Smoothing (Chapter 44)
I know I shouldn’t, but I felt a lot better.
There is something satisfying about the smash of skin covered bones against my fist. The smacking sound of my revenge meeting his face. A gasp of shock from the priestess while James yells something in the background.
The fucker didn’t see it coming, his wide eyed expression giving away his surprise. The hit was enough to cause his head to snap to the side, but when he returned forward a small smirk graced his face and I felt even better about hitting the smug bastard.
Apothen begins, “Violence will not-“
“This fucker knew and did nothing until it benefited him.” I interrupt.
The Master Priest rubs his jaw, “I heard rumors, but I am not privy to many of the High Priest’s actions”
“Did you do anything about those rumors?” I look him in the eye.
He doesn’t respond and just looks me straight in the eye. As he continues to rub his jaw he smears a tiny trickle of blood runs from the right side of his mouth. His blue-gray eyes not backing down. He is a big bastard, I am slightly taller, but he has broader shoulders and more muscles that I can ever hope to achieve.
I go back to my seat because, as Apothen was saying, violence will not get us anywhere.
“Good.” Apothen comments while continuing to lean back on the couch, “Now I take it, this is enough for you.”
“I’m going to take Maya to Miss Garett.” The Master Priest grabs the priestess’ dress and holds it out in front of her. She grabs in to her chest to cover her front and he leads her towards the door.
As she reaches the door, she pauses and turns around. “Wait. I forgot… I…um…. Valorie didn’t volunteer”
The priest looks down at her, squinting. “how do you know? Have you spoken with her?”
“That’s not enough, Maya. Come” and the priest continues to lead her out of the room.
“Valorie?” I ask Apothen once the door clicks shut.
He just shrugs.
I think for a moment before going back to our original topic, “You know, we will need several more revelations like hers before I will even be able to get anything out of committee”
Apothen nods, “Dunn is working on it, but the girls are hesitant”
I can imagine what would happen if we don’t have enough evidence when we go after the High Priest, hell I can imagine what will happen even if we do. I’m not going ahead unless everything is in order.
“We will need to have everything in order before I even attempt to get a date on the committee calendar. Once the topic of the meeting is announced the High Priest will try to strike back.”
“You could use your speaking time on some bill or another on the Senate floor to make your accusations. There would be no forewarning for the High Priest.”
“No, I want to do this right. An investigation into the High Priest’s wrongdoing in committee followed by a vote on the floor. If we do it right we avoid accusations of not following procedure” I look towards the door, “Do you think she will be able to tell her story in front of a committee room of leering men?”
Apothen also turns towards the door as his nephew slips back in, “Dunn will handle her”
I’m not sure what handing her entails. I’m not sure I want to know.
The Master Priest slips back into the room.
James, who until this point has been silent, finally speaks up, “How many females will talk?”
The Master Priest sits next to his uncle and placed is hands on his knees as he answers, “I don’t know. There are likely a number affected, but it’s not easy to find them”
“Why?” James questions
The priest rubs his hands along his legs, “They have no reason to trust a priest. They wouldn’t risk me telling the High Priest about their complaints”
“How is it you don’t know who was sent to the Redeemer?” I ask, trying to keep the accusation out of my voice
“I’m the head of worshipful service. I have nothing to do with new arrivals or the Redeemer” He spits out.
“Boys” Apothen leans forward while sweeping his white hair off his forehead “Hertilz, how many women need to come forward before you are comfortable?”
I have to think about this. How many women would it take before the committee and the public believed this was a real problem and not just one priestess causing problems? How many before its big enough to topple one of the most important people in the city?
“At least five- more is better. Ideally we would have physical proof or some sort of documentation. I don’t want people saying it’s made up.”
“Dunn will manage” Apothen leans over and pats the priest on the leg.
The Master Priest frowns but thankfully remains silent.
“I want to hear the testimonies before we go ahead. I won’t commit until we have convincing evidence.”
“I wouldn’t expect anything less” Apothen replies before leaning back on the couch again.