Judgement

10th October - The Peoples Palace - Late Morning

Ines sat in the chair of the first Councillor waiting for the hall to be brought to order. The body of councillor Spink remained on the floor before them, covered now with a white sheet. Outside the distant sound of combat could still be heard, but nearby the Dusk Militia had been neutralised.

The Regent tapped her lacquered nails on the armrest and peered around the hall, taking in all of their faces. She made mental note of those who were afraid and more importantly those who were not. At last the commander of her personal guard came to stand before her and indicated by salute that all was ready for her to proceed with the mornings business.

She stood and a hushed silence filled the room. "Let me leave you all in no doubt," she began, "The Elesian Order now rules this City, as well as the operation of the Green Line, the Roost and the operation you call the Delve together with the surface dwellings of Graymire. This rule will be absolute and beyond question until I your Regent am satisfied that the proper order has been restored. Then, and only then will power be handed back to this hall."

"You can not do this!" came a cry from the rear of the room and with a brief flick of her hand the guard commander drew his pistol and turned to fire upon the man who had spoken. His aim was true and as those around the fellow sprang back in alarm a single bullet past through his eye and dropped him to the ground.

"Absolute!" Ines called out and then in a quieter voice, "and unquestioned. And now to business." she clicked her fingers and a tall sallow man stepped forward from the ranks of her followers. He peered around the room with utter disgust, his frosty blue eyes glaring at the assembly as if challenging them to show their dissent. He stood next to the Regent and withdrew a parchment from the folds of his long white coat.

"I am Orlan Vord, speaker of the hall. I speak for the Regent in matters of state and my word is law. Before leaving this place you will register your names and particulars with the officers posted beyond the main exit. You will be assigned work according to your rank and ability and you will carry out your responsibilities with the upmost zeal. Will the following persons please step forward;

Josiah Hazard
Benjamin Montclaire
Tate Montclaire
Serenity Montclaire
Marshall Fordman
Stella Corbet
Samuel Herman

For a moment nobody moved and then almost as one those mentioned shuffled forward looking awkwardly at each other and none daring to glance at the Regent or her speaker. Orlan waited for them all to be in place before speaking again.

"Samuel Herman," he barked the name like a displeased master calling home his hound, Mr Herman stepped forward his face pale.

"Mr Herman, you will leave this hall at once and carry out the orders of the Regent which are as follows; from this morning the City Watch has been disbanded, along with the security service over which you preside. All personnel from both organisations will present themselves at the Ironhallow University Campus in two days time to be redeployed into a new joint security service overseen by the office of the Regent. Do you understand?"

"Y..yes sir." Mr Herman agreed. "Yes I..."

"You are dismissed Mr Herman." Several Elesian troops marched the man out the hall before he could say another word.

"Marshall Fordman." The Speaker called out and the Militia commander stepped forward and offered a salute. Ines gave a rap of her nails on the chair arm and her Orlan stepped back looking towards her as she stood.

"Marshall," she said with a slight smile, the first she had offered since entering the room. "You have recently gathered a controlling interest in the Roost have you not?"

"I have." he confirmed with a nod.

"It is well. You may retain that interest along with any benefits it may bring to your person and office, I trust you will bring a renewed order the operation on which we all depend."

"That is my design mam." he replied.

"Very good." she said and was silent for a moment as she seemed to be weighing the man in her mind. At last she spoke,

"There are pockets of Militia resisting my forces throughout the City, they do not yet understand the nature of this occupation. As their commander I hold you personally responsible for bring them into order."

"Of course." he answered smartly and without hesitation.

"Leave then with my own Commander Belas here. He will aid you in the task of absorbing the Militia into the new military structure."

"At once mam." Maynard gave a salute and turned to leave with the Elesian commander who had already come to stand next to him. Ines took her seat again and indicated for her man to go on.

"Benjamin Montclaire." Orlan read the name and there were some sharp whispers from the Montclaires as his children tried to dissuade him from stepping forward. He gave them both words of reassurance before coming to stand before the seat.

"The eyes of Elesium are ever open." Orlan intoned, "and it is the opinion of this the High Order that you show exceptional quality both in the ordering of your affairs here in Dusk and in the mastery of power in this government."

"Thank you." Benjamin said quietly, perceiving that he had not simply been called up to be complemented.

"However," Orlan continued, "You activities outside of this Council leave much to be desired. The Society you perpetuate, this AGES. It is a blight on good faith we have given to this city to operate its own affair in assurance of our mutual prosperity. Such groups are forbidden by the Elesium Accord and for good reason."

Benjamin looked sick to the stomach, his skin was pale and he was glancing nervously back towards his children. "I... I did not mean that..." he stopped as Orlan raised his hand. There were several cries of alarm around the room as members of his society were arrested, two gave resistance and were shot out of hand, following which the remaining men came quietly. They were all lined up near the exit and the Elesian troops began to shackle them.

"Please I... they will conform." Benjamin said, but again Orlan waved him to silence, at which point Ines stood again.

"You should be joining them." Ines hissed, "But I have a need of you Councillor Montclaire."

Seeing no way out Benjamin bowed his head and breathed, "Thank you."

"You will not however, escape punishment." Ines continued, "In your stead one of your children will join these traitors in their punishment."

His eyes snapped up and his face grew flush with rage. "No," he roared, "Take me, it is my crime, my group. Take me." a soldier stepped up and smashed the butt of his rifle into Benjamins side, bringing him to his knees/

"Name your choice Councillor or they both go and you with them." Ines growled down at him. His eyes streamed with tears as he looked back toward Tate and Serenity. Silently he reached out to them and closed his eyes, unable to make so terrible a choice.

"I will go." came the voice of Serenity, harsh with tears.

"No!" Tate roared as he made to grab for her, but Serenity was already walked over to the chained prisoners. Two more troops were on Tate now wrestling him to the ground.

"So be it." Ines said simply as she sat once more. She did not look at the Montcaires again.

"Remove them from the room." the speaker ordered and the prisoners were filed out, shortly followed by Benjamin and Tate under guard.

"Stella Corbet." the Councillor step forward wide eyed with fear, but still she stood firm and faced what ever might come next. It was Ines that spoke though she remained seated.

"Councillor, I have work for you." Ines held out her hand and three scrolls were handed to her by Orlan who gave a short bow and stepped away. Ines opened the first scroll and handed it down to Stella who took it with a frown of confusion.

"That." Ines intoned, "Is the written order of Josiah Hazard to create the abomination that currently resides in the Sprawl district. The Plague Pit. You will visit and assess the situation Ms Corbet and you will make recommendations to this Hall on the future containment of the plague and the methods by which we may assure the health our workers."

"I will do my best." Stella managed the reply before a second scroll was handed down to her.

"This," said Ines, "Is a copy of the Elesium Accord, in particular those aspects pertaining to the creation of technologies deemed a threat to the natural order of our societies. You will carry out a review of the scientific establishments of this city to assess the nature of any and all new technologies currently being developed. You will report this findings to my own person. Do you understand?"

"I... yes." Stella looked a little panicked now this was a great deal to put on her. As if reading her mind Ines spoke again.

"You need not do this in person Ms Corbet. The resources and personnel of this government will be at your disposal. "

"Why me?" Stella asked.

"You are a Councillor. A servant of this City, are you not?" Ines asked with a wry smile.

"Yes but..."

"And on to my third command." Ines spoke over her concerns as she handed down the third scroll, "This the Peoples Charter, handed to this hall by the people of this City." There were murmurs around the hall now, what would she order, another man hunt for the author? The smashing of the Rising Star or Red Crew?

"Bring me the man or woman who wrote this." Ines said, "Bring them to this hall you have my word that they will leave unharmed. This mandate must be answered, and I will answer it in person, face to face. The people will receive their answer."

There was a collective gasp around the room, but when it was clear that Ines would say no more on the matter it fell into a sullen silence and Stella was then dismissed as the others had been to be about her business. And then it came.

"Josiah Hazard." having seen the show in its entirety Josiah stepped forward in a wary silence.

"Kneel." Ines looked into his eyes and gave a nod. A soldier rammed his rifle into the backs of Josiahs legs causing him to crash to his knees with a snarl.

"Just get it over with." he growled up at her which earned him another whack with the weapon.

"Josiah you stand accused of treason against the City of Dusk and the Elesian Order. You have conspired with dangerous criminal elements to gain and keep power within this City..."

"Fuck you." Josiah yelled.

"You have ordered the wilful genocide of your own people."

"Fuck you!" he roared again.

"You murdered an ambassador of the Elesian Order in this very building."

"That monster was an insult! Ines, Ines! At least I know who's thoughts you had crammed into that creatures mind. At least I can look their owner in the eye before I die and tell you to go fuck yourself."

The blows came thick and fast then with several soldiers standing over him delivering the punishment. When is was over he struggled to raise his head, spitting blood and a broken tooth to the ground as he tried to get in a breath. The sharp pain told him their have split a few ribs. Ines was standing over him now. She crouched low so only he could hear her.

"Such rage." she mused, "where does it all come from I wonder?"

"Fuck... you." he croaked.

"At the end Josiah, you are what you always were. A good for nothing street thug with a foul mouth, death is too good for you."

"Remove him." she ordered and a sharp blow to his head sent him sprawling into oblivion.

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