Getting into the court turned out to be much more of an ordeal than Almonihah had imagined. It wasn’t that it was much of a journey—rather, the ceremony around being admitted to the court, the judge addressing the audience, and on and on took far too long. It set Almonihah on edge, all this ceremony while he was carrying that blasted amulet around in his pack.
Of course, the fact that he’d had to leave his weapons at the door made him at least as nervous. He hated being without his weapons… he felt naked, like something would attack him at any moment and he wouldn’t be able to defend himself. Not that he was bad with his claws and teeth, but they were hardly as good as his blades and bow.
A gentle nudge from Garkhen brought him back to his surroundings. Almonihah couldn’t believe he’d done that… paying attention to his surroundings was one of the first rules of survival. But this whole ceremony thing was just so stupid…
“Almonihah Zrathanzon,” The judge continued, looking straight at the half-dragon as he mispronounced his name, “You killed two men—whose names as yet remain unknown.”
The judge snorted at this, then went on. “Garkhen ze’Darkhen’Sem’dor, you were present and aided in this. Is this so?”
Almonihah nodded, curtly. Garkhen quietly said, “Yes.”
“And yet you claim to have reason for this, do you not?”
“Yes,” Garkhen said, more loudly. “They broke into our room at night, and stole a powerful and dangerous magical artifact.”
A man stood up on the other side of the judge. “And where is this dangerous magical artifact now?” he asked accusingly.
Almonihah patted his pack, which he’d somehow been allowed to bring in. “Here.”
“If it is so dangerous, why are you bringing it into a court of law?”
“So ‘t doesn’t get stolen again,” Almonihah replied, a bit of a growl in his voice.
“Perhaps you might show us all this ‘powerful magical artifact’, then?”
Almonihah stood up. “’nd I’m supposed t’ think that’s a good idea?”
Another voice came from the crowd—Archivist Maritha. “Good sir, as an expert on magical devices, and having examined this one myself, I must protest its display. It is extremely dangerous, and we have evidence that its mere appearance has in the past altered the minds of those viewing it.”
The judge nodded. “Thank you, Archivist. Accuser, it seems your request must be denied.”
The accuser scowled. “Very well, then. But I must still ask, why did you bring such a dangerous thing into our city in the first place? We have had trouble enough without you bringing more.”
“I found it here,” Garkhen stated, calmly. “And here was the nearest place I knew of someone to consult upon it,” he nodded in Maritha’s direction, “when the spell upon my memory was broken.”
“Indeed.” The accuser crossed his arms, clearly unimpressed.
“Accuser, may I remind you that you are accusing them of murder, not of carrying dangerous items into Elifort, however disturbing that may be,” the judge said.
“Ah, but this artifact of theirs is at the heart of the murder, is it not?”
Before anyone could respond, a shout from the door interrupted the proceedings.
The Guard Captain, who had been watching from near the front row, stood and turned to see one of his men running into the room.
“Captain! There’s… there are monsters, a whole horde of them! They’re headed right for the walls!”
Hmmm, court case getting boring… time for a monster attack! Okay, no, there’s reason for it, as you might guess.
And yeah, maybe I should have researched medieval justice more, but this is supposed to have a rather… off feel to it. Ferdunan has some problems that our heroes are only briefly glimpsing here.