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The Trial of Harper Master Jueann

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The Trial of the Century will start in 30 mins.  You can @go harperhall to watch it in person or addcom ov=OOCvision  then ov on And you can watch it like television--entered by Jueann on 2002-12-13 18:31 MOO Time. (28 seconds)

Main Hall and Ballroom **BROADCASTING** (#4517)

Cool visions of walls washed in a muted blue and a staircase and balcony of white Northern marble form the large vista of the Harper Hall's largest space, the floor underfoot of fine Lemos hardwoods. But no balls will be held here tonight... A far graver purpose has taken over. At the head of the room a large raised dais has been erected, the Harper's crest in prominent display, ready for the arrival of the MasterHarper. To stage-left of it sits a lower table and chair for witnesses. Facing the dais from across a forty-foot gap are larger tables for the Defense and Prosecution, while along the left wall are comfortable seats for the jury. Ropes cordon off the court area, but leave the majority of the large space free for crowds of onlookers, a few benches provided for those of rank.

Watching from a bit of artistically carved lintel are nine firelizards. You see Leyte here.

Collin, Damista, Liesana, Reeba, and Kirsyn are here.

Iisana walks with a confident strident step in through an arch from the great hall.


From the balcony above, Qovin walks in from the Dormitory Lounge.


Liesana (#19291)

Eyes of dulled amber gaze from amongst stretched and taut features, slightly almond in their shape, retaining the quickness of a sharp mind turned hawkish and wary. Framed by wavy, waist-length chestnut hair, her face remains expressive and delicate, but with skin sallowed from stress and cheeks hollowed by weight loss a thin frame can ill afford. There remains a determined strength to her sculpted jaw. She stands five and a half feet, figure slight and long limbed but past the coltishness of youth, 'though subtle curves have also been diminished by lost weight. Scars of old bone breaks appear on her right leg and left arm, and her hands show the marks of a career harper: slight callouses on her fingertips and one more prominant on the web of her right thumb, along with the faint blue-black tinges of old inkstains. A white linen blouse with ruffles at collar and cuffs contrasts with a sharply cut vest of black velvet, while a full skirt of fine grey wool rustles quietly as she walks. **clook Liesana for more details**  Two firelizards are  perched on her shoulders.

Double cord and double loops in white and rich blue couple with a blue tassel and a binding thread of gold to denote a Master of the Harper Craft. A red ribbon interwoven further indicates that the wearer is posted to the Smith Crafthall. She is a young adult of about 28. She is awake, but seems rather distracted.


Reeba (#16717)

A healthy woman in her early twenties, somewhat short in height and slender in build; however, her muscles are surprisingly well developed for that of a young woman. Her long brown hair is tied back in a single ponytail with a long leather cord. She has her father's bright hazel eyes and her mother's slender pointed nose and fair complexion. She has a birthmark on her right forearm which looks like, well, a birthmark and nothing else.

She is wearing a rich dark blue vested tunic over a light blue shirt. She wears an ankle length straight skirt matching her tunic. She wears shiny ankle high black boots, with tiny silver scroll clasps. Blue and white woven into a double cord knot of single loop and elongated tail, spruced up with silver thread and sporting one tassel of harper blue, denoting the bearer as a Junior Journeyman Harper. She is a young adult of about 29. She is awake, but seems rather distracted.

Jayt walks in.


From the balcony above, Qovin goes home.


Liesana is already over at the table allotted to the Prosecution, transferring a stack of neatly written notes from an attaché case to the area in front of her seat as a Guardsman and two recruits bring boxes of evidence, kept under close watch, in from where they'd been stored.  The young acting-Crafthead looks gaunt and drawn, but all signs of stress

 have been subsumed by the cool control of the mask she's wearing entitled Madam Prosecutor.


Ylisa walks in from the Harper Classroom.


Damista walks in, a Master of the Herdercraft.  Her head held high as walks.  She looks around and then asks in general, "Where is the jury to be?"  Her harsh voice a result of the fires in Keroon a long time ago, yet still soft as her brown eyes gaze about the room.


Rosuma walks in.


Entering the room, Reeba looks neither to the left or to the right but dead ahead.  Walking over to the defense table, she places her notes neatly upon the table and sits down.  She remains fairly still except for the slightly noticeable twitch in her right hand.  Her eyes, glazed and distant, she is alone in her thoughts in a sea of people.


Iisana enters fairly quickly after Damista. Of course she won't admit that she got hopelessly lost and so had to follow the nearest person with a Masters knot that she could see. "Good question." she echoes, coming up behind the Herder, arms folded across her chest and glancing around with a faintly forbidding expression.

Rosuma makes her way slowly in, her eyes silently sweeping the assembled masters, nodding to those she knows, and giving a very broad, honest smile in Lies' direction before casting about for a seat in the jury area and settles herself in, waiting patiently for the trial to begin.


Another Guard Recruit, polished and formal and starched to perfection in a dress uniform, has apparently been named to escort the arriving jury to their place.  "This way, masters,"  he intones in a bass rumble, guiding them past the cordon and over to the jury seating along the wall.


Collin goes home.


Toomin walks in through an arch from the great hall.


Damista follows the Guard recruit to the place designated.  She stays quiet now and settles into her char quickly.  She is ready, not there is just the waiting for it all to begin.


Liesana finishes organizing her own notes, and takes a seat, interlacing her fingers and giving Rosuma a grave nod in response to the smile.  For reasons of sanity, the legist has to keep her personal and professional selves almost completely separate in this case, thus explaining the faint, fencer's nod she gives to Reeba, ordinarily one of her best friends.


Iisana was too busy looking around to see the guard recruit start to lead the masters away, and hurriedly tries to catch up with an 'I meant to do that' look in her face, moving quickly to a spare seat, giving the masters already seated a smile and nod of acknowledgement before she plants herself down, tugging at her sleeves.


Ylisa glances round the exalted company as she emerges from the classroom, then threads her way through the gathering to stand inconspicuously at the edge of the room furthest away from the action. 


Reeba watches as the jurors enter the ballroom and finds their appointed seats in the makeshift jurors box.  Reeba studies their assorted knots, badges, and colors and jots down notes on each.  Only recognizing a few, a worried look graces her face.  She glances over to Liesana but notes she is not in much better shape than she is at the moment.  Sighing, Reeba finally looks behind her to see the various masters who have chosen to attend this sad event.


Oriana enters quietly and without fanfare, a certain professional detachment allowing for the unruffled solemnity of her features. It seems to be a skill the Harper's share. Her eyes linger on Liesana a moment before then moving to the boxes of evidence. It is there her gaze remains for a long moment, the only change of her expression hinting at inward reflection. The passage of the jury registers only at the edges of her attention, the boxes eyed as if holding all the secrets of life while she moves to her seat. She turns her attention outward again, over all of the assembled. When she speaks her voice is clear and sounds out over the low murmur: "I call this court to order." Short and sweet.


Oriana (#1357)

A small woman of medium build, Oriana seems to have gone unnoticed by her passing turns.  Her complexion is pale from lack of sun and her eyes and mouth are defined now by small creases at the corners, but her full, light golden hair and the blush in her cheeks signal health and a life of satisfying mental, if not physical, activity.  Her blue eyes are bright and keenly perceptive, her shoulders slouch just slightly from too much deskwork, and she bears herself with an air of assurance that is independent of her surroundings.

Oriana's tunic is of a deceptively simple cut, lightly tailored with only the slightest of collars.  A tiny silver pin shines at her throat as a center to covert, harper blue embroidery, the delicate undyed fabric sliding over her small frame with the soft, natural shimmer of fine woven sisal.  The skirt matches; the cool, silvery sheen flows through the

 full-cut, ankle-length fabric in an freely moving cascade even as she remains still. Matching slippers, the soft, comfortable and elegant kind, complete the outfit with miniature, harper-blue embroidery just at their very edge.  Her hair, full and golden, is swept up neatly into a soft frame for her face, held in place by a pair of pearl-inset combs.  A green firelizard is perched on her shoulder. At her right shoulder, a small pendant sapphire is strung in a complex interweaving of blue, white and yellow. She is an older adult of about 57.


Jueann comes out of the Harper Office with Brithia and another guard standing beside her as she made her way to where she is suppose to stand/sit.  She looks careworn, a bit frazzled, but her eyes are so sad behind her glasses.  She smoothes out her skirt as she nods to Oriana, then to Reeba.  She does glance to the other Masters sitting in the Master section, counting noses and sighs again.  Shaking her head, squaring her shoulders.  Let's get this show on the road.


Jueann (#5565)

Jueann's gentle nature hides her true age.  She seems timeless with her brown hair with streaks of grey.  When asked about her true age, she'll smile and say, "A lady should have some secrets."  Her brown doe-shaped eyes glows darkly of love and warmth. Wisps of

escaping curly strands of hair halo her face as the rest of her long hair is pulled into a single fat braid. A pair of lenses perch on her dainty nose. Around her neck and rest over her heart, a gold chain peeks out.

Jueann is wearing a clean white short-sleeved tunic that is slightly unlaced in the front. A dark wide tightly-laced leather girtle the rest comfortably under her well-endowed bosum down to her slim waist, protecting her blouse. Her navy blue skirt shows past ink-stains, but try as she might, she just can't keep it clean. On her girtle, a big leather brown pouch keeps her archives supplies and anything else she needs for the day. her tunic from most of the ink stains. Braided into her Harper Master's knot are the colors of Ista Hold.

She is an adult of about 43. She is awake and looks alert.


Damista watches as the accused comes out.  Now for the evidence and testimony.  She will form her opinion as they are presented.  Liesana glances over at Jueann as she makes her entry, and nods to the guards already present, who pull up a chair for the Istan Crafthead, a look of concern visible on her features for a long moment, before she once again succeeds in donning the mask required by her duties.  Standing, she bows to the MasterHarper, and then takes the floor with a minimum of fanfare, waiting for silence as she faces the Jury and the audience to make her opening remarks, hands smoothing her skirt in a single sweeping motion, as highly schooled as a dance move.

Radel walks down the curving staircase from the balcony hallway.


Reeba nods to Jueann as she sits down and then turns quickly to watch Liesana begin to weave her words of her opening remarks, hoping beyond hope that she'll make a bad impression.


Radel runs into the room and slides to a halt at the very back and then, trying to be unobstrusive takes the closest available seat, looking worried and grim.


Oriana does not quite settle into the chair, but rather sits on it as if a moment from standing; her posture is rigidly formal and her gaze is hard as stone. Jueann's nod is returned with the faintest inclination of her head, but there is no softening in her manner. She, like Liesana, will need it all for the trial ahead. Said prosecutor is accorded a nod of attention, Oriana's eyes moving to the young Harper Master as she awaits her remarks.


Liesana's voice is measured and cadenced as she speaks to the jury, her words chosen with care.  Regardless of how much Liesana would personally hope her Crafthead and friend will get off, it would be dishonorable to do any less than her best.  "You have all been summoned here today for a simple purpose: To weigh the evidence that will be presented to you, and to make your best decision as to whether the evidence presented supports or refutes the charges laid here.  The sensational nature of this entire incident, not to mention that both the accused and the victims are members of our own rank might lead you to question the results of your decision, but the results are not your concern. Any judgments made or not made will fall on the heads of the Harper Hall, and on us alone, so I  ask you to approach your ruling with open minds and clear heads, and we will see that justice, however it may fall, will be dispensed.  Thank you."  That said, she bows again to Oriana and returns to her seat, nodding to Reeba as she passes.


Jueann sighs and stares ahead, standing there like a finely carved statue.  The only sign of stress is the clenching and unclenching of her fists as she waits for charges to be read.  The guards look almost bored.  Brithia glances at Jue with a bit of concern but says and does nothing.


Parvati walks in.


Reeba takes a slow deep breath and expels the negative energy she has been feeling into the atmosphere.  A quick look over to the alleged murderer, her craftmaster, her friend, she stands up slowly.  She nods her head repeatedly, "Master Liesana is the greatest legal mind in Ista, of this there is no doubt.  She is also a very honest and honorable harper which means you should be able to accept everything she offers as fact."  Reeba

 turns her head from Liesana and then back to Jueann and then on to the jurors, "Alas, while Master Liesana will show you many facts this day, there is one fact that she can not say as the lead prosecutor.  She can not say that she is certain of Master Jueann's guilt.  The fact is she is innocent and we mean to show you that any of a number of persons could have perpetuated this crime.  We will show that many had the motive and means to do the crime.  There is no link to Master Jueann that can not be made to most of the harpers currently here in Ista."  Reeba takes another hasty breath,  "All we ask is that your minds remain open to what is fact and what may be fiction.   Thank you."   She sits down faster than she had hoped, looking a bit too relieved that her opening remarks are finished.


Oriana's eyes form the nod that her body does not allow, an acknowledgement of Liesana's words and the care chosen for them. Reeba is the next subject of her regard, her eyes skipping over the accused. When both finish, she clears her throat again to speak, without saying anything further to the jury: "The charges stand as thus: Harper Master

 Jueann, Istan Crafthead at the time of the alleged crime, is accused of the murder of Harper Master Poirot. Madam prosecutor, would you please present your case?"


Jueann isn't guilty.  She just stands there, until Brithia places a hand on her shoulder and whispers something.  Jue nods and takes her seat as Liesana starts her case.  Nothing to do now but wait and listen.


Liesana doesn't look over at Jueann as she rises again, although not so obviously as to be easily spotted.  She needs to sink into the persona of The Prosecution more fully before she can allow herself to do that.  Collecting a set of copies of the same report, she hands them to one of the legal apprentices turned clerk to pass out to the jury, the defense and Oriana, keeping one for herself.  "The hide you have just been handed contains a synopsis of Healer Senior Apprentice Alain's findings from the autopsy performed on Master Poirot's corpse.  I urge you to study the details as much as your stomachs will permit, but I draw your attention to his conclusion:  Master Poirot was first drugged unconscious with liberal quantities of aconite, and then died of massive blood loss after his throat was cut.  Bruising around the wound suggests that the murder weapon, while sharp enough for the task at hand, was dull enough that pressure was required to breach the skin.  I will be presenting further evidence to support the Prosecution's case that Master Jueann was the murderer.  Any questions, Madam Defendant?"


Damista takes the hide and looks it over with a cursory glance.  The document is set on her lap as she looks it over.  Brown eyes look up towards the Defending Harper.


Reeba looks towards Jueann with a meaningful stare as if to tell her to remain in her seat.  Reeba hears the question and stands as she shakes her head, "No Master, the defense completely agrees with Master Liesana's assessment of how the crime was committed."


Liesana nods again to her opposing counsel, again with that hint of the fencer, and moves onwards, cuing the Guard handling the evidence to remove two more things from the box.  An empty medicine vial, and a letter-opener knife with dried bloodstains still on the blade. "Prosecution would like to enter these items into the evidence as Exhibits A and B.  And the Prosecution would call Master Jueann to the stand."  Now, Liesana's glance flickers over to settle on Jueann, the young master steeling herself for the most unpleasant part of her case.


Jueann stares off into space, like a statue, her hands clenching the arm of her chair as she listens to the gruesome details surrounding the late unlamented Master Poirot.


Iisana flips through the document, balking briefly as she reads some of the contents, before a mask of stoicism settles over her features and she resumes listening to the counsels with as impassive expression as she can manage.


A Guard, appointed bailiff, shoulders his way over to where Jueann sits, and briefly swears her in.  "Do you, Master Jueann of Harper Hall, swear on your name's word to answer truthfully?"


Jueann blinks and comes back to herself looking up at the guard,  "huh?  What?  Ohh.... Yes... I swear.  Where do you want me?"


Unconcerned, Reeba tries to smile encouragingly at the formal craftmaster. Reeba looks relatively comfortable that Jueann will not surprise her with her remarks but only wishes she would look a little less scared and/or guilty in front of the other masters not knowing how they might interpret her demeanor.


"You may remain seated, Master Jueann,"  assures Liesana, letting a note of warmth creep through her facade before she retreats into it again.  Picking up the empty medicine vial, she hands it to the older master, asking steadily  "Can you identify this, Master Jueann?"


Jueann takes the offered vial, looking at it closely as she returns it to Liesana. "Yes.... " she sighs looking up at Liesana, "Master Jaqui  gave it to me. It contained aconite to help with night sweats and hot flashes." Looking pale but composed, Jue tries to divorce herself from all this and yet.....


Liesana nods, and paraphrases for the jury's benefit, still letting that note of warmth remain in her voice.  "So this vial belongs to you, and Master Jaqui can attest to giving it to you...  Now, I'm a daughter of Herder parents... I know that aconite can be quite toxic if herdbeasts or runnerbeasts eat it... Did Healer Jaqui mention any warnings about it to you?"


Siallon walks in.


Jueann nods slightly, "She did.  She said one drop in either wine or tea every few hours.  She said too much will kill.  A drop was all I needed to help with the discomfort."


Damista nods slightly since she /is/ a herder Master and knows of the medicine.  She watches Jueann for a moment before looking at Liesana. She tilts her head and listens carefully.


Liesana nods.  "One drop."  she repeats.  "Pretty strong stuff, I'd say.  Now, this vial was found empty beside Poirot's corpse, as the jury can read in the report I've handed them.  About how much /should/ there have been in the bottle at the time?"


Jueann sighs and shrugs, "About two-thirds full.  The stress you see, Poirot... " she licks her lips, "The situation was wearing on me."


Reeba tries very hard not to sigh at Jueann's last response and scolds herself for not coaching Jueann on how to respond.  Never give them any more than they ask for....never, unless it helps your cause that is and that last comment didn't help Jueann.


Liesana whistles slightly.  "Two thirds of that vial, mixed in with the cup of wine found beside the body.  No wonder the office showed no signs of struggle."  she notes, not availing herself of the opportunity to make a dig at Jueann.  That's not only unprofessional, it's more likely to backfire with the jury.  "Still, as the Healer's report notes, it wasn't the aconite that killed him.  It was this."  she lifts the bloody letter opener.  "Can you identify this for me, Master Jueann?"


Jueann blinks and looks at the knife, "My letter opener.  I've had it for turns.  It's a bit dull but still functional."


Reeba leans back in her chair, unworried about the current testimony and hoping to show that instilled confidence to the jurors.


"Yes..." states Liesana.  "I'd say it still functions very well.  So, we have both murder weapons here and identified as belonging to you...  Can you tell me where you kept them, normally?"


Jueann shrugs, "Normally, I keep the vial on my table in my apartment and the knife in the Harper Office in the desk drawer." She sighs.


Liesana nods at that.  "So the knife could have been accessed by anyone, I'll admit,"  she allows.  "But what about the vial of aconite?  That's dangerous stuff...  did you keep a lock on your door at all?"


Jueann shrugs, "Sometimes then sometimes not.  I either kept in my apartment or on me.  My mentees needed access to my apartment, I'm very forgetful."


Damista nods slightly as she watches and listens.  Her brown eyes noting expressions as she watches the proceedings.


Iisana seems to be scowling at her whole proceedings, leaning back in her chair, arms folded and glowering. The belligerent expression is merely a sign of the Miner's intense concentration on the questioning taking place before them. She snorts faintly, almost inaudibly, at Jueann's declaration of her forgetfulness, shaking her head slightly in disapproval.


Liesana nods, allowing the answer.  "But you kept close tabs on the aconite, since you had to take it daily?"  she presses onwards.  "You'd have noticed, for example, if someone had taken it prior to the murder?"


Jueann shrugs, "Well, I would've noticed if it was missing from my apartment.  I don't think I would've left it in the Office."


Siallon goes home.


"So the bottle of aconite, as far as you know, was in your possession up until it was found beside the corpse."  sums up Liesana.  "Thank you, Master Jueann, no further questions. Your witness, Madam Defender."


In the audience, Harper Apprentices watch with wide eyes.  This sort of drama in the higher ranks /never/ gets seen in public like this.  "Better'n'bubbly pies."  comments one lad to another.  Beside them, a pale girl with magnificently golden hair watches, looking paler than usual.  One of Jueann's mentees?


Quietly Reeba has been chomping at the bit to ask questions which showed how circumstantial all of the evidence really is and now she has her chance.  But first, to address something that made more than a few master jurors shift in their seats.  "I know you've been through a lot Master Jueann, I just have a few questions really." state Journeywoman Reeba as she stands and walks towards the jurors.  Facing Jueann but standing next the masters who would decide the harper master's fate, she asks "Forgetfulness?  This forgetfulness is hardly a new phenomena is it?  I mean, you are not known as the Confused Harper for these many turn for nothing, are you?"  Her momentary brevity finished Reeba adds, "However, you are also dealing with a health issue that has as one of its symptoms as Forgetfulness.  Were you told that forgetfulness was a sign of your current condition?"


Jueann shrugs, "Actually, I getting more forgetful as the turns roll on but I'm not that bad.  Ohh I forget to eat and sleep from time to time and I always lose track of time but I'm not *that* bad.  I think... Am I?  I mean, I'm just starting my Change of Life a bit early that's all."


Satisfied that Jueann's answer would appease the jurors, Reeba moves on to address the whole aconite issue.  Holding up her notes, she peruses them for a second before looking up at the accused.  "Based on your own testimony, this is your bottle of aconite. However, you are not the only one who had access to this bottle or to the aconite, isn't that correct?  In fact, this is your second bottle of aconite that you were given. What happened to the first bottle?"


Jueann shrugs, "My fire lizards got into a tussle and knocked the first on off the table and broke the vial.  I sent Niara for a refill and the broken vial. Besides Niara, Liesana knew, so did my mentees.  I'm always sending them to my apartment for this and that."


Liesana has retaken her seat, and sits with fingers interlaced, and her chin resting on top of them, tense and formal as she watches for mistakes to pounce on.


Damista listens and nods slightly.  She isn't that far behind Jueann.  She nods though as she has her own mentees run errands for her.


Reeba smiles, nodding her head, "So, not only did a number of harpers know about the aconite, they also had access to it since they were often sent to your apartment.  If I have read the account correctly, you even told everyone present at the table how dangerous the drug was and that more than a few drops were deadly."  Trying not to go too slow or to fast and only praying she's coming across as a good defense would, she looks directly at the jurors and asks loudly, "Master Jueann, based on what you were told by Master Jaqui, if someone had placed 2/3 of your bottle in a single mug of Klah, what did Master Jaqui indicate would happen if someone received that high of dose?"


"Objection, MasterHarper," calls Liesana from her seat with an unhurried air.  "The poison was placed in wine, not klah.  Alcohol diminishes the effects of many drugs, and in any case the wine was unfinished."


Jueann sighs and waits for the ruling if she should answer or not.


Reeba raises her hand in a dismissive way, "I retract, and corrects her question.  It was in a cup of wine.  The question remains, what did Jaqui infer would happen if you, yourself, took a dose so high regardless of the drink it was mixed in?"


Jueann shrugs, "It would have a slight bitter taste and then death in minutes."


Oriana's eyes shift from person to person as the truth is slowly exhumed. She says nothing, content for a moment to hear the arguments now and weigh later. Despite the less than plush chair, she refrains from shifting uncomfortably; she's too wrapped up in the maybe's and whatif's and possibilities Reeba's argument postulates.


Mimi walks in.


"Death in minutes....death in minutes" Reeba says repeating the words as if in a mantra.  "Then tell me please, if a murderer knows that the poison given would eventually kill an individual, what need would there be to use a knife?  I'll answer it for you, there is none.  There would have been no need for you to use a knife since you knew he would have died, what was it you said Master Jueann...'death in minutes'."  Reeba looks over to Jueann, and then asks another question that she can now indeed answer, "You wouldn't have needed to use the knife because in time he would have died anyway.  However, the murderer did not know this so they only knew that the poison would perhaps render him unconscious.  And as you said many knew you were taking the aconite and some had access to it.  That leaves someone who used the opener.  How many people knew that

 you kept the letter opener in the office?"


Iisana's chair creaks ponderously as Iisana shifts; remaining seated for a long period of time has apparently caused her bum to go numb if all her sudden shifting is anything to go by. She tries to surreptitiously stretch and resume listening to the testimony, however disturbing the talk of death is.


Jueann shrugs at Reeba, "I kept it in the drawer in the Office.  Why did they have to use mine? I'm sure if you looked, you will find several others there.  The Office is never locked."


Mimi sits restlessly squashed between a pair of stiff journeypeoples from other halls, looking quite uncomfortable between the pair, but her discomfort is ever so slightly overwhelmed by concern for Jueann and interest in the trial.


"Precisely, and I'm sure as craftmaster, you are forever talking with harpers in the office so many would indeed know of its existence.  That is all for now Master Jueann.  Thank you for your continued patience.   Master Liesana?" Reeba says as she quickly returns to her seat hoping that the questions went over well with the jurors.


Damista's face is immobile and emotionless.  Many of the Herders know this look for when they are in trouble and the Herder Master is deciding their fate.  What this means for the Harper Master, though, is not clear.


"That will be all from me.  Thank you, Journeyman Reeba, and thank you, Master Jueann." Liesana says simply.  "The  Prosecution would like to restate their findings that Jueann was in possession of both murder weapons, one of which was accessible by a very limited circle of people.  The Prosecution would also draw your attention to the line in the medical report given stating that the murderer most likely used the aconite to subdue the victim, hinting that they could not overpower them physically.  The Prosecution would state that Master Jueann is capable of the method, and, living in the Hall, had the opportunity.  For motive, I next call Journeywoman Mimi to the stand."


Oriana nods to Reeba, a wordless thanks. Her gaze lingers on Jueann a moment, before her attention turns to Liesana. Her lips purse in a moment's thought that never reaches voice, the MasterHarper turning a solemn look on Mimi.


Jueann sighs and remains seated in her chair.  Back to staring off into space as she listens to the trial.


Mimi stands up, edging her way out from between the other Harpers, sets her shoulders and confidently walks up to the stand. Cool as a cucumber. If there are cucumbers on Pern, of course... She did /so/ love those classes of Liesana's where she got to be cross examined and questioned and..well...she was really pretty good at them. She's ready. Yup. Gulp. Heh. She takes the appropriate seat, hair only a /bit/ more frazzled than




The bailiff shoulders his way over again, and pauses in front of Mimi to swear her in too.  "Do you, Journeywoman Mimi of Harper Hall, swear on your name's word to answer truthfully?"


Mimi gives an affirmative nod, "I do."


Liesana nods to the bailiff as she steps forward and he steps back, and gives Mimi the same hint of warmth that Jueann received, still predominantly emotionless.  "So, Journeywoman, you're well known as someone who knows the various news floating around the Hall..."  she begins.  "What can you tell us about Master Jueann's relationship with Master Poirot?"


Mimi would smirk slightly at the comment, but is a bit to nervous to do so immediately, although she probably will upon later reflection. "Oh they didn't like each other too much. But, what can I say? Not many people did. Master Poirot wasn't a likeable person."


Although Oriana doesn't actually move, subtle changes in her demeanor give the impression of sitting straighter, as though this is a question she's been waiting on. Mimi is subject the possibly uncomfortable gift that is her intense regard.


Liesana smiles.  "Just answer the question please, Mimi," she coaches the witness.  No, she's not supposed to go on about how others might have done it, even if Liesana as not-prosecutor would be quite happy about it. "So Master Poirot and Master Jueann didn't get along.  Can you tell me why that was?"


Mimi falls silent quickly. Oh yeah. Mimi as non-prosecuting witness would've been happy with going on about how others have done it, too. But she's been nabbed as a prosecuting witness, therefore she must also do her duty. "Master Poirot was always sticking his nose where it didn't belong and was always trying to dig up information about Master Jue that he could use against her and was always pointing out the tiniest flaw that he could find. Oh yeah, and he harassed her mentees," and other apprentices, for that matter, "and she didn't like that too much either."


"Thank you, Mimi," states Liesana easily, not smiling, since that would be in bad taste, and not to mention past her powers of theatre.  "So do have any idea why he was so keen to go after Master Jueann?"  she asks next.


Mimi fidgets with a nail, just picking at it slightly while her hands rest in her lap. "Well, I suspect, since he was always going off on how he didn't like how things were here, or was always stickin' his nose up at us, that he thought if he put Jue out of business, then he could try and weasel his was into a crafthead position here." Of course, that's only a speculation, but Miz tends to be good at deciphering motives after so many years of deciphering gossip stories.


Aladden walks in.


Liesana waits a long beat to see if Reeba will catch the speculation and jump on it, in which case she has a counter-argument prepared...


Standing, but not leaving her table Reeba decides that rapid-fire questions may sit better with the still patient master jurors.  As such, she asks "Journeywoman Mimi, is it not true that Master Jueann had already recalled Master Poirot back to Fort Hall at the time of the

 murder so his chance of removing her and becoming crafthead was negligible?"


"Objection, Masterharper!" calls Liesana sharply.  "The Defense is questioning out of turn!"


Mimi opens her mouth to answer, "Y-" but is quite quickly cut off by Liesana before she gets barely a third of a syllable out.


"Objection noted and sustained," Oriana says in a level tone, a not entirely unsympathetic look turned on Reeba. "Please refrain from making your own questions during the prosecutions turn. You are allowed objections--" Hint, hint? Or as much as she'll give, still under the mantle of duty. "--but do not question the witness."


"I beg the MasterHarper's pardon, I took the lengthy pause from Master Liesana to mean she was finished with her line of questioning.  Apparently I was mistaken." Reeba responds to the HarperMaster.


Oriana nods at Reeba, accepting the apology and granting her pardon in one fell swoop, then she glances back at Liesana and Mimi. "Continue, please."


Liesana shakes her head slightly as her pause to leave room for objection-purposeful sloppiness?- is misinterpreted, and decides that trying to helpfully compromise her position as prosecution is doing more harm than good.  "So, of the various people at the Hall who had a reason to see Poirot gone, would you say that Jueann's reason was the strongest?  That she had the most to lose, if he deposed her as Crafthead?"


Now it was Reeba's turn to object.  "Objection!  The witness can not speak to all the motives found within the Harper Hall!" she says a little to much like a shout.


Mimi attempts to answer again and gets a /little/ more out this time at least, "Well, I th-" but is again cut off by an objection. Mrf.


"Please refrain from speculation," Oriana intones, tone so perfectly level it sounds very much like she couldn't care less. "Or leading the witness." A look goes to both Liesana and Reeba, but she doesn't call either on that count.


Settling down, Reeba looks to Liesana to see in which direction she goes next with the witness.


"I counter, Master Oriana."  replies Liesana.  "Several public arguments took place, of which the witness was certainly aware.  But I will rephrase."  she admits. "Journeywoman Mimi, from the various conversations -you yourself- have been involved in, would you say that Master Jueann had a motive to see Master Poirot dead?"


Fiiinally. Mimi can actually /answer/ something. She begins to say something or other, but closes her mouth, and after a moment responds with a simple, "Yes." Just answer the question.


Liesana smiles, nods, and returns to her stance in the middle of the court.  "Thank you Journeywoman.  No further questions.  The Prosecution submits that Jueann has been proven to possess motive, method, and opportunity.  The Prosecution rests."  And rest it does, gingerly taking a seat again.


"I have only one question for this Journeywoman.  Mimi, based on the various conversation you have had with others of this harper hall, are you aware of any other harper who would have liked to see Master Poirot dead?" Reeba says to the witness as she stands up by the defense table.


Mimi raises a slight eyebrow at Reeba. Well, isn't that a wicked obvious question? But, oh yeah, she needs to prove a point. And she answers with a quick, sliiightly emphasized, "Yeeeeah."


At this question, the apprentice lads in the back elbow each other and make comments about who else might've wanted the man dead.  Or gelded.  The girl with the golden hair pales suddenly, and silently slips out the back.  A weak stomach?


Oriana simply adds Mimi's answer to a mental tally as she folds her hands before her, fingers interlacing as she rests them on her knees. "Thank you, Prosecutor," she says, her gaze turning to the defense. "Journeyman Mimi, you may step down. If the defense would call their first witness?"


Mimi gives a polite nod to Oriana and returns to her seat, one eye flickering towards the girl slipping out and back to her own chair, which she takes a seat in. And Mimi certainly has her own idea or two on whodunit.


Reeba clears her throat and stands erect, "Thank you MasterHarper.  The defense calls Master Liesana to the stand."  Reeba's eyes have gone cold, trying not to think about what she is about to do.


Jueann is just sitting there, letting the questions, comments and arguments flow over her.  Does it seem she doesn't care or afraid? Actually, she has always had a hard time being the center of attention. So she just stares off into space.


Radel watches one of the other possible suspects get up and walk out so he himself gets up a couple of seconds later and follows the golden haired girl out, trying to keep her within his sight.


Liesana doesn't comment on the unusual turn of events, merely nodding, standing from her seat at the Prosecution's table, and moves to a seat at the witness stand, giving Reeba an understanding look as she lets the mantle of The Prosecution drop to become herself again.  As the bailiff scuttles in again, she swears that "I do swear on my name's word to tell the truth," and then folds her hands, waiting patiently, oblivious to any uproar over the oddity of the situation.


Iisana shifts uncomfortably in her seat, the sensation or lack thereof in her bumb having nothing to do with her discomfort this time, dark eyes flickering around in slight confusion. Isn't it a bit unorthodox to call the opposing counsel? But what does she know? She's a miner. She knows rocks.


The time has come that Reeba has dreaded, to interrogate her friend and mentor.  "Master Liesana, is it not true that Master Poirot had already been recalled back to Fort Hall?" she asks short and to the point, no dramatics from her just cold questions.


Liesana's gaze flickers a little, before she, too, slips into a formal mask.  Easier on herself, as well.  "It is true that I overheard Master Jueann tell him she'd messaged Oriana, and that she told him to pack his bags and be gone by the next day.  However, I never saw a letter of recall with my own eyes."


Jueann blinks and comes back to herself for a moment, as she listens to Reeba and Liesana.  She knows she isn't doing her case any good by being so distracted but she can't help it.  She hates crowds.


With a momentary glimpse at the MasterHarper, Reeba nods "I will call the MasterHarper if I must but we'll suffice to say that her stated intent was for him to go to Fort and thus her position was relatively safe as crafthead.  Hmmm, with Master Poirot dead, and Master Jueann accused, you were selected as temporary crafthead.  Often such an appointment is made permanent, so it would seem that you too could have had a motive, isn't that correct?"


Iisana chews on her lip, frowning, rather curious to see if it's possible for a witness to object to their own questioning.


"It's possible," allows Liesana in a cold drawl.  "However, I was provably at my posting at Smith Hall when the murder occurred, and Jueann herself gave me the temporary appointment.  Unless you are suggesting I possess some Lessa-like quality of being able to influence others' minds, the motive you assign me is on shaky ground."


"I would ask that you answer my questions with a simply yes or no but since you do elaborate I will address that as well.  You have dragonrider friends do you not?  Thus time is not an issue once you decided to kill the man.  A simple favor to an unknowing dragonrider could have had you here and back in the blink of an eye." Reeba says letting the explanation sink in to the jurors numbed minds.  "I, in fact, believe you Master Liesana because you would not have done this any more than poor accused Master Jueann.  But you did have a motive, you did know of the aconite and opener, and you did have access.    I will call several other harpers who had even greater motives, access and knowledge never fear.   What I'd like you to now answer is this, during your investigation, did you not find that several apprentices, were in fact, harassed by the Master Poirot?  Some to the point of tears? "


Liesana lifts an eyebrow.  "So you're suggesting that dragonriders would assist in murder?"  she asks, ignoring the yes-or-no rule again.  "Be careful, Madam Defendant, you're on dangerous terrain there.  But yes, you have your facts correct.  My own fosterling was so harassed.  However, she and others came to me, and I confronted Poirot on the matter."


One of the dangers of a trial is that while one may not lead a witness, the witness may say whatever they wish within the realms of an answer. Oriana sits quietly throughout the back-and-forth, the tension in her posture never changing; she simply maintains the same stony stillness she's held all along.


Jueann shifts slightly as she looks up at Liesana and shakes her head and sighs again.  She still remembers those reports.


Reeba lifts her eyebrow in return, "Not to banter with you Master Liesana, but I suggested that a dragonrider could have given you a ride, not knowingly help in the murder while you seem to think a Harper Master was quite capable of that same murder."  Reeba stops short and turns away from Liesana momentarily, trying to rein in her emotions.  "I am sure you were quite upset with how your fosterling was treated.  Again, I would suggest that, to some, that was more than enough worthy of murder.  Of the others that were /interviewed/ like your fosterling, did they also know of the Master's aconite?  Of the letter opener?"


Liesana shrugs, not looking in the least bit guilty or threatened.  "To some.  Not to me.  But I will grant you your point.  Yes, conceivably, others with a motive could have gotten their hands on the murder weapons. The pool of top suspects is limited to Jueann and her mentees, however." 


Bingo, point taken!  Reeba nods, "Thank you Master Liesana, there are, in fact, numerous persons with motive and means in this case.  I have no more questions at this time."  Unsure of whether Liesana could cross herself, Reeba looks at her notes and clearly states, "I'd like to call Apprentice Christatha to the stand."


Liesana has definitely edged close to split personalities from recent stress, but not enough to cross-exam herself, so she simply nods, and abandons the witness stand, scanning the audience to find the summoned apprentice, and her golden hair.

"She's gone!"  the call is raised.  "Took off out t'back, she did!"  The apprentice boys of earlier are being helpful it seems.  "Hey, think she was hiding something...?"


Reeba calls for the guards, "Fine her and find her quick, she was my lead suspect of the Jueann's mentees!"


Well, the golden haired apprentice did leave a while ago, but those observant people in the room might have noticed the fact that she had a tail on her too. Radel left following the girl so it shouldn't be too hard to find her...


Jueann turns around and stands.  She doesn't say anything but just stands there, looking from Reeba to Oriana and then to where her mentees should be sitting.


Iisana straightens in her chair, blinking rapidly, the unexpected occurrence apparently serving to bring Iisana's consciousness level to a slightly higher one. She sits up in her chair, leaning over to listen to whatever it is that the master next to her is muttering, whispering something back.


Oriana rouses from the professional-stone mode she had been in, a faint frown creasing her brow as the call goes up. Before people can begin to murmur and speculate, she raises her voice again. "Quiet, please," she says, before anyone can really get going. She nods at a pair of guards who detach themselves to begin the search. She rubs at the point between

 her eyebrows a moment, then says, "The trial is suspended until the witness if recovered. Prosecution, Defense -- please step here a moment." Any further words are not for the crowds to hear, and it all dissolves into -- well, it's not -order- in this courtroom.








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