Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Day Four-Eighty-Seven: How to lose at law

The next day of the trial was originally planned for Friday. It was moved to today. There will also be trial dates every day this week. Harold, Evangelina and I all agree that we have to get people focused on the defence of the town only. That or leaving.

We revealed what we know of the impending Non attack in a town meeting before the trial, explaining that we didn't want to alert anyone until we had concrete proof of the danger (namely, the letter from Lord B.T.). We expected a lot of the citizenry to take off. To my great surprise and relief, only people who were already out-of-towners left. The loyal sons and daughters remain to defend their home. They were even forgiving of us keeping a secret of this magnitude. I love this town, I gotta tell ya.

Only one out-of-towner stayed behind. I suspect it's because he craves his fee from Queen Daena more than he values his life.

"I object!" Jeffrey's lawyer, Rolo, hissed loudly. "I asked for more time! It is my right to formulate a superior defence!"

"Normally, I would agree with you." Pagan looked to me. I was standing on one of the balconies. "But we're pressed for time. I'm sure your pay will be ample despite alterations to the schedule. Proceed with your examination."

Still miffed, Rolo nodded. "Very well. I call King Jeffrey to the stand!"

The assembled crowd - which has grown steadily larger each day, somehow - oohed, aahed, and murmured to one another. Jeffrey has barely said a word since the trial began.

Jeffrey tried to rise, straining timidly against the restraints binding him to his seat. "Um. We're… sorry, sorry, I'm… stuck."

Pagan shook his head. "He's already at the front of the room. Talk to him from there, defence."

The snake bowed and turned to his client. "Hello, Mr. the King."

Jeffrey stared into his lap. "I'm not a king anymore."

"But you were. And a lawfully-instated king, too, if I'm not mistaken."

Jeffrey shrugged. "Well… nobody owned the land, so…"

"Nobody owned the land!" Rolo whirled, his tiny wooden arms flailing. "Nobody owned the land. Very good. And so you set out to build a kingdom."

"… yes."

"And you had a queen."

"Yes." Jeffrey sighed and smiled. He looked dopily sincere, even from a distance.

"And a prince. And a princess. Son and daughter."

"Yes." Jeffrey waved as best he could to Celine, a constant fixture in the jury. "Hi, sweetie."

Celine waved back. "I'm sorry if you die, daddy. Nothing personal."

Jeffrey flinched. "I'll keep that in mind. Are you keeping up with your dancing lessons? I'd love to -"

Pagan gently tapped the gavel against his desk. Jeffrey shut his mouth.

"How touching." Rolo tested the air with his tongue as he grinned. "You see? He cares for family. Admirable. To return to my point, however: you were the head of a kingdom. You established said kingdom. Consequently, you established a hierarchy of laws. That is what a king does, is it not?"

"Objection," yelled the prosecutor from across the court. He's a doughy-faced old man who's unfathomably boring to talk to. I can't even remember his name. "Leading the witness."

"Sustained," Pagan muttered. He hates the obstructive legalese. "Rephrase the question. Whatever it was."

The lawyer pouted. "In your opinion, KING Jeffrey, is it the right of a king to establish the laws of his own kingdom?"


"Aha!" The lawyer whipped around to face the court. "You see? From the words of a legitimate monarch, one who would know best. Whether they are morally in the right or not, kings are allowed to set out their own laws and decrees. Consequently, anybody who bends the knee to such a man -"

Pagan coughed. Loudly.

Rolo stopped ranting. "That's a nasty sound, your honour."

"Indeed it is." Pagan's eyes glittered under his helmet. "I don't think you heard your client properly. He said 'no'."

Rolo twitched so violently his glasses nearly spun off of his snout. He turned to Jeffrey. "Did you say 'no'?"


Rolo moved in close. I suspect he was beginning to sweat. If snakes CAN sweat. "Was that a 'yes' to my first question or a 'yes' to my second?"

Jeffrey shrugged. "The second."

Rolo's eye twitched again. For a long moment he was quiet. Then he peered at Pagan. "Permission for a short recess?"

"Denied!" Pagan banged his gavel merrily against his desk. "In fact, I'd like to hear the defendant's opinion of monarchical rights. Would you indulge the court, Jeffrey?"

Jeffrey blinked, looking around the flared hood of his attorney. "Would it hurt my case?"

"Yes," hissed Rolo.

"Oh. Well, in that case…"

The opinion Jeffrey presented was two-fold. The first half was his old belief - essentially, that the king can do whatever the hell he wants, when he wants, to whomever he wants… so long as they're living in his domain. The second half, his current opinion - which he claims is similar to the way he thought before he was in charge - is that kings should, ultimately, bend to the will of their people. The king may make the laws, but he makes the laws to protect his subjects. That includes protecting them from the monarchy.

The court was silent as Jeffrey spoke. Though his voice was coarse and raw from speaking too little over the last… two months, I think… his arguments resonated sensibly to most everyone present. That includes me.

Rolo got Jeffrey off the witness stand as quickly as he could, but not quickly enough. Jeffrey successfully sabotaged his own case, and as everyone left the courtroom at the end of the day, lobbying opinions back and forth, they both supported and decried Jeffrey.

Two opinions. Two different people.

I'm not sure what happened to the moronic King Jeffrey I used to know, but I think he's dead. And this new Jeffrey… is setting himself up for a hanging.

I wonder if he thinks he deserves it.

Pubton is on high alert. There are guards posted at all times, and we have a huge string of perimeter bells set up around the town, attached to several larger bells closer to town centre. If anything large trips them… well… we'll deal with it.

Tension. High tension. The waiting is killing me.


Dragomir the Co-Mayor

1 comment:

  1. I think it would be amazing if the lawyer goes and uses the Wookie Defense from South Park in the next trial day.