Harper Hall - Great Hall
Monumental and somewhat intimidating, the Great Hall is large and echoing, being the heart of all performances and it is spacious enough to accommodate large audiences. The high ceilings and the way they curve provide a nice amplification of sound. A stage has been built to the far end of the Hall and a curtained apron hangs in front of it. Electric lights have been installed to ensure that the room is never dark, though glows are often still used for atmospheric effect. Benches are placed in neat and even rows and when not in use, the Great Hall doubles as an extra Lecture or Practice Hall or is used for rehearsals. Bronze-shuttered windows are cut into the wall facing the courtyard and left open should the weather permit. No tapestry of decor of any kind hang here, so as not to risk dampening the sound of a performance.

It would be a normal and typical wintery morning, with the air outside a bitter cold and fresh snow covering the ground. All appears normal at least and for most of Harper Hall, business goes on as usual — everywhere but the Great Hall. Guards from Fort Hold stand by the doorways, barring access to all but a select few as on this particular morning the room is not a source of music and entertainment. Today it has been setup as a courtroom and already the Master Harper standing in as judge is seated behind his podium, with the Journeymen and Apprentice Harpers elected as jurors settled at his one side at their own bench. Another has been set along the wall to hold the witnesses and further back from that seating has been arranged for the very few granted audience to this occasion. Mostly representatives from various Holds (if not their own posted Harpers), Br'enn of Phoenix Wing standing in for Fort Weyr's leadership and any other guests who may be there as support to the witnesses (but not actual witnesses themselves — complicated, isn't it?).

Rayathess is among the group of witnesses, completely out of place with his Journeyman Harper knot. His expression is dark and grim and he sits stiffly in the farthest corner of the benches, eyes staring firmly ahead. The Master Harper acting as judge finally clears his voice, effectively subduing any of the low whisperings. "I believe we're ready to begin? Apprentice Tivaly, if you'll prepare to read the charges." the old Master intones gravely, before lifting his voice to be carried down the Hall. "Bring them in!"

And in smooth running order, the Guards by one of the smaller entryways turn and open them and the sound of shuffling feet can be heard as the line of prisoners are lead inside single file. Many are men, varying in age and all rough looking. Some walk with their heads bowed, others stone faced and some brazenly sneering. Behind them, a small knot of women, including one who's eyes instantly turn for that witness stand but she says nothing as she shuffles along with the rest until they're all standing facing the raised dias where the judge and jurors sit…

Ezra sits near the back, as support for his brother. Dressed in his formal attire, Stonehaven's colors proudly displayed in black, silver and turquoise, he wears his Cotholder's knot and his gold firelizard is perched calmly on his shoulder. Hands are folded in his lap and he watches his brother, and then the witnesses being led in. One woman in particular captures his gaze and his expression hardens when he sees her. His hand shifts, reaching out to take the hand of the woman sitting beside him, darting a look at her to see how she's handling this. Then attention moves forward again.

Laurali is indeed sitting next to her husband and she will gratefully take his hand as the prisoners are led past where they sit and while her eyes had been on them, when she spies that one woman she looks hastily away. So far, she is calm and quiet but it's clear she is tense and on edge, her free hand worrying the edge of her long sleeves.

S'dny is here as well. This time he is dressed in his good uniform indicating that he is a member of Chaos wing. Two knots are found on his shoulder, one indicating that he is a journeyman harper, then other indicating that he is an assistant weyrlingmaster. His face too wears a grave, though the serious subject matter is not the only reason. The normally affable harper is fidgeting with discomfort that is not entirely due to the brand new uniform he is still getting used to wearing. Occasionally for a second or two here and there the grave expression on his face fades to a far away look that is more one of anxiety, but then its right back to the grave face. He observes the accused as they are marched in and sighs. Trials. He'd hoped to get away from this and after tonight he will. This is the last favor he is doing for the harper hall if he has any say in the matter.

From the heat of Igen to the cold of Harper, Tivaly has had quite the day already. She was, of course, prepared for this, made aware of her part and practiced to ensure she understood her role; when you stand on the cusp of a promotion, you have to be ready to be pushed a step closer to the edge at any time, and she receives the 'honor' of this burden decorously. Her pale eyes slide over the men and women that enter, emotionless, and she stands appropriately once the initial fuss of activity has passed, once they're all standing, once the whispers have died away. The list of charges is no small read, with names and crimes - "…Madrick, Selvin, Gartem, of attempted murder, theft, and assault. Lyreh, of assault, theft, and accessory to murder." And that's the last of them, her clear voice falls silent there, and the paper from which she'd been reading is folded tidily down a seam that already exists near its middle.

The Master Harper's expression is impassive and unmoving, a mask of stony neutrality and he barely seems to shift as the charges are read out by Apprentice Tivaly until his nod signals that she's done well. "You may be seated," he tells her in a lowered voice and sitting forwards in his chair, his eyes will look upon those gathered and the line of accused below him with a now grave and serious expression. "We're gathered here this morning to pass sentencing on these men and women. Now that we've heard the charges, would the accused like to say anything in their defence?" The silence that follows is almost deafening and weighs heavily, broken only by the shifting of the line of prisoners and the rattling of their bonds. Most just stare, unspeaking and Madrick, Selvin and Gartem do not speak up to challenge their charges. The one woman, Lyreh, speaks up after giving Tivaly a narrowed look (as if the Apprentice is solely to blame) and S'dny too for good measure. "I plead not guilty to accessory!" she states boldly and in the witness stand, Rayathess's eyes close and his jaw works slowly as if fighting the urge to speak out or… be sick. It'll also give him the excuse to ignore the looks sent his way.

The Master Harper quirks a brow but nods his head. "So be it. S'dny, if you could call the witness?" the man asks before he settles back in his chair to wait.

Ezra clenches his teeth in a sudden surge of furious anger, his hand twitching against Laurali's. He knows Lyren did that /just/ to make Rayathess take the stand. And he hates her for it. Loathes her. He fidgets, wanting to…do something. Anything. But he doesn't.

Laurali mirrors Rayathess' behaviour and her eyes close in a mixture of disbelief and dread. Why didn't Lyreh just keep her mouth shut like the others? She'll grip his hand firmly and when her eyes open again, she'll keep them turned towards the front even if it means catching Lyreh's eye now and again.

"The first witness to be called is Journeyman Rayathess Stonehaven." S'dny intones from his place as he observes the frown being sent his way. If he cares or has any particular feelings about the scowl they don't show on his face. Only a certain resignation shows and a tiny bit of fidgeting remains as he adjusts in his seat. His gaze then falls on said witness, ready to hear him out.

Nodding placidly, Tivaly does as invited, sitting quietly. She'll hold Lyreh's gaze for as long as the woman cares to send it, her own expression so utterly unreadable that it's obvious she practices: no girl of seventeen pulls off that flat without rehearsing in a mirror. Even when Rayathess's name gets called out in all its glory, there's no more than a twitch of sympathetic recognition in the eyes that - like nearly everyone else's in the room - shift toward the Journeyman.

Ha'ze sitting silently and without expression is nothing new. His arms sit folded across his chest as he sits with the witnesses any ill at ease within him tucked firmly away behind those dark brown eyes. His gaze is fixed on the accused, not flickering for a second in their dark intensity towards those who stand trial. He could almost be a stone statue as only the barest hint of breathing moves from him. Oh, and he's sitting as far from Rayathess as possible.

A twitch of sympathetic recognition is better than nothing and while Rayathess may be dimly aware of such looks, it's evident that the Journeyman is focusing on just moving from the witness benches to take a seat at the witness stand. Nothing like being singled out either in the spotlight to make his already fragile mood all the worse. He pointedly does not look at Lyreh though she'll be looking at him and once given the nod from the Master Harper to begin, he'll speak through gritted teeth but clear enough for all to hear. He starts from the beginning, on what led him to cross paths with Lyreh to begin with. Something about a project, a gathering of notes to complete the historical records on Laris and his holdless followers. "… we'd agreed to meet alone. Only realized too late that she'd brought along her companions…"

Lyreh immediately begins to protest this, only to be silenced by the Master Harper knocking his gavel against the podium. "The accused will remain silent, please, until the witness is finished! You will have your chance after to plead your defence," he states severely and giving the woman a look that warns her not to push the matter further. Lyreh falls into a sullen and brooding silence and it takes Rayathess several seconds to regain his track of thought. "… Seeing that she had not held to her promise, I tried to walk away. That's when I was hit by the first arrow and after that I cannot remember what happens…" Which may or may not be wholly true but the Master Harper seems satisfied with the testimony and gestures for Rayathess to take his seat and the Journeyman will waste no time in hurrying back to his spot among the witnesses. The Master Harper will then turn to S'dny and Tivaly, "I'll give you two a moment to discuss amongst yourselves if need be. Tivaly, you may call the next witness when ready." So they can get the full story. Oh joy of joys?

Ezra shifts in his seat slightly, darting a quick look at Laurali. He's also trying to be psychic, beaming encouraging thoughts to his big brother. Damn you, Lyreh. He hopes you get exiled. You're a horrible, horrible person. Etc.

Laurali's expression is difficult to read and doubly so because she is so quiet and still. If it wasn't for her occasional shifting and fidgeting, one would wonder if she was even awake — but she is. Even if she wishes she didn't come here today, as she's certain now of the fate Lyreh's facing and it was painful to have to see Rayathess dragged up like that. Now another will be called, while the other men just stand in line and wait, glowering at Lyreh for snarling things and dragging this out longer than it ought to go.

S'dny speaks softly with Tivaly, "If what the harper said is true." Because that can generally be assumed in most cases, "It does not necessarily make her an accesory to murder. Agreeing to meet alone isn't a sufficent justification for the charge. It can only stand if the accused knew and willingly consented to lure the witness to this place. If that fact is proven beyond a reasonable doubt then the accessory charge can stand. If not it will have to be dismissed." The joys of being impartial. Lyreh may well be a crook and an all around bad person, but that doens't make you guilty of everything.

"Do you reasonably doubt that she knew what would come of her actions in asking to meet with him?" is Tivaly's low-voiced question in response, her placid features shifting but briefly when she shakes her head, her eyes narrowed into an expression that reasonably doubts S'dny's capacity for reasonable doubt. "Perhaps the next witness can clarify?" she suggests, lifting questioning brows: should she have the next-in-line summoned?

Ha'ze, stone, over there listening. There's a few details that Rayathess surely wouldn't be aware of, but having arrows sticking through him is probably a good excuse. Resume statue sitting and expressionless staring.

S'dny is normally very verbally effusive and quite wordy, but tonight it just isn't happening, "Yes. I do for the moment." he says blandly with another round of fidgeting, "If the next witness is convincing then perhaps I will change my mind." For the moment though he's staying firm in his thought.

Rayathess is also like a statue — for now. It's getting far more difficult for him to just sit there and wait as the trial drags out. There's only so long that he can pretend not to notice Lyreh there and the men who likely had a hand in trying to kill him (and others, no doubt). Luckily no one can see his hands restlessly clenching and unclenching from fists against his legs, right? Right. He stays quiet, his expression hardened and grim… even when he spies his brother and sister-in-law over there.

Ezra shifts slightly, and if Lyreh looks at him she'll find him looking back at her with a scowl.

Yay! Dissent in the jury box! Courtroom drama at its finest! "In that case," begins Tivaly in her just-for-S'dny voice, then turns back to the Hall at large, standing with her hands resting lightly on the table before her. "Ha'ze, rider of bronze Kainaesyth, you're called to testify as a witness in this matter." Her pale eyes find the young bronzerider in among the witnesses while she resumes her seat.

Well that name gets some interest stirring and mostly from the men currently standing bound and tied in a single line. All eyes are on Ha'ze now and theirs are far from friendly. Lyreh is among them too but for a brief moment she looked downright startled to hear the name of the next witness and moreso that she recognizes him. The Master Harper waits patiently, his thick brows furrowed together in thought as he gestures for Ha'ze to take his seat at the witness stand. "Can you tell us what happened that day, Wingrider Ha'ze?" And spare no details.

If the world was a fair place Ha'ze would be on an Island in the Southern Continent right now. But no, he's here helping put the final nails into the thing that has driven him for the last turn and given him purpose. His eyes meet Tivaly's for a moment before mutely Ha'ze pushes himself up and moves towards the stand. If Rayathess is passing Ha'ze will pointedly go the other way around to avoid close contact. Not. Friends. (Sorry Rayathess. Kainaesyth promises to keep working on that.) Into the chair he settles, arms across chest, gaze fixed on the harpers in charge and not those who would meet their fate here. Even after directed to speak Ha'ze remains silent, his eyes distant, the sign of speaking-to-dragon-in-progress. There's a slight break in his statue-apperance as he finally opens his lips, the words coming low and slow. He's not the storyteller in this pair. "Apprentice," take that Rayathess, "Rayathess had a bone headed idea to be seekin' out holdless to gather a story of Laris' camps. I came along to be watchin' his back. He met up with his informant," Slight nod of his head towards Lyreh, "and they talked. Couple of those with her decided his runner was too temptin' to pass up. They attacked. I attacked back. Rayathess' runner high tailed it out after he started lookin' like a pincushion. Girl got her people to stop. Couldn't be gettin' out myself. Ended up goin' back to camp with them."

"And what happened in those camps? Did she show any signs that she had had no intentions of harming Harper Rayathess?" The Master Harper asks as he looks down gravely at Ha'ze, leaving it to Tivaly and S'dny to chew over the words 'Girl got her people to stop' and discuss quietly among themselves when not listening to the bronzerider's testimony (and something they've likely got on record somewhere already). Is that a sign of innocence or just further damning evidence?

In the benches, Rayathess is starting to crack and if there was any time he'd wish he could just slink away and disappear — now would be one of those times! His jaw works silently, his eyes glaring at the floor. As for Lyreh? She's shooting daggers at Ha'ze, which does little to better her image for the Harpers no doubt weighing her fate. This is NOT a woman who looks to have an ounce of remorse in her for everything that happened.

There are always two sides to every story, and it seems that the wingrider has provided one of the missing pieces. A very large missing piece at that. He leans over to Tivaly, "You see. There you go. She's a thief and a renegade, but didn't seem to be aware of what her associates were planning to do and even tried to stop them. While she doesn't have a stellar character doesn't sound like an accessory to me. She does need to be punished, but perhaps not as severely as her cohort." S'dny says.

Ezra snorts softly where he sits, leaning over to murmur to Laurali. "Let her go and give her a blade, and /then/ see what her character is…"

Tivaly may not look completely convinced, even after S'dny's comments… but that really cuts both ways. She doesn't seem totally sold either way, which - guess what! - constitutes reasonable doubt. Her nose crinkles, her lips turn up, and she's forced to admit, "You're right." But! "The trial's not over, though. I'd like to hear the rest."

Laurali tilts her head towards Ezra when he murmurs and her reaction is to give him a stricken look. He does remember that Lyreh was once her friend, right? This trial can be easy on her (yet why isn't she standing up to defend the woman? Hmm.). She'll say nothing, only turning to look straight ahead again as the trial edges on, noting how restless the other prisoners are beginning to look.

"Bull sh*t." Ha'ze's voice cuts through the courtroom as the whisper reaches his ears. "Camps had one purpose, to be theavin' and murderin' as they was wantin' to. Lyreh would've been lettin' them kill me in a heartbeat if it wasn't her neck on the life if'n I wasn't useful. Surprised Ustrr left her alive after I killed another of his men runnin'." His peace spoken Ha'ze flicks his gaze towards the master harper and settles back again. "What do you want to be knowin?" About the camps.

Ezra kind of regrets what he said, but not /that/ much. He gives his wife's hand a squeeze and looks forward again with another dark scowl. Old-Lyreh was her friend. This is /not/ Old-Lyreh. New-Lyreh made different choices and now she'd better pay for them.

"Language!" The Master Harper acting as judge mutters sternly to Ha'ze, giving the bronzerider a reproachful look. Really, now! This is a court of law. Satisfied that the warning will stick, he falls silent to listen to what more is said. All too soon though, he has to slam his gavel down and shout for order as Ha'ze's words not only have Lyreh loudly protesting, but the other three accused men along with her. It'll take some threatening from the approaching Guards to get them to settle down and by then the Master Harper looks rather flustered and annoyed, "That will be QUITE enough and I will not ask again for the accused to be silent until the witness is done speaking and only when called upon!" Fixing a glare until order and calm preside again, the Master Harper will clear his throat and look down at Ha'ze. "I believe we've heard enough. Thank you, Wingrider." And just like that, the bronzerider is off the hook! He then turns to where S'dny and Tivaly sit and he will bend his head low to murmur quietly while the whispering resumes throughout and the accused wait in sullen silence. "Have you two reached a decision?"

If not for the abrupt DISMISSAL Ha'ze would probably swear again. Court of law? Who cares? He's even in the middle of opening his mouth to perhaps give a less tightlipped explination of Ustrr's camp, before he shuts his lips again. He's even standing before something occurs to him and he stops. "What about the attack on the candidates?" He turns to examine the Master Harper.

Rayathess just sits still as stone (or so it appears) when chaos breaks out and does nothing but stare between the 'judge', Ha'ze and Lyreh, as well as the other men facing trial. His hands, unseen, are now curled and his nails have begun to dig and bite into his palms. Hold it together…
The Master Harper looks both annoyed and surprised when Ha'ze questions him but rather than brush the bronzerider off, he respectfully answers him. "That was already taken into consideration concerning the charges and why some of these men now face several assault charges. Lyreh, however, was not present for that incident." he states firmly. Satisfied?

S'dny has no doubt that the camps were all about thieving and murdering, but that isn't the question of the hour. The question is is Lyreh and accessory to /this/ murder, and in his opinion the matter isn't completely settled. There is an old axiom in the law: Silence gives consent. Lyreh was not silent in their attempt on Rayathesses life, therefore she did not consent and is not guilty of the crime that she is being accused of, at least not as guilty as the others. S'dny confers with Tivaly and after a few moments of discussion, "We remain unconvinced for the present of the accessory charge, even if the other charges seem very clear cut."

Ha'ze stares down the Master Harper for a second before turning away. Instead of going back to the witness stand though, his footsteps take him right out of the door as he turns his back on Lyreh and anyone else. Hopefully no one else wanted to talk to him, because Ha'ze slams the door open and lets it bang shut behind him.

All the murmured voices among the representatives from the Holds and the space between the raised dias provide excellent cover for any discussion between the Master Harper and S'dny and Tivaly. He'll listen to the Monaco bronzerider gravely and then nod his head. "I am in agreement with your decision," he says quietly and then with a sigh, adds: "Let's move on then." In which S'dny and Tivaly's role now fall to bearing witness to the sentencing, which will be further sealed with either Ha'ze or Br'enn's (or both of theirs) agreement on the part of the Weyrs. Striking the gavel to gain quiet and everyone's attention which is momentarily derailed when Ha'ze storms out and the Hall echoes with the bang of the door being slammed shut. The Master Harper clears his throat again and takes a slow, steadying breath as his eyes slide from having followed the bronzerider's exit and back to the crowd assembled.

"We've come to a decision and will rule in favour of Lyreh's plea of not-guilty on charges of accessory to murder. All other charges stand." He pauses, letting the swell of whispering ebb again before speaking. "In the case of Madrick, Selvin and Gartem and their charges of attempted murder, and numerous charges of theft and assault… we find them guilty and sentence them to exile to the eastern rings. In the case of Lyreh," And he will look down to her, "We find her guilty of the charges of theft and assault laid against her. She is to be sentenced to a term of ten Turns in the mines north of Crom." Which is a polite way of saying she's going to a prison — or as close to one that the Pernese get to. No one happily goes to those mineholds to work and live. "All in favour?" While the accused can only stare dumbfoundedly as they absorb their fates, there is a resounding "Heard and witnessed!" from the group of Holder representatives.

Ezra scowls, letting go of Laurali's hand to cross his arms over his chest. The court has /failed/ in this. His teeth are gritted, his jaw working. Ten turns. He'll mark it on his calendar. Ten turns and Lyreh will be free again.

Rayathess grits his teeth and just bows his head when the sentencing begins and remains unmoving where he sits. He looks at no one, just at his feet but even at a distance his posture is taut and Faranth only knows how he's still keeping it together. Needless to say, once the court is dismissed… no one better be int he Journeyman's way when he goes to storm out. For now, he stays rooted to the spot (and that likely makes it all the worse).

Laurali makes a soft, choked sound when the sentencing falls and while Ezra may not be pleased, she's looking pretty upset too but for a variety of reasons.

And Lyreh? Is of course spluttering and struggling to find the words to protest but it seems for once words are failing her, save for a sharp "No!" said in disbelief and largely ignored by the court.

"What did you expect?" Ezra yells towards Lyreh, unable to contain himself. "That they'd just break your arrows and let you go?"

S'dny witnesses the sentencing and from the place where they were sitting and hears the verdict, "Heard and witnessed." It seems fair enough from where he is standing, though he doens't have the emotional involvement that the others present do. Since the trial is concluded he is now in a position to go and deal with other matters. Matters that are very pressing for him, and indeed all of Monaco.

Lyreh whirls to face Ezra, though it pulls the tethers linking her to her 'comrades' tight, causing the men to be jostled as their hands and feet are all tied to the same rope. Before she can do more than shout a few curses his way though, the Guards are moving in to take her and the others out. The representative for Fort Weyr chimes in and with unanimous decision, the Master Harper knocks the gavel again. "Then it's decided. Sentencing stands and will be overseen immediately and this court is now adjourned." Done is done and the Great Hall erupts in many voiced conversations, which drown out the continued protests coming from Lyreh until she and the other men disappear out a side door.

With nothing to keep him there, Rayathess exits the witness benches and before anyone can call him or delay him… the Journeyman Harper is gone. He doesn't run out but he knows enough tricks to just blend in and disappear and it's for the best. He's not in a good frame of mind and wisely should be left alone.

Similarily, Laurali also pulls a vanishing act and not long after Ezra gives in to his temper and openly challenges Lyreh. Good going? Now he has the joy of chasing her down through the crowds of dispersing folk…