Waking Other Lives

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Chapter 24: The Trial

Seth’s POV

I was frustrated with it all, it was not enough I was given a human mate, but that she was hiding her true identity and intentions was just too much. The heart of Rawonia was only known to Drakons, we were the first children of Rawonia, created by the ancient Goddess Rawona herself. It was her heart which was preserved in what we called the ruins of Rawonia, though no one could pinpoint its exact location. The sound of its beat however echoed loudly in the hollow cave, as evidence of its existence. It was every Drakon’s duty to pay due respect to the ruins once a year. It was up in the mountains, a place easy to visit by Drakons, but quite a strenuous task for any human, which was irrelevant as no human, up until now, had known of its existence, or its significance for the Drakons. Damn it! Apparently Sierra knew about it, and how or why, she wouldn’t say.

“Fileas, what about Ozy’s other men?” I asked, trying to distract myself from my fight with Sierra, although failing at it miserably.

“Dimitri is one of those you killed. But, there’s also Breyan and Luke who were not involved, what do we do with them?”

“They will be. Where did you put Ozy?”

“We chained him in one of the west rooms, we had to set his shoulder first because he was screaming like a banshee.”

“Set a trap. Hide three armed guards in the next room, and let them watch for Ozy’s men. They will try to get him out.”

He nodded. “What do we do about the Drakon?”

“I will deal with him alone. You don’t have to worry about him. You just worry about setting up the judicial committee,” I said, cutting him short. Rocco was mine, and I didn’t want anyone observing my means of extracting information from him, or be party to our conversation.

“Where’s Sierra?” I asked, my thoughts going back to her.

“Last time I saw, she was asking people about a place in Rawonia,” he said, swallowing as if a lump was stuck in his throat. He was kind enough not to mention what she was exactly asking about.

“Yes, she can be stubborn sometimes,” I said, waving my hand in the air to dismiss the issue.

“Cayman, do you have any news from the Palace?” I asked as I continued walking. The responsibilities weighed heavily on me, I no longer knew what I was doing. While I should be dealing with the Drakon fratricide, and finding Dante, I was here wasting time, setting things right among the humans whom I should have been killing instead. And, that was another issue. Yes, I wanted to kill Ozy, but, did I really want to kill Fileas or Elvan? Not to mention that I would kill anyone, Drakon or not, who harmed Sierra. This whole infiltration thing had started as a means to an end, but I was beginning to doubt it still felt that way, and it confused me.

“No, not yet. I sent the vial as you ordered.”

“Okay,” I said. “We’ll find about it soon enough.”

It was time to visit Rocco. I asked Fileas to take me where he was held, he was chained despite lying on the floor unconscious. I asked him to leave me with the prisoner. After making sure I was alone with Rocco, I pressed my hand to his abdomen, where his tattoo was. I pressed lightly, giving him back the gift of his consciousness. His eyes slowly opened, the blankness in his gaze and the loss of focus was an indication that he didn’t remember much about the battle, or know where he was at the moment. As understanding settled in his features, so did fear, and a stream of vile words poured from his lips, uninhabited.

“What are you going to do to me?” he shouted. “It won’t frigging matter, if you think I’ll talk, think again,” he said, as he spat at me.

I moved back at the right moment, watching his spit fall to the ground. “We’ll see, won’t we dear Rocco?” I said smiling. “I guess we should start the fun. Where is my brother?”

“I don’t know,” he replied cockily.

“Where is my brother Rocco?” I asked again. He kept his silence. “As you wish,” I said, as I moved my hand towards his tattoo. The moment I touched his skin, his dragon roared in pain, and so did he. The scream shattered the silence around us, and I withdrew my touch to give him the incentive to speak. He was breathing heavily; saliva was gathered around his lips to drip onto his chin.

“Do you have an answer for me?” I asked, with a casual expression.

“No, screw you!” he shouted.

“I’m getting bored,” I said, as I touched him again, this time pressing a little harder and holding my hand a little longer. His pain was evident in the way he howled, like he was dying, in the way his muscles ticked along his jaw, and the way his body trembled all over, incessantly and uncontrollably. He had also shit himself, the smell slowly saturating all around the room.

He said something, his lips moving to form words but they came as incoherent and jumbled. I saw him try a few more times. It was obvious I had pressed a bit too hard on his tattoo, I leaned back at the wall, tapping my fingers, waiting impatiently.

“Rocco, I’ll show you mercy, if you tell me what I want to know,” I said firmly. Mercy meant quick death at this point, and he well knew it. There could be no forgiveness for treason, it was an untouchable rule everywhere and anywhere.

“Your...,” he said. “Dante...,” he continued, unable to form any coherent sentence. “The witch” he added.

He had finally found his voice, but I was very close to ending his miserable life if he didn’t give me a location soon.

“Seth,” I heard Sierra say, her voice hesitant.

“What are you doing here Sierra, you’re not supposed to be here,” I said, frustrated. What was she doing here, damn it, how had she even found out about it?

“I followed you when Fileas was taking you, you know. I wanted to talk to you about what happened before. And, I was waiting at a reasonable distance, but then I heard all the screams. Are you torturing him for God’s sake?” she asked in a reprimanding tone.

“Sierra, this is none of your business. Leave it to me,” I said, hoping she’d just let it be.

“But, Seth. How is this all justified? Just kill him if you must, but torturing him, that’s too much. It’s inhumane. What will that do anyway? He’ll lie, say anything to free himself from the pain. This is exactly what I said in our civil wars class, and I stand by it. ”

What was she talking about?

“Are you forgetting who he is? Kitten please, let me do what I need to do.”

“How can I close my eyes to this, knowing what you are doing, knowing that he’s suffering?”

I heard a low laughter come behind me, and I turned around to see Rocco, bending in two partly because of pain, partly because of what he’d just discovered.

“Don’t believe it,” he said, ” A human mate, for you,” he said, laughing again. “Who would believe it?”

“Shut the fuck up,” I said, extending my hand as if to touch him again. He stopped immediately, his eyes enlarged in anticipation of what was to come, and the whites of his black eyes had fear written on them. I slowly withdrew my hand, “Fine.” I said, having made my point. I took Sierra’s hand and walked away although I wanted to continue the session with every bone in my body. It was, however, not meant to be, knowing Sierra she would not allow it. I’d have to come some other time, when I was able to ditch her, it seemed.

“Seth, I hope you do see my perspective, right?” Sierra said.

What perspective was that? I had no clue. I just nodded.

“You see Geneva Conventions ban the inhumane treatment of prisoners, and while this may be a different universe, I’m sure there must be similar laws in here, right?”

I nodded. What the hell was she babbling about?

“Good,” she said. “Now, I wanted to ask you one more time about where the heart of Rawonia was. It’s very important, you see, or else I wouldn’t ask. ”

Damn it, she was torturing me just like I had tortured Rocco. I kept my silence.

“Is this like a sacred place for you because you seem very sensitive about it. I do not want to disrespect your customs or anything like it, I have the best of intentions, if there is a ritual to be fulfilled before I enter this sacred place, I’d be happy to do it” she said, with a very serious expression on her face. She seemed earnest enough but I couldn’t trust her yet.

I couldn’t deal with this right now, the fact that I might be endangering the Drakon race by being with her didn’t sit well with me. Hadn’t she already told me she wanted to kill the Drakon Prince? And now this, what other proof did I need?

“I don’t want to talk about this now,” I said.

“Okay,” she said, giving up.

The day continued with a stream of problems from Andra training to maintenance issues such as the leakage from the ceiling, or preservation of food supplies. Me, the Drakon Prince, the master of the Uruloki, being reduced to this, was simply surreal. I waited for a few hours before I went to visit Rocco again, but all I managed to get from him was the existence of a witch who held my brother prisoner. He kept saying he didn’t know who the witch was, or where she was. He’d proven to be quite resistant to pain so far, and I didn’t want to kill him without getting the answers.

I had to admit though, as insane as it sounded, I was beginning to accept that there were things I didn’t know about in Rawonia. I let him be, as Fileas came to retrieve me for Ozy’s trial. And Rocco needed to recuperate before our next session.

The judicial committee was composed of five humans, none of whom I recognized. Travis was sitting in the front row with Sierra. Others had filled the room, waiting to see how the trial of their previous leader would proceed.

“We are here for the trial of Ozy Denserk, the previous leader of this rebel unit,” a girl in the committee said. “Do you swear to say the truth, and only the truth?” she asked.

Ozy nodded.

“You are being charged of treason. Do you plead guilty?” another committee member asked.

“No, I’m innocent,” Ozy said, confident.

“There are many witnesses who say you tried to kill our leader Seth and Sierra last night. Do you deny this?”

“I don’t. He deserved to die. And so did she. And, he’s not your leader, I am, are you forgetting?” he raged. “I was the one who took care of you until now, I’m the one who deserves your loyalty, and that’s why it was not treason to attempt to oust him and bring to you, your rightful leader.”

“Seth is our new leader by your rules,” the man explained.

“There was nothing right about the way he took the leadership from me, that was not a normal fight, was it? We don’t even know who he is,” he said.

Well, he was getting too close to the truth for my liking.

“Let’s hear some witness accounts of what happened,” I intervened.

The committee members nodded and invited several individuals to tell us of the night’s events.

“It was too dark to see but they had knives, and flashlights and I could hear the sounds of a fierce fight taking place,” Elvan explained. “When the lights were on, I saw two bodies, and Ozy was down on the ground, lying there, all defeated. His knife was thrown a few inches away. It was obvious he had attacked them.”

One after another, all the witnesses confirmed the story. They lastly questioned Sierra and me.

“We’ll deliberate now to consider the evidence in light of the witness stories,” the committee said. “We’ll gather again in half an hour.”

The crowd, however, did not disperse, it was the most exciting thing happening to them, and they were all looking forward to hearing the first court sentence in their rebel unit. Some humans, like Travis, who’d been often victimized during his reign were smiling. When the committee came back, everybody was holding their breath, there was not even a whisper that could be heard in the room.

“Ozy Denserk, this court finds you guilty of treason. Your sentence is death by gunshot, which will be carried out in two days time.”

Ozy started spouting profanities, it was obvious he had not expected this, that he’d be punished for trying to get back what he considered to be his. “I am not guilty, are you nuts, have you all gone crazy, have you lost it? Don’t you know who I am? After all, what I’ve done for you...” he shouted. He was struggling to free himself as he was held by two Andra. One injected him with the sedative they had previously used on me, and Ozy fainted in the arms of his two guards.

“I thank this committee for serving justice. This sets a good precedent, that nobody is ever free from law in this unit. Let that be a lesson to all,” I announced.

There was a loud applause.

I looked at where Sierra was, I wanted to see whether she was one of those who was clapping, whether she was satisfied with the proceedings. But, Travis stood alone, she was gone. Where in the hell was she?

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