Monday, December 17, 2012

Deadsponcelling Chapter 9


By Carly Robb and James Clair Lewis

Deadsponcelling Chapter 9

"Shadow, please, don't try anything stupid. Gods, you think I'm aligned with the Rogues?! What the hell gives you that idea?!" Tara's hands were bound behind her back, and her feet were trussed up as well. Then she was cinched up like a sack, and draped over one of the dragons.

"Do you deny associating with Rogues? Semaj the Sorcerer, Sepheroth Daath, and Sephera Tippereth? We Protectors have been trailing that vicious gang for some time now," Kali Yuga continued her interrogation.

"But..." Tara could barely bring herself to speak, "but... they saved my life, how can you call them that? If it weren't for Sepheroth's help on many occasions, I'd be dead right now... without the help of all of them."

"It is bad enough that for years you took the heads of innocent people who we Protectors are sworn to guard, but to hear you speak of these Arch-Criminals as your saviors, this will not look good during your trial," Kali warned her. As they flew to the west, the Citadel gradually came into view. It was a massive granite structure the size of a mountain. As they drew nearer, dragons could be seen coming and going from landing areas set high in its walls, but from this distance those dragons appeared as dragonflies darting about a distant pond.

"INNOCENTS?!?!" Tara regained control of herself, "Who am I to run to? Those who try to kill me or those who save my life?"

"Do you deny that your have killed unarmed people, taken their heads, and eaten their brains? Have you not been an outlaw, a Rogue? Why would you not expect to be hunted and arrested for your crimes? Do you think that there is no Order in the world?" Kali Yuga sneered at her. They finally came to one of the many landing platforms of the Citadel. It iwas a mammoth opening, fully seventy-five yards across, and inside stretched nearly a quarter of a mile. "Instruct your dragon to enter that chamber over there on the right."

"Unarmed? Never, there is no honor in killing the unarmed. Well, before... when it was just dreams, but... but... those were just dreams, and that had nothing to do with them." Tara looked pleadingly at her captors, "How was I to know I was breaking some rule? There was never anyone there to tell me differently!" Grudgingly she instructed Shadowdeath into the area where she was told to, and tried to be strong, but how could she with no friends anywhere near her?

As soon as Shadowdeath entered the cell, bars dropped down from the ceiling, locking him in. Kali Yuga instructed the guards, "Take the prisoner to a holding cell, and untie her. I have to prepare her defense for the trial." Kali Yuga strode away purposefully, and Tara was taken to a flight of steps, and down a corridor to a holding cell with a cot, a desk and chair, and a small bathroom in an adjoining room. The guard released her bonds, and said, "I'll bring you a dinner in about an hour. You are very lucky to have Kali Yuga as your defense lawyer, she seldom loses a case."

Tara collapsed on the chair. "Defense lawyer? Sounded to me like she wanted me and them dead, and I'm not hungry, so don't bother. What will happen to my dragon? Oh, never mind, I don't want anything from you people."

The guard gave Tara a probing look, "I said she usually doesn't lose a case, but unless you adopt some kind of redeemable attitude real quick, the court will have no choice, but to put you to death. Now are you sure you don't want me to bring you a dinner? It might be your last."

Tara shook her head and looked at the guard. "What's so bad about not wanting to waste food if I'm not hungry? And so far I've figured out a lot on my own. I'll figure this out as well. I talk to myself, ok, what's so bad about that?" She rested her head on the desk and tried not to feel as desperate and helpless as she did.

An hour later the guard came back with a plate of smoked salmon, bagels, and cream cheese. "You sure you haven't changed your mind about dinner?" He slid the plate thru an opening in the holding cell door. "You know, I shouldn't be telling you this, but I was once in your position. I pleaded guilty, and threw myself upon the mercy of the court. Kali Yuga convinced the Judges that I could be Redeemed, so my life was spared, and now I have this job, and a decent life. Of course, I was never in the company of the Rogues, but I think you still might have a chance."

"What? Deny my past and pretty much betray the people who saved my life? No, my sense of honor won't allow that. You seem not to realize where what crimes have been done. They expect us to follow rules and laws that no one ever made us aware of, and instead of taking us under their wing they attack. I have seen things that these people have done that would turn your stomach if you had a heart. And, yes, I chickened out and was partial cause of the loss of a city of people who had no defense. I thought that since they came for me they would follow me, but I was wrong. It was supposed to be neutral ground." She picked at the salmon and continued what she was saying, "Laws that are to be followed should be made known to all who are supposed to follow them. All I ever did to you people was defend myself."

The guard shook his head sadly, "I don't think you get it yet. You are on trial for your life. I think you have been carefully deceived by Semaj and his Rogues. I was at the Battle for Nemeth. It was the fireballs of that sorcerer who started the fires. After you fled, I helped put those fires out myself. The court will accept the dream defense, and have you rehabilitated as I was, but you must realize what dangerous criminals you have been associating with."

Tara protested, "If you hadn't have attacked no lives would have been lost at all. No destruction, and still... explain to me where I was to learn the 'rules'. As said, in my experience the only things they have done wrong is defend themselves, and if my stance on this issue gets me killed so be it, I know what I went through."

"You want me to explain to you why you should have known that killing people, cutting off their heads, and eating their brains is wrong? Look, I have to go now, I have more work that I must do. Why don't you eat your smoked salmon, think about it, and get some sleep. You are obviously distraught and confused. Your lawyer, Kali Yuga, will see you in the morning." He turned away and left.

Tara sat there in utter amazement. All that she had known before, and all that she had learned in the past few days, was it all wrong? Who were her friends, and who were her enemies? Was she some kind of monstrous serial killer and mass-murderer? Nothing made sense to her anymore. She wished she could speak with Shadowdeath, perhaps he had the answers she sought. She finished off the smoked salmon, bagels and cream cheese, and laid down on the cot. Perhaps she could escape through her dreams.

As she slept, Tara got up, went to the small bathroom, and touched the mirror. Her hand slid through quite easily, so she climbed up on the sink, and crawled all the way through. She was in the Hall of Mirrors. Through each mirror she could see across a Hall of Mirrors to another mirror, and inside of that, more Halls of Mirrors. Infinity to either side and infinity before her, and behind her. Infinity upon infinity upon infinity. The floors and ceilings were also mirrors, and the possibilities were beyond endless. Or perhaps all was an illusion? That there was no place, but this one, and it contained, but one Reality?

"Come this way, Tara," Semaj spun her around and around, until all was a blur, a mist of prismatic lights without focus, a void, "It is time for your next lesson."

They materialized inside the lenticular cloud where Tara had her first meal with Daath. Yes, it was the same place. The white marble floor suspended in the mists, the table and chairs. Daath took his sword, and severed Tara's head from her body. Sephera took Tara's head and severed the skull. Semaj scooped out the brains, and began making soup. They sat Tara's body at the head of the table, placed her head back upon the neck, and Tara's skull back upon the head. Soon the soup was ready, and they began their feast, smiling at her all the time.

"This is not a dream, Tara."

"This is not a dream, Tara."

"This is not a dream, Tara. Remember this, and stay alive."

Tara awoke on the cot in the holding cell of the Citadel. It was morning. She screamed, not knowing that the dream was over, not wanting to believe, but how could she not? It was them, no dream there. She caught hold of her sanity and tried to figure out why they would have saved her life just to kill her. Why didn't they just end it at the beginning? She wanted to retch, worse yet, she wanted to disbelieve the dream that was not a dream and confront them about it. She most of all wanted to save Malcuth, poor insane Malcuth and Kether from the fate that could have befallen her and Shadowdeath. Where was Kether anyway?

The taste in her mouth made her never want to touch another piece of salmon despite her love for it, but if she had no control over anything else she had control over her stomach. She would not let herself vomit. She pulled the sheet over her head and tried to forget everything that had happened since first going through the mirror.

Kali Yuga entered the holding cell, "So you had a bad dream? I'm not surprised about that. I assume that you tried to escape through the mirror in the bathroom, and discovered that it is blocked. Your confusion is understandable. I can help you there, by explaining some things to you. When people sleep, they dream, and do not know that the worlds and realities they experience in their dreams are, in fact real. There are myriads upon myriads of infinities of worlds people travel to in their dreams. The dragons are attracted to those few people who can cross over while awake. As children, these people believe they are dreaming, and they go deadsponcelling. They do not know of the harm that they are doing. The Order was formed by dragonriders who realized what was going on. It is the duty of the Protectors to find Deadsponcellors, and to bring them into the fold. There must be Order in the universes. I'm sure you can see that now."

"Some of the Deadsponcellors have resisted the Order, which seeks only to unify the universes. These we call the Rogues. They know of us, and of our mission, yet they resist, and fight us, attacking what we are striving so hard to create : a civilization that spans across the universes, spaces and times. We Protectors are but a few, compared to the task that lies before us. We cannot be everywhere at once. We cannot be there, whenever a dragon finds one who can traverse the fabric of universes. The rogues oppose us for their own selfish reasons, and I am truly sorry that you fell into their hands. Please consider what I have told you. The Protectors need people like you."

"Your breakfast will be brought up shortly. I think it is blueberry pancakes, eggs, sausage, and home fries with ketchup today. One of my favorites," she smiled, and left the holding cell.

Tara looked out from under her sheet at Kali, "You know certain someones told me basically the same thing once, but that seems so distant now." Her stomach quivered. "And I thank you for the offer of breakfast, but truly, if I were to eat I would lose control of the one thing that I have control of at this point. Damn I wish I hadn't left my aspirin in my bag." She winced. Since her stomach couldn't have it's way, her head decided to take it out on her. As Kali left, Tara wondered about something she had said; if the mirrors had been blocked... Her brain tried to implode upon itself so she tried not to think of anything at all.

A few minutes later, another guard approached with the tray of breakfast, "I heard that you were not feeling well. This pill is for your headache, and this one is for your stomach. Please take them with this tea that I brewed myself," she smiled, and departed.

Tara gazed wonderingly at the guard as she left, contemplating why these people who had basically straight out told her that they would kill her were so concerned about her being comfortable. She rinsed down the pills with a sip of tea and leaned back against a wall and savored the calming effect that hot tea always gave her.

At lunch a third guard brought a tray with BBQ chicken, corn on the cob, some sourdough wheat buns, and a mug of cold beer, "Your trial is going well. Kali Yuga has successfully convinced the Judges with the dream defense, and is now arguing extenuating circumstances. Everything bodes well for your appearance at sentencing tonight."

Tara looked at the beer almost disapprovingly, it would just bring her headache back,. but the alcohol would probably help her mood... or make it worse. She addressed the guard, "So I don't even get to say anything on my own behalf at my trial? I just stay locked up in here? When do I get to see my dragon again? How is he?" She knew how restless Shadowdeath could get after a while of inactivity and would hate to see what would happen, if he were shut away for much longer.

"Everything will be explained to you at the Tribunal of the Judges, and then, you will be allowed to speak, before the Final Sentencing. By the way, Shadowdeath promised not to try to escape, and was allowed to fly around the Citadel for a few hours today under escort. And there is another pill for headache, should the beer begin to give you one. I doubt you'll need it, though. It is a light beer, pretty good, actually."

Tara nodded and thanked the guard and was glad that at least Shadowdeath had been able to get out for a while. She still wasn't too hungry. Stress was funny with her like that. Either she wouldn;t eat at all or she would binge. Either way it didn't make her very happy, but she did pick at her food and drink some of the beer. (Which surprisingly to her didn't give her a headache... the first beer she had ever had that didn't.)

A few hours went by, and then three guards arrived, "It is time for you to make your appearance at the Sentencing of the Tribunal of the Order." They led Tara down the corridor to an elevator which took them down a long ways deep into the Citadel. They got out and proceeded toward a security station, signed papers, were scanned, and passed through. No one spoke to her. At the end of the corridor, they entered another elevator, and descended even a further distance downward. By now, Tara reasoned, they must be at the base of the mountain, and near its center. Passing through another security checkpoint, they led Tara to a set of massive doors, easily thirty yards high, and fifteen yards wide apiece. Slowly the doors opened inwardly to reveal a colossal vaulted room. Several football fields could easily have fit into it. It was arched, and thick columns formed supports. On either side were tiers filled with spectators and at the far end was a massive throne of white marble. A tall, slender, Asian looking man sat there at the center, and on either side in smaller thrones sat the other twelve Judges. Tara was led all of the way across the room before them in total silence.

Chapter 1

Chapter 8

Chapter 10

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