Shelly crouched down to pick up the parchment which had fallen to the floor. She smoothed out the damp square on her dress and was just about to fold it when something caught her eye. The crowd was still buzzing, yet she managed to keep her composure. The sense of impending doom and betrayal was fresh on her mind. Why would the Lord of Anger leave Lord Confused in charge? It made no sense. She knew that Lord Angry had a soft spot for Lord Confused after fighting side by side during the last crusade for the books, but he had to know how important this was, right?
“Uh, hello everyone,” Lord Confused began. “I am ready to begin the trial. King Stannis, Lord Axey? Shall we proceed?”
“Yes, let’s get this business over with straight away,” said Lord Axey as he adjusted his doublet. The embroidered ram upon his breast was worked in spun gold and shone brightly in the midday sun.
King Stannis did no more than nod his head and look at Lady Shelly.
“We are ready to proceed then! Bring in the first witness!” exclaimed Lord Confused.
Shelly heard the sound of footsteps and felt her heartbeat quicken, though she dare not turn her head to see who was approaching. The crowd started buzzing again, but was quickly quieted by a fierce look from King Stannis.
A beautiful YiTish woman with skin as smooth as polished marble approached the stand and Shelly immediately knew who she was.
“Lady Eliana of House Arithmetic,” said Lord Confused.
“It is Arhythmetric, my Lord,” she said.
“Oh yes, yes of course,” Lord Confused mumbled. “Tell us, you are a brothel owner here in the city. What is it that you know of Lady Shelly’s deceptions?”
“Well, I do not know much other than she frequented the brothel with an older man with a patchy beard. They did not go upstairs, but remained in the common room to drink wine and talk. They were always cloaked and hooded.”
“Well, how can you be sure it was her then?” asked Lord Axey.
“I only knew because once she bent over to pick up a glass that had fallen and her cloak slipped and I recognized her face and her raven hair,” she answered.
“Thank you, m’lady,” said Lord Confused.
“Will you be keeping your appointment later, my Lord?” she asked.
“Yes! But no more Hobbitses!” stammered Lord Confused.
“But you love the little Hobbitses,” said Lady Eliana.
“True,” the befuddled one said, nodding sagely. “Hobbitses it is. And you only charge half price!”
Lady Eliana smiled slyly, then nodded and left her platform to return to the audience.
“We will now have Patchface speak some words. I have heard his mumbles and I think they may be of importance,” stated Lord Axey. A heavy man in blue, green and yellow motley approached with one finger up his nose and the other pointing at Lady Shelly.
He took his place and began to sing “Ohhhh I know! I know! Lady Shelly works for HBO! HBO-Oh-Oh!-Oh! She meets all day, plots her life away! To Dave and Dan she reports her thoughts, but I know I know I caught I caught! I watched her sneak-sneak-sneak, I saw her creep-creep-creep! I pretended to be asleep-sleep-sleep! Oh! Oh! Oh!”
The crowd gasped. It took everything in Shelly’s power to restrain herself. Were these people truly going to believe the word of a fool?
“SILENCE!” bellowed King Stannis, and the crowd obliged.
The next witness approached. He was a younger man with a bald head that gleamed in the sun.
“Oh no,” Shelly whispered under her breath.
It was Ser Bryan Cogman.
Ser Bryan entered and swore to be truthful or else forfeit his life to the Stranger.
“So, Ser Bryan, tell us what you know of the Lady Shelly and her plots against the Lord of Anger. I know you are hard at work composing the music for LOTR so we shall make it brief,” said Lord Confused.
“Yes, of course. Well, erhm, Lady Shelly has been in direct contact with my liege lords Ser Dave Beni and Dan the Dweeb. Lady Shelly was sent a raven in the most utmost secrecy asking to meet and she immediately agreed. As you can see, I have pictures that they met. See? This picture is undeniably her!” Ser Bryan produced a picture and handed it over to the Summer Islander, Ser Miller.
“Upon meeting with my lords, she began to suggest all manner of things to improve their plots to destroy the books. Genius, really. The network loved all of it. I know all of this as I was the only man available to transcribe the meeting,” Ser Bryan said.
He then produced a scroll of parchment in the very hand of the accused.
“Hand that to me immediately, knight” demanded King Stannis.
He grabbed the parchment and looked it over. The King’s eyes then drifted over to look at Lady Shelly. “Do you deny this is your own hand? Are these your words?” he asked.
“No, Your Grace. It is my hand. These are my words. That I cannot deny,” Shelly admitted.
The King shook his head in disbelief and disgust.
“Ser Bryan, continue,” he urged. “I was also with Lady Shelly and my Lords of D when they entered the brothel of Eliana. He then produced a picture of Lady Shelly in deep conversation with the enemy.
Shelly looked at Ser Bryan with anger in her eyes. She could not believe he was doing this. We had made a vow to remain loyal to one another and never to divulge these actions, she thought with malice.
The crowd was going wild, everyone was talking and yelling. There were even the sounds of weeping amongst them. Through it all, Shelly maintained her composure. She ran her hands over her dress to wipe away the sweat from her palms.
“Thank you Ser Bryan, you may exit,” said Lord Confused. “We have one more witness. This witness would like to remain anonymous and we have granted them that right.”
“Wait!” exclaimed Shelly. “Do I not have the right to face my accuser?! Have I not earned that right?”
“No. You have not. It is the law,” said King Stannis.
Shelly said no more. She only nodded and waited for this Mystery Witness to emerge.
The next witness was carried down the hall in a covered van colored silk and lace draping it on all directions. They placed the van at the foot of the judges and a voice began,
“I know the Lady Shelly quite well. She and I have shared many a time together and although I love her dearly, I must tell the truth.”
Shelly craned her neck to look towards the van. The voice was eerily familiar, yet she could not quite place it as it seemed muffled. The voice began to speak again, “I followed Lady Shelly one night to the brothel of Lady Eliana and disguised myself. I saw her meet with Lord’s D&D and I heard their plans. It was Shelly that suggested that they cut Arianne Martell. It was her suggestion that they have Jaime rape Cersei in the sept!”
Loud sobs followed and the crowd erupted once more. Shelly could not believe her ears.
“THIS IS FOLLY!” yelled a voice from the crowd.
It was Lady Chlobae of House Hype. “I will not suffer these lies against my liege!”
It was now that Shelly realized the identity of the hidden witness. She was trying to decide if she should speak up, but before she could do anything, Lady Chlobae was running towards the van. She slipped past two anger guards and pushed them to the ground.
All at once, she was on top of the van, crashing into it and ripping the wisps of silk and lace away from the roof. Inside was the Lady Clo of House Hive. The crowd let out a collective gasp. Lady Clo’s eyes filled with tears as she looked at Shelly.
“I am sorry!” she lamented. “But I just had to tell what I knew!”
Shelly looked down at Clo who was being held by Chlobae. “Lady Clo, it is alright. I am not angry with you. I know you told it true.”
The crowd erupted as never before.
“Lady Shelly! Do you now admit that you spoke against the sacred texts?!” asked Lord Axey.
“I do not,” she answered.
“Lady Shelly, explain your actions! Your king commands you!” commanded Kind Stannis.
Stannis and Lord Confused exchanged looks. Lady Shelly knew that she was going to be found guilty. Her violent eyes grew wet. Her life would change forever in the next few moments, yet these people did not understaaand. A large tear rolled off of her cheek and onto the parchment in her hand. The ink began to bleed and suddenly small veins of text began to appear. She quickly folded it hoping that nobody noticed the wave of emotions that swept across her face. She had but one choice.
King Stannis and Lord Confused nodded to each other, and Lord Confused began to open his mouth to deliver the vote.
“Your Grace!” Shelly roared, “I will not utter a word in my defense, but I will say this. There shall be no vote. I say, let the gods judge my fate! I demand a Trial of Seven!”
Chlobae dropped Lady Clo to the floor and Lord Confused and Lord Axey’s jaws dropped as well. King Stannis clenched his jaw and only nodded.
Shelly grabbed the net that bound her hair and shook her raven locks free. She turned to the crowd and yelled “WHO WILL FIGHT WITH ME?! WHO WILL BE MY CHAMPIONS?!”