Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Broken Bonds

The Royal Council had spent the entire day deliberating on the matter; in every home and shop in Syracuse, the same matter was being discussed. The fate of Prince Seleucus, now guilty of open treason against the Emperor, lay in the balance. There was little time: Syrenician law forbid the Prince from leaving the jail that he was kept in even to testify. The whole process was amazingly one-sided. But I had to get to the answer.

I could not go into the Jail Complex in person, that would make it too obvious and put me into trouble as well. But this was an area that I was well-trained to defend and I knew every gate and entrance to it. On the far eastern corner was a tunnel that an old prisoner had once used to escape. I had caught him but let him free, for he was really too old to be kept imprisoned and was in no condition to commit any more crimes. Ironically, the Prince was being kept in the same cell; it just goes to show the gravity of his crime.

I was nearly there. I had no idea how he would react, whether he would even recognize me, given my get up. But I had to speak to him, I had to hear his version of it. I was breaking Syrenician law by doing so - that did not matter now. He was my brother, I could not let his word go unheard.

***

"You should not have come here, Normander," Seleucus said. His strategic brilliance showed clearly - he recognized me without even turning back to look at the intruder. He had expected me to come.

"I had to come, brother. They are deliberating your case without hearing you out and could banish you or worse... hang you! Tell me your side of it, I will bring it to them. I do not care what they do to me!"

"What can you tell them? They are not discussing my case on its merits, but on saving themselves. They are not interested in giving power to the people; they care for nothing more than their own aggrandizement. If something goes against that, they call it treason and end the discussion there."

"Do you really mean to say that you meant to destroy our royal system? Do you really believe these half-baked ideas? Who is feeding you all this?" I could not hide my exasperation anymore - I could not believe what I was hearing.

"I meant every word of it, Normander. I spent days, years even, thinking over it. I only shared my ideas with the Governor-General, who gave some very useful ideas. This royal system is unjust and has no place in our..."

"Enough! You consulted only the Governor-General? You trust him more than you trust the Emperor? You trust him more than me?"

He was silent. And his face showed defiance. It was over - there was no message to carry. He had said whatever he wanted to. I turned around in silence and returned. The Council would come out with a declaration soon. I would abide by it. I have no intention of committing treason. 

No comments: