Wizard! Chapter 178
At Chris’ revelation, there were many different reactions. Mostly, people were confused at the staff writing on its own. Then, William got Chris out of the leather case. That got some serious looks, especially from the king’s representative, Javan Garber. Meanwhile, Knight Commander Tyler simply stated, “I told you it wasn’t lost.”
After a few moments, Javan shook his head, his beard slightly swaying with it. “Right, well… I don’t mean to be pessimistic, but it will be hard to convince people to accept the word of a staff. Though it is good to have some confirmation from… other sources.” His eyes momentarily flicked to Lorelei. “Still, it is one more thing we can bring against them… and the symbolism is useful if nothing else. The staff is easily recognizable… and hasn’t been under control of the wizard’s guild since the Archmage William.”
William didn’t want to be negative, but he held some reservations, “How useful will it be as a symbol? Before… the Archmage William had it, it was basically just sitting in a display case in a dormitory.”
Javan shook his head once again. “Most people won’t know any better. At the very least, it will provide some leverage.”
William felt there was more than sufficient evidence to strip both the guild and the Lockridge family of their power. However, that was only the case if logic and reasoning were used, and not whatever nobles did. Though, William did have to admit that some of the evidence was a bit flimsy from the court side of things, but he was still absolutely certain of its validity. Besides just the evidence he had brought, there were also a large number of other things that had been found. Most of them were just suggestive of corruption, but there were enough different things William thought it should go smoothly. In fact, there was even a particular bias. The trials would be before the king, and they had a representative of him on their side. However, the king still needed to show sufficient cause for any declaration he made, because otherwise the rest of the nobles would be unsatisfied, and could revolt- or at least make a lot of trouble.
Several weeks passed. This meant that William could have arrived later and been perfectly fine, mostly. However, it would have been more difficult to organize what he had with the other things that had been found… and Amelia wouldn’t have arrived to testify. William contacted her, and she decided to come. She had a large contingent of guards with her, though anyone who tried to do anything to here would have to have been more foolish than the bounty hunters in Eclea. Amelia came to Ostana in the official capacity of an Envoy, which meant that if there were even any attempts to act against her, it would look very bad for those very same people who would want to silence her.
The trial against the wizard’s guild started first. It was, as William had expected, stressful and annoying. William was glad he wasn’t the one running things, because it would have gone poorly. The representative of the guild was Vincent Bachman, and he often said things that made William want to punch him in the face. Certainly, that would have made a powerful statement, but it wasn’t particularly good for court cases. Although William thought Vincent Bachman was a slimy cretin, he did have to admit that he was clever. However, William felt that Javan Garber was more clever… or perhaps it was that he was just in a much stronger position. When Vincent tried to place all of the blame onto Cyril Lockridge, William wasn’t prepared. However, he should have been. It was just that he realized that the whole guild really was responsible for what they did, and hadn’t even considered they would shift the blame in that way. However, Javan was well prepared with many reasons. It was not like Cecil Lockridge did or could have accomplished everything on his own, nor were the problems restricted to the current generation. In addition to that, he had to be elected, even if it was a sham maneuver. That meant that those who were responsible for the elections were also responsible for his actions. At least, if they truly didn’t accept what he was doing, they could have impeached him. Instead, they were either completely negligent in their oversight of the Archmage, or supported his actions.
Though William himself testified to Cecil Lockridge’s words, Amelia’s testimony was the most critical, William thought. She listed dozens of people who had been chased out of Ostana into Eclea who went on to become very successful individuals in the wizard’s guild there, including herself. This was extremely contrary to the Ostanan guild’s stated purpose to gather and organize the skilled wizards throughout the country, for the benefit of the country. The fact that the guild endorsed bounties being hunted illegally in Eclea also wasn’t a point in their favor. Of course, the endorsement was at best implicit, but bounty hunters wouldn’t go to all that trouble if they didn’t think they would get paid.
“What of the upcoming war?” Vincent asked, “Won’t you need the guild to support your forces?”
It was a typical kind of action one would use when losing, a response that said “I know we’re guilty but…” If William was running the trial, he would have said, “Not with idiots running it.” Fortunately, he wasn’t. Javan was much more diplomatic in his words. “If the guild is really unfit to perform their duties, then nothing would be gained from them in a time of war either, and there may even be detriments.”
Both sides gave their closing statements next. Vincent tried to maintain that the guild had operated justly and within their rights, but those words seemed to ring hollow even to him. Javan, meanwhile, just pointed out the many pieces of evidence they had, many of which nobody had even attempted to refute. The entire room sat in silence, waiting for the pronouncement of the king. Personally, William wanted the guild shut down and most of its members executed, but he felt in his heart that that was a little bit extreme. Only a little bit, though.