The Star Chamber Court
Gatherings of any sort had been few and far in-between the last week. Everyone had still been observing a period of deep mourning. However, life and more importantly consequences had to be set back in motion.
That is when Queen Limoges called for the meeting. From sheer appearance it was to be a somber occasion. Instead of the more colorful outfits of normal sessions, everyone wore simple black outfits in memoriam, the only exception being their white armbands symbolizing grief over a lost Queen. All the members of the Sanctuary who planned to attend had arrived and one visitor was still being waited upon.
Queen-Apparent Rachel entered with a chill behind her. Of everyone, she was in deepest mourning. Her layers of black crape shuffled underneath her dress and similar layers hung from her sleeves. A jet stone brooch was her only jewelry. She hid her face behind a black veil and left her long, blonde hair loose. The last seat at the table had been left to her and she took it silently.
“Thank you all for coming,” Limoges began, her normally chipper voice now slow and soft. “I’ve spent the last few days reviewing our options and have come to a resolution as to how to proceed.”
If they had not been paying attention previously, everyone was now.
“According to the Constitution of the Cosmos of the Sacred Bird, any inter-cosmic incident is to be handled in a Star Chamber Court made of both rulers and a Privy Council of eleven.”
“What’s a Privy Council?” Zephel asked with well-shielded curiosity.
Luva stepped in for the Queen. “It’s a judicial assembly made of executives. Ah, basically it means that high-ranking members of the Sanctuary can act as prosecution, defense and jury in a trial.”
“The council can include any Guardian, Tutor, or similarly ranked Sanctuary official. It’s purely voluntary so anyone who doesn’t want to be included speak now,” Limoges added.
“I have an objection first, Your Majesty,” Julious began. “I believe that Lumiale, as the only witness, should not be considered for the council.”
From across the table the Water Guardian glowered but said nothing.
The Queen nodded, “I already took that into consideration. There already exists a precedent from the reign of the 226th Queen where a witness was allowed on a Privy Council so long as they had already declared their vote. If Lumiale is willing to put forth his stance then he may be allowed on.”
A tense silence hung before he stated his position.
Reactions ranging from muttered curses to impassioned shouts poured forth. In the middle of the ruckus the Queen got to her feet and spoke over the noise, “I will not have such behavior in my court. You will stop this now!”
Everyone immediately stopped and murmured apologies. Satisfied, she continued, “Now, would you like to direct your issues to me?”
Randy stood, “Excuse me, but I thought that Arios had already admitted that he had…killed her. If so, then why are we even trying him?”
“That is a good question. We are here to decide whether or not Queen Collet was the victim of premeditative murder. If not, Arios will receive life imprisonment without parole.”
“And if he’s found guilty?”
“Then we will have the authority to execute him.”
The air grew quiet and cold as Randy sat back down and the Queen continued. “Now, who wishes to defer from the council?”
Again the Wind Guardian spoke up. “Well, I guess I’ll speak for Marcel since he’s not here. As you know, he’s been very upset for all this. He shouldn’t be on the council.”
“Agreed. Anyone else?”
From a different part of the table Sei-Lan raised his hand. “I wish to defer as well. Cite ‘Ideological Differences’ as my reasoning.”
“Keh.” Zephel sulked and crossed his arms. “If he’s getting off that easy the I want out too.”
“Very well. However you may be asked to perform other tasks during the proceedings.” She paused. “Is everyone else okay with being on the Council?”
She waited for the affirmative answers to die down. “Good. Now before we adjourn, we have to decide who will lead each argument.”
“I will take the defending side. I don’t think anyone else wants it.”
“That’s very noble of you, Lumiale.”
Julious cleared his throat, “I shall take the prosecution then.”
The Queen nodded solemnly. "Lastly, I have to request that you do not speak of these proceedings to anyone who doesn't need to be involved. We need to keep everything as quiet as possible."
All agreed and brought the meeting to its end. Though no one perceived it then, the lines of loyalty and the tides of power had begun to shift.
Silently, everyone filed out. The real proceedings wouldn’t start for a while giving both sides plenty of time to prepare their arguments. Lumiale frowned at the thought of all the work that would be done. As he was leaving Rachel came up beside him. She said nothing but the cold glare of her eyes expressed her resentment and contempt with crystal clarity.
The mourning Queen left the Water Guardian in an icy wake he was soon to grow accustomed to.
Did you know that Anime Kitty is a History Major? Well now you do!
The Star Chamber Court was real. It was used by British monarchs up until the death of Charles I for various reasons. At first it was a way for important cases to by-pass the normal judicial system but it eventually became a convenient, quiet way to get rid of troublesome problems. Privy Councils still exist in England today, but like the monarchy they are mainly symbolic. The council is made up of some government officials, such as the Prime Minister, and the majority are members of the House of Lords.
Yes, the Cosmos would be a Constitutional Monarchy. The Queen and Guardians hold, in terms of government, a purely ornamental place, much like the Emperors of Japan during the times of the Shogunate. Their real purpose is as religious figures. That’s why it is the Priests that speak to them. Remember that Leviath took over the Sanctuary for spiritual, not political power.
A little note on clothing – Everyone in this fic wears black for the duration. They are in deep mourning which while continued in part today, reached it’s height of regulation and complexity during the Victorian Era. Rachel especially exemplifies this style with her black dress lined with crepe. Crepe is a crinkled, poorly dyed silk that was used by many widows as part of their mourning dresses. Also, she is wearing jet stone which, according to Victorians, is the official gem of mourning. The armbands were typical and were usually black unless it was a young girl who had died. I tweaked that slightly and made it the symbol of a deceased Queen.