(Someone else can feel free to list his crimes here)
The Approach to the Trial
Dr. Zebediah Mengele (aka The Surgeon) was arrested by the Lonestars for his many crimes. While in their custody, Mengele engineered the death of his own daughter, and arranged to be accosted by the Lonestars at a frighteningly regular pace. Between framing them for his own actions, and goading them into attacks, The Surgeon managed to make the Lonestars look like raging megalomaniacs with the help of his attorney, Soul Hunter.
Soul Hunter defended The Surgeon because of what he considered to be the gross overreach of the Lonestars (and because his player finds The Surgeon to be a hilarious character). After a series of verbal sparring matches, the Trial commenced.
(Anyone who wants to add more to this abbreviated synopsis can feel free to do so.)
The trial itself was a relatively brief affair. Krixxus of the Lonestars, the prosecutor, presented his case, while Soul Hunter constantly interjected his protests and objections. The trial relatively quickly devolved into a shouting match between the two acting lawyers, when Mayor Jeremiah King suggested that they should simply settle the dispute the old fashioned way: A trial by combat.
Soul Hunter immediately volunteered to fight as the champion of Mengele, while, unbeknownst to anyone else, Lightbringer had worked his way through the crowd, allowing him to volunteer as champion for the prosecution.
The Trial by Combat.
The trial by combat happened the next day. Below is the RP post that made up the fight:
Lightbringer arose early. Having spent a night in contemplative introspection, he rose with renewed purpose, and set about going through his daily training exercises. Today would be the greatest day of his life. He was sure of it. Today he would slay the fiend that had haunted the Church of the light for the better part of 20 years.
Soul Hunter slept in. Any concerns for the duel were kept at bay by forced cheer, and by subtle changes of course that brought him 'through happenstance' to people that he might wish to talk to if today was his last. These 'chance encounters' rarely took the mutant beyond the Fey Wilds.
The fight was set to begin shortly. Both Lighbringer and Soul Hunter had showed up early, and were talking to Sheriff Cooper and Dr. Mengele, respectively. Soul Hunter was relaxed, any anxiety before the duel to the death was covered up by story telling and a booming laugh. Lightbringer was more reserved. He listened to Rosco talk about his future, his hopes and dreams. Stoneglenn, having arrived early as well, joined in on the conversation, slipping her hand into Sheriff Cooper's gloved hand, so that she could comfort him through this stressful time. This would be the Sheriff's greatest success, proof positive that the Lonestars were legitimate, and a lasting force for good on the town. Or it would be his downfall, splitting asunder the Lonestars, with lasting consequences for all involved. As the preappointed time grew closer, the two warriors made eye contact. Soul Hunter had the hardened eyes that spoke of a lifetime of slaughter, and little love to break up that monotony. Lightbringer had kind eyes, but they were hardened by disdain for his foe today. The hatred in the paladin's eyes was apparent to everyone. For too long had Lightbringer been getting ready for this moment. The slayer of the monks in the Mission he grew up in was soon to be brought to justice. Soul Hunter, however, simply continued joking with Mengele, as though oblivious of the human trying to stare holes through his skull from across the arena.
The sun was soon to set over the horizon. Not yet gone. Still lightening the sky in a myriad of colors. Many residents of Greyfell would later admit that it was one of the most beautiful that they had ever seen, and the majority of the town was gathered to pay witness to the fight. It seemed appropriate, the more poetic said, to have the Trial by Combat at the time when the Darkness met the Light.
As per the previously decided conditions, Soul Hunter and Lightbringer had assembled their gear. Both were heavily armored. Chainmail hauberks, with greaves and bracers. Soul Hunter had fought for decades, and had drifted from one combination of armaments to another over the years. He was quite proficient with a number of styles, but on this day he had chosen a short spear and a short sword. The spear came to about five and a half feet long, and was held downward, as opposed to strait out. It allowed him the advantage of a large reach, and multiple attack angles, but his passive defense was limited, and at very close range, his 'zulu spear' was practically worthless.
Lightbringer used a sword and a moderately large round shield strapped to his forearm. It was a style that he had fought all of his life, making him far more than a 'dabbler' in the style. Whereas the Child of Father Night was 'very proficient' in a number of styles, the paladin of the Church of Light was a genuine expert of the sword and his shield.
With the sun beginning to sink below the treeline, the assembled townsfolk bore witness to the restatement of the terms of the fight. It would be to the death, not simply first blood. Either fighter had the option of yielding, should his opponent give quarter. Both the Human and the Mutant smiled darkly at that impossibility. Too much bad blood between them. Too much bad blood between their religions. Whichever fighter survived the longest would be declared the winner of the trial, with all of the legal consequences implied.
At last, Jeremiah, acting as judge, called the two warriors to the middle of the Pitt. Both men swaggered forward, attempting to put as much confidence and physical aggression into their walks as they were able. Nora was called in to check both combatants for the presence of drugs in their systems. Rocket or Pierce would have made a short and unjudicial end to the fight.
Nora strode into the middle of the arena. Her meekness and discomfort at having to sign these men off to fight to the death was apparent at any distance. First, she inspected Lightbringer. Checking his eyes, and his pulse, and his blood pressure, the two made idle small talk. The champion was formal, polite. Nora tried to offer a few words of comfort, but her voice failed her. She desperately wanted the Surgeon to be brought to justice, but at what cost?
After clearing the paladin to fight, Nora crossed the Pitt again to inspect Soul Hunter. As she began taking his vitals, Soul Hunter, for the first time since arriving at the arena, dropped his cruel 'devil-may-care' visage. His eyes softened. "Hello, Nora. It's really too bad that you got dragged into all of this."
Nora, having been dreading this moment, looked into the mutant's eyes. "You know, all of the history between our two guilds, all of the history between the two of us, it's led here. I can't pretend to be happy for what you're doing. Defending that monster with your life... I can NOT understand what you're thinking. If you survive the next few minutes, I'm not even sure if I'll want to see you again. But... Soul Hunter? Good luck."
Nora gave her medical approval to let the Child of Father Night champion the Surgeon's cause. As she walked back to where the Renegades were gathered, her open sobbing was clear to all.
Before Jeremiah could officially begin the fight, the Surgeon stepped forward. "If I may have a moment of the court's time, there is something that must be done!" Bringing forth the urn that contained Mary's ashes, the Surgeon unstoppered the top, and daubed his thumbs into the contents. Raising the ashes to Soul Hunter's brow, he said, "Please, Soul Hunter, bow your head. With these markings, I implore you.: Avenge my daughter, and bring her killers to justice."
The Surgeon proceeded to rub the ashes on Soul Hunter's spear, in an attempt to give Mary some hand in her own vengeance.
Marking the Child of Father Night and his weapon in this way, Dr. Mengele stepped back to his place. He kept his head bowed, as if in prayer. This fight would decide the victory or end of the both of them.
The last impediments to the trial having passed, there was only one more thing to happen. In the fading light of the afternoon, Jeremiah raised his pistol, aiming high into the sky, he fired a single shot. With the pistol's report still echoing from the surrounding hills, the fight to the death commenced.
It began as so many bouts between skilled fighters do. A slow, menacing approach, with each swordsman eyeing the other for signs of weakness. Tendencies in movement. Despite his years of loathing for the mutant, this was the first time that Lightbringer would cross blades with the fiend. For Soul Hunter, this was simply another fight. Another chance to add some small bauble to his trophy wall. The Paladin of Light held out his blade, the traditional 'tapping of swords' to begin a melee. Soul Hunter stepped forward to capitulate, raising his sword... before launching a thrust at his opponents midriff with the speed of a striking snake. Lightbringer, being no fool, was prepared for such a move and blocked with his shield. Both men knew the stakes, and neither had a particular reputation for fighting fair.
The pair began circling each other, the Child of Father Night launching occasional probing strikes with his spear, while the paladin tried to close safely to striking distance. "You fight with all the skill of the guards at your mission, Paladin. Too bad that I slew them all in one night, and murdered your brethren in their sleep."
Lightbringer, not one for words, launched his attacks with renewed fury. Taking a spear strike on his shield, he rushed in, slashing hard for Soul Hunter's ribs. The mutant picked off the swing low on his sword, and with a wrist flick brought the spear in towards the human's eyes. Raising his shield in time, Lightbringer was safe from the return blow, but the block allowed Soul Hunter to dance beyond his striking range again. Wordlessly furious, the Paladin went against prescribed fighting tactics, and circled so that the setting sun was in his eyes. Father Night's Child, recognizing the advantage, pressed in for the kill.
Raising his shield, with a booming cry of "Praise the Sun!" Lightbringer made true to his name. The polished surface of the metal shield reflected the light directly into the mutants eyes, just as he came within striking distance. Not one to panic, Soul Hunter brought his weapons up into a passable defense, but the paladin had used this trick too many times to be thwarted. The thrust slipped strait through the raised weapons and into the fiend's abdomen. Low on the torso, the chain mail parted. First blood had been drawn.
Soul Hunter swore briefly, but vividly. Oaths that most 'civilized men' would not be able to begin to form spilled from his lips, like the blood spilling from his belly. Still in the fight, the Chosen of Father Night's Children was beginning to lose his calm. Ducking to the right, to avoid the damned Sun Praiser pulling the same trick again, he launched a dizzying array of blows at the paladin. Some were blocked by the shield, others by the sword. Still more rained through and caused inconsequential wounds on the paladin's wrists, and his thighs. None of it mattered, the immovable object that was the Church of the Light's champion this day stood strong beneath the flurry of strikes.
Calming again, Soul Hunter began his verbal tirade anew. "So, you have some skill. I wonder where you learned your craft from? Does your church have anyone that knows which way to grip a sword, or did you lot finally wise up and beg renegades of Father Night for some small bits of advice?" The swinging of blades was constant at this point. Finally, judging the timing and position to be right, the Blackguard put the entirety of his body weight behind a thrust of the spear. It went too fast to block cleanly, slipping under the rim of the shield before the paladin could properly intercept it. At frightening speed, the tip of the spear closed with Lightbringer's belly. But the Champion of Light was experienced and skilled, crouching while he frantically lowered his shield, the spear tip was pushed downward, embedding itself into the meat of his thigh, but causing no crippling harm. The paladin took a quick step forward, before the mutant could withdraw his lengthy weapon, and brought his shield down a second time.
The spear snapped half way up its length. Soul Hunter's greatest advantage was sundered by a single blow from the shield.
The Blackguard of Father Night, a man who had commanded armies, was suddenly at a disadvantage for the first in a long, long time. Now, he knew, was the time to dig deep and fight dirty. Swinging the broken shaft of the spear at his opponents head, the mutant stepped in. Raising his shield in front of his eyes to catch the shaft of the spear, the human had no way of seeing the boot that hammered its way into his stomach. Chainmail is decent armor, but little defense against the full kick of an enraged, mutated giant. Just below the ribcage, the blow was aimed with devastating effect. Doubled over, the paladin took a sword slash to his back and pommel strike to the side of his head. Struggling to regain his balance, the paladin had his shield wrested from him by the fiend of the Children of Father Night.
Acting with pent up rage and mechanical precision, Soul Hunter threw the shield down and methodically hacked the straps and grip apart with his sword. The spear shaft, having been discarded in the few seconds of flying fists, lay several feet away. It was down to two men with a sword apiece. Suddenly, Lightbringer felt his first doubts. He was a master of the sword and shield, but he had not spent a terrific amount of time with just the sword. Though they were both bleeding from multiple wounds, the mutant had gained the upper hand.
Still, a paladin with blade in hand is no laughing matter. Lightbringer came in, hewing hard for Soul Hunter's torso, his neck, his face. Anywhere that the mutant left exposed, the human swung at with a force akin to that of an angered demi-god. Backing away the blackguard tried to create space, to catch his breath, to reassess the situation. Finally, kicking again, the mutant recieved an aborted slash to his thigh armor and succeeded in arresting the momentum of the champion of Light. It was clear, from how the paladin held his stance, that he was very proficient with a blade, but that he was unused to fighting without a shield. Soul Hunter threw a few desultory shots to keep Lightbringer off balance, and then undid millenia of tried and true methods of swordplay. He held his sword to his side, gripped with both hands as though it was sheathed, and waited for the human to step forward.
Lightbringer was no fool. He understood a trick when he saw one but he also knew human physiology. From this stance, the Chosen of Father Night could only effectively launch strikes at two spots: Upward towards his right hip, and downward towards his head or left shoulder. Either were obvious, either were counterable. With his vile left hand holding the blade against his hip, and his right hand still holding the grip of the sword, Soul Hunter had given away all unpredictability in favor of attempting to psych out his opponent. Lightbringer stepped forward, alert for the sign that would spell the mutants doom. Low and right, or high and left? Low and right, or high and left? Soul Hunter twitched, his right arm coming high, swinging towards the paladins left shoulder. Raising his sword to block that spot, the paladin let out his triumphant cry, "I have him!"
The hand was empty. Taking a step forward along with his false swing, gripping the sword downward with his left hand, the blackguard threw all of his weight and speed into a lightning fast strike aimed at his opponent's unprotected right armpit. The gap in the armor, present in almost all chain mail, offered little resistance to the beast's blow. Rings parted. Along with the armor went his clothing, and his flesh. Sinew parted. Muscles and bones were split. The momentum of the blow ended with the blade lodged in Lightbringer's right lung. Shocked, the paladin could only gasp for air as the blackguard withdrew his blade. Leveling the sword, the Child of Father Night, with a victorious shout, drove the blade once more into his opponent, aiming it directly into the champion's throat.
As the light began to fade from his eyes, Lightbringer saw the beauty of the sunset. He saw the shocked looks of the onlookers. He saw the smirking look on Soul Hunter's face. With one last burst of his will, the paladin struck out. The mutant, reveling in his victory, only just raised his armored forearm high enough to prevent being scalped. Instead, a deep groove opened up on his brow, just above his right eye. His last spiteful revenge denied, Lightbringer collapsed. The fight was over. Soul Hunter had won. Greyfell had lost.
The tumult and chaos of the conclusion, sweet as they may be, did not interest Soul Hunter. Securing hooked chains and a chalice from The Revenant, the blackguard secured the hooks through the dead man's Achilles tendons. Soul Hunter, having lowered the cup into the spilling blood of the deceased champion, the blackguard raised his newly filled vessel to his lips. Making eye contact with Desyc through the crowd, the mutant drank deeply, his smirk visible even beneath the cup. The Children of Father Night, united in jubilation, dragged the body off into the descended darkness. The Light had been overcome, and none knew how long the Night might last.
The Trial by Combat had a number of consequences: Legal, social, and other. The Lonestars were officially disbanded, and Jeremiah King became a willing 'assistant' in The Surgeon's lab. Many relationships were strained.