After a month of waiting to deliver the books, the party was finally in Lepidstadt. Taking their time rising for the morning, they began to make their way to to deliver the books for their late friend, Professor Petros Lorrimor, hoping that once they’d completed the delivery for their murdered friend they could start on a path of justice for him.
First taking some time to gather directions to where they may find the owners of the books, Dr. Montagnie Crowl and Judge Embreth Daramid, they set out to the home of the Judge as she was the closest. En route they passed through the centre of town, a large circular gathering place on the steps of a large courthouse. While this spot was likely often used to markets or fairs, it was now home to a hastily built wooden structure in the shape of a man.
Remaining on task, they continued forward and soon arrived at the home of the judge- a fine townhouse surrounded by statues, sculptures, and topiaries. At the door they explained their presence to a butler who invited them in, and then fetched his mistress – an elderly woman with grey hair pulled back tightly into a bun and icy blue eyes.
Identifying herself as the judge they sought, she went straight to business, asking if the party had a book with a large scarab on the cover for her. Confirming they did, and handing it over she accepted the book quite gratefully, and asked the party if they had also delivered the other books as the professor had requested. As they had not, she requested they return upon the completion of that task.
With their business concluded momentarily, the party was about to leave when Judge Daramid asked the PCs to stay for a moment longer, adding that she was in need of some assistance, and if Petros trusted them, then she might be inclined to trust them as well. She explained to the party that she felt there to be a cancer in Lepidstadt, a darkness lurking behind the shadow of a scapegoat. For many years the people of Lepidstadt had laid all their ills at the door of a creature known as the Beast of Lepidstadt—murders, thefts, and terror had all been attributed to the Beast over time.
Judge Daramid said that she knew many of these stories to be exaggerations or simply untrue, and that she also knew of people that had different stories to tell about the creature—about its kindness and humanity, of how it has rescued loved ones or helped those in distress. Now that the time has arrived for such kindness to be repaid, however, no one dared to step forward and challenge the Beast’s reputation at trial after being captured at the university just over a week ago, and now awaiting trial.
She feared that this reputation would ensure that the Beast will not receive a fair trial as the people had blamed the Beast for too much and for too long, and their will was strongly in favour of seeing it pay for those crimes, whether or not those crimes were real or imagined. She also felt that something about the Beast’s capture at the university did not add up, and that the city’s constabulary were too blinded by prejudice to look deeper.
Despite all of these doubts, she explained that if she were to voice there suspicions publicly it could put her at great risk, both professionally and politically. Particularly as one of the three justices presiding over the Beast’s trial, she explained that she would be unable to openly intervene without recusing herself, other than insisting that the Beast be properly defended in court.
At this point it became clear that what she was after – she needed was a group of people, the party, without local bias to uncover the real truth about the Beast and its alleged crimes. Offering to double the reward promised by the Petros’ will for their help, 100pp each, she explained to them that the Beast’s legally appointed advocate, a barrister named Gustav Kaple, is hopelessly over his head and needs the party to not only investigate, but also stand up in court to be questioned by the prosecution. She insisted that such speakers must have bravery in spades and silver tongues to match, to ensure that if there is more to the Beast’s story, justice will be done. And if the Beast is indeed guilty, she feels that such an investigation would allow her to rest easier at night knowing that she gave it a fair trial.
Agreeing to this deal, she told the party that during their investigation they must keep her involvement a secret to protect her position as being impartial. To this end she insisted that she would deny any involvement in the matter, not matter how pressed. She recommended that after they deliver the books to Dr Crowl (and perhaps investigate what remains of the crime scene), that they party head to the Lepidstadt Courthouse and register with the court clerks as volunteer defenders and then meet with Gustav to offer their assistance, insisting that he would direct them further.