Standing in the center of the large room, Tata Sous-sus could feel her entire body shaking. Bleacher seats had been erected against the walls to her left and right. Behind her stood a dozen palace guards. Before her sat three men with tall conical hats that covered their faces, revealing only their eyes and mouths through narrow slits. They sat at a dark wooden table and were elevated at least 5 meters above everybody else in the room. It was, in fact, a makeshift courtroom that had been built on the first floor of the dreaded North Tower, that she might be arraigned for murder charges in the death of the Baroness, Lady Greenmeadow.
The man in the center spot at the table began to speak. To Tata, his words were cryptic, peppered with Latin phrases and punctuated with the words, “whereas,” and “therefore.” Twice the judge asked her, “How do you plead?” But it seemed as if all powers of speech had left her. The third time, the judge fairly shouted, “Madame! How do you plead to these very serious charges?”
“I never hurt anyone in my entire life!” Croaked Tata Sous-sus. “Never! As God is my witness!”
The judge at Tata’s left spoke. Straining her ears, Tata thought she recognized the voice, “Innocent. Record her plea as innocent.”