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The Eyes of Justice (Part 1) [MOVED]

Posted on Sun Dec 17th, 2017 @ 9:18pm by H.G. Mercer
Edited on on Mon Jan 8th, 2018 @ 4:55pm

Episode: The Legacy
Location: Kalispell Municipal Building, Municipal Square, Kalispell, Montana
Timeline: Mid-Morning, July 13, 1875

The town of Kalispell started life as Fort Kalispell, a stockaded trading post sandwiched between the Snake and Chogun Rivers. In 1872, it was decided that an independent military fort needed to be established in the region. It was decided to relocate the settlement of Kalispell five miles to the north. With the help of the town's business owners and the Army Corps of Engineers, the move was accomplished within six months of the decision being made. The decision had been a fortuitous one. Soon after the relocation was complete, people began flocking to the region lured by the promise of rich farm and ranch land and, of course, the rumors of gold.

By 1875, Kalispell had been declared the county seat of Flathead County. In three short years, the town went from a single street with five or six shops, a couple of saloons, and a boarding house to having several streets branching off of it. More businesses, including the elegant Belle-St. Regis Hotel sprang up. The town's most recent pride-and-joy was the new Kalispell Municipal Building which housed various city and county clerks offices, the town magistrate's office, and two courtrooms. The smaller of the two courtrooms saw the most business as it was used mainly by the magistrate for civil affairs.

The Kalispell Municipal Building stood in its own square at the end of Municipal Street. It was a marvelous two-story building clad in gray granite. The interior sported polished wood paneling on the walls and gleaming marble floors.

Harriet Mercer stepped down from the carriage and smoothed the travel wrinkles from her gray skirt. She did not wait for her traveling companions to alight from the vehicle. She wanted to get set up in the courtroom as soon as possible. Harriet disliked being rushed. Leading the way to the smaller courtroom on the second floor, she took a moment to see the Hales and the Harper twins settled in the pew just behind her table. To her pleasure, their opponent, Carson Tyndall, was nowhere to be seen. Harriet had just started laying her documents out when the doors opened to admit Shade and Quentin.

They had just settled in the chairs to the left of Harriet's when Carson Tyndall strolled in with an assistant scurrying in his wake. Tyndall was a tall, well-built man if somewhat on the thin side with iron-gray hair and eyes so dark that they appeared black. He wore an immaculately tailored dark suit and carried an expensive custom-made leather briefcase. The look he cast at Harriet and her clients could only be described as a combination of smug and bored, as if this proceeding was barely worth his time. Harriet smiled sweetly at him. She knew his reputation in the courtroom was merited. Harriet knew better than to dismiss him as incompetent. As he had been dismissive of her the few times they had met at the Harper ranch, she hoped he would underestimate her.

Just then, there was a rustle at the front of the courtroom. A clerk and the bailiff entered. The clerk settled in a chair near the bench, and the bailiff called things to order, requesting that everyone stand for the Honorable Judge Oliver Mandrell who walked in the right on the heels of the man's announcement.

As soon as the room settled, the bailiff read off the docket number for the case the judge was hearing. Mandrell thumbed through some papers he'd carried in with him. Finally, he cleared his throat, "As agreed yesterday, I will first speak to William Cody Harper, Regina Antoinette Harper, Mr. Ezra Hale, and Mrs. Kathryn Hale in my chambers. The rest of you may walk around if you like but please do not go far. This should not take very long." He once again exited, followed by the Hales and the children.

The judge was as good as his word. Less than thirty minutes later, he returned and resumed his seat. "I have heard from Cody and Antoinette Harper about their wishes in this matter. Mr. and Mrs. Hale have taken the children to the park. There is no need for them to be present for the remainder of this proceeding. Mr. Tyndall, present your case."

To be continued in part 2.


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