Friday, May 22, 2015

Bonus Scene 8 - The Restorer

After Chapter 26

(Just for fun - the perspective of a young councilmember as she experiences the most startling Council gathering ever.)

Rokkel, a first-year Council delegate of Rendor:

“Blessed first light.” A common greeting, but the guard at the entrance of the Council tower said it with a smirk.

I blushed. Was my eagerness that apparent? Sure, I’d arrived at the tower only moments after the darkness had lifted, but I’d worked hard for my shoulder emblems, and I was one of the youngest women to serve Rendor in the Council. So why did my fight to earn respect feel never-ending?

I gave a quick nod and hurried along the curving hall to the Rendor office. No one else had arrived yet, and some of my excitement deflated. I’d hoped for a few moments with Jorgen—a chance to impress him with my dedication. Perhaps then he’d invite me to sit in on more of the Council sessions. While some councilmembers found the procedures tedious, I enjoyed the subtle jockeying for power, the veiled double meanings, the skill needed to sway decisions. One day soon, Jorgen might even allow me to speak for our clan.

When he did sweep into the room, it was with a crowd of staff and apprentices. So much for my chance to impress. He clapped my shoulder and offered a hearty, “Well met,” as he moved across the room, but he was deep in a conversation with an older councilmember.

I waited, uncertain, at the fringes of the group. Fragments of conversation rose and fell about the Records, and some meetings held the day before. Meetings that I hadn’t been included in. Again. Would I never move out of my junior role? I needed to find a way to contribute, to show my worth. I edged closer to Jorgen.

Before I could jump into the conversation, the doors opened again. A woman I’d never seen before approached Jorgen as if he were an old friend. She was almost old enough to be my mother, so her words came as an extra shock. “I am grateful for your sponsorship and am happy to serve you as an apprentice councilmember.”

I gasped. A new apprentice? Now? Why? Had Jorgen lost trust in his other apprentice councilmembers? Bewildered, I backed away and bumped into a young, blond woman who had entered with them.

She smiled. “Well met. I’m Linette from Braide Wood. Wade and I are giving testimony today.”
Braide Wood? Why were they waiting in our Rendor office? I’d ask someone, but I didn’t want to appear uncertain. Jorgen taught that confidence was an important quality in a councilmember. Of course it would help if I had the sort of brilliant mind, strength of character, and leadership skills that he had.

The signaler sounded, and we filed in. At least the newcomers sat in the back row. My hard-won place wasn’t being usurped. Yet. Now if only the strange woman behind me would stop whispering. If she understood so little about how the council worked, why had Jorgen allowed her the honor of attending? I’d studied for six seasons before I was allowed to enter this hall.

A sad case brought by a widow drew my attention back to the floor. She accused a guardian of murdering her husband. My stomach soured. Could it be true? Not just any guardian, either, but Tristan of Braide Wood.

A blur of movement interrupted the compelling testimony. The new apprentice. She pushed her way to the railing and shouted, “Wait! You don’t have all the information.”

Over the uproar throughout the Council chamber, Landon demanded her identity.

“I’m Susan of Braide Wood,” she answered with surprising spirit.

Why was she speaking from our Rendor clan balcony? Shock held me immobile. Jorgen would be furious.

For some inexplicable reason, Chief Councilmember Cameron invited her to the floor. So much for the value of procedure and decorum. She was making a mockery of our ancient and beautiful system of law.

The widow was speaking again, and my brain felt foggy, thoughts moving through sludge. What was wrong with me? I needed to concentrate. Jorgen often questioned us during breaks about the proceedings and our analysis. What if he asked me about this case? I had to be ready. But I couldn’t follow the words flying around the hall.

Then Susan asked us to recite the Verses. How could anyone from the clans not know our basic truth? By habit, the words passed from my lips. Jorgen pressed his fists into the rail before him and began to sing in true, sonorous tones. My mind cleared. New strength and resolve swelled in my chest.

The widow’s demeanor shifted. Rage contorted her face. She ran toward Susan, and a dagger caught an edge of light as the widow plunged the blade downward into Susan’s unprotected heart.

Chaos broke out in each balcony, and we all ushered out to our Rendor office. The sacred Council had been desecrated before my eyes.

I hugged the wall, watching as Markkel guarded his wife’s body. I wanted to cry, but shock held me in a cold paralysis. Not even a tear could break free.

A hand touched my shoulder firmly. “Rokkel, we continue. We always continue.” Jorgen’s deep voice shook me loose, and I managed a wobbly nod. He hardened his jaw. “Now, more than ever, there are decisions to make.”

He led our councilmembers back into the hall. For once, my feet dragged. Would our Council ever feel like a sacred space again? I barely listened as representatives debated the Rhusican presence among the clans. My mind strayed to the new apprentice who now lay dead in the outer office. Dead. Killed here, in the Council chamber before my eyes. I struggled to keep my face stern, serene, the face of a councilmember, but inside I screamed.

How could they continue yammering after what they’d just seen? How could Jorgen seem confident that the Council could still reach wise decisions? Why had the One allowed such a horrible event in our sacred Council? Nothing would ever be the same again.

At long last, Landon called for a break. I bolted through the door, and my eyes slid to the place on the floor where I expected to see Susan’s corpse. Instead, she was standing. Pale, but very much alive.


Of all the shocks of the day, this one was the greatest of all. After so many seasons of watching and waiting, the One had sent a new Restorer!

A quiet joy built behind my ribs. Disillusionment fell off my shoulders. The next session was going to be history-making. And I would be there to see it all.

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