Thursday, December 22, 2016

A Magi is the Realm of Alternia

"Guilty! Arlan, son of Kartal, you have been found guilty of the heinous crimes against the City of Alternia!" Norana, the daughter of Wild Centaur Lorrik, pronounced the verdict in the Ancient language of Alternia. Norana's lean face was grim as her thin lips had a vicious smile as she studied the human convict standing before her.
There was silence in the courtroom of Justice, which was hardly surprising. Other than the sightless and silent Orolon Guards, the human convict and his twin who was acting as his representative and Norana and nine Council Members of Alternia, there was no one else in the room. Even the Enchanted Recorder of Proceedings which was a must in all legal proceedings was absent in the room. What actually happened inside the court was known to only to the twelve people.
Initially, Norana as the Chief Presiding Officer was in half a mind to refuse the man’s sister the right to be present during the proceedings, but then Norana realized the obvious. The human female was the convict's twin. Other than the Dome which protected the Alternians from the dark forces, absolutely nothing could prevent one twin from knowing what happened to the other twin. They were connected, not just by their magic but by their blood too.
And the silence was broken by a wail of frustration. Aarvi, daughter of Kartal was never the one to observe protocols. And she was definitely not going to take anything lying down. It was her brother whose life was on the line. And he had done nothing wrong.
"YOU ARE MAKING A MISTAKE!" Aarvi shrieked angrily, getting up, her entire body shuddering with anger. "I am his sister!" She yelled. "I have sensed him. I know all of his feelings. He did not commit this murder..."
An fiery red energy ball shot at Aarvi with the force of a sledgehammer.
"NO!" Arnav shouted, as he barely any time to react. Ignoring his handcuffed hands, he pulled his sister hard as both of them fell hard on the ground as the energy ball missed the two of them by a whisker.
Serma, daughter of Therk, an Equain, was watching Aarvi with hatred as her energy ball disintegrated behind in the wall of the courthouse, almost disintegrating the wall behind.
And the fall did absolutely nothing good to Arnav. His entire body jarred as he fell hard and the handcuffs burnt his chest as his sister fell on him.
Aarvi looked horrified as Arnav was whimpering as she hurriedly pushed herself away from him as he was wincing even worse, swallowing painfully. The cuffs had burnt into Arnav's chest, branding him as he was struggling not to shout.
"Sorry! I am so sorry!" Aarvi whispered looking horrified at Arnav, as the Orolon Guards came forward and mercilessly lifted the barely conscious human to his feet and pushed him on the chair of the accused. Arnav stumbled and nearly fell again, but no one said anything.
Aarvi was pushing herself up horrified as she was still trying to sense Arnav who still was refusing to let her sense him.
"You think we are fools!" Serma, the Council Member, demanded angrily. "We have given this human..." Serma saw Arnav with something less than contempt as she spat out the word. "...every single opportunity to explain himself. He has stubbornly kept his mouth shut and the proof against him is overwhelming! He is..."
"COUNCIL MEMBER MITRAN LOVED HIM LIKE HIS OWN SON!" Aarvi yelled. "And you are here trying to hang Mitran's murder on my brother and you are doing that by threatening and coercion!" Aarvi looked angrily at the entire Council. "You call this a fair proceeding?" She demanded looking so furious that it looked like her head was going to burst into flames.
Aarvi felt Arnav tiredly trying to pull her back to her chair. She was trying to ignore it, but she realized that her brother was tired. Too tired.
"Why are you letting them do this? Why don't you say something?" Aarvi whispered as she sat angrily next to Arnav.
Arnav said nothing as he was just swallowing painfully as Aarvi was frustrated. "Why don't you let me feel you, Arnav?" Aarvi demanded in a half snarl, half-yell.
If the Council Members noticed the interruption by Serma, none of them made any comment about it. In fact, all of them approved of it as Noorana angrily replied to Aarvi. "May I remind you, Aarvi, daughter of Kartal, that you brother killed such a great man like Mitran in cold blood," Noorana said loudly in the same vicious tone.
All the Council Members nodded fervently as Aarvi let out another snarl of frustration. Because she just realized that she was a fool in thinking that these people would be nice to her brother. They did not need to be nice, but they could have at least been fair to him. If not for anything else, than at least for the fact that Arlan had been one of the youngest and most brilliant Council Members in all of Alternia.
And it looked like for all that Arnav had done for the people here, he had just managed to earn the hatred and jealousy of all the other Council Members, who were now looking to punish him for aspiring to become a Council Member. And the first on the list was the Presiding Officer – Noorana, daughter of Lorrik. Because Aarvi knew that Norana would have wanted the entire trial to have been witnessed by the public. Because the last two days of trial had been nothing other than the humiliation of her brother who despite being a human was one of the most powerful wielders of white magic in the entire realm. And Aarvi knew that people like Noorana saw humans as less than worthy as wielders of magic.
But until now, Noorana she could not voice her opinion. Not until there were humans like Arnav in Alternia.
But all that changed, two days back.
And Norana fortunately had no choice in the matter of the proceedings being public. In the seven thousand years where the Council Members guarded the boundaries of Alternia from the Dark Specters which lay beyond lay beyond the Dome, a Council Member had never been questioned. Ever. Council Members served Alternia for their entire life which was why they were the most powerful group of people in the entire realm. But for the first time, a Council Member had done something unpardonable and because such a thing was unprecedented, the other members of the Council decided that the proceedings had to be private.
And the Council Members had no fear that the convict's representative – the twin would say anything to the public. The convict himself had said absolutely nothing. Right from the start of the proceedings two days back when the Dark Matter handcuffs were slapped on the accused to prevent him from using his powers and though the handcuffs had burnt him and was sapping his energy, the accused had said nothing. He neither objected to it nor explained any of the overwhelming evidence which was against him. His sister had tried to ask the Council Members to at least get the handcuffs off the man and give him some rest, at least during the trial instead of being sent back to the common prison which was manned by the horrifying Shades. But no one had listened to her requests.
The Council Members stubbornly refused to give the human anything because instead of the the tired human who was struggling to stay awake, the Council Members saw a dangerous human who was known to collude with Spectres. Such a man did not deserve any kindness or even fairness. It was only because it was required that a proceedings be conducted before condemning any Alternian, that even proceedings were conducted in the matter.
And so two days later, the human was stripped of all his powers as the Council Member and was made a convict – and whose fate was something that Norana along with the other Council Members, was going to decide. And Norana wanted nothing more than to just destroy the man. Completely. Unlike other humans in the city of Alternia, who barely had a grasp of magic, this particular human was powerful, with magic running deep in his blood. And despite this, with all his gifts, the human had just wasted it away. The human had killed another Alternian Council Member – the beloved Eliten – Mitran, son of Ramal, in cold blood. And as if the act itself was not enough, the human had colluded with the Dark Spectres to bring about this ghastly act.
Highly censored news of what happened inside was made known to the public to assuage the curiosity and outrage of the public. The public of Alternia had after all trusted the human – trusted him with their lives to keep them safe within the borders of the Dome and he had committed an unpardonable act.
"As I was saying," Noorana said in a furious voice. "Arnav, son of Kartal, you are guilty on both the charges and the Council will decide on the punishment to be awarded to you!" Noorana waved her hands as a papyrus appeared before her as she viciously pushed the papyrus towards the Council Member sitting farthest away from her.
Aarvi, winced and was unable to stop the tears as she heard the words of Norana. She clutched Arnav's hands because her hands were trembling. The next instant, Aarvi let Arnav's hand go. His hands were burning because the handcuffs were destroying his very essence, his magic, his self. And because of their connected magic she could feel his pain as soon as she touched her. Though all the other times she could feel him even without all this, ever since the trial, Arnav had completely closed himself up to her.
During the entire two-day trial, the only time Arnav had seemed to object was when Aarvi was dragged into the entire mess. But then Arnav had realized almost immediately that the Council Members would bring her into this. Though their agenda was not made public, Arnav knew that the only reason Aarvi was here was for the Council Members to ascertain whether Aarvi was also a party to the entire thing. Aarvi was after all as powerful as him and could have been a Council Member herself. Merely because she showed no inclination for the job, despite Mitran's best efforts, Aarvi did not join the Council in any capacity. She wanted to be a Healer and she enjoyed her work and Arnav made sure she stayed away from his world.
And now she was here, brought into his world only to watch him being stripped of everything that made him what he was.
Noorana and the others were nodding to each other as they were waving across the papyrus in front of them recording the punishment to be made to the human.
Ignoring the pain, Aarvi hugged him tightly, as Arnav could feel her trying to reach his mind. He could feel her wince but she ignored it as she was sobbing.
"Aarvi!"
Aarvi looked shocked as Arnav spoke to her mind for the first time since all this had started. Aarvi was heavily disoriented because the first thing she felt was the pain from Arnav's body. Aarvi wondered why the man was silent despite this much pain and nearly snarled as Arnav suppressed all his feelings almost brutally and continued, "Do not act surprised!" Arnav almost hissed into her mind.
And Aarvi was furious. She could usually hear Arnav's thoughts so clearly that most of the times she could barely make out the difference between her own thoughts and his words. But right now, Arnav's thoughts were coming like both their thought patterns were not in sync. Aarvi knew what that meant. Arnav was trying to control himself so that Aarvi could not sense all his feelings.
Aarvi was still furious as she tried to reassemble her features knowing that all the Council Members were still discussing the punishment, and that Arnav did not want the Council Members to know that Arnav and Aarvi were communicating with each other.
"Whether I killed Mitran or not, does not matter right now. The only reason they are not after you is that they do not think you know anything about this!"
Aarvi was still struggling with her features trying not to cry, as she could feel Arnav's anguish.
"We are humans and we can use magic. We can make magic more powerful from sheer imagination. That makes us dangerous. More than dangerous. The Council has just realized it. So I want you to take Dini..." Aarvi could feel Arnav fumble as the feelings in his mind were threatening to get out of hand. But then that was no surprise. Aarvi's five year old daughter Nandini and Arnav were very close. Way more closer than Aarvi could be with her own daughter. And Arnav was the only person who could call Dini. Nandini let no one else call her with that particular nickname.
"What will I tell her, Arnav?" Aarvi asked sobbing. "She sent me here telling me that I was to come back with you!"
Arnav was clutching his head because he was finding it impossible to control himself as he was trying not to think of that child. Nandini...Arnav brutally stopped his emotions as he was determined not to think about Nandini.
With great difficulty, Arnav controlled himself as he watched that four more Council Members were still marking his punishment.
"...I want you to go to the outskirts of Alternia! Stay there! Away from the radar of the Council Members. Try to lead a normal life and draw no attention to yourself. In the region of Taraman, people mind their own business. You can start afresh there. They would not ask you too many questions. And Taraman is not completely under the control of the Council. Besides whatever or whoever killed Mitran, is dangerous. Mitran is strongest Magi in our land. If anything could destroy him, that cannot be good! And that thing is here in this place. So stay away from here. And the only person who is strong enough to counter something as bad as that is Dindin!"
Aarvi looked shocked at Arnav as he looked at her tiredly.
Arnav knew that Aarvi had understood what he had said but all he could feel from her was a numb, hopeless dejection.
"Do you understand?" Arnav asked her tiredly.
"What went so wrong, Arnav?" Aarvi asked finally. She could barely even think the words as she was sobbing even worse.
Aarvi felt almost a detached anguish from Arnav.
"We are paying for what mom believed in, sweetheart!" Arnav told her finally. "Mom was a human and she wanted to prove that humans could wield magic. She did and she was a Council Member. One thing she never managed to get from her peers was respect, which she wanted us to have." For the first time, Aarvi could feel Arnav's anger. It seemed almost like uncontrolled anger and Aarvi had never seen her brother like this. He was always the calm one. The one who could think out of any situation. Aarvi was the hotheaded one in the family – the one with the tantrums and the mood swings. But the way Aarvi was feeling, she was not even sure she could feel anything anymore. She was numb. Numb to the point of almost nothing making sense to her. Even Karan – her husband's death, had not broken her so much.
Right now, all Aarvi saw was a good man who deserved none of the cruelty which he was facing. Arnav was after all a great believer in white magic. He genuinely believed in love, which for him was the most powerful magic in the world. And now, the people in Alternia hated him, the Council Members hated him...all with a mad unexplained passion and they were all hell bent on destroying him for what he was.
That is the reason I do not wish to fight this one! If I prove my innocence on this one, the Council could find something else to hang me with. They need me out because of what I represent. I am a pawn. My powers are human, but these fools do not realize that Dindin is the most powerful among them all. She has the capacity to combine the power of both humans and the Dragons, the blood she gets from her father’s side! Her father is a Dragon Sorcerer and people think that she is human. Dindin is still young and she needs to be protected. And these Council Members are so hell bent on me that they would ignore Dindin! She is all that matters right now!”
Aarvi’s heart was beating so hard that she could barely even breathe. Her brother was condemning himself to hell just to protect her daughter. Even thinking that seemed so wrong, on so many levels that Aarvi was feeling sick. More than sick.
The second last of the Council Member – a Krug – a short, powerful woman by name Harana, waved her short stubby hands over papyrus as her tail twitched a little – a sure sign that Harana was angry.
The papyrus flew to the present leader of the Council Oran – an Abselum – powerful beings which had a powerful bit of blood magic of their own, and who could destroy entire legions with their powers of mind. Oran saw the papyrus and nodded at it curtly.
The papyrus flew back to Noorana and Aarvi was suddenly feeling alone. And she had never felt that way. Ever. No matter what the problem, she always had Arnav with her.

But now he broke all connections with her. Finally and completely. "Why...?" She whimpered, but the question died in her throat as Arnav was stubbornly watching ahead ignoring her and Noorana started speaking. "The Council has reached their unanimous verdict!" Noorana said studying Arnav's tired brown eyes. "You shall be exiled, Arnav, son of Kartal. Exiled from the Realm of Alternia! Gone and never to come back!"

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