The World Tree

Vigilante Justice

The party wakes. The hour of Elise’s reckoning has come.

Jarvis lays out a plan. At his request, the party convinces Armon to Scry Elise’s whereabouts. having discovered where she is holed up, Jarvis assigns them to cover the east and north side of the building in which she is housed, preventing any means of escape that way. “Elise is to be captured alive and delivered to me,” he warns. “If anyone strikes her down, I will kill them myself. Elise must pay the proper price.”

Waiting in their assigned spots, the party watches Jarvis and a group of his men sneak into the house. It isn’t long before the sounds of battle commence. After a few minutes, Elise comes flying through a second story window on the east side of the house, gently landing on her feet. Amidst the crowd she spots the party lying in wait.

[Battle Music: Mombasa – Inception soundtrack, with sound of rainfall accompaniment]

As the party closes in on her, Elise is protected by powerful mercenaries: a samurai, calling himself Arashi, the Still Blade, deflects a blow meant for her from Vere. A Hexblade, Haliax, rushes Arrow. An invisible sorceror, Kastyora, hurls deadly spells at Xull’ree. Elise disappears into an alleyway, re-emerging through a portable hole she cleverly set up shortly after she came out onto the street. A body double throws off pursuit long enough for her to get a lead, but it doesn’t last. Vere and Brieck strike down Arashi. Xull’ree’s magical lion pet tackles Kastyora out of the air, bringing him down into the street before mauling him to death. The onslaught of Arrow and Xull’ree overwhelms Haliax. Samuel and Daniela cut off Elise at every turn before Durth corners her with a wall of flame. Having been caught, Jarvis catches up to them. As he grabs her shoulders, she looks at him and smiles mockingly. “Why Jarvis,” she says, “If you had shown this much determination in bed then perhaps things would’ve worked out.”

[Music: Grandma – Nier soundtrack, with sound of rainfall accompaniment]

Without a word Jarvis grabs Elise by the hair and drags her screaming through the streets. Onlookers, having gathered to watch the battle, follow them to the Town Square. All activity ceases as everyone forms a wide circle around them. Elise is on her knees, staring at the ground. Jarvis strides around her, alternating his gaze between her and the crowd.

“Elise Korzan,” he pronounces. “You have been brought here today to answer the charges against you. You are charged with bribery, extortion, blackmail and illegal trading. These are the least of your crimes. You are charged with trafficking people, dealing in slavery and treason.”

“Finally, you are charged with murder: the murder of countless people of this once thriving city. Murder of fathers and brothers, mothers and sisters. Murder of children.”

The sound of metal clinking draws everyone’s attention. A sizable force of the city guard arrives and stops at the edge of the circle. A look of relief floods Elise’s face before a wicked smile spreads across her face. She glares victoriously at Jarvis. “Arrest this man.”

Jarvis levels his gaze at Elise. After a few seconds, when she notices that no one has moved, she looks back at the guards, alarmed. “What are you waiting for? I said arrest him! You know what will happen if you defy me!” A few guards begin to shift nervously, but the captain remains perfectly still. Elise looks back to Jarvis.

“How do you plead?” he says.

Elise struggles to her feet. She approaches the captain of the guard. “Scott, think about this! Think about what I have done for you! For all of you!” She singles out one of the guards. “Kelson, when your wife was sick, who was it who procured the rare medicine that was needed to make her better?”

The guard stares back. “I had to break the legs of one of your debtors to get that medicine. The man was a friend of mine, but I did it because it was that or watch my wife die. I’ll never forget having had to betray him, nor the look in his eyes, which still haunt me.”

Elise begins to panic. She turns to a civilian. “Marissa! When your family lay starving because your husband was unable to find work, who was it who employed him and put food on your table?! Me!”

The woman shakes her head. “That food came at the cost of others. Other families starved while we ate. I knew this, but what was I to do? My husband told me what kind of work you had him do. He was a gentle, compassionate man, and you used his ill fortune to make him do things that destroyed that part of him. We had food, but at the cost of a husband and father.”

Elise stared at the crowd around her. The look on their faces was all the same. No one would step forward to help her this time. She was alone. She begins screaming at them.

“I am the one to bear the blame for all of your ills?! The famine hits us all and I am to be blamed for YOUR laziness, for YOUR inability to provide for yourselves!? The only reason this city has done as well as it has is because of ME!”

Jarvis interrupts her. “Elise Korzan. You have been found guilty of all charges.” He draws his sword. “The sentence is execution, effective immediately.” He slowly begins walking towards Elise.

She panics and runs at the guards. Tears streaming down her face, she yells “Are you going to stand by and watch this lawless thief murder me in cold blood?! Do something!” They do not respond. She tried to push past them and is thrown back in to the circle. She looks up at Jarvis approaching her, silent and determined as death. She scrambles to her feet and runs into the crowd, but is once again thrown back. She shakily rises once again. She draws a small dagger from her sleeve and, in desperation and rage, throws herself at Jarvis. He deftly catches her wrist and twists it aside before running his sword through her gut.

Only the sound of the rain can be heard. The crowd stares in silence. Elise falls against Jarvis, holding them motionless in the rain. After a few breaths he gently sets her body down onto the street. Surprisingly, a tear falls down Jarvis’ cheek. He gently strokes Elise’s face with his finger. He speaks to her.

“You were such a beautiful girl. You natural sweetness bought out the beauty of everyone and everything around you. Despite your father being a ruthless man, that didn’t seem to crush the sweet spirit from you. I—we all had such high hopes for you.” Jarvis closes his eyes. “But then you allowed yourself to get pulled into his work. His greed infected you. You turned your sweetness and beauty into a weapon. The world tainted you, and you embraced it. You became a monster far worse than your father ever was. Why? … … Why did you do it…”

Wiping his eyes, Jarvis stands up to face the guards. He strides confidently over to them, holding out his hands in front of him. “Captain Scott…I know that you have to do this. I am the one responsible for this, and no other. I surrender.” The captain nods and begins to cuff Jarvis. As he does, Jarvis turns his attention to the crowd.

“This is what we have been reduced to: vigilante justice! I did what had to be done because our king is weak! He shuts himself away from his duty and his people, and look what it has wrought! This is not the end of this bitter tale! It will only end when he steps up to his responsibilities! And if he does not, then someone else will have to do it for him! For all of us! For the city! For it’s people! For our little ones!” The guards level their weapons at Jarvis as he speaks, but no one moves to silence him. When he finishes speaking, he looks back at the captain, who shakes his head and says “His Majesty won’t like that one bit. I’m sorry, but you’re done for now.”

Jarvis sees the party and gives them a reassuring smile. Hands bound, he pulls out a book from a hidden pocket—The Village Boy’s Fairy—and leaves with the guards. The crowd slowly disperses.



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