As this is not a party, but instead is a ‘gathering’, no gifts are required for the event. Additionally, no banquet is prepared. Only immediate family of the wedding party and the hostess, plus their guests, are invited. In fact, the swiftness of the gathering, and the small number of guests make this a very suspicious event indeed…
During the final fitting of the bride’s dress, a servant came to the room to speak with Marquise Vivaldia. He shows her a set of clothes covered in blood, and claims to have found them near her Castle’s stables. The bloody clothes are identified to be the wedding clothes of one of the guests, Baron Korba. However, Korba was present in the room. The only person missing in fact was…the Groom himself!
Vivaldia ordered her servant to not speak of this incident, and to destroy the clothing. She moves quickly to keep the news secret from the rest of the guests.
In order to not bring shame to her home, she asks her sons to work with their friends at the party and discretely find out what is happening. In the meantime, she will keep the other guests distracted. If Murder occurred in her halls, she asks them to the person responsible for the death. She offers a great favor to the person who finds the one responsible for this heinous crime.
The brothers Deta and Yvari consulted with their friends. Upon further investigation, Thalassa identified that the clothing worn by Korba contains a subtle poison, a fatal poison. Marquise Vivaldia called forth her Apothecary, who was not able to determine the cure for the poison. After investigating the poison further using her hostess’ library, Zrudura determined that the only cure to this poison is to craft an elixir made with the Blood of the person who crafted the poison! She also determined that anyone who had touched Baron Korba’s clothes was also affected by the poison.
A plan of action was decided upon. As several of the group were poisoned, time was now of the essence. Half of their remaining number decided to go to investigate the Groom’s room to try to find a clue as to the source of the Murders and poison, and the other half went to the stables to investigate.
The group investigating the Groom’s room arrive there only to find a surprise. The body in the groom’s room has been joined by another. This additional body is identified as being that of the Apothecary! The original body is found to not be that of the groom, but instead of Count Engunn, Marquise Vivaldia‘s “close friend” and the groom’s best man!
Meanwhile, the group investigating the stables searched the grounds, and found a small medallion in the mud near where the Bloody clothes were discovered. It seems familiar. Yvari instructed his herald to take it to his mother, in case she was familiar with it. They spent several minutes more searching, but were unable to find anything more. Just as they were about to go back inside, a commotion was heard from the battlements.
The group spies the Groom! Engaged in a dread battle of Strength against an assailant who appears to be Yvari’s herald! Before the characters can react, the herald manages to throw the Groom from the battlements. He falls to his death on the cobblestones below.
Drawn by the commotion, Count Zhoush finds the group standing around the body of his son. Crying out in his sorrow, he blames Marquise Vivaldia for not protecting his son. Yvari claims Insult at his words, and challenged Count Zhoush to a Duel. Count Zhoush, unable to think for his sorrow, asks Thalassa to fetch her step-brother to stand as Swordsman for him. Yvari asks his brother, Deta, to fetch Korba to stand as his second.
Meanwhile, seeing the commotion in the courtyard from the window above, and seeing where the assailant has fled, Korba pursued the assailant. He managed to corner the assailant in a pantry, and realized that the assailant was not Yvari’s herald, but was instead a woman. He leapt forward and engages her in a duel! He struck hard and fast, but his enemy proved stronger, inflicting on him a major wound. She managed to break free and flee from the Castle onto the grounds.
Thalassa obeys her step-father’s wish, seeking out her step-brother. She finds them both, engaged in an illicit Liason with the Bride herself! Furthermore, her keen eyes detect the swell of stomach indicating that the Bride carries a child already! Filing this information away for future use, she informs her eldest remaining step-brother that his father wishes him.
Deta finds Korba badly wounded, and learns of where the assailant fled. Korba made his way to the Liibrary, where Thalassa and Zrudura were able to craft an antidote using the Blood from Korba’s sword. The guests touched by Poison’s foul humors were saved.
Following the blood trail left by the assailant’s wounds, Deta tracked the assailant outside, where he sees her mounting a horse! She rode for the gates, and her freedom. Reaching for The Vanishing Death, Deta manages to put an arrow through her shoulder as she rode for the gates, causing her to fall from her horse and break her leg.
Deta runs up to unveil the assailant, only to find it was the mother of the Bride herself! She claims she was attempting to Murder the Groom as vengeance for forcing himself upon her unmarried daughter and making her pregnant with his child. Deta informed the mother of the Bride that she would be held accountable for her actions after the Duel between Yvari and Count Zhoush’s eldest remaining son was resolved.
Yvari and Count Zhoush‘s son faced off across the grounds on which Count Zhoush’s eldest still lay. Grounds thick with the Blood. They saluted, and moved to engage. He was no match for Yvari, who bore The Wolf’s Teeth. One quick slice, and it was over. The wound inflicted by Yvari was not only physical though. Known only to him, his blades inflicted a second wound, a wound on the heart of Count Zhoush’s eldest son. Within his eyes, a Love bloomed, a love born not of Passion, but of Sorcery. Yvari whispered his instructions for his new lover into his ears before lowering him slowly to the ground.
Once the duel was resolved, the remaining nobles gathered to form an impromptu Senate to hear the crimes of the Bride’s mother.
The Bride’s mother claimed that the servant who brought the clothes was a spy loyal to her. She had instructed him to kill the Groom for the crime of raping her daughter. The man had found a man in the room of the Groom wearing the clothes of the Groom, and had murdered him. He was under instructions to leave the room as it was, but has apparently disobeyed.
Instead, he had taken the Groom’s clothes out to the stables, muddied them, and had gone to Marquise Vivaldia with them. When the Bride’s mother had seen him in the fitting room with the clothes, she knew her plan was going awry. She managed to corner him in the Castle as he went to destroy the clothes, and had asked him what game he was playing. He informed her that if she did not offer him lands and title, he would reveal her plan to his mistress, in the hopes that she would reward him.
The Bride’s mother promised him that and more, feigning interest in a Romance with him. She asked him for but a single task more to prove his loyalty. He must slay the Apothecary, who had also been turned and conscripted by the mother of the Bride to try to kill the Groom. His evident panic at the revealing of the poisoned clothes cast doubt on his ability to cover up his complicity in the affair. The servant, eagerly accepting the task, sought out the Apothecary and slew him. He hid the body in the Groom’s room, in the hopes that the confusion would allow him time to meet with his Lady and grant her assistance to find escape from the Castle.
The servant returned to the Bride’s mother, and informed her that the deed had been done. Still feigning Romance, she asked him to accompany her into a private room for his ‘just reward’. There, she slew him. Covered in his blood, and not sure how she would escape, she despaired. Just then, Yvari’s herald passed by.
Surprising him, she knocked him unconscious, hid him in one of the guest rooms, and stole his clothes. Disguised now as a servant, she had full run of the castle. She began to make her way to the stables when she spotted someone: the Groom! He had apparently snuck into the cellars to fetch a bottle of wine for the ‘celebration’. Confronting him, she drew her sword and inflicted a minor wound upon him. Being not given to Courage, the Groom fled, eventually finding his way to the parapets and his final demise. The rest of the events were pieced together from the experiences of the group.
Given the nature of her crimes, and her confession of them, the impromptu Senate declared her in violation of the 7th Law, “No Ven shall Commit Murder”. Given the heinousness of the crimes, her sentence was death by strangulation, to be carried out by her eldest (and only) surviving child. The Bride.
After sentence was brought, the party was thrown into some chaos, when it was discovered that the wedding was apparently off. A wedding with a Blood Contract. A Blood Contract which was already signed.
However, it was discovered that the marriage’s Blood Contract specified only that the Bride be married to ‘a son of Count Zhoush’. The terms of the Blood Contract could only be modified by a living relative of the Bride. The Bride was found to be without immediate surviving family.
Given the choice between bearing the stigma of breaking the Blood Contract, wearing the black for a year and a day (with no one to guard her family’s lands), and marrying into the family of the man who had raped her, the Bride wisely chose to marry his youngest brother.
And they lived happily ever after. Really, they did.