Court in the Act

Justice must be done, and it must be seen to be done. It’s an old adage, but a sound one. And, here in Jasper Cove, it apparently must be seen to be done by the widest audience, no matter how high, or lowly, the recipients of said justice.

Court was held last night. The invitation from the footman indicated an open court, in the sense of an audience with their Majesties, but it turned out also to be a court in the legal proceedings sense. I walked there with Cicely, who had made a surprise appearance, but without Aoibheann, who declined my arm, saying she had to fetch something first.

Somewhat surprisingly, the defendants in court were the two older princesses, Wren and Ember. And what was their crime? Treason! Well, poisoning the guards and rendering the palace and its inhabitants undefended for a day, which the king described as being tantamount to treason. So, the little “cinnamon and sugar” incident has come home to roost. Even though I had been deceived by Wren, and plan to have words with her about that, I did feel some sympathy for the girls. They looked absolutely terrified as the charges were read against them and as the king questioned them as to their understanding of the enormity of their crime and its potential consequences. I will give them their due, though; despite the fear of whatever being put into them by Alec, and looking as though they were about to burst into tears, they managed to hold it together throughout the proceedings. They also, rather bravely, I thought, pled guilty on all charges. From the terror on their faces, one can only assume they imagined some terrible punishment such as flogging or banishment. In the end, their sentence turned out to be quite mild, mitigated by the fact that they had no ill intent and fully accepted the consequences of their actions. Their punishment was to spend some time working for Aoibheann in the tavern, for free, until such time as she considered they had paid for the stolen goods. I felt moved to intervene and raised my hand. When Alec called upon me, I pointed out that I had some personal grievance because Wren had indulged in behaviour unbecoming of a patrolman in deceiving me and suggested that perhaps some additional maths lessons might be in order. He seemed to like that idea and ordered it so, that I could detain the princesses after they had carried out their duties for Aoibheann. That seemed fair enough to me, even if my concern was only for Wren; Ember having had no part in lying to me.

Funnily enough, it turns out that the reason they wanted to avoid the guards was so that they could practice some magic. That part, at least, did not bother either of their Majesties, who told them that they should never be ashamed of practising their arts. I shall have to enquire further as to what type of magic they are learning. Maybe it could complement that which Mitternacht is teaching me.

There was other court business. A Japanese gentleman by the name of Jin-san volunteered his services as a warrior and keeper of lore. He got appointed to the post of librarian, complete with a decent salary, all the tools he needs and a clockwork assistant left by the previous incumbent. I don’t think I have encountered said clockwork assistant, but was reminded of the strange clockwork rabbit that used to wander around London asking strange questions.

Carmen was up next, asking if she could take over the smithy. That was duly granted for the usual business fee of 300 midari and monthly supplies costs of 50-80. It’s nice to see that the smithy will be in use, although I could tell that Aoibheann wasn’t entirely convinced. Perhaps she thinks smithing isn’t a suitable job for a lady.

Mitternacht hauled herself before the court next. As I expected, she petitioned to take over the bakery. She presented her case very well, but managed to avoid any reference to revenge, much less boiling of blood in respect of Eli. Their Majesties were amenable to her plan since Eli has apparently not been keeping up his payments. I could not help but chortle quietly, even if Eli was not there to be humiliated. The effort seemed a little much for Mitternacht, as she collapsed into an exhausted heap after all the effort. Those nearest to her spoke to her to confirm that she was well enough for her age, just tired.

Then, up spoke a name from my past. An older lady who had been sat on the other side of Cicely stood up and introduced herself. I had seen her earlier thinking she looked vaguely familiar and there was good reason. This was the Diane Lawn that Aoibheann had mentioned. I don’t’ recall ever having met her, despite the interview requests, but I guess I must have seen her around at the café or some such. She introduced herself as a journalist and writer, and also offered to teach at the school. She hurried off soon after, blaming the late hour, so I didn’t get a chance to make her acquaintance. It would be nice to talk to another writer.
Talking of old faces, I saw Vedis briefly, playing with the two youngest in their crib. Sadly, she must have left early, as she was not there when court closed and I didn’t get a chance to say hello.

That was pretty much it for court, though I did get a bag of midari from the footman, presumably my share of the spoils from the last trading trip. I should have thought more about that, as it occurred to me, when I got back to the flat and transferred the money to my purse and my piggy-bank, that Alec & I haven’t actually formally sealed our trading agreement and he never actually paid for the shares in NBIT. I shall have to go find him at the palace at some point.

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