"We repeat, then, that not science, but the neglect of science, is irreligious... It is not a mere lip-homage, but a homage expressed in actions — not a mere professed respect, but a respect proved by the sacrifice of time, thought, and labour."
— Herbert Spencer

Even thrust by means unknown into a totally unfamiliar world, where even the truth of what physics makes possible is radically broadened, there is still one inevitable constant in Miles Edgeworth's life: there will always be crimes, and he has the duty to pursue the full truth behind these crimes, so that the perpetrators may be brought to justice.

A morning that had seen a rather momentous breakthrough for the prosecutor set recently and unexpectedly upon the path of the cleric, as well as some potentially disturbing ramifications, had given way to what promised to be a pleasant and enjoyable afternoon: attending a concert consisting of two symphonies performed by the Korranberg Symphony Orchestra as Illyvalen's guest. Despite a rather obvious case of nerves by the flutist responsible for the third movement's solo in the first one, which had no noticeable impact on the quality of her performance, the concert was uneventful.

Returning to the Library district for dinner as evening came, however, proved somewhat more ill-fated. Noticing the atmosphere in the city had suddenly turned considerably more tense and fearful than Edgeworth had yet observed, the group investigates the apparent source of the disquiet, a road leading to a small, deserted park... and the body of a gnome in middle-class attire, lying in a pool of his own blood, an obvious wound through his stomach.

Althea gasps slightly, then hurries over toward the body.
Edgeworth: Wh-what?...
Tikra hisses slightly as she looks over the scene, not approaching the body.
Illyvalen shrieks slightly as she sees the body, clinging to Tikra.
Illyvalen: I-Is he...?
Edgeworth's initial surprise fades rapidly. He closes much of the distance quickly before slowing down to survey the ground...
Althea: ...He's dead. Only recently, though; the culprit might still be nearby...
Nathaniel: Should we even be getting involved in something like this...?
Althea: We are involved. We can't just ignore the situation.
Edgeworth points at some tracks leading in the direction of the waterfront district, though they're less apparent off the grass. "Given that I see some drops of blood alongside that particular trail and it grows that apparent starting near the body, our culprit is most likely that way."
Edgeworth glowers as he goes on to demand, "Who here is best-equipped to apprehend a criminal?"
Althea nods grimly. "I'll go. Tikra, I might need your help. Everyone else stay here."
Tikra looks conflicted herself for a moment, but nods and follows Althea.
Illyvalen watches the two depart before looking nervously between Nathaniel and Edgeworth.
Edgeworth looks the scene over further, closing in as much as he easily can without disturbing the apparent crime scene.
Edgeworth: Given the amount of fresh blood, the signs of a brief struggle, and Althea's assessment that the victim's death was recent — I presume he's still warm — it's likely that this is in fact the scene of the crime rather than an attempt at creating a false one.
Nathaniel: It is rather disconcerting, though... the Trust should have intervened well before we could have found such a scene, if not before such an incident could even happen...
Edgeworth seems taken slightly by surprise at Nathaniel's words, then grits his teeth. That's right; I'm not in just any place. How could a murder have happened in a country where courts are eschewed in favor of secret police with eyes in so many places?
Illyvalen: There... there isn't really anything at all we can do for him, is there...?
Edgeworth glares at Illyvalen with determination. "While it may not be possible to undo what has been done, certainly those responsible can be made to answer for their crimes once the truth of the matter is made clear."
Illyvalen eeps and clings to Nathaniel, but nods slowly to Edgeworth once his words sink in.
Nathaniel seems a bit surprised at the sudden hug, but responds to Edgeworth shortly. "I would imagine resurrection would be well beyond your current means, at any rate..."
Edgeworth looks awkward at the mention of resurrection. "Er, right."
Edgeworth: Perhaps I'm even less used to Eberron than I thought... A mere two weeks ago, I lived in a world where a situation such as this would be unquestionably final. However, a great many things are possible in this world that I never would have considered the possibility of on Earth.
Edgeworth raises one hand and looks down at it. Least of all...
Edgeworth: Would a crime scene such as this be sufficiently young for just any spellcaster to examine it for magical traces?
Nathaniel: Possibly. Do you want me to check?
Edgeworth: Ah, you're able? Then please do so.
Nathaniel nods, then begins reciting unfamiliar words almost as if reading a poem to an audience, while gesturing somewhat.
Edgeworth looks to Nathaniel uneasily. To think that I've just obtained a similar capability... or at the very least, all the evidence thus far suggests so.
Edgeworth: Indeed, when I contemplate that spell's ability to reveal still more evidence of the fundamental truth that magic can be found all over this world, I can feel my readied potential to cast that spell once today swell within me...
Edgeworth: Though I've yet to do more than trigger the release of a spell stored in a wand; the possibility of casting one under my own power is something that has only just presented itself. I hadn't expected a situation such as this to arise so soon thereafter...
Nathaniel shakes his head after about half a minute's concentration. "The only magic present is in his ring."
Edgeworth looks to Nathaniel, snapped out of his reverie by the report, and nods. "I can only hope that means that no spells complicated this incident."
Nathaniel: Certainly no powerful spells, but the auras of weaker magic can escape this level of detection after a few minutes.
Edgeworth's expression firms once more. "Undoubtedly, we'll need to enlist more skilled help as soon as we can."
Edgeworth: For now, can you tell me anything about the ring?
Edgeworth pulls out his handkerchief while looking for the best path to the body's side that won't disturb things further.
Nathaniel: It's an arcane signet ring. The victim must have been a dragonmarked heir, or otherwise well-placed within House Sivis.
Edgeworth's eyes widen slightly in surprise even as he circles around the crime scene to approach the body from an awkward angle. He then spreads his handkerchief a couple of inches away from the edge of the pool of blood and kneels down.
Edgeworth looks the wound over for a moment, then frowns. "...Unfortunately, I'm not used to personally examining real wounds formed by such archaic weaponry. For that matter, entire medical teams have been known to make errors in such cases in my own world."
Edgeworth: Those times I've succeeded, there were few relevant possibilities, which I would imagine isn't the case here.
Althea returns to the scene escorting a male gnome with his arms bound behind his back. Tikra follows closely behind, awkwardly carrying a bloodied longsword.
Illyvalen looks over to Althea and Tikra, seeming relieved. "Are you two okay?"

The gnome in question is black-haired and auburn-eyed with calloused bronze skin, has a sword sheath hanging at his side, and is wide-eyed and whimpering, clearly overcome with deep fear.

Althea blinks as she notices Illyvalen's position, but doesn't comment on it. "We're fine, at least for the time being."
Edgeworth stands. "Then again, perhaps this will be a simpler matter than I thought. I don't suppose either of you can compare that sword to this wound? For that matter, does any form of blood test exist on this world?"
Althea: I can try, though to be honest Illyvalen might be more capable...
Illyvalen: Ah... r-right...
Illyvalen lets go of Nathaniel and makes her way slowly toward the body.
Edgeworth points to the sword. "For that matter, does anyone have a means of storing such a large piece of evidence without further contaminating it?"
Althea: On the matter of a blood test, I do have the resources for a rather basic one, but it would establish little more than whether the blood on the blade belongs to a gnome. Assuming that the wound matches the sword and given that the blood on the blade looks about as fresh as that spilled here, such a test would not provide any stronger evidence than what we already have; it still might be for the best to preserve samples for later testing, but there are more valuable avenues of investigation to concern ourselves with right now. As for preserving the sword in its current state, the best option would probably be to wrap it in a tarpaulin, but I doubt any of us has one handy...
Edgeworth: Hm, I should think not. I would assume it would be apparent if any of us did.
Althea: If one of you would care to keep an eye on the suspect, I can try to investigate the scene further...
Illyvalen tries to suppress a shudder as she looks over the wound.
Illyvalen: It... i-it loo... l-looks like it's p-probably... from a sword of the same shape as... that one...
Edgeworth glares towards the suspect. "Then I believe this man has a number of questions to answer."
Illyvalen backs up and closes her eyes momentarily, regathering her composure as best she can.
Egmon winces under the grey glare, shaking.
Illyvalen: I... I'm pretty sure... he was stabbed from the front...
Althea nods. "Thanks. Do you think you might be able to find us a tarpaulin?"
Illyvalen nods. "Uh, yeah, sure..."
Edgeworth nods to Illyvalen, then takes a couple of steps towards the prisoner. "Can you explain exactly why you were found with this sword in your possession?"
Egmon's brow furrows.
Edgeworth's glare hardens. "Do you realize how thoroughly incriminating your situation appears?!"
Egmon looks to the ground with a whimper.
Edgeworth crosses his arms, still glowering. "The truth behind this situation will come out whether you cooperate or not. To refuse to do so will merely prolong your own suffering, whether you're as guilty as you may appear to be or not!"
Egmon looks away, both pained and angry.
Edgeworth: It's been years since I've faced a situation similar to this... At that time, a witness was so traumatized by the incident she was embroiled in that she couldn't form a single word. Yet this situation can't be identical to hers; would someone merely shocked really choose to run off with the murder weapon?
Edgeworth taps his finger on his arm as he thinks.
Tikra: It is likely he well understands how his situation appears to others, given what he seemed poised to do ere we arrived...
Edgeworth looks to Tikra, still cold. "Elaborate."
Tikra: ...he appeared ready to face Dolurrh rather than whatever fate awaits him here.
Edgeworth takes a second to grasp the meaning of Tikra's turn of phrase, then nods grimly. "I see..."
Althea nods slightly. "We intervened only barely in time to prevent his suicide by the apparent murder weapon itself."
Althea: Very nice reflexes there, by the way, Tikra.
Edgeworth looks back to the suspect. "Do you care to explain this behavior?"
Egmon: ...
Edgeworth: Is there nothing I can do to wrest his testimony from his throat?!
Edgeworth frowns, a flicker of nervousness passing through his eyes. ...Perhaps I have no other choice...
Edgeworth uncrosses his arms and holds one hand about a foot and a half in front of his chest, his fingers held in a bizarre configuration. I had expected my first attempt at such a thing to occur in a less stressful environment.
Edgeworth: From what I've observed, the incantation is typically completed prior to the gestures, though the former is generally entirely overlapped by the latter. Furthermore, in a... cleric's case, the words used must encapsulate the spell's meaning in a symbolically appropriate language for the caster's... faith.
Edgeworth pulls his prosecutor's badge from his pocket with his free hand as his expression grows even more determined. I know full well what the meaning and the language alike are — and if we're to be absolutely certain of the truth behind this crime, I cannot afford to fail!
Edgeworth points the badge at Egmon's head while still giving his other hand plenty of room to maneuver, then makes a firm declaration in Latin while tracing a three-dimensional sigil slightly more complex than Nathaniel's in the air.
Tikra shifts her stance slightly, but her expression remains inscrutable.
Nathaniel blinks, watching curiously.

One of the metaphysical "dams" Edgeworth has been carrying within him suddenly shatters, and the prosecutor gasps lightly as he feels a rush of cold, clarifying light passing through him, seemingly taking shape partly at his direction and partly of its own accord. Once it fits a certain pattern, he's struck by awareness both of having an inner means to gaze upon the recalcitrant and of needing to put mental effort into maintaining this superior state...

Edgeworth's eyes close and his brow furrows as he struggles to divide his attention between maintaining the spell and focusing its power on the suspect's thoughts.
Egmon looks back at Edgeworth in surprise at the chant, though appears confused as he looks at the badge.
Egmon then looks away bitterly.
Egmon: ...but what does it matter, anyway? Whatever he believes in, he's probably going to be just as cruel as the Trust!
Edgeworth's expression registers mild surprise even as he keeps his eyes closed...
Egmon grits his teeth. I didn't want what happened to Lalitamah to happen again, but forging this sword to take matters into my own hands just made this time worse! They'll probably do worse than kill me...
Egmon: Look at all this! The knife's even missing; why would anyone believe I was attacked first? No one understands why I carry a weapon anyway!
Egmon: Even if they believed it, people would probably think I'm the guilty one for carrying a sword all the time, just like Lalitamah was blamed for no good reason...
Edgeworth's eyes slowly half-open, revealing that harshness has given way to horrified sympathy...
Egmon glances over at Edgeworth and looks disturbed. Wait... the way he's looking at me... was that spell for reading my thoughts?
Nathaniel raises an eyebrow.
Edgeworth: ...Precisely. It's shed a great deal of light on your refusal to testify.
Edgeworth opens his eyes fully and lowers his badge.
Egmon's eyes widen, then he struggles against his bonds. "Who do you think you are to do something like that?!"
Edgeworth pockets his badge and crosses his arms. "Someone for whom truth represents, among other things, the power that makes justice possible. Am I to understand that you've witnessed firsthand what happens when the law attempts to operate without it?"
Egmon: Hey, that's personal!
Edgeworth spreads his arms, shrugs, and shakes his head. "Hardly. The motivation you allegedly had for arming yourself in the first place contrasts with the opinions of the general public of Zilargo. The apparent rarity of weaponry in this city is consistent with a general belief that self-defense is unnecessary in the context of the Trust's existence. Ergo, I would instead argue that your weapon's very presence is a bold announcement of your beliefs!"
Egmon pales.
Edgeworth looks to the others. "Search the body for any means by which a knife might have been concealed."
Egmon blinks.
Edgeworth looks back to Egmon with a smirk. "Is it so surprising? I did just say that truth is a prerequisite to justice, did I not?"
Althea motions for Nathaniel to keep tabs on Egmon before heading back to the body for a somewhat more thorough search.
Egmon: I... didn't think you actually...
Althea focuses on a particular area near the back of the victim's coat after a few moments, prodding a bit, then carefully reaching around and feeling along the inside, while trying not to disturb the body too much.
Edgeworth: If I weren't firm in those beliefs, what I did would not have been possible.
Althea eventually extricates an empty knife sheath from hidden folds within the fabric.
Egmon peers suspiciously at Edgeworth. "So that was a holy symbol of some kind? I've never seen one like that before."
Edgeworth grits his teeth at the reference to his badge as a 'holy symbol'.
Nathaniel: "Of some kind", yes. And no one has seen its like until recently...
Althea: Well, he certainly was prepared to bring a knife with him...
Edgeworth turns to Althea, eager to turn to a more comfortable subject for him. "That lends credibility to the circumstance this... person thought others would find implausible, then."
Egmon lowers his head. "...Egmon. Egmon Niralamba Santiar."
Edgeworth nods. "Miles Edgeworth."
Althea proceeds to retrieve and examine the victim's identification papers, eyes widening as she looks over the contents.
Althea: It would seem our victim is Talbo Santor d'Sivis...
Edgeworth looks to Althea with a serious expression. "A relative of Belgiwig, then?"
Althea: ...Indeed. I can't say I look forward to having to deliver this news in particular...
Egmon: But it doesn't make sense — why would Talbo attack me? Obviously the Trust hates me enough to let him, but that doesn't explain why he'd do it in the first place.
Edgeworth crosses his arms. "The evidence thus far at least appears to support your implicit claim of justified self-defense."
Althea: Though it certainly does raise the question... if he brought a knife to the scene, but died in trying to use it... who would remove it from the scene and why?
Edgeworth: Presumably, someone who wished to see the defendant regarded as a murderer or the victim as entirely blameless.
Egmon blinks owlishly at the word 'defendant'.
Edgeworth shakes his head. "Then again, I suppose that term is inappropriate to the setting."
Edgeworth: Once more, force of habit would seem to transcend language barriers. It's still strange how naturally Common comes to me now...
Althea: Even if the Trust did have some particular motive against him, they'd hardly need to arrange to cast suspicion in such a way...
Egmon: Right — if they just wanted to kill me, I'd be dead. I'd rather be dead than whatever they're planning if they let this happen...
Tikra: ...
Althea: So that would at least seem to point to the involvement of some other party in this whole mess...
Edgeworth smirks. "Indeed. It's rather ironic how at times, one's own efforts to disturb a crime scene can be self-defeating."
Edgeworth looks to the ground. "Though however it was accomplished, the tamperer was careful — I see no sign of a third party's passage."
Althea stands and backs away from the body. "If you can give me a little while, I'll try to see what I can find out myself about the events that transpired here."
Edgeworth: I suppose her claim from the morning after that nightmare is to be put to the test now...
Edgeworth: Very well.
Althea closes her eyes and concentrates, drawing on her powers and beginning the slow process of opening herself to the impressions of her surroundings.
Egmon stares at Althea, then looks back to Edgeworth. "What do you hope to get out of this, anyway?"
Edgeworth: While I have my suspicions concerning Althea's motivation, I don't presume to speak on her behalf.
Edgeworth smirks. "As for myself, don't be too quick to assume that a foreigner would seek to put others in their debt the way the Zil would."
Edgeworth glares. "My only concern is that the truth be brought to light. That, and that alone, is the path that leads to justice — and to allow an unjust resolution to a crime is to defeat the purpose of criminal law!"
Egmon frowns at Edgeworth. "Justice? Safety is all Zilargo believes in."
Egmon looks to the ground. "I... just know better than to think the Trust can always do it... which is why I... I just wanted to be ready to protect myself and those around me if they fail..."
Tikra: ...True safety may be mere illusion... but whatever security we have is what we provide for each other... and this place provides far more than many can hope for...
Nathaniel gives Tikra a strange look briefly, but returns his attention to Egmon, frowning. "Unfortunately, it would seem somewhat difficult to dispute such assertions in the face of what we've just witnessed..."
Edgeworth: A truly safe world is an unattainable ideal. People are imperfect; moreover, the hearts of some of them are like flint. Furthermore, the more that is done to delude people into thinking perfection is attainable, the more suffering is caused and ignored by those so fooled!
Edgeworth's glare grows harsher still. "While I cannot claim that justice is foolproof either, I will prove once more that it exists and is desirable — regardless of what the truth in this particular case turns out to be!"

Illyvalen draws in sight of the park, apparently trying to hurry, just in time to hear Edgeworth launch into his latest diatribe. "Waaah!" Startled, she jumps, losing hold of the tarpaulin she's carrying, which unfurls as it catches the air when beginning to fall. As she lands and tries to balance without falling over, the tarred canvas descends upon and around her.

Edgeworth blinks at the cry, then looks over his shoulder in time to see the results. "...I see that you've returned."
Edgeworth rubs his temple as he turns back to the others. I sorely hope that she doesn't remind me of a certain detective again.
Nathaniel shakes his head slowly. "You could try not to shout so much."
Edgeworth: Nrrgh...
Tikra makes her way over to Illyvalen and helps extricate her from the tarpaulin as best she can while still holding the sword.
Edgeworth shakes his head. "Anyway, we ought to continue our efforts, particularly if Althea's are going to take very long."
Egmon stares at Edgeworth. "...You'd better know what you're doing by chasing justice around here..."
Egmon adds bitterly, "Being just is the last thing on the Trust's mind, after all."

Illyvalen and Tikra together manage to get the tarp laid out, Tikra finally relinquishing the murder weapon now that it can be done relatively safely.

Edgeworth puts his finger to his temple. "Given the degree of confirmation we already have that Mr. Niralamba stabbed the victim, we ought to turn our focus toward the presumed missing knife — specifically, how such an object could have been removed from the crime scene without disturbing it in the process."
Egmon stares at Edgeworth. "You're a spellcaster and you can't guess that?"
Edgeworth: Er, well...
Illyvalen: Um, he's still learning...
Nathaniel: Judging from the size of the sheath, I suspect that manipulating it with Prestidigitation would be possible, but difficult and very risky. Mage Hand would work well, though, and is weak enough that by the time we arrived detecting it would have been beyond our means.
Nathaniel: Pass without Trace would also provide such potential, were we dealing with a druid or ranger.
Edgeworth rubs his forehead. Perhaps it isn't just the truths I've been lured to that are obscured to a greater degree than I'm accustomed to.
Edgeworth: That being said... In short, our unknown third party is most likely a spellcaster himself.
Edgeworth: Unfortunately, in such a place as this that gives us little direction.
Nathaniel: Most likely an arcane spellcaster, aside from the aforementioned alternatives. And yes, that may not narrow things down all that much, given that bardic training is fairly common here, and even magewrights can use the needed spell.
Edgeworth: Then perhaps we ought to consider the other unanswered question — if, as Mr. Niralamba asserts, our victim was attacking, then what would motivate him to do so?
Nathaniel: Not to mention, why would he be allowed to in the first place?
Edgeworth's expression hardens again. "Two of you have spoken of the Trust's permission by now."
Nathaniel: ...One simply does not assault another within our borders. Anyone ignorant or unmindful enough to consider trying... will be appropriately warned. You generally only get the one, so you'd best act on it.
Egmon growls, "Even if they've made a mistake..."
Edgeworth: Is this "Lalitamah" he was thinking about before someone who was given an unwarranted warning?...
Edgeworth: I presume there are... consequences for not doing so.
Nathaniel: The immediacy may vary depending on circumstances, but inevitably yes.
Egmon shudders...
Edgeworth: ...Given the absence of courts in this country, am I to understand that such consequences come in the form of immediate punishment?
Egmon whimpers.
Nathaniel: ...Threat elimination would probably be a more concise way of putting it. The means of achieving it may vary greatly, but whatever it may take to neutralize the threat one poses, typically before it can manifest as such.
Edgeworth attempts to keep his fuming inside, though one could still swear that the temperature in the area just dropped. Do they truly believe themselves so infallible that they need not expose themselves to the eyes of the public or verify whether their intended actions are just?! Our killer seems as though he has reason to believe they aren't so perfect...
Edgeworth looks to Egmon uneasily. However, it seems inappropriate to ask further questions about that person in a place such as this.
Edgeworth: Thus the references to "permission" — clearly, if this occurred, the Trust had a reason to allow it to play out despite its spectacular nature.
Tikra: ...and apparently to allow you to observe it.
Egmon: I'm t-telling you, they hate me. They want to see me suffer!
Nathaniel: At the cost of this level of potential public unrest? They have a lot of quieter methods of inflicting suffering, should it be required...
Egmon: ...
Edgeworth looks to Tikra. "Do we know that to be the case?"
Edgeworth: I've yet to see any evidence that there's any connection between the fact that the incident occurred and the fact that I was nearby to discover it.
Edgeworth crosses his arms. "Unless, that is, you're suggesting that the Trust has the means to cause an entire crime scene to vanish in mere minutes?"
Nathaniel: In a manner of speaking, yes. It would not take a significant amount of time to erect an illusion preventing most passers-by from noticing.
Edgeworth taps his finger on his arm. "Even if I take you at your word on that, such a possibility only addresses half the assertion. Do we know that I was the one meant to see it?"
Tikra: There are predictable consequences to allowing you to see it. Should those consequences not be desired, it is unlikely you would be allowed to witness it at all.
Illyvalen fidgets nervously.
Edgeworth's eyes narrow. Does she mean to suggest, then, that I would have been warned away from such a scene as this?
Edgeworth: I suppose that's plausible, though hardly decisive. We have more immediate matters to address, however. First, we ought to see to Mr. Niralamba's containment in the short term; being forced to bring him wherever we go would be rather inconvenient.
Egmon looks both disturbed and puzzled.
Nathaniel: I hope you're not suggesting we tie him up and leave him in one of our dorm rooms or something...
Edgeworth blinks. "Are there no prisons in this country either?"
Tikra: There are not.
Edgeworth: What, then, becomes of those whose intended crimes rise above those they choose to ignore but are not so severe as murder?
Edgeworth frowns. Perhaps that's a question best left unasked in polite company...
Egmon glares up at Edgeworth. "I can't enchant you, if that's what you're thinking. I only have ordinary gnomish magic; I'm not a magewright or anything. I'm probably the only blacksmith in the city who isn't!"
Edgeworth: That wasn't my concern, but he at least seems honest in his assertion.
Nathaniel: Hmm... Niralamba... you were one of the major suppliers for the export of metal armaments from Korranberg during the war, were you not?
Egmon nods.
Edgeworth points to the now-wrapped sword. "That is allegedly some of his own work as well."
Nathaniel: His reputation in mundane metalcraft is well-earned, but as he says, he does not have the arcane training most such artisans would rely on to assist their craft.
Edgeworth: Arcane magic must be widespread indeed. It may be difficult to track down whoever tampered with the scene...
Edgeworth shakes his head... "Anyway, if this country is so lacking in the usual structures of justice, I suppose there's nothing for it — if we're to be certain of the safety of those around Mr. Niralamba and of the man himself, we don't have any choice but to bring him with us."
Edgeworth: Ironic that we have among us a blacksmith whom we couldn't simply ask for a pair of handcuffs.
Egmon grits his teeth.
Illyvalen: Bring him where, though? How do we even begin dealing with something like...
Edgeworth taps his finger on his temple. "I'm aware of two leads. One is the obvious question of why our victim would apparently attack Mr. Niralamba, as the evidence suggests the possibility of."
Edgeworth spreads his arms. "The other is to look further into our prisoner himself."
Edgeworth: Either way, we'll undoubtedly be questioning people — whether other members of House Sivis or those close to Mr. Niralamba.
Egmon winces.
Nathaniel: Assuming "we" all stay this deeply involved in what could well be a foolish and messy affair.
Tikra: ...I would hear the seer's counsel before such a judgment.
Edgeworth: I, for one, am all too used to messy affairs. If you wish to distance yourself from such proceedings, however, I won't demand your cooperation so long as you're clearly unconnected to the case.
Illyvalen looks back and forth between Edgeworth, Nathaniel, and Tikra, seeming more than a bit overwhelmed.
Edgeworth's expression firms. "Even if I'm forced to act alone, however, I shall see to it that the whole truth of this matter grows clear. To deal with such a situation as this before knowing that would be foolhardy."
Nathaniel shakes his head slightly. "I think you're just asking for trouble."
Illyvalen: I... I, uh... I'll go. I dunno if I can be much help, but you shouldn't have to be alone...
Edgeworth nods in acknowledgement, coming close to smiling in the process. "Thank you, Illyvalen."
Edgeworth then looks to Tikra. "I presume you'll be keeping watch over Althea?"
Tikra nods solemnly. "I shall inform her of what has transpired when she has completed her vision."
Edgeworth bows. "Your assistance is most appreciated."
Egmon: And you think you should decide what happens to me for now?
Edgeworth crosses his arms as he looks back to Egmon with a frown. "Under the circumstances, I don't believe it to be wise to leave you free and unattended. Someone needs to prevent you from doing anything foolish."
Edgeworth smirks. "Whom else would you have us entrust your safety to? The usual arrangements are inadequate in your view, are they not?"
Egmon's eyes widen.
Edgeworth takes out his organizer and pen, then begins to write down what he knows so far...
Egmon looks up at the strange notebook.
Edgeworth begins to put them away, pauses, flips to a whole other part of the organizer, and then begins to write something else...
Nathaniel takes note of the unusual item as well.
Nathaniel: So, this is an example of your non-magical artifice, is it?
Edgeworth looks up from his writing briefly. "A minor example, yes."
Edgeworth: I wouldn't be surprised if a clockmaker could create something similar.
Edgeworth finishes writing, then puts his writing implements away.
Nathaniel shrugs. "Perhaps, should a commission from a sufficiently wealthy and eccentric patron prompt it. It does seem convenient, if rather extravagant."
Edgeworth shrugs. "In my own world, it's rather ordinary due to the methods of mass production we've invented."
Egmon stares. "Wait a minute... are you that 'atheist cleric from another world' the rumors are talking about?"
Edgeworth smirks. "Precisely."
Nathaniel: Indeed so.
Illyvalen: Yeah, he knows other languages and everything.
Edgeworth: To think the day would come when I would answer to such a label as that...
Egmon shakes his head. "What a way to meet someone..."
Nathaniel shrugs. "I can't say I would recommend it on the one hand, but it sounds like the basis of a pretty good story on the other."
Edgeworth rubs his forehead. Nor can I recommend being the subject of such a tale.
Edgeworth: In any case, we shouldn't tarry any longer. First, would one of you be qualified to take blood samples from both the sword and the body? We may yet need that additional proof in the long term.
Illyvalen blinks, glances toward Althea, then to her own bag. "Um, I should have some containers..." She begins gently sorting through the contents.
Edgeworth: Excellent; thank you. Next, I believe the lead we ought to follow first is the question of our victim's motive, given that it's more directly connected to the case.
Edgeworth: Can anyone recommend a place to go to speak with other members of House Sivis?
Illyvalen looks up from her bag after drawing a glass vial from it. "Uh... there's the Sivis enclave..."
Nathaniel: ...I somehow doubt the House's main enclave will welcome a group of strangers showing up with someone who killed one of their members and asking them to tell us why he maybe provoked it...
Nathaniel: It'd probably be a good idea to figure out which guild he's from, at least. That should be in his papers.
Edgeworth nods and opens the wooden holder... "The Speakers Guild."
Illyvalen begins to carefully gather a small amount of blood from the victim's body, placing it within a vial and stoppering it.
Nathaniel: That narrows down the victim's profession a little. The Speakers Guild is best known for the message stations handling communications all across the continent, but also includes interpreters, heralds, diplomats, mediators, attorneys and similar professions.
Edgeworth blinks at the mention of attorneys. A victim associated with the branch that would need to tolerate my presence if I'm to establish myself in this world...
Egmon: ...
Edgeworth brings his finger to his temple. "I would consider asking Belgiwig, but I understand that he's a rather busy man — to say nothing of his default mode of communication."

Meanwhile, having securely packed away the first vial, Illyvalen unwraps the tarpaulin with Tikra's assistance and begins collecting a sample for the second vial.

Edgeworth looks to Egmon coolly. "As for those closer at hand... you sounded as though you recognized the victim. I don't suppose you'd be willing to enlighten us?"
Egmon frowns, looking suspicious.
Edgeworth's expression grows more neutral. "Mr. Niralamba... if you are, in fact, honestly nothing more than someone who used more force than was necessary in the heat of the moment in order to defend yourself, cooperation will only benefit you in the long run."
Edgeworth: Certainly, there will be consequences for your actions, but the nature of those consequences will depend on the nature of the circumstances. It's not my desire to accuse you of more than you've done, nor for you to suffer beyond what you deserve.
Edgeworth half-frowns. "Perhaps that's a foreign concept here, where so few things are considered crimes and so few punishments are allowed for."
Egmon: It's not foreign to me, you're just delusional.
Edgeworth's face contorts in anger. "I-I beg your pardon?!"
Egmon: You can't control my fate! To do that, you'd have to control the Trust!
Egmon looks to the ground bitterly. "It's already been pointed out how you're dancing to their tune as is. Besides, look how far I got in trying to have any control over my own life..."
Tikra: What alternative course would you suggest?
Egmon: Turn away... and let me die in peace.
Edgeworth: OBJECTION! To fail to act would solve nothing! With the truth behind this incident lost, can we be certain that anyone else who bears a share of responsibility for it will answer for their crimes?! You've alluded to knowing what happens when the Trust acts in error — and given that it acts in the shadows with no true oversight, we cannot know whether they'll err again or whether the actions they choose to take will accomplish anything desirable!
Illyvalen: I... don't want to see people die... if I can help it...
Tikra: If you truly have no reason to remain alive... then perhaps I have wronged you greatly. However, it may be wise to consider... whether there is anyone else for whose sake you should continue to live.
Edgeworth: There was a name he thought of twice — someone by the name of "Lalitamah"... though I know not whether this person lived or died.
Egmon: ...!
Illyvalen winces and looks sympathetically toward Egmon. "Sorry..."
Egmon looks confused. "Sorry for what?..."
Illyvalen: Er, um... your loss.
Edgeworth blinks.
Egmon pauses, then shakes his head. "All I lost was my belief in the lies we live under. My wife is still alive... but it wouldn't be fair to her, would it?"
Edgeworth: Nor would allowing the situation to progress further unquestioned be fair to the memory of whatever erroneous tyrrany she was subjected to.
Edgeworth: To think that a mere three years ago, I would have failed to comprehend the problems being discussed here...
Egmon sighs. "Fine... Talbo is a message station worker. I don't know him that well, mostly that he and Chidellof Vadin Chivarach were finally going to marry. He works at the northern message station, not far from the lightning rail stop."
Egmon practically spits the name of Talbo's fiancée.
Edgeworth's eyes narrow. It sounds as though he knows more than he wishes to share, though I'm in no position to prove such a thing as yet.
Edgeworth smirks. If my hunch is correct, however, this may be a fine opportunity to pursue two leads at once.
Edgeworth lifts his finger to his temple, still smirking. "It seems rather more likely that someone that close to the victim would understand what might drive him to an act of violence than his co-workers. Wouldn't you agree?"
Nathaniel: They might also be comparatively less willing to divulge such understanding than those less close...
Egmon looks sour.
Edgeworth shrugs, spreading his arms. "I shouldn't need to resort to the same method I did earlier to deal with such a thing. We have evidence and information to work with now; any contradictions should be apparent."
Egmon: Just don't bring me into her sight. Once she hears what happened, she'll want to return fire herself.
Tikra: ...and you have reason to believe she will be allowed?
Egmon mutters, "It wouldn't be the first time she's gotten away with it."
Nathaniel: Curious...
Edgeworth frowns dourly.

Having established a primary lead, Edgeworth heads off with Egmon and Illyvalen in tow, while Tikra and Nathaniel both remain behind, awaiting the completion of Althea's efforts.

Nearly fifteen minutes pass in relative silence as Althea pursues visions of recent significant events until satisfied that she has exhausted the relevant impressions available. Focusing once again on her surroundings, she takes note of the diminished size of the group.

Althea sighs and shakes her head. "Let me guess, he got tired of waiting for dubious so-called 'evidence' and took off already?"
Tikra nods. "Despite his reluctance to cooperate with our extraplanar visitor's methods, particularly given the Trust's tacit approval, the blacksmith admitted to his knowledge of the victim's profession and familial circumstances."
Nathaniel: Illyvalen went with him, I believe they were headed to see his fiancée, a fearsome woman by the name of Chidellof Vadin Chivarach.
Althea: Hmm.
Tikra: He seems to fear that she would be permitted to assault him in retribution, and has asked that she not be allowed to see him.
Althea frowns. "If that's the case, Illyvalen would have to..." She suddenly puts a hand to her forehead, rubbing lightly as if suddenly experiencing a headache. "Edgeworth is going to question a grieving widow. Alone. ...This does not sound like it's going to end well."
Nathaniel: As much as I dislike the thought of leaving Illyvalen to deal with something like this, I'm not sure it's wise to become further involved in a mess like this. Your friend is asking for trouble at this—
Althea: Save it for later. We need to get back to the others before things get out of hand.
Nathaniel: They already are out of...

Nathaniel trails off as Althea takes off on her own. Tikra spares a glance at each before following Althea, leaving Nathaniel to sigh and shake his head before reluctantly pursuing the others.