trying to bring our shady past to light. City Watchmen don't get this question at all.
We successfully derail the line of questioning. We could also have bamboozled the court into accepting our presence at Old Owl Well as natural. I mean, we're adventurers; showing up unannounced and saving the day is what we do.
: As I have said, these charges against the accused do not sit well with me. I have seen this soldier fight for Neverwinter at great cost, and to see any good person brought to this court on suspicious charges angers me.
: Very well... then one last question for you, if I may.
This is something Torio brings up regardless of what side you chose in Act 1. It was something foreshadowed when we asked Callum to show up in the first place.
: That is true, I feel the charges are unfounded.
: Is it because they are given by Luskan?
: Luskan has much to gain by casting down heroes of Neverwinter. Do I trust that Luskan brings such charges in good faith? I do not, nor do I trust your motives, Ambassador.
No wonder Sand was so interested in seeing Torio fail!
Quick, let's cover for him.
: The origin of such charges - or slander on the counsel of the accused - has no bearing on the crime itself. I misspoke, but your behavior here, Ambassador, only grants support to my words.
: If there is nothing else...? I think we have all wasted enough time here.
We supply the words for Callum, and he makes a diplomatic retraction.
And we'll speak with Sand after we're through here.
This is the main reason why we did Nya's quest. She's another character witness - and more graceful than Callum.
: The accused calls Nya, resident of Port Llast.
: Well met again, Nya.
: And well met to you. It is good to see your face again.
: Could you tell us what happened?
: I knew from a... former acquaintance - a follower of Kelemvor, that after dying such violent deaths, it was possible they could arise as undead.
: But I could not see to them, and could not convince anyone to help, until the good squire came.
Yeah, we could be honest, but that's not our style. This is a show trial, but not in the way Torio intended it.
: The squire agreed to put the dead to eternal rest.
: To hide the evidence, perhaps? This is meaningless.
Torio doesn't buy it and she's intent on revealing us for the cold-hearted killers that we are.
We could insist that tending to the corpses of Ember was a sacred task, but...
...this is funnier.
: Yes, it is a wonder that Nya was not killed as well.
: Actually, Ambassador, the accused and those she traveled with had every opportunity to kill me... and easily, if they had chosen to do so.
: That, too, convinced me of the good nature of the accused. The true killer of Ember would have no doubt murdered me as well for attempting to interfere there... especially if I had uncovered any clues while attempting to bury the bodies.
: Yes... such speculation is indeed of interest - to those less gullible than those of this court, I think.
Two more witnesses, actually, but they're both optional in one way or another.
First up is Marcus.
: A poor, frightened boy, who had to hide in a well to prevent being slaughtered.
: How did he know to do such a thing? Why, Marcus has a gift... a gift of sight beyond sight - the gift of a seer. And he knew the murder would happen and the true identity of the killer.
Yes: Lorne. We never really show outright what happens in Ember - most of the trial is defending ourselves from slander and innuendo - but we come close a few times. This is one of them.
: Maybe he used a magic disguise... but disguises like that don't fool me.
Hook, line and sinker. Bad move, Torio.
: Every time you touch the ring, you see how angry he becomes when one fails him, and you fear his ambition... it is a ring that is more of a chain than a piece of jewelry.
We hit a nerve there.
: No more questions, Reverend Judge.
: Then I shall call our next witness.
This is it, our final witness. Last chance to convince the court of our innocence.
Shandra's still traumatised from the whupping Torio gave her earlier. She's not even that forceful a personality - Type B rather than Type A - so taking centre stage is definitely not her style.
We could use Bluff to trick her up there, or Diplomacy/Influence to appeal to her better nature. But the best option is to let it go:
: [Influence: Success] No. She can help you, and she will.
And let Sand do it for you.
It's a nice little moment for both of them. Sand giving Shandra a pep-talk, telling her what it means to be a hero and to serve justice, and in so doing demonstrating a wisdom and clarity that doesn't come across in his usual brand of smarminess.
: And this crime of which she is accused? As one who knew the people of Ember... of Port Llast... do you really think her capable of such a crime?
: No, not at all. Look... don't get me wrong - trouble seems to come at her heels.
: But... it's how she deals with those troubles that makes me say no. She... well, she keeps trying to make things right, even when things are at their worst.
And Shandra helps reverse her previous testimony, undoing Torio's bullying and lies.
A shame none of it is actually true.
: I have no more witnesses, Lord Nasher.
Here it comes, the verdict. End of the trial.
As I said earlier, we only need five points to be found innocent. We start with three from the evidence, but there are a few occasions where we lose points without any chance of getting them back (Alaine's testimony, for example, which immediately sets you back two points).
However, simply being found innocent isn't good enough for us. Any idiot could be found innocent of these charges - in fact, we probably could have ended the trial prematurely just after Venton showed up and just about get off innocent. Just.
To get the best reward - a magic item, bonus XP, and the warm glow of satisfaction - you need fourteen points. You're only going to get that with full evidence, all Port Llast sidequests complete, and lots and lots of skill checks.
And that reward, that verdict: that's the one we've got.
Oh yeah! Read it and weep!
: You brought this case before me - now you debate my verdict. I would be careful of where you point a sword when you draw it, Ambassador - and remind your masters in Luskan of that as well.
We've beaten Torio Claven in her home environment. Bashing heads is one thing, but defeating an opponent in a battle of words by exposing her lies and turning the mob against her... that's true victory.
A battle well won, I think!
Are you shitting me?
: In a matter of such importance, you would deny me my sacred right of appeal?
: Can Lord Nasher do that, Reverend Judge? Can he put himself above our god Tyr in this matter?
: Indeed, you are correct, Sir Nevalle. Luskan is not the aggressor here, and I only wish to see justice done.
: The following morning, the champions shall meet in combat so that justice may be decided.
: So be it. After the Rite is observed, the trial shall be held in the morning, upon the tourney grounds. Arm yourself and be ready, squire - or choose a champion to fight for you.