The Case of Florentia Oberon
My esteemed Baroness Jarvis -
As you are aware, I have worked tirelessly in the lower courts to fight for your cases. But I fear that this is not where I can make the most impact for our House, and I would not want to delay or waste time. These are trying times, fraught with urgency and uncertainty, and I worry that I am not living up to the purposes that I came to you for. There are certainly things more pressing than contracts for me to work on – you have enough delegates in these courts to handle the matter. I humbly request that you see fit to move me into the Upper Courts, to defend the members of House Jarvis that are accused of crimes against other houses. While I will do as you desire, I must again state that I do not feel that there is a challenge in the Lower Court.
I have a practically flawless record in defense of House Jarvis so far, and my drive is well known. If we truly wish to be seen as a major player within the courts, we must be ready to move within those courts – not simply in the lower court. I implore you to show the rest of the nobility that House Jarvis commits to an action, and that my hiring was not simply a way to spite our mutual foes.
I await your reply with bated breath.
My dear Corthos,
Your request is a very reasonable one, and I agree that you have been very successful in the lower courts – House Jarvis have made great strides since you joined us. I appreciate your tenacity and your unorthodox approach to the problems that we are faced with. We would certainly benefit from your particular talents in the Upper Courts.
There is a case on the docket that I could particularly use your help with. A young woman named Florentia Oberon has been accused of criminal trespassing at the Blaisdell estate here in the Greens. Florentia claims that Renald Blaisdell, whom she has been seeing in secret due to an old enmity between Houses Oberon and Blaisdell, asked her to meet him there. Renald’s mother, Devanna, claims that her son has had no contact whatsoever with Florentia. The boy himself has been sent to stay with family in Corentyn. There is little that I’ve been able to definitively prove in terms of Florentia’s innocence, but her mother is a dear friend of mine and so I am anxious to resolve this matter. Any help you can give would be appreciated.
As always, your friend,
Forwarded to Lena -
Lena, find out what you can on this for me. I need any information that you would deem relevant.
Here’s what I was able to find out about the case and the Blaisdell/Oberon feud. Let me know if you need me to dig deeper.
Florentia Oberon – 16 years old, arrested by the dottari on 19 Lamashan for trespassing on the Blaisdell estate. She seems to be somewhat rebellious (sneaking out of her house, etc), but she’s never gotten in legal trouble before
Florentia claims that she and Renald Blaisdell have been seeing each other in secret since meeting at a ball some months ago. Lady Devanna Blaisdell says Renald didn’t even attend that ball, but there are witness statements corroborating his presence, if not Florentia’s full story
According to Florentia, Renald asked her to rendezvous with him in the garden of his family’s estate (there is no physical evidence of this, it seems to have been a verbal agreement). She was discovered by a groundskeeper and brought to Lady Devanna, who called the dottari at once. Florentia has been held in Castle Kintargo ever since
Renald Blaisdell – 17 years old. Known to be somewhat timid and close to his mother. Renald was sent to Corentyn immediately after the incident to stay with his aunt and uncle, all requests for a statement from him have received no response
Houses Oberon and Blaisdell have had a rivalry since shortly after the Chelish Civil War, mostly revolving around business prospects (both houses are involved in the salt trade). The rivalry has deepened in recent years due to the personal enmity between Lady Devanna and Florentia’s mother Lady Sandrine, who have despised each other since they were schoolmates
Lena, can we get any sort of statement from the groundskeeper? I need to present the idea that Florentia had no intention of causing trouble, and want to know her reaction to being caught as well as what she was carrying on her person. I need to make sure that she was not doing anything that could have made her seem like she had malicious intent.
I opened up the case file Belcara sent you (sorry! you were asleep and I wanted to help), and I found this information on what Florentia had when she was booked and a statement from the groundskeeper.
Statement from Trynla Yenster, Blaisdell groundskeeper:
“I’d never seen the girl before. She was climbing over the hedges and I’d just trimmed them, so I yelled at her and asked what she was doing. She ran, but she tripped over the rhododendron bushes. She didn’t fight after that. I brought her to Lady Devanna and she was sullen but answered the questions she was asked. She insisted that Renald had asked her to meet him in the gazebo.”
Items in the possession of OBERON, FLORENTIA upon booking:
One (1) leather satchel
One (1) copy of The History of Kintargo, 157th Edition
Five (5) six-sided dice
To the esteemed Magistrate of the courts -
What follows is a summary of the case in favor of further prosecution of Florentia Oberon for the crimes of her criminal trespass on the domain of Lady Devonna Blaisdell, as presented for the courts review by Lord Alexander Travini. It is certainly a travesty of the court that our time must be taken up by such a case, with a defense being handled by House Jarvis on a crime that was so clearly committed.
Let us look first at the crime itself – there is no denying the fact that young Miss Oberon was on property that was not her own. She claimed to be meeting Master Reynald on an agreement from a ball which he never attended. Lady Devonna handles his social arrangements, and as we all know, she keeps a close record of his activies – and she did not have any recollection of his attending this ball that the suspect supposedly met him at. I understand that the defense seeks to corroborate this idea with witness statements, but one should always keep in mind the high level of intoxication at these events and what could be gained politically by any claims.
Reynald is a good lad, with a bright future. He excels in his studies, and is gaining the poise to assist in the family business. Because of the urgent desire to keep him from delaying in his studies, he has been sent to his aunt and uncle until the conclusion of this trial. I ask you, and all the court, what commonality he could have with our suspect? Florentia Oberon is a troublemaker, and even her own parents have admitted to her having repeatedly been caught sneaking out of the house. She carried with her dice for gambling, and she has repeatedly made falshoods to her own family to hide her behaviors. Is it so far-fetched to believe that she would extend these lies further? Perhaps she was even being used a tool to vandalize the good name of Reynald Blaisdell – none of these ideas can be far from the truth given the history of Lady Sandrine and her interactions with Lady Devonna.
But today is not about the history between these two women. It is a simple set of facts. Florentia Oberon – a known troublemaker, with a history of deceitful behaviors, was caught on the properties of Devonna Blaisdell with no proper reason to be there. She carried with her a set of gambler’s dice, and when confronted by a groundskeeper, she ran. Why would she run if she was not engaged in an act that she knew was improper? The only claim that she had was based on conversations that may only exist in the drunken minds of revelers at a half-remembered ball that Devonna insists Reynald never attended. There is no evidence that she was invited, nor is there evidence of a supposed tryst between her and young Master Blaisdell. This is an attempt by a degenerate young woman to destroy and harm the good name of an upstanding noble gentleman, and I must ask that the courts prosecute to the fullest extent. Perhaps a just and fitting time spent in Castle Kintargo will allow her to learn the error of her ways, and we can allow Master Blaisdell to continue on with his business with no further interruption.
~ Prosecuting Delegation Alexander Travini
To the esteemed Magistrate of the courts -
What follows is a summary of the case in defense of Florentia Oberon for the crimes of her criminal trespass on the domain of Lady Devonna Blaisdell, as presented for the courts review by Master Corthos Mondragon on behalf of House Jarvis.
I cannot refute the claims that Florentia Oberon was on property that was not her own. There is no great reason for us to fight and resist that idea. But it was not through any malicious intent, and she was invited there by none other than the young Master Blaisdell himself. While Lady Devonna handles the social arrangements of Reynald, let us not be so blind as to forget our own youth – is there any among the court who did not go against the wishes of their parents at least once? There are no less than four seperate individuals who can recall – with clear detail – the sight of Reynald at the Harvest Ball, and I am prepared to call them before the court if need be. I find it difficult to believe that all four could have a shared hallucination, and the clarity of the descriptions make it hard to believe that each of them were creating a shared fantasy.
Florentia has not always been the most well-behaved of children, that is true. She has snuck away from her own home and gone about her own business independently at times. And yet, she is not malicious – she has never previously been arrested by the Dottari, and she has committed no crimes. She is a young woman, and is caught in the folly of youth. If that is a crime that we should face imprisonment for, then all of us likely would have served time by this point. I contend that she came to the property that night looking only to find someone with whom she had shared a bond, a man who lived in the shadow of a domineering mother who sought control over his behaviors. While the prosecution states that Master Blaisdell was sent away to focus on his studies, it is interesting that he has been unable to answer any of the requests for information that have been sent to him – almost as though he were being insulated away from anyone, lest he say something different than what is being said for him.
After all, would not Reynald be able to tell us the most honestly if he had invited her? The prosecutions efforts to hide and obfuscate him show that there is a belief that he may not say exactly what is wanted. I will not sit here and discuss Lady Devonna, but will discuss Florentia – she is a young woman of keen intellect and a kind heart. To place her inside of Castle Kintrago, in the Dottari prison alongside the murderers and thieves and rebellious sentiments, does nothing to help her or to fix the issue – instead it risks derailing her life. Let us look at the facts of this case – I cannot defend the idea that she was on Devonna’s property, I concede that point.
Florentia was seen at the same Harvest Ball that Reynald was seen at by multiple witnesses. She did not enter the property as a skilled thief, carrying the tools of her trade, but clumsily and awkwardly – a young girl chasing after someone she felt a kinship with. She carried spending money and a history book, not a sword and lockpicks. When she was confronted by a groundskeeper, she ran, certainly – because she was panicked by a larger person coming for her, and because she could not find the one who had invited her. Were she attempting anything more than a meeting for an emotional reason, she would have fought against capture. Instead, she accepted it, and answered all questions willingly.
We are not dealing with a hardened criminal element. The prosecution has hidden a key witness, and while we waste our time debating these points, a young girl sits in a cell in Castle Kintargo for the mere crime of having a poorly chosen relationship. I understand that there must be a penalty for actions, but if the only action that can be definitively proven is a non-malicious trespass, the penalty has already been paid with her time in such a place. I humbly request that Florentia Oberon be released due to her time served, and that further prosecution be dropped as there is no ability to contact a primary witness.
~ Defense Delegation Corthos Mondragon, House Jarvis
I thank Lord Trevini and Master Mondragon for their well-argued positions. This case is a difficult one to prove, not least because a central figure is unavailable for questioning. Without Renald Blaisdell’s testimony, it falls to the facts to determine the outcome.
Lord Trevini is correct that Miss Oberon did, in fact, set foot on property that was not her own. This is not in question. The key question here, then, is whether there is reason to believe that she did so at the invitation of someone who did live at the Blaisdell estate. If this is the case, then Miss Oberon would not be guilty of trespassing, per Kintargan law (see Kintargo Revised Statutes, Chapter 17, Section 402).
Master Mondragon is correct that Florentia’s behavior, though troubling to her parents, has never entered the criminal realm before. Although knowledge is certainly a potent weapon, The History of Kintargo seems to be the most dangerous thing she carried with her that day. I have presided over many burglary cases in my time, and I must say that dice and history books are uncommon burglar’s tools.
There are several witnesses stating that Renald Blaisdell was present at the Harvest Ball of 14 Neth, 4714. This goes against the testimony of Lady Devanna Blaisdell, who claims that her son was not in attendance at the ball. With respect to Lady Blaisdell, it is not out of the question that a young adult could attend a social gathering without their parents’ knowledge. Indeed, as Master Mondragon says, most of us can likely recall a similar incident in our own youths.
The job of the court is not to prove Miss Oberon’s innocence – in a case such as this, in which so much must be inferred, that would be nearly impossible. However, it is also impossible to prove that she is guilty, especially without testimony from the young man who she claims invited her. We cannot forget that this matter could have been cleared up months ago were it not for Master Blaisdell’s having been sent to Corentyn. Without a statement from him to corroborate Lady Blaisdell’s story, I cannot in good conscience sentence Miss Oberon to further imprisonment.
I find Florentia Oberon not guilty, and order her immediate release.
Magistrate Leonel Donatus
Upper Court of Kintargo