I breathe a sigh of relief when Gregoriy arrives to assemble to Council of Justice. All of House Jasper, even the maester who hasn’t been seen in years, gathers for the trial of Ser Carsen.
Before we can even really start asking questions of those present, Carsen launches into a dramatic soliloquy, moaning about how everything is blamed on him and how he thought this matter had been put to rest on the Paps. The men start yelling, and the room erupts before we’ve even begun. “Gentlemen,” I roar, can we keep it to the facts please?", which gets a wholehearted nod of approval from Brock. Lord Theodore begins by laying out the history of Calaila’s murder, stating it occurred in January of 286 on the island of the Paps, during a peacekeeping mission between the Eleshams and Woodhulls, Dolins found Calila’s body in the woods, having been shot in the back with arrows, and stripped of her face and all belongings. Dolins speaks up and states, “it makes me shiver to this day thinking about the sight of it”. It is established by all that Carsen has the ability to remove faces in the manner with which Calaila was found, consistent with the face I found in his bag, and use them to disguise himself in a mystical way. It is also established that prior to the last time the maester saw them each briefly, in succession, Calaila and Carsen were seen leaving the ship together and Calaila was refusing his escort as she was riding to notify Teddy that Carsen had brought Rusty on board the Rambis where house secrets about the now stolen dragon eggs were revealed to him. Calaila was described as being angry with Carsen and accusing him of betrayal. The maester was quick to defend Carsen, emphasizing that they had seen both Carsen and Calaila after this event, but confirmed they were not seen together in the same room. If Carsen is a known faceless man, I cannot put together why the wise maester wouldn’t be able to plainly see that this sighting of Calaila could have been Carsen. The maester’s enthusiastic defense of Carsen is perplexing and seems out of place considering the evidence set before us. I suppose seeing really is believing. It must be hard for the maester to accept that this sighting may have been the well thought out mystical maneuver of a faceless man, making the maester a oblivious pawn in Carsen’s plans.
The council of justice asks further questions, such as the population of the Paps, which is confirmed to be a sparsely populated small island, unlikely to house another rare faceless man of Braavos. And when asked about if Calaila had other enemies, it was confirmed she did, and Carsen had negotiated with this one armed nemesis behind closed doors in the past. With not one but two potential motives, the opportunity, and the means and ability of a skilled marksman such as Carsen to shoot Calaila in the back, as well as the condition she was found, it could not be clearer that Carsen is guilty of the murder of Lord Theodore’s trusted advisor.
Brock, Gregoriy, August and I step into a quiet room, and all are in agreement of Carsen’s guilt. Gregoriy is alarmed by the news of Carsen’s ability and history as a faceless man, and notes that we should be concerned about this, that they are notoriously feared among the people of Essos for their magical abilities. Brock calls the oath breaker a witch and suggests a hefty and specific fine of 687 (?) gold dragons for Ser Carsen. But Gregoriy and I agree that leaving the faceless man alive may put the house in jeopardy should he try to enact revenge and that a life should be paid for with a life, especially considering that this murder was against the knight’s code of chivalry and honor. Gregoriy insists on giving Carsen a last meal, despite my growing concerns of his uncanny abilities to escape.
My fears are realized when upon announcement of the council’s judgement, Carsen demands trial by combat, and immediately flees the Great Hall. “August! Go!” I yell to my dearest companion. August leaps into action, but is unexpectedly stalled by Darron, who tries to grab his fur. August wriggles free and driven by the command, races after Carsen. I look around the see who else is going to back up my pup, and am further confused by the painfully slow 18 seconds to pass before the Darkwash cadre follows them into the hallway. My head is spinning with confusion about how this can all be, from the maester’s loss of logic, to Darron’s interference, to the excruciating delay in response to the guilty party’s fleeing, when a pain erupts in my heart. I collapse to the ground of the great hall, eyes blurring from welling tears, knowing something terrible has happened to August.