[AW+] [M] The Poisoned Apple
Pack Thread - The Trial for the Feast
#1

WARNING: This thread contains material exceeding the general board rating of PG-13. It may contain very strong language, drug usage, graphic violence, or graphic sexual content. Reader discretion is advised.

Specifically, this thread is marked mature because of: .

Through This Magnifying Glass - I See A Thousand Fingerprints - On The Surface Of Who I Am 

Dated 3rd of Novemeber - Read The Feast newspost for more information - please wait for Romeo, Tempest and Macbeth to reply first <3

Cedric, and many of those poisoned on that fateful night, were awake. Weak and tired but alive and breathing. A blessing... given those who had been lost. A sour taste had remained on Cedric's tongue for days, not just from the poison but from coming to terms with what happened. What was supposed to have been an evening to celebrate the lives of Cavaliers and their legacy, had turned into a tragedy that took the lives of four members. Two mothers and two honoured elders of the pack. As much as the Lune needed rest, the moment he could stand without feeling his world shake around him, he was back into making sure those who needed help got it. Aldora and Eros had arranged means of finding justice, so Cedric just did what he could to ensure the Cavaliers were alright, being aware that the Sola wasn't going to be in her best mind given who had been lost. 

So under the orders of Eros, who had proven himself ruthless but incredibly valuable in the investigation, three had been captured. And Cedric, the man who saw so much good in his pack, was relieved in part to know none of the Cavaliers had been suspicious. His heart hurt for those who'd died and deep down even the kind Lune felt a burning anger for justice, so today they would conclude things by gathering all they had found and deciding who was responsible. Justice would be fair, those accused would be given a chance to explain themselves, but Cedric knew the souls of four would need avenging one way or another. 

Promising Aldora that he would begin the trial, to give the grieving mother a bit more time with her children beforehand, Cedric slowly made his way into the Courthouse. Behind him walked Parzival, the lion remaining protectively close to the Lune as they entered the back of the building and into the court room. Some were already there, eager to see justice, but Cedric didn't speak until he'd reached the front and found a chair to sit in to rest his still weakened legs. Once seated, with Parzival lying across his feet, the Lune took a few deep breaths before howling to summon the pack. 

Everyone began to filter into the building. Entering early were the accused and those instructed to guard them, Cedric's golden eyes stared towards each with intense focus before looking away to count the heads of his pack-mates. Once it was full, Cedric began. "Two days ago, numerous Cavaliers were poisoned and four were tragically killed. An investigation has proven that this was not a mistake or accident, but the ill intentions of someone wishing to cause us harm. Poison was found in food prepared by Isaac in a significant and toxic amount. Eros has studied this and concluded that neither Isaac or Josie placed the poison in the food, but there were two others helping them prepare: Tempest and Romeo... two guests of Casa." This was point one, and Cedric paused to allow his pack to think about it, with a wary glance to the two he named. "We have more information... During the night of the poisoning, both Tempest and Macbeth chose to run and try to escape, whilst Romeo remained to help members of the Hushhowl family. Zetsubou and Maisie found and apprehended the two who ran and Romeo was taken into custody here in the Fort. Within Wolfville, Honrin, Howland and Darius spoke with other guests of Casa to see if anyone had been spotted trading for someone by a merchant who dealt with poisons... one of the guests revealed this to have been Macbeth." Cedric paused again, quietly taking some deep breaths. Someone approached him carefully from the side, Yrsa, and placed a cup of water in his hand with a supportive smile. Cedric nodded his thanks, sipping on the cool water for a moment. 

The evidence they had was good but... it did still leave some questions. The poisoning could've been an attempt by all three members of the troupe; using their talents as a disguise. Or it could've been the motivations of only one. And if so, who? Did Macbeth trade for poison and slip it into the food when no one saw him? Or did Tempest or Romeo take the poison themselves to perform the evil deed? And why? Things still needed answering, deaths needed justice and the Lune looked amongst his Cavaliers to hope they could help draw a conclusion to this awful story. 

However, the accused would be given a moment to speak first. After the brief recovery, Cedric stood to his feet, making sure to stand at full height as he stared down the three travellers. "You will all be given one chance to explain yourselves... a reason why you didn't do this. After you speak," Cedric then looked over the crowd. "I would ask anyone with any further informartion to step forward and speak... or those who wish to give their vote on this trial can also speak."


c   r
#2
[OOC: ]
The palomino coydog rubbed her temples in circles, what she wouldn't give for a drink and a joint to make the headache go away and all the memories of the night that changed everything. Tempest didn't know what happened, one minute they were performing and dancing and having a good time with their hosts at the celebration of ten years, then next there was vomit, blood, sickness and death everywhere.  Every time she closed her eyes she saw the carnage that unfolded before her eyes, she hadn't slept in days and her eyes were blood shot from the tears and exhaustion.

Tempest wasn't sure how long they had been locked away, but she had begged and pleaded to be released.  If her shoulder hadn't hurt to bad, she may have clawed and fought her way out. Chuckling to herself, oh if her family could see her now, locked away like some criminal, guess that's the risk one takes when being a loner.

A click of the door brought her eyes up from staring at the floor and the guardsman demanded she follow.

"Hmph, anything to get outta of this room suga'…"

As she exited the room, she came face to face with her friends, they looked as bad as she did.  The hybrid didn't know where they were being taken but if she had a guess this day would end with their heads.  It didn't matter if they were innocent or not, someone had to pay for the loss of life.

Standing in the front of the courtroom, Tempest stood confidently and looked everyone in the eyes. She had nothing to hide, they could ask her anything she would tell the truth, whether they believed her or not. The Lune stared angrily at the troupe and she looked him in his golden eyes, there was no guilt in her heart.  A howl rang out, calling for the Cavaliers to come, it was show time.

"Well bless y'alls hearts,  I am just so sorry for y'alls loss, an' fer mine. Since comin' 'ere, I 'ave come like peas in a pod wit' some of y'all, jus' breaks my heart.  I 'ave no reason, none at all, ta hurt y'all, none of us do.  Ya welcomed us with open arms. As fer tha runnin', well lookin' back at that, that wasn't tha smartest thing.  But I was scared and we still outsiders an' all."

Tempest really didn't know what else to say…
[WC 428]
#3
It's just a matter of time - Our stories will keep us alive - It's just a matter of time

ooc: stuff here


Romeo felt like he hadn’t stopped trembling since they brought him down with the others. The nightmare at the feast hadn’t left Romeo’s mind since it happened, but he’d been able to cope just by being useful. Help Zasha find her family, make sure her younger siblings were alright, even check in on others he’d come to know fairly well. Honestly, Romeo had been surprised when someone approached him and told him that he was to be captured. Shocked… but then understanding; Romeo wasn’t a Cavalier, he was a suspect in a dreadful murder. The boy might want to be the former, but he’d not been in Casa long enough to gain that kind of trust… as a guest he was nothing more than a stranger to most.

The acceptance at the time slowly bled away as Romeo joined the other two, realising the pack was going to put all of them on trial. During the wait, the boy didn’t speak much to either Tempest or Macbeth, feeling a sense of animosity from them for reasons Romeo couldn’t understand. After the feast, Romeo decided to stay and help, surely the right thing? Yet he couldn’t help but think about what Macbeth called him as he and Tempest ran off… wondering if they both felt betrayed.

When the day of the trial came, Romeo did as he was told, unable to fully comprehend what was going on and just wishing it could be all part of some stretched out nightmare. But once in the large room with dozens upon dozens of eyes watching them… Romeo felt terror strike his heart. This wasn’t the stage fright of a performance, but the dread of feeling his life in the hands of others.

The Lune spoke and Romeo flinched, trying his best to focus on what was happening. Evidence given and explained; Romeo and Tempest helping prepare the food. Romeo could remember this; Isaac had asked them if they wanted to leave Wolfville for a bit to see the Fort and help prepare the feast. But then Tempest and Macbeth ran from the scene after the Cavaliers began to fall… running from what? Why? Finally… Macbeth being witnessed trading from a merchant who delved in poisons.

The evidence stacked up, and the Lune prompted the troupe to speak for their innocence. Tempest spoke first, giving Romeo a bit of time to glance gingerly to the crowd to dare check their expressions. When she finished, the boy swallowed and coughed to clear his dry throat… then tried to speak through the fear.

“I-I wouldn’t dare hu-hurt this pack… after ex-exploring and m-meeting such kind people. I-I...” Wanted to join. No, perhaps that would make Romeo sound desperate. “I just… w-wanted to make people sm-smile with music and find new friends.”

It didn’t feel like enough… begging for life didn’t prove anything. Perhaps Romeo could also help here too; explain more from the piece of evidence against him. “Wh-when me and Tempest helped prepare the food, we j-just did as Isaac said. M-mostly chopping up pieces and then c-covering them in salt… he said it was um… ‘curing’ I th-think.”


#4
+604

His nightmare had come true, they had been captured, they were being accused of it all. Shock and fear had quickly turned to bitter resentment in the dark quiet of the room he had been made prisoner in. He had heard from beyond the worn wooden door not only Tempest, but then Romeo, also being locked away. Macbeth had seethed at it, becoming more and more incensed as time wore on. How long were they going to keep them detained? The water and food offered to him was as much an insult as anything else, just another show of their inflated ego.

However the pendulum of his mind also swung from these dark thoughts to ones of sadness, of regret. These Cavaliers were only reacting how any wolf-pack would; many of their number dead, he didn’t even know how many, and of course the loner group would be marked as villains. It was only true to their instinct and common sense alike, how could he fault them?

He was in one of these quiet, pensive moods when the door was finally unlocked and he along with Tempest and Romeo were finally brought out into the light. They all looked a little worse for wear and Macbeth could only look at them with gentle eyes, but he didn’t know what to say.

They all three felt it, they were being brought to the gallows as they moved upwards from the depths of the looming Courthouse, and his brooding began to melt into anger once more.

It seemed the whole pack had been gathered into this human made room, he could feel their multitude of eyes staring from him from the balcony above and the seats below. Ahead of them sat a weakened King and beside him, like a stone statue, the tall Queen. Fear gripped his throat, threatening to choke him.

They allowed them the chance to speak first, and Tempest’s pleas seemed almost like a surrender, as if she had no fight left, only the truth to cling to. Romeo’s stuttering words revealed his terror, like those of a child, and Macbeth’s heart burned.

When it was finally the man’s turn to speak, he stepped forward slightly, almost in sad attempt to protect them, "A most rightful judge you all claim to be?" He started, his trained voice booming and melodical as it had been only a couple nights prior when he delighted these Luperci with his prose, "We came here as humble travelers, offering our services at your doorstep, never having met you. You welcomed us, gave us food and shelter, the chance at friends and companionship. Why would you dare to assume that we ever had ill intentions?"

He turned then to look at the crowd, "For all your wealth and strength you choose the smallest among you to blame; cherry picking the evidence to what suits you. None of you are without bias; from my point of view, it was most likely the shaking hands of an aging butcher and the equally unsounded mind of his lover; an herbalist was she not? Where, pray tell, did you mix your feast's spices but not in her mortar?"

He glared then, "If I must defend myself; yes, I met with that merchant for I had just depleted my supplies of vice; the packet that was witnessed were clove cigarettes and nothing more."

Then turning back to the Lune and Sola, "If you must have your pound of flesh, then sharpen your knives against my breast. Leave the two youths alone... I beg of you."

At the end, just an old man defending his children.


image credit: HappyJournalingNK
#5
The darkness that follows a sunset is never so deep that it can change the inevitability of a sunrise

Everyone is free to post! Will you defend the loners, condemn them, offer another explanation? || +3
The last couple days had melted together into a horrid and strange amalgamation of life and death and Aldora had barely recognized herself. Everything about her had become purely mechanical, relying on instinct and learned patterns to function. She had not eaten, barely had anything to drink, her sole purpose being the protection of her pack and the drive to understand what had happened.

Information and evidence had been gathered and dropped in her hands like precious jewels, and slowly a story began to unfold. The series of events revealed however did not lend themselves to a clear explanation, which frustrated her to no end, the only emotion she seemed to experience now. It was only when those still alive began to wake up and look on the mend did her sharp mind begin to file away all she knew.

The troupe of traveling performers were the clear suspects, especially after the damning confession Honrin had procured from a Wolfville loner. But in Aldora’s heart there still gnawed doubt, a fear that this had been the machinations of someone in Casa’s fold, or even for worse, a true and innocent mistake.

A trial had been called as was custom, the pack gathered, the presence of four member’s lacking like a burn wound on the face of the Cavaliers. Aldora wrapped herself in a dark cloak, and like a raven sat perched beside Cedric on the bench of the courthouse. The three were brought before them, and each gave their case, and all the Sola could do was stare down at them unfeeling, unmoving.

Once the older, Macbeth, sad his case, Aldora stood, "Let those who wish to speak step forward. Let a decision be made quickly of what is to be done." No emotion, just instructions, just the sense of wanting to get this over with so that they could move on; for that was what was needed, right?


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#6
He had awoken shaky, feeling terribly ill. A fever overtook him in the night and he sat up to pain, throughout his entire body. A metallic taste was in his mouth, he couldn’t help feeling so thirsty. It was unquenchable. The canteen still in hand, and a slower pace than many, he rose to his shaky feet.

He was weakened, but sound minded, approaching from the distance to where many more folks were already gathering. A trial.


Macbeth, Temptest, Romeo… these folks were most suitable to him, or at least he had thought and his brows furrowed even further as Cedric began to speak. One name above all others were sounding to him, Eros. He found the poison in the food? How? What on earth was actually going on? He remained silent, for now, his bi-colored gaze shifting from Macbeth, to Temptest, then to Romeo. The younger ones appeared frightened, scared almost. Surely they couldn’t have done that? Lyall adjusted his water and took a long, thoughtful pull off the jug, before Cedric spoke further. Explaining that a merchant had said Macbeth bought a pouch from her. That Temptest and Macbeth ran. He stifled his scoff, and stood to one side.

It was apparent who did it. His eyes narrowed at the three before the woman spoke first. Her voice was like sugar and honey, and suddenly, he eyed Cedric, searching the crowds for Eros. If he had found the pouch in the first place, who’s to say he didn’t place it there himself? He was arrogant and narrow-minded, thinking the laws to be unjust at times. It would be an opportune most missed, if he didn’t…

Then his thoughts changed again as he listened to them all speak, Macbeth had a point, and Lyall stepped forwards, only to look towards Aldora. A decision? This all came down to others making decisions regarding other people’s lives. Why! His gaze hardened, and he glanced around him, then at the Lune and Sola.

I have something to say.” He took another quick swallow of his drink and cleared his throat, wobbling slightly. “Macbeth is right, this is biased!” He said it with a bit of raised voice turning to look at the folks then gazing towards the Lune, towards wherever Eros was within the crowd. “This isn’t the first time a decision has been made for someone else’s life!” The revealing truth about Luca was said by Eros. Through the crowds his gaze would grow steely. This isn’t fair, and who’s to say that Issac didn’t soak the food in a rub that was poisonous? He is dead! And you point fingers.” He panted, gaining his breath he continued. Wiping his pads on his bare furred knee. No-colored orbs sought out the leadership, before he made contact with the three in question. Hand gestures towards the three apprehended prisoners, before he addressed everyone else.”If Macbeth says he bought clove cigarettes, then I am sure we have no problem finding the said pouch. Why was that not done firstly? Do we sit here to appear to be just to these outsiders and not gather more evidence? If the merchant said she sold him something, who interrogated her? Who gathered the information? And why wasn’t it asked what she had sold?” He stilled then turned to the Lune and Sola. Or was it? Was there more information that was left out? Was someone plotting against these three because why; they were outsiders? His heart thumped harder in his chest.

Perhaps it was an inside job.” This was said louder. He paused letting that sink in. Then have a sad smile and shook his head. “Or perhaps the lost Issac had mixed up things, his wife was a healer, after all…” Another pause in his speech finding himself somewhat confused with what was exactly going on. “Pray tell, what if it was just an accident? What if it wasn’t ? We point fingers at these outsiders, because they’re outsiders, and I can’t believe, I, of all people am saying this, but they did no harm before the feast. Why would they wait until the day of the feast? Where is the pouch then, Macbeth? If you say you got clove cigarettes and nothing more, I assume it wouldn’t be so hard to produce the pouch, prove to them. To this pack.” When he spoke about and to Macbeth he turned to look at the dog creature. What a sad day of deliberation to be had. His head hurt already.

Lyall shook, with anger, he wanted to scream at everyone to shout at them and blame everyone, too. But what good would that do? An itching feeling told him it was an inside job, another feeling spoke and said it was an accident. The evidence needs to be fully gathered. Did they find his bag of cloves? They point fingers without justifiably knowing if Macbeth’s pouch was missing, or if Macbeth’s pouch was found… well, and if it was, then that was their truth.

They had to be innocent. Lyall almost regretted it, but stilled and then shrank backwards, head still held high.
WORD COUNT -
#7
Ooc here

[Image: Giftfrom-Shadeby-Corie.png]This scene was all to familiar. Bitter. Cold.

Pushok wanted justification, the same as the others. As he walked into the Courthouse, his eyes did not cast up to it's grand walls and the seats where their leaders could be found. He did not gaze into the eyes of the accused. He couldn't forget what illness befell him, what had taken the lives of their own, and risked the health of others. Here, he took his place. The very same as before. A hand wrapped his muzzle as thoughts gathered within him.

A story was told, but even he could not deny it's missing pieces.

For as much as he wanted to point and declare that it was the fault of the loners that Casa had invited to stay the winter, was it not one of their own that had slain their late Lune?

Pushok shook his head as the accused spoke. Tempest first, and then with Romeo, a sharper sting permeated him. He could not forget that day they shared in musical harmony, how much of a friend Romeo could have easily been. Surely, now, whether they spared the lives of the three, a friend they certainly would not become. Of Pushok's shame.

What Macbeth spoke next had the power to finally take Pushok's gaze away from his own lap and the backs of those that sat in front of him. As much as his desire to not trust the man of silver tongue, there were inconsistencies. With Luca, they had been so sure, but now, it was what was said and what was said against it. Words were the only bridge that traveled the distance, and hearsay was not what a trial should wager lives upon.

Almost mechanically, Aldora said very familiar words.

He'd been so young when the trail was last done, that the words of his elders inspired his decision. Yet, before he could fashion the words to say, before he could define what did not align, a familiar voice rose above the crowd.

Lyall's speech left the gate, speaking exactly what Pushok was thinking. For as much as they knew, they did not know enough. To accuse the deceased was a mighty low blow, but for what it was worth, there was truth in it. The dead could not clear their names, either. That much they knew from the last trial, in more ways than Pushok cared to consider in great detail now.

Then his son spoke words that stung, like the knife left in the Cavalier's back at the death of Luca. Again, Lyall had said what Pushok had thought, in better words than he could devise, however harshly delivered. One thing in particular stood out, as well. The pouch of clove cigarettes would be crucial evidence.

Pushok finally rose, his voice lifting after Lyall's had come to rest, “I agriee. We nied moer evidience,” As much as his heart hurt for those lost, and the rest of them left to mourn their loved ones, as much as he hungered for cause and reason and a finger to point for closure, it wasn't worth an innocent life. Wasn't it their vocation, their calling, to protect the weak? Were not three prisoners without proper evidence beneath their umbrella of protection?


[+556]

#8
You lift your chin a little higher - Open your eyes a little wider - Speak your mind a little louder

OOC: stuff here

Two children entered the Court Room, without a parent to guide them in. Borya remained alive... that was all Luna could really say about her father. He was still remaining at the family dens, stuck in shock and unreachable. Even for this, a trial to get justice for their mother's death, papa was unmoving. It certainly hurt, but the pair knew it wouldn't stop them from at least getting involved. Once in the large room however, the two felt as small as ever. Being here on their own just felt like asking for pity, for the sad looks of others who knew they were more or less orphans now. Vez remained a bit behind Luna, his head low and his shoulder leaning on his sister. Luna however was focused, glancing around to see if any other kids were here. 

Given the kind of event this might be... a trial to find a murderer, it made sense for a lot of the youth to remain away. Luna and Vezda would've probably stayed away too, if they weren't directly effected by this awful case and also representing their dad. 

It was still a lot though. Just looking at the three on trial, wondering if one of them had cut the string on their mama's life. Ruined so much that could've been wonderful. Luna looked to them and... found she didn't really care. They all looked scared or defensive, none openly admitting to killing. Not at a murderer would but, surely under such conditions it would've been better to come clean then risk a terrible outcome. 

Nothing about this sat right with the pair, Luna glanced to Vez after the trio spoke to make sure he felt the same, but both turned with full attention as others in the pack spoke up. Lyall, their cousin, gave a surprising speech on how this felt far too random, the blame felt too loose and unjust. It was with those words, then back up by Pushok, that Luna realised what she didn't like about this. Mama wouldn't want this. A life for a life wasn't her way, all life was precious even if it was the beating heart of a killer. Luna nor Vezda wanted revenge for their mama. Perhaps an apology, but spilling blood felt so pointless when it wouldn't bring her back. 

With a few brave steps forward, the girl spoke. "I... would like to speak for my family in this. Papa isn't here but I know he'd agree." Luna began, finding herself tremble under the pressure of watching eyes for a moment before finding her resolve. "I don't think anyone should be killed. Guilty or not. Our mama... is dead. So are others. Killing someone when we don't know if they did it just means more have to die."

"Maybe just... make them leave?" Vezda added, approaching and standing by his sister. "That seems the most safe."

#9
Ooc here

[Image: Nazman.png]Quietly, Nazar entered the trial room. Fury was bright in his eye as his body still remained frail, his stomach twisted in hungry yet sick knots, his muscles trembling under his own weight, and his teeth clenched as he summoned the strength to simply walk. His anger wasn't so noble as to care for those that were ill, or that had died, nor was he concerned with the value of their lives over others, over anything for that matter. He had been wronged, almost killed, by a woman that he had dared to allow teach him something. A witch that he'd helped, and the reason why didn't matter.

He found his place among the back of the hall and took a seat as Cedric and Aldora spoke, their attentions then turned to the three accused.

There, with eyes planted firmly in Tempest's own, his hackles lifted and a growl threatened to rise in his throat. Lies played on her tongue as clear as day as she admitted to her running and what it appeared to be. They had been lucky that it was Maisie and Zetsubou that had found them. They had been lucky that Nazar, the one threat that wouldn't play by the foolish rules of honor or inane laws, was conveniently poisoned.

They had run. From one who understood what running meant, what it earned? I their name there was nothing but guilt to be had.

One Hushhowl son sought to raise his own opinion of the matter, so easily swayed by the silver words that Macbeth had preached and the feigned trembling of the young bard. Beware the silver tongue was a rule they'd never learned, and one that Nazar knew all too well. Pushok, of course, was one to follow after Lyall, unable to form his own opinion for himself. Then came the worst of them all. The two young of the broken born man and his now dead woman, spoke of sparing life. Nazar could sit idle no longer.

He stood, hand pressed to the seat in front of him, but his eyes determined.

“Cannot prove guilt? More evidence?” He scoffed, “Exhile?” Intense blue gaze lifted up to the Lune after a glare was given to the two children of the late Tlama, “As a Dishonored, I risk exile...” Brows furrowed and eyes narrowed as his voice grew low, “ and the mark of a Cavalier's death isn't even on my hands.”

Fists clenched as the pale of his sights befell Tempest, the only of the three that he'd had the regrettable chance to know better than a stranger, “How many of the Cavalier laid ill? How many are so freshly dead that their graves haven't even been lit, while you deliberate whether this was purpose driven, at fault, or as inane as you allow it to be, an accident. What if this was a beginning? A test of the great Casa di Cavalieri's weakness?” Sights slipped from one loner to the next, From Romeo to Macbeth and on Tempest again for a moment before his words resounded again, “Cedric... Lune. Intent does not give return to the dead, nor should it buy time for those that cause it.”

Never had he been so sure of anything as furious eyes crawled back over the accused, falling finally in the woman who dared said she was scared before, “My decision has been made, the night where my life was tried,” A low rumble rattled in his throat as exhausted sights peered into the dancer, “Death.”


[+599]
#10
Ooc here

[Image: Zetsunewref.png]Zetsubou's hand gripped on the edge of his cloak as he listened on to the accused bid for their lives one by one, and then as the Cavalier's rose to voice at the behest of their leaders to speak to what should be done. A democracy that voted against their own king operated no differently when it came to the loners, and for what it was worth, at least there was consistency. Sapient had never had that.

Their guilt or their innocence. It didn't make sense. No matter how one could tile the pieces in whatever order that they might fashion to try and find a full story, there were holes. Just the same, Zetsubou's son, daughter and brother had just barely woken. Borya's wife was dead, his children's mother lost. Despite this, there was hope for the humanity of the Cavaliers. One that Zetsubou wasn't so sure he carried. Isaac. Morty. Minnie.

Aldora.

As the room grew more lively with the views of others and the votes that they cast, he looked to her. Like many Cavaliers, she suffered, too, and yet she remained stoic and firm through this process. Zetsubou took a breath and remembered that no good decision was had when overwhelmed with emotion.

His clenched fist released as a fresh wind traveled through him, and eyes turned to the three loners who just as easily could have been at the wrong place at the wrong time, and there was no solid proof that wasn't the case.

He expected so much of Nazar, but what he did not expect was the mature decisions of Luna and Vezda, two youths that were impacted so heavily by the events of the night before. Their innocence to the world certainly must have colored their decisions, and while Zetsubou couldn't speak for their life or their innocence, but the truth in her statement rang true.

If they were guilty and exiled, then their punishment was to winter over without the Cavalier shelter. A threat in and of itself. If they were innocent, then it would not be long before they figured it out, and less lives would be spent from it all. Then, talk of an olive branch could begin. Until then, Zetsubou did not bother to rise when his voice found the room, “Exhile,” He stated, shaking his head at Nazar's show.


[+402]
#11
Nilda sat in the back and Lyra curled into her. The girl demanded to be there to hear and see what they had to say. Her mother was gone and Nilda found herself coddling her more than she really needed.

The air in the room felt heavy as those around them began to speak. Nilda found herself conflicted; those before them were unknown and they could have been the cause of all this. There was also a chance that the aging members of the pack were at fault. She kept her green eyes locked forward. Though she couldn’t really see.

Lyra was sitting with no smile on her face but she had plastered herself to Nilda's side. Her ears flicked as she listened and took in all the information she could. Nothing made sense, the night had been so fun and when they turned in with mama for the night she never thought she’d awaken to mama not being there.

Nilda listened to her brother speak and even her father. Others like her small cousin Lunatini, Nazar and Zetsubou. She didn’t like this, she didn’t know if they were innocent, she didn’t want to see innocent wolves die. A part of her though didn’t want to chance that they were and wanted to end them. She glanced at the child next to her, this child had been smiling days prior and since that night she had been more stern and more withdrawn. Looking up again she stood from her spot.

“While I agree with my brother and others about needing more evidence I don’t think letting them go free is the right choice.” She looked down at Lyra. “While I’m young I know others have joined us and done nothing until the right moment. I can’t trust their friendship so easily. If they cannot produce evidence that they didn’t do this, death is the only option.” She spoke as she began to seat herself.

She didn’t want to seem cruel but she honestly would end them here and now and not worry about it. She was trying to take a higher road and put aside the anger and fear that filled her. Keeping herself calm as she rested a hand on Lyras back. She could feel the tension the girl held. Though the youth never looked at her.
#12
Chaos.

Suddenly everything erupted and folded out before him like a firecracker being lit off in the public space. Lyall’s ears pinned, before he even sat down everyone began speaking. His father, he was on his side. And then suddenly a pair of brown hands appeared and squeezed him by the shoulders.

Quite a good show boyo.” That glinty  smile with those eyes that danced and ignited something…strange within his chest made him all the more powerful standing amongst the crowd of others. So many people, yet he had never felt so alone. He gritted his teeth at that thought grasping the chocolate brown hand, and holding onto it, leaning onto him for support at the sudden realization that everything was tumbling down.

Where was he before this? What took him so long?

That didn’t matter, all that matter was he was here, and he was present.

Pushok spoke, agreeing with him, and he met his father’s like orbs, before giving a small smile. Next, it was Luna, and he almost bit down hard onto the cheek of his mouth. Aberama’s hands tightened in his hold and the Hushhowl stood, like a hovering drone, buzzing from the excitement.

Then the fucking dishonorable spoke. And Lyall actually suppressed a growl. Aberama stood there, a brief moment he could have sworn he touched his ass and made eye contact with Nazar, but that couldn’t be right… could it?

And who are you to speak to as such? You are dishonorable…. Why? Pray tell, Nazar…” The scowl at the two children wasn’t passed by the Hushhowl and he rose once more, his boyfriend quick to his side. His gaze held sharp and harsh. So supportive. Nazar shouldn’t have even been able to voice his opinion. Now it was Lyall who glared at Nazar.

Nazar spoke, Lyall spoke too. “I was ill! You dare to question and yet, I was afflicted. These children have more sound of mind than you.” He growled out the last part, his anchor squeezed his hand, encouraging himself. A beginning?” Lyall gestured to everyone around them, then towards Nazar. Then he was speechless, it was as though Zetsobou was on Nazar’s side? He flinched. Nilda… goodness, Nilda where is your heart? He looked to her, making eye contact, frowning. Aberama went to speak, but Lyall stopped him, speaking instead.

More evidence is what will determine their fates! Without it you all ask for death, for exile?” Lyall turned to the three in question, then to the Lune and to the Sola. “You lost your mate, we all lost something, or someone…. I was ill, and yet, everything comes back to decisions, why not allow the evidence to be produced? I beg of you, Aldora, Cedric, allow this piece of evidence to prove guilt or truth. And if it is guilt…” he trailed off, Aberama spoke his final thought.

Then it is ta be death.

Lyall nodded his head, and swallowed, hard.But only of those whom are guilty…. This is too much, too much…those who are not guilty, then exiled…” He shook his head, dizziness began to take over his mind in waves, he breathed, almost panting. Aberama helped him stand, adjusting his hold, and outright grasping him by the back of his shirt. Exhaustion was clear but he would fight until the evidence was produced, until someone spoke… the Sola and Lune…
WORD COUNT -
#13

Oh, she'd been sick alright, sick as a dog and just short of throwing up her own stomach at this point — but she wouldn't miss the trial for the world. Too much shit hit the fan for her to want to be anywhere else.

The aftermath was drip-fed to her as she blurred in and out of consciousness, slowly recovering from the effects of the poison; and Viridian had been quite surprised to hear that Tempest was amongst the accused. The Soul never would've suspected her for a murderer

But, then again, her defense just proved that she was a performer, above all else. Chameleons, all three of them; outsiders with no one to vouch for them. Lyall, poor boy, tried his hardest to give them a fighting chance, but few other Cavaliers gave them the benefit of the doubt aside from suggesting more time, execution, exile.

Exile.

Viridian knew that word very well. As much as she wanted to be spiteful and nasty with them for what they may or may not have done, her own experience elsewhere kept her impulsivities in check.

She waited for a lull in the votes — Lyall said his piece, again, and Viri rolled her eyes at his emphatic response to the Dishonorable — before she stood, a Guardsman through and through even if she'd been too ill to help with the investigation, wearing her most stoic, if not slightly bored poker face.

"Banish them," she said simply, as if it were obvious. "What have you got to lose? It's not like they live here, we don't owe anything to them; and, if they really didn't do it, and this is all some grand coincidence" —  Pale eyes narrowed at Tempest on the stand — "then you won't have to worry about killing some innocent minstrels or whatever the fuck they are. And if they did do it, hell."

She laughed, but it was a short and bitter thing.

"They ever try to come back, we finish the job."

Her shoulders heaved with a little sigh. This wasn't a chore, far from it; she understood very well the gravity of the situation, but she also knew they had to keep their heads about them, not think with their hearts. The hurt was still raw.

"They're as good as dead when they leave here anyway. Winter won't wait for them."

[+4]

sig by Raze
#14
Eros was late, and Cedric had already started speaking as the fiery pelted male entered the room.  Despite the gravity of the situation, and the loss the pack had suffered, there was a casual air about the Damaichu male.  Eros didn’t enjoy appearing with his pack mates in the view of loners, he much preferred to remain quiet, a discrete figure with some semblance of deniability, but it would be interesting to watch at the very least.

As folk began to speak, the loners voicing their defence, and the Cavaliers making their opinions clear, Eros remained quiet.  Doubtless something very unusual given his current ability to cause a scene at so many of their gatherings of late.  Instead though, he kept his own counsel, dexterous fingers rolling himself a joint and taking a drag as the atmosphere grew febrile.  As the voices spoke around him, Eros couldn’t help but think of how so much had changed for him.  Gone were the days when someone at a gathering, or in a quiet rendezvous, handed him a scent or scrap of pelt and a price had been negotiated.  Now there was family, friends, politics and wrangling.  Justice, kindness and mercy were certainly pretty damn complicated.

The weed was a strong strain, but did little more than relax Eros a bit as he listened, and again, unlike him, he waited for a lull before speaking, his first words for Macbeth.

”Folk got poisoned, a few of them even died.  You’re loners and or, you ran, of course we were going to fetch you back and lock you up.”

His joint sending up wispy curls of smoke, Eros continued, this time his words were for the room, his eyes not alighting on anyone for long.

”I mean, I’m sure killing them would make folk feel a whole lot better, at least for a little bit.  If you really wanna be mean, rip out their tongues and then send them away, gotta be tricky being a tale singer without one of those right?”

The corners of Eros’s lips quirked in a smirk before he went on.

”Of course, whether we kill them, or not, doesn’t really make a lot of difference.  What I would like to do is, lock them away a bit longer, and spend some time trying to gather some more stuff.  Then, when we find whoever is responsible, gather up their family, friends and connections, including, and I can’t stress this enough, pups, and kill all of them.  See, doing this means no vengeance and no one to grow up and be unhappy with us.”

Eros’s tone was without anger or relish, well maybe a little relish, but mostly it was casual.  He spoke so offhandedly he might have been discussing the route he’d plotted around the borders.  Taking a drag, the fiery pelted Damaichu began speaking again, wisps of smoke escaping from his muzzle as he did.

”There was no other scent on the pouch of poison, other than Isaac’s, which suggests to me it was there for a while, or someone scrubbed it down.  If Macbeth did buy cloves, not hard to find out, we have his stuff.  We need more time to investigate though, and not because innocent lives could be spared, but because Casa may have an enemy, and in order to fight them, we need to find them and understand why.”

Although, if it was loners, then Eros could understand why.  When you were a successful pack, with rich lands and you believed in mercy, decency and protection of those who couldn’t protect themselves, then you were seen as weak, and an irresistible target.  Poison though, that suggested the possibility that whoever did it wasn’t worried about who, just wanted to maximise casualties.  It also might mean that the person was not a fighter or warrior, but someone not physically strong or easily overwhelmed in combat, and also more than likely overlooked.  Eros needed time.  Perhaps coming here had been a waste, whether these loners died or not, the fiery pelted Damaichu needed to continue searching until he found more answers, though if they stayed alive perhaps they could answer questions.
#15
Through This Magnifying Glass - I See A Thousand Fingerprints - On The Surface Of Who I Am 

Thanks for the responses everyone! From the votes here and those over on Discord, the troupe will be detained until further evidence is found!

The cacophony of voices speaking out around the trial pounded against Cedric's head. He'd been proven before that trials to decide a life were never so easy, but this was proving to be a clash of wills. Truly, no opinion was completely wrong, and the Lune could respect that. Those who wished for death? Casa had lost four souls, almost more from the poison, perhaps the evidence was enough to put the weight of those murderers on the troupe and take their lives. A solution Cedric never liked himself, but had grown to understand as a dark necessity with experience. But others called for banishment, not completely convinced the three were killers, believing death to be too strong a charge but that exiling them could still bring a sense of justice to the dead. Then others, the majority of Cavaliers, believed there was a lack of evidence to truly decide. Even Eros claimed this, and the Lune's eyes focused on his cousin's for a moment to ensure no trickery, words spoken as a promise from the master of stealth to complete the investigation. 

Cedric glanced back to the troupe, absorbing their begging pleas and Macbeth's brave call for his own life as payment for Romeo and Tempest's. If... they were innocent, then killing them gained nothing. No... perhaps it proved a barbaric nature to the Cavaliers, proved a lack of strength and control. Just like the Scots had tried to do a year ago; pushing the Cavaliers into a situation where they were forced to judge the life of their own leader. Perhaps this whole thing was set up by someone with more intentions then just a few deaths. Or, perhaps, there was no murderer at all. Just a series of accidents that ended in tragedy. 

But if the troupe were responsible... keeping them within Casa, under watchful eye and with the knowledge that their lives remained in the hands of the pack until true evidence was found, perhaps real justice could occur. 

Decision made, Cedric stood up to hush the crowd. "We will keep them detained." The Lune announced. "I have heard the voices of many Cavaliers, all of you speaking truths from your heart. However... I feel as though caution is necessary. All of us may be suffering, but the past has shown us that swift action does not always lead down the best path." The Lune need not mention the past he was referencing. "Because of this, we will keep the troupe detained here in the Fort, whilst a longer and more in depth investigation can take place." That seemed to be all the Lune needed to say. It might seem underwhelming for the trial to end without any true charge, but Cedric was sure the Cavaliers would rest more easy if the final decision was made with complete proof and evidence rather than what simply felt right at the time. 

As the pack began to disperse, Cedric made sure to catch the eyes of Eros, trying to convey to the man to remain put so they could speak once everyone was gone. 


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