Vault of Weapons: General <Imperial Tribune>

Dressed in a livery of black and white marble, the upstairs Vault of Weapons remains identical to all the other chambers within the Fastheld Museum of Artifacts; high, wide, and filled with all kids of rare and unique items from all eras of history. The cool black marble of the walls and support pillars remain the major structural points of interest within this main room, all of which feature pristine white marble trim to contrast the expensive scheme of colour just perfectly.
Great arched windows, each featuring a different tint of glass, allow the warmth of light to stream into the otherwise cold gallery; each glinting with different shades of colour, depending on the window those beams that choose to shine through. Finally, the floor itself is set in a beautiful abstract pattern of different coloured marble that holds no real image to it, remaining as random as it is captivating to behold. Stanchions rest upon each support pillar, holding torches upon them that remain ready to be lit once night falls, indicating that - just like justice - the Museum never sleeps.
Weapons of all kinds - from Longbows to Glaives - fill this gallery, neatly arranged upon wall-mounted weapon racks, stood proudly within tall stands, securely sealed behind glass cabinets, or firmly placed within special holders. Enough to equip a small army!
A staircase leads back downstairs to the Main Antechamber, while an arched passageway leads to the south into the second Vault of Weapons that acts as a gallery of Longswords. Guards clad in the distinct crimson armor of the Imperial Tribunal maintain a constant watch over these dangerous items.

The Snake.

Though the sigil of House Zahir has long been the Raven, it is the snake that may come to mind within the Vault of Weapons. For the rain that falls heavily upon the zenith of the Imperial Museum, above the territory of artifacts that give this area its name, hisses with the ferocity of a thousand vipers, spitting moisture upon the realm of Fastheld and all who stand beneath her heavens, drenching the pristine white walls of the Tribunal and cascading upon the crimson armor of those who guard it.

Still, for all that wrath, and all that moisture, a Zahirian Wolf remains free of any such downpour, intent as he us upon the mace that stands before him within its secure display cabinet. Though less impressive than the Lady's Wing that rests upon his back, the mace known as Count Cooperation is currently the subject of the ice-blue gaze of the hunter that watches it, hands folded tightly against his chest, the trails of his cloak swaying from side to side as he muses over the ancient weapon.

It is the Seventh hour by the Shadow on Lanternglow, the 1st day of Stormclaw in the year 626, and Justiciar Soravyn Zahir is hunting fakes.

"He's said to be up here," Duhnen speaks to his wife, the man another figure wearing the crimson steel of the Tribunal, though the black cape that falls across his back serves as a dark banner to mark him seperate from the rest of guards. Not to mention, most of the guards wouldn't be walking about with Gabriella. The pair of them are slightly wet, having been caught in the first bit of the storm as it began to fall.

"Must we really talk to him, Duhnen?" Gabriella asks, reaching to take the man's hand. "What if he decides that I'm not to be let alone again? What if Sahna tells him I'm mad, and they believe it? Jahna certainly thought so."

Soravyn, having not noticed Duhnen and Gabriella yet, continues musing over the Mace.

A few moments of silence follow the two greetings as the Justiciar fails to react to them; his stance, posture, and interest, all complete replicas of those that he held a few moments ago. Until, abruptly, the Wolf finally offers something in return: "It's a fake."

The dry tones of the observation suggest that this revelation is something that Soravyn has suspected for a while now, but for what ever reason, has only just found something to convince himself with, beyond a shadow of a doubt. Thus, the Wolf finally turns to face his two visitors, crimson armor hissing like tortured whispers as the various segments slide over each other, cloak swishing in his wake. "A very good fake," he adds, "but a fake all the same. And to think how much we paid for it."

Though the answer to the amount would appear to be 'quite a lot', Soravyn doesn't seem to be too bothered by it. There are worse things in life, after all.

Glancing to Gabriella, Duhnen smiles faintly at Gabriella, before looking back to Soravyn. "You're busy, but what I need to bring to your attention is something that deeply concerns me, and most likely will you as well." All smiles are gone. Duhnen is back to business.

"You enjoyed it when you thought it was genuine," Gabriella points out helpfully, reaching to pull the hood of her cloak down. "That must be worth something, anyways. A small pleasure."

"Not quite." The Justiciar answers in reply to Gabriella, placing Duhnen's concerns on hold for a moment to offer a light smile towards the Duchess. "Selling a fake artifact to the Imperial Crown is a major offense. Still, the pleasure has been gained from the investigation, and..." He offers two quick hand signals to the Guards stood nearest to the stairwell, pointing at each in turn before giving a silent hand-signal. And off they go. "From the prosecution, of course. It turns out that Ester Shardwood has the original. In her /pantry/ of all places."

The Justiciar sighs; a long suffering lamentation of a someone who just found out that one of the most expensive weapons in the realm is being used to tenderize meat with. Alas. Regardless, while Duhnen has no smile to offer upon this crestfallen and rainy day, Soravyn's wolfish smile is all too happily present upon his chiseled visage. "Now then," he offers, "What can I do for you both?"

Duhnen's curiosity grows too great, the man looking past Soravyn's form to consider it for just a moment. Clearing his throat, he begins, even as he looks it over. "Correct me if I'm wrong, but it can not be right for someone to go and forcibly take a Duchess against her will, drag her across Fastheld, and then lock her in a tower and refuse to let her leave, correct?" He looks back to Soravyn and lifts an eyebrow.

"It really ought not to matter that I'm a Duchess," Gabriella points out, squeezing Duhnen's hand. She steps slightly behind him, apprehension filling her gaze once more. "I don't think it should be allowed for any person."

Interest piqued, Soravyn falls silent to consider the revelation that has been offered to him - one far greater than fraudulent weapons and the adumbral Freelanders that peddle them. A brow quirks, and though the Wolf's visage still holds the light of the smile that somewhat shares his cognomen, the usually pragmatic tones of his voice holds very little other than darkness.

"Where I come from," the Justiciar enumerates, each word carefully spoken and as clear as the rain that falls outside the Museum, "We call that forceful abduction." He pauses for a moment, looking from Duhnen to Gabriella; the predator considering the hunt that this trail speaks of. "Elaborate."

Nodding his head to Gabriella to agree with her point, Duhnen gives a light squeeze back against her hand. "My wife was at the Lost Hope Inn, in the Shadow District, when Tax Assessor Nillu decided that it was time for her to leave. And, when Gabriella refused, she had her guards physically tackle her and drag her from the establishment. They brought her to Lush Glade Tower, and turned her over to Arturo Lomasa, who locked her into a room atop his tower and refused to let her leave. I'm told by them that they were waiting for me to come and retrieve her, though the whole thing reeks foul."

"I took a hunk out of one of the guards' shoulders!" Gabriella answers proudly. "The door was never locked, but at one point I was told it'd be a rough tousle down the stairs should I try to escape. Arturo threatened to bind and gag me, but I ceased my screaming so as not to disturb his very pregnant wife. It seems I disturbed her, anyways."

The Justiciar listens to the tale with a dedication befitting of his station within Fastheld, maintaining the casual stance that is at once idle yet prepared to strike at a moments notice. A Warrior's stance, honed through years of military service. He nods, regardless, watching the floor with unfocused eyes as he considers all that he has been told.

"And what do you wish done about it?" the Wolf asks in a quiet, measured tone.

"Something to leave Sahna Nillu, and perhaps Arturo Lomasa, stinging. And to leave the message clear," Duhnen answers flatly. "Though I don't seek prison time. They both have duties, either to their work, or their family, and I'm not so heartless as to try to disrupt that." He looks to Gabriella and shakes his head. "She wouldn't dare, Gabby." Her hand receives another light squeeze, and he looks back to Soravyn. "A hefty fine, perhaps, added to the Imperial treasury, for example. I confess I'm not overly familiar with what punishments are rendered for this sort of situation."

"She'll have us killed," Gabriella answers quietly, her eyes falling to the floor. "If she's not afraid to drag a screaming woman from one end of the realm to another, do you truly care that she'll have to pay money? It'll irritate her, perhaps, enough to lash out.. but it will do no lasting damage. I request she be removed from her post entirely, if anything. At least then, she would be hard pressed to do injury. As for Arturo.."

The look that Soravyn render unto the Duchess Gabriella is one of slight vexation as the list of hypothetical scenarios are spoken by the latter. Still, a general consensus of prosecution has been attained, which means that the Justiciar has an assignment to embark upon.

"You *are* both aware that you are stood within the heart of Imperial Justice, I assume?" he asks, his voice not quite patronizing, but not quite soft either. "These are not the venues of political maneuvering or noble vendettas. If you wish revenge, speak to Zolor Zahir. If you wish justice, then I need to know that you're both taking that which you ask more seriously than you sound."

The admonishing statement given, the Wolf gets back on topic. "Now, do you or do you not wish for those involved in your allegations to be arrested, to face a punishment befitting of the crime at a later date, should they be found guilty under the dictates of Imperial Law?"

"Indeed," Duhnen nods his head to Soravyn. "I turn it over to Imperial Law, then. I've no interest in political maneuvering, anyway." He looks over to Gabriella, waiting for her response.

"I only fear that she will use her position to harm me, Your Grace," Gabriell answers with a shake of her head. "Forgive me for seeming petty. I do ask that Sahna Nillu be prosecuted for her actions. Arturo Lomasa was not active in my kidnapping, and I do believe he acted in what he thought was good faith. He has a child on the way, and I would wish no family to be separated at that most important moment. I trust this is not to disrespectful to ask?"

"I'm sure that the Duchess Sahna Nillu believed that she was acting in good faith, too." The tone is as dry as the world outside the Museum is wet, and it should be clear to all involved that the Wolf is getting a little tired of chasing his tail while pursuing the matter that has been brought before him.

"You can't bring prosecutions against one person for unlawful abduction, and then claim that unlawful imprisonment was just "acting in good faith". When you both come to a conclusion as to what the Law means to you, then we'll speak again. Until then, I have actual business to attend to."

His tone is one of dismissal, but Soravyn doesn't seem to make to leave just yet. Duhnen leans in to whisper something to Gabriella.

"I only do not wish to separate Jahna and Arturo, as she is due at any moment," Gabriella answers in frustration. "How can you grow angry with me for trying to show compassion to another woman, Your Grace?" Her violet eyes flick towards Duhnen. "I do not wish for Sahna Nillu to get away with what she's done... for she'll think she has the right to haul around anyone at anytime. The law means much to me, Your Grace. Surely, you must understand?"

"As far as I'm aware," Soravyn offers, just the barest flicker of a smile playing across his features as he regards Gabriella, "- And, let me assure you, I'm aware of quite a lot in this regard - having a pregnant wife does not grant one amnesty from violations of the Imperial Law. Compassion has very little to do with it."

"Then I do not wish for any investigation to occur," Gabriella answers sadly, shaking her head and squeezing Duhnen's hand. "I wouldn't take Arturo from Jahna's side now for my own justice, for it would be doing a grave disservice to that family. I will find another way to deal with Sahna, I suppose, or forget the entire event. I am sorry we bothered you with this at all, Your Grace."

Duhnen sighs quietly, before nodding his head to Soravyn. "I apologize. I won't bother you with something like this again. Best wishes in finding more fake weapons, Soravyn."

Soravyn offers a prompt incline of his head towards Duhnen in turn, favours the Duchess with a soft dismissive recitation of her name - "Gabriella." - and then moves to go about whatever business he need to attend to, stalking off into the depths of the museum upon paws as silent as the Justiciar himself, walking with a measured pace befitting of the title he has been given within the Military and Royal circles of the realm...


Return to Season 4 (2006)

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