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Scene: Ailim Judging
judge's face firmly in place, she walked to the Sage's
Chair and sat.
the time mid-afternoon came and her last case, Ailim was
ready to be done with her day. She'd reinstalled the weathershield
she'd banished at noon when sunlight had shone directly
in her eyes.
studied the two mid-aged men standing in front of her.
Just by looking at them she knew that one had a pinched,
ungenerous nature, and the other was bewildered by the
events that had overtaken him.
dispute was between two master stonemasons, one of GraceHouse
status, the other of GrandHouse. The narrow-nosed, pinched-lipped
T'Equie accused T'Ginger of copying his original designs.
took a minimum of Ailim's Flair to realized the problem
was a simultaneous idea.
She pressed her lips together. The case wasn't as obvious
as it had looked on papyris.
large stone cornices sat on either end of her desk. One
was elegant in its simplicity, the other exuberant and
lush in its execution, much like the natures of the men
before her. Both pieces showed old Earth fairies peeking
between leaves as the subject. She could swear that T'Ginger's
fairies had a mischievous twinkle in their eyes as they
peered at her and knew that was an indication of the Flair
he'd used in carving the building cornerpiece.
men were first generation nobles, raised to that rank
because of their Flair, and it was evident by Equie's
manner that he'd always been jealous of the other. Ailim
suspected that Equie wouldn't listen to anything she'd
say and challenge her ruling if it went against him. His
determination to fight this to the bitter end, no matter
how long and how expensive it might prove radiated from
appeal from her decision would be before the NobleCouncil,
costly indeed, and something that could wreck the reputations
of both men.
try reason anyway. She folded her hands before her and
leaned slightly forward. "Before me, I see two exquisite
works of art. You are both to be commended for your Flair
and your skill."
copied me," T'Equie mumbled, crossing his arms and
angling his body away from T'Ginger and Ailim.
looked at Equie. He met her gaze.
evidence before me," she gestured to the holo cylinders
of witnesses set on the right hand side of her desk, "shows
that these cornices were set within a few days of each
other, after weeks of work by both of you."
face set in harder lines. "He used my sketches to
fuel his imagination."
pulled back his shoulders. "That's not true."
narrowed his eyes, unfolded his arms and pointed at his
rival. "The idea was mine. Fairies have never been
used in stonework before."
for a long time. But there's an old Downwind building..."
snorted. "You, Downwind? I can't believe..."
Ailim made her word reverberate with enough power to remind
them both that hers was the greatest Flair. T'Equie stilled,
T'Ginger flushed. Even the farthest spectators' hushed
knows there is such a thing as synchronicity, an idea
or an image or a story whose time has come to be told.
Life and civilization is a cycle."
looked at her with veiled scorn.
continued, "I believe that this particular case before
me is one of synchronicity.
concept that you both sculpted existed in the stream of
creative force and touched you both. And each of you brought
your own visualization and skill to that concept."
It wasn't enough to appease T'Equie.
the fact is, that both of us executed the concept. One
of us will be seen as a copycat," T'Equie said. T'Ginger
shifted his bulk from foot to foot.
with this case before them," Ailim replied gently.
"And your differing styles are such that there are
those that will prefer one image over the other.
that your ruling?" asked T'Equie.
tilted her head. "That's what I know to have occurred."
heaved a great breath of relief.
mouth pursed even more. "I will appeal."
moment," Ailim said, inwardly setting her shields
and sending her mind down trained paths to conduct a demonstration
that would resolve everything. "I believe neither
of you has considered that I am a telempath."
both of the men looked uneasy.
your case was scheduled to be heard today before my predecessor,
Supreme Judge Goldenseal, and he retired, you were given
a choice to have a different judge than me to decide this
matter. You chose to have the case heard by me."
would have been another month before someone else could
hear this," T'Equie muttered.
wanted it done," T'Ginger said. "Right now neither
of us can finish our building construction until this
is settled. Winter with its storms and snows is coming.
We need a decision." He bobbed his head as he spoke.
T'Equie said, planting his feet and crossing his arms.
"Let's get it done."
just said you would appeal," Ailim reminded him in
a voice that reached only to them. Then she spoke louder.
"When you agreed to have me as your judge, you signed
a waiver that you didn't want attorneys to speak for you."
come this far without lawyers, we wanted our own voices
heard, our craft to speak for us." T'Ginger swept
his arm wide.
need to have additional blood-suckers involved,"
T'Equie said. Ailim figured he thought of her in that
light. She let go a steady breath.
tapped a pair of papyris, each with an elaborate seal
at the bottom. "You both also agreed that I could
use my Flair as I see fit to try this case." She
gathered the focused energy inside her. "And I choose
to do so." She tested the barriers to their minds.
"We will link."
made the connection to the surprised Ginger first, then
sent his thoughts of apprehension and embarrassment to
Equie in a wave of distraction, and snaked under his defenses.
juggling act began. She'd gone in too deeply with T'Equie
and she drew back, plucking out his true belief that T'Ginger
had counterfeited his concept and the resentful energy
that made him file suit. She stripped away all undertones
of jealousy from the man before sending his belief along
the three-way link to T'Ginger. She felt the shock and
hurt of Ginger as he received the pulse of information.
she gathered the truth from Ginger. He'd wandered the
streets during Summer Solstice and found himself Downwind
during the celebrations. There he'd seen a crumbling building
embellished with fanciful motifs. That night he'd dreamed
of fairies peeking through the lush trees of Celta and
playing hide-and-seek with him. Ailim sent his experience
steadied Equie as he rocked under the brush of another
mind. When she felt the beginning of acceptance of the
truth by Equie, she gently broke the link. She wondered
if he would twist the truth enough to deny it. No one
knew better than she that every fact was colored by the
mind that processed it.
filled Judgment Grove. A wave of fascination and awe broke
over her from the spectators. T'Equie stood unnaturally
still, his chest rising and falling quickly, his mouth
twisted in uncomfortable lines. Ailim could hear T'Ginger's
stertorous breathing and his face was flushed.
T'Equie said jerkily. "Supreme Judge D'SilverFir,
I accept your ruling. This action is at an end. We thought
of the idea at the same time." He turned and strode
across the platform and down the three stairs, leaving
bailiff scuttled to his formal position and pounded his
staff on the stage. "Hear all. The Supreme Judge
stood. "My judgment is this: Neither T'Equie nor
T'Ginger is at fault in this matter. Both saw the light
of the cosmic fire which inspired them. The work growing
from this inspiration* is each unique. This is the decision
of the Judgment Grove. This is the truth. This session
will now say the closing prayer. By the Lady and Lord
let us give thanks that the day is closed and these actions
have come to an end. Let us believe that all has progressed
for the good of all and according to the free will of
all. Blessed be."
be," echoed from around the Grove.
glanced at Yeldoc. "You may dissolve the sacred circle
and dismiss the weathershield."
did so, then gestured to two of Equie's workmen, who brought
a shroud of fine cloth to sheathe his cornice, and placed
it in an above-the-ground glidercart.
T'Ginger pulled a handkerchief from his robe pocket and
wiped his face with it.
was amazing, utterly amazing, GrandLady...ummm, judge."
Despite his portliness, he managed a courtly bow.
waved a fleshy hand and two beaming men dressed in his
colors wrapped and carried off his piece of work.
thanks. My many, many thanks." T'Ginger grinned,
then backed away, shaking his head. Ailim knew he was
going to dine out on the story for months to come about
how the telempath D'SilverFir tried his case the first
day of her appointment as Supreme Judge.
the edge of the platform, he jumped to the ground beyond
the three steps, big belly jiggling.
allowed herself a small smile until she felt the surge
of gleeful satisfaction from her enemy. She stilled, as
quiet as hunted prey, and set her mind to sifting through
those leaving the Grove.