Despite the very public punishments metted out earlier, the feud between the two logging companies does not abate. They continued to clash outside the barony’s expanding borders, and the severity of the encounters continued to escalate. Both sides began to lose workers to the increasingly lethal conflict.
Cecil pursues restitution for his lost employee, and retribution for the further abuse he suffered. He had approached the leaders of the barony about both matters, only to be informed that in the case of the restitution, because the murdered man was only an employee and not property or a family member, there was no legal recourse. As for the abuse, the trail had gone cold and unless he wished to finance the investigation himself or new evidence surfaced there was nothing further that could be done.
Brandt decided to remove himself from the logging business after losing a couple of his men to some traps in a marked glade, weary of the conflict and fearing for the safety of his men in the forest. Instead, he set up a small processing point just north of the River Crossing bridge, on the edge of the Crossing hamlet. Loggers would no longer need to completely process their logs in the woods, they just needed to mark them and then send them down the river. His men would catch the logs jsut before Crossing, pull them from the river, and finish processing them into lumber. He was soon processing a large volume of lumber, large enough that he had begun construction of a sawmill at the site.
Almost a month after the first murder, the conflict once again visited itself upon the barony. During the night a fire started in a shed holding near the mill, and from there it spread along a carefully laid path of oil to the mill and to a neighboring house there Brandt had moved his family. They never had a chance. Brandt, his wife, and four children perished in the fire. The fire spread to two of the neighboring houses before someone awoke and was able to get one of the houses cleared. The other house burned too hot and fast, killing a husband and wife there. The only survivor of that fire was a small boy who managed to climb out a window in time.
The few people who dwelt in the hamlet formed a bucket brigade to combat the fire, but they were too few to do much. All but one of the buildings in the hamlet succumbed to the fires, and one more person was killed when a barn collapsed.
An investigation revealed the accelerant that was used to destroy the three initial buildings, clearly demonstrating that it was an act of arson. Not only that, it was done in such a deliberate manner that the person who set it was familiar with such things already. Grady Holmes, an indentured servant belonging to Cecil, was a convicted arsonist from Brevoy. He quickly became the focus of the investigation. Akiros requested magical aid at this point, and Amalasuintha reluctantly revealed that she had a ritual that may produce the answers he sought, though it came at a high cost to the caster.
Her ritual augury was performed successfully and the summoned devil implicated Grady in the arson. Grady was formally charged with the crime of arson and nine counts of murder. Grady’s interrogation, performed by Tolixan and Akiros, indicated that Grady was acting alone, and without direction from anyone. However, Grady was not owned by Cecil at the time of the first incidents, only arriving in the barony himself last week, according to records acquired from Cecil. Cecil, of course, claims complete innocence, that he had no idea that Grady was going to do this. Indeed, with the removal of Brandt as a competitor, he had decided to stop the feud as well. This line struck Akiros as not exactly true, Cecil was not being as forthcoming as he appeared.
This brings forth the question; Is the owner of a slave or indentured servant liable for the actions of his property? This Forum Post may be used for discussion