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Thursday, May 24, 2007 Justice and Prejudice part 01

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Meanwhile, back in Basilica Vadisium, Chris, Iris and Carol are having a bad time in the correction confinement cell, or in short, the dungeon.
‘Damn! What a mess we’re in! They confiscated our weapons and armors, and we’re stuck in this maggoty, magically sealed cell! Drat!’ says Chris very emotionally, pounding on the door with his fist.
‘Just get a grip, Chris! Now we’re supposed to think our way out of this mess, and we can’t do that hearing your complaints all the time!’ says Carolyn, irritated.
‘Prince or no prince, please work this out together with us,’ says Iris. ‘You can’t use your royal prestige to help you now. We got to use our wits to set ourselves free, and clear Robert’s name as well.’
‘You’re right, Iris,’ says Chris, moving away from the door and sits on the floor in front of his two friends. ‘But the problem is, they’re holding strong evidence: Robert’s kiliji. I think if Robert left it in the Pope’s room, he must be very idiotic. Someone must’ve used it to kill the Pope and threw all the blame to good ol’ Rob, and then we too. The whole thing is a set-up!’
‘It’s not like Robert at all,’ says Carol. ‘Something must’ve addled his mind. You know and I know he’s a very careful fellow.’
Iris adds, ‘And he will never endanger his and his friends’ lives on purpose. He doesn’t seek conflict; He prevents it.’
‘Nevertheless,’ says Chris. ‘His kiliji put his and our lives at stake. We must...’
As Chris is talking, the cell door opens behind him with a bang. A priest and two gruff-looking guards come in. The priest looks somewhat feeble, but his voice is louder than a squad commander.
‘Prince Cristophe, Lady Carolyn and Lady Iris! It’s time for your trial! Come with me to the Inquisition Hall! Guards, cuff them!’
Even Chris knows it’s no use trying to resist or escape. Their weapons are still stored somewhere, and killing the guards will only make their convictions more severe, and they will never see the light of day again.
Even if they try to escape, it won’t be possible now. The handcuffs are not ordinary ones for common criminals, as they are imbued with magical barriers. The barriers prohibit the use of inner strength, magic and special abilities.
Cristophe and his friends have no choice but to go quietly. It’s a long walk to the Inquisition Hall. And when they reach there they are already quite tired; their hands and feet are paining because of the weighty enchanted iron handcuffs. Their choices become even more limited in the courtroom, named the Inquisition Hall. Because anything they say here can be used against them by the judges.
The Inquisition Hall was normally used for purifying well-known and influential Vadisians as well as insiders from Paganism thoughts and trying them for offenses against Vadis religion codes. Three Cardinals sit on the high chairs reserved for judges, so it seems that they act as emergency judges to handle ultimately serious and unforgivable crimes in the Basilica (originally the Pope handled it personally). The Pope’s assassination is the ultimately ultimate offense of all. Cardinal Nicodemus conducts the trial as Head Judge.
‘Prince Cristophe Deveraux of Arcadia, Lady Carolyn of Thyrine and Lady Lavennia Iris of Thyrine, you three are accused of the murder of the Holy Pope, Xylen Felicitia. The penalty of this will be “The Living Hell”. Instead of putting you to death, we will imprison you forever in your own bodies plus you’ll be tortured each and every day for the rest of your lives. What do you plead?’
Carolyn answers, representing his friends, ‘Not guilty, Your Grace.’
‘We certainly wanted to believe so, but the proofs point out the other way. To make things clearer for us all, let us retrace this case chronologically. Sister Dulvenia, please proceed.’
Cardinal Dulvenia, a lady in her sixties, reads the review of the case of the Pope’s murder loudly like a young, energetic orator. Starting from the meeting between the Pope, the cardinals and the champions, then mentioning how Robert has spoken in defense of the Pope, his request to leave his guarding duty and his proposed ‘tactic’ to lure the heir into the open. But it turned out the Pope was found dead with Robert’s kiliji on her back.
Then, naturally, Robert has left the Basilica grounds in the stealthiest manner possible. And when the investigation in Robert’s room resulted with no clues – except of Robert’s friends out of their posts and gathered in the suspect’s room. That rose suspicion that Robert’s friends are in league with Robert, the prime suspect, and maybe, the heir himself or his cohort.
‘... And he most likely has a way to conceal the dark energy within him as he didn’t trigger the dark detectors during his stay in the Basilica. Brother Ladimenus and Brother Ryddus have sworn to that during the preliminary hearing.’
Cardinal Nicodemus concludes the review by saying, ‘That was the brief review of this case. And now, we present the witnesses. Brother Ladimenus, summon the first witness.’
Cardinal Ladimenus, the Third Judge, begins this session by speaking loudly, ‘Prince Cristophe, the guards at the North Gate testified that you let Robert leave the Basilica during the time of the crime.’
Chris answers, ‘Yes, Your Grace, but I didn’t know...’
‘And by so doing, he instructed you to gather your friends and leave at dawn to avoid suspicion, and then you would meet him in a certain place. We confiscated this letter,’ Ladimenus takes out a letter and holds it high so everybody can see it. ‘From you during the body search, and we have searched the entire area near the city gate, but he must’ve been fled. So, your accomplice has abandoned you. He made the hit, and you took the blame.’
Andreas talks in defense, ‘The darkness’ way of working indeed: sacrificing minions and pawns to reach their goals. But I tell you this and now. Robert will never abandon his friends. He went to find the best way or person to help them here. And he will come before you and prove his and their innocence.’
‘Your confidence astounds me, Brother Andreas,’ says Nicodemus. ‘You claim to have such a complete insight on the suspect’s mind. Yet one thing is still clearer: his kiliji in the Pope’s body.’
Nicodemus holds the prime proof: Robert’s blood-stained kiliji up high, saying, ‘What do you say to that?’
Iris takes her turn to talk, ‘Pardon me, Your Grace. But even every criminal in the world forbids himself to leave anything that can be used as a proof against him in the crime scene. Even if he is the heir and wanted to make a statement, he’ll be doing so when he marches with his armies to conquer all.
All these assassinations were just petty missions, to get rid of those who’ll stand in the front-most row against the heir. But you didn’t get any clue or proof whatsoever on them, right? A cardinal’s murder, the Arcadian palace attendant... The Pope was only an initiator. When she died, someone else can take her place and gather all forces of good to fight. Maybe the heir viewed Robert as a perfect candidate, so he framed him too. My theory is: Someone must’ve hypnotized him, stole his kiliji and used it to kill the Pope.’
‘Splendid! What a marvelous theory!’ says Dulvenia, clapping her hands energetically. ‘But it still doesn’t give you freedom. What we know is: Robert had a quarrel with the Pope. Maybe she revealed Robert’s true identity as the heir or anything that threatened him. And Robert killed her just to shut her mouth in a fit of anger. That was reckless, really, but if you’re really the heir, you won’t get many choices, will you? Being human, that kind of mistake happens every time. And that’s my theory.’
Cardinal Nicodemus and the other two judges, Cardinal Dulvenia and Cardinal Ladimenus then move close to each other and confer among them. About two minutes later, they go back to their seats and Cardinal Nicodemus speaks.
‘By the power granted upon me by Vadis, the Almighty and the Right Way, I now pronounce that this trial is adjourned. We will continue when we apprehend Robert, the prime suspect and make him appear before this court. In the mean time, Prince Cristophe, Lady Carolyn and Lady Lavennia Iris will stay apprehended in the dungeons until further notice. May the truth be known, and may Vadis’ justice rule supreme upon us all.’
Upon hearing that, Chris becomes emotional and mutters something like ‘It’s not fair!’ and ‘We are innocent, Vadis knows that!’ But Iris calms him, saying,
‘But only Vadis knows. The eye of justice is blind because the truth can only be witnessed at the time it occurred. Even if Robert tell the truth, will the blind believe it?’

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