Difference between revisions of "RP:The Accused"
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Revision as of 21:33, 2 December 2019
Summary: The trial begins in the case of The Woodland Witch versus The Realm, and the hotheaded attorneys take small jabs at each other, while Judge Julie works to maintain order in her courtroom. After the eyewitnesses give their statements, the call for character witnesses is given, and Sharna and Talyara speak on their family members behalf. Lanara is left sick to her stomach and dissolves into tears, as her fate hangs in the air, and court breaks for the day.
Part of the Magic, Madness, and Mayhem Arc
The Enchanted Castle in Enchantment hasn’t been open to the public since Thea abdicated the throne five years ago, but today the gates are opened, beckoning those that wish to hear the case of The Woodland Witch versus The Realm. Every curious person would be stopped before the hall that leads to the makeshift courtroom that would serve the legal purpose over the next few days. Weapons would be removed and held for safekeeping, and it’s known that the courtroom has been silenced prior to the proceedings. It’s imperative that no one use magic or weaponry, as the only fighting going on in the room would be using vocals and trying to sway the jury to a verdict of guilty or innocent.
Upon stepping into the packed courtroom one would see the erected stage were Judge Julie sits, proudly brandishing a gavel, as she calls for order and asks everyone to remain silent. Long benches have been placed behind a velvet rope, and those that wish to witness the case are directed to take a seat. The front left side of the room is where the defense is, and Lanara sits beside her lawyer, the two speaking in hushed tones. The front right side of the room is where the plaintiff rests, and a surly woman in a fitted suit paces back and forth, mentally rehearsing her opening statement. The twelve jurors sit in comfortable chairs on the left side of the stage, surveying the scene before them and fully prepared to hear the case.
The bailiff finishes swearing in those that are scheduled to speak today and turns to peer at Judge Julie, “The parties have been sworn in Judge. This is case number 739, Lanara Banks, The Woodland Witch, versus The People of The Realm.”
Judge Julie fixes the courtroom with an intimidating glare before she softens her expression and settles her gaze on Lanara. Most feared Judge Julie, as she had a no-nonsense personality and she had no qualms about having people forcefully removed from her courtroom if they misbehaved in the slightest. She rarely smiled, all of her relationships were strictly business, and she’d gone through over a dozen bailiffs and attendants as she had a difficult personality. Still, she was well educated, spoke several languages, and her rulings were fair. After a moment of eyeing the petite brunette who stands shaking, she speaks into the enchanted voice box, “How does the defendant plead?”
Lanara tries to stop trembling as it makes her look weak, and causes the shackles that she had been placed in before stepping into the room, to clink noisily. The law of Enchantment stated that all who were accused of serious crimes had to be in shackles, as it made the jurors and witnesses feel safer. The cuffs are heavy on Lana’s wrists and ankles and she’s forced to clasp her hands over her middle as she shakily glances at the jurors, before locking eyes with Judge Julie. It’s the first time Lanara has learned she even has a last name, which causes her to shiver even more. Her attorney, Kristian DeMott, stands tall and proud at her side. He’s an easy on the eyes Venturil army veteran, muscular, and the best defense attorney that gold could buy. He smiles at the Judge, oozing confidence, as she gently presses Lana’s elbow and urges her to answer the question. In a soft, yet firm voice, the witch clears her throat and replies, “Not guilty, Your Honor.”
Judge Julie gives a curt nod and motions for the attorney representing the realm, Micah Corleone, to prepare his opening statement. The shrewd attorney rifles through some papers and takes a long pull from a flask that he has procured from his pocket, before he addresses the jurors.
“What you are about to hear is a fantastical tale sprung from the lips of a witch, claiming that YES, a dozen innocent children were slaughtered! And YES, she set fire to the rescued animals that looked to her as their mother! There are even unconfirmed rumors about the murders that took place at the witch’s late brother’s home, while she was comfortably resting beneath his roof! Do not be foolish enough to believe the lies that drip from her mouth with ease! Don’t let those big brown doe eyes fool a single one of you! That woman is a murderer, plain and simple! She may look innocent, and you may take pity on her because she’s a witch and after the Larket killings, everyone seems to be sympathizing with those that practice the craft… But Lanara Banks is the lowest of the low, a damsel that causes distress to any that cross her path, and a woman without a conscience! She knew that she was using magic that could have dire consequences! She knew that brandishing a knife and breaking into an orphanage would lead to the deaths of many! She knew the exact time and place to set the fire to the sanctuary! I say it’s the witch haters we should be siding with, in the case of Lanara Banks! We don’t want our own children or pets to end up in the same situation, do we!? The Realm has hired a panel of experts that will discuss exactly what transpired on those evenings, and will show everyone in this courtroom the irrefutable evidence that Lanara Banks is a predator, that she knew exactly what she was doing during the time of the crimes, and that she belongs in the fiery depths of hell!”
There’s a long pause as Attorney Micah Corleone fixes his tie and returns to his seat and a few of the jurors look a tad horrified by his words. Judge Julie seems nonplussed by his opening statement, as she’s witnessed millions in her time serving the system, and she’s heard of far worse crimes than those that the party is accused of, so she fixes the room with a no-nonsense stare and speaks softly, “Thank you. Now, we will hear the opening statement from the defendant’s attorney, Mister DeMott, if you will?”
Kristian DeMott slowly saunters over towards the panel of jurors, an easy smile on his handsome face, as he is hoping to draw their attention before he even opens his mouth. The realm’s speaker was all about spewing rage, whereas Kristian was soft spoken and assured of his client’s innocence. It paid to be the exact opposite of your opponent in cases with heinous crimes, because the jury was likely to come to a split decision and take their time during deliberations. As time would go on, the jurors would become restless and likely switch sides to agree with the majority. One vote could be the turning point, and save Lanara from living a life behind bars, exiled from the lands, or in the worst case scenario, burned at the stake. Kristian crosses his arms in a relaxed stance, “Lords and Ladies of the jury, I implore you to negate every single statement that Attorney Corleone uttered, because it couldn’t possibly be further from the truth. Is Lanara Banks a well-known woodland witch that sometimes gets into bouts of mischief? Absolutely! Did she deliberately use a form of magic that led to the loss of life to several children and animals? Absolutely… Not! The true description of a ‘witch’ is someone that heals, teaches others the craft, and remains true to ones heart. They believe in the law of karma, the power of three, and they celebrate the high holidays with their friends and family. The fact that Lanara is a witch has absolutely –nothing- to do with the crimes that were committed, however, it shows that all of the actions were against her true character! Murdering kids and pets isn’t a form of healing. Using astral projection is a form of escapism via magical means, but this is only the –second- case to ever be mentioned in countless centuries where an evil entity took over the shell of the user’s body! If Lanara intentionally harmed –anyone- without it being a case of self-defense, of course, she would be fearful of the darkness returning threefold! Does that woman look like she’s suffering from burns or a violent stabbing? No! The only thing Lanara Banks is suffering from is being wrongfully accused, heartache, and the guilt that is was her –body- that was responsible, as her mind and soul were floating a few feet away, helplessly watching the shade commit these atrocities. Should she continue to suffer? Hasn’t she atoned enough for being in a mental institution for six months, and doing volunteer work in Enchantment for the past three months? Will taking her life bring back the lives of those orphans or animals? I ask you to look at this case with an open mind… A sweet elf is left at the altar by a man that had sworn to love her until her dying day… She was then abducted by witch hunters, tortured for days beside her little sister, and she sustained injuries that have forever marred her profession as a dance instructor. Feeling hopeless and desiring solitude, she spends a few weeks at her brother’s home in Venturil, and she discovers a book of wonder in his library. Being an advanced user in magic, she quickly catches onto the art of astral projection and one evening, the unthinkable happens. A dark spirit enters the body of this unsuspecting, deeply depressed woman, who is just taking a stroll happily through the woods in the guise of a fluffy bunny. She returns, finds herself locked out of repossessing her own body, and witnesses these horrible murders at the places that she loved and donated the most of her free time. She’s then sent away to a hospital, confined to a padded room, and forced to sustain questionable treatments. Once she’s thankfully returned to her rightful body, instead of running away and starting anew, she returns to Lithrydel! If Lanara truly were guilty, would she demand a fair trial? Return to Lithrydel where her life is on the line? This isn’t a charade designed by some crazy person… It’s a call for those with big hearts and open minds to listen to the undisputed truth. There will be a few character witnesses I urge you to pay close attention to when they take the stand… Talyara, the Sister of the defendant; Sharna, the Aunt of the defendant; Meri, the Leader of the Adventurer’s Guild and close friend of the defendant, Khitti, the Leader of the Devout’s Guild and best friend of the defendant; and Aira, Deputy of the Ranger’s Guild and friend of the defendant. They know the truth character of Lanara, they know the true definition of a Witch, and their statements will be the strongest in aiding your decision of not guilty.”
As soon as Attorney DeMott sits down beside Lanara, he claps his client on the shoulder and gives her a reassuring nod. The two speak in hushed tones, as he pours the witch a glass of water, in an effort to calm her nerves. The courtroom is in a frenzy of whispers, some claiming Lanara is a stone cold killer, while others are sure that she’s as fragile as a lamb and would never do something this dark. The majority seems uncertain, and it’s obvious their opinion could teeter in either direction at any given moment.
The eyewitnesses of the two nights in question, as the attacks in Venturil cannot be pinned on the witch as no one survived the attacks and could point a finger, are all sworn in and stand ready to fill the court in on what transpired. Judge Julie decides to run this particular case in a slightly unorthodox fashion, and that the attorneys are only able to speak once more when a closing statement is given. She prefers the eyewitnesses and character witnesses to say their piece, as she doesn’t wish to prolong judgment. Begrudgingly, DeMott and Corleone agree, as they are both being paid such a hefty amount and it requires less work on their part.
Venin, the caretaker of Kuruni’s Animal Sanctuary, the place that Lanara founded and Talyara had constructed, is the first eyewitness to take the stand. The wiry dark-skinned woman looks at the jurors with a bored expression, her mouth in a slight grimace, as she has perfected the art of resting bitch face.
“It was late… The moon was up and it was likely after the strike of midnight, though I can’t say for certain as there wasn’t a clock nearby. One of the horses had surgery on her rear leg, and we were certain that the infection would likely lead to amputation, so I had offered to check up on her every few hours. I would take her temperature, and if she had a fever she would be cloaked in wet cloths and given some medication. I was very fond of this particular mare, so I arrived a few minutes earlier than the time I was due back for another inspection, and I had my pockets full of sugar cubes as a treat. That night, all the animals seemed to be on edge… The wolves were howling, the big cats were hissing, and even the smaller caged animals seemed frightened. The only part of the sanctuary that was silent was the barn, and I knew at once that something was amiss. As I turned the corner, I saw Lanara with a torch in her hand, and she looked at me and sort of smiled as she lowered the flame to a bale of hay where it immediately caught fire. The small barn was destroyed, but myself, along with several other volunteers, was able to put out the flames before the entire sanctuary was engulfed. Several chickens, rabbits, a donkey, and three horses had died on that night… My favorite mare perished, too, but I’m not sure if it was from the infection or the burns she had sustained.”
A single tear trickles down Venin’s cheek, a rare display of emotion from the usually aloof woman, and she shakes her head, “I loathed Lanara since that day… Before then, I envied her, with that perfect body, those lustrous locks, animals and friends flocked to her side, and she always dated the most handsome men. I even tolerated her after I was brutally beaten and hog tied by witch hunters, as it wasn’t her fault for being born into a witch family…” Venin inhales and dries her rogue tear, tilting her head to lock eyes with Judge Julie, “There is one thing that my mind struggles with though, to this day…” There’s a pause, for dramatic effect, “Lanara is a witch, she can easily command the elements at her beck and call, and she flawlessly uses her magic and has for quite some time… Knowing that to be true… Why did she use a lit torch to set the barn on fire?”
A gasp from the rear of the courtroom has Judge Julie quirking a brow and exchanging a look with each of the attorneys, as though this were newfound knowledge and could overthrow the case. Why would a magic user rely on a pre-lit torch to do her bidding? A fireball or wall of flame would have been far more effective! Unless… The spirit that had overtaken Lanara’s body didn’t know how to call the elements?
Minnie approaches the stand with tearstained cheeks as she sits on the chair that Venin had vacated moments prior, the middle aged woman in sheer disbelief at all that transpired over the course of a year. Largakh was back from the dead, a dozen orphans had been murdered beneath her watch, and the prima ballerina that gave free dance lessons to the unfortunate was being accused of murder. “I’m sorry, this is all just so… Awful.” Fresh tears spill onto Minnie’s cheeks as she takes a moment to collect her thoughts before proceeding, “All I know is that I was making the third set of rounds that night, and all the children were snug in their beds, save for little Selina. She was always breaking the rules and asking for water or roaming about when she should have been asleep. But… I’m glad that she wasn’t one of the kids that died, and that I was getting her a glass of water when all of this occurred. I was keeping a watchful eye and turning the corner, holding the hand of Selina, when the little girl said that she saw a dark figure enter her room. I knelt and told her there weren’t any ghosts…” Blowing her nose, rather noisily, she forces herself to continue, “Little did I know that Selina’s roommate was being stabbed to death while she dreamt of ponies and fields of flowers. By the time I turned the second hall… I saw a trail of blood and followed it into one of the rooms, where I saw two boys with slit throats… I began to scream and as I ran to call the city guards, I don’t know what made me turn around, but I saw Lanara… Her eyes didn’t seem to be her own, they were a glowing shade of blue, and they truly stood out in the dark… She was weeping, and a bloody dagger was in her hands. I didn’t waste time in calling for help, but I do know that a pair of arms pulled her through the window, so it’s possible she had an accomplice.” Minnie rises from her seat, having finished her recollection of that fateful night, “Lanara’s eyes are the darkest shade of brown, with flecks of caramel in the sunlight… She often donated food, toys, and a ton of time, to those kids. She loved them and gave free dance lessons, and even after it was believed that Larz was dead… She still came around. The kids, the staff, and I believe everyone in Gualon opened the witch with open arms, as she’s so likable. Even though I know what I saw, I don’t believe in my heart that Lanara was or is capable of such a thing.”
There isn’t a dry eye in the courtroom as Minnie is guided back into the lobby, and Lanara begins to softly weep. She cries for what it would mean if she’s proven guilty, she cries for the death of the animals, she cries for the fate of the orphans that died by her hand, and she cries for the horrors that she’s forced to relive in every waking moment for things that were outside of her control.
A detective in the violent crimes division takes the stand, assuring everyone that the crimes were committed by a woman matching Lanara’s physical description. He shows the dagger and torch that were used, and he also shows a few of the local newspapers surrounding that timeline, that lead the jury to believe the witch wasn’t of a sound mind when the acts were committed. Should Lanara burn at the stake?
Janine Garter, the owner of the Wellness Clinic where Lanara was receiving psychiatric treatment, takes the stand following the detective. She states that it was allegedly believed to be the fracturing of Lanara’s mind that led to the downfall, and that if proven guilty, the jury should consider it under the base of insanity. Next, she procures a tome which is the one the witch was studying, before she learned the art of astral projection. Certain pages are dog eared, a few terms are highlighted, and Janine gives a long winded speech about how her son, Nicolai Garter, agreed to take the fall for Lanara’s crimes. Janine also shows her qualifications in the field of medicine and states how they sought out experts in various fields, before the cleansing ritual and soul removal was completed. In great detail, she describes every tool that was necessary, how Lanara reclaimed her body, and why it was so important for her patient to return to the lands and regain her status as a valued member of the community. Her speech is moving, but it leaves everyone with doubt. Was Lanara guilty by reason of insanity? Was she truly a victim in all of this?
Following up with Janine’s theory, the author of ‘The Art of Astral Projection’ makes a brief appearance, stating that his life’s work shouldn’t be questioned. He also states that only a minimal amount of magic users are even capable of mastering the art, and that Lanara couldn’t possibly have known what was to happen, even if she had studied the entire novel. Only a single case before now, has ever presented itself, where a roaming spirit had taken over the husk of the body, while its rightful owner was elsewhere. Would Lanara have still taken the chance, had she known the odds of being overtaken were so low? Did she willingly leave her body lying before Scandal’s mansion, in the wide open, in hopes that another would take her form?
The following eyewitness in all of this is Nicolai Garter, the handsome blond of the Backstreet Bards, and his words are so moving that the jurors are all on the edge of their seats. A few women in the front row are actually swooning, as he states that it was ‘love’ that inserted him into this madness. Nick explains how he had been stalking Lanara for the past three or so years, and that he had become infatuated with the woman from afar, as well as once he had grown to know her, closely. She was breathtakingly beautiful in his eyes, and there wasn’t a speck of hesitation in his mind, that she was innocent in all of this. He willingly took the fall for her actions, and had his younger brother exiled from the lands for committing further crimes, all to lure the investigators off of Lanara’s tail. He states that he would go through it all again, every ounce of prison abuse, every coin spent in harboring the witch in an asylum, the destruction of his career, and the loss of his brother, if it meant proving Lana’s innocence and keeping the witch safe. Nick also went on to say that Lanara’s love for animals went deep, and that she adored children, and was heartbroken when she found out that she couldn’t have any of her own.
Next up is Sharna, the aunt of Lanara and Talyara, and the sister of their twisted father, Thronnel. The redheaded witch tells the story of Lana from birth, up until this very second, as she had been closely monitoring her in hopes of keeping her safe from Thronnel. The mention of the sexual, physical, and mental anguish that was bestowed upon Lana, thus giving her severe daddy issues and leading to mistrust of men, is enough to have the defendant rising to her feet and screaming at her aunt to ‘shut up’ as those were secrets she didn’t want aired publicly. Sharna takes the hint, and instead of continuing the history of her niece, she offers a letter from Natianara, the Lady of Kelvar, as well as the biological daughter of Lanara.
Attorney DeMott is attempting to console Lanara, who recently discovered her last name, as well as the fact that she had a child from the single night affair with Desparrow, and is nearly in hysterics. “How could Aunt Sharna tell them what my father did to me?! The world will think I’m disgusting!” Incest –is- something that’s frowned upon in all of Lithrydel! The attorney assures Lana that it wasn’t her fault, as her memory was erased at the time, and that Thronnel was a sick high elf that wasn’t worth getting worked up over. Plus, she was being accused of things far worse than a history of abuse, and the jury was focusing on the present and future, not the past.
Judge Julie reads the letter of the esteemed Lady of Kelvar to the courtroom, and then mentions to the bailiff to add it to one of the exhibits, “Alright. We have heard from the eyewitnesses and inspectors, let us proceed with the character witnesses!”
Talyara is nervous, more nervous than she has probably ever been in her entire life, and it is evident in the way that her hands tremble. “In the case of The Woodland Witch versus The Realm, we now call Talyara to the stand.” Taking a steadying breath, Taly pushes herself to a stand and smoothes out the wrinkles of her skirt before approaching the bench. She’s dressed smartly in a simple black pencil skirt, white button up blouse, and a black blazer to match. She has also chosen to wear a pair of black pumps to compliment her more professional attire. Her hair which was normally left to do its own thing, has been styled in such a way that it was still its usual curly texture, but not unruly so. If she was going to advocate on her sister’s behalf she wanted to be perceived as prim and proper. Taking a seat on the chair, the witch sits on the very edge of her seat, looking up at the interrogator with rapt attention. “Please, place your hand over your heart, and think of your chosen Deity.” Immediately, Taly does as instructed. “Do you swear that the testimony you are about to give shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God or Goddess?” Talyara nods her head and utters an emphatic, “I swear.” The man nods at the witch’s eagerness to appease these proceedings and continues. “Please state your full name for the record.” She clears her throat before answering in a loud, clear voice. “Talyara Iirima Isilme.” The man smiles. “Thank you my Lady, what a lovely name you have,” he says to the obedient witch. “Now if you would, please tell us how you came to know Lanara, the length of time you’ve known her, and give an accurate description of Lanara’s personality type and if you believe in your heart that she’s innocent or guilty. Can you provide an example of a time when you’ve witnessed firsthand that she was truly good or evil?” Talyara wrings her hands together in her lap anxiously as her green eyes flit around the room before settling on the person speaking to her. “I have known Lanara my entire life, she is my older sister.” Mutterings break out from the others and Taly presses her nails into her palms to keep herself calm. “You don’t think that will make you biased, Miss Isilme?” The younger witch gives a firm shake of her head. “N-no,” she says before pushing through before she can be interrupted again. “I love my sister, but I would not lie, especially after swearing to my goddess that I wouldn’t. The repercussions, not only from you lot, but spiritually as well, would be most great. I wouldn’t do that.” The man nods his head solemnly. “Please continue,” he says with a wave of his hand. “My sister and I spent our youth together in our home village of Kelvar, helping our mother who was a great high priestess, to run the coven. It was our duty and our joy to do so. Lanara’s gifts were great, though, and she was sent to a special academy to help her learn to hone her skills. Unfortunately, during that time, our home was invaded, most of our covenmates, including our mother, were murdered in cold blood. I was kept as a slave for some time, awaiting the same fate as those before me, before I managed to escape. It took years but Lanara never gave up looking for me and we were reunited.” Talyara smiles softly at that bittersweet memory. “We fight and argue as siblings are wont to do, over silly insignificant things. But we are close as can be, especially since we are the only family we have left. My sister has a fiery spirit, and she is one of the most passionate people I have ever met. She does nothing half hearted, when she’s in, she’s in completely. I understand she can seem, intense, sometimes, but that’s not her fault!” Taly feels tears sting her eyes, it was important, no, imperative that they understand. “I was sick, had my heartbroken and wished to die. I stopped eating, and it was my sister who supported me in going to get the help I needed.” Silent tears slip down her cheeks but there is a sudden fierceness in her gaze. “I was also the victim of possession, years ago. I found myself doing and saying things I never would myself. I tried to fight my way back to my body, and Lanara--she is the one who helped me reclaim it. I wasn’t responsible for my actions during those times just as Lana isn’t responsible for what happened either. You cannot incriminate her for something someone else did--her body was being used as vessel. Her soul, her spirit, the very thing that makes Lanara, well Lanara, was not the person who did those terrible things. She’s as innocent as I was, and I beg you to see reason.” Silence falls throughout the room as those gathered stare at the witch who continues to look back at her questioner with such intensity that she doesn’t notice the tears that continue to drip down her cheeks and stain her blouse. “Thank you, Miss Isilme. No further questions.” Talyara swallows thickly, unsure if her impassioned speech helped or hindered her sister’s fate. She could only continue to pray to the goddess that justice would be served and Lanara would be acquitted. With a final nod, Talyara stands and takes her leave.
As Talyara takes her leave of the stand, Lanara gives her sister a slow nod, tears brimming in her eyes. They both had been through so much since coming to the lands, and it seemed a trail of drama was left in their wake, with each step taken. Again, the elder sister is hit with a wave of guilt for putting even more trauma on her fragile sister’s shoulders. Nauseas, and fearing that everything said was more damning to her case than helpful, Lanara pats her attorney on the arm as her face grows green. “I need to use the restroom… I’m going to be sick!”
Attorney DeMott approaches the bench and whispers the situation to Judge Julie, and the woman glances Lanara’s way, before a slow nod is given. It was past her usual lunchtime anyway, and the judge was starving! “We will break for today and resume tomorrow, about the same time, with the remainder of the character witnesses! Everyone will be sworn in, removed of weaponry, and the courtroom will again be silenced, on the morrow.” Her gavel strikes once to let everyone know that it was safe to rise and resume chatting, as Judge Julie returns to her chambers. The attorneys share a glare with each other, as this case could easily go either way, and Lanara runs into the washroom, giving into an upset stomach and tears that continuously fall.