The Kingdom of Tokavsk, Session 27: A Note from the Editors

There is an extensive gap in our knowledge and the information we were able to gather at this point. However, using context cluse, we pieced together a rough timeline of what happened over the course of the second month of the investigation.

1. A man by the name of Boris Zhaven confessed to providing false information. His reason for doing so is unknown.

2. Lord Eskyil is removed from his position as advisor to the King. However, he remains on castle grounds in isolation.

3. A battle on the border of Tokavsk and Arkia results in heavy Tokavskan losses.

4. A small fire destroys part of the records pertaining to the investigation. The fire is put out quickly and no one is injured.

The final event is the most important, as it hampered both the investigation and our work. However, we believe we have sufficiently accounted for that gap through independent research as part of the agreement we have with Tokavsk and Your Majesty. The next few parts contain information we acquired directly with the help of an interpreter, and while we acknowledge that the verity of what we were told is uncertain, the conclusion reached at the end of our time in Tokavsk supports the facts we were given. Additionally, we dealt with the individual who attempted to interfere with our work and adjusted our report accordingly. We have drafted a shorter report on that matter than need not be mentioned here again.

The Kingdom of Tokavsk, Session 26: Investigation Update

Twenty-two days into the investigation. All the leads we had have gone nowhere, save for one that is tenuous at best. The man whom we suspect to have been involved, Lord Eskyil, is suspicious because he was not in bed during the time the murder was committed. What he was doing is currently unknown. Lord Eskyil is, forgive me for saying this, a rather uncooperative individual, and as such difficult to glean information from. Talking with him is akin to walking in circles around the castle grounds.

Little additional information has been gathered, which makes our work rather laborious. The King, may he live a thousand years, approved our request to hold Lord Eskyil in the dungeons for the time being. This will prove to be highly advantageous, especially considering his high status. It will be far easier to learn what he is hiding under these ideal circumstances. A man who is vulnerable is a man who does not tell lies.

Twenty-five days into the investigation. Keeping Lord Eskyil in the dungeons has proven to be a taxing endeavor. He raves and swears as he paces to and fro in his cell, refusing to admit anything until he is released and given proper compensation. It is our belief he will tire eventually and tell us what we really need to know.

Twenty-nine days into the investigation. Everything we thought we knew about this murder is wrong. [The remainder of this entry is stricken.]

The Kingdom of Tokavsk, Session 25: Words from Elshir, Personal Servant to Lord Eskyil

He had to have known Lord — had enemies. Everyone in this place does, yeah? The King and advisors running about with no one watching, not like. Ever seen them? Now Lord Azhan, he’s a type. A real quiet man he is. Always writing. Or Lord Grasz. The one with the old family name? Lost the Ceremony to the current King, may a thousand hawks guide Him to eternal warmth. Ever alive is the King, may He have a long and prosperous reign.

Yes, yes, the point. My language is not rude, this is how I talk. Mean I no disrespect. My Lord, well, he has a strange gift, you see. He knows when something bad is to come. Not what it is or how but that it is. Like magic if such a thing were given to mortals. Lord Eskyil is no ordinary mortal, now, he is a very important man. So even if he did not know what the event was, he in a way knew that it was. So I said this to another or two, yeah. No negative rumors would I spread to people. I only said it to those who knew. Don’t come after me like frosthounds with winterbite, yeah? And may I not be from around here, but I was selected from my village by Lord Eskyil, before that a roofer I was. I am not fully nothing.

The Kingdom of Tokavask, Session 24: A Diary Entry from Lord Azhan, Advisor to the King

It all burns this wick. Waiting for an answer and finding none, seeking an escape and discovering nothing. A long, lonely road of emptiness and guilt. I didn’t do anything, don’t know who did. They asked me what my impression of Lord Eskyil was, and I said he was a great advisor whom I admired.

What I said was wrong.

Tashka said there was no way he was asleep that night. He can feel it in his bones when a turn for the negative is inevitable. He would have been awake grimacing and rubbing his knees. Tashka also said she went to check on him as per her duties and he wasn’t there. Elshir said something similar. The Lord could not have been caught unawares.

I do not know what to believe. One of our own could have killed Lord –. It would be treasonous to think in hypotheticals, but the mind cannot help but wonder. After all, we were made to contemplate the world. I know I have brushed hands with the one who did this, have settled my gaze on their guilty form. I know there is no gain in wondering who it is. When the time is right, the evildoer will be made known. And I will no longer have to hide what I saw.

The Kingdom of Tokavsk, Session 23: An Entry from the Diary Lord Eskyil

They treated me as though I was a dead ennet or a commoner demanding funds. To accuse me of something so preposterous should be grounds for immediate removal, seeing as I am protected by the King and am His closest ally. The audacity of that captain makes my fingers blacken just writing about it. Those sharp eyes could cut the hardest of gems. A meaty, swollen brute of a man was he, absolutely violating the integrity of my position and the Crown. To accuse me is one step away from accusing the King Himself, treason so great its punishment is not banishment but death. He would be better scraping ice off the hulls of ships or making furbrushes. Someone as hard and cruel as he should not have access to such power. He and his filthy little minions surrounded me, bombarded me with questions, asked how much I knew about the death of Lord [name stricken]. I was afraid, and in my confusion I may have had a minor slip once or thrice. Even greatness is occasionally bound to err. I will not deny that I did not know how to react in such a situation, but I postulate hardly anyone would were they not expecting it. I anticipated the questions about my personal relationship to Lord –, but I never even in fits of ague imagined that I could be so much as suspected of such a thing. How hard I have worked to achieve my position, and they dare challenge me? I shall inform the King of this transgression first thing in the morning. I doubt He will approve of His trusted advisor being besmirched.

The Kingdom of Tokavsk, Session 22: A Body Language Report of Chief Advisor Lord Eskyil

Editors’ Note: Due to extenuating circumstances, we could not acquire records of the Chief Advisor’s interrogation with Captain Lukin other than the report of his body language throughout the process. Tokavskan legal interviews such as this one commonly have scribes whose only job is to record someone’s mannerisms, which are later reviewed alongside the recorded responses to determine character and dishonesty.

The King’s chief advisor, Lord Eskyil, appears perturbed as Lukin speaks to him. He tugs at the golden band round his wrist denoting him as Chief Advisor, and his eyes, unusually dark for a Tokavskan, dart back and forth. He jumps when Lukin asks him of his whereabouts at the time of the murder, and his words come out rushed and oddly pitched. He answers the question without any other hesitation. His distress continues for the next few questions, but to a lesser degree. He wrings his hands when explaining his nighttime routine. Upon being prompted to describe how he found out about the murder, his voice becomes tight and he holds perfectly still. He speaks in tentative sentences with no more pausing than expected. Lord Eskyil is more skittish after he has explained his initial reaction. He lets out a deep breath upon finishing his remark.

When asked if he has seen any suspicious activity, he replies that he has not in the same tentative voice. His posture, facial expression, and tone remain the same for the following questions. His eyes dart once or twice, but other than that there is no notable shift in his body language.