Session Intro Text for Katja and Lou:
For the first time in weeks, you feel the warmth of the sun on your skin. The heat is like a weight on you after so much time in the cool, dank dungeon cell. Sweat immediately forms on your skin.
You hear the voices of the crowd shouting. Some in shock and disgust, others in joy. The rancid odor of the hood assaults your nose but it is a welcome relief from the stench of your cell. You’re still wearing the clothes you were captured in, but they are now torn and stained with filth.
Suddenly, the chain around your wrists yanks you forward and you stumble, but catch yourself before falling. You’re led 30 paces that seem like 100 to your soft bare feet. The rough hands of the guard holding your elbow says, “Steps. Climb.” You take 5 steps up and are led to a stop. “Stand here,” he grunts.
The black cloth hood disappears from over your head and the sunlight blinds you for several moments. You squint against it and glance about.
You’re on a wooden platform, roughly 30 feet by 40 feet. It is in the center of a large city square. Arrayed on the table in front of you are several tools and devices, all showing cruel sharp edges and spikes. Each one appears to be a a more cruel form of torture.
You both stand chained together a few feet apart, along with Anika and another unknown woman, Castillian or Vodaccian by her skin color. The people in the square now unconcerned by your ragged appearance. Two merchants standing at the foot of the platform are casually chatting about the latest troop deployments against the Montaingian invaders as if you do not even exist, but others look on you with pity, even mercy.
You look further out, across the crowd of maybe 40 or 50 people is a balcony, and seated on it is Bishop Diego Francisco. You recognize his beady eyes hidden within the folds of his enormously fat face from the times he has come to your cell to offer you a chance to ‘find forgiveness through the cleansing flames of the Prophet.” After seeing the horrible burn scars on another prisoner, you never gave into his offers. Sweat beads on his brow. He stands and the crowd hushes in immediate response.
“In nominee prophetae, et creatore, et potestas ecclesiae vaticine, incipimus et benedicam,” he says in a clear bass voice. He lifts his hand and makes the sign of the Prophet’s Cross, then pauses a moment and looks each of you in the eye before saying “Alcalde Garcia, you may begin..”
The Alcalde, a short whip of a man with a thin mustache, steps forward from behind you and begins to read out offences. He moves from person to person. The charges range from “sins against the prophets” to “practitioner of sorcery”. Finally, he ends with Anika as he recites her crimes -“possession, transportation, and use of Syrneth objects…and lastly, “he pauses for dramatic effect and the crowd seems to hold its breath. “Murder of one of the Most Holy Inquisition Questioners”. He glares at the crowd as shouts of “Purify the wicked!” and “She is with Legion!” tumble over you.
The Bishop stands and says, “bring the first heretic before us so that we may bring her into Theus’s grace. May the Prophet’s guide us.”
The Alcalde will grab the unknown woman, unchain her from the rest, and move her to a chair in the front of the platform. There, he straps her down with leather bindings.
“My Child, you have been brought to the Questioning because your crimes must be answered for before your immortal soul is released to Theus. You must meet him with a clean and penitent heart or be cast into Legion forever. What we do here is to save you. Will you admit to your crimes and accept the first punishments for your deeds?”
The woman glares across the crowd but her resolve breaks quickly. “I’ve done nothing! I swear it, Bishop Francisco!”
The Alcalde swings his baton against her shins and she shouts in pain. “SILENCE! You will either admit your crimes and accept the Prophet’s justice or you will have your tongue pulled out!” Some in the crowd shout in excitement. Some cry for mercy. The Bishop simply gazes at her."