Friday, May 24, 2013

Day Four-Sixty-Five: Terrible timing

Why is your personality locked away, diary? What happened? I can sense a powerful seal inside you. It disturbs me.

I have bad news regarding your owner. I hope to rectify this news, because he is a good man who does not deserve what's happening to him. My master has done him wrong. He was used, and abused, and now he seems to be on his way to a fate most grisly.

I have been tailing Dragomir for several weeks. My master ordered me to keep my eyes on him, as his continued presence in Pubton may persuade the Non to split their forces and attack the town rather than focusing all of their strength on Pubtwon. On the cave. It is a wise move, though cowardly.

She is cowardly. She uses people, rather than doing things herself. It is no wonder her children grew up hating her.

Pagan's manor was swarmed by people this morning, though only a few nobles and public servants - Dragomir included - were allowed inside to see the first day of the trial. Their numbers dwindled as the day grew hot and the information they craved remained inside the manor, and by the time Dragomir marched outside they were all gone.

I sneaked into the manor through one of the windows. The ability to climb walls more than makes up for a tiny body, let me tell you.

The entrance hall of Pagan's manor looked very much like any courtroom I've seen before. Two rows of benches lined the court, parted down the middle by a dark red carpet. At the end of these benches sat a no-man's land, separating the massive judge's desk and a witness box from the rabble. Another box stood off to the side, home to a jury that was already waiting for the trial to begin.

I settled down on the balconies above, careful to hide myself so Pagan's house slaves would not see me. I heard no screams and was not crushed by a broom, so I assume I was successful.

Overall decorum nearly broke down when Ex-King Jeffrey was escorted into the courtroom, guided by three of the newly-minted guards of Pubton. He looked scraggly but healthy, his face sunken, his head stooped. The angry rise of voices from outside the manor hinted at a great deal of unrest, and I suspect that more than a few members of the populace wanted to crucify Jeffrey before he got indoors. The spears held by his guards must have persuaded them otherwise.

Once Jeffrey was clamped into a chair at the side of his lawyer, a snake person in a dapper tuxedo, Pagan emerged from his chambers and clanked down into his throne. A white wig rode unsteadily atop his knight's helmet. He banged his gavel down hard, and thus began the trial.

"We are here today to discuss the fate of King Jeffrey, formerly named Jeffrey the Noble, ruler of Castle… Castle… is that a blank?" Pagan shook his head. "The bailiff will read the charges."

Pagan motioned to one of his slaves, a slight, trembling man with wide eyes. The charges were fantastic in amount, and ranged from respectable to ridiculous:

- Murder
- Manslaughter
- Attempted murder
- Attempted manslaughter
- Negligence
- Cruelty towards animals
- Bribery
- Theft
- Larceny
- Public lewdness
- Adultery
- Destruction of private property
- Desecration of private property
- Masturbating on private property
- Consuming banned foods
- Flaunting decrees with impunity
- Drunkenness
- Operating a vehicle without a license
- Grand theft cart
- Butchering
- Baking
- Candlestick making
- Ownership of an exotic pet
- Villainy
- Mistaking longitude for latitude

The list went on for at least twenty minutes, and the bailiff had to stop several times to take a drink of water. Jeffrey only protested to one of the charges, that of adultery; the rest crushed him into his seat. I can only imagine what it was like to live in his kingdom.

When the last of the charges was read and the bailiff led away to a bench to cool down, Pagan tapped his gavel a few times to restore order. The voices of the attendees had nearly risen to a din during the reading. "That will do. And what does the accused plead?"

The snake person slithered out of his seat. "Not guilty, your honour."

The noise level skyrocketed. Pagan gavelled the crowd back into silence and raised an eyebrow. "Not guilty? Interesting. I half expected a 'guilty' and a plea for mercy."

The snake person waved towards Jeffrey with one wooden arm. "My client pleads guilty. I have invoked the right to change his plea to innocent of my own volition."

"Oh? On what grounds?"

"I am paid by the hour, my lord."

Pagan laughed. "Very well. I hope you put up a spirited defence. Do you have an opening statement to present to the court?"

The lawyer did. He outlined his approach quite succinctly, saying that he would, beyond a shadow of a doubt, prove that Jeffrey had been under the control of a malicious force. Indeed, that he had been controlled since before he'd even established his castle, and that, therefore, none of the things that had happened since were his doing. There were many mentions of Jeffrey's sanity without the lawyer making an outright insanity plea.

The prosecutor took the floor after that, a doughty former noble who had suffered as much under Jeffrey's control as the rest of them. By that point I wasn't so much interested in what they were saying, though, as in one of the attendees, this one sitting on the rear-most bench.

Dragomir was shaking, his face blood-red. He seemed to be gripped by tremors, one of his legs tapping incessantly against the ground. His eyes darted from one side of the court to the other as though he were watching a game of hedgehog tennis. I'm not sure what was the matter, but the trial was taking more of a toll on him than anyone else in the room.

Fortunately, I was not the only one to notice.

"Mr. Mayor."

The prosecutor, only halfway through his speech, froze. Everyone turned away from the judge, who was glaring at the rear of the court, to stare at Dragomir. The major eeped and stilled his leg with an equally-shaky hand.

"Do you have a problem, Mr. Mayor?"

Dragomir nodded vigorously, but "N… no…" came out of his mouth.

"That's what I thought." Pagan sighed. "Step outside, please. You can come back in at recess - assuming you've collected yourself."

Dragomir rose, calmly enough, and walked out of the court without a fuss. Everybody watched him go, but only Jeffrey and myself continued to watch the front doors of the manor after they'd shut. Of the two of us, only I was in a position to keep watching. That is my job, after all.

Leaving the manor through a window, I followed Dragomir. He paced in front of the manor for a few moments, but eventually decided on a walk instead. Leaving the high ground of the manor behind, he strode down the road, off to the almost-finished wall, and into the forest. I followed, suspecting that he just needed some fresh air.

It's difficult for something my size to keep up with a man, but after spending so much time here I know shortcuts through Pubton that give me the advantage. Using an abandoned rat hole I came out under the wall shortly after Dragomir disappeared into the forest, and a quick mental command to several squirrels in the trees got me the ride I needed. We took off in pursuit.

It didn't take long to find Dragomir. He was not alone.

The mayor had seated himself on a log, looking much more relaxed and in charge of himself. Staring up at the sky through the treetops, he muttered something to himself about you, diary -

- and completely missed the colossal black figure looming out of the forest at him. It fell upon him with terrible speed, wrapping its hands around Dragomir's head and torso. One second, Dragomir was there; the next second, gone. He had no time to scream, to react, to struggle, and given the bulk of his captor I doubt any of the above would have helped anyway.

I tried to follow, but squirrels can only go so fast with a tarantula on their back. It was, at least, quite easy to follow the trail the giant left behind, and it's that trail which I follow now. I have been tasked with watching over Dragomir, and if I can rescue him in the process, so be it.

I imagine you're trying to figure out how I'm writing in you. The answer is simple enough: someone brought you to me. Someone who is as intent on getting Dragomir back as myself, someone who somehow knew he was being captured. She found me, she lifted me up, she presented me with this diary, and now, in relative silence, we travel. Her only request is that I write in you, as her father does every day.

She unnerves me. She has always unnerved me. But if she can help me rescue her father, she is welcome on the trip. I only hope we can free Dragomir from his captors before it is too late.


Julius the Familiar


  1. Is Eve back in the fight...FUCK YEAH!!!!

  2. Wow...most odd rescue team in history. Julius the spider and Eve the teenage girl XD

  3. We can only hope Eve can conjure even a little of her badassery.

  4. A one-year-old girl and a tarantula is not exactly what would be considered the best possible rescue party in most situations, but considerin this particular girl and this particular tarantula, they might be the best- possibly only- viable solution.
    Team Orange Julius and Ex-Lord Knight away!

    1. I have to admit, I do think of oranges every time I think of Julius.