We returned from Molder’s Hill with a captive girl, the dead body of a boy and our memories of defeating the witch Osenna. All three needed to stand trial and Simon was to be judge. The trials were held in the Albright House and much of the town came to see them. Simon first heard the statements of the accusers, then of the defenders; then made his verdict.
Osenna’s trial was first. Daniel Smith testified that Sarah (now known to be Osenna) visited him at night, bespelled his wife and had unholy congress with him. His wife confirmed that her recollections of the evenings in question were hazy. Simon Tinker testified that Sarah had led him and the other children to the caves to play games that he later recognized as sinful. Peter and Sarah were very close. His memories, and those of the other children, of the exact environment were hazy. Tristan and Arthur confirmed that the site was evil and bespelled people’s minds. Simon noticed that Tristan refrained from telling all of what happened to the party in the caves, but chose not to question him too closely. Arthur also stated that people, from Simon’s testimony likely Sarah and Peter, had recently committed indecent acts on the altar before the visage of Asmodeus. Jules and Theo spoke out about having seen Sarah/Osenna turn into a crow. No one spoke in her defense.
She was found guilty.
Peter’s trial was next. His father, throughout the entire process, was visibly, audibly, outraged that his son was dead. Simon Tinker and Agnes were called to accuse Peter. Simon questioned them closely to try and determine whether Peter was aware he was liaising with a witch. Tristan, Arthur, Theo and Jules described the events that took place in Molder’s hill which resulted in Peter’s death. How he was garbed as, and fought like, a centurion – despite being farmer’s boy. And how he continued to fight us after Osenna was dead. Arthur awkwardly stumbled through the time between Peter being overcome and Peter being killed. Simon again chose not to press. Simon Tinker, Agnes (and Tinker senior?) spoke in Peter’s defense. They said that Peter loved Sarah, but, just like all the children, he did not know what she was. It wasn’t possible for Simon to determine whether Peter was aware or unaware of Sarah’s nature before Molder’s hill, or whether he was bespelled or acting on his own volition in Molder’s Hill. He declared Peter not guilty (due to lack of evidence).
Rayne’s trial was last. Felicia described how she had experienced nasty headaches after negative interactions with the Tinkers, especially Rayne or her mother. Edward Albright, with his mother Tilley in support, described how Rayne attempted to lure Edward into joining the other children at the caves. He said that he found himself almost going with her when he truly didn’t want to. Simon Tinker and Agnes are again questioned, and although Rayne was sometimes the one to beckon them to the caves without Sarah’s presence; occasionally the other children would be Sarah’s messengers too. Simon indirectly intimidated Mathilde Smith into speaking out as well. Not only had she had suspiciously uncomfortable interactions with the Tinker’s wife and Rayne, but she had found Rayne gathering herbs in her garden when she had no right to be there. Unspoken signals suggested that she was worried the girl was there to seduce her husband. The Canes de Deus described the witchcraft she performed at Molder’s Hill. A blindness on Arthur and invisibility that outlasted Osenna’s death. In Rayne’s defense, her father argued that their entire family had been persecuted since they arrived. His daughter was not a witch. She was a young woman, who tried to find lovers and friends and was misunderstood. Simon Tinker also argued that Edmund was lying and that he and Rayne had actually been sweethearts.
Simon found the evidence again Rayne to be too damning and pronounced her guilty. Arthur beheaded her behind the church with her parents as witness and her remains were burnt.
Meanwhile Nigel Albright, Edmund and Farmer Langley approached Jules and accused her of murder; demanding she be brought before Baron Bromwich for trial. She spent the night in stocks wither her friends standing guard. The next day we found the young Lord already in Walsall and Nigel was quick to dispose of the matter and return to Streatham. The Baron asked us to explain what happened and, after hearing it, merely asked Jules whether she thought she was guilty. She said that though she felt sad about the boy’s death, it was the heat of battle and she acted as she thought best, and right, at the time. And she would do the same again. He pronounced her not guilty.
All the Canes de Deus are shaken by their first experience of a witch trial.