LSJ: Until Proven Innocent

Shuk , Jenestra vonStumpwasser , Axel vonStumpwasser , Kurgan are each served a notice by Ainsworth, Ivers, Mortenbrace, and Associates. Their offices are located in the Services District and demand our presence by the ninth bell. Sergeant Aston Kenness , a member of the Diamond Legion , has been accused of murder and his sister Jazera recommended us. The victim, Nivia, was a courtesan working at the Gilded Cage . Sgt. Kenness is only allowed two visits per day – one from their defense council and one from the family. We follow his KC Mortenbrace, his defense council, to the Amthydor Prison . We are forced to remove all our weapons, spellbooks, and magic items. Any attempt to go through the entrance with such items is a capital crime and will be instantly deweomered. Shuk stays behind to safeguard out stuff.

Sgt. Kenness remembers Nivia fondly – they were in love. It was not just her physical beauty, but she dabbled in art and music. She had a beautiful voice, Aston last spoke with her yesterday morning when she stopped his patrol and claimed that she was being stalked. He told her that he will speak with his watch-captain and have him assign someone to follow her for a few days. He cannot account for the fact that his personal dagger was the murder weapon. He damaged the hilt on his dagger several days ago and took it to a blacksmith for repair. He has not picked up the dagger from the smith. He does not have a alibi for the time of the murder. He was at home alone and went to bed early – which was unusal for him. His sister Jezera came home late in the evening from bard college, but did not wake him.

Proctor Eckard Mortvally is the officer of the Diamond Watch that is appointed to prosecute Sgt. Kenness. We ask to read the evidence against the Sergeant. A scrap of the sergeant’s spare uniform was clutched in her hand. He claims he sent the uniform to be cleaned and as yet to pick it up; although the laundress says he picked it up two days prior. The torn uniform was found in Kenness’ scrap pile. There was someone who saw the two of them arguing the day Nivia was murdered. The dagger was found near the body uniquely identified as belonging to the sergeant. A trail of bloody prints were found from the body to Kenness’ back door. Under Kenness’ bed was Nivia’s heart wrapped in black silk. The evidence is solid, but it paints a different picture for us – doppleganger or illusionist.

We go and speak with Elise Joransdotter, a laundress. She cleans and repairs many uniforms of the watch. She remembers Kenness picking up his uniform and besides nobody gets their laundry without their ticket. She knows that justice is finally coming to call on Sgt. Kenness. It was the sergeant whose patrol took her father in for a minor offense that eventually led to his death. He was only a Corporal then, but he made Sergeant just after the trial. She would never lie to see the gods’ justice fall upon him, but she is glad it finally has rested in his breast.

We go and visit the weaponsmith and see if someone has indeed picked up the dagger. She shows the dagger that the sergeant brought in for repair; therefore it could not have been his dagger. However, Kenness’ sister came in about two months ago and commissioned an exact duplicate dagger. She picked up the dagger over a week ago.

Rather than confront the sister immediately we travel to the Gilded Cage and speak with Marissa Chandler , the madam of the brothel. She knew that Nivia was smitten by Aston who “respected” her and supported her artwork. She was working on a beautiful sketch of her beloved when she was killed. Marissa knows that one of Nivia’s patrons was also “in love” with her and would write her constantly. None of the letters have a name, but the script is quite distinctive. The letter writer was obsessed with Nivia and wanted such a beautiful woman on his arm. She must be his and his alone. He stopped writing nearly a week before her murder. We speak with several of the men and women who knew Nivia. All of them sing Nivia’s praises, but each of them say that recently she became more withdrawn and somewhat fearful. She refused to speak with them about it, but instead would cover her fear with a smile. The last woman we interview is a beautiful women with pale blonde-white hair with gray eyes. She knew of the letters and although she approached Nivia several times as a confident Nivia simply walled things away. She overheard the argument Kenness and Nivia before her murder. She said that she wanted to end things finally and that enough was enough. She only overheard that exchange as she was on her way to visit a client.

With many questions and the beginnings of an understanding we go and visit Velenna, the housekeeper, but instead find a patrol from the Diamond Watch. It turns out that Velenna has been killed. Detective Bailey Commons checks over our credentials and tells us what they know of the situation. Velenna’s daughter is too hysterical to discover anything from her. The Detective allows us to search the room. The room is nicely appointed only spoiled by the body of the woman behind the door. She was attacked from behind and her throat cut. The only clue we find is the maid’s purse under the bed – inside is the ticket for Sgt. Kenness’ uniform from the laundress. With this ticket we can prove that Kenness never picked up the uniform. We call up the Detective to discover the claim ticket. She logs the evidence in her book and allows us to take it.

We return to the laundress and confront her with the evidence of the ticket. We demand that she retrieve the uniform. She goes into the back room to search for the uniform. Shuk turns invisible and follows her into the back room. Jenestra and her bear goes around to back to ensure she does not bolt. Shuk tries to intimidate her for the information but she stands fast. In the back room Shuk saw her pacing, but not enough to force a confession from her. She is clearly guilty and knows more than she is telling us, but we cannot crack her. Instead she demands we leave her shop or she will call the watch.

We go in search of the ragpicker that found the body. He is a wretched man who we need to bribe with only a few scraps of food and small stack of coins. He knew Kenness and his sister quite well. Not like the rich that just threw clothes with only a stain or two – he keeps his clothes in good repair. However on the morning in question he found a tied up bundle of clothes in front of her door. Kenness never tied up his clothes instead leaving them in a pile that is easier for him to pick through. That was when he was found the body. He never found any boots in the pile. He is not that helpful, but we warn him about what happened to Kenness’ maid.

We go to the crime scene and see if we can uncover any new clues. We not only have fresh eyes, but we have enough evidence that we are sure Kenness is innocent – we just have to approve it. We show the Sergeant in charge our writ and he lets us to the crime scene. While searching we find a ladies’ bodice dagger discarded in the corner. It is sharp and very well made. It has come blood on the blade and might have pinked the assailant. Kurgan is sure that given the amount of blood in the room there is no way that only a spot ended up on the attacker. Jenestra’s companion sniffes out a bloody boot print heading away towards the door. The lock on the door looks to have been jimmied recently.

Shuk shifts into the form of a bugbear and sniffs the air. In addition to all of the expected scents he picks up the scent of something else. He tracks the scent back to a drunk passed out in the alley. We wake the drunk and interrogate him “gently.” He says he has been in the alley and that is where he found this expensive bottle of wine. We purchase the wine from the drunk and cast some spells on it to uncover its secrets. It contains some type of sleep potion. We turn over the evidence to the two Diamond Watch members standing watch.

We go to Kenness’ apartment. The door is answered by Jazera, who has been weeping for hours. She has just returned from the proctors who claim they have overwhelming evidence against her brother. When we confront her about the dagger she purchased for her brother as a birthday gift she claims no knowledge. There is no way she can afford such a present after spending so much time on her education. Shuk shifts into a bugbear again and sniffs the various rooms. He does not pick up any scents that we do not expect – Jazera, Velenna, some members of the Diamond Watch, and Proctor Mortvally. We search the rooms of the house and find a strongbox under the floorboards in bedroom. Inside are 10,000 crowns along with several letters from those threatening Sgt. Kenness. One of them from Alver Kostov, who escaped from prison, threatening to kill him as he killed Kenness’ father. He will rip out his heart and watch it beats its last.

We search Jazera’s music room and discover a small footprint on the window sill from a small boot. In addition a string on her harp broken the window to the room has been forced open. Whomever was in this house entered or exited through this window. In the guest room we find several uniforms and sketch from Nivia showing a smiling Sgt. Kenness. The watch searched through the room well, but we find a very bloody uniform in a pile of dirty clothes. The killer was wearing this shirt when they killed Nivia.

We go and speak with the weaponsmith who identifies Elise as “the sister” that purchased the duplicate knife. With this information we confront Elise and she breaks down. She wanted Kenness to suffer as her father did in a cage until he died. She watched over him and marked down his movements. She then kidnapped Nivia and cut her enough to put blood on a spare uniform. She broke into the room and planted evidence, but when she returned to where she bound Nivia the woman was gone. As she returns to the room to finish the job some guardsman from the Diamond Watch came into the house. Guardsmen have been following her ever since her father was taken in by the Watch. She agrees to return with us to the Proctor and confess her crime. Before we reason the watch building we are jumped by a gang of thugs intent on silencing the woman.

We hold the line against the thugs grinding them down, but one of them manages to slip through and nearly kills Elise. We do manage save her life and drag her before the court. We have sufficient evidence to save Kenness’ life, but not enough the Diamond Watch is willing to release him immediately.

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