Thoughts of Guilt: Chapter 22: Admission of Guilt

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httyyd
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Sorry for this chapter coming so late as it did.  With my schedule being out of wack as it was because of the week before last week, I was side tracked this past week because of the holiday.  Then compound that with a writer's block.  Though I did know what I wanted to write, I just didn't know how to end it the way I wanted it to.  I didn't just want to end it, I wanted to start the ball rolling for the action I have planned for the Chapter 23.

 

Hope you guys enjoy this chapter!  :)

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httyyd
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With the subjects wise this one is. Heed them do you not have to

Thoughts of Guilt

 

Chapter 22

 

 

Admission of Guilt

 

 

          Mildew got up and started his opening remarks for the hearing.

 

          Mildew said, “Counsel, Chief, and fellow vikings.  A fellow viking has been killed among us.  And the one responsible for this crime is Sigvald Mollerson.”

 

          “I object!” voiced Asvord

 

          “I know Asvord.  Mildew!” Stoick corrected.  “We don’t know whether or not Sigvald did it or not.  That is why we are here: to find out if a crime was committed and if there is enough evidence to prove one way or the other.”

 

          Mildew shrugged his shoulders, “humphed”, and continued, “Well there is plenty of evidence to prove that he is guilty.  Why don’t we start with, ‘Sigvald has been gone for how long?  We don’t know if he has changed since the last time he was with us.’  Sigvald for the last several weeks has been making public scenes of more than just distaste towards Vlarrin McBaugston.  He has even been heard making threats towards Vlarrin many a time, especially after the accident with Jarl Mollerson’s saddle and the accident nearly severely injuring Jarl.  I tell you that this killing of Vlarrin McBaugston was premeditated.  Sigvald planned this and carried it out to the letter.  However, he was caught in the act with the cause of Vlarrin’s death in his possession.  I’m ready to prove that Sigvald indeed committed this horrible crime and I tell you he must pay for this.”

 

          There started an uproar in the crow, but Stoick quickly subdued it with the pound of his fist on his chair.

 

          “Order!  Let’s have order, or I’ll clear The Hall!” announced Stoick

 

          When the crowd settled down, Asvord stood up to speak and started to pace back and forth.  She pointed her attention more towards Stoick than Mildew did to the crowd, “Those things might all be true, then again some of what you said might not be the whole truth, and even those things you said, Mildew, might be false all together.  The defense is ready to prove otherwise.  We have witnesses that will give testimony to the contrary.  We have witnesses that will introduce to you persons that weren’t important at the time, but now play a larger role and could turn the tides in this case.  I submit to you that Sigvald Mollerson did not commit this heinous crime.  Not because Sigvald is my father, but I submit to you that there is evidence to prove that someone else could have done the crime.  I submit to you that this unknown person from one of my witness’s testimonies will introduce this unknown person.  I submit to you this unknown person had more of a motive to kill Vlarrin than my father did himself.  I submit to you that this person planted evidence and framed my father for Vlarrin’s death.  I submit to you, the defense can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Sigvald Mollerson did not commit this crime.”

 

          This time the crowd murmured amongst themselves.  Stoick this time only had pound his fist a couple of times, without saying a word, to get the crowd in order again.  When Asvord was done, Elsa and I were able to scoot around the crowd to get right behind Asvord and father.

 

          After they quieted down, Stoick stated, “Mildew, call your first witness.  Do not forget, Mildew, I have reserved the right to stop you or ask any questions of my own towards the witness.  That goes for you too, Asvord.”

 

          Asvord nodded her head.

 

          Mildew stood up and said, “I call Jarl Mollerson.”

 

          I think “being surprised” is putting it mildly.  I did not see this coming; me being his first witness.  I stood up and walked forward.

 

          “Gobber,” said Stoick.  “Swear him in.”

 

          Gobber motioned for me to walk to the front of the counsel.  Gobber was coming in from the side behind the counsel.  We met right in front of Stoick.

 

          “Raise your right arm, lad,” Gobber requested.

 

          I raised it and then Gobber swore me in, “Do you solemnly swear on your honor as a viking and your loyalty to Berk to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?”

 

          “I do,” I replied.

 

          “Come up, Mildew,” Gobber said, but then whispered to me as he went back to his post at the right side at the edge of the counsel’s seating, “Don’t stand in front of Mildew.  His breath is terrible.”

 

          I muffled a chuckle and stifled a smile.  When Mildew came up to me, Gobber was not kidding; Mildew’s breath smelled like rotten cabbage and old, smelly fish.

 

          Stoick then said behind me, “State your name and your clan.”

 

          I announced, “Jarl Mollerson.  Clan:  The Dragon Racers.”

 

          Mildew asked, “When did you change your clan’s name?”

 

          I replied, “For one thing you haven’t been around much to know when we changed it.  But it was when we stopped killing them and became friends with them.  Then once we started racing, we knew we the right fit for a name.”

 

          I could hear it, but a remark was said under his breath by Mildew that we should have never stopped killing them.  He still has not learned.

 

          “Well come on, Mildew,” Spitelout said, who was sitting to Stoick’s left.  “We haven’t got all day.”

 

          “You don’t rush justice,” retorted Mildew.

 

          Someone from the crowd, which sounded like Ruffnut, “Like that’s ever stopped you.”

 

          The crowd agreed, but Stoick talked over them, “Go on, Mildew.”

 

          Mildew started to question me, “Do you think your father killed Vlarrin?”

 

          “No,” I answered.  “I believe that my father could have never done such a thing.”

 

          “Let’s start at the beginning,” Mildew said walking around me, which was a little creepy.  “When you realized your father was alive, did you notice anything different about him?”

 

          “I… Yes, he was different,” I replied.

 

          “Ah ha, so,” Mildew started shaking his finger.  “So he was different.  In what way?”

 

          I told him briefly the events that unfolded in my last mystery when my mother was hypnotized and my father un-hypnotized her, the story about my father trying to save Dagmar and her mother, and then what transpired after that by the time we were on our way home.

 

          “Now if my memory serves me right, Sigvald never mentioned that before he was missing,” Mildew looked like he was thinking, waiting for me to answer.

 

          I stated, “Well, I… my family thought we lost our father when he and my mother were attacked on the one ship.  We had no idea that our father was still alive.”

 

          “And how long would you say he was gone?” Mildew asked.

 

          “Several years, I lost count,” I was starting to get a little irritated with his line of questioning.

 

          Mildew then said, “Wouldn’t you say that would be plenty of your time for your father to change?  Plus, if your father knew who he was and didn’t lose his memory, why did he not come back?”

 

          “No he couldn’t,” I quickly replied, then explained why my father could not come back.

 

          “To me that sounds like an excuse,” Mildew said and then started to pace in front of me.  “Let’s jump to the present shall we.  How would you say your father has been acting these last few weeks?”

 

          “He…,” I paused for a moment because I knew what Mildew is wanting me to say.  I looked at Stoick and then to my father.  I knew I had to tell because it was the truth, “He has not been acting himself… or what I thought was how he would act.”

 

          This time Stoick stated, “Would you mind explaining?”

 

          I then turned to Stoick and started to explain everything that my father was doing the last few weeks that deemed out of the ordinary.  Such as: My father acting strangely every day, not being his normal fun loving self, he had been acting more seriousness and not wanting to come with us or “something coming up” that would get in the way of him going and doing things with my family, such as the one feast for the racing tournament.

 

          “Yes, Sigvald has been acting stranger than usual,” Stoick said, putting his right elbow on his right knee and rubbing his beard with his right hand.  “He made that oe threat towards Vlarrin when the family rounds had been condluded with yours, the Mollerson’s race.  I had to break that up because nearly a fight had happened between them.  There was diffinently tension between the two men.”

 

          All the time Stoick spoke, he never once looked at my father.  I thought that to be rather strange.

 

          Mildew then asked me, “Is there any other time very recently did your father act very strange?”

 

          I was about to pen my mouth and then closed it.  A minute later Stoick told me, “Is there anything else?”

 

          “Yes,” I then told them how my father had acted very mysteriously the one day and then the night when Cazi, Annabeth, and I had flown around Berk after the feast.  We saw my father go out to the ship in a small row boat.

 

          Mildew then concluded his questioning, “Does this sound like the man you thought you knew as your father?”

 

          “No,” I simply replied.

 

          “No further questions,” Mildew said walking back to his seat.

 

          Stoick then asked, “Asvord.  Would you like to question the witness on cross-examination?”

 

          Asvord stood up, but just stayed where she was, and said, “Just a few questions.”

 

          Stoick nodded for her to continue.  Asvord started, “Jarl, you said you saw father at night?”

 

          “Yes,” I answered.

 

          “How could you see so well?” my sister asked me.

 

          “We used the one telescope that Hiccup put up several weeks ago on the west side of the island out on a rock formation,” I stated.

 

          “How good of a look did you get?” she questioned.

 

          “Well I was using the telescope,” I said, but then thought for a moment.

 

          My sister saw me thinking, “Can you say without a shadow of a doubt that you saw your father that night?”

 

          I finally said, “Actually, no I cannot.”

 

          My sister then asked me this, “Haven’t you ever looked at someone from the side or even the front from afar, think they were someone, but when you would walk over and turn them around or see them up close, they were someone else?”

 

          “Yes, I have,” I said.

 

          “No further questions,” Asvord said while she sat down, slightly grinning.

 

          As I walked back to Asvord, Mildew started to call a merchant to testify.  Once I got back over to Asvord, I asked, “What did you do with that last line of questioning?”

 

          “Well,” she whispered.  “I discredited your own testimony, no offense.  But that’s a good thing.  I basically proved that you may not have seen your father that night.  Even if he was there, your testimony that saw him in the boat would not hold up very good because it was night, you were far off, and you are not sure beyond a shadow of a doubt it was him.”

 

          Mildew’s questioning of the next witness was again to discredit father.  As soon as Mildew was done, Asvord cross-examined the witness and again thwarted, to a degree, what Mildew was trying to do.  Mildew asked the merchant about father not paying some of his bills, but Asvord pointed out that a lot of others have paid their bills… even Mildew.  That got a chuckle from the crowd as well as the counsel and Stoick.

 

          Mildew called four more vikings who were the following: a merchant, a farmer, a grocer, and a metal dealer.  At all four witnesses with the thwarting of cross-examination by Asvord, all Mildew was able to accomplish with them is that a lot of vikings in Berk have not been paying their bills.  Though for the grocer, Mildew did get out of the witness that my father did lose his temper once and knock over a few things, damaging them; however, Asvord continued the questioning and the witness stated that my father apologized and help set back up what he had knocked over and told the grocer to add on to his bill what he had damaged.

 

          Mildew was about ready to call another merchant of some sort, but Asvord stood up, “I object, your honor.”

 

          “What is it?” inquired Stoick.

 

          “Mildew is wasting time,” replied Asvord.  “He has already called five witnesses trying to discredit my client, but has not really proved anything; just that my client is acting a little out of the ordinary.  Although, there are several around Berk that I have pointed out in cross-examination that have been doing the same things or been accused of the same things.  This hearing was supposed to see if a crime has been committed and by whom.  Mildew has brought us too far astray; I object and say we need to get back on course.”

 

          Stoick agreed, “Objection sustained.”

 

          Mildew look distraught and tried to stop Stoick, but Stoick was having none of it and decided to take over the witness calling for a moment and called Hiccup.  Hiccup just stood up from his desk while Gobber swore him in.  Stoick came down and basically said a recount of the events that led him and Stoick to the discovery of my father with the body and then later with the vial of liquid that had been said that Vlarrin put in his drink with that vial being found on my father when he said it was not there before.  Hiccup continued to write while he talked.  Neither Mildew nor Asvord had any questions for him.  Hiccup said basically what I would have said because he was there when I interviewed my father.  Hiccup sat back down and continued to take notes of the hearing.

 

          Hiccup’s testimony brought me back to thinking of what Vlarrin looked like laying in those tomatoes; that one peculiar thing about his face that I could not figure out before.

 

          “What else could cause that kind of color in his face?” I thought.

 

          My thoughts stopped when I turned my attention back to the hearing.  Stoick had just called Gothi forward to be sworn in; however, she did not come forward.  When my thoughts were interrupted, Stoick had just called out again a little louder, “Gothi!” then a slightly under his breath.  “Where is that woman?”

 

          Finally Gothi comes forward from the back of the crowd, but looked wide eyed.  Gobber swore her in.  Stoick started to question her about her examination about the body of Vlarrin, but as she wrote on pad that Hiccup gave to her, Gobber interrupted and said, “Your hand writing is getting as bad as a yak’s coat on a muddy day.”

 

          Gothi would usually give Gobber a bop on the head, but she did not.  That raised some red flags, even for Stoick; he stood up from his chair and walked towards Gothi.  Gothi kept saying that she had examined the body of Vlarrin and he was indeed dead.  But me, Stoick, Hiccup, and a couple others knew that Gothi had not examined the body because Hawk had not brought Vlarrin’s body up to her yet.  In fact, both of them included the whole McBaugston family seems to be missing.  I acknowledged this fact to Stoick and he agreed that something is not right.

 

          Myself along with, Asvord, Elsa, Gobber, and Stoick came closer to Gothi and saw it in her face.  She was not herself.  My father than stood up and asked, “Stoick.  May I speak?”

 

          Stoick nodded.

 

          “I believe Gothi has been hypnotized to the point that she was told only to say that she had examined the body when she hadn’t,” my father explained.

 

          Stoick then inquired, “Do you think you can get her out of it?”

 

          “Yes,” my father replied.  “With your permission, may I come up?”

 

          Stoick motioned for him to come up and he did.  He got in front of Gothi, who was still wide eyed, and said her name a few times to get her attention.  My father said with a calm and soothing voice, “Your eyes are getting very heavy, and you are getting very sleepy.”  Gothi then closed her eyes.  “Alright can you hear me?”

 

          Gothi nodded.

 

          “Okay.  We need to go back.  Go back before you were hypnotized,” suggested my father.  “When I snap my fingers you will awake right before you were hypnotized.  Go back… Go back….”  My father then snapped his fingers.

 

          When my father did that, Gothi gasped and took several steps backwards as if she was being attacked.  Gobber and Stoick both assured it was alright and she was safe now.  She then started writing on her pad, this time a lot better, so Gobber was able to interrupt the way he normally does.

 

          Once Gothi was done, Gobber relayed what she said, “She either said that she was hit on the head from behind when Hawk came to visit her, or she was having tea on a hawk when her head came to visit her.”

 

          Here came the bop on Gobber’s head.

 

          Gobber smiled, rubbing his head, “Just a test to see if you were really you.”

 

          Gothi gave Gobber a look that said, “And you better believe it.”

 

          Asvord then stood up and asked for a motion.  Stoick granted it and Asvord began speaking, “Since the body of the deceased has not been examined, you cannot bound my client over for a trial.  Plus, since the body of the deceased is missing, that is now two reasons why you cannot bound my client over for a trial.”

 

          Stoick then approved the motion and was about to adjourn the hearing when Asvord stopped Stoick again and spoke, “If I may sir, we are still in the middle of the hearing.  So with the approval of yourself and Mildew, I would like to recall my brother to introduce some key evidence that should shed some doubt on the subject of my client being guilty.”

 

          Stoick thought for a brief moment, then said, “Alright.  But make it brief.  We need to track down Hawk.”

 

          My father walked back to his seat, Gobber took Gothi aside for a further evaluation, Stoick returned to his seat, Gobber came back over, and my sister, Asvord, and I walked closer to Stoick’s seat.

 

          Stoick then reminded me, “You are still under oath, Jarl.”

 

          I nodded and let Asvord begin her questioning, “The story of Sigvald meeting on the ship is not done, is it not?”

 

          “No it is not,” I replied.

 

          “In your own words, tell us what happened after that and the next day,” Asvord directed.

 

          I then told of the events that happened right after we saw what I thought to be my father, though the majority of me is telling me that it was my father, then what transpired the next day when I actually found the same ship I saw the meeting take place on the night before, then I also went on to describe the scene after I found the crates of gold and then hid about the other man talking to Vlarrin.

 

          As soon as I briefly told the story, Stoick then requested that Sigvald still be held in custody for suspicion; however, that because of this new evidence of the second man threatening Vlarrin, the case against my father looked more and more circumstantial evidence all based on things being found coincidentally pointing towards my father as the culprit.

 

          “With this new evidence being found of a second person, who by Jarl’s testimony, had just as much if not more motive than Sigvald,” Stoick ordered.  “I hereby adjourn this hearing until this second man has been found and been questioned.”

 

          Practically everybody started in The Hall started conversing amongst themselves and created a rather loud commotion, but a man with two people rushed forward before Stoick had started to leave.  The man was Vemund Thorvald and the other two people were his siblings Annett and Adam.

 

          “Pardon this interruption,” expressed Vemund.  “But I have something critical to tell you about this second man Jarl has described.”

 

          Stoick was getting a little impatient; however, but every bit of evidence in such a circumstantial case is just as important has the next.  Before hearing Vemund, Stoick told Gobber to take my father back into protective custody.  Gobber walked back over to get my father, but Stoick motioned them back over to hear what Vemund had to say.

 

          “Alright,” Stoick replied.  “Hiccup, write this as part of the record.”

 

          “I’ll get right to the point,” declared Vemund.  “The man that Jarl described as the second man, who also threatened Vlarrin, sounds exactly the same as a mercenary I had once met while in my days with Gudrod Radormerson.  This second man’s name is Trevor Oswaldson.”

 

          The name struck me as familiar, but odd because of the last name, though I did not have any time to dawn on the name as someone rushed from the crowd up to the group.  It was Cazi and Annabeth.

 

          Cazi began, slightly out of breath, “Once we heard that Hawk could have had something possibly to do with what happened to Gothi,” Annabeth then picked up and finished the sentence, “We knew there was not a moment to lose, so we went out looking for Hawk.  Before we left The Hall, we asked the doorman if he had seen Hawk.  He didn’t know who we were talking about until we described Hawk to him, but he said that he saw a man fitting that description leaving The Hall about the same time Gothi was being called to testify.”

 

          Everyone’s look now seemed to all be saying that we were all thinking the something along the lines of, “This sound an awful lot like an admission of guilt, to some extent.”

 

          “Since essentially everyone in Berk was in The Great Hall for the hearing,” noted Cazi.  “Ann and I knew we had to be careful of not being spotted by Hawk to tip him off.  Of those who we ran into on our search, we asked if they had seen Hawk or not.”

 

          “Finally after the fourth or fifth person,” expressed Annabeth.  “The person said that they had seen Hawk walking to the far west side of the island, not just a few minutes ago.  We hadn’t taken our dragons, because they were at home still, but right before we neared the west side of the main village, we saw Hawk along with two other men helping a third to walk with the third man’s arm over the other two’s shoulders start to exit and go towards the west bay.”

 

          Cazi then added, “Hawk was also looking over his shoulders and around the area as if he did not want to be spotted.”

 

          Stoick then decided, “Okay that settles it.  We must bring Hawk in for questioning.  Jarl?”

 

          I acknowledged.

 

          Stoick then commanded, “I trust your judgment on this one.  I haven't the time to go chasing after somebody, but you've proved so far that you can handle the responsibility.  I want you to take a party to bring him in for questioning along with those other men.”

 

          “Yes, sir,” I replied hurriedly then turned around.  “Cazi, Annabeth, and Hiccup; go get your dragons and call the Academy riders in on this one.  On your way, get as many as our friends as you can to come with and take everybody in the direction of what you described.  Also, Annabeth, once you get your dragon saddle, go to my house with Asvord and have my sister saddle Fredrick with his saddlebags and then take him with you to meet me.”

 

          I then told Asvord and Elsa to stay here and keep an eye on things with father and mother, even though Dagmar is here.  My sisters wanted to join the party, but Asvord agreed that she needs to keep an eye on things here with the case and continue to search for answers on this end.

 

          I then tell Annabeth, Cazi, and Hiccup.  “Saddle your dragons and pack some supplies and meet me over near the same beach where Annabeth first came to Berk.”

 

          I started to run off, but they called back to ask why they need to pack their bags, so I turned backwards but kept moving towards the doors of The Hall and replied, “I have a hunch of where they might be headed.  If it is right, we need to be ready to leave right then so we don’t lose any more time.”

 

          I then turned back around and headed for the doors.

 

          With all that has happened and all the little subtle clues that I have found, my hunch is, whether or not we capture Hawk and his men or not, that a return trip to The Golden Isles is in store.

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httyyd
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Joined: 10/12/2013
With the subjects wise this one is. Heed them do you not have to