[Excerpt from Chapter 14]
Everyone in the court at Gildon rose to their feet as His Eminence Lord Protector Samson entered. Slowly, regally, he mounted the steps and sat on the large throne at the very back of the room. There stood against each wall three chairs on each side, one for each of the six Lords of Telmar. Only the chair for the Lord of Nast stood empty. The regent for that province stood on the floor of the court before Lord Samson's throne as the accused.
Lord Samson raised his royal staff to signal the beginning of the trial.
"Who stands accused?" he asked formally.
Lord Maletus stood, "The Lady Melanie of Nast stands accused!"
"What are the charges?"
Now an important part of the Lords' plan came into play. Maletus had warned them all that this Melanie was a great orator, so they contrived that as long as they prevented her from speaking, perhaps her "enchanted tongue" could not sway the Lord Protector. Their accusations thus filled the air thickly.
"She is a witch, and she has the whole province of Nast under her spell!"
"She has stolen from the rest of us!"
"She is a swindler!"
"She has destroyed Nast, and soon it will spread to the rest of the country!"
As soon as one Lord paused for breath, another took his place. They were so intent on accusing the woman in front of them that they almost did not hear the Lord Protector pounding on the marble floor with his staff for silence.
"SILENCE!" the Lord Protector roared.
Instantly, all movement and speech ceased. He pointed to Lord Maletus, Lord Burg, Lord Daltan, and Lord Perrin. "All of you, leave this court at once, or be held in contempt for disrupting the peace! And you," he pointed to Lord Vern, "stay and await my orders!"
This was certainly the last thing the Lords wanted! Lord Maletus tried to negotiate.
"Your Eminence must not be left alone with such a malicious traitor! I swear she is a sorceress, and once she—"
The Lord of Telami scurried from the court at a speed surprising for a man of his girth.
Once their footsteps died away, Lord Protector Samson turned to the lackey next to him.
"Fetch a scroll and pen for Lord Vern."
The servant produced them immediately and handed them to the terrified Lord. Lord Samson pointed to a desk at the back of the court.
"Now, Vern, you will sit there and write out all your accusations against this woman. Surely one as practiced as you will be able to recall them all!"
Lord Vern trembled and bowed low. "Your Eminence, I cannot—"
The timid Lord bowed again, "Yes, Your Eminence."
Melanie, meanwhile, continued to stand quietly at the center of the court. Her deaf life had made her eyes keen, and though words may lie, eyes seldom do, and she had been watching Lord Samson carefully all during this false trial. She had seen the wisdom and the keen shrewdness in his eye. She had watched him hear at least the first few accusations with skepticism that quickly transformed from annoyance to irritation. Perhaps she would find him to be a just man.
An hour had nearly passed before Lord Vern finished his assignment. He stood meekly, "I have finished, Your Eminence."
"Bring the scroll to me," Lord Protector Samson demanded.
Lord Vern scuttled forward and laid the scroll in the Lord Protector's waiting hand.
"You may leave the court, Lord Vern."
"Yes, Your Eminence."
Finally, Melanie stood alone before Lord Samson as he read the scroll Lord Vern had just written. […] He looked at her, obviously amazed at what he read.
"Now, Lady, I wish to know of this odious witchcraft to which they refer. What is it? Give an account of yourself!"
How does Melanie respond? Read CHAPTER 14 to find out!
[Excerpt from Chapter 15]
To His Most Regal Majesty, King Caspian VIII in Narnia,
Greetings, and may your reign never fail!
Though Your Majesty may not consider a letter written by a common citizen of your illustrious country hardly worth merit next to those written by the hand of His Eminence, the Lord Protector, the contents of this letter may be of interest to your most Royal Person.
It has now been a month since the trial of the Lady of Nast. Of course, your Majesty no doubt intended that the rule of a country should never go to a woman, but as that cannot be helped, Your Majesty is wise to permit it.
Your Highness, if you would permit a request, I pray you look back on your records for any mention of this Lady's singular beliefs. I happen to know that they are of the same kind as the people you now rule over, the accursed Narnians whom your ancestors fought so hard and conquered. What sane Telmarine would ever think to believe in a god less powerful than their own kings? Very few; Lady Melanie herself is no Telmarine, but a stranger from another land. Did Your Majesty not say that any regent in your land must be a natural-born citizen of the country, if not of the province itself? How then did this foreigner ascend to the throne of Nast?
It is my unfortunate, yet patriotic, duty to also inform you that I have heard rumors that the Lord Protector, whom Your Highness so carefully selected for his judiciousness and forthrightness, has succumbed to this odious opinion, or at least feigned interest. You may have heard that he pardoned Lady Melanie on the grounds of "lack of evidence," but there are more than a few who believe that this was only a blind for his sympathies concerning her radical ideas.
I write to you out of duty; you ever and alone are my King!
In your own Most Illustrious Name,
A Concerned Citizen