Apu paces the guildhouse most of the morning stopping frequently to scribble down a sentence or two before considering it and scratching it out. In his mind he is going over contingency plans debating whether to stay in the city or flee before the law tracks them down. The debacle at Sole Manor would not be difficult to trace to them given even a mediocre wizard. The air in the guildhouse is electric with anticipation. When a knock comes, shortly after lunch Opifera and Ano exchange alarmed glances and the knock continues for some minutes before Opifera answers the door.
Livy lets herself into the small front office saying “I came as soon as I could. I heard about the fire, is Jules dead then?” When she confirms that she goes on to warn that Maurt is furious with the group and doesn’t know if he’ll be able to keep this underwraps. “He urged me to flee town to avoid getting tied up in it but my life is here now and anyway I needed to talk with you and find out what happened.” Despite her quick speech Livy looks years younger today. She is smiling and looks more relaxed than you’ve seen her. “I’m just glad the bastard is dead. I should have done this long ago. Before the monster killed my little sister. Thank you.” She looks at each of you smiling and then reaches into her jacket. “I’ve brought the payment we agreed upon” she pulls out a heavy silk coin purse. “100 royals for finding Laura’s murderer and another 200 for killing him. I’ve thought a lot about our last conversation and I think you are right. Laura is in Morrow’s hands now. I don’t want to see her dead body anymore, it’ll just make everything worse. But I want to pay you for that job just the same. Think of it as a thank you.” The purse contains 400 golden royals in total. After you look over the coins Livy stands up, smiles while wiping a tear from her cheek, pats Apu’s hands and leaves the office.
The next several days are harried and a streak of business keeps the BellRow Troubleshooters almost to busy to worry about the murder investigation. Then one day Lars Hutch, an unshaven, crude watch investigator from Captain’s Isle stops into the guild. He asks a few questions about the job Mr. Sole hired the guild for but doesn’t seem particularly interested in the answers. He bums one of Ano’s cigars and scowls threateningly when he learns the pantry has nothing by way of a midday pick-me up drink. He’s gone inside of fifteen minutes.
So ends the case of the murder of Laura Soles.
Extra XP is awarded for completing the story arc.
Notes from the GM:
This adventure was an experiment for me. Boiled down it was really a romantic tragedy disguised as a mystery and it focused most heavily on one character. The character of Ano in the story was present at the death of Laura Soles and participated in the framing of her husband Jules. The rest of the group did not know this and never guessed it throughout the adventure although they came pretty close. Ano’s player and I met before the first game session and roleplayed out the death scene in which Laura, a dear friend of Ano’s whom he had fallen in love with, informed him that she had swallowed poison to end her life as it was the only way to escape her abusive husband. In her naviate she had stolen Jule’s favorite dagger and asked Ano to stab her with it to implicate him in her death. She asked Ano to make sure that Jules paid for her death. A devastated Ano panicked, mourned, and did his best to cover his tracks. He then wrote the note found in Session 2 and pretended to find it kickstarting off the adventure. Throughout the adventure Ano had the difficult job of working constantly behind the scenes to keep the group on the trail of Jules and keep the ever surfacing clues pointed away from him. Ano’s player managed to do this with slipped notes, frantic miming from the kitchen when he hoped noone was watching, and emails and phone calls between sessions detailing his plans for the next session which almost invariably went ary. More amazingly he did all this while still keeping in mind how he thought Ano would feel and reacting appropriately, often adding to the danger of the group catching on.
As GM I was worried how the mystery would play out and especially how the group would react when they found out they were essentially being played. I made a strong commitment to play out the adventure as fairly as possible without a predetermined outcome. I would neither lead the group to discover Ano’s involvement nor steer them away from him and towards Jules. I attempted to play the characters in the story as driven by their own emotions and designs, some of which have yet to come to fruition. Ano’s player definitely had the element of the unexpected on his side but I made sure there were a handful of clues that he needed to intersect, bury, or explain away. All in all, I am very pleased with the way the adventure played out. It was fun, I think especially for me and for Ano’s player. The rest of the players were good sports about it. The players all now know what happened but their characters still don’t. In any case now it’s time to move on to something different. The next session was a one-shot.