Back in the city the click of Trajev’s staff echoed off the walls of the near-empty assembly hall, as he made his way along the corridor between rows of vacant seats. Trajev entered the same assembly hall that only a short time back housed the delegation to discuss the fate of the dragons. Only this time it was a closed meeting with only the council members and two chosen speakers present. Patrah and the speaker for the Shrkai tribal coalition stood up at the center table, as did the councilmembers who sat around the half-circle of tables in the center of the great room. The newly appointed Grand Chancellor made his way to a cushioned throne chair set just beyond the circle of tables with the massive statues of the five main Shrkai deities in the background on the back wall of the circular room. Trajev stood before his chair facing the assembly of council members before him then quietly sat. Patrah and the rest of the assembly then sat as well.
After a short moment Ralomar who was seated at the council table flanked by the other three representatives of the Dragon Clan with clearly marked red dragons on their dark robes, stood and began to speak.
“We have assembled this special session of the council in order to determine the fate of the Annuvian known as Millorny Schilling who stands accused of the brutal murders of a Shrkai soldier and our beloved Grand Chancellor. A speaker has been chosen to defend the accused and also to represent the great Shrkai nation. Please present your case.” Ralomar gestured to the speaker sitting at the table to Patrah’s left, who also had a dragon etched on his robes, the speaker stood and walked around so he could look at the various council members.
“Esteemed members of our great council,” he started to speak in an exaggerated fashion. “My presentation will be quite short as the evidence against the defendant is indisputable,” he paused briefly, as he was sure to have the attention of all the members and the new Grand Chancellor. “In the case of the Shrkai soldier there may have been no witnesses, but he was the only one to have left the campsite and the only one who possibly could have committed the brutal act of not only stabbing to death one of our heroes, but also slain the raptors leaving the rest at the mercy of the desert heat.” The speaker paused again as he continued to circle the table and even smiled at Patrah in a boastful manner before again starting to speak. “As to the death of our former leader, again he was the only one in the room and witnesses who found the body clearly state he was able to grab a dagger and slay the Grand Chancellor as he was being released. It has since been logically surmised, that the Grand Chancellor saw nothing in his vision to support the claim that the defendant was possessed and the human acting in the brutal nature that humans have always been known for, slayed the Grand Chancellor to keep him from revealing what he had seen.” The speaker paused again to allow his statement to be fully absorbed by the council, then walked back behind the stone table that he and Patrah shared to make his final remarks. “It is well known by myself, the council, my colleague here and all of our great nation, that we do not incarcerate or put to death criminals, even those who commit such barbaric acts as the defendant stands accused of. We have found that reacquainting them back into civilized society has proven to better rehabilitate their criminal ways however, the accused is not Shrkai. We have no precedence to go by to know that these measures will work on a human. Their species has been known for their brutality throughout the ages. They have attempted to invade our lands on several occasions and nearly wiped themselves out of existence in constant wars over control of the land they share. No I do not believe rehabilitation will work on such an individual which is why I recommend he be executed.” The council members murmured, as they talked amongst themselves, as the speaker sat down.
The murmurs quieted down, as Patrah gradually rose from his chair leaning on his ornate staff.
“Permit me please to dispute these findings,” Patrah began in a much more conversational tone than did the previous speaker and was sure to look the speaker in the eye and smile as he used the word ‘dispute’. “Firstly,” Patrah then directed his speech to the council. “In the case of the slain soldier my colleague is correct on one fact, there were no witnesses.” Patrah stood in place near his seat, but was sure to turn his head to make eye contact with each of the council members. “That is about the extent however of the facts he presented. Yes a soldier was brutally slain, but the fact that the raptors were also slain leads more to someone who had the ability to charm these beasts, as they would have defended themselves easily killing any person without such ability and Commander Schilling does not have such ability.”
“I object to the use of the title commander,” the speaker for the prosecution rose interrupting Patrah’s presentation. “The defendant is no longer a member of the Annuvian defense forces.” The speaker sat again as suddenly as he stood.
“Yes that is true,” Patrah again began to speak patiently waiting for the other speaker to finish, and for his objection to be weighed. “he retired after the war, but still retains the honorary title of commander.” Patrah stated simply. He thought briefly about adding that the war was started by the dragon clan of which some of members now sit on the council, but quickly dismissed the idea as it would only cause further debate unnecessary and counter-productive to the hearing.
“The defendant may be referred to as a commander,” Ralomar casually stated after a brief discussion with some of the other council members.
“Commander Schilling has been known by many of you who sit here to judge him today,” Patrah again started to speak leaning on his staff. “I could call you all one at a time as character witnesses, but I think it justified to say that each of you know that this sort of act is not at all in-line with his character. He has been an ambassador for the Annuvian territory for several years. His more recent and current visit however was among a group of delegates that were invited here by this very council to speak on behalf of the Annuvian territory only a few short weeks ago.” Patrah paused to drink from a challis of water that sat on the desk in front of him. “It has also been mentioned that the humans are a barbaric race that slaughter each other over control of land and to push their boundaries, this I cannot deny, but as my colleague must have read about this in books since it happened long before any of us were born and the humans have been peaceful with us and their civil wars ended several centuries ago.” Patrah paused to take a sip of water, then continued. “Also in the case of the murdered soldier I have written statements here from witnesses that show that he was possessed by the spirit of the high priestess Casanna.”
The moment Patrah mentioned the witness statements, the other speaker leaped from his chair to again object and Patrah took the opportunity to sit and rest for a moment.
“The only other witness possible to such an event would be the defendant’s daughter,” the other speaker interjected. “Her testimony should not be at all considered, as she would say anything to save her father.” The speaker again sat and the eyes of the council members turned to Patrah who rested a bit longer in his chair looking through papers on his desk before again rising lifting himself up with one hand on his staff and the other holding several papers.
“His daughter was not the only one present at the time the lifestone exploded and the temple mound it rested upon was destroyed. A Shrkai citizen was also there aiding in the exorcism of the spirit. I have statements here from him as well. Both of these statements testify that this shadow whip,” Patrah set down the papers and lifted the shadow whip off his table. “had to be used to physically pull the high priestesses spirit out of Commander Schillings body.”
“That is not possible,” the other speaker stood and began to speak. “the only other individual present was Darvin and it was reported that he was killed when the lifestone exploded.”
The council talked amongst each other after hearing that portion of Patrah’s speech and the objection by the other speaker.
“Originally it was believed he had died in the explosion, but he has since recovered from his injuries and has written this statement. I also have here statements from two other Shrkai citizens that testify they heard Commander Schilling speak with the high priestesses’ voice further proving that he was possessed by the high priestess at the time of the soldier’s death.” Patrah handed the papers off to a Shrkai soldier who then brought them to the council members to review as they passed them amongst each other. Patrah again took the opportunity to sit and rest.
After each of the members and Trajev who quietly sat on his cushioned throne watching and listening to the hearing, but not taking an active part, looked at the documents, Patrah again rose.
“As to the murder of our Grand Chancellor while it appeared the two of them were alone in the room, there was a trail of blood leading from the throne chair over to where Commander Schilling remained with both legs and one arm still shackled as you yourself and others have witnessed,” Patrah directed the latter part of his statement directly to his son Ralomar who was there when the Grand Chancellor’s body was found. “A third person had to have been present to kill the Grand Chancellor and carry the body over to where it was found. I beg of the council to give us more time to investigate to find the real murderer before deciding on a punishment for the commander.” Winded from his long speech, Patrah dropped back into the chair.
The council members talked quietly among themselves for a short time before Ralomar stood to speak.
“We must convene to deliberate further.” Everyone stood, including the Grand Chancellor, as the council members gathered together in a section of seats further back where they could all talk together more easily. Patrah and the other speaker remained where they were at the desk and sat back down.
After only a few short moments of talking, the council members stood and returned to their chairs, as Patrah and the other speaker also stood until the Grand Chancellor was again seated. Ralomar again stood to speak.
“After reviewing all the evidence and statements presented, we find that there is enough doubt that the defendant may not have been responsible for the death of the Shrkai soldier,” He paused for just a short breath before continuing. “However in the matter of the brutal assassination of our Grand Chancellor since no one else saw this alleged trail of blood, we find there is sufficient evidence to find the defendant guilty and he shall be publically executed as soon as we can determine and prepare the method of his execution.” He pounded his staff on the floor and everyone again rose, as Trajev exited the chambers. Patrah sat back down in his chair with his head in his hands and remained there long after the council members and everyone else exited the assembly hall.