Hello everyone, this is Asclepius, with a wonderful story from Andartianna, entitled
Odd Tidings From The Bear Tavern: A Court House
Background music by Smartsound
Chapter 1, “Familiar, Fairly, Falkes.”
Beer and Banter. Bears they be.
A peaceful world for all to see.
A courthouse grand for laws to teach.
Erected now in Beran’s Reach.
They the Magisters of lawful sight
Call out the failures with voice of might.
Sentence villains for justice please
For law is fact based, not endless pleas.
A loud knock on the door to Dr. Zazeriz’ bed chambers shook her awake out of a deep sleep. Dr. Zazeriz yawned for a moment. Who could possibly be knocking at this hour of the day? The Pub of Extraordinary Thoughts was always open to allow scholars to read and drink, but Dr. Zazeriz’ private chambers were always off limits.
Dr. Zazeriz yawned once more and said, “Who is it?”
“Begging your pardon, governor, but a notice from the Courthouse of Beran’s Reach has arrived for you. I thought it might be important so I brought it right up.” Said Glenda the bar keep who kept the pub running while Dr. Zazeriz was away.
“Very good, Glenda. Please place it on my powder table. I will come and take a look.” Dr. Zazeriz said.
“Yes, Governor.” Said Glenda, who placed the notice on Dr. Zazeriz’ powder table then walked down to the bar.
Dr. Zazeriz slowly got up out of bed and walked out to her dressing room. The cold stone floor felt oddly refreshing on her feet as she walked. She enjoyed carpets on the floor as well, but there was something special about feeling the smooth natural stone on her feet. Dr. Zazeriz opened up her wardrobe and began pulling on her clothes. Depending on the message, she might have to change them again, but for now she put on her normal daily wear clothes.
Dr. Zazeriz walked over to her powder table and picked up the letter Glenda had left for her. It was addressed simply with Governor Andartianna Zazeriz on the cover. The paper was, however, very ornate with a golden bear paw seal on the back. Dr. Zazeriz had visited Beran’s Reach on many occasions while traveling, so she was familiar with the people of that city. She opened the letter and began to read it.
“Most Honorable Governor Andartianna Zazeriz,
You have been nominated by the votes of your peers to become a magistrate of the Courthouse of Beran’s Reach. If you accept this nomination, we invite you to visit Beran’s Reach to begin the confirmation hearings where a group of distinguished leaders from across Novia will evaluate the core of who you are and your abilities to judge fairly and impartially as a magistrate. Please address replies to the Clerk of the Courthouse of Beran’s Reach.
Clerk of the Courthouse of Beran’s Reach”
Dr. Zazeriz rolled up the note after reading it once more through. It occurred to her that it was very peculiar that a courthouse had been constructed in Beran’s Reach. She had visited the courthouse on a few occasions while traveling the area. What was interesting was that the entire city of Beran’s Reach had been built around the comradery of the Bear Tavern, which is at the heart of the city. That the tavern had spawned a courthouse would take some research for historical context for Dr. Zazeriz to understand its creation.
Dr. Zazeriz wrote an acceptance letter, then waved her arm and summoned Falkes. The phoenix stared up at Dr. Zazeriz with reproachful eyes.
“Don’t look at me with complaining eyes. I sealed the letter in a fireproof container.” Dr. Zazeriz said.
Falkes squawked loudly and looked at the floor.
“Yes, I know it’s far and covered with snow. I’m sure you can fly over the mountains north and catch a down draft into Beran’s Reach. I will head out shortly thereafter and meet you in the city.” Dr. Zazeriz said.
Falkes bowed his head, and Dr. Zazeriz handed the fireproof letter container to his outstretched talon. Falkes then shuffled down the hall and flew out a door.
Chapter 2, “Courthouse, Chuckled, Clarke.”
A short while after Falkes had left, Dr. Zazeriz gathered the needed supplies for the short trek to the mountain fortress of Beran’s Reach. She was eager to receive more information about the process of selecting magistrates and the creation of a more unified law system across Novia. Dr. Zazeriz could have waited for a reply from the Court to be returned before leaving for Beran’s Reach, but since she preferred to be out traveling rather than ruminating within her city’s walls, she left Verat Chaos and headed north.
Beran’s Reach was not a long journey from Verat Chaos. A winding path north of Central Brittany led up to the mountain stronghold. Halfway to the city, Falkes flew down and landed next to Dr. Zazeriz. He held out a talon with a scroll held in it.
“Excellent work, Falkes. That was faster than even I thought you could make it. Would you like a Fire Field to relax in while I read the letter?” Dr. Zazeriz asked.
Falkes cooed happily and flew over to a nearby rock. Dr. Zazeriz cast Fire Field, and the circle of fire surrounded Falkes, who then relaxed and nestled down to the rock for a nap. Dr. Zazeriz opened up the fire proof scroll case and read the enclosed letter.
“Most Honorable Governor Andartianna Zazeriz,
We are pleased that you have accepted the nomination to the courthouse at Beran’s Reach. At your earliest convenience you may travel to Beran’s Reach and we can begin the process.
Astor Cerberus, Clerk of the Courthouse of Beran’s Reach”
“Thank you, Falkes. It looks like I’ll be heading on my way. You may follow if inclined or return to Verat Chaos.” Dr. Zazeriz said.
Falkes opened one eye, then closed it and went back to warming himself by the fire.
“Or you can just sit at the Fire Field until it goes out.” Dr. Zazeriz chuckled.
Dr. Zazeriz continued her trek north. After about ten minutes, Falkes came into view overhead circling in the distance. As Dr. Zazeriz climbed the hills outside of Beran’s Reach, she could see that Falkes was waiting on the walls of the city. Dr. Zazeriz finished climbing the hill and entered the gates of Beran’s Reach. White snow was falling around, which seemed to continuously blanket the city in frost. As she neared the Bear Tavern, Dr. Zazeriz saw Clarke waiting by the entrance.
“Greetings, Clarke. I don’t normally see you outside the courthouse. Are you still clerking for the court?” Dr. Zazeriz asked.
“Governor Zazeriz. You are exactly the person I was looking to see.” Clarke said.
“Oh? Do tell.” Dr. Zazeriz said.
“I was asked by Astor Cerberus to wait for your arrival and direct you to your interview.” Clarke said.
“Thank you, Clarke. I appreciate you waiting for me.” Dr. Zazeriz replied.
“Your meeting will be held in the courthouse on the second floor in meeting room A, which is on the left side. The people who will be reviewing you will be wearing masks to conceal their identities so that the judgment will be more impartial.” Clarke said.
“Thank you, Clarke. Is there any other information I need to know?” Dr. Zazeriz said.
“I do not believe so. I will walk you to the courthouse and then Astor Cerberus will take you into the room. He is not one of the people grading you. However, he is the clerk who is overseeing the proceedings.” Clarke said.
“Excellent. Lead the way, Clarke.” Dr. Zazeriz said.
Clark led the way out of the central city off to the north to where the courthouse was located. He did not talk, but simply walked in silence. When they got to the front of the courthouse, Clarke directed Dr. Zazeriz to enter the building as he would be attending to other nominees who were travelling to the city as well. Dr. Zazeriz thanked Clarke and entered the courthouse.
Chapter 3, “Inviting, Immediately, Intimidating. “
Dr. Zazeriz entered the courthouse and, as always, found the entrance hall to be grand and inviting. Astor Cerberus was waiting at the front desk.
“Governor Zazeriz, welcome to the courthouse at Beran’s Reach. I am Astor Cerberus, and it is my pleasure to help with the nomination process. The counsel of nobility and leaders of Novia are waiting in the room upstairs. They will be asking you a series of questions. They will not reply directly to you, but will listen to your answers and then ask follow-up scenarios. Once this process is completed, the leaders selecting the magistrates of the courthouse of Beran’s Reach will grade you and other nominated applicants and decide who is worthy to become a magister of the courthouse of Beran’s Reach.” Astor Cerberus said.
“Thank you, Astor. Is this something we can start immediately, or do I need to wait for another applicant to complete?” Dr. Zazeriz asked.
“The reviewers are not currently with an application, so they may see you immediately if you are ready.” Astor Cerberus said.
“I am ready. Please lead the way.” Dr. Zazeriz said.
Astor led Dr. Zazeriz up to the second floor. He then had her wait in the hall outside the meeting room while he went through the door into the room. Through the door Dr. Zazeriz could hear muffled voices talking to each other. She waited patiently, and in about five minutes, Astor returned to the hall.
“The reviewers are ready for you. There are several of them sitting around the room. As Clarke should have told you, their identities have been concealed so that they receive no pressure in the choice they are about to make. You’ll be asked a series of questions. There are no wrong answers, so answer as truthfully and thoughtfully as you can. When you are ready, simply walk through the door and take a seat.” Astor Cerberus said.
“Thank you, Astor.” Dr. Zazeriz said.
Dr. Zazeriz walked toward the meeting room door. She was not nervous at all. Having faced dragons and deamons, a room full of bureaucrats was not at all intimidating. The room was not particularly large. A round table was on the right side and the various leaders were in chairs around it. There was a blue chair by the fire. Dr. Zazeriz walked over to the chair and took a seat. The people around the table all turned towards her.
“Greetings, Governor Zazeriz. We have heard many wonderful things about you. We are so glad that you accepted the nomination to be considered for a position as a magistrate. We will begin this interview process by asking you some questions. If you are ready, you can begin,” one of the reviewers said.
“Thank you, and thank you to all the reviewers who are helping in this process. You may proceed with the questions.” Dr. Zazeriz said.
A woman’s voice chimed in from one of the reviewers. “We are going to begin by telling you a scenario and then asking you questions about it.
“This is the first scenario:
“It is your day to take the bench and a new case is to be heard this morning. As you are reading over the documents, you hear the door open as the claimants begin to enter the courtroom. First is the defendant, Dinsoo of the Moongate Travelers. You have heard of him as an upstanding citizen of New Britannia; always looking out for others and putting every effort in to help whenever and whomever they may, newcomer and old alike.
“Next to enter the courtroom is the plaintiff, Baron Drocis F. of Rats Nest. He is also known throughout the land, but you have heard of him in other circles for quite a different reason. He’s outspoken to the point that some see him as argumentative and taking pleasure in causing disruption.
“Reading over the case before you as you prepare to hear arguments, you have questions of legitimacy flooding your mind. The charge is as follows: Baron Drocis has charged Dinsoo with biting him in an attempt to eat him.
“As everyone rises to be sworn in you take your seat.”
One of the other reviewers then chimed in. “Now that you have heard the scenario, here are the questions we would like you to answer. How do you feel about seeing these two enter your courtroom and whom do you rule in favor of and why?”
Dr. Zazeriz thought for a moment, and then replied, “On the first question, I have no specific prejudices towards either party. Regardless of how good or bad a person seems to society as a whole, the facts of the case are the only things that matter. I would need to look for motive such as what caused the defendant to bite the plaintiff. Were there mitigating circumstances? What is the law regarding biting and eating a person? The only reason I would question legitimacy would be if an action is not against the law, does not have any evidence to support the charges, or does not have standing to sue as in a third party person who was not involved. In these cases, the defendant could move for a dismissal and I would agree. On the second question, with the limited information that has been provided, I could not rule for either party. I would need a lot more details. Being a magistrate, you can’t really assume anything. I can’t assume that biting is against the law in a specific area. It is entirely possible the parties were engaged in an open combat situation where biting would be acceptable. Likewise, the charge of cannibalism is also not illegal everywhere. There are cultures where eating dead relatives is considered an honor for both the dead and the living as they become part of each other.”
“Thank you, Governor Zazeriz, for answering our questions. We will review your answers over the next few days and, if you are selected to continue the interview process, we will summon you again. You may wait in rooms provided in Beran’s Reach.” One of the reviewers said.
“Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.” Dr. Zazeriz said.