Chapter 09: Truth & Lies

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Session Number: 98
Date: Sunday 15 May 2011
Venue: Fergus'
PCs & Players:

Arrian Rog1/Clr9 (Fergus) (kills: none)
Feren Rog10 (Yeran) (kills: none)
Rowaine Pal10 (Craig) (kills: none)
Tomen Rgr9/Drd1 (Ash) (kills: none)
Troll Wiz10 (Densial) (kills: none)

XP Awarded: TBA

Prince Dimaan takes charge, directing the Uthers into separate circles. The Uther that the party discovered moves into the circle on the right; the prodigal Uther that bore the Hammer of Lawmeron enters the left-hand circle.

"Right, you two," says Troll. "No swapping!" They both look at Troll blankly.

"Very well," the prince says. "Cast your spells." Troll's index fingers face front and centre. "Not you, Troll," the prince qualifies. The two mages begin casting spells; Troll identifies one as Detect Magic, the other as a spell of confinement that activates and taps the power of the magic circles. The mystic eddies suggest that the spell is designed to prevent those within from exiting or successfully casting spells.

"Do you wish us to commence questioning?" Rowaine asks the prince. "How do you wish to run this?"

"You seem to have experience in these matters," Dimaan answers. "I think it prudent for you to commence. I may have one or two questions of my own, as may my people."

Arrian casts five spells in quick succession: Magic Circle against Evil centred upon himself, Magic Vestment on Rowaine's shield, Owl's Wisdom upon himself, Recitation and Zone of Truth. Rowaine sweeps the room for traces of evil. She senses none.

Arrian turns to the Lawmeron on the right. "What is your full name?"

"Uther Aion Lawmeron," he says calmly. Arrian addresses the occupant of the other circle. "Your full name?"

"Also Uther Aion Lawmeron." There is nothing in either's demeanour to suggest falsehood.

Arrian turns back to the figure on the right. "Are you the person that the grand stories of Uther and his hammer refer to?"

"I didn't know I had become a legend. I did some worthy deeds in my past. If that is what has been idolised by the community, then yes, that is who I am."

Arrian indicates the weapon standing against the room's doorframe. "Is this your hammer?"

"Yes, it is."

Arrian turns to the figure on the left. "Is this your hammer?"


Rowaine addresses the Uther on the right. "Do you have a brother?"

"Yes, as it turns out. Umbridge." He turns and looks at the other figure.

Rowaine focuses her gaze upon the other Uther. "Do you have a brother?"

"Yes I do. His name is Umbridge and he seems to have come back."

"So one of you is Uther and one of you is Umbridge, right?" Troll asks them both.

"Evidently," the Uther on the left replies.

"You figure?" Troll says to the other.

"Yes," he says. "That is my brother, Umbridge."

"And Umbridge should be killed, right, because he's evil, right?"

The Uther on the right answers. "If we can find a way to make him repent, I'd rather take that option than to kill him." Troll turns to the other Uther, his eyebrows rising.

"He can be very dangerous to society. I'd rather not have him in the city. If this is Umbridge I'd rather rehabilitate him. I'd rather he not be a threat to society."

"But he's going to be a threat to society, right?"

"If he was attempting to destroy the city…"

"…Which he did in the armour, right?"

"…then I'd have to stop him by any means possible."

"If, if, if…" Troll says. "So actually, we should just let you two fight it out."

"What?" the prince exclaims.

"Why should we believe you are the real Uther, and the other not?" Arrian says. "Let's start with you," he adds, indicating the Uther on the right.

"I don't know why it matters so much that I am the real Uther," he says. "If you cannot determine who is who, then you must stop both of us. Umbridge cannot be allowed to wreak havoc upon this city."

"So how about I just kill you both?" Troll says. "Whaddaya reckon?"

"If that is the last resort, then go ahead," the Uther on the right answers confidently. The Uther on the left regards his nemesis with increasing attention.

"OK, I have a plan," Troll says. "I can take you somewhere where you cannot lie, before an all-powerful tree of life that will know who is the real Uther and will just splat the one that is not. Who wants to come?"

"A tree of… life?" the left-hand figure repeats.

"Yep," Troll replies. "In a glade in the elven kingdom. She's about seven thousand years old. What do you think we should do about this situation?"

The figure on the left responds. "I believe what my brother said. That if you need to, you should kill both of us to stop Umbridge. You need to do what is best for the people."

Prince Dimaan discreetly asks Feren about this so-called 'Tree of Life,' wondering where Troll is intending to take his city's hero (and apparently, its villain also). Feren says he will tell him the detail later.

"Might there be a way to question the appellants individually, my prince?" Arrian asks. The prince confers with his mages.

Troll continues the questioning. "Do you both agree that we'd be better off killing both Umbridge and Uther than to leave Umbridge unchecked?"

The figure on the left hesitates, eyeing his alter ego. The figure on the right answers. "Yes, that is the best way," he says. "Yes," the left-hand figure eventually says.

"Then let's just kill them both," Troll says to the others. "The other one was dead anyway… Past his time. Shouldn't be here…"

"Are you able to dispel magic?" Arrian asks the mages.

"Yes," one answers, "although I have not detected any magic on either of them."

Rowaine talks to Arrian quietly. "Perhaps if we threaten the hammer? Might that force one's hand? What if they are somehow both Uther?"

We should have found out something that only the true Uther would reliably know… Maybe an inscription on the hammer, or something from his past…

"Gentlemen," Arrian says to both. "What do you know of large metal armour suits, twenty feet tall? At least two towns were destroyed by such a thing."

Rowaine catches the figure on the left snatch a look at the other Uther, then quickly glance her way before answering. "Sounds like a golem to me."

"Is that the only thing you know about this?"

"Yes. I've been a recluse for a while."

A mage politely attracts Arrian's attention, saying that he has a spell at the ready that will erect a noise-dampening magical wall. Arrian directs the mage to isolate the two circles with the spell, then directs the two captives to face away from each other. The mage begins casting. Once complete, Arrian casts Recitation again, followed by Discern Lies. He then moves to the left hand side and faces the man inside the circle. His magically-augmented senses now detect an aura about the man, like gently swirling blue-tinged fog.

"What is your name?" he asks.

"Uther Aion Lawmeron," the man replies. His aura does not change.

"Why were you looking at the other Uther when asked a question?"

"I was just keeping an eye on him," is the reply. The swirling blue aura remains relatively constant.

"How did you come to have the Hammer of Lawmeron?" Arrian asks.

"I found it in the forest," the figure says. "I was just hunting game and found it." His aura continues to swirl, a translucent blue haze around his body.

"Why did you come back to Ashhope?"

"Because I found my hammer. I took that as a sign from Pelor that I should come back to help my fellow man." The once-blue aura transforms to a violent pink colour. The man has lied.

"Why did you just lie to me?" Arrian asks.

"I didn't lie," the man says, taken aback. "That's what I honestly thought when I found the hammer - that I needed to help people out." The man's aura continues to glow an ugly pink.

"I am aware that you are lying," Arrian says. "Prince Dimaan, you should know that this individual has lied in response to my last two questions."

"No I didn't," the man protests.

"How do you know?" the prince asks Arrian.

"I have a spell in place that alerts me to lies," Arrian replies.

"I can vouch for that," one of the prince's mages says.

"The spell cannot give false positives," Arrian says. "Would you like to try that again, 'Uther?'"

"I don't know what you mean," the figure says. "I am telling the truth. I am Uther and I found the Hammer of Lawmeron in the forest." The man's aura returns to cool blue.

"Did anyone else help you obtain the hammer in any way, shape or form?" Arrian asks.

"No, I just found it there." The man's aura spikes angry pink again.

"Did you arrange the death of the thief who stole the Hammer of Lawmeron?"

"What thief? I didn't know the hammer was stolen." Pink is replaced by blue.

"Are you Umbridge?"

"No." The aura remains blue for a few seconds more, then slowly dissolves.

The party recap what they have learned. Arrian suggests that the mages cast Dispel Magic on the suspect Uther. The mage informs him that the circles of containment would interfere with such a spell. Arrian confirms that the mages can lower the containment spells individually, and at will. Arrian then has a thought.

"Anyone here evil?" he says to those assembled. "Because if you are, you might want to leave the room." At his request, one of the prince's mages drops the soundproof barrier.

"What's going on?" the Uther on the right asks.

"I'm going to call down the righteous might of my god," Arrian replies. "It will only smite those whose hearts are truly evil."

"Ah, so you wish to determine which one of us is evil," the figure on the right confirns. "Go ahead."

"Do you want me to lower the circles of containment?" a mage asks. "Because they will block your spell."

"Yes, please," Arrian says. "On my mark."

The party members disperse, covering both suspects from multiple angles. Rowaine and Feren cover the lying Uther on the left, Arrian and Tomen cover the Uther on the right. Troll moves towards the door, draws two wands and takes a bead on the figure positively identified as uttering lies.

"Wait," the figure says, eyeing both Troll's wands and Arrian. "You're going to smite us?"

"Yes," says Arrian calmly. "It will only punish those who are evil."

"Isn't there another way to determine that?" the man says, a little alarmed. Rowaine casts Aid on Feren then steps before the man, fist cocked. Arrian casts the same spell on Troll. Feren prepares to draw his dagger should it prove necessary.

"On three," Arrian say. "One…"

"OK, surely there's some other way we can sort this out!" says the Uther between Rowaine and Feren.

"Two…" Arrian spots the protesting Uther tracing sigils in the air. "He's casting a spell!" he warns. Before the barrier drops the spellcaster disappears, clothes and all.

"Somebody guard the door!" Rowaine yells as the barrier finally melts away. A green spurt of acid streaks past her, through the centre of the circle. It splatters on the far wall. Feren draws and slashes in one fluid movement but his dagger strikes nothing.

Whrang! Arrian's Holy Smite briefly fills the room with Corellon Larethian's splendour. As brilliant white fades to torchlight, everyone still stands as before. There is no sign of the spellcaster. Rowaine steps into the circle and swings a low roundhouse punch at waist height. Her fist strikes nothing. Nothing!


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