Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Day Four-Fifty-Eight: Blind

Well, everybody I wanted on the jury has agreed. Some of them were ecstatic, some less so. Might as well go through them all.

The head Weekendist, a nice chap with an even tongue whenever he's not screaming out warnings about the incoming Weekend, said he would do it on the spot. Because of the emphasis on setting up Pubton's defences work on the Weekendist church has ground to a halt, and he doesn't have much to do during the days. His only stipulation was that he be allowed to bellow his sermons from the windows of Pagan's manor on Fridays, and I was fine with that so long as he didn't mention the trial. The trial won't happen on the weekend, it being a weird temporal anomaly and all, so there should be no problems.

The scraggly bard with the monkey asked if he would be allowed to live in Pagan's manor after the trial was complete. He said that was his condition for getting in on the proceedings. We haggled back and forth, and I eventually 'promised' that he could have a probationary period living there, to see if Pagan wanted him around as a permanent bard for entertaining his slaves. (The old man wasn't happy to hear about that, lemme tell you.)

Mom greeted the news with some scepticism. She didn't know if she was capable of serving on a jury for such an important trial. Then my dad said something about women not being capable of any of that 'lawin' stuff, and she changed her tune. Immediately signed on. (She also punched my dad, which I doubt he felt.)

The lady with the hats was tough to convince. She confided to me that Jeffrey had kindly taken her on a tour of the castle when she'd first arrived. She hadn't realized he was the monarch until a few days later. She was fully aware of the many awful things he'd done since, though, and she had no idea what to think of the man. I told her that's exactly what I needed in a juror.

Morris was annoyed at the prospect of abandoning his cows, as I predicted. Ever since the whole animal rebellion the cows have been spooked. They've offered up spotty amounts of milk at best. Morris is pretty reluctant to leave them to an assistant. With enough cajoling, though, he relented. I'm glad, too - Morris is dumb as a brick, but he won't see Jeffrey executed without a good reason. He likes people too much.

That left Celine.

The Matriarch has become something of a half-formed oddity in the last month. The holes are patched, there are new defensive gates in front of the ramp, and Libby's cannon configuration has been sloppily changed to face out of Pubton. The hull is a bit of a mess, true, but all in all it's transformed at least one side of Pubton into a formidable fortress, and that will be doubly true when the wall encircling the town (which is well underway, now) is completed. It would be nice if we could stick the Matriarch in the centre of Pubton and use it to target all sides, but, what're you gonna do.

Queen Daena (yes, she will always be 'queen' to me, no matter what she says) remains inside the Matriarch, ever attached to her tree. Celine is usually with her, attended to by a few of Pagan's slaves (Daena hates the idea of slavery, but Pagan kinda insisted). There's seldom a shortage of people for Daena to talk to. Unlike the old days, she's always in the loop.

I approached the mound and the tree, bowing to the queen. Once again, Daena insisted I not do that. I agreed, but, yeah. Inwardly I ignored the request.

"How is my husband?" Daena asked, cordially enough. There's always a small hint of menace in her voice, though. "Is he well?"

I nodded. Jeffrey gets proper treatment these days. Even if he gets it inside a cell. "He's fine. Probably reading. I stole some books from Pagan's manor to lend to him."

"I'm glad." Daena sighed and frowned. "Would it be possible to see him? Just for a few moments? You could have him well-guarded…"

I mirrored her frown. "No. Sorry. He stays in the cell. Well-guarded or not, if anybody saw 'im walkin' the streets they might mob him. He's safest in the Beefiary."

"I suppose. I do miss the fool, though." Daena shook her head. "Surely that's not why you're here. What can I do for you, Mr. Mayor?"

"Well -"

"He came to ask if I would be on the jury."

Spooked, I took a few steps back. Celine descended from the boughs of her mother's tree like a spider, creeping down the trunk and sliding to her feet on the grass below. I'll never get used to her appearing from nowhere.

She smiled, tilting her head. "That's right, isn't it, Mud?"

"Celine! Don't call him that." Daena's face burned. "I'm sorry, Dragomir."

I waved it away. I'm kinda used to the name. "No worries. And, uh, she's right. We want her on the jury. She'll help decide her father's fate. If, uh, you'll let her?"

Daena froze. Her expression was caught between hope, confusion, and suspicion. She looked as though she had to use the bathroom something fierce. "W… what? Celine? On the jury? B… but that's ridiculous."

Celine danced in front of her mother's tree. "I don't think so. I'm one of the best people to serve on a jury. You know it, mother, you know it."

"I certainly do not! You're not even a teenager yet! And putting a family member in such a position of power? You might as well make me part of the jury, for pity's sake!"

I shook my head. "It's different. Celine's… different."

We both looked at the girl. She'd pranced to the other side of her mom's small hilltop and was quietly conversing with somebody I couldn't see.

I ducked in close to Daena. "She's different. Objective, I guess you could say. Hell, I'm more confident Celine'll give a fair verdict 'n most everyone else on the jury. That includes the strangers my bud Ed brought in to serve."

Daena chewed her lip. She didn't argue, because there probably wasn't anything to argue. Celine's a lovely young woman, it's for certain, but she's also overly-intelligent for her age and highly analytical. If anybody knows that, it's her own mother.

Mother waved to daughter. "Celine, come over here for a second."

Celine spun on one toe and leaped over to us, only a few inches short of Daena's wild kicking. "Yes, mother?"

"First. How did you know Dragomir wanted to ask you to become a part of the jury?"

Celine smiled, but she said nothing. A silent thumbs up descended from the tree, no doubt offered by one of Celine's ninjas.

Daena shook her head. "That's what I thought. Okay. Please don't spy on Dragomir anymore. It's important that he be able to speak in confidence. He is mayor of Pubton, after all."

The thumbs up turned into a thumbs down as it slid back into the boughs. Nevertheless, Celine nodded.

"You know what this trial is all about. Correct?"

"Yes, mother."

"And you know… that… something bad could happen if your father is found guilty."

I bit my tongue. Pagan and I haven't told people that his verdict will be immediate execution if Jeffrey is guilty. Maybe Celine knows, but her mom? Probably not.

"He could even be executed."

I coughed.

"Will you be able to judge your father's sentence fairly, knowing this?"

Celine raised a finger to her mouth in thought. It was a distinctly childish gesture. I kinda wonder if she did it to spite Daena. "Yes, mother."

"Alright." Daena clasped her hands together, as if pleading for her daughter to say something different, something that would keep her from this judicial fate. "And if the evidence was not in your father's favour… if you thought he was guilty… would you give him that sentence?"

Celine's eyes clouded over. She was deep in thought, wavering a little on the spot, barely blinking, barely breathing. After about a minute of silent contemplation my nerves were fraying, and I wondered if she was still conscious, still even thinking about her father in jail. I considered leaving and forgetting the whole thing.

"Yes." Celine nodded firmly. "If father is guilty, he is guilty. That is all there is to it."

We now have our jury.


Dragomir the Mayor


  1. (I'm kinda hyped about this whole trial! So I have composed a morbid song that would be insanely sung by a overjoyed Bard through-out the town.)


    (Look...I'm trying my best to stay optimistic about this trial. Matt is slowly crushing my dreams by making Jeffrey sound miserable and regretful. I'm practically forcing myself to hate the guy now...WHY MATT WHYYYYYYY!)

  2. See, this is why you're not on the jury.

    1. HEY MAN! I may want and have every reason to see Jeffrey dead, which may or may not ignite a child-like joy in my heart that none the likes have ever been seen by mortal eyes. But I RESENT the fact that you would assume that my entirely biased and hateful spite of Jeffrey would somehow affect the fairness of the trial!

      So I have taken great offense at your ignorant and blatantly descrimitory remarks, and assumptions that I am not of a good and solid character with only the most noble intentions. So GOOD-DAY TO YOU SIR!

    2. No no, you misunderstand. Your intentions truly are noble, because you would see a horrible man hanged. Justice is done in thine eyes. It is because you are noble that you cannot be on said jury, because the magnificence of your burning passion is just too much for the law. A courtroom could not hope to contain your moral might.

      Or some shit.

    3. Well you have appeased my noble sense of justice and fairness, I can see that you have a good judgment in recognizing the greatness of men such as myself. I will consider your message as suitable understanding towards the competence of the legalities that make up our grandiose society of Pubton. So I tip my top-hat to you sir, and will not dawdle here any longer.

      So pip-pip cheerio and all that English nonsense, and Good-day to you.

  3. Ninja thumb wins.
    That is all.