Thursday, April 18, 2013

Day Four-Thirty-Nine: Colour!

While Eve played with the slaves and Pagan slept off indigestion - he's been sick since yesterday's feast, having foolishly eaten a piece of pie made by Libby - Harold, Evangelina and I discussed the trial.

"It's happening," I said, slamming my fist down on the squishy arm of a rhino leather chair. We were sitting in Pagan's study, a spacious room filled with family portraits and memorabilia from various military campaigns, as I couldn't think of a more official place in Pubton to have this discussion. "The trial is happening. You can't change that. I dunno why you'd even argue it."

Harold shrugged, tugging at his cloak. "I… I don't think we should be making a spectacle of the man, that's all. You can have a trial, if you want, but I think it should be private. Away from outside eyes. Not… not the circus you're proposing."

In retrospect, I suppose I'd gone a little far. I'd suggested holding each day of the trial by the golden tree, open to all, with food and drink stands set up and bards hired to serenade the listeners. "Mosta these people suffered under Jeffrey. S'only fair he have to suffer in front of them. Even if we do it indoors, the trial should still be open to anyone who wants to listen."

"But bringing in peasants - especially the people who live here, they're a bunch of goofballs - will throw out any chance of impartiality!" Harold shook his head. "My father used to tell me that the quickest path to injustice is to get the public involved. Granted, he was speaking in support of the Omega Corps at the time, but it's still a fair point…"

I sniffed. I didn't want to be reminded of the Omega Corps. Stupid tin-plated hell-spawned gits. "Not sure I get what you mean, Harold."

"It's all about attitude." Evangelina, lounging on a couch opposite us, stretched and yawned. She's so happy to be out of her cell and in fresh clothes. "A trial implies that the decision has not been made. A show, which is what you're proposing, has a scripted end. That's what the people will expect, and with enough pressure on the jurors and the judge that's exactly what they'll get. I believe that's what Harold's saying. Yes?"

Harold nodded and blushed, keeping his eyes on the far wall. Guy has real trouble talking to girls, but I swear he lusts after every one of 'em.

"If you want a fair trial, Dragomir, you need to keep all of the participants sequestered. Away from outside influence. That way they can make a fair, unbiased decision regarding Jeffrey's fate. Anything else makes a mockery of the laws you claim to be upholding… whatever the hell those might be. Who knows, the Indy Plains have always been wonderfully vague on their regulations."

"Which is why guys like Jeffrey exist," I pointed out. "He can do whatever he wants with a bit of power. Why not give 'im a taste of his own medicine?"

Harold cringed, plainly disapproving. I could smell his desire to get out of the room and return to organizing next week's work schedule. Anybody who would willingly forsake normal company for a meeting with my father must be very uncomfortable indeed.

Evangelina, on the other hand, simply shrugged. "It's your town. You can do what you want. I'd speak up more strongly, but I was part of a rebellion against this very man. I wouldn't mind seeing him strung up by his testicles and left to the tender mercies of a pack of zombies."

I winced. "Painful talk for a diplomat. Didn't I hire you to advise me? 'Do what you want' isn't great advice."

She smiled and took a sip of grape wine she'd stolen from Pagan's private stocks. "Ultimately, Drag, it's your decision. We know that, the townspeople know that, Daena and Celine know that, and I'm sure Jeffrey knows that. I gave you advice; I also acknowledged that you have the final say in this town. Obviously you do, otherwise I'd be sharing a jail cell with Jeffrey."

"But," and she sat up at this, "if you really want advice, I'd suggest talking to everyone's favourite ex-king. You've avoided his jail cell since you beat his face in. A leader needs all the facts to make an informed decision, and he can give you some tidbits you might otherwise be missing from the puzzle. Who knows, maybe he can convince you that he was under the influence of a monster or an alien or whatnot and earn his own freedom. As a witch, I can confidently say that these things are possible."

I flinched. "Talk to him. Ugh. I was afraid you'd say that."

She took another sip of her wine. "If you don't, the job falls to one of us. I don't know about you, but I've had enough of that dinky little room for one lifetime. More wine, Harold? I'm running out."

And so did he. To get the wine, that is. I sense a weird relationship in the making.


Dragomir the Mayor

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