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Investigation Committee

Discussion in 'Machiavel: Ambition' started by myrddin173, Nov 3, 2011.

  1. myrddin173

    myrddin173 Maester

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    [I started this thread to contain the investigation committee of Alec, Lazarus, and Safrax. Its out of real time so people we can be in both the council and here. Ravana if you have any comments please say so.]

    In a room sequestered from the Council room proper, the Investigation Committee meets to discuss matters. Nodding at the others, Alec begins, "It seems that Prince Tergiv has been convicted of treason by the Curia. What is still in question is what part his brother Sebeschar and the Count Neraldsfel played in the affair. I'm inclined to believe the Count was merely opportunist but rumor has it your Duchess has some information regarding Sebeschar, is this true Baron Maderbrim?"
     
  2. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

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    [Nothing in particular, no. No problem with this existing in the same non-time as the Ball and the Council–apart from the current controlling factor of days passing, which presently controls the whole game: you won't be able to retroactively do something that changes history. Not that I imagine that required stating. Go with it.]
     
  3. Night Terror

    Night Terror Dreamer

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    Lazarus shakes his head.

    "If my Duchess has any information regarding Sebeschar, she has not shared it with me."

    Lazarus removes a dagger from his belt pouch, and begins slicing an apple.

    "Clearly a poisoning has occurred, and the order came from someone of influence and means. The true culprit is likely off limits to us, until enough evidence has been gathered."

    "So let's begin at the bottom, and work our way to the top. Let's gather a list of every servant who attended the infamous wine tasting massacre, and had access to the food and beverages. We shall then interview those who appear most... interesting."

    "Before becoming a man of the cloth, I studied the sacred art of interrogation. We can conduct the interviews personally, as a group. Surely someone saw something. This is the surest way to the truth."

    "If you agree, we can have our secretaries compile the list, and arrange for the most suspicious servants to be fetched and brought before us, one at a time. What do you say? If you agree, we can get started immediately."
     
  4. myrddin173

    myrddin173 Maester

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    Alec is surprised by the revelation from Lazarus, but the new information lends him a new respect for his fellow committee member, however he is disappointed in the lack of support for the rumor. "I quite agree Baron Maderbrim. Though I doubt we will find the servants that actually performed the poisoning, the masterminds have almost definitely eliminated by now. Their coworkers would have an idea, servants after all do see everything. As the chairman of this committee though it is up to Baron Durechar to approve of this action." He turns his attention to Safrax.
     
  5. TeaBerry

    TeaBerry Dreamer

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    Baron Safrax leans forward, elbows on the table in eagerness.

    "Wholeheartedly, I feel that the investigation must indeed begin at the bottom.

    "As we have seen repeatedly in our history, those who facilitate major crimes often do so out of unwilling ignorance or have been bought and paid. Those who perpetrate the crimes, however, have so many resources available with which to cover their tracks.

    "Perhaps we can find if any of the wine from the tasting remains locked away at the location. If so, I suggest we test the wine on a few animals to see if they are sickened or die. Only then will we know if any poisoned wine truly existed at some point during the event.

    "This should be the first step in our investigation so that we do not tip off possible suspects. We must do so under false pretenses, however. My suggestion is that we send a page with a message that we are in need of as much wine as possible for our own gathering, and have it delivered directly to us from one or more of the servants."
     
  6. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

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    Short answer: while the reason suggested is implausible–or at least will be for the wine in question, all of which was impounded by the palace guard–after some discussion as to alternative means and who will need to be paid off to accomplish them, it does prove possible to obtain samples from what remains of it. Unfortunately, a couple of the vintages involved no longer remain, so those cannot be tested; the remainder test clean. You are able to acquire other samples of all the vintages, from bottles that never left the wine cellars in the first place (and which, of late, have not been in high demand), with the same results.

    Which leaves the possibility that the wine was poisoned some other way than in the bottle. It also leaves the cheeses, which, however, are no longer available to be investigated, as far as you can determine. Or, perhaps, as the imperial physicians have suggested, it was sorcery.
     
  7. Night Terror

    Night Terror Dreamer

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    Lazarus shakes his head.

    "Perhaps it was or wasn't the wine. We need to speak with the remaining witnesses."

    Lazaurs sends out instructions for any surviving servants to be summoned for questioning.
     
  8. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

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    Interesting you use the word "surviving": not all of them did. Two sickened and died at the same time the more widely-reported victims did; one other died six days ago, most likely of complications suspected of being connected to the knife wound found in his back. Which leaves five known to have been serving at, or directly involved in the preparation or delivery of the comestibles for, the event.
     
  9. myrddin173

    myrddin173 Maester

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    As the servants begin to arrive, Alec is sure to keep them in separate holding rooms so that they can not speak to each other between sessions. He explains, "That way they can't compare what each of them have told us. Giving the upper hand to ourselves."
     
  10. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

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    This thing is done. You spend the next several hours gaining a growing conviction that you are happier than you have ever realized to be highborn, given not only the frighteningly copious amount of detailed minutiae that constitutes a servant's day, the even more frightening similarity of each to the next, and the unspeakable cosmic horror of how boring it all is. No, strike that: there isn't anything "cosmic" involved.

    Feel free to add specific questions you'd like answers to.
     
  11. myrddin173

    myrddin173 Maester

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    [My only question is who is the mastermind? I kind of want to know...]
     
  12. Night Terror

    Night Terror Dreamer

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    Lazarus speaks:

    "Did anyone notice anything even slightly out of the ordinary? Was anyone seen acting suspiciously?"
     
  13. TeaBerry

    TeaBerry Dreamer

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    Baron Safrax asks: "The first two things I would like to know is who supplied the wine and prepared the food? And, were these persons those who regularly do so?"
     
  14. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

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    The wine was taken from the palace cellars: specific vintages were requested (of course, it being a wine-tasting); all the bottles were delivered unopened for the event. Each was opened as circumstances called for it, most of them a bit prior to being poured to allow them to breathe (though one of the servants states that some of the palace's wine stewards maintain it's a myth that doing so affects the flavor in the slightest). Additional bottles of the more popular selections were opened and consumed with somewhat less ceremony as the evening progressed.

    Apart from some crusty rolls and light pastries brought in specifically for the tasting (and which were never regarded as likely candidates for poison-bearing in any event), the food also came from palace stocks, and consisted mainly of a variety of cheeses held to be appropriate complements for the wine, along with some more mundane breads baked at the palace that day (and which, having received general circulation, have also been disqualified, as they would have sickened far more people). The cheeses could not be conclusively ruled out by the other investigators, though there was little left to test from the event; similar cheeses drawn from palace stock proved untainted.

    "Slightly out of the ordinary" is a pretty broad field, especially when discussing a room full of drunken nobles; "suspiciously," the same–though that often applies even when the nobles are perfectly sober. One servant recalls the beginnings of a quarrel between two of the attendees; since both ended up dying, neither one was accorded a high spot on the list of suspects. Two of the servants recall having seen a particular baron hitting on a particular baroness, which struck them as running contrary to contemporary serving-staff rumors about the baron's tastes, but after the latter's husband told him "If you want her, take her," all three laughed and nothing further came of it. All of them remember a young baronet strolling about showing everyone a "magic trick" he'd recently learned, which involved discovering a gold coin behind the ear of whoever he was addressing–they all dutifully reported theirs to their supervisors, and exchanged them at the exchequer's office for denominations they had greater use for. One of the women confesses, somewhat hesitantly, that she accepted an assignation for later that night, but the gentleman in question never showed up… she presumes as a result of being by then already in the throes of the malaise, though she also allows that he may possibly have simply forgotten altogether. One of the men admits to having held open a window against the evening breeze for a lord who declared himself unable to locate a chamber-pot and, by that point, unable to wait for one to be led to him. All of them recall another baroness roving the gathering well after the "tasting" part had descended into the "not-letting-any-of-it-go-to-waste" part, challenging all she encountered to "pull her finger"–including, at one point, a scantily-clad figure in one of the tapestries, which might have gone unnoticed had she not repeated this a couple times in increasing voice before deciding that whoever it was lacked a sense of humor. All of them recall numerous whispered conversations between various persons at various points, at least a few of which they surmise involved jokes of a variety not normally presented before broader audiences, or in any event not less than halfway through such an evening. A couple of the servants express some disappointment at the fact that such jokes, when they finally did emerge in the later stages, were all ones they'd already heard. All of them recall at least one, usually several, of the other servants filching the occasional bite from a tray or swig from a glass; a couple are even willing to implicate themselves in such activities. None of them remember seeing anybody put anything in any of the bottles, or in the glasses apart from the wine itself, nor anything on any of the foods.

    Unfortunately, none of the five volunteers a name as being "the person behind it all." Not that you'd really expected them to. On the other hand, more than one of them observes that around half the total attendees were vassals or friends of the Duke of Bergeheim (plus the duke himself), many of whom were sickened and a few of whom died (including the duke)… a circumstance that has come to occupy a greater place in their thinking in light of subsequent events. Failing a connection there–or even allowing one–they are inclined to accept the opinion that palace physicians seem to have settled upon: that it was sorcery.
     
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