It was time for the first examination of Madam Blukovsky. Forced to stand atop the seat of an armless chair, two guards stood at attention to her left and right. This was primarily so that they could catch her, let she lose her balance. Her hands were bound tightly with thick rope. At least they were tied behind her back. That would have been intolerable for anybody.
Across from the unfortunate woman were three judges. The primus inter pares sat in the middle, flanked by less experienced jurists. “Madam Blukovsky, the purpose of this hearing is to determine if the charges against you have merit. If so, you will be passed over to the Court of Religious Conformity to stand trial.” Intoned the chief judge. “Do you understand the charges that you face?” Rather than answer, Madam simply stared straight ahead, still as a statue and just as silent.