Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear…
“Hey,” one person says. “Have you seen the news? About that house fire?”
Oh wait, there is!
Woman Killed in Blazing Inferno - TWO Exclusive Statements!
An article by Shady Shamima, new and upcoming journalist heavily inspired by the legendary Tess “TessA” Ardent.
It has been reported that a woman at 1067 Fir Tree Lane has been killed in what an interviewee dubbed a “blazing inferno”. Police arrived sharply to the scene where forensics analysts recovered samples. An exclusive witness, who wished to remain anonymous (henceforth “Chris”) claimed a local woman by the name of “Mortia” was spotted entering the crime scene. Mortia has been identified as the victim’s ex-partner.
If you would like to receive EXCLUSIVE statements on the fly only available to those with registered communications and PREMIUM opportunities to communicate with ShadyShamima and receive rewards for providing intel, please pickup a gold & white card from your local store and contact us from there.
I would like to extend a thank-you to anyone who demonstrated patience and goodwill during this game. It was difficult to work with the amount of players that were active versus those who said they would be, although obviously there’s no grudge or blame against anyone there. Merely an accolade to those who helped make this game fun.
The game is officially over, but just for fun, court is in session. This will double as an epilogue or endgame depending on how you might want to respond.
For whom does the bell toll on this evening? In recognition of a house fire that could’ve been dismissed as an accident, which eventually creeped and unearthed a conspiracy the likes of which most of you had ever witnessed, we accuse the defendant, “Mortia”, with the aim and means to commit arson with the intent to kill. She sits at a table by herself, looking strangely serene with her arms folded in her lap. Does the bell toll for an innocent and bloodless victim unable to defend herself? Well, there’s both an easy answer and the real answer.
Quite a number of people enter the courtroom, more than one would’ve expected given the supposed simplicity of the case.
Tally sits towards the back of the audience, hat pulled over her eyes to avoid drawing attention. She shouldn’t even be here, honestly, but it was just too tempting to see this happen.
Sincred sits towards the front, a briefcase containing the defendant’s medical files in his hands.
Shamina appeared to be antsy, sitting up front near Sincred, although she continuously glanced towards the back of the room.
Bob was still asleep in his chair.
Then a few others were in the audience. A perfectly normal individual in the crowd. Quite a large figure stands beside the door, looking more like a bodyguard than a guest. In the jury, a short man with red hair and a woman with gold hair, among others.
There was someone else that nobody seemed to even glance at. A man with modest clothing, a modest outlook, carrying himself with no level of importance or humility… seated towards the door, hands resting on the end of a cane. But he isn’t important.
The star of the show stood at the front of the courtroom, opposite the defendant. Presenting the prosecution, Violetta, with a binder of evidence against the defendant. There might be a lot to go over here, but surely the defence attorney could put up a fight. Hey, where are they at?
This mystery might have started as a simple house fire, but it soon exposed corruption and violence in this city. More than one person risked life and limb in the pursuit of knowledge, or perhaps to pretend they had something they didn’t. Nevertheless, here is where we are at.*
Tally leaned back and pulled her hat over her face.
She might be asleep, to be honest.
Violetta Stars shuffles between her, quite frankly, ludicrously big list of files and paperwork hardly visible to the audience in front of her, ruffling around the solid black blazer’s wrist, before fiddling with the buttons of her white undershirt. She looks focused, although the mild stammering in her demeanor as she sorts through her papers is more noticeable then she’d like to be.
She stares at the empty attorney seat, with her disappointment seeming to rise, before noticeably looking back at the defendant, upset.
She raises her forest scarf to cover her mouth, lowering it after seemingly doing nothing with it, before walking up to the stand.
Violetta breathes in and out, beginning to speak.
“Good… evening, members of the court. We are here to discuss… the… assumptions made by the defendant, Miss “Mortia”, and what that has led her to commit. Based off the assumptions… made by the defendant, she has, in no short order to the risk of the life of other people and property, chosen to set up a contraption a lethal contraption, witnesses by various people, some of whom are in the court today…”
She pauses. Breath in. Breath out.
"The burden lies on the state to prove to you, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant is guilty of the charges that she has been indited with.
She starts pacing back and forth, flickering her view between the jury-members and the general court. “The crime… took place on a house leased under the name of “Albert Marscapone”, on 11th street. The charges consist of… First-Degree Arson, burning down a house where many people both rent from and work about, breaking and entering, and attempted… malice murder on a specific individual, her ex boyfriend, the owner of the house, because of a grudge that she had on him… with no care for who was effected by that grudge, or who else it would harm…”
She places her hands on the podium directly in front of her, facing the defendant. She looks plain uncomfortable staring in her general direction. “Mortia entered the house, viewed by not only various witnesses, but found deep inside by emergency personnel, to set up a contraption based off of both a portable gas heater and a stove, setting fire to the curtains and spreading the fire inside.” She tightens her grip, more to stabilize herself then to passion. “Not only would this at best constitute as… criminal negligence had she discovered or made the devices to interlink, she has the several witness accounts tacking onto her both presence and work on setting the house ablaze, with… no other reason for her presence, and a… strong motive.” She releases her grip on the podium.
“The witness accounts detail that, with no doubt in their reasoning, that they saw Mortia enter the house, and, while inside the house, witnessed her performing several of the charges that she is faced with. The defendant has a history of mental illness, mainly schizophrenia, which unlikely, but possibly, had effected what she had done.” Violetta breathes in. She’s clearly upset, but trying not to let it obviously impede her statement.
“Provided the defense attorney, or the defendant herself, chooses not to comment, this evidence… I have presented to you… found by forensic investigators, detectives and eyewitnesses, leads into… the accusation provided by the state, with a silent defense.” She concludes, returning to behind her podium, to try and look like she’s comfortable again.
She’s not taking this well.
She’s probably asleep.
Come to think of it, why’s Tally here? She’s not even paying attention.
Shamima. She’s not elusive, for that would mean she hides in the shadows: but she’s also not open, either. The best word to describe her? Shady. Appearing as an upcoming journalist for the town, this case is her first that she’s reporting on. Despite that, her position is one of experience and her aura is that of authority. You can’t help but consider that it’s somewhat… shady.
She rises from her seat and begins to tinker with her extremely bulky video camera. You begin to wonder if filming in a courtroom like it’s a reality TV show is even legal here. Either way, she’s managed to smuggle one in the courtroom and nobody is batting an eye. She places a microphone on the defense’s table and begins laying cable to her audio station near the camera, having finished placing all other microphone & cables beforehand.
Seriously. Why would a gangster even bother showing up to court as a witness? She doesn’t have any stake in this trial. She clearly isn’t taking this seriously, so who expects her to give honest testimony?
And what testimony can she even give? She wasn’t at the scene of the crime, right?
Or was she…
(more and more of tally’s backstory will be spoiled in the next few days)
(some of you may already know some of this information, but pretend to be surprised)
Let’s review what we know.
Talia “Tally” Hu, formerly known as Hat Girl, is a gangster known to be working for Al Mascapone, one of the leading crime bosses in the city. She’s rather rough around the edges, but she’s shown flashes of surprising kindness and empathy. She clearly wasn’t always a gangster, but something traumatic happened in her past that led her here.
I know, I know. You want me to just tell you what happened in her past. A lesser narrator may have given in to such urges.
But I have standards!
Tally rolled her eyes at the narrator, which was quite uncalled for.
Not very high standards, to be fair, but standards nonetheless.
Regardless, there’s a key piece of information you’re missing. Tally was at the scene of the crime. Multiple witnesses saw her enter the building while it was ablaze.
Yes, dear reader. Tally, our hardened, selfish, brutal gangster went into a burning building. The question, of course, is why?
But first, let me point out something unusual.
There’s one key witness missing from this trial. The police officer who arrested Mortia. Surely their testimony about what they saw in the fire would be invaluable, wouldn’t it? And yet, nobody’s called them to the stand.
And why might that be? Was the cop abducted to prevent them from testifying? Are they bogged down in red tape?
Or… maybe the police officer was here the whole time.
But why stay hidden? Wouldn’t that make the trial a lot harder, having to maintain her disguise while avoiding perjury?
Very astute observation, dear reader. But you don’t have the full picture. Not yet.
For you see, believe it or not, there are other things more important than the trial.
But first, let me tell you a story.
Several months ago, an undercover officer came to the city. Her target? Albert Marscapone, head of the infamous Baker’s Dozen crime ring.
The cop spent several months painfully, slowly moving her way up the ladder. Working her way towards a meeting with the boss. The meeting where they could finally catch the man who eluded law enforcement for years.
But just as she was nearing her prize, disaster struck. She witnessed a crime, one far too serious for her to ignore. The officer knew she must testify, or else a criminal could walk free. But if she testified…
They’d know who she was. Her cover would be blown. And months of work would disappear, like cotton candy on a rainy day.
So she improvised. She maintained her cover at all costs, keeping her hat on her head and her badge at home.