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Mael Stronghart
Great Britain's capital city is nothing but magnificent! London is the centre of the modern world!

Mael Stronghart was the Lord Chief Justice of London during the time that Ryunosuke Naruhodo stayed in the city.

The Professor case[]

Main article: Professor case

Mael Stronghart was originally a prosecutor working in London. He pictured a brighter and crime-free London, but he was unable to do anything with that vision. He eventually figured out that another prosecutor, Klint van Zieks, had been working under the alias "The Professor," a known serial killer in the area of London. Stronghart took this as a chance to further his vision and proceeded to blackmail Klint, ordering him to kill three more aristocratic targets. One such target was the Lord Chief Justice at the time, whom Stronghart saw as weak-willed and insultingly blind to the growing strength of London's criminal underworld; once he was killed, Stronghart succeeded him as Lord Chief Justice.

Genshin Vortex

Stronghart refusing Genshin's request.

Japanese exchange student Genshin Asogi begged Stronghart to move the police force into action regarding the Professor, but Stronghart wouldn't have any of it without "decisive evidence." Genshin honorably killed Klint via duel after finding out about the blackmailing, giving Stronghart the idea to frame Genshin as the Professor, as he was hoping to tie up his remaining loose ends and protect Klint's secret to keep the law running as smoothly as possible, not wanting the public to know that a fellow British noble was responsible for the killings and cause hysteria. To enact his plot, Stronghart roped detective Tobias Gregson and doctor John Wilson into a forging scheme. First, Gregson would collect a group of thugs together and stage a false flag attack of Klint's younger brother Barok, stealing Genshin's trademark ring. Second, Stronghart helped Gregson argue for Klint's autopsy report to be done despite him being a noble with the House of Lords. Third, Wilson would keep his assistants, Courtney Stevens and Yujin Mikotoba, busy during the dissection, then pretend to find the ring in Klint's stomach, fabricating the conclusion that Klint had swallowed it to provide proof for his killer. Despite the discrepancies in Klint's death, dying of a stab wound to the heart rather than having his throat torn apart by a hound like the others, he was treated as the last of the Professor's victims and Genshin Asogi was arrested and tried as the Professor.

A closed court trial was held by orders of the Queen as she was afraid this incident might spark a war between Britain and Japan, with Stronghart assigned as the prosecutor. Before he was transported to Barclay Prison, Stronghart ordered Genshin to write a will, asking that all his personal affects be sent overseas to his son, which were later given to Barry Caidin. To Stronghart's chagrin, Genshin still carried Klint's will that he wrote before the duel, which not only admitted his identity as the Professor, but also pointed to Stronghart as the one who threatened him to continue his killing spree. In an attempt to illegitimately acquire and destroy the will, Stronghart approached Genshin for a deal: keep the will secret and silently accept a guilty verdict at the trial, and he would arrange for Genshin's escape from prison so he could go back to Japan. Genshin refused to agree until Stronghart brought up the prospect of never seeing his son Kazuma again, at which point Genshin caved in. Barok then insisted to take over as the prosecutor for the closed trial, to which Stronghart agreed under the condition that he served as Barok's co-counsel.

When Genshin received the death penalty, Stronghart had Stevens falsely "confirm" Genshin's death after the execution, and sent a letter to Barry Caidin to keep others busy. Genshin was buried alive, so Stronghart and Seishiro Jigoku, who jumped onboard the plan after Stronghart promised him the Minister of Foreign Affairs' position back in Japan, would head to Lowgate Cemetery to help dig Genshin out and begin his journey back. However, grave robber Enoch Drebber dug Genshin out of his grave before they could and saw him clawing his way out. Realizing the astronomical possibility that Drebber would expose their operation to the public and thus foil their plot, Stronghart gave Jigoku a gun and coerced him to shoot Genshin, which he reluctantly did. Once Drebber fled, the two reburied Genshin in the same grave he had been contained in.

The Reaper of the Bailey[]

Stronghart then started to bring a "curse" upon Barok not too long after the Professor killings. In his desire to create a world of order and safety for the people of London, Stronghart collaborated with Gregson and assassin Asa Shinn, to kill the defendants found innocent in Barok's trials. The public began calling Barok "the Reaper of the Bailey," with rumours that Klint's ghost was bringing justice when Barok could not. Though Barok initially welcomed the infamy of the Reaper name, he eventually took a five year leave of absence.

Meanwhile, Stronghart began to realize that being Lord Chief Justice was not enough to fulfill his desires of an orderly, crime-free London. He saw the upcoming International Forensic Symposium as his best opportunity to be promoted to Attorney General, the rank he had longed for for so long. To do that, however, he would need to cut off the remaining few loose ends regarding his past: those of Gregson and Wilson specifically, as they were the only remaining individuals that knew the whole truth about Klint's false autopsy. To do this, he blackmailed Jigoku — now Minister of Justice in Japan — with the truth of Genshin's death, and created an assassin exchange. Using the recently established Anglo-Japanese Treaty of Friendship and Navigation that allowed criminals in a foreign country to be extradited to their consulate and thus get off scot-free, England and Japan would switch assassins. However, the exchange went awry due to both assassins being compromised. Although Shinn successfully killed Wilson, her attempts to frame Naruhodo ended in failure, and then someone eventually killed her before she could stand trial in Shanghai, China. Additionally, Genshin's son Kazuma Asogi, who volunteered as an assassin simply to learn the truth behind his father's death, was supposedly killed before he could make it to England — though this was a deliberate ruse engineered by detective Herlock Sholmes. Thus, Stronghart was left with no choice but to use Jigoku himself to eliminate the remaining loose ends.

Another exchange student's arrival[]

Main articles: The Adventure of the Runaway Room, The Adventure of the Clouded Kokoro, The Adventure of the Unspeakable Story, & The Return of the Great Departed Soul

After Ryunosuke Naruhodo replaced Kazuma as an exchange student, he and Susato Mikotoba went to see Stronghart in his office. Stronghart was reluctant to accept Naruhodo's proposal until he mentioned wanting to see through Kazuma's will. Made aware of the possibility that this replacement student knew about Kazuma's real mission, Stronghart assigned him to defend philanthropist Magnus McGilded ostensibly as a test, knowing that it was a trial that the defense could not lose. Stronghart was happy to declare Naruhodo a bona fide defense attorney afterward. It was made apparent, however, that Kazuma had told Naruhodo about his mission, but not what it actually was. With this, Stronghart ceased to pry into Naruhodo's relationship to Kazuma, and assigned him to defend fellow Japanese exchange student Soseki Natsume, introducing him and Susato to Gregson.

Two months later, Stronghart received a telegram from Yujin requesting his daughter to come back to Japan, which he relayed to her the following day. The day after that, Naruhodo was placed under law license suspension due to the revelation that McGilded's trial had been rigged in the defense's favor.

Three months later, Kazuma finally made it to England on a cargo ship. Suffering from amnesia and with no identification, he was taken to Scotland Yard, where he ended up meeting Stronghart. Impressed by Kazuma's knowledge of law (and most likely recognizing him as the other assassin who he had thought dead), Stronghart decided to have Kazuma train under Barok to become a prosecutor. Stronghart also lifted Naruhodo's suspension three months afterwards, and assigned him to defend scientist Albert Harebrayne.

The raging inferno[]

Main articles: Twisted Karma and His Last Bow & The Resolve of Ryunosuke Naruhodo

Still believing Kazuma to be dead, Jigoku contacted Stronghart saying he was coming to the International Forensic Symposium, and planned to kill Gregson himself. Remembering Jigoku was prosecuted by Barok for contempt of court following the Professor trial, he got the idea to lure Gregson by sending him on a false Reaper mission. Stronghart sent Kazuma with him as the assassin, though in truth he was to kill Gregson. Despite Kazuma backing out after hearing the truth about his father, Jigoku managed to kill Gregson.

Jigoku intended to frame Gregson's accomplice, "Hugh Boone", for the crime by throwing off the time and location of death. However, it was Barok who ended up discovering the body, and was subsequently arrested instead. The idea that the feared prosecutor killed the legendary inspector put all eyes on Scotland Yard, and the symposium was delayed as a result. A setback to becoming Attorney General, Stronghart deemed it necessary to end the trial as soon as possible. He appointed Kazuma as the prosecutor, and ordered Maria Gorey to hide any information in the autopsy that would arouse suspicion. However, Naruhodo was able to see through the discrepancies in the autopsy, and after connections to the Professor case were revealed, the trial was suspended until the next day. Stronghart finally decided that in order to get the results he wanted, he would have to take over as judge.

Although Stronghart repeatedly tried to end the trial as quickly as possible, it became clear that in order to find the truth, Jigoku would have to testify. Having been found escaping aboard the SS Grouse by Sholmes and Yujin, it would take until the next day for him to return to England, and the proceedings were once again halted for the day. The following day, details about the assassin exchange came to light, and Jigoku was found to be the one behind Gregson's murder.

Following this, Kazuma relentlessly pushed to continue the trial in order to expose the whole truth and accused Barok as the mastermind behind the assassination exchange, his reasoning being that Gregson had revealed Klint's autopsy had been forged a decade earlier. However, Barok and Naruhodo quickly realized the mastermind was in fact Stronghart, who handled the Professor case beforehand. Stronghart finally began to lose his cool and tried to avoid further questioning, but was pressured to proceed by the people in the gallery, thanks to the intervention of Sholmes.

It was revealed that it was not Genshin, but instead Klint, who had acted as the Professor, and that Stronghart had bargained with Genshin so that Klint's will would remain secret. Stronghart admitted to these claims, as well as being the head of the organization behind the Reaper killings. However, Naruhodo discovered Klint's will inside Karuma, revealing Stronghart to be the man behind the Professor as well, who had ordered the killings of most of Klint's victims.

Stronghart defeated

Mael Stronghart defeated.

Despite the accusations, Stronghart had one more trick up his sleeve: since he had never acted directly, committing all his crimes through coercion of others, Stronghart could not be tried for his wrongdoings. Furthermore, he appealed to the gallery that if any of his actions from the past decade became public, it would spell the end of public order in England. The judiciary, though conflicted, was swayed by this argument and began to chant Stronghart's name. Yet Stronghart's final plan was dashed when Sholmes appeared through a hologram, revealing that he had been broadcasting the trial to the Queen from the very start. It was then decreed that Stronghart was to lose all of his political power and be tried for his crimes publicly. His efforts over the past decade destroyed beyond repair and his path to Attorney General crushed, Stronghart collapsed at the judge's podium while the Scales of Justice overloaded, broke off, and burned the courtroom behind him. He was subsequently arrested for all of his crimes.

Personality[]

Hart Vortex mugshot

Mugshot

Stronghart
I would like to address all the good lords, ladies and gentlemen of the judiciary here present. You all know of these darker recesses in our great capital. And deep down, I believe you also know... ...that to fight those who dwell there requires at least some of us to occupy the darkness ourselves.

Mael Stronghart was an incredibly stoic, stern and grandiose person that was devoted to his position in the judiciary and remained calm through nearly every situation he was found in. He was a man with an eye for time, caring deeply in regards to how "early" or "late" a person was, counting from minutes to even seconds, as he constantly did with Ryunosuke Naruhodo. He was so obsessed with time that he immediately recognized a small component of a pocket watch. Despite this, Stronghart himself was often late to meetings by multiple hours.

Stronghart was also typically viewed as someone who only wanted what was best for the Great British Empire, and would typically do anything he could to ensure that the empire would be the best it could be, especially within its law. He vowed to get rid of the "darkness" lurking within it. Thus, he held great pride for the Great British Empire and thought highly of his own country. However, his love for his country eventually clouded his judgement, to the point that he wanted to control its law system with an iron fist so that it would be free from all sorts of crime.

In his ultimate desire to change the law to fight crime, he was willing to resort to foul means to achieve it, such as blackmailing Klint to murder various individuals and threatening to reveal his crimes to his wife and his brother if he did not. He also had him murder the Chief Justice before him as he believed the Lord Chief Justice at the time was too soft to fight crime, but ultimately determined that the position Chief Justice wasn't enough to make complete changes in the law and needed to become Her Majesty's Attorney General to do that — going so far as to be able to list "twelve solid arguments and two hundred and twenty-three individual reasons" why he aspired to the position. He was determined to tie up loose ends to ensure that promotion to Attorney General, going so far as to send assassins to eliminate anyone that knew the truth about the Professor.

However, both Naruhodo and Kazuma concluded Stronghart did nothing but hide the truth and was simply framing innocent people via coercion and extortion, all the while twisting the truth for his own benefit. He justified everything he did that it was for the sake of law and public order, claiming that in order to fight darkness one needed to occupy the darkness oneself — a sentiment Ryunosuke Naruhodo strongly objected to, saying that this was a coward's excuse and that fighting darkness did not require the lies and manipulation Stronghart had perpetuated at all. Furthermore, Herlock Shlomes revealed that the Queen had witnessed the whole trial and that she disagreed with Stronghart's beliefs, the Queen herself ultimately stripped Stronghart from his position as Chief Justice and had him publicly prosecuted for his crimes.

Name & development[]

  • Japanese/English - Hart Vortex (ハート・ヴォルテックス, Hāto Vu~orutekkusu)/Mael Stronghart:
    • In both Japanese and English, his name is a play on the phrase "heart of the vortex/maelstrom", referencing his central role as the Reaper of the Bailey and the Professor's extortioner, "pulling those in his circle of influence under one by one." The maelstrom theme can also be seen in his hairstyle, which unravels into a raging inferno as he descends, until it goes out in an enormous blaze in his breakdown.
  • He was designed to have an intimidating and intelligent appearance, drawing from elements of animals such as the black panther. He originally had a more militaristic design, but Shu Takumi requested a more mage-like design, resulting in a look more reminiscent of a clergyman.
  • The unicorn is a major theme in his design, with part of his hair being intended to resemble a unicorn's horn, as well as his possession of a gavel with a unicorn-shaped head in The Resolve of Ryunosuke Naruhodo. The unicorn was chosen due to being a highly intelligent creature that shares the United Kingdom's royal coat of arms with the lion.
  • He shares many strong similarities with Damon Gant in both design and his role in the story. Both are very high-ranking figures in their respective judicial systems, both having achieved these positions through a criminal conspiracy involving the manipulation of several of their peers. Multiple murders result both from the conspiracy itself and from an attempted cover-up of the conspiracy years later. They also have similar breakdown-related animations in that both characters clap with a high frequency. Both also bear similar hairstyles, wear similar clothing, and both evoke natural phenomena involving water (Stronghart to a whirlpool, Gant to lightning/Zeus).

References[]

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