Deliberate and Deliver

Foreman of the jury. Richard would be lying if he tried to claim his ambitious soul didn’t thrill a little at that. Even if he was only the foreman because nearly everyone else was unsuitable, still. He was in charge. It was a feather to his cap, and Richard firmly believed that there was no such thing as a cap with too many feathers.

He laid his hands on the table. “Well!” he said with as much forced cheerfulness as he could muster (because even if the circumstances were grim, their necks weren’t on the line), “what do you say we start with a vote, to figure out where we all stand? Those in favor of acquittal, say aye.”

“Aye,” said Professor Emrys and Sir Aglovale.

“I see. Those in favor of a conviction?”

“Aye,” said Sir Lancelot, and Richard added his aye in there too.

Sir Lancelot, however, frowned. “Lady Claire? Master Chevaux? You didn’t vote.”

Richard’s gaze volleyed between the two of them. Master Chevaux sat silent and stony-faced. Lady Claire chewed her lower lip. “I –” she started, and stopped.

“Lady Claire?” Sir Lancelot prodded, but with a soft smile.

“I … don’t know what to think,” she admitted in the tone of somebody about to be sick.

“Well, at least you admit it,” replied Professor Emrys. Lady Claire turned to her with wide eyes. “Most folks don’t, as a rule.” The Professor winked, and Lady Claire managed a relieved smile.

“So what don’t you know what to think about?” asked Richard.

“I … oh, I don’t even know where to begin,” she sighed. “She’s a woman. A mother. A grandmother! How could any mother do such horrible things to a little boy?”

Richard didn’t say anything. He let his raised eyebrows do all the talking.

“But … why would Betsy Pelles … Lady Dindrane, the little boy … why would they lie?” whispered Lady Claire.

“It’s not that simple,” replied Professor Emrys. “We’re not being asked to say she’s innocent, you know. Just whether she’s guilty or not.”

“I don’t …” Lady Claire began, her voice trailing into nothingness before she could reach the end of her sentence.

“We’ve got two choices for each of the charges: guilty or not guilty. Now, if we say she’s guilty, well, then, she’s guilty. At least in the eyes of the law. But if we say she’s not guilty? That doesn’t mean we think she’s innocent. Just that we’re not quite convinced that she’s guilty.”

“Indeed,” Sir Aglovale answered. “There’s no physical evidence, really. Just the word of three Sims. Should we send a woman to the block on that?”

Richard snorted. “She’s the King’s sister. I’m not at all convinced that she would go to the block, no matter what we decide.” There was a round of hesitant nods from around the table — though the head of Sir Lancelot, the man who knew the King best of all of them, was conspicuously still.

“Even so …” Sir Aglovale shrugged. “Either of the charges could carry the death penalty. If we’re not absolutely certain, we’ve no business voting guilty.”

“So — you don’t think your sister told the truth?” asked Lady Claire.

Sir Aglovale flinched, visibly flinched. “I didn’t say that!” he snapped. “Er — my lady.”

“But if you think she’s telling the truth …” Lady Claire murmured.

“It’s not enough. That’s what I’m saying. That’s what Mistress Emrys is saying, too, I believe. Isn’t it?” he asked.

“Aye, ’tis, Sir Aglovale.”

“Why isn’t it enough?” asked Sir Lancelot. “I mean …” He gulped as all of the eyes in the room suddenly turned to him. “Will as good as got that wizard, Master Depiesse, to admit that Sir Mordred could have tampered with Lady Morgause’s workroom. Lady Dindrane found the leaf on the little boy. And she said the wounds on him looked like the wounds described in — well, I don’t remember what exactly she said, but some book she read, I’m guessing. Er …” He glanced at Professor Emrys. “I don’t suppose you happened to get a good look at little Thorn’s face? You could tell that the boy had been through — er — a great deal, but beyond that, I know I couldn’t say.”

“They’ve healed a great deal,” Professor Emrys began, slowly, “but …”

“Wait, wait. Begging your pardon, Mistress Emrys, but — do you have any expertise in this? I mean, other than being a witch,” Sir Aglovale asked.

It was a good question. Richard himself hadn’t asked it, but that was because his son went to Professor Emrys’s school, and he never would have sent his son to learn magic at any school that didn’t have a competent healer on staff (more for the sake of the other students than for George, admittedly). Professor Emrys — Naomi Emrys — happened to be the competent healer on the staff, at least insofar as magical wounds and accidents were concerned.

“I’ve made a study of healing,” the Professor shrugged. “Not as much as Lady Morgan — she’s good, she is — but I know my way around a sickroom. And I know the difference between the sort of burn you get from getting your hand too near to the fire, and the burn you get from … well,” she sighed.

“So which did you see on the lad’s face?” asked Richard.

Professor Emrys hesitated. “They’ve healed over a lot, thank the Lord for the boy’s sake, but … aye, the other type,” she murmured.

“Wait, wait!” Sir Aglovale made vague shooing motions for his hands. “Let’s say they were — other burns. Why didn’t Sir William find a witness who could say so? Other — other than my sister. A true expert, who could have seen the little boy when the wounds were fresh?”

Professor Emrys chuckled. “Aye, lad, and where are you proposing he would have found such an expert?”

“There are doctors in Albion, surely!” Sir Aglovale snorted.

“Says a young man who’s healthy as a horse,” Professor Emrys shook her head. “The three best healers we have are Kata Thatcher, Lady Morgan, and Father Hugh. Now, Kata Thatcher’s the boy’s grandmother, or the next best thing to it, and as for Lady Morgan … well, there’s bad blood between Lady Morgause and Lady Morgan. If Sir William had put her on the stand, Sir Mordred would have torn everything she said apart because of that. And Father Hugh, he’s been on a pilgrimage for months. So, which of them would you have asked to testify, hmm?” Professor Emrys’s eyebrow arched upward.

“What about that Depiesse fellow? They could have asked him to look the boy over,” Sir Aglovale asked.

“Not until after Lady Morgause was captured,” murmured Sir Lancelot.

“Whyever not?” Sir Aglovale scoffed.

“Because the King couldn’t trust him. I mean — not wholly. Not with that little boy’s life. Not with Lady Morgan’s security. If Lady Morgause had known that Thorn was being kept with Lady Morgan — there would have been a witch’s duel on Lady Morgan’s doorstep. It was bad enough when Lady Morgause was capt–oh, blast! I wasn’t supposed to mention any of that!” Sir Lancelot swore.

“Don’t worry, my lord,” Professor Emrys replied, patting his hand in a rather grandmotherly gesture. “You’re not saying anything that we intelligent folks couldn’t have guessed.”

“Speak for yourself,” Sir Lancelot muttered, earning himself a series of chuckles.

Lady Claire, however, frowned and sighed. “She — she would have done it, wouldn’t she have? She would have killed that little boy if she knew where he was.” She closed her eyes and shuddered. “I can’t — I can’t make myself believe she wouldn’t. Oh, Lord!”

A man couldn’t long remain a merchant without having a certain … sense of when another Sim was being swayed, was slowly letting him- or herself down from the fence to stand on one side or the other. A man couldn’t be a good merchant without knowing just how to get that Sim on his side of the fence. “So you think she’s capable of it, then?” Richard asked.

“Oh, Lord,” Lady Claire murmured.

Richard took that for a “yes.” “Now, ladies, lords and gentlemen — answer me this truthfully. Is there anyone sitting around this table who doesn’t think Lady Morgause was perfectly capable of kidnapping a four-year-old child and trying to — to –” All that came to him was the flippant description he’d used with Mark and the boys, so many months ago. “To grind him down for beauty paste. Metaphorically speaking.”

No one quite dared to speak. Even Sir Aglovale looked convinced — shocked, perhaps, that he was so easily convinced, but convinced.

“So — so then the question that remains,” came Sir Lancelot’s slightly trembling voice into the silence, “is whether we think she did, in fact, kidnap a little boy and try to … grind him down for beauty paste.”

“I haven’t changed my mind,” Richard shrugged. “Sir Lancelot?”

Sir Lancelot shook his head.

“Lady Claire?” asked Richard.

Lady Claire chewed her lip. “Lady — Lady Dindrane was quite convinced,” she whispered. “She — she’s convinced enough that she won’t let Lady Morgause near her children. Even — even if she is desperate about her marriage … she’s genuinely afraid for her children. And she’s so intelligent, so learned … and then there’s what the little boy said …” Slowly, she nodded. “Aye. I think — Lord help me — but I think Lady Morgause is … guilty.”

Sir Aglovale’s stewing told Richard all he needed to know about his opinion, so he turned to Professor Emrys instead. “Professor Emrys?”

She hesitated. “Lady Dindrane’s testimony isn’t as … compelling as you might think it is. Well, the whole of it — not her fear for her children. That I believed. But those bits about the cowplant, and how the lad came to … that’s fishy, that is. There’s more going on there than meets the eye.”

“So there’s reason for reasonable doubt?” asked Sir Aglovale.

Professor Emrys’s mouth opened — and just as swiftly shut again. Her brows knit together. “Not … necessarily.”

“Eh?”

“The question’s about why the boy didn’t die, is it? It’s whether or not Lady Morgause kidnapped him and tried to kill him. And …” Professor Emrys frowned. “She did it. There’s no doubt in my mind. … And the more I think it over, and talk it over — those things I doubted, they don’t matter. They’re extra. Look at Sir Mordred’s defense! He didn’t try to give us a real reasonable doubt. He tried to plant a dozen little niggling doubts that don’t mean anything and don’t add up to anything. Aye. If he did that — he must have not been able to think of anything else. And he’s a clever man.”

“Even if Sir Mordred is an incompetent defender, that does not mean Lady Morgause is guilty in the eyes of the law!” Sir Aglovale exploded. “There’s still room to reasonably doubt that she did it. I still maintain that the word of three Sims, one of them an orphan gypsy, is not enough to send a noblewoman to the block.”

Oh, Lord. Richard tried not to roll his eyes. He heard a soft sigh from next to him, and glanced at Master Chevaux. “Master Chevaux!” he pounced, glad of a distraction. “We haven’t heard a word from you. What do you think happened?”

Master Chevaux stroked his beard. “Didn’t think it was my place at first, sir,” he murmured.

“Nonsense, of course it’s your place. We’re all …” The phrase equals here stuck sideways in his throat, like a stubborn chicken bone. “… Here to do the same job,” he substituted.

“Aye, sir.”

“So what do you think?”

Master Chevaux glanced sidelong at Sir Aglovale. “Beggin’ yer pardon, sir, but … she’s guilty. Ain’t no doubt in me mind.”

“None at all?” asked Sir Lancelot, startled.

“No, m’lord.”

“Why not?” demanded Sir Aglovale.

“‘Cause o’ the boy, m’lord.”

“The boy? You’d sentence a woman to death on the word of a four-year-old?”

“Beggin’ yer pardon, m’lord … but … ye don’t know kids, do ye?”

Sir Aglovale’s eyebrow went up. “I know that a four-year-old is as capable of lying as an adult.”

“No, sir, he ain’t. Oh — he can try — but he won’t be good at it. He hasn’t had time ter practice, see. A four-year-old couldn’t spin that yarn that well an’ have all them grown-ups believin’ it.”

“Who says I believe it?” Sir Aglovale grumbled.

“I weren’t talkin’ about us, m’lord, not yet. I were talkin’ about Sir William an’ anyone he’s got workin’ fer ‘im. An’ — an’ Lord Pellinore, an’ the King, I suppose?” He glanced at Sir Lancelot. “I mean, if they thought Lady Morgause would kill the little boy if she got wind o’ where he was … they must’ve believed him, too.”

“Master Chevaux,” said Professor Emrys politely as Sir Aglovale fumed, “I don’t think any of us doubt that little Thorn could not have made that story up. But I think Sir Aglovale might think it’s possible that he could have been … fed that story by his elders.”

“But Sir Mordred axed him that, or as good as axed him, an’ that little boy didn’t waver or sway,” Master Chevaux pointed out. “Now, a little kid like that, bein’ told what he’s done wrong? They’ll fall apart. That lad didn’t.”

“Perhaps …” Sir Aglovale murmured. “But even so, there’s still room to doubt. A reasonable person could disbelieve the boy — could disbelieve all of them. They’ve all got reason … even Dindrane … to lie.”

Master Chevaux opened his mouth, frowned, but in the end said nothing.

“Master Chevaux?” asked Richard.

“Hmm, sir?”

“You look like you wanted to say something.”

Again, Master Chevaux’s mouth opened. Again, it shut. But now, his head turned to Sir Aglovale, and his mouth opened again. “I’m sorry, m’lord, fer what I’m about ter say. But it’s gotta get said. A reasonable person might say, aye, they’ve all got reason ter lie. But what brings ’em all together? A Plantsim — y’see, cause he’d be lyin’, not the boy — a fine housekeeper, an’ a lady, a true lady? The housekeeper an’ the lady, aye, they’re together already. But not Ash Thatcher. What’s his reason ter go inter it?”

“The money …”

“M’lord, beggin’ yer pardon, but if he got caught lyin’ … that’s lyin’ under oath, that is. He could swing fer that. Is he gonna get enough money ter risk that? Dyin’, and that tossin’ his wife an’ kiddies out in the cold?”

Sir Aglovale said nothing, but he blinked.

“An’ then there’s Mistress Pelles. Now, I knows her, an’ I likes her, but I ain’t gonna bring that inter it. I’m gonna axe meself: does she have enough reason ter lie? She could swing fer lyin’, too, ye know. She’s already lost her job. An’ any fool can see that she’s plumb terrified of Lady Morgause. Think o’ what Lady Morgause did ter her brother-in-law. Ye think she’s gonna risk that? An’ then there’s yer lady sister …” He hesitated. “But ye know her better than I do.”

“They still all have reason to lie,” Sir Aglovale whispered. “There’s still reasonable doubt.”

“Beggin’ yer pardon, m’lord,” replied Master Chevaux, just as softly, “but I don’t think there is. Because a reasonable man, he don’t jest axe himself, ‘Do they have a reason ter lie?’ an’ leave it at that. Because everybody’s got enough reason ter lie if ye dig deep enough. So he axes himself — do they got enough reason ter lie? ‘Cause if the answer’s yes, that’s one thing … but if it’s no …” Master Chevaux shrugged.

Sir Aglovale groaned and held his head in his hands. The rest of the jurors were silent.

Finally, though, he looked up — dazed — his heavy hair hanging over his hands. Richard swallowed.

“I think — I could very much be mistaken — but I think another vote is in order,” he murmured. “And if we have a unanimous decision … then I think our work here is very nearly done, my friends.”

***

But when all was said and done, it was two hours before Richard stood, as the jury foreman, in front of the rest of the court.

The crowd was much the same as it had been on the second day of testimony. Bianca and Maude sat where they had sat before, though beyond that Richard didn’t much care who was in the crowd. However, he did steal a glance at the gallery, and saw what he was looking for — the King and Queen, just where they had been yesterday.

“Foreman,” asked Lord Pellinore, “has the jury reached a verdict?”

“Aye, your honor. We have.”

“If I could have it here, please?”

Master Tower hurried to the jury box, and Master Ferreira handed the written, sealed verdict to him. He ferried it over to Lord Pellinore, who popped the seal with alacrity and perused the verdict with all the speed of an elderly turtle.

Finally, though, he nodded. “Very well. The verdict is acceptable. On the first count, then, that of kidnapping, how do you find the defendant?”

Richard glanced sidelong at Lady Morgause — and instantly regretted it. He didn’t need to see this now, not when it was too late to do anything about it.

“We find the defendant … guilty.”

A gasp ran through the courtroom. Sir Bors looked flabbergasted. Bianca stared at him with her jaw fallen, as if to ask, Did you just declare the KING’S SISTER guilty of a capital crime? The King’s children, however, as if to prove Bianca’s worries false, exchanged a look of what could only be called relief. Perhaps there was a bit of pain mingled in … but it was mostly relief.

Maude only snorted, as if to ask, Well, what did you expect? But that was Maude all over.

Richard didn’t look up into the gallery to see the reaction there. He was certain Kata Thatcher was grinning fit to split her face. But he didn’t need to see how the King was taking it. Seeing Lady Morgause grasp the railing of the dock as if she was losing her balance — seeing Sir Mordred cast a panicked glance at his mother — that was enough for him.

“And the second charge, of attempted murder? How do you find?”

Richard swallowed. “We find the defendant — guilty.”

He watched the relief ripple across the various members of the Gwynedd family. Even Sir Lamorak, who he understood was the best friend of Sir Mordred, looked as if an enormous weight had been lifted off his shoulders. Lady Eilwen looked ready to burst into tears. Lady Dindrane’s eyes were closed, but a suspicious trail of water shone down her cheeks.

Richard caught a movement from the corner of his eye — it was Lord Pellinore, looking up to the gallery. Richard followed the line of his gaze.

To the King.

The Queen looked about to be sick even as she tried to reach for her husband’s hand. But it was a hand to give comfort — Richard was strangely sure of it — not to ask it.

The King did not take the offered hand. He only looked up at Lord Pellinore and nodded.

Lord Pellinore saw the nod, cleared his throat, and so silenced the buzzing courtroom. “Lady Morgause,” he said to the defendant. “You have been found guilty of one count each of kidnapping and attempted murder. The law prescribes only one penalty for these heinous crimes. And so … I have no choice but to sentence you to death, the sentence to be carried out in a manner of the King’s choosing, and to be carried out by the end of the year. May the Lord Wright have mercy on your soul.”

After that — well, Richard closed his eyes.

There were some things he had no desire to see.

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20 thoughts on “Deliberate and Deliver

  1. Oh, poor Arthur. I mean I understand that it needed to be done, but that’s his sister. Morgause may have dug her own grave, but I can’t help but feel bad for Arthur.

    You are good, Morgaine, seriously. Cause I always end up waffling. I wanted the bitch to die for this from the minute Betsy got a look at Thorn’s face. But now I feel the slightest bit bad that I got what I wanted cause I’m forced to think about the ripple effect. Agravaine’s never going to know his mother. Arthur is forced to send his sister to the block.

    Bah!

    I liked Maude’s reaction though.

    And I loved that it was Edmond who talked Aglovale around. Given Aglovale’s class prejudices and the fact that he thinks he’s so much better and smarter than any mere peasant could be, I liked the fact that it was Edmond’s good sense that clearly ruled the day.

    I did kinda wanna kick Richard in the shin for choking on equal, though. He’s a sim, Richard, you’re a sim. All the rest is just fluff. πŸ˜› It’s money.

    So the trial is over. Now all that’s left is picking up the pieces. *sigh* And unfortunately there are a lot…

    • Only from the minute Betsy saw Thorn’s face? I’ve hoped for some kind of karmic death for Morgause since she roofie’d her daughter’s boyfriend. And you don’t get much more karmic than a death sentence.

      • For this, Hat. I’ve never been Morgause’s biggest fan, and I won’t even say that when Betsy saw Thorn was the first time I said “Fall off your broomstick and die, bitch, die!” at least outloud to my computer screen.

        But I have wanted her to die specifically for what she did to Thorn since we saw what she did to Thorn.

        Still, now hopefully it’s off with her head and hoping we see Garnet and Lamorak having a gin and tonic sitting on her headstone and dancing the smustle on her grave.

    • Glad you two got that sorted out. πŸ˜‰

      There are, unfortunately, unpleasant consequences to Morgause getting hers (if she gets hers … she’s not dead yet). What it’s going to do to Arthur … what it’s going to do to Agravaine and Garnet … what it’s going to do to Mordred. And others.

      I figured Maude’s reaction might win a few grins. I love Maude. Even in a post that has nothing to do with her she manages to steal the spotlight. πŸ˜€

      And then there’s Edmond. Dear Edmond. πŸ™‚ I figured anybody who has managed to survive over thirty years of marriage to Cerise would be good at reasoning with the unreasonable. Plus, he is an older man and a wise one — he might have managed to cow Aglovale just from that alone.

      In Richard’s defense — and sorry that this wasn’t clear — he choked on “equal” because he realized that was likely to get some bad reactions. Anybody who started life as a poor sailor’s son and intends to end it as a baron probably doesn’t believe that seriously in all that “station in life” nonsense.

      And yes. There are many little pieces to pick up. The end of the round is going to be jam-packed.

      Thanks, Andavri! πŸ˜€

  2. Hooray! Albion will not be squished like a grape between Glasonland and Rome as they find common ground in flattening the country that lets witches get away with attempted murder!

    I’m glad, very glad, that you didn’t do what I worried you’d do, and have the jury find Morgause guilty of kidnapping, but not guilty of attempted murder due to lack of evidence.

    And now I get to ask a question that’s been lurking in the back of my head about Mordred– does he believe in Arthur’s justice? Meaning, was part of the reason he didn’t sit down with Morgause and hash out a pretty story to feed the jury was because… because he wasn’t there to get his mother a not-guilty verdict, he was there to help in seeing justice done?

    (Yes, of course he’d WANT his mother to be found innocent on the grounds that she’s his mother. But that wasn’t enough to let himself find out the whole truth so he could come up with convincing reasonable doubt, now, was it? He didn’t want his mother found innocent enough to get that verdict in the face of her actual guilt, and her guilt or lack thereof was something for the jury to decide.)

    And Edmond does indeed have a point about small children and lying. All I could think about was Eddie Izzard, talking about how blatantly little kids lie. “It wasn’t me! I was on the moon! With Steve! I was dead at the time!”

    • Nope! Reme and Glasonland ought to be quite pleased with the results here. Or at least, they ought to sort of wake up from their sleeping-giant slumber, take brief note of the result, and go back to dealing with their internal problems. πŸ˜‰

      Morgause was doomed — at least in court — from day 1. She wasn’t getting out of this one. However, I am so, so happy that I managed to get Mordred to pull off a good enough defense that people were in suspense. πŸ˜€ THAT was my #1 goal with this piece.

      … Ok, ok, #1 was making the guilty verdict believable. #2 would have been the convincing defense. πŸ˜‰

      Arthur’s justice would be a tough sell with Mordred. I think if Mordred didn’t have Rosette and her children, who bear certain similarities to Thorn, he would have found it much easier to sit down with Morgause and plot a better defense. As it is, every time he tries to think about Thorn, he’s got Melehan and Melou lurking in the back of his mind. So he wants to disbelieve Arthur’s justice and Arthur’s idea that people from every class deserve a certain baseline of decent treatment … but since he knows and cares about people who aren’t nobles, he can’t quite convince himself.

      We’ll see how much he believes in Arthur’s justice, though, when it comes to something that he wants to do or get away with doing.

      LOL! I love that Eddie Izzard line. But yeah, if Thorn had made the whole thing up, he would have made it up along those lines.

      Thanks Hat! πŸ˜€

      • Well, hey, a bit of “Hmph at least they got that right” and turning back to civil unrest and Imperial collapse is better than “WHOA WHOA WHOA they did WHAT?” and getting over their civil unrest and Imperial collapse to ally and squash.

        I’ll admit, part of the suspense was knowing who was on the jury. Some of them we know well, some of them have only had one or two appearances. Naomi Emrys, for one, is usually seen through other people’s eyes, and her motives are… a little inscrutable. I can kind of understand why she wanted Morgause to have the right to regain her magic if she was exonerated, but she said herself– being found not guilty doesn’t necessarily mean she’s not guilty, it just means there isn’t enough evidence to convict her. She also reminded us that there were two charges. I mean, I kind of get that she accepted so she could thwart a witch trial– she just… I think even up until deliberations, part of her was thinking of this as a witch trial, not a criminal hearing. So Naomi was a bit of a wild card for me. I honestly didn’t think Aglovale would buck so hard, though– but I guess being the son of a judge would mean that he did get well and truly indoctrinated with Arthur’s justice.

        The biggest part of the suspense was the lack of physical evidence. It’s one thing to say ‘yes, I think she did it,’ it’s another thing to send someone to death on very little but the testimony of a four-year-old boy. Even if I know she’s guilty, even if she looks guilty to them, they’ve been told to consider the evidence– and aside from Thorn’s scars, there wasn’t any. Just testimony.

        Mm, all that and now Dindrane’s question. I just wondered, because Mordred grew up in Albion– with Arthur’s justice as one of the things he’d be sworn to uphold as a knight. Mordred, morally, dances around in a big gray area. He’s his mother’s son but also his father’s, so I wasn’t sure what he thought of… well, of the justice system. Whether he’s going to continue to think his mother was wrongfully accused and wrongly convicted or if he’s going to let himself accept that she’s that bad and allow himself a reaction.

        Pft, that’s not believing or disbelieving in justice. That’s believing that you’re the exception, that when you do it, it’s not that bad, and almost everybody who does something that requires getting-away-with thinks that.

        There. Kids and lying.

        • Absolutely, it all came down to the jury. You should ask Andavri how much wailing and flailing I did over who was going to be on that jury. I had to find one that would both be fair (by Arthur’s definition) and be reasonably likely to come to a guilty verdict (because I had that planned from the get-go. I find that having a vague plan helps. πŸ˜‰ ).

          You’re right that Naomi’s a bit of a dark horse. She and her husband were both wicked pissed about Morgause losing her powers. I keep meaning to go more into this, but to some wizards — and by some I mean “quite a few” — wizardly solidarity is a lot more important than distinctions of Light, Dark and even what some Light or Dark witches and wizards might have done to gain those titles. I can easily imagine Merlin and Naomi being skeptical of official accusations against witches and wizards as a simple gut reaction: “Yeah, sure she tried to grind a four-year-old down for beauty paste. It’s easier to get people to say ‘burn the witch!’ for that than that she likes to cause thunderstorms every now and then!” (Although yeah, messing with the weather could be fairly Dark magic, depending on how the weather was being messed with and who was being affected.) Then of course Naomi was selected for the jury and heard all the evidence, as well as her fellow-jurors’ interpretations of it.

          Aglovale has indeed been schooled in Arthur’s justice. More than that, though, clinging to Morgause’s innocence could be a form of denial about his sister — maybe things aren’t so bad for Dindrane. (Conversely, if Morgause is alive and free, it also gives her a leg to stand on for keeping her kids away from Mordred. So yeah, it works in opposite directions, but it still could work in Dindrane’s favor.) I also think there’s something of the bureaucratic mindset in Aglovale. Failing to fill out the proper forms might well be a deadly sin for him.

          *gigglesnort* “Did you brush your teeth?” “No! Yes! … What’s the right answer?”

          • At least you didn’t have to go through jury selection by the attorneys. That would have added at least another post to the trial saga.

            … So will that be a new standard procedure for jury selection in Albion? There are several families with magic now– Arthur’s line has it, likewise his sisters and their children, which means the Orkneys, the FitzOrks, and the le Fays as well as the Pendragons– there’s George, there’s Naomi and Merlin (who, admittedly, may not have offspring)… It doesn’t seem impossible to get a witch or wizard on the jury when the defendant is a mage, themselves. Might not be easy, considering witches aren’t the only supernatural Sims in Albion, but they outnumber everybody else.

            (Then again, it might be easier to create a court (royal or judicial) position where it’s someone’s business to ensure that supernaturals are tried based on what they’ve done, not what they are.)

            Depending on how weather magic in general works, I may be either totally against it or entirely for it, speaking as someone in an area prone to droughts, flash floods, and grassfires, with friends in areas prone to heavy snow and tornados.

            … Yeah, but if Morgause went free after Dindrane had her brought before a judge, that would make the remainder of Dindrane’s life miserable and short. Although the bureaucratic-mindset thing makes me wonder just how damning he found Mordred’s barring inspectors from his mother’s workroom for two weeks.

            “My little sister did it!” “You’re an only child!”

            • Selection by the attorneys probably would have added at least another four posts to the trial saga. I have no hope that it would have been a quick, easy, sane and reasonable process. πŸ˜‰

              Well, since the Crown got what it wanted in this case — a guilty verdict (if Morgause hadn’t been his sister, Arthur would have wholeheartedly wanted a guilty verdict, and from the perspective of being the king he wanted a guilty verdict) — I think some of the innovations in terms of juror selection will continue. For instance, I think women may serve more on juries when women are on trial. Putting some sort of supernatural Sim on the jury when it’s a supernatural Sim accused of a crime doesn’t sound like much of a stretch, either. In terms of long-term plans, I was going to make Jessie some sort of magical ombudsman/person-in-charge (at least from the perspective of the government, if not the magical/supernatural community). This could easily fall under her duties.

              Weather magic usually works by taking weather from one place, or the conditions to make weather happen (humidity, dew point, wind speed) from one place and shifting it to another. So there will be far-ranging side effects. What those side effects might be depends on what exactly is being done. For instance, if you’re in a temperate climate under normal conditions (not a drought, not excessively rainy) and do a spell that will give you a clear, sunny afternoon for a wedding or a party or a picnic, the effects aren’t going to be particularly wide-ranging or damaging. You’d just be shoving some rain off to the side, as it were. A little bit of snow for a sleigh ride or rain to water your garden would have similar effects. When you start running into problems is when you start making major changes to the weather. Causing a week of snowstorms in the desert (assuming it’s not a rainy or cold season) is likely going to take a lot of power and have more of a domino effect.

              When it comes to weather magic, Light and Dark wizards mainly differ in their approach and some of their preferences. Dark wizards do tend to go for the thunder and lightning — Light wizards generally won’t bother with those kinds of storms, because they’re likely to cause as much damage as they are to fix. If there was a drought that desperately needed breaking, for instance, a Light wizard would try to divert some rain from where it wasn’t particularly needed — say, over the ocean. A Dark wizard would be more likely to cause a drought. A Light wizard would only minimally interfere with the weather (say, clear the skies for an afternoon for a wedding or picnic) unless it was very necessary, like in a drought or forest-fire situation. Dark wizards will interfere with the weather in whatever way they feel will best accomplish their larger goals.

              Neutral wizards tend to fall in between these two extremes — they’re not as uncaring and slapdash as Dark wizards are, but they’re not as hypervigilant as Light wizards, either.

              Question answered? πŸ˜‰

              Good point about Dindrane. Morgause being found guilty was the best thing for her, really. And Aglovale would not be too pleased about Mordred barring entry to the investigators. πŸ™‚

  3. I’m feeling the nobility’s relief πŸ™‚

    Edmond was awesome here. He’s right about the kids, and a man with all those descendants would know. I liked Richard here too–ambitious and calculating as always, but so human in his thought process and the delivery of the verdict. Excellent writing.

    And OMGBABY! What kind is it? Wait, don’t tell me. We’ll know soon enough πŸ™‚

    • Thoughts of the Albion Nobility: Thank the Lord! She’s no longer our problem!

      No kidding with Edmond! Four kids and nine grandkids … actually eleven if you count Wulf and Jean … with two more on the way (Toinette and Simon & Roma’s baby). Oy. If he doesn’t know kids, he’s an idiot.

      Edmond is not an idiot. πŸ˜‰

      It’s a cute kind of baby! Goodness, what other kind is there? *innocent face*

      Thanks Van!

  4. Right, it’s been SO LONG since I last commented, so now I’m gonna post a long commet about this trial and how I was yelling “YES” when I read the word “guilty” (which also made my mom look at me in a very funny way. Oh well)
    I’m with andavri all the way with the grave smustling πŸ™‚
    I’ve never really been that into trial TV series but this was awesome!

    Of course, I’m sorry for Arthur about the fact that she’s his sister but she damn well asked for it – using a good Danish proverb (I think) she deffinatly needed “en god omgang tΓ¦sk med en havelΓ₯ge” – it’s kinda difficult to translate it, but something with a beating with a gatedoor. (Is it very clear that English isn’t my native language?)

    Maude will always be one of my favorite persons in Albion! She really has to stick around forever!
    Also I liked the fact that Richard didn’t really worry about George as he worried about the people around George πŸ˜‰

    I just re-read the post before, and damn Mordred annoyed me “You MUST declare her not guilty because she’s a NOBLE” D:
    I’d love to seen the face he made when she was found guilty in real life πŸ™‚

    I could possible ramble about how happy I am for hours, but I think I’ll stop now – just one last thing:

    A BABY!!! Iiiiiiiiiiiiih πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

    • My mom gives me a lot of funny looks as I’m taking pictures and writing this thing. So don’t worry, you’re in good company. πŸ˜‰

      I’m glad that you enjoyed this despite your non-fondess for courtroom drama! πŸ˜€ I guess it helps if it’s about characters you care about and have gotten to know — not just this week’s Body of the Week and Murderer of the Week. I like most of the courtroom-type TV for the puzzle-solving aspect.

      Hmm. I think a functional equivalent for the Dutch might be “a good swift kick in the rear/behind/insert-your-euphemism-here.” But yeah, Morgause has been cruisin’ for a bruisin’ since practically her first appearance. I’m not in the least surprised at the rampant glee. πŸ˜€

      Maude really does steal the show! It’s her talent. πŸ˜€ Even if she doesn’t live forever … she’s got some grandkids whom she’s trained well, so the spirit of Maude will always live on.

      Yes, a baby!! A cute baby with Tommy’s hair and eyes.

      Thanks Camille! And thank you, everybody!

  5. I… Hmm. Well, you know, I… Gah! I just can’t be happy about this! I’m glad they found her guilty since, duh, she is! But I can’t be happy that they’ve sentenced someone to death. It’s just wrong to me. But then I think, “well, what would I have liked to happen, then?” And I can’t answer myself because there isn’t an answer. If she wasn’t convicted, she’d have gone free and either hidden herself away or gone out in a bang of glory and taken those who accused her with her. So that’s not good. But if they found her guilty, then she’s going to die and will probably do her darndest to take out those who accused her or at least some people, even if they’re innocent, and GAH!! I just can’t take it! *hyperventilates*

    I will admit that I felt some relief when they read the guilty verdict, though. And then the doubts settled in. *sigh*

    • Justice was served. Diplomatic suicide (for the country) was averted. Morgause, until she is executed, can’t hurt anyone else with magic or for youth.

      That outweighs the personal drama and the guilt, I think (especially since all that makes for good storytelling, while all the rest would make for me yelling ‘you should’ve beheaded her when you had the chance!’ at the screen).

      Executing Morgause doesn’t make anybody happy (in Albion. It makes me happy. She’s had it coming), but it does make them all safer. I don’t know about Albion, but that’s a big part of the justice system out here– it isn’t designed to punish the guilty but to protect the law-abiding population.

    • Breathe, Naomi, breathe!

      You’re right that there’s no good answer about what to do with Morgause. Dead makes everybody safer (as Hat pointed out). But there are moral problems when it comes to sentencing people to death. That’s part of the reason why Church members aren’t put on juries for capital crimes (in the world of Albion, that is. I have no idea what happens in the real world, though I imagine being a Catholic priest — since Catholicism is officially against the death penalty — is a great way to get out of jury duty on capital cases). The Church in Albion and the surrounding environs doesn’t have an official stance on the death penalty — it can prove useful, after all — but enough Church members have taken the whole mercy and forgiveness message seriously enough to screw up enough capital cases that secular authorities just leave that particular can of worms firmly shut.

      However, there really isn’t a debate on the death penalty in and of itself in Albion and the surrounding environs. It’s too damn useful for those in power. Not only does it keep the population safer — Clarence will never hurt Joyce or any other woman again — most authorities and indeed most people buy into the logic of deterrence. Criminals generally don’t, since they believe they’re too strong/clever/fast to be caught, but nobody takes the opinions of criminals into account when writing the laws. Well, except for Vetinari, that is … and he’s not in Albion. πŸ˜‰

      Executing the King’s own sister, however … that might just spark a debate … we shall see that throughout the rest of the round. πŸ˜‰

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