Blizzacane and Lindwell continue to worsen as the filth fever takes its toll. Jorma concludes their business in Bythovia with a visit to Abbot Varicles. Varicles congratulates them on their success in the tunnels and promises to send the monks picked to supplement Brother Tarkanian’s vineyard.
With that, the party embarks for Ariaphas, Jorma’s home. Jorma has a warrant on his head for a previous crime, so he disguises himself as a priestess of Erathis to avoid capture. Blizzacane and Lindwell provide critiques, assistance, and shed fur to get the costume just right. Jorma successfully manages to avoid revealing his identity to the city guard at the docks, Rod Gilliam, and disappears into the alleyways when Blizzacane distracts the man.
The party makes for the Temple of Erathis, seat of the bishop of the Order of Minacius, Orrin Rasha. They encounter Rasha leaving a heated meeting and present him with a missive from Sister Zamada explaining the situation of New Port Chalmers and requesting more personnel. Bishop Rasha sees through Jorma’s disguise immediately, but conveys them to an inner garden to explain the situation to Sister Zamada through them.
Bishop Rasha explains that the Order is riven with factionalism regarding their mission to expand the limits of civilization on this continent. Since the disappearance of Port Chalmers, opinion has been divided on how to expand the current settlements along the Nieda River. One faction argues for the re-establishment of a community in roughly the same place as Port Chalmers, although the site is no longer as optimal as it was. Another agitates for a site along the Harsas River. Yet another (somewhat politically motivated) faction prefers settlement along the caravan routes leading out from Teremial. Still another faction plans to extend the eastward settlement of the Southern Coast out past Strïndïsjahr. As Bishop, Rasha must treat all of these factions with the impartiality expected of Erathis’s representative in the world. He does, however, promise to send an inquisitor to assess the viability of New Port Chalmers.
Jorma is unable to control himself anymore. After passing through the doors of the temple, he rips off his disguise and hightails it through an alley. Lindwell is shocked into nonresponsiveness, but Blizzacane and his kitten follow after. Jorma finds a park and rushes through it, stealing a lollipop from a baby. He then finds Captain Angosh’s house, breaks in (critical success!), and steals all eleven pairs of long underwear that he finds there. He ties them together as though hanging from a clothesline and attempts to string them across the facade of the courthouse. Failing, he hurls the underwear into the door of the place – directly into the face of the city prosecutor, Sidney Parhelios. The kitten mews for nourishment as Jorma searches for a tavern. When he finds one, Jorma strides in (followed by Blizzacane), grabs a pork chop off one table and tosses it to Blizz for the kitten, steals a pint of beer from the table and drains it dry, then flips the table over and rushes away. Blizz takes the chop gratefully, chewing it for the kitten as he follows Jorma to a bank. Jorma instructs Blizz to find a cart as it’s time for a heist. The thief runs into the bank and jumps on a table, moaning and coughing and complaining about filth fever. When he transforms into a dire rat thanks to his armor, the place empties. Rat-Jorma squeezes his way behind the teller consoles, transforms back, and starts grabbing everything he can – pens, coins, random papers, everything. He then dashes into the vault and grabs as many bags of gold as he can (one).
Outside, the crime spree rolls on to its inevitable conclusion. Blizzacane has requisitioned a red wagon from a child, now crying. Jorma dumps his loot in it and sets Blizz to pull as he pushes. Guards appear from around a corner and yell for the criminals to halt! Blizzacane stops dead, but Jorma leaps into the cart and rides it until it slowly approaches Sergeant Bart Ramus. Jorma makes small talk with Ramus, whom he knows, before exonerating Blizz and submitting to his arrest.
Blizzacane returns to Lindwell, still frozen in shock. He manages to rouse the tiefling lawyer and inform him of the latest circumstances. Lindwell grumbles but heads to the courthouse to handle the situation. After filling out the requisite paperwork and signing an autograph for a fan of The Worst Lawyer in Teremial, Lindwell finally faces his client. Plans are plotted, and Lindwell does the best he can to prepare for the trial. With Blizzacane’s help, he stays stable for the night, but Blizz takes a turn for the worse.
The next day, Lindwell and Blizzacane go to the courthouse, picking up a paper from a funny wizard with a printing golem along the way. Once in the courtroom, they find that Parhelios has recused himself from prosecuting Jorma and has been replaced by his deputy, Todd Marlowe. Judge Randolf Schott presides over the trial. Marlowe’s opening statements lay heavily on Jorma’s guilt, now and in the past. Lindwell’s opening statement suggests that Jorma is a victim of a psychological disorder which causes him to have multiple active personas. Judge Schott agrees that this is an valid use of legal principle, and the trial proceeds. Lindwell calls Gilliam to the stand, leaning hard on Jorma’s perfect costume as evidence of a female persona. Marlowe responds with a line of questioning about male actors playing women, and suggests that Jorma’s costume is a result of training, not insanity. Lindwell counters with Breyer Angosh himself and questions about where and how exactly Jorma was trained in his skills. Jorma and Lindwell then managed to inspire an outburst from Angosh by suggesting that his antipathy toward Jorma proceeded from one of his sisters’ dalliances with the rogue. Marlowe can’t counter, and when Blizzacane takes the stand, the stage is set for the final act. Lindwell questions Blizzacane on Jorma’s behavior, and the shifter gives accounts of all the crazy stuff Jorma has done since they met on the dock at New Port Chalmers. Blizz mentions that in his tribe, they say people like that have someone in their head. Lindwell asks Mint to possess Jorma, and after a brief consultation to iron out the details, Mint enters Jorma’s mind, threatens the prosecutor, and summons a swarm of tiny fairies disguised as imps into the courtroom. (Blizzacane eats one; it tastes like white pepper.) Marlowe drops all charges agains the clearly possessed Jorma. Lindwell argues briefly that Jorma needs help, but the magistrates are firm: the legal system is not where he will find assistance. Clapping Jorma in irons, they direct the adventurers to the Temple of Erathis, where exorcists can be found.
With the end of the trial, Lindwell realizes how tired he really is. He and Jorma field questions from the old newswizard for a while. Lindwell is exhausted, and Blizzacane is losing big chunks of fur. Lindwell buckles and pays for the Cure Disease ritual to be scribed into Gron’s ritual book, albeit at a discount. Unfortunately, the scribing occurs while Gron is drunk, so ever after Gron can only perform Cure Disease while intoxicated.
- 500 XP each (8,191 total)
- 2 gold and ivory figurines (250 gp ea)