Ethan Souk was a modest businessman dealing with antiques. He was known for his loyal clientele and his rare and outstanding finds. He was a devote follower of the God, and was never absent from service every tendays. To say the Gods looked down favorably on Ethan would be presumptuous, but he nor his family ever became ill and they were never without want. Ethan was not a greedy man, or avarice by any means. He would help those in need of a coin, even if it was the last in his pouch. Tragedy seems to fall on those who rarely deserve such.
He was visited by a mysterious collector one evening, as he was closing his store for the night. The man’s name is lost in time yet his story is told over hushed fires filled with drunken ears. This man requested an item from Ethan that he didn’t have. Which was usually the case in his business, yet he was willing to offer to search for it. The man was pleased and left Ethan standing in the darkened store questioning his certainty of taking such a job from a man such as this. Descriptions of the man vary, but what is always prevalent is his demeanor and his eyes. His eyes shown like the fire of dawn and the aura he projected was one of dominance. Ethan was able to shrug aside the compelling aura, yet still agreed to assist the client in his needs.
The item was a rare gem of questionable history. No one knew from where it originated, and few, except the most devote collector of gems knew it’s existence. The Pueola Demuet is rumored to be the largest and purest gem in the world, better than the Queen’s Diamond in Volmara. This gem is so rare that it borders on the unique, only knowing of the one that exists, and only rumors at that.
The coloring was what was so special about it as he detailed it as being so perfect and so defined that the God’s wept when they looked down on it. Having said that he gave Ethan a general idea of where he knew it to be and enough funds to retire from up front, with the hopes of him finding it.
And look Ethan did. He searched for years using all of his contacts and all of the resources the client had given him. He found a passing rumor of a Duke of some forgotten outpost that was said to have it locked in a vault admiring it in private and not letting anyone see it. Ethan ran with all speed in the hopes of finding a way to purchase this unique item.
When he arrived, Duke Renalis spoke with him about the gem in private, telling him of it’s real properties. The Duke refused to give it to him and Ethan agreed fully. That an item of such power should be kept hidden. Ethan, sure that his client knew of this returned home upset at being deceived so.
And return he did. And there waiting for him was his client. When Ethan told him what he found, his client demanded the item, thinking that Ethan would have had it with him. Ethan told him that he was unable to retrieve the item and promised to return all of his fees as soon as he could. During the conversation Ethan let slip who had the gem, a testament of the dominating aura of the client. The client left in a rage and all was tossed aside.
Four months later Ethan received a disturbing visitor. The Captain of Duke Renalis’s Guard arrived with a contingent of soldiers both local and Duke’s men. He was labeled a murderer and was taken under custody for his crimes.
It was said a month after he left the Duke, someone snuck into the Duke’s chambers and murdered him in his bed. A message written in blood was scrawled on the wall saying, “I will not be denied what I seek.” The Duke’s son released that an item was stolen and a party was sent in search of it.
It was surmised that Ethan having been dismissed from the Duke’s court without the item he sought was the perpetrator. Ethan obviously professed his innocence and prayed for his innocence to be found. Never once did he ask the God’s to set him free, but only that his family be well and it be proved he was innocent.
The time came when he finally arrived at the old Duke’s court. The gallows already erected for him to view as he entered the courtyard to be lead to his last place of rest. That night no food was given him, but he did not worry. He knew after tomorrow there would be no worry. He prayed one last time to the Gods to offer his apologies for his actions, as he felt he was being rightfully punished for his actions.
Just when exhaustion finally overcame him a visitor did arrive. Bathed in light and warmth, Ethan was dry nearly instantly and forgot all his hunger and bruises. The voice that spoke was deep and fathomless, seeming to come across by the chasm of time itself. While it would usually cast fear in the souls of mortals, Ethan felt safe. “Child Ethan!” it declared, “We have heard your ask for forgiveness and feel tempted to intervene.”
At this Ethan crouched in confusion, thinking delirium had overtaken him from exposure and lake of proper food. He looked on in disbelief at what stood in front of him. Or rather what floated near to him, noticing that the figured bathed in light never actually touched the floor at any time. The damp floor dried at it’s passing, and the smell of blooming fields followed in it’s wake. “We have heard your cry for justice and have decided to prove that the devote and faithful are not overlooked. Fear not tomorrow, justice and redemption will prevail.” At that, the apparition disappeared and Ethan felt joy at the dawning day.
The new dawn came and when the guards arrived to escort a kicking and fighting prisoner, they found a calm and confident man instead. “I am ready for justice to set me free.” was all Ethan said to his guard.
A chill swept through those watching as an unseen hand caressed their soul. They assumed death was approaching. Ethan was escorted through the throng with his head held high and a forgiving expression on his face. It was a look with no guilt, with no remorse, and no accusations toward his captures. He walked unassisted to the gallows, confident that what transpired the Gods had deemed necessary.
The executioner placed a black silken bag over his head with the noose to soon follow. The new Duke exited his balcony, red rimmed and puffy eyed. The loss of his father still heavy on his heart.
“My father invited you into his home and when he decline you a favor… you murder him. For that I hope your stay in the Burning Lands is a torment that is eternal.” He lowered his hand signaling the floor to be dropped. And drop it did.
Seconds passed before anyone realized what had occurred. When the lever was pulled the trap door under Ethan’s feet fell revealing a six foot drop to the ground below. However, Ethan didn’t fall. He was held in place by the rope and the noose.
A crackle of energy and a flash of light and the world exploded in the eyes of those watching. When their vision returned seconds later a figure hovered in the air. Massive beyond their imagination. Tears welled in the eyes of those with guilt as they knew who looked down upon them. A great booming voice filled the land and the ground shook at every word.
“Know this, here and now. The mortal before you, whom you claim as murderer has been spared of your justice. The only guilt here is yours. This mortal harbors no evil and claims no grievances. He is innocent of the crimes you label him with.” The Duke fell to his knees, wishing to cry out in denial yet couldn’t as the truth was known. He had only wished someone fall for his fathers death. What better than a man who would not fight? Or so he thought. The voice penetrated everyone’s very soul with each syllable. It spoke again.
“From this day forth We shall decree. The utility that you use for punishment shall be used to determine justice. Any innocent mortal who places the noose about their own neck shall be proven innocent of the crimes. However, if their innocence is false, and they are indeed guilty. Their mortal death will be an agony that shall last for eternity. This We degree.”
And that, the Godly image disappeared in a clap of angry thunder that rocked most to their knees. Ethan removed the hood and the noose and walked down from the gallows over to the Duke. He held out his hand and helped him to his feet. “I harbor no ill will. A son’s love for his father is no easy task to fulfil.” With that he walked away, to return to his home and family.
Origin Story - One of the player characters could have been Ethan. It is possible that by allowing him to be proven innocent, he is now charged with finding the real murderer.
Hired Trackers - The party is either a group of known mercenaries or adventurers in the area, or members of the Duke’s soldiers and are hired or sent to find the real murderer.
Right the Wrong - One of the party is wrongfully accused of commiting a crime. Possibly a drunken brawl ended up with a noblemen being injured or killed. Building the entire execution up should be just anticipation, making the player think their character will be hung for a crime they didn’t commit. When their character is not hung and they are deemed innocent, then they are informed part of the pact with being set free is to right the wrong. In this case, find who killed the noble.
Useful Information? - Having lived, or passed through the city where the noose is held the players know it’s history. They come across information with the location of the Pueola Demuet gem. Now, what to do with that information?
Divine favor - One or more of the party are priests or devote followers of the Gods. They have stumbled across information concerning the Pueola Demuet and have been contacted by thier Diety. (Through means of an avatar, a vision, or other means) They are to find and return the Pueola Demuet gem to the God’s where it belongs.
The Noose of Redemption is able to tell whether the person being hung is actually guilt or innocent. Redeeming them of a crime. Rumors have been told of actual guilt being spared if they truely are repentant of their crime.
If they are innocent then they will not hang. Their innocence will be proven as they hang in the air unhurt.
If they are guilty, their neck will surely snap. They will not immediately die however. Their vision will cloud and they will see all the souls who have been falsely accused over the centuries. These souls will then tear their soul to shreds and torment them for eternity. To those looking on, it will appear as if they die normally from being hung.