Two nights out from the glorious re-opening of the Kintargo Opera House and a murder most foul has rocked the Silver City. Everyone is a suspect, the threat and innovation that one, shy inventor could bring to Cheliax is enough to make even the most rational of men plot the death of an innocent.
The Frickard Pen, a huge step forward in penmanship and quality, has shaken the foundation of the educated and privileged. If the metal nibbed instrument was to make it into wide circulation, even the most common of men could become literate and spread their ideas. A dangerous idea to the ever vigilant Church of Asmodeus or to the academic institutions like the Alabaster Academy or the various scribe and clerks organisations. And what of the pro-Frickard supporters, the merchant’s, ink makers, paper mills and those who believe in the freedom of knowledge? The pen was in danger of being banned, but to make a martyr of its creator could cause a groundswell of sympathy and support, and to accuse the other side of oppression.
And yet, in this tumultuous time of innovation and oppression, of complex arguments for and against freedom of speech, it was the most common of motives, the most base of human hubris that took the life of one man: greed.
Callery Frickard, by all accounts, a generous and kind man, who lived a quiet life alone in his large house, his fear of small spaces keeping him from finding somewhere more comfortable was slain by one who shared his blood all in the name of greed.
Donald Coldwater, a distant cousin who had served in the Cheliax military in their oppressive campaigns in the northern lands of Varisia had returned to Kintargo a broken man. Without wealth and a deteriorating mental state from both of his actions and what he had seen in the army, he harboured a grudge against those he felt were unworthy of their privilege. Discovering a yet still living family member, he reached out and was rewarded with only kindness and coin. The slur so deep, the callousness of such charity a slap to his pride, Donald seethed with his crazed hatred, fueled by poisonous words in the night. Eventually, the venom reached his mind and Frickard’s fate was sealed. All he had to do now was wait until the shock and chaos stilled and he could claim his rightful prize. Already he had planned his wealth, divided his winnings in unabashed greed. It was his downfall.
While the tale of Callery and Donald is tragic, it served to draw light upon another element of darkness creeping through the streets of Kintargo. The troupe of the Kintargo Opera House has drawn the ire of the Church of Asmodeus, the threat that arts had of spreading sedition and dangerous thoughts was of the utmost concern. The High Priest himself inserted himself into the politics of the murder to try and stifle the growing support for the theatre and shut down its opening night through esoteric by-laws. The more the intrepid leaders of the troupe pushed, the more resistance they found brewing in the shadow of the church. But with the aid of friends and their own tenaciousness, the arts won out, and Kintargo was exposed to the majesty and thought-proking play: Lamentations of the Ice Queen.