Solo Law & Order

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Center of scholarly knowledge and shipwrighting, Zeltiva is a port city unlike any other in Mizahar. [Lore]

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Law & Order

Postby Tavia on August 8th, 2016, 6:39 pm

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9th of Summer, 516AV

Tavia had been allocated a new case, one which involved her defendant, a thirty-something year old female, being accused of vandalism and disorderly conduct. Two days ago the Wave guard had been summoned to an address in the affluent Ancient Quarter by a male, who claimed that the suspect had damaged his luxurious home and possessions. When the Wave Guard arrived, they found the suspect slurring her words, stumbling, and acting aggressively.

After a day or so custody to sober herself up, the female had been offered the basic legal representation that all citizens of Zeltiva could have.

This came in the form of Tavia Malech, attorney.

Despite only being allocated low level and petty crimes, Tavia thoroughly enjoyed her work. There was something incredibly satisfying about researching a situation, interrogating all involved parties, and drawing up a conclusion that appealed to her scholarly interests. More to the point, Tavia liked to think that by defending the accused, she was doing her utmost to ensure that every citizen of Zeltiva had a fair and equal trial.

That didn’t always seem to be the case, however. The prosecutor had rejected the attorney offered to him by the city, instead employing a high-flying private attorney out of his own incredibly deep pocket. Though she didn’t know anything about her rival, Tavia felt… uncomfortable with knowing how tilted the battlefield would be in his favour. A wealthy man, one that trickled a significant amount of money into the Zeltivan economy, would be a hard prosecutor to bring down. Alternately, a poor woman found drunk inside a damaged home in an area she didn’t belong would be all too easy to send even further into the societal drain.

Still, Tavia maintained the illusion of cool, confident professionalism as she prepared to meet her defendant for the first time. The purpose of this interview was to hear her client’s side of the story, to delve deeper into what happened and to uncover the why and the how.

Laura Trywhitt had dressed in her smartest clothes. Tavia could tell this by the stiffness in her client’s white shirt, the wrinkles in Laura’s skirt that were not a sign of heavy wear, but of being folded away in a cupboard for a significant length of time. She was both pleased and disappointed by this: pleased that Laura was taking the situation so seriously, but dejected that the woman would need to straighten her wardrobe even further in order to convince the court that she was a well-to-do woman.

“Laura? My name is Tavia, I’ll be acting as your defendant for the duration of this matter.” The greeting was one that Tavia had rehearsed several hundreds times in the past, even if she had only said it to actual clients on three prior occasions. She had been told, whilst training and learning about the legal system of Zeltiva, that the way an attorney introduces themselves to their clients was crucial in setting up a professional, yet trustworthy, relationship between them. If a client felt that their attorney was not proficient enough to do their job, or that they were uninterested in the case or deceitful, it could be even more challenging to get the desired outcome.

“Thank you.” Laura said quietly, sitting down into a wooden chair after shaking Tavia’s hand. Tavia sat in another chair on the opposite side of the table. Her movements were measured and slow, almost mechanical, as she prepared a quill and paper.

“I want you to know that what we discuss in this room can, and most likely will be, used in court at anytime during the proceedings. With that in mind, would you like to proceed?” Tavia paused briefly to allow Laura to give an uncertain little nod. A form, which repeated Tavia’s previous sentiments almost word by word, was then signed by Laura. After this, Tavia finally allowed herself a rigid smile. The act did not come naturally to her, but it was crucial to build rapport with her client.

“I’m going to be asking you a series of questions, and I need you to be as honest as you can be with me. If you don’t tell the truth, and it comes out in court that you lied to me, that could be devastating for us both. I’m not here to judge you, but to try and defend what happened on the night of the—” She glanced down to her notes, “the seventh. Okay?”

Again Laura nodded, her lips pursed tightly shut.

“So please, Laura, could you recount in your own words, what you believe happened that night?”
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Law & Order

Postby Tavia on August 8th, 2016, 6:40 pm

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The woman across from Tavia licked her lips nervously, ran a hand through her greying brown hair, and opened her mouth. No words came out, so Laura tried again. Her voice was course like sand. “I was at the Kelp Bar… Around midnight, I think. I know some of the sailors there as they used to be… clients.”

The way she said ‘client’, in that careful and wary manner, made Tavia’s stomach tighten. “Clients?”

Laura’s jaw tightened in a sign of either nerves, or perhaps even defiance over Tavia’s obvious concern for her previous employment. “Used to be a woman of the night. A whore, if you want to be plain about it.” The words were spat out, and Laura folded her arms tightly across her chest. Defiance it was, then.

Tavia tried to keep her expression neutral, but the attorney was not exactly pleased with this new information. She could see how the magistrates would regard Laura; an ex-whore, alcoholic and recreational drug user who, for whatever reason but most likely out of envy, had decided to trash the home of one of the city’s wealthier denizens. Perhaps he had not paid her enough for her services, and the crime Laura had been blamed for had been committed out of revenge. “Right. Well. This is the sort of thing that we might need to talk about, to make sure I know all there is. Otherwise the prosecuting party will use this against you.” She kept her eyes down, focused on the parchment before her. “So. When did you stop being a… prostitute?”

“Two seasons ago.”

“And were you… freelance?”

Laura snorted. “No. I worked at Loveless for over four years.” An idea seemed to spark within the downtrodden woman, and Laura tapped the table with her knuckles: “Talk to Zana. She knows me well, and she cares about all of her girls. Past and present.”

This suggestion, along with the location of Laura’s previous job, was written down by Tavia. An old employer would certainly be a helpful witness and reference, providing that Zana did indeed care about ‘her girls’ at Laura had implied.

Bringing the interview back to her original question, Tavia said: “So you were at the Kelp Bar. Is that where you met…” She glanced down to her notes, seeking the name of the prosecuting party. “Mr. William Maddoch?”

The effect of his name of Laura was a curious thing indeed. The woman flinched, withdrawing back into herself as if Tavia had punched her. Even Tavia, who was critical and sceptical of all, found it difficult to believe that the reaction had been an act. This woman was scared. Tavia watched in silence as Laura uncurled herself slowly. “Yes.” She swallowed with great difficulty, “He recognised me from… from my old job.”

That William Maddoch – distinguished Zeltivan citizen – made use of a prostitute such as Laura surprised Tavia to no end. She gave a tiny splutter, trying to word the next question carefully: “He used to… I mean. He’s made use of your…”

Laura’s reply was spat out with intense dislike: “Dirty bastard used to pay to fuck me. Yeh.”

Tavia’s right hand twirled away with her quill, frantically writing down notes, as well as questions to ask Mr. Maddoch himself when the time came. “I first met him under a year ago. He was… odd. Not like the other men there. He didn’t drink, for starters, and then he was very... specific about what he wanted.”

“Such as?”

“Well. He wanted someone… plain looking. Of course all of the girls there are dressed in their best and made up, to advertise themselves. But that night, I’d just arrived, and hadn’t got dressed up yet.” Laura, with a shaking hand, reached out to the glass of water that lay before her and took a sip. “So I was flung in front of him. I was wearing my normal clothes, which were dirty from my day job as a cleaner.

But he loved it. As soon as I got him into one of the bedrooms, he was calling me ‘servant’ and I had to call him ‘master’.” Tavia must have looked appalled or shocked, because Laura gave a self-conscious chuckle and a shrug, explaining: “That’s not that uncommon, really. The way to know how a man sees himself is to get him into a bedroom and see what games they like to play. He was all about being in charge, the boss. I had to be the servant girl, timid and scared of him. It really got him excited.”
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Law & Order

Postby Tavia on August 8th, 2016, 6:40 pm

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“And so when he saw you in the Kelp Bar, did he approach you?”

“Yes. He wanted to pay me again. I told him I wasn’t in the business anymore, but… He insisted. He offered to pay me five times my old fee. It seemed to good to be true.” Laura tsked and shook her head, glaring down to the table with an emotion Tavia struggled to read. Anger? Resentment? Sadness? Regret? “Of course he didn’t want to do it in an inn. We had to go back to his home. It was a stupid, stupid thing to do.”

“And you left straight away?”

Tavia had not picked up on any crime committed by either party so far in the story. Though it was far from an innocent meeting, Laura and William’s arrangement had been between two consenting – if not slightly anxious – individuals.

“No. He bought me a drink, and we decided to stay in the Kelp Bar for a while.”

The potential of a witness clutched at Tavia. “Did you speak to anyone else whilst you were there? Or did he?”

Laura shrugged. “He would have spoken to the barkeep, because he ordered the drinks. And I think I saw him talking to another bloke at the bar whilst the drinks were being poured.” She tilted her head, scrunching her lips and eyebrows in a deep frown as she tried to recall an evening she probably would rather forget. “The barmaid was… a redhead. Not young, but not old either. Quite plump. I didn’t speak to anyone after he’d arrived, and before I only saw some of the other men to nod and smile at, not to talk to.”

The chances of Tavia successfully tracing and interviewing the sailors that Laura mentioned were slim. Not only was it likely that some, or all, of them might be out at sea, but in a tavern such as the Kelp Bar the men were not likely to be sober. Hardly any of them would be accountable witnesses. But the barkeep was more hopeful…

Visit Kelp Bar. Redhead waitress. Middle-aged? Tavia wrote, also making a mental note to herself to drop by the Kelp Bar that very evening.

“So you had a drink together, and then left. What time was this?”

“About midnight I should think.”

“And did you speak to anyone on the way to his home?”

“No. He was pretty… keen to get home.”

Tavia recounted her notes from the Wave Guards who had arrested Laura. “I believe in your original testimony made to the Wave Guards, it was during this walk that you began to feel… strange?” She paused to allow Laura to nod fervently along. “Can you please explain this a little more?”

“Dirty fucker slipped something in my drink. I knew as soon as I began to feel light headed. Zana never let us girls take drugs whilst at work, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. I’ve sniffed and smoked enough before to know that’s what happened to me that night. I dunno what he gave me, but I figured it was something to make me… compliant.

When we got to his house, I was trying to make a racket to alert the neighbours or the ‘Guard. But he shoved my inside his mansion as quick as he could. After we got inside, I tried to leave, but he wouldn’t let me. He continually tried to force himself on me.”
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Law & Order

Postby Tavia on August 8th, 2016, 6:58 pm

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“Laura,” Tavia said softly, doing her best to look comforting and sincere. “If you are accusing Mr. Maddoch of drugging you, it turns this case into something much bigger than it already is. You will be accusing him of rape as well, because you wouldn’t have been able to consent at the time.” It was a fine line that Tavia would now have to walk; to support her client the best she could, but restraining bold accusations that may not have the weight of truth behind them. The latter could be damning to Laura, adding slander to the list of crimes claimed against her. However, if she had been drugged by William, it would be him facing imprisonment and not her. “Is that what you’re saying? That he drugged you?”

“Yes!” Laura exclaimed, looking instantly relieved as if she had just released a great weight that had been pressing down on her. “He did. I know it. I could feel it, and I’d only had one other drink at the tavern. I wasn’t drunk. I was drugged. And any damage inflicted on his home would have been me fighting him off and trying to get away.”

Tavia remained silent for several moments after this, making notes and considering how this declaration affected her case. It certainly added a complicated twist that she had not expected. This news even relocated the final hearing to the Zeltivan High Court, and would be seen by three magistrates instead of just one. Rape was regarded as a High Crime in the city – a matter that could conclude with the offender being exiled from the city.

Was she out of her depth? Quite possibility; she would certainly need advice on how to proceed this delicate matter. William Maddoch was a powerful man and such an accusation against him would be challenging to ensure it stuck to his name. It was possible he could even use his influence to get away with nothing more than a fine; barely a punishment for such a rich man.

These possibilities and concerns swarmed around Tavia’s mind. The usually detatched and professional attorney suddenly felt overwhelmed by the case before her. Laura seemed a harmless woman, and the effect it had on her to mention William Maddoch’s name was incredibly telling of what she had been through. There and then, Tavia realised that she wholly believed what her client had told her. She had not been some drunken deviant wrecking the house of an acquaintance, but rather a woman threatened by her companion.

“I believe you, Laura.” She murmured gently, glancing up to meet her client’s eyes with her own. “But it’ll be a whole other, bigger, issue to get the magistrates to believe you. Not that what you say doesn’t make sense, but it’ll be an uphill battle from the off. We need to think strategically in the next few days, plan who I’ll interview and what you’ll say when you’re interviewed by the prosecuting team.” Suddenly Laura’s face twisted in fear. “I’ll be with you, don’t worry. But we still need to plan how you’ll articulate the events to Mr. Maddoch’s attorney. They’ll be looking to pick as many holes as possible in what you say.

Likewise, I’ll need to interview the witnesses you mentioned earlier. If you remember anything else, seeing anyone on the way to the house, please let me know. I’m always available for you to contact throughout the day. Finally, I urge you not to contact Mr Maddoch, and if he tries to contact you, again please let me know. This is crucial.”


A handful more administrative matters were dealt with by Tavia, and after a bell or so she concluded her interview with Laura. There was much more to discuss, but for now the attorney had more than enough to sink her teeth into.
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Law & Order

Postby Net on January 28th, 2017, 5:53 pm

Tavia

Philosophy +1
Socialization +2
Information Gathering +2
Organization +1
Law (Zeltivian) +1


Case Based Lores
Laura Trywhitt: Former whore
Laura Trywhitt: Worked at the Loveless until two seasons ago
William Maddoch: Liked Master/Servant game
William Maddoch former client of Laura's
William Maddoch: According to Laura had drugged her
Kelp Bar: Redhead barkeep – Female.

Lores
Zeltivian Law: Rape is a High Crime.
Zeltivian Law: Rape can result in the exile of the rapist

I have separated your lores between case and general lores. Any questions please let me know via PM. If you want wages for this thread please submit them via my office. Thank you.
I will be handling all Zeltiva related posts on Tuesdays @ 1800 my time *
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