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Matalina

The Trial (Murder in the Yards)

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Cari had spoken to a lot of people in the course of the past few days, she wasn't even sure how long she had been prisoner.  But now it was time for the trial to begin.  Cari was taken out into the bright sunlight that was not in her dungeon of a prison.  She could not see a thing as she was lead rather roughly to some place in the Training Grounds. It still looked the same was her only thought when her eyes adjusted to the sunlight.  It never changed.  The earth was hard packed but there were chairs seated in every possible open space and people had packed the Training Grounds for her trial.  Cari hoped that none recognized her, but disheveled and in her new persona she doubted any but her close friends would know who she was.  And the thing of it was, she had no close friends still left in the yards.  They were either dead or long since moved on to other careers.

 

Cari was kept standing, the shackles on her hands and feet were rather pointless to her, but she was here under murder charges so she supposed they were being extra careful of her.  Cari waited until the new Commander of the Guard took her procession in and called the trial to order before sitting down with everyone else.  This was going to be a long day.  A very long day!

 

Cari

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The sun was just climbing over the horizon, highlighting the lonely peak of dragonmount with its orange glow. People were just stirring in the city of Tar Valon; shopkeepers opening up stalls, hawkers belting out cries for pins and ribbons, and cooks everywhere running their kitchens with an iron fist and a heavy spoon. While most of the city was just waking up, there was at least one person who had been up for some time. Mia sat behind her desk starring at the papers in front of her. She had been poring over the same sheets for over an hour, looking at the words in the light from the oil lamp, but not really able to concentrate on what they meant. Her mind was elsewhere, as it had been for days now. Chaos had descended upon the yards, stealing eight souls within sight of the white tower itself. She had been on campaigns and seen battles, even ordered men and women to their deaths, but things like this were not supposed to happen. The city of Tar Valon was supposed to be a safe haven for those who walked in the light. Men and women who wore the red cloaks with the white flame of Tar Valon on the back should not have to fear murderers in the dark. Frowning and pushing away the dark thoughts, Mia tried to concentrate on the papers in front of her. The vast majority of her job as commander of the guard involved paper work. This current batch was about repairs to the south stables, and while it was important to review, Mia knew she was just using them as an excuse to put off the real work of the day. Sighing, she put them into her folder and got up. No matter her wishes, time waited for no one, least of all her.

 

Walking over to the small closet that was in her study, she opened the doors. Inside, hanging from its stand, was her formal uniform. It was a beautiful thing; all red with gold knots of rank on the shoulders, the white tear drops bright against the scarlet of the coat. She reached out to take it, and paused. Putting it on normally was a privilege, everything she had ever hoped for in life. But today was different. Today, she would have to face the murderer who had terrorized her yards. The brilliant detective work of Kywnric and his assistants had finally netted the villain. Mia had seen her once in the cells. The woman just did not look...right. There was something wrong with her, but she could not just put her finger on it. Taking the coat, she threw it on her shoulders and did up the buttons. It seemed to drag her down, each knot of rank seeming to weigh as much as a blacksmiths hammer. There was a saying in the borderlands, "Duty heavy as a mountain, death light as a feather." Mia would not be facing death today, but she would have to fulfill her duty. To have to sit upon the judges chair and look at the murderer in the eyes, knowing she struck down her guards, and have to remain impartial and fair. It would not be easy, but the law was hers to uphold. Out the window, the sun had risen higher in the sky. Looking out, Mia knew that it was time for the trial to begin. Flinging her cloak around her shoulder, she stepped out into the hall.

 

Outside, the yards had been converted into a massive court room. There had not been enough room to fit everyone who wanted to attend in the courts. Outside, guards, warders, Aes Sedai, and regular city folk all stood or sat in the chairs. A raised platform had been set up in front, with a table and a chair. Mia stepped up and sat down. She could see all the people who had come today to see justice done. Looking into their eyes, she could see the pain hidden just behind the surface. Too many people had lost a friend or a loved one in the past few days, and the grief was still raw. Steeling herself, Mia knew the day would only get harder for them, as the trial stirred up the feelings of the crowd. A under lieutenant came up and she sent him to go get the accused. He hurried away, running to retrieve the prisoner. The captain standing in front of the bench raised his hands to calm the people down. "Order, order, we are getting ready to begin. Everyone take their seats. We are honored to have the Commander of the Guard herself presiding over the trial. Please quiet down." The world went silent with his words. Mia looked over the court. To her right sat Kywnric and his counsel, ready to do all in his power to pull the monster down. To her left, Jasine, hoping to protect the woman in chains, and save her life. The silence was interrupted by a cry from the back. Every eye turned, and surrounded by armed guards, stood the accused. To Mia, she still looked as off as she had in the dungeons. As the procession walked down the aisle of chairs, people leaned away, as if she had some sort of contagious disease. The guards flanking her had hands on their swords, ready for anything she might do. But the woman just walked normally, as if wearing chains was ordinary. The guards pushed her into a seat, and used manacles to attach her legs to the chair. They were taking no chances with the killer of their comrades. Offering a prayer to the light, Mia used her gavel and hit the table three times to begin. "We are gathered here today to offer judgment on the defendant. She is accused of the murder of eight tower guards. Will the prosecutor, Kywnric, please stand. Will the defendant, Jasine, please stand. You will both approach the bench and deliver your opening statements. Cari Namere, what happens here today determines the rest of your life. May the creator have mercy upon you this day."

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Kynwric was seated throughout the whole process of opening the court and only rose when bidden to do so. He looked to Jasine and nodded as they approached the bench and listened to the directions given. He had dressed formally for the trial, his best suit of clothes, cloak, sword and all. He could feel Loraine in the back of his head, but knew she was safe... for the moment anyway. there had been a time not all that long ago he would have considered the Tower safe no matter, but Cari had seen to the disruption of that surety of place. He half heard the directions he was so distracted by his own thoughts he only nodded at them.

 

Once dismissed from the counsel he turned and waited for Jasine to be seated before beginning. "All I have to say at the moment is this; This woman, known as Cari Namere, was caught in the act of murdering a member of the Tower Guard. She was then found to have common links to all of the other murders recently committed inside these walls. I am certain the defense will try to paint a picture of a woman who is tortured by multiple personalities, who is not responsible for her actions because of them, who should not be put to death because of them. I will concede that Cari is afflicted with many different personalities within her head. However, I do not think that this is any reason for clemency. Simply put, these personalities have all committed a crime. They were all aware of what was happening and none of them came forward to stop them. There may only be one, possibly two, that committed murder. But each and every single person in her head knew it was happening and allowed it to continue. Cari Namere is a murderess, each and every version of her." Kyn had been moving about, catching the eyes of those who would judge this woman, trying to drive home his point for the opening. He knew it was more important to the defense to open well, but he wanted to leave no doubt where things stood. When he had finished he looked to Jasine and nodded as he moved back to his desk and sat.

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Jasine was more nervous than he'd been since he'd married Thera.  And at least on that day, he'd known he was doing the right thing, he'd never doubted that.  But as he dressed that morning in his uniform and cloak, forgoing the usual armor and arms he'd put on with his formal wear, he had no such conviction that he was doing the right thing at all.  If he succeeded today, he would be sparing the life of a woman who he genuinely believed should die for her crimes, whatever the case of her mentality.  If he failed today, he had to be sure that he did not fail because he kept Cari Namere from receiving a fair and just trial.  After he threw up the juice he'd had this morning, he decided to skip breakfast as well.  Definitely a clear sign that all was not well with the man.

 

As Commander Mia brought the assembly to order, Jasine allowed himself one dark and selfish little moment of spite towards the woman for not finding someone else to handle this task.  Anyone else.  That it was Master Bryon that had given him this distasteful task and not Commander Mia didn't assuage his spite any.  The woman could have decided to hang Cari without all the work of an investigation and trial - she'd been found literally red handed and the swift work of a blade immediately could have fept all of this from happening.  If Cari had expired from her wounds instead of living to be healed would have saved him this work as well.  He'd assumed the void shortly after parting with his orange juice and hadn't released it since.  That the emotions were roiling at the edges of his awareness didn't do very much for making him feel better about them.

 

He rose when bidden and sat when ordered, and he listened carefully to what Kynwric said.  He had the deepest respect for Master Kynwric, and while he had planned out part of his opening speech ahead of time in case he had been called on to speak first, he was going to have much of his say as reaction to what his old mentor and dear friend spoke of.  He bit back a sigh as he saw a possible avenue through Kynwric's words that might sway the judgment towards Cari and couldn't help the shivery contraction of the void.  By the Light, he wished he wasn't so good at finding argument.  He didn't want to see Cari alive to kill again.  Especially not with his love and life serving alongside those people she'd already murdered.  Any one of those bodies could just have easily been Thera.  Well maybe not just as easy, he mused. She is, after all, a Blademaster.

 

He rose as Kynwric sat and dipped his head in respect to the old Warder and then again to Commander Mia.  He was surprised at how steady his voice was, taking care not to look Cari in the eyes whenever he turned towards her.  It still unsettled him to think about what might be going on behind those eyes, and which person might be staring back at him.  "She confessed, we all know Cari Namere's hands were responsible for the horrible tragedies that have befallen our yards these past few weeks.  Just her presence in the Brig continues to unsettle and upset all those of us who were hurt and wounded by her crimes.  This woman is clearly capable of the greatest of crimes.  And she's also just as clearly already been a prisoner within her own skin for some time now." He turned to gaze at her, his expression stern. 

 

"I will not claim she is innocent, but nor can I say that the best course of action is for her to be put to death because it is not.  As Tower Guards, all of us are charged with the safety of the city of Tar Valon, the Tower, and most importantly, the Aes Sedai who inhabit the Tower.  My esteemed colleague Master Kynwric Gaidin is one of those lucky men who is charged with the specific keeping of one Aes Sedai, an honor that is the highest a Tower Guard can hope to attain.  When we become Tower Guards, one of these women, these Aes Sedai, must speak for us.  It is by their judgment that we are proven worthy and true.  Commander Mia, people of the court, all those witnessing this Trial who must then live with the result of this trial, it is not my judgment nor Cari Namere's that I ask you to trust in this.  It is the judgment of our exalted Aes Sedai, and the specific judgment of an Aes Sedai who knows more about the inner workings of a twisted mind than any other.  This woman delved Cari Namere and saw into her mind and by what she saw there, she determined that the best possible course of action would be to turn Cari Namere over to the care and containment of the Yellow Ajah.  Whether she hopes to help Cari Namere to mental health or only study her and learn what they can so that they can help further people, there is good that can come of these tragedies." 

 

This was primarily speculation on his behalf, but it made sense to him and if it made sense to him, it might make sense to others.  "Whatever the Yellow Ajah gains from taking Cari Namere into their custody can only be for the good, by the Light.  Healing is what these women do, and I doubt there's a man or woman among us today who isn't grateful for their skills and their abilities.  If there is a chance, however slight, that sparing this woman's life today can save some poor child from a similar affliction - perhaps, even, saving someone from ever developing into the dangerous creature that Cari Namere was when she took the lives of my fellow Tower Guards, then I think you should find it in your hearts and in your minds as a just reason for staying her execution."

 

He paused, and made eye contact with Commander Mia, and then spoke in a voice that carried well in spite of its quietness.  "I ask you not to trust in Cari Namere, nor to forgive her, but to put your trust in the Aes Sedai that put their trust in us."

 

 

 

Jasine al'Thorin

Tower Guard and Defender

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Cari nearly laughed at Kywnric's words.  No one tried to stop the shadow was a complete and utter lie.  They tried, and tried with out pause for nearly two weeks the other personalities tried to get free, tried to break the madness.  Cari's only guilt was that she had given up herself.  But she knew the shadow, she knew how it operated and it would not let go with out a fight, with out a distraction.  It had happened before, but it was in her sleep, this was when she was fully awake, and it rattled her own brain to know it could happen again.  She did not wish to die, but she most definitely did not want to sit in the Yellow's care either.  If those were her choices she would choose death.  She did choose death but the Yellows intervened again.  Cari knew Jasine was only doing his job but she did not want to be the pet of a yellow.

 

There was nothing more but to wait and see what the jury would decide, but if she received anything but her freedom, death was her next course of action even if she had to make someone else kill her.  They were hardly likely to give her any means of doing so herself.  The proceedings moved on and it would soon be Kwynric's turn to show his evidence.  Not that any of it really matter, all that really mattered was her defense, the evidence was clear, Kywnric had told her what he'd found and she knew there was nothing Jasine could say that would change those facts.  There was little point in making it public knowledge.  It was clear cut, even her defense said she was guilty.  Pretty much a no brainer here.  Oh just get on with this stupid thing. -You really want to die?- *I don't* ~Me either~ It's better than this Shut up all of you.  The shadow only laughed in Cari's mind.  That's all it ever did, its own guilt mattered little to it, all it wanted was for blood to flow and this time it would be hers!

 

Cari

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Kynwric listened to Jasine's suggestion and made a few notes, but mostly he was watching Cari. her reactions could mean as much to the conviction as anything else. When Jasine had concluded and Mia called for the evidence to be presented Kynwric agian. "First but of evidence is this cloak, which matches fiber and pattern to the scrap of cloth found at one of the murder scenes. The cloak was taken from the defendant when she was captured. Add to it the lock of hair. Again, found at a murder scene, but different from the cloak." Kyn presented the physical evidence slowly and precisely, describing how it had been found, what it matched and how it connected to Cari. Eventually he came to the eye witnesses, "now for the less concrete, but more damning. I call Thera Gaidin, Mistress of Trainees to testify before this court."

 

Kyn waited for Thera to take the stand and be sworn in before asking her to "Please describe your encounter with the defendant."

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Thera had a special front row seat to today’s trial. Not because of her position in the yards, but because she was to give a testimony. Her eyes tightened as she watched Jasine take his position in front of the crowd. She’d begged Mia not to make him do this; but she’d seen the truth right away that favorites could not be played just because it would be her husband on the stand. Still…too many people would remember Jasine’s attempts to let the killer go free and who could say what retribution that might bring.

 

There was no doubt in Thera’s mind that Cari should be put to death, and yet even that seemed too lenient a punishment for the destruction and fear she’d rent in the yards. Turning in her chair her caramel eyes studied the crowd. Thousands had turned out to watch the young woman’s fate decided, each one for their own personal reason.  Some came because they had a friend who’s died others just a companion in arms, and some had come to see the end of sleepless nights and fear. Each reason was sound and just, many tugged at Thera’s own heart, but she had come for duty and duty alone.

 

A small part of her burned with resentment at Kynwric for even asking her and another larger part at Mia for putting her in this place, but her logical mind knew that what she had seen would lend valuable evidence to the prosecution. 

 

Thera’s heart swelled with pride when she heard Jasine’s voice ring out steady and clear. His words were simple, but powerful and she could see the visible weight they carried. Already people’s minds started to turn, struggling with duty and compassion, but she didn’t think powerful words would be enough.

 

"Now for the less concrete, but more damning. I call Thera Gaidin, Mistress of Trainees to testify before this court." Thera’s heart fluttered faster than it had the day she’d spoke her wedding vows, or the day she’d earned her title Blademaster. Assuming the void she stood and slowly took the stand, careful not to meet Jasine’s eyes. One look from him could destroy the calm she clung to, and make her speak the unthinkable.  Looking Kynwric straight in the eye she swore her oaths and took a seat, perched stiffly on the edge of her chair.

 

“I was in my office, working late, as my job so often requires and I had just sent a young trainee off to bed when I heard shuffling in the hall.” She regaled them with the tale of seeing Cari slit her trainee’s throat and of her pursuit out of the town grounds and into the city. Her voice never changed pitch, even when she had to admit her defeat at allowing the woman to go free. “She managed to escape into the early morning crowds of Tar Valon and that was the last I saw of her until now.” 

 

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Kynwric listened to the story Thera told, he had heard it before several times and he already knew what follow up questions he wanted to ask, just to emphasize his point.

 

"And you are absolutely certain, without a doubt that you saw this woman." Pointing to the defendant. "You saw this woman viciously, and without remorse, kill an unarmed trainee?" He waited for the 'Yes' answer he knew was coming and then asked "and then she fled after the act, correct?" Again waiting for the 'Yes.' Kynwric paused and then turned to head back to his chair before stopping and half-looking over his shoulder, but more addressing the crowd. "This troubles me, why would a woman who is not in her right mind run away... if she did not indeed know what she had done was wrong?" Kyn never expected Thera to answer that question, in fact he expected Jasine to object strenuously to it. As soon as Jasine was on his feet issuing that objection Kyn paused and turned to Mia, "My apologies, the question is withdrawn." and Kynwric then returned to and sat down behind his desk. "Your witness Jasine."

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Kynwric’s question hung in the air and she longed to call out that no person who did not know they were doing wrong would run. She’d dealt justice over the years and could tell a lie at 100 paces, and the young woman was crazy, of that there was no doubt; but she’d known the wrong she’d done that night. Not breaking decorum the question went on answered and the trial pressed on.

 

 

Thera shifted in her seat and tried to look everywhere but at Jasine as he stood and made his way towards the bench. Speaking out against a killer had not frightened her nearly so much as having to be questioned by her husband. He knew what made her tick, every nuance that made her mind work. If anyone could find fault or flaw with her story it would be he.

 

 

It was duty that made him look for those flaws, but it was still disturbing to know that he may very well pick her apart. Tightening her muscles Thera sat up straight and stiff, showing no emotion as she waited for the questioning to begin.

 

Jasine gave her a small, but commiserating smile. It spoke volumes of the fact that this was as hard for him as it was for her. Leaving his notes on the small table provided for him he walked up to the stand, and turned to face the gathered crowd. “Every word Thera spoke was true. I would not and cannot dispute that fact, but that does not mean that the knowledge behind her words is sound. This woman..” Thera’s  heart caught and she had to remind herself that this was a trial, not the confines of their home.  “..is a much commended warrior and respected leader, but she has not background in diseases of the mind. It is on that basis that I will question.”

 

 

Turning to face her once again Jasine fired off question after question. Some touched on ethics and others on her feelings about the competence of the Yellow Ajah to diagnose disease. “You were once in the honored position of Warder, bonded to a Sister of the Blue Ajah so you have more experience than some. Do you not think that a Sister whose life is dedicated to healing would know the best course of action for a woman so obviously deranged?”

 

 

Thera’s brow furrowed. “Well…I..”

 

 

“Just answer Yes or No, Mistress Trakelyn.” Fighting back a frown she had to speak the truth and could only say yes.

 

 

The questions continued on without lagging for several minutes, until Thera had answered ‘Yes’ to every question there was to ask regarding the case. His questioning had never strayed from her detailed account of the night she’d almost caught Cari, but it somehow made it appear as if the young woman was as much a victim as a killer.

 

 

Stepping down from the stand and regaining her seat Thera wiped her brow and was surprised to find sweat. The stress of this trial was getting to her more than she’d expected it to.

 

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Light, but he hated having to do that to Thera.  It was only the void that helped him get through it, and even during the question he had to feed new emotions into the flame almost continuously as he saw his wife wilt and submit to his questions.  He knew he had to do his best to defend Cari, he just only wished it didn't have to be this difficult.  The void threatened to collapse as he called her Mistress Trakelyn and she responded yes.  He turned his back to her for a moment to collect himself and then continued the questioning.

 

Maybe the Yellow Ajah was the best place for Cari to be.  If he could convince himself that he believed his own defense, maybe it would be easier to try and convince everyone else.  What he'd said was true, much good could come of studying the woman and it was the Yellows that would best suited to doing so.

 

If Cari Namere was killed, it would be justice, but it would be a hollow justice.  There would be no happy ending to yet another body lying cold in the last embrace of the Mother.  He had to at least try to gain something from the deaths of his friends, lest they have died for no reason other than whatever sick personality delighted in the ability to kill.

 

As he finished questioning Thera, he watched her retake her seat and wipe her brow.  He trusted Thera completely, but he couldn't see how it would be very easy for either of them lying in bed tonight, thoughts on the trial and the way he'd had to question her.  But it was a question of duty, and he had to choose the Tower and the good of all over the serenity of his relationship.

 

He nodded to Commander Mia as he retook his seat and steeled himself for the next part of the trial. 

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Kyn called the Tower Guard next and questioned him again, laying out facts and getting the Tower Guards response to them. The actual evidence seemed to be of little value, it was all damning for Cari.  Somewhere in the middle he asked a simple question, "Do you know what the Tower says the punishment for murder is Guardsman?"

 

He responded with a simple "Yes."

 

Kyn followed up with. "That would be?"

 

The Guardsman replied. "Death or life in prison."

 

Kyn nodded. "Does the law make any special provisions for that sentence?"

 

The Guardsman shook his head.

 

Kyn encouraged him. "I'm afraid you'll have to speak out loud."

 

The Guardsman then replied. "No, none I'm aware of."

 

"There is one, the Amyrlin Seat herself can commute or even pardon a convicted murderer. It has been done 3 times in the history of the Tower so far as I could find. In all three cases the convicted was later found to be innocent. So, it seems that despite the defenses impassioned plea to allow the defendant into the custody of the Yellow Ajah for study, the Law does not allow for that provision?" Kyn turned and asked Mia, although phrasing it as a question for the Guardsman. The Guardsman seemed to understand this and did not anser and then Kyn turned his head and repeated the question for the Guardsman again.

 

He replied simply, "No."

 

"So while I applaud  the defense for their dedication to their duty, I simply cannot fathom how they would have a court of law simply dispense with the law itself. Can you?" He added the last bit just to phrase it all as a question. He didn't even really allow the Guardsman to do more than shake his head to answer. "Ladies and Gentleman, the defense is not questioning whether or not this woman committed these acts, I submit they cannot question whether she did them. The only real question is whether they can wriggle her out of the punishment proscribed by the laws of the White Tower. No one is above the law, be they stablegroom or Amyrlin Seat. The law is the law, and the law says that in circumstances like these the guilty must pay and pay dearly. I have found no other case in which a defendant was convicted of such heinous crimes and allowed to live, there is no precedent." Kyn had been stalking as he spoke, pacing back and forth, finally he stopped speaking as he stopped in front of his seat. he then said softly, just softly enough to make people lean forward to hear "None at all." He then sat back down and let Jasine continue.

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"And yet..." Jasine rose to his feet with a quick and sure action, determined not to let Kynwric's prosecution cow him or give him pause that could be seen by the jury as the uncertainty he felt. "And yet, the law says death or life in prison.  It does not specify the nature of the imprisonment, or the location at which it must be served.  Should the court find that Cari Namere is sick, and I'm sure Master Kynwric has used that very word to describe her himself, she would not be left free to her own devices.  She would likely have no freedom at all, but she would be imprisoned by the very Sisters we all give our lives to protect."

 

He crossed the floor to the Tower Guard Kynwric had been questioning and gave the man a brief smile.  Jasine had to live and work with these people when this was all said and done and once more he felt a flash of anger - divided equally between Bryon and Cari - that he was in this position and must do this distasteful task.  "Precedent must be set somewhere.  When that Amyrlin commuted the sentence of one who had been found guilty, she had no precedent.  But she did what she felt she must, and she saved the life of one who later proved innocent.  The law is a mutable thing, and it is because it is such a mutable thing that it provides the basis and stability for civilization to rely on for centuries." 

 

He fed his emotions to the flame and maintained the void.  "Guardsmen, do you trust the Aes Sedai?"

 

The man looked off-put and his eyes flicked to Kynwric then back to Jasine.  He could sense a trap forming, but could find no answer for the question for the truth.  "Well, yes, but-"

 

"The yes will do.  Do you trust them as much as you would trust those who guard the prisons that keep our society safe from convicted criminals?"

 

"I trust the prison guards to do what they are supposed to - guard criminals.  I trust the Aes Sedai-"

 

Jasine cut in smoothly.  "A simple yes or no will do, Guardsman."

 

The man huffed and his brows drew down in a scowl. "Of course I trust the Aes Sedai."

 

"Then they should be able to fulfill the provisions of a prison guard.  If it is their wish to have Cari Namere kept in the Yellow Ajah and studied, is it not the very purpose of our organization is to serve those who Serve All." He turned on his heel and made eye contact with Kynwric.  "Is a warder expected to follow the duties and wishes of his Aes Sedai, even when he would wish another course of action taken?  Is it our place to question those who are sworn to the Tower and have lived years well beyond ours, gaining wisdom and insight?" He turned back to the Guardsmen and dipped his head briefly.

 

"You don't have to speak, Guardsmen.  We should all know the answers to those questions."  He returned to his seat and gritted his teeth.  It was more show of his emotions than he cared to display, but the void had begun to tremble every time he had to speak in the murder's favor.  He'd never get through this trial without it.

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Kyn sat back and smiled, this was going not nearly so neatly as he had thought but neat enough that they should be done soon. "Again, the defense speaks of trust, wisdom and insight. Since this has been broached I will address it now. The law which the defense would have us so readily disregard was writtne by these same Aes Sedai he would now have go against it. In fact it was written by those chosen by the Aes Sedai to guide and guard them. The Hall of the Tower, the Keeper of the Chronicles and The Amyrlin Seat. So when the defense so readily suggests that we place trust in Aes Sedai, I say we already have. In the law they have provided for us to live by." Kyn rose then... "Perhaps, since the defense has not uttered a single, solitary word in the actual defense of Cari Namere. And all we have been arguing is how to punish her, perhaps we should decide on her guilt now and move straight on into the sentencing arguments? It does seem that is what the defense wishes to argue..." Kyn turned and looked at Jasine.

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Jasine stared at his old mentor as if the man had lost his mind for just a moment, before he schooled his features into an impassive and unreadable mask before addressing the court.  "Commander Mia, the woman Cari Namere has signed a confession detailing exactly what happened and when.  She does not and has never denied that those deaths came at her hands, only that she was not the one controlling her body at the time.  The personality she refers to as the Shadow is the one that was responsible for the deaths of our fellow Tower Guards.  This trial was never about innocence or guilt in the first place, it was about determing whether the woman sitting before us today has the culpability of standing for the crimes that have been committed.  The whole concept of fault, is dependent on the notions of freedom and free will.  Cari had no capability to stop what was being done with her hands, and without that capability, she cannot have culpability.  This is why children and the mentally deranged are not seen as fit to be held responsible for their actions."

 

He realized he was lecturing the Commander of the Guards and a flush stained his pinks a faint pink.  Its warmth felt distant, as though it was something he could feel happening to someone else outside the void.  When Commander Mia made no move to stop him, he dipped his head and then turned to address the rest of the court.  "If the prosecution is done talking about how we shouldn't hold a trial in the first place, I would like to move that we give my client the chance to present her side of what has happened and the supporting evidence that will be presented in her defense." 

 

Commander Mia nodded her assent and looked to Kynwric.  The old warder spoke simply.  "The prosecution rests, your honor," and then Mia called Jasine to present what evidence he had collected as the Defense and move the trial forward.  Jasine had already given the court the basis of his defense, now was when they would be corraborated by testimony of those who Jasine and the rest of the guards would give their lives to protect.

 

"The defense calls Eqwina al'Caupthn Aes Sedai of the Yellow Ajah to the stand, you honor."

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Eqwina’s appearance had been carefully planned, down to the small pearls that decorated her hair. She needed to portray the very image of a calm, refined, intelligent Aes Sedai; dignity personified.  Her testimony would be important to the case and she’d given days to her preparation. She had spent more hours than she cared to with Rayen digging out facts about Cari’s past, all in preparation for this moment.

 

Her ring side seat to the trial gave her the opportunity to keep an eye on her soon to be charge. The woman was insane, of that there was no doubt, but how dangerous was she really? That was one answer her excruciating time with the Brown Sitter had not garnered. Dangerous or not there were always ways of handling such things; though it would be a shame to kill her so soon after saving her life. Eqwina took careful note of the way both Kynwric and Jasine posed their questions, and how convincing they were with their arguments.  Every aspect of this trial would play a key roll in the final decision. When it was her turn to take the stand, Eqwina stood and took a moment to adjust her shawl. Drawing all eyes to its Yellow fringe; here in the heart of Aes Sedai power such a method was not needed, but she was not taking any chances today.

 

The gathered crowd was silent as she stepped up onto the stand and swore the oaths of truth. They should have been unnecessary for an Aes Sedai, but then again she herself was an exception to make rules.

 

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Jasine bowed stiffly to Eqwina Sedai before he began his questions.  He had spoken with the woman only once about Cari Namere and what should be done with her and he had placed almost his entire defense on the slender shoulders beneath that yellow-fringed shawl.  He still struggled internally about Cari's fate, but he was thankful that part of it was out of his hands.  He only had to defend her as best he could, and leave the rest in the hands of those who would have to make the decision.

 

"Thank you, Aes Sedai, for your time with us today.  I will try to keep my part of this as brief as possible."  He could not force answers out of the woman as he had with Thera.  Light, it had hurt doing that to her, but he was almost relieved that respect and protocol would keep him from having to twist the Aes Sedai's words against her.  Not to mention that she was a witness for the defense.

 

"You have examined and investigated the woman Cari Namese, Aes Sedai.  Of all the Aes Sedai of your Ajah, the Ajah devoted to healing, you have the most experience and expertise dealing with diseases of the mind, such as that which Cari Namere claims to suffer from.  If you could please, give the court your testimony regarding her and what is wrong with her, and how it would affect her conscious will to act."

 

He walked to his table as the Aes Sedai began speaking, and leaned a hip against the top, eyes focused on Eqwina Sedai alone.  He did not look to the jury or to Kynwric, to see how the woman's words were received and weighed, he could do nothing to sway them and showing confidence in her words was about as good as he could offer in this case.  When she had concluded, with a few clarifications asked for and given, he spoke again.  "And in your opinion, as representative of the White Tower and specifically the Yellow Ajah, do you feel that the most just and proper outcome for one as sick as Mistress Namere is death?  Or the chance to understand and heal what has gone wrong in her head?"

 

Jasine did not actually expect any such healing to ever occur for Cari.  The wonders of the yellow Ajah were many and amazing, but problems of the mind were not a matter of reknitting flesh or easing a poison.  If the sickness of her mind could readily be healed, the chances were that Eqwina Sedai would have already been able to heal her. 

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It was the very question she’d been expecting, and prepared for, the question and answer that could decide the trial.

 

“Jasine is correct. Where most of my sisters distain to study the mind, as it is a thing not easily cured, I have made it my life’s work to  try and help those that cannot help themselves.“ Her voice took on a lecturing tone, one she frequently used with novices. “Cari Namere is as unusual a case as I have ever seen. The moment I delved her, the first day she was captured I knew that she suffered from delusions. Upon studying her further I have ascertained that Cari has what is called, Dissociative Identity Disorder, or multiple personality disorder. When a patient suffers from such a disease it can manifest its self in many ways.  Some people only experience depression, or body aches and pains. While some find themselves struck with amnesia and depersonalization, the very worst cases develop multiple mannerisms, attitudes and beliefs that are greatly varied from each other. These ‘attitude’ changes are often caused by a voice in their mind.It is the very worst that infect Mistress Namere” Delivering such a terrible diagnoises in such calm tones would carry great weight.

 

"And in your opinion, as representative of the White Tower and specifically the Yellow Ajah, do you feel that the most just and proper outcome for one as sick as Mistress Namere is death?  Or the chance to understand and heal what has gone wrong in her head?"

 

Eqwina's eyes broke from Jasine's and she made eye contact with each member of the jury as she spoke. “Without a doubt I believe that Cari Namere should be turned over to the Yellow Ajah, and put under my care. With her help I may be able to better understand the inner workings of a deranged mind and prevent such diseases from haunting others in the future.”

 

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Kyn nodded to Jasine and sat there for a moment before standing and straightening his tunic. "Good Morning Eqwina Sedai," He said in greeting. "So, to sum up your testimony. You think the murderess, Cari Namere, is suffering the worst possible affliction of the mind. One in which she no longer believes to be herself and is someone else, entirely. Correct?" He allowed Eqwina to answer before continuing.

 

"So, is this affliction contagious? Should the defendant be sequestered away from all others to keep them safe. It would be a most insidious plot to infect a great portion of the leadership here by having a woman put on trial who was contagious." He could see the long answer coming and shut it down. "A simple yes she is or no she isn't should suffice."

 

"You are certain? You said yourself that the Yellow Ajah has not spent a great deal of time studying afflictions of the mind. So you are one hundred percent certain that it cannot be spread? Again, yes or no will suffice."

 

"Do you believe in the law of the White Tower, and of this court, being upheld?"

 

"All of the time, without exception?"

 

Kyn turned his back to the witness stand and  walked back towards his seat, speaking more to the audience than the witness now. "Then it causes me some discomfort that you would suggest something other than the proscribed punishment for this muderess... that is all." Kyn slid back into his seat and waited for Jasine's next witness.

 

OOC: FYI LoA from Sunday 15th to Sunday 22nd.

 

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Eqwina eyed Kynwric levelly, hiding the murder that burned within her. It was a trial yes, but that was still no cause for the abrupt nature he used with an Aes Sedai. She would have thought his Green Sister would have taught him more respect.

 

As she answered ‘Yes’ to question after question she burned to say more, but holding on to her perfect serenity she thanked Kynwric as she stepped down from the stand and regained her front row seat. There would be time later to make up for transgressions committed today; the only thing that mattered was if her testimony had swayed the jury. Smiling ever so slight Eqwina scanned the crowd and she was comforted by the predictability of the inhabitants of Tar Valon. Trial or not no one who lived in this city could be comfortable with anyone being so ‘short’ with an Aes Sedai. There was no way to tell, but the awe that people felt at Aes Sedai may be the very thing that would win this trial. 

 

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"Then it causes me some discomfort that you would suggest something other than the proscribed punishment for this murderess... that is all."

 

Jasine pursed his lips and then stood up abruptly.  "Commander Mia, Master Kynwric has repeatedly made this accusation when the law does in fact allow for a punishment other than death.  That punishment is life imprisonment, and it never makes a distinction of the manner of prison.  I am confident that should the sentence of imprisonment be judged for Cari Namere, that the Yellow Ajah within the White Tower can provide as secure an environment as the law would require."

 

He gave Eqwina Sedai a respectful bow as she stepped down and turned his gaze to the defendant herself.  He had been struggling with whether or not to call her to the stand for the whole of his investigation and this trial.  If she took the stand, anything she said could be taken as acting, faked and insincere.  If she took the stand and didn't switch personalities - Jasine was not entirely sure what triggered it but he knew that Cari taking control back from the Shadow had been a struggle for the woman - it would do nothing at all for their case.

 

Visibly, he was calm and collected and distant from it all as he spoke clearly but not loudly.  "The defense calls Cari Namere to the stand."

 

Once she was sworn in and in place, he sat against the edge of the table again to listen.  "Miss Namere, will you please explain the nature of your affliction and try to tell as best you can who and what the Shadow is?"

 

 

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Cari had been listening and trying not to react to whatever the prosecution claimed, there were out and out lies he told but they were things she could not prove.  There was never a time when one of them in her mind were not trying to take back control.  It was to prove to someone that something existed when they couldn't experience it for themself.  All in all Cari beleived this would end badly, being stuck in the Yellows care would be far worse than leaving her children by means of death. 

 

But now it was Cari's turn to talk to presuade the villagers that she was mentally at a disadvantage she also had another challenge of not being recongnized as anyone anyone might know here, who shouldn't be there.  Cari took the stand and swore her oath to tell the truth, how little did they know that she cared about their truth or not, but she gave her oath anyway, there was no point in lying she'd been caught she knew that much was not something she could fake or even pretend didn't happen.  Mistakes were made and things happened.  All she can say is the truth about herself.  Like anyone will believe her anyway.

 

Jasine asked "Miss Namere, will you please explain the nature of your affliction and try to tell as best you can who and what the Shadow is?"

 

She knew it was coming and still it was hard to put in words.  How to explain the problem with out the real cause of them still bothered her, but she'd been lying about things for nearly ten years now and it came as second nature.  "Tragedy causes alot of things, things I can't explain as I am no researcher of the mind or of people for that matter.  But it is what it is and after certain events in life, I started to change.  First it was innocence broken free.  A voice in my head that spoke of learning, of knowledge of things I'd not thought about in years.  It also showed fear among that innocence and naivety.  Second was the bad or rather all the things society says you should not do, the sex, the evil but nothing like what you have seen these past few weeks.  It was different.  These voices, personalities were strong in their own rights and would take control, but over the years I learned to control them and today they can't get free with out my consent.  I hear them everyday, hear their talking thier comments but they cannot control the body.  There are five voices and personas in my mind - the child I was, the seductress, the mother, the submissive and the shadow.  The shadow is the one who did all the killing.  The shadow is unlike the others, it lives outside of my control.  Most times it is content to stay in the shadows, but it has a lust for blood unlike any I have ever seen.  And it must be quenched or it will take control."

 

Cari held up her sleeve and revealed her arm.  "It can be sedated with my own blood."  The scars were visible on her arm, all most all of them self inflicted wounds.  "Or by the blood of an animal.  But sometimes it wants more and it takes over.  We all try to get back in, it doesn't matter who gains control, it only matters that one of us does.  But we aren't strong enough when the shadow is in the fits of it's blood lust.  Only when we can gain strength from its actions is that it weakens and we can get in the little cracks in its control." 

 

Cari tried not to laugh or say out loud that she doubted anyone beleived her.  But she knew how hard it had been to gain control and she honestly hoped that no one would ask that of her here.

 

Cari 

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Jasine listened intently to Cari, studying the jury as surreptitiously as he could.  With the training of the Warders Yard, he was doing a fair job of seeming simply alert, not keyed into any specific thing.  He's put Cari on the stand today so she could tell her side of the story, although he didn't know if it would benefit her case or not.

 

"The other personas in there with you, the ones that aren't the shadow but also aren't you.  Do they freely take control as they wish, or can they only take control if you give it up?  Can you, or have you ever chosen to, give control to the Shadow?"  This was a dangerous question to ask, he didn't know the answer to it.  He thought he understood most of what Cari said was going on, and he trusted what Eqwina Sedai said was wrong with the woman.  But taking about sating the shadow had unsettled him, both now and when she talked about it to him while in the Brig.

 

 

((apologies for delay and shortness of post))

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"The other personas in there with you, the ones that aren't the shadow but also aren't you.  Do they freely take control as they wish, or can they only take control if you give it up?  Can you, or have you ever chosen to, give control to the Shadow?" 

 

These were not necessarily hard questions to answer but they were questions that could lead to things that were not nearly so helpful to the case she hoped that none of it came up.  But it was more damning for her than that case, and Cari supposed it added to her mental state. 

 

"When they first arrived and I didn't know what was going on, yes, the could take control and do as they wished.  But now I can control them and any other new ones that show up because my mind can't handle the stress and fractures again.  The Shadow is different than the others, I can't explain it but I cannot control it, I can keep it out most of the time, but when its urges get to strong it gets stronger and takes over, and there is nothing I can do about it."  Cari had to thing long and hard about the question.  She didn't want to lie nor did she want to make her case worse, not that either possibility was acceptable at this point. "I cannot remember a time where I have freely let the Shadow loose."  It was the truth.  She had shown both Demus and Yearn her other sides, but she couldn't recall if she'd shown them the shadow or if it broke lose with Yearn or not.  Her memory was fading with the passing days and she could hardly remember that night.  Her words were truth.  "If I were to let the Shadow loose that must be someone willing to do what needed doing available or there would be no way to bring one of us back until the Shadow messed up or gave up control.  It is stronger than any of us combined when it's in command."

 

Cari knew this would open up a line of questions she wasn't wiling to put out, but it needed to be said in to warn them, if anyone wanted to talk to the shadow.  Cari was afraid of what would happen if they were not warned.

 

 

Cari

 

OOC:  sorry it's been late computer and server issues were taking my time last week.

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OOC:  I can no longer wait on Quis for this so moving on.

 

Jasine nodded, "I won't ask that of you.  But I'm sure the prosecution will ask how someone can tell the difference between you and one of your other personas, can you help us to understand the differences?"

 

Cari wanted to laugh but she didn't she just pushed Meeghan forward.  The change was nearly instant, her personality with drew and with it Cari's body nearly shrank in upon itself.  Her eyes went wide and she started to cry.  Meeghan pulled herself up into a ball as she looked out into the crowd from around her knees. 

 

Jasine asked.  "Who are you?"

 

Meeghan looked at the man and nearly leapt out of her skin she looked back out at the crowd and then whispered, "They call me Meeghan."

 

"Meeghan, are you in full control?"

 

"No."

 

"Can you explain?"

 

"Cari is holding on to part of it so the Shadow doesn't get out.  I'm too weak."

 

"Is she talking or controlling the body?  I don't understand."

 

Meeghan curled up tighter in her ball for comfort. "She's holding on to my thoughts.  I can't explain it and neither can she.  She's maintaining enough control so the Shadow can't rip it from me."

 

"You can go back for now.  I'm sure our procescutor will want to ask you questions."

 

"The witness is your's Kynwric."

 

Cari switched back in, her body relaxing and returning to her normal state - at ease with her surroundings but ever vigilant.

 

Cair

 

 

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