Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Evening, the Prefect's Court

Monday, May 19, 1650

The characters are taken to the Town Court, an entrance to the large Town Hall, and brought inside.  In the portico, a clerk sits, papers upon his desk.  He looks up, observes the guards, observes Delfig and Andrej - whom he takes to be prisoners, and enquires as to why the prefect's attention is sought.

A clock in the portico chimes the bottom half of the hour - it is six-thirty p.m.  For a moment, the characters are forced to contemplate that that morning they woke next to a barge on the river Aar.  Much has happened in twelve hours.  The guards argue with the clerk, who shouts over them for silence.

"The Prefect is engaged in an important matter, and cannot be disturbed immediately.  I will set the matter to his attention at the first opportunity - you may take yourselves into the court and wait.  If at all possible, he will see you before the ninth hour.  If not by that time, then tomorrow morning."

At that point, you cannot help noticing that the clerk does absolutely nothing towards informing the Prefect of anything.  He merely remains at his desk, and goes on working.  The guards contend among themselves, and four agree to stay.  The others leave.  The four direct Andrej and Delfig into the court room, and proceed to make themselves comfortable - but respectful - upon the benches that encircle the walls.

It is much like any courtroom you've witnessed.  There is a door you might conjecture is the door to the Prefect's offices and a raised 'bench' where the Prefect might sit.  Beyond the aforementioned sitting benches around the walls, the center of the room is empty, except for a half-circle platform raised five inches above the floor, with a two foot bannister erected upon one side, facing the Prefect's bench.

You are thus given time to wait.

47 comments:

Andrej said...

In a Whispered imploring to Delfig, "Brother, have you some ability or knowledge that may hasten us? Could you not convince the fool at the desk of our urgency? I fear for Jan and my anger is already on the rise."

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

Whispered: "My friend, I have already observed what happens when such with our 'abilities' are found out - we can be tried and hung! I could try to persuade the little man, but I dare not push too hard, lest we spend all night here. In anyrate, I fear that a 6 to 7 hour journey cannot be caught up to very easily, even if the Prefect saw us now and gave us the most fleet of horses. I fear for Jan too, but he is a strong Man of G*d and whatever may have happened may find us too late to prevent. Damn! Curse upon that murdering fool, ever since he joined our journey, we have been bedeviled at ever step!"

I pace about a bit, and in a low voice, ask the guards if this is "normal" for how things are done with the Prefect."

Alexis said...

The guard will argue, "Rank has its privileges."

Alexis said...

The clock in the portico will chime 7 p.m.

Andrej said...

"Apparently so does foolishness. In this case, though, only your comrade's murderer gains the benefit of that privelege."

Andrej said...

Whispered to Delfig only: "Brother, let us bribe the toadying functionary who keeps us waiting so that we may present our cause to the prefect. That is how these things work in Bavaria, yes?

Alexis said...

The master guardsman will look at Andrej evenly: "The murderer will not escape, however long we must wait here. Rashness does not avail."

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

Whispered "After having run afoul of guards in Dachau, I'm reluctant to start putting myself into harm's way. I can inquire..."

I ask the guards if I may speak to the clerk, that surely the murderer will have designs to rendezvous with his fleeing sister and that time is urgent.

Andrej said...

Andrej will await the success/ failure of Delfig's attempt.

Alexis said...

The master guardsman will send one of his men out with you, but yes, Delfig may speak to the clerk.

You're brought out into the portico, where the clerk's desk is, at present, empty.

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

I will wait for the clerk to return.

Alexis said...

The clock in the portico will ring the bottom of the hour, announcing 7:30 p.m.

Andrej said...

Andrej eyes the door we assume leads to the prefect's chamber and fingers his rosary absent-mindedly. He's mulling over the possible consequences of beating it down, bitterly reflecitng on the irony that Jan's own frequent urgings to him have always advised against such actions. i will not let the hour toll 8 o'clock before deciding upon an action.

Alexis said...

The clerk will reappear in the portico, and move towards his desk. He glances at Delfig, but shows no sign of acknowledging him or the guard verbally.

Alexis said...

It is now a little past quarter of eight.

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

I will say this in the most respectful and encouraging way I can. "My good man, is it possible we might be able to speak to the Prefect sooner? I am no prisoner, rather I have news that affects the Burghermeister himself. I'm sure such valuable knowledge would be seen most favorably by the Prefect, and it would reflect greatly upon you should you be the one to be seen as timely in ensuring the safety of all in this town. Perhaps there is something I can do to assure you of my good intentions and need?"

Andrej said...

(OOC: Can I assume we'll freeze time at quarter 'til and give Delfig a chance to speak to the clerk?)

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

(OOC - this is one of the few times I've ever had my head messed with in a game. Well done! Even though I hate it, I do admire it. And I'm now learning why my players hate my combat countdown when they're dissembling on their moves.)

Andrej said...

(OOC: nicely put, Delfig. crossing fingers...)

Alexis said...

(OOC: No, time is still passing)

The clerk seems, surprisingly, quite reasonable. "I answer you honestly, kind sir, that I would most wish that the prefect could and would see you immediately, as I would be freed from my obligations this night. But the prefect is, and I cannot say this with greater surety, involved in a matter of great consideration, and cannot be disturbed at this time."

Alexis said...

(OOC: Imagine what a bastard I am in r/l)

Andrej said...

(OOC: Yeah, the tension in non-combat situations so far has been exquisite. Dealing with the highwaymen, the fire at the Inn, the verbal sparring with Herieux and now this. Alexis, I'm not sure how much if this is typical to your campaigns and how much is specic to we three playing together online, I'd be curious to know. I've certainly never played in quite this fashion before, and I find it very enjoyable.)

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

I nod and return to Andrej, passing him my observance that this gentleman may be telling the truth.

(OK, I've already burned my Perception spell today, but I'm going to try this instead...)

I'm going to appear to walk listlessly around the courtroom and pause by the door leading to the Prefect's office. I'm going to try and listen as hard as I can, even closing my eyes to concentrate. Do I hear raised voices or any sort of disturbance in the direction behind the door?

(OOC - my ability to post in a timely manner is about to be hampered severely. I have an urgent fix to put into place on a production system.)

Andrej said...

When Delfig and i next have opportunity to speak, I suggest we try a different tact... implore the guards to let us go to attend to matters. Normally I'd be curious about the urgent matter the clerk alludes to, but right now Jan and Herieux are my chief concerns (in that order. I'd guess that the prefect could be dealing with the fire... was it arson? Is this related somehow to what Delfig saw in Dachau at the inn outside the gate? My head is spinning... but mostly I want to be away and off toward Jan.

Alexis said...

The clock in the portico will ring 8 p.m.

Alexis said...

Delfig can detect the sounds of some sort of physical exertion going on behind the door.

Alexis said...

(OOC: In deference to Delfig's time schedule, we will freeze the game at 8 p.m.)

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

(OOC - thank you. I will be able to participate tomorrow when you are ready to start. And when you do...)

The question I have is does this exertion sound like sex?

Andrej said...

(Ha! Of course its sex. So much for my conjecture. It appears as if the prefect is attending to more urgent necessities.)

Alexis said...

(OOC: I hesitate to confess this, but yes, Andrej, this is fairly typical of my world. While the theatricality of what I can do on line differs from what I can do in a r/l game, the principles are the same. My offline campaign has certain elements deriving from my animated nature and my timing that allow for this sort of tension there, while online I've discovered new methodologies.

The primary method is always the same: withhold information. Online, force time to pass without giving it out; offline, give it out with an eyedropper. In all cases, refrain from describing everything. It is usually possible to recognize some circumstance where I've failed to mention a specific person - Madame Herieux, for instance - and wait for the players to recognize that that person seems to have slipped out of sight.

It is very much like sleight of hand - wave the right hand and never let the party know what the left is doing. What makes it work for me is a consistency I retain from many years of writing ... that what is not being seen is as real to me as what is being seen. I knew, for instance, exactly what both Herieux's were when I put them on the carriage. I know what both are doing right now, while you wait in this courtroom. That makes it interesting for me, as I decide not what is happening, but how to explain it to you when the time comes, never knowing myself how that will spin out.

For example, I had every intention of allowing M. Herieux to separate himself from Delfig and to rob the town in both your names - but Delfig spoiled that plan, so I rolled with the change. My pleasure as DM is to always roll with the change. The smarter the players, the more I have to roll, and the better the campaign is over all.

One last point - I have done the clock in real time ... posting every half an hour as the clock chimed. And I have known the answer to Delfig's last question since having the guards decide to take you to the prefect)

Delfig, in answer:

Could be.

Andrej said...

(OOC: Thanks for the explanation. I understand and appreciate all that you said. My curiosity both has to do with how this campaign differs from your normal one and how it also differs from mine. In the latter case, maybe its a symptom of my havng DM'd for essetially the same group of guys for the last 20 years... but there's this sort of intuitive knowledge of one another and a shorthand in communication that at times lands us in a rut. At about the same time my off-line group increased our playing frequency I found all of these excellent D&D blogs and, like any wothwhile DM feeling th eonrush of a rut, began stealing ideas. Your blog and this campaign have been a source both of renewed interest in playing (vice running) and inspiration. So, thanks.

Alexis said...

(OOC: Ha, ha. Don't thank me, just send money.

I thank you also - this has been very pleasurable)

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

(OOC: Fix in place. I say the following with all the respect and enjoyment I can... you bastard DM! :> I had a feeling after the clerk responded in the way he did... now I have an evening to figure out how to keep Andrej from blowing a gasket, because nothing pisses off men in high places than having their "wee" time interrupted.)

Alexis said...

(OOC: I've been trying to get myself motivated today, and it just isn't there. I think I need inspiration - I'm going to wander out into the world and find some).

Andrej said...

(OOC: No worries, I'll be ready when you are and prefer to wait until then vs. jump back in too soon.)

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

(As long as you don't wander in my world and pick up on the winter storm and 3 hour traffic commute... Have a good day!)

Andrej said...

(OOC: He's in Alberta... isn't that a perpetual winter storm until June?)

Alexis said...

At fifteen minutes past the hour, the Prefect appears at his office door into the courtroom. He's a tall man who appears to wear his clothes well, who lifts his nose a bit as he looks over those in his court, whose sharply combed hair has no memory of what actions may have gone on ten minutes before. He moves to his bench, draws up a small bottle of sherry from a drawer, with a glass, and pours himself a drink.

"What's all this then?" he asks.

Andrej said...

Hmmmm... better to let Delfig do the talking here, I think.

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

(Sorry guys - work took me away this afternoon after my morning of leisure.)

(If you don't mind me making the retelling of the story brief, I'll relate the story as follows):

- I'll explain the immediate danger of Herieux being a murderer and up to no good with possibly attempting to poison the Burghermeister with some quack medical procedure.

- I'll go into how we met Herieux on the carriage from Olten going to Sion. I'll tell the Prefect that Herieux's supposed sister is still on that carriage and that Herieux may attempt to link up with her. Our friend, still on the carriage, is also in danger.

- If the Prefect is willing, I and Andrej would like to accompany some guards on horses to attempt to overtake the carriage and possibly find Herieux and his sister so he can be captured and brought back to Lagenthal for justice.

Andrej said...

(OOC: aw, what the heck)

"Your honor, I am Father Andrej and my companion is Delfig Kolhupfer, whose family resides in Munich. We have already performed one service for Langenthal this day, being the rescue of some dozen or so people from the inn that burned down this morning. We seek only to perform one more service, apprehending the vile dog that sought to harm your very Burghermeister and murdered a town guard in his desperate attempt to escape us. We have reason to beleive he will seek out a woman he claims is his sister, who travels in a coach that left Langenthal this very afternoon with a companion of ours who does not know of these deeds nor his danger. He is a priest also, and our good friend. We ask only for fleet horses to close the ever-increasing distance between us and submit our previous actions of the day as proof of our good intentions and worthiness. I'm sure your guards and any number of witnesses at the inn could vouch for us"

Andrej said...

Nevermind... disregard the last post. I apparently forgot how to use the refresh button and Delfig's timing is impeccable. Let th bard do the talking.

Alexis said...

I accept the shortened version, in the interest of saving time. Considering what both of you say, mashing it together as it were, the Prefect will spend an hour listening to the guards, sending for a witness to the fire, getting the information that he needs in order to make a decision. At that point (it coming down to one roll as to whether or not he believes), I roll against both character's charismas.

Following it all, the clock chimes the bottom of the ninth hour (9:30), and the judge turns to one of the guards.

"Harness my horses to my carriage and take the road south - it has been a little more than five hours. The carriage carrying the Friar Jan will have reached Fribourg by this time, and will have stopped there. Take these gentlemen and fly at all possible speed."

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

"G*d bless you, good sir!" I say. "Thank you!"

Andrej said...

Ditto. Let's get Emmanuel & our gear and blow out of town.

Alexis said...

(OOC: Lord love you, Delfig. With all the swearing on my blogs, still with the '*')

Continued on next post. Sorry to make you wait, but I'll write it later today.

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

(That is because of my dear @theprincesswife. G*d love her, but she has finally managed to make me understand that swearing the JC, JFC, JFSC, JMFSC and saying g-d all over the place just makes her so upset. She doesn't complain, but we have talked about it and it finally sunk it, I guess. :D Go figure. Dammit.)