A middle-aged, hairy man stepped into a small room. There he found a half-dozen of other folks, who did not look at him with joy. Quite the contrary, he could see the others were angry, very angry at him. He would not be here, if he were not summoned to come to this place – and even being summoned was not sufficient reason for him to actually show up here. It was their threat to kill him, if he did not come here, which convinced him to joy these folks.
In mid-room he stood still and looked at the table, behind which three persons were sitting. The person sitting the middle looked at the man and spoke:
“Good, you have come here, Seth. I guess you know the reason why we have summoned you for this hearing.” “I have read your letter, Iros,” the man said flatly. “Do you deny the accusation?” “I’ll deny nor confirm anything, Iros. I know my rights.”
The three persons behind the desk were exchanging looks with each other. Iros then continued:
“For the sake of proper procedure, I will read the charges against you.” “You do as you see fit,” Seth replied. Iros shook his head, but he continued. “You are accused of two violations which require disciplinary action. According to reliable witnesses, last Friday you was within the perimeter of a church while being transformed. And in addition, it was not full moon that night. Have you anything to say in your defense?”
The man remained silent and did not even show any facial expression. There was no point in arguing his guilt. And since those folks were anything but his friends, he was sure they had their judgement ready. In his eyes this whole hearing was nothing but a joke.
“I’ll take your refusal to say anything, as an admission of guilt,” Iros said. “As you should know your actions are a severe infraction of are rules. Article 27 of the Code makes it clear we should avoid the vicinity of churches, mosques and other places of worship. Since people are stupid, they will believe anything. It is to our own benefit to foster their superstitions like we are repelled by ‘sacred ground’. But how do we stimulate such superstitions, if they see us not deterred by holy ground? I hope you understand the jeopardy your actions had caused, Seth.”
The accused show no reaction whatsoever. He had heard this many times before and he got really tired by “it’s for our own good”-argument. But he knew better than to start an argument over this, as it would harm his case even further.
“And Article 32 of the Code,” Iros continued, “clearly prohibits to transform unless between sun set and dawn at full moon. Again this serves to enhance popular superstitions about us. Could you imagine the damage if people would learn we could transform at will, even during daylight?”
Why the moralizing? Seth wondered. It was quite annoying, those silly rules. Most people did not even believe, folks like him actually existed. The man sighted deeply as his only reaction, to this boring patronizing.
“I see you have no regret of your actions, nor did you deny the charges against you,” Iros said. “So, we have no choice but to take disciplinary measures against you. From now you will not be allowed to transform for the next nine moon cycles and in addition you will be shunned during this period.”
“And how would you prevent me from transforming?” Seth asked sarcastically. But to his surprise, he saw Iros smiling as the other man put a silver collar on the desk. “With this thing,” Iros replied. With a gesture he order the folks standing in the room to put the collar around Seth’s neck.
The man tried to fight them off, but he was quickly overpowered. The collar was put on him, thereafter he was released.
“That collar,” Iros explained, “will make you unable to transform, until we will remove it.” “Bullocks,” the man shouted. Desperately he tried to transform but he failed over and over again. All the folks in the room were laughing at him. He had never experience a greater humiliation in his entire life. Angrily he exclaimed:
“I’ll get rid of this damned thing! I swear I will!”