Tainted Inheritance, Part 3
The next day:
Very early the next day the Baron arrives. He has 26 men at arms and has the third will with him. He is inclined to believe that the third will is the correct one and will rule that it be obeyed unless he is given strong reasons not to. His men at arms are tough fighters (from 40 to 45 attributes with the 2 officers just under 50 attributes) and no fighting force in the town could face them. If the manor house was held against them, they would have a fight, but the Baron moves in as a guest.
The Baron Strongfist has one of his men interview the party if they are being active. The Baron wants to know who they are if they have been hired by either side, and warns the party not to cause trouble. He relays a request for them to attend the funeral, so that the Baron can keep an eye on them.
The burial service is held. The two sides stand on opposite sides of the grave but behave themselves. After the burial, Sheena and the kids make a break for freedom, and manage to get to Carrol's family. Under the eyes of the Baron's men at arms, Mort and Emmeni glare and pretend that they are not bothered by this.
If the party tries to meet Zaff at the Traveling Tea Tavern, his interest in the party will be directly proportional to how much information they have gained. Since the attack (perhaps murder) of Kunnell, Zaff is more interested in hiring some fighters to protect his interests. If he party is hired by Zaff, then he will ask them to follow him and will take them for a visit with Sheena.
Sheena will not look the party in the eye, and speaks quietly with a stutter. She actually does not know that much. She & the children were held in the Manor and knows Emmeni and Mort have hired more troops. She was not allowed to leave or to receive visitors. She thinks that they faked the 4th will, but does not have any evidence that this is so.
Zaff wants the party to realize that his siblings are willing to resort to kidnapping their family to better their chances of passing off this fake will. He would like the party to help the Carrol family guard Sheena, and introduces them to several of the brothers if they have not already met them. (The brothers are 34 to 37 attributes but are not fighters. They have a maximum of one combat talent each.)
Zaff is concerned for Sheena's safety but if the party would like to do something else he could be talked around. In particular, if at least one PC is with her, the rest are free to do what ever they want.
There will be no attempts at kidnapping.
If the players are watching Mort's red wizard he will leave very early in the morning disguised as a tradesman. He will head into the hills to the west with a half dozen of Mort's thugs with him. When they get into the open terrain a kilometer from town two thugs will stop and watch the back trail while the wizard and four other men will continue on to the hills. There is no way to shadow the wizard with out being seen (save magic). If they attack the two watchers they will shout a warning and surrender once hurt. They don't know anything about what is going on, they are just following orders. If possible, the wizard should get away.
He will go to some caves and question a scholar called Neftroll. He will return to the manor house a bit afternoon still in his disguise.
If the players are hanging around in town they will see the Baron heading to a place to eat. He sees an ork walking down the road minding its own business. The Baron will shout, "ORK! An Ork! Kill it!" The ork will take off down an ally pursued by a thrown javelin and 3 of the Baron's men. They return in a few minutes having lost the ork. Mort sees this and laughs, enjoying the display of power. Mort will head to the Manor to talk to Emmeni.
If the players are very closely keeping tabs on Emmeni she talks to several people who come and go on her orders. One of those people goes to a junk shop / pawn shop in town and buys a fine dagger with an interesting pattern of 'water marks' in the metal. This is bought for over a thousand silver. The dagger is carefully wrapped up and returned to Emmeni.
If the players are keeping a careful watch over who goes in and out of the manor, a person dressed like a servant goes into the house with a number of other tradesmen. When they leave this person is not with them. A 5vsIQ to recognize the wizard in this simple disguise. (Feel free to give bonuses if the PC's are alert, get a good look at the people entering, or otherwise have behaved competently.)
Late that afternoon, the Baron will order all interested parties to come to the Manor house. If the players have been hired by either side they will be there. The Baron reads out the 3rd will and says that he has hear rumors about some newer will that gives everything to Emmeni and Mort. The Barron says that unless there is strong evidence that the newer will is real, he intends to see that the holdings are divided up according to the will placed in his care by Mordent.
Mort loudly claims that the new will gives Sheena and Zaff "hundreds of silvers" but everyone ignores him. Emmeni says she would like to hear what the Baron's will says.
The Barron reads out the 3rd will.
Emmeni says that this will is not as unfair as she thought. Sheena and Zaff spent a lot of time in the last year slandering her and Mort. Mordant eventually caught on, and rewrote his will to reflect his distaste over those that tried to sabotage their father's sympathies towards his loyal children.
Sheena starts crying, Zaff quietly says, you KNOW that is not true, I've been away trading for 10 months of the year.
Emmeni says that she thinks that the 4th will should be accepted but if it isn't then the 2nd will should be accepted since that is the will written before Sheena and Zaff poisoned their father against them. Mort yells, "NO, we should use the new will!" and stares angrily at Emmeni.
(Emmeni after hearing what the Barron said about ignoring the latest will is hoping that if he ignores one, that he will ignore two and go to the 2nd will, which is still pretty good as far as her and Mort go. Mort thinks that she has betrayed him.)
Emmeni hands the Baron the 4th will and he reads it. Angrily he throws it down and says, that he does not believe that Mordant would so poorly treat these two loyal, hardworking children. "What proof do you have that this will is not a fake?"
Emmeni says that the will was witnesses by the priest Metzz, and by the scholar Neftroll. The Barron looks and says, "I see Metzz's name here but not Neftroll's. How do you know that he witnessed the will?" Emmeni says because he says he did.
The Barron wants to see both witnesses, and Emmeni says that they are here in the manor and she will bring them at once. She opens a door and asks Metzz to come in.
Metzz the priest is a poor witness. He says that Mordent was getting somewhat confused in his final days and made a few new wills, which after reading he then ripped up. Then he dictated the final will and signed it. The Barron closely questions Metzz and tho he does not trip up Metzz in any lies, Metzz seems to have an awfully poor memory of these early wills that were destroyed and many other details. Metzz says he forgot the details of the wills since they were thrown away. Those who have the Detect Lies talent get a 3vsIQ. If they make the roll the GM should say they think he is lying. (This is an information roll so the GM will make the roll for the character secretly.)
The Barron looks unimpressed with Metzz and asks to talk to Neftroll. Emmeni goes to the door and asks Neftroll to come in. He does but seems ill at ease. Rather than sitting he stands by the door.
Neftroll says that he was in Mordant's sickroom a week before Mordant's death. Mordant seemed angry and confused and dictated a will to Metzz. Neftroll thought the new will was so unfair to the younger two children that he refused to sign it and argued with Mordant.
Neftroll claims that Mordant was sure that Sheena and Zaff had something to do with his illness and insisted that once they saw this will he would get better again. Mordant ordered Metzz to witness the will and once Metzz had done so, Mordant ordered him to leave so Neftroll did. Neftroll says that there is no question that this new will is real, but that he hopes that the Barron will revert to an earlier will where all the children are treated fairly since Mordant was confused when he wrote the last will.
Mort yells, "It doesn't matter if he was confused, this is the REAL WILL!"
Neftroll says, "I'm not feeling well, pray excuse me!" and runs from the room. Emmeni closes the door after him and says, "I think it is clear that this will is the true will. I think it is unfair but since most of our assets come to me, there is little harm. I will be sure to give Sheena and Zaff a generous allowance, they won't hurt for money."
The Baron seems to believe Neftroll, who spoke sincerely and forcefully. When he hears that Emmeni plans to deal generously with the two younger children he starts nodding slightly.
Zaff says, "I want to question Neftroll. Call him back in here." Emmeni, gives Zaff a dirty look but says, at once.
She calls for Neftroll to return but he does not come. After a minute or two, she looks anoyed and says, "I will get him!" and leaves.
A couple minutes later alarms ring. People rush into the room saying that Neftroll said he needed air, and when out the back door and sat down on the orchard bench. But a band of orks have kidnapped him. (If a PC has Detect Lies a 3vsIQ will indicate that they are lying.)
Emmeni who has returned with the servants, asks for her guard Captain. When he arrives she wants to know why he and his men didn't stop him. The leader says that they didn't have orders to prevent Neftroll from leaving the building. She asks the Baron to give her his men to help hunt down the orks. The Baron refuses, and says, "Send you people after him at once!" She does so and her guards race off.
Zaff, Mort and Emmeni each start claiming that the other side has done away with Neftroll so that he couldn't be further questioned. Mort claims that the orks are Zaff's friends since Zaff refused to cheat them like most other humans, now we know why!
The Barron wants to know if Zaff is a friend of orks, and Zaff says he has had business dealing with many orks but he is not really friends with them. The Barron looks angry at this reply.
After a lot more shouting, the Baron says, that he is angry and that everyone should shut up. He will check in the town and find out if anyone knows if Zaff is friends with orks. Mort says he knows LOTS of people who can testify that Zaff is an ork lover, but the Barron tells him to shut up, we will find our own witnesses. The Baron says that he will wait for Emmeni's troops to return hopefully with Neftroll. "I am very unhappy with the behavior of all you! Is there not enough wealth that you can't share!"
Zaff says, "If you wait for Emmeni's men to find the scholar, he will be lost forever. Would it not be fair to let my people look as well for Neftroll?" The Baron starts to snarl something then changes his mind and says, "Yes, I want him back here alive!"
A few minutes later, a man comes in an says the attacking orks dropped this dagger with this funny pattern in the metal. (It is the fine dagger that was bought from the pawn shop this morning.) Mort chirps up, "Zaff, that is a magic dagger that you sold to an ork a couple of years ago, isn't it?" Zaff thinks for a moment and says, no he sold it to a merchant. The Baron looks angry, and asks if he has records of who he sold it to. Zaff says, no he records what his items sell for but does not write down who bought what. The Baron is not happy with this answer.
Things calm down for a while as everyone waits angrily. If the party is working for Zaff, then he take them to one side and talks to them. They must find Neftroll because he is a highly respected scholar & the Barron believed his testimony. The whole thing about him feeling ill and being kidnapped was fishy. They are to do anything they can to bring Neftroll back alive. He sends them off.
The Baron hates orks and finding out that Zaff is friends with them has swung him over to Emmeni & Mort's side. He virtually places Zaff under arrest, and begins quietly talking to Emmeni in a friendly way. Things look very bad for Zaff, Sheena and her children.
The Neftroll that spoke to the Barron was not the real Neftroll but an Image created by a wizard that Mort has hired. She and Mort kidnapped the real Neftroll so that the wizard would learn how he speaks and his mannerisms.
If the party is working for Emmeni or Mort, then Neftroll is not found and plenty of witnesses (from the poor part of town) will testify that Mort was an ork lover who always gave them good deals and sold them weapons. (Neither of these actions are illegal.) The Baron will rule in Emmeni and Mort's favor. Emmeni will loudly say that she will look after the other children but Zaff and Sheena will be kicked out within the year, virtually broke.
If the party gets involved in finding Neftroll, go to part 4 of the adventure.