The stands were nearly full, and every set of eyes rested on her. The scrutiny made Liaran nervous, though she did her best to ignore it and focus exclusively on the judges before her and the Sitters in their places. She had noticed, however, that Haeden had come though she had hoped, for his sake, that he wouldn't. Doesn't he know that I'll have to tell them all? She hated the thought that he'd have to sit and listen to her explain what the White Tower had done to her for a second time when he'd already had to hear it once, and worse, to witness it. She didn't let herself look at him, instead listening to the ceremonial words that would begin her trial.
"Who comes before the Hall of the Tower?"
She rose from her seat and spoke the appropriate responses calmly, though she could feel her heartbeat begin to speed up. A Sitter for the Grey stood to face her. Liaran kept her head high as the woman read out the charges against her.
"Liaran din Chelai Morning Star, Aes Sedai. You have been summoned before the Hall of the Tower to be judged for the crime of murder. Do you declare yourself to be innocent or guilty of this charge against you?"
"I am guilty," Liaran answered, though her voice remained strong. She'd convicted herself of it many days before she'd found the strength to submit herself to the Hall for trial. By now, Liaran believed that the execution she was sure to receive would be preferable to continuing to live with the crushing weight of guilt she'd felt since she'd returned from the war. She was more than ready to answer before the Hall for what she'd done.
The Sitter continued to question her. "You submitted yourself to us for judgment, claiming that you killed an Aes Sedai from the White Tower without provocation. Describe how this happened."
It was a simple enough question, and Liaran did not hesitate in her response. "During the war, I Traveled to the White Tower against a direct order from the Amyrlin Seat," she began. "I was trying to get to the basements, but I opened the wrong door and found one of their Aes Sedai sitting in a courtyard. I failed to control myself, and I found a rock and hit her over the head with it until I knew she was dead. I did this even though she never raised a hand against me." Her voice never wavered, and she appeared to be perfectly calm, but inwardly the Aes Sedai winced. Her crime sounded much worse now than when she'd told Haeden about it....but of course, Haeden knew how the woman had harmed her, something Liaran just couldn't bring herself to admit before the Hall. Light, but they must all think I'm a monster.
She tried not to think about how she would likely be forced into it as the trial continued. The Sitter nodded, asking, "What was your motivation for acting as you did?" Liaran didn't want to tell the entire truth of the matter. Beaten, stilled, left to die on the Tar Valon road.... Knowing that she couldn't say so, Liaran instead said, "I was angry with the White Tower for their actions against us. They kidnapped an Asha'man and held an entire peaceful delegation as captives. They had no right to do it, and I was so furious about the situation that I did not stop to think about what I did. And...I was afraid of the harm that might come to our people, and I would have done anything to prevent it."
Liaran was more nervous, now, afraid to be asked further about why she had been so angry, why she felt that their people were in danger. She knew she couldn't explain without describing her own experience, and she dreaded the thought. Confessing to murder, she thought, had been easy, compared to the idea of being made to tell the entire Hall, and a good portion of the Tower, what had happened to her, and how it had driven her actions during the war.