Fairy Tail RP

Would you like to react to this message? Create an account in a few clicks or log in to continue.

• Patch Notes •                 • New User Guide •                • Guild Information •

    Judgement

    Vandrad Ragnos
    Vandrad Ragnos

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Player 
    Lineage : Traveller of the Multiverse
    Position : None
    Posts : 771
    Guild : Fairy Tail
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 7,808,129

    Character Sheet
    First Skill: Energy Monarch
    Second Skill: Ark of the Dread Masters
    Third Skill:

    Judgement  Empty Judgement

    Post by Vandrad Ragnos 2nd April 2024, 12:13 pm

    There’s no fair or unfair in battle.
    ( There is only victory or in your case, defeat. )
    Judgement  RJtajUnz_o

    “Alright everyone, I think it’s about time we get this started. It’s time for our king and queen apparent to hold court over the accused we’ve kept in our dungeon for quite some time.”

    It seemed announcing court topics was part of an ambassador’s job responsibilities or perhaps that was only temporary. Simon du Wolff arguably had more important matters to attend to than simply standing around and essentially ‘keeping the minutes’ but he also seemed to enjoy it. Or perhaps that was just the fact that it was going to be the first official session, the first official gathering of the governing bodies of New Rhaegar for a tribunal. He was primp and proper but relaxed, melted into his role like glaze over a sweet – fitting. Vandrad, however, felt terribly out of place and anxious, though a casual onlooker wouldn’t know it. The stern gaze of the nearly newly minted king was sharp and intimidating, lacking any joy or amusement as it slowly rolled over the heads of his court. There was no hatred for the gathered members – elected officials of family, his people and that of Mercury’s people. No, his tension came from the two subjects that were waiting in the holding cells just next door. Though one of them weighed far heavier on his mind than the other.

    Best to get through that person first.

    His glanced over to Saffron, the blonde easily distinguishable among the heads and faces of the people gathered. His dark motif seemed to soften slightly in recognition of what was to come, of the significance of the trial and her being there. It would not be easy for her to see the man that had lied and used her again and he had offered her the opportunity to be absent for it. But unsurprisingly, she had insisted on coming. His eyes turned towards Mercury, seated beside him and gave her a considering nod, awaiting her response of preparation. And once he received it, he turned to look at Simon.

    “Send in the prisoner.” he ordered, his tone as authoritative as it was capable of being.

    Simon bowed his head gently and reached down to his wrist. A small, glowing holographic panel snapped to life over his forearm and he pressed a few buttons to send the signal to the guards waiting outside. A technological testament to the combination of influences, the armbands were altered versions of the one that Horsius and Grubar wore, tied into the still budding framework of New Rhaegar’s internal network. The unmistakable lurch of doors opening drew the attention of the room to the small, side corridor just off the main runway, hidden behind a pillar. But it was only a moment later that two guards came around and headed towards the small platform below the raised platform where the thrones sat. Between them, clad in magic-blocking cuffs, was dragged a man familiar to all that had gathered.

    His hair had grown out even longer than before and was in utter shambles, cascading down over the back of his head and to his lower back. His beard had ironically been kept trim and proper, though that may have been from Cyrene’s check ups to make sure he was eating and staying healthy. He was placed dead center on the platform, the guards leaving him in place and taking a step back. His own dark eyes lifted up to look at Vandrad then Mercury and then back to Vandrad. ““King Vandrad du Wolff,” Xavier said softly, an ironic chuckle escaping his mouth. “Looks good on you, man.”

    “Xavier Clarent, former ruler of the planet of Rhaegar, has been imprisoned for just about four months. His crimes while the self-proclaimed God-King of Rhaegar are innumerable but none so greater than the attempted genocide of the Rhaegarian people of the North. This court… is not gathered to put him on trial for his actions on the former planet. Though they may have been unjust and despicable, the people of Rhaegar do not wish to hold him accountable for his actions there. There are several of our people that were enlisted and served the God-King and have been granted amnesty. Earthland has provided a second chance for our people as a whole and we hold this truth justified even against Xavier Clarent. He is being put on trial today for the attempted assassination of King Vandrad du Wolff, first of his name…”

    “He did not attempt to kill me,” Vandrad spoke up, bringing a swift silence to Simon, as well as gathering the attention of the room on himself. “Though he did engage me in combat, his intentions were never to end me. I know as much because when given the window of opportunity to do just that, you refused.” His attention had been solely focused on Xavier since he entered but now he was addressing him directly. “What I want to know is why.”

    Xavier stared up at Vandrad with a blank expression. ““Why what?”

    “All of it, Xavier. Why did you disguise yourself, only to throw away your attempt at a new life? Why did you seek out a means of redemption with me and my family, only to attack me? Why did you lie, deceive and hurt…?” Vandrad’s tone had taken on a sharper edge, his anger rising before he brought it to a stall. He wanted answers for Saffron, justice for the woman he had trained, had taken under his wing, befriended even. But as much as he wanted to grill for answers, he knew it was pointless. Saffron had already heard everything she needed or perhaps even wanted from Xavier. And as the king, he couldn’t let his emotions overwhelm his rational thought, especially since his crimes against Saffron – and he did hold them as crimes – weren’t directly involving his nation. He tsk’d in annoyance before he continued. “There is no sense in your actions, Xavier. And this may be the only opportunity you have to tell your side of things to anyone. I advise you to use it appropriately.”

    Xavier’s gaze remained fixated on Vandrad, even through his momentary lapse of kingly judgment. Not that he could fault the Fairy Tail Ace for his anger. ““Why?” Xavier asked rhetorically, shaking his head solemnly. ““Because put on this planet, I was forced to finally look at myself in the mirror. To remember everythin’ I’d did on our home planet, to the people that I’d fought so hard to save and free. I was confronted with the blood of your people, our people that coated my hands and I… ran away and hid from it. The actions of the king’s men are the actions of the king and I knew what Seberg was doin’. I just… didn’t stop him, not that I could have even if I tried. But I coulda tried if I wasn’t so blinded by my anger and hatred. For your grandaddy and the acts I thought he had taken.”

    “Thought?” Vandrad asked, seeking clarity.

    ““Bacchus du Wolff disappeared when my daddy needed him most, leading to his death. Turns out they wound up here because someone was influencin’ him from another dimension, somewhere called the Dreadlands.”

    A veritable, questioning mumbling moved through the crowd. Xavier glanced around and found himself looking at Saffron, his eyes growing wide with painful recognition. Slowly his gaze turned away, the life in him dulled back into depression as he looked back up at Vandrad, who nodded at him to continue. ““We were pawns in a game, Vandrad. Two ancient, smug creatures had manipulated your grandaddy and then me to try and pit our families against one another. She… Bast… she told me she wanted me to help my people, to protect them from the darkness that supposedly surrounded you. She told me that she could release you from it and you’d be free. But then when I was there, over you, she told me that I had to kill you. That it was the only way. I…” He drifted off softly, his eyes dropping down to the ground in front of him. ““I couldn’t do it. I wouldn’t. I wanted to save you and it didn’t sit right with me that that meant killin’ you.”

    Vandrad sat with that information for a minute, his hands steepled in front of him as his elbows rested on the throne’s armrests. “A fascinating story…” he said. Of course, he lacked Mythal’s ability to discern the truth through lies but Mercury was capable of reading fluctuations in his biology for markers that could be lying. But, perhaps more importantly, Vandrad’s ability to sense emotions opened a window for him to see just how open and distraught Xavier was. And that wasn’t something that he could mimic or trick the king with. “This Bast woman… did she tell you anything else?”

    Xavier seemed confused for a brief moment. It almost sounded like Vandrad… believed him. ““Said she was the spawn of some race called the Vogdae or Ancient Ones. Some nightmare monsters from before our time? That the only reason she knew anythin’ was because her and Ulthar, the other one of her, sensed some kind of disturbance on Rhaegar a long time ago. Oh and another planet… uh… Teras Prime, I think she said. She even said that something else happened, that some poor bastard had sucked up all the leftover Vogdae energy and he’d gotten a preview of the Abyss and that had opened a door for Ulthar to start influencin’ your family.”

    A pin could have been heard dropping with how eerily, terribly silent it had gotten. Shocked, concerned looks passed through most people gathered but no more than the ruling family and their close compatriots. The ones that all knew of Blade and Maker and the story of how the fallen Terran had come to power. Even Vandrad had stiffened with the revelation. That wasn’t information that was just readily available; it wasn’t something that Saffron would have accidentally spilled to him during a private moment with him. That meant that that power that Maker had tapped into, the strange energy that he had called ‘Myn’, had come from these Vogdae. At least they had a name for the race from the Time Before.

    Xavier’s brow furrowed in confusion, once more looking about but this time with far more focus on the exchanged looks, particularly of the du Wolffs. He’d said something to strike a nerve. ““Y’all know about this?” he asked, a dim but curious fire lit in him.

    “Are you still capable of communicating with Bast?” Vandrad asked, ignoring Xavier's question.

    ““Uh… I don’t really know. After I refused to kill you, I kinda told her off. I haven’t sensed her since, though I don’t know if I would with these on,” he said, lifting his hands to show the cuffs.

    Vandrad narrowed his gaze in thought. As determined as he was for answers – and he was – he couldn’t simply let Xavier go. Whatever larger purpose or plan was operating behind the scenes, granting Xavier amnesty for his actions just to sate some questions was inconceivable. No, they would grill him for more answers even if he was behind a jail cell. The only remaining factor was if Xavier was slavish enough to know he had something they needed and attempted to use it to his advantage. He’d surrendered of his own accord; perhaps the first real step he could take towards real redemption would be offering up answers without recompense, at least to Vandrad. For Saffron… well, as far as Vandrad was concerned, there was no healing those scars.

    “Whether you’re speaking the truth or not, you lack evidence to prove your point, beyond your refusal to take my life,” Vandrad finally spoke, lifting his head up a little. “And I cannot in good conscious pardon you for your actions. Though I am not as soft as to take personal offense at an attempt on my life, a statement must be made for those that would target New Rhaegar with hostility, even from one of its own people. You will be remanded to the prison for the foreseeable future, during which you will be expected to act as a model prisoner. If genuine attempts are made to redeem yourself for your actions, we will move to reconvene and discuss what steps will be taken dependent on your results.” Letting out a soft sigh from his nostrils, Vandrad lifted his eyes from Xavier and looked towards the guards. “You may take him.”

    Xavier’s head dropped a little with the verdict, though he understood. It wasn’t nearly as harsh as he expected or, perhaps, deserved. The guards linked their arms through his and began to pull him away. The former God-King found the gumption in him to turn and look towards Saffron once more, if only out of the corner of his eye. He didn’t deserve to get a last glimpse of her but he simply couldn’t help himself, the fiery blonde locks filling him with a sense of peace for his judgement before he disappeared around the corner of the side hallway.

    “That concludes our court business for the day. Please exit the room so as to give the king some time to contemplate,” Simon spoke to the crowd. The room broke into murmurs as the gathered group began to file out the main walkway, with only a few people remaining.

    “Time to contemplate. He makes me sound like a damn scholar,” Vandrad mumbled to Mercury irritably. Once the main mass had left, leaving only a handful of the du Wolff family, he turned his gaze to Mercury. “You ready for this?”





    Words: 2285 | Tag: @Mercury Arseneault @Saffron Remington | © marzia at shine & gs.


    Last edited by Vandrad Ragnos on 9th April 2024, 3:46 pm; edited 1 time in total


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Mercury Arseneault
    Mercury Arseneault

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Player 
    Lineage : Gold Rush
    Position : None
    Posts : 672
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 6,857,298

    Character Sheet
    First Skill: Gunblade Master
    Second Skill: Mecha Primordial Slayer
    Third Skill:

    Judgement  Empty Re: Judgement

    Post by Mercury Arseneault 3rd April 2024, 8:03 pm

    Mercury Banner
    Cunning is the art of concealing our own defects
    and discovering other peoples' weaknesses.
    Normally, under just about any other circumstance, Mercury would have been on the verge of a panic attack. While she and Vandrad had ultimately agreed to establishing New Rhaegar as a kingdom, and taking up the role of the realm’s first king and queen, the lavender haired woman could scarcely say she was looking forward to the responsibility. A part of her recognized that she was surrounded by experienced people whom she trusted with her life, and they would support and guide her when she was unsure of what to do. But deep down, she couldn’t shake the fear that she wasn’t suited for the role, nor the feeling that someone like her didn’t belong in the royal world. So something like this, with her and Vandrad quite literally sitting in judgment over a formal court room with hundreds of people present to witness the event, would have normally had her on edge.

    However, today her anxiety was far outweighed by other emotions. The truth was that ever since Xavier’s hand had been revealed and the truth of everything had come out, Mercury had been angry. She could handle being lied to or deceived. Hell, Maker had done almost nothing but lie to her and had made several attempts on not just her life but Vandrad’s and his family’s, but she’d held a great deal of respect and even affection for the man. The former Rhaegarian god-king, however, had approached her out of a seemingly genuine desire to do the right thing, to find the best path to mend things with Vandrad, and not only did he ignore her advice completely, but he slept with Mercury without informing her that he had a thing with Saffron at the time. He’d allowed Mercury to become an unknowing part of hurting her friend, and that was something she had no intentions of forgiving any time soon. The only reason she hadn’t slugged Xavier herself was because he was already unconscious when Cedric called her to say the Rhaegarian had turned himself in. After that, the only thing standing between Xavier and a physical lashing from the Xocili was a more level headed Vandrad.

    And even then, she had a feeling the only reason he’d made the effort to dissuade her was because of the pregnancy.

    As such, Xavier had been left to the relative isolation of prison beneath the depths of the palace for nearly four months without confrontation from the monarchs. In truth, they had meant to put a bigger priority on sentencing him sooner, but other more pressing matters had continued to arise, what with Ryori’s abrupt appearance in their lives and Shepard dragging himself out of hiding to attack Mythal and Serilda. The king and his fiance knew that Xavier was a situation they would have to handle when they were at their best if they were going to approach it with clear minds and hearts, so it had simply pushed off until the time was right.

    But as far as Mercury was concerned, this was not something she was going to be able to approach without bias. She sat quietly in her throne after the hall had filled, fidgeting not just because of her bubbling temper but also because sitting was simply uncomfortable for her these days. She was two thirds of the way through her pregnancy, her belly swollen with a child that had long since started moving and shifting within her. So far her experience with the process, while not so awful that she would swear off future children forever, was not nearly as awe inspiring and wondrous as Serilda had made it sound.

    Simon announced the start of the proceedings. Much like Vandrad, Mercury’s gaze would eventually settle upon Saffron where she stood in the crowd. She hadn’t been sure that the blonde would come at all, knowing how intent Saffron had been thus far about all but writing Xavier out of her life. The only thing Mercury could assume was that she’d come more out of support and solidarity to Vandrad than for herself. Saffron had a habit of viewing herself of lesser importance than the others in her lives that held greater rank and power, a fact that frustrated Mercury nearly as much as it did Cedric. When she felt his eyes on her, Mercury turned to look at Vandrad and returned his nod, and with that the king called to have Xavier brought before them.

    A few moments later, the Rhaegarian in question stood alone on the open platform below the dais, his guards a few feet back on either side of him. When his gaze turned to Mercury, he’d find himself met with the hard stare of a woman that was very much still harboring a great deal of anger toward him. She and Xavier had not seen one another since their first meeting, where she had been more than a little cordial and friendly despite knowing who he was and his history with Vandrad. Now, she was no longer affording him that same generosity, glaring down at him and looking like she might hop down to slap him, queenly etiquette or no.

    Ultimately, he turned back to Vandrad and greeted him – of a sort – before Simon dove into his litany of crimes and the accusations against him. The man only stopped when Vandrad interrupted him to clarify that while Xavier had attacked him, there had never been any intent to kill. Bypassing the rest of the formalities that Simon surely would have led them through, he got right down to the matter and asked Xavier outright why he had done what he did, listing his grievances and stopping just before he could bring up Saffron. The blonde looked away briefly, doing her best to keep her face schooled into a neutral, if stony, expression, more out of discomfort from the situation itself rather than Vandrad’s near mention of her.

    Gathering himself and soothing his annoyance with far better mastery than Mercury could ever claim, Vandrad insisted that Xavier’s actions didn’t add up, and now would likely be the only chance he got to tell his side of the story. What followed was the same story that he’d given Mercury months ago, about finally confronting the truth of his actions during his time ruling Rhaegar, accepting responsibility for the things he’d done and the things those under his command had done… if one could truly consider Seberg under anyone’s command. When prompted for further clarity on his change of heart regarding Bacchus, Xavier explained about the mysterious woman from the Dreadlands, and his belief that it was through outside influence that Bacchus and the rest of the du Wolffs were taken away before they could assist with the rebellion.

    Up until now, nothing the guild leader said was news. Saffron had relayed some of what Xavier had told her when he had convinced her to meet with him before he turned himself in, so while the topic of Dreadlands was certainly a first for the Rhaegarians gathered there, Mercury and Vandrad weren’t as openly marveled.

    The former god-king turned a bit at the curious whispers around him, only to find Saffron standing with the rest of the crowd, her arms crossed over her chest and a vague look of displeasure on her face. Her gaze narrowed as his widened, before she finally looked stubbornly away. Though perhaps not quick enough to prevent him from catching the shade of blue that had taken over the orbs. By the time she looked back, her eyes had returned to their normal violet shade and he had returned his own attention to Vandrad, anyway.

    It wasn’t until Vandrad asked for more information about Bast and what she’d told him that the conversation took a sharp and unexpected turn. At the mention of the Ancient Ones even Mercury almost forgot her anger, her eyes widening as she sat forward a touch in her seat, or as much as she could. Her expression only grew more visibly shocked when he mentioned Teras Prime. At the very clear reference to Maker, she fully turned her head to look at Vandrad in concern. Even Saffron looked shaken, her own discomfort lost as her arms uncrossed themselves. She had to almost physically stop herself from speaking out loud to question the matter further. Unbeknownst to both ladies, they both shared the same thoughts in that moment: If Bast was from the Time Before, if she imparted information to Xavier that neither of them should have known… then what if the things she had said about Ulthar were true? What if Vandrad truly was in some kind of danger?

    Xavier didn’t miss the looks that were shared around the room by many others. When he tried to press further on the topic, however, Vandrad ignored him and instead asked if Xavier was still capable of communicating with Bast. The answer wasn’t ideal, a solid maybe at best and the only way to test it involved releasing him from the shackles that dampened his magic. The king gave the situation a long thought, with Mercury settling back into her seat beside him, now more pensive and worried than angry. She and Vandrad had already discussed their thoughts on how to handle Xavier before the trial, provided that nothing came to light to change their minds, so she had nothing to add before the final verdict was rendered. Xavier lacked any evidence outside of his refusal to kill Vandrad when he had the chance, and they simply couldn’t set a precedent by overlooking the attack.

    As such, he was sentenced to return to his prison cell indefinitely. If he was on his best behavior and proved willing to atone, then they would reconsider the matter again at another time. Then he was taken away. Saffron had to force herself not to watch him go, aware that he was looking at her without fully doing so. She waited until he was gone and then seemed to relax a little, even as Simon called the end of the court session. While everyone else began to file out, the blonde turned her attention up to the king and queen apparent and, after a moment, gave them a meaningful nod. Then, she exited with the others.

    Well, almost all the others.

    Mercury snorted lightly. “Don’t worry. I don’t think anyone that knows you will mistake you for an intellectual,” she teased, flashing him a small grin. Then, more soberly, she reached over to give his hand a squeeze. “Either way, you handled that well. Much better than I was inclined to.” Before they could discuss any of what had just happened, however, he indicated that it was time to move on to the next matter at hand. Mercury glanced around the mostly emptied room with some mild trepidation. She had kept herself focused on Xavier as much as she could, but Xavier wasn’t the only prisoner they planned to try that day. The time had long since come to deal more firmly with Khelben, who at this point had all but been thrown in a hole and forgotten about outside of needing his help with Maker.

    It wasn’t so much that she had any doubts about what they were about to do. She was fully committed to the decision that had been reached. But this would be the first time that the subject of her trauma at the hands of her brother would be discussed openly, and with an audience present. A small one, only most of those who knew the truth of what had happened. The only ones really missing were Mythal and Serilda, who simply had too much going on with the war efforts to be able to take the time to be there. That was fine by Mercury. But that still left Themmy, Gren, and her father, as well as Simon and Cyrene who had only recently been informed of the truth behind Khelben’s incarceration, if only because their political positions all but demanded that they be present for the hearing. Mercury trusted everyone present and knew they would keep the details to themselves, of course… but that didn’t make the prospect of having to formally confront the matter any less embarrassing or traumatic in its own right.

    “I don’t know… probably not,” she admitted quietly. Then, with more strength and resolve, she turned her gaze back to his. “But I’m more ready to start putting all of it behind me for good, no matter what it takes.” Presuming he had no other reason to delay, Mercury would give Simon a nod. “Bring him in, please.”

    A moment later, not unlike with Xavier, two guards escorted in Khelben. All things considered, he looked better kept than the Rhaegarian prisoner had, if more than a little apprehensive. He glanced warily at the small group that was gathered, doing his best to keep his anxiety from bursting into full blown panic at the knowledge of the confrontation before him. The guards placed him on the dais below the enthroned couple where Xavier had stood only moments before. Then they were dismissed from the room. “Your majesties,” he managed to eek out respectfully, the cuffs on his wrists clinking slightly as he bowed his head in deference.

    It took Mercury a moment to find her voice. Despite all the preparation she’d done for this, and despite having repaired quite a bit of her relationship with her brother over the last year or more, she was still beyond anxious now that they were here. “You know why you’re here,” she finally started, trying to sound more confident than she felt. “While we are keeping this an informal and private matter, it is no less a trial to hold you accountable for your accused crimes.”

    “I understand.”

    There was another small pause as she found her courage, closing her eyes for a moment and doing her best to keep her anxiety from throwing her headlong into a panic attack. “You joined my guild, Silver Wolf, with the intent of stalking me and spying on me. I understand why you did it, as does everyone else here. You didn’t have much choice in the matter, just as I didn’t have much choice when I was sent here by the same people who had us both enslaved. We also understand that you were forced to take drastic action when I rebelled, again under duress and threat of harm to our people should you not comply.”

    “However, you hired a known criminal to kidnap me. Not just any known criminal; one of the most wanted, dangerous and psychotic dark mages of our time. And then, when I attempted to break free on your ship…” Her voice trailed off and she steadied herself, even as Khelben lowered his head in shame. “You raped me. We fought, and we argued, and you raped me.” Mercury was surprised at the ease with which the accusation came from her mouth, certain that she’d stutter and stammer her way through the words. While she was certainly roiling with embarrassment, anger, and humiliation at broaching the topic in front of so many people, somewhere she found strength enough to address the matter plainly without crumbling into a mess.

    Khelben, on the other hand, was having much more difficulty keeping his emotions in check. He was visibly shaking from the effort, though he at least managed to lift his head up and due her the credit of looking her in the eyes as she finished her sentence. Tears were already beginning to roll gently down his cheeks. “Do you deny any of these charges?”

    He shook his head. “No, ma’am.”

    “Do you have anything to say in your defense?”

    The shackled Xocili was quiet for a long time. When he spoke, his voice was quiet and broken. “What defense could there possibly be? What I did to you… The way I hurt you… there’s hardly words to describe how abhorrent and depraved my actions were, let alone attempt to back them with any sound reasoning. I understand that decades of slavery had taken its toll, and that my loss of control over my own life contributed toward me trying to take control over yours. I understand that I was stressed, fearful of my safety and the safety of my people, and suffering from years of unprocessed trauma… but so were the rest of the Xocili, and no one else fell to the same depths of immorality that I did.”

    Khelben was openly crying now, not with any loud hysterics but large tears dripped heavily from his eyes as he forced himself to hold Mercury’s gaze. “Nothing more than excuses. All of those things may have been contributing factors, but that doesn’t absolve me from the responsibility of what I did. Whether consciously or subconsciously, rationally or irrationally, I made that choice… Me. I hurt you in ways that I never knew I was capable of, and I hate myself for it. Every day I hate myself. And I wish there was something, anything, I could do to fix it, to make it better, but I can’t. Stars, I’d give anything to take it all away…”

    He reached up and wiped some of the moisture from his face, drawing in a deep breath through his nostrils to try and keep some of his brewing snot at bay. ”You didn’t deserve what I did to you. No person does. I took away your humanity, your dignity… and that’s not even touching on the fact that you’re my sister. All the apologies in the universe won’t make up for my actions… but I am so… so sorry. Even if it means nothing at all to you, I can never tell you how sorry I am, Mercury.”

    He cried for another few beats, but was visibly doing his best to stay focused, not wanting to just stand there pitying himself. Shaking his head sadly after a moment, Khelben forced himself to steady his breathing so he could continue. “The only defense I have for myself is that I did not know Trinity – Thana – was the person I had hired. I put out a request for assistance because after I realized you had magic, I knew I couldn’t capture you on my own. But I thought I was hiring a professional, if not necessarily legal, bounty hunter. She came to me in disguise. I had no idea it was her until after she’d already brought you to me, and as soon as I recognized her I did my best to complete the transaction as quickly as possible so that I could get both you and myself away from her.”

    When it was clear he had nothing else to say, Mercury regarded him silently. Her expression was not easily read, though there was a great deal of conflicting emotions conferred by her body language. Without commenting on any of what he had said, she lifted her gaze to everyone else in the room. “Does anyone have anything to add, whether in his defense or against it? If you have anything at all to say, either to us or to the accused, now is your only chance. Once a verdict has been reached, we expect the matter to be settled.”

    Everyone in the room besides Khelben already knew what the outcome of this trial was going to be. However, unlike herself, Vandrad, and Zemenar, no one else had been given the chance to confront her brother. She knew all of them held strong opinions and nearly all of them had spent the last several months wanting to address him directly, refraining only out of respect for Mercury and not wanting to make things harder on her. She wanted to give them the chance to voice their grievances to Khelben now, to get their thoughts off their chest, whether in his favor or against it. Because after this, she would insist the hostilities drop.

    WORDS: 3343 | @Vandrad Ragnos
    Serilda Sinclair



    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Vandrad Ragnos
    Vandrad Ragnos

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Player 
    Lineage : Traveller of the Multiverse
    Position : None
    Posts : 771
    Guild : Fairy Tail
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 7,808,129

    Character Sheet
    First Skill: Energy Monarch
    Second Skill: Ark of the Dread Masters
    Third Skill:

    Judgement  Empty Re: Judgement

    Post by Vandrad Ragnos 9th April 2024, 12:41 pm

    There’s no fair or unfair in battle.
    ( There is only victory or in your case, defeat. )
    Judgement  RJtajUnz_o

    Vandrad gave her hand a reassuring squeeze, the smallest of gestures one might give in the situation but one that, she knew, was far deeper than its simplicity. Once she indicated to the guards to have the next brought in, he receded back into his royal position, his eyes focused on the only other prisoner of New Rhaegar as he was brought before them. Khelben looked in better straits than Xavier had been, though why that was beyond Vandrad’s comprehension. Once his escorts had placed him on the landing, they exited the room, leaving him at the mercy of those that knew all too well his crimes. Undoubtedly that was making him nervous, his greeting proper but soft and careful. The king waited for Mercury to speak, the strong and silent foundation of her support as she worked up the courage to finally confront the trauma, the heinous memories, that had been done to her. Once she had addressed the reason for his being there, she opted to speak herself of his actions, running down his crime sheet while the room kept still and focused. But nothing more awful than his acts upon his ship, the assault that had changed their lives – all of their lives – forever.

    Mercury was doing remarkably well recalling the timeline, better than Vandrad believed even he would be able to. She spoke of how difficult it would have been to handle Xavier’s trial and he sat there thinking that the former God-King was pittance in comparison to the current trial they were in. But her voice was strong, undoubtedly built upon a façade of anxiousness, shame and fury but firm nonetheless. Khelben was breaking down as the story was retold, nearly crumbling as he quivered and wept where he stood, though he listened with upmost focus. He was given the opportunity to address his actions with some kind of defense and he found himself lacking. Of course he understood the facts that had led to his breaking, the history and threat that he and his people were under acting as a constant, fatal stressor. But he understood that they were just excuses; as no other of his kind had ever given in to their baser, darker urges for the sake of relieving their stress. He’d discovered a darkness in him that he abhorred and he found himself unable to spin himself in any kind of positive light.

    Despite them lacking any real healing factor, at least in Vandrad’s opinion, he apologized, lamenting his actions and wishing he could do anything to take back what he had done and just wishing to continually state his sorrow. His pity was nearly overwhelming, especially to the king whose empathic sensations were attempting to overwhelm him with the sorrow, pain and heartbreak that Khelben himself was feeling. However, Vandrad was perfectly capable of brushing off the invading emotions, simply noting their existence and continuing on his same, steely demeanor. The only sign that he wasn’t simply a status was the slight raising of eyebrows when Khelben explained that he hadn’t intentionally hired Thana to kidnap Mercury. He’d put out a notice for a professional bounty hunter to help him wrangle Mercury under control and the former dark mage had come to him under a disguise. Once he’d realized who she was, once she had brought the Silver Wolf Ace to him, he’d very quickly concluded their business and left.

    The remarkable part was… it made sense. Khelben, for all his faults, didn’t seem the kind to go searching for someone of Thana’s caliber to help him out. Mostly because there was no telling if she’d honor any kind of agreement made or if she’d break away for her own entertainment’s sake. So his crime of hiring her under false pretenses seemed to be resolved and further cemented Vandrad’s conclusion that his actions in the Rune Knight headquarters were justified. Though he was overwhelmingly happy that he hadn’t been king then; that may have resulted in quite the diplomatic incident.

    With his words finished, Mercury turned to the rest of the room to offer any words of defense or condemnation before his sentence was handed down. The room remained still at first before, of all people, Themesycia took a step forward.

    “Rape is not something one can easily look past. It is an act that leaves a scar that will remain with those affected for the rest of their lives. At a young age, my father instilled in me a sense of what was right and wrong, as he did with my siblings and upon learning what it was, I abhorred it more than I may even murder. Learning the truth of your actions against Mercury filled me with a rage that I have not felt in a long time, when I learned of similar acts.” She didn’t specify exactly what she meant by that, mostly using it as a baseline to establish her fury. “Were it not for my respect for your family and your people, I would have marched into your cell myself and cut you into ribbons until you had the bare minimum of earthly matter needed to remain alive. And, truthfully, I do not believe I am fully over that inclination,” Themesycia explained, her gaze cold and courting violence as it focused on Khelben.

    “However… I also recognize that single mistakes do not make up the matter of a man or woman. Though your actions were despicable and dishonorable, you’ve shown nothing but remorse for them. You have taken steps to try and rectify the damage you have done. You have even put your life on the line for the sake of my family and your own… as well as the planet as a whole. I do not see before me the man that committed these horrifying crimes and its my hope that perhaps that version of you has already perished.” Gently, she gave him a nod, a courteous act that spoke volumes beyond its simple measure. A motion of hope, of faith that Khelben could evolve past his demons and darkness and become someone worth knowing.

    She stepped back and gently reached over to lay an encouraging hand on Gren’s shoulder. The former Rune Knight was still and stiff, his eyes narrowed in a scornful stare at the Xocili prisoner. He seemingly shifted, as if trying to will his body forward and partake in the encouragement that Themesycia was trying to offer him. To speak the words that he felt so passionately and dearly, despite knowing that they would offer no motion or movement to his judgement. But the old soldier simply couldn’t find it in himself to speak, a terrible mixture of disgust and rage swallowing up the more rational parts of his mind. With an angry grunt escaping from his nostrils, he turned and walked away from the group towards the entrance, leaving furious and unwilling to accept the inevitable conclusion. Themesycia sighed softly and turned her gaze up to Vandrad and Mercury, giving them a nod to continue. After all, what point was there in allowing the drama to hinder the trial beyond causing trepeditious waves.

    Vandrad was… unimpressed. He hated to think that he could lose respect for his father, who had proven himself as close to the perfect paragon as he could imagine. Of course he understood why Gren was belligerently angry; it was only a year ago that Vandrad had left quite the stomping foot trail on the island with his own rage. He had just hoped that Gren would be able to rein himself in for the sake of the trial or, at the very least, voice his anger as a means of starting the healing process. It was a matter that they would certainly have to deal with later. “I’ve spoken my piece to Khelben already and I see no reason to repeat my words now. So unless anyone else feels so inclined, speak now. Otherwise, it is time we bring this matter to a conclusion.”






    Words: 1339 / 3,624 | Tag: @Mercury Arseneault @Saffron Remington | © marzia at shine & gs.


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Mercury Arseneault
    Mercury Arseneault

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Player 
    Lineage : Gold Rush
    Position : None
    Posts : 672
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 6,857,298

    Character Sheet
    First Skill: Gunblade Master
    Second Skill: Mecha Primordial Slayer
    Third Skill:

    Judgement  Empty Re: Judgement

    Post by Mercury Arseneault 13th April 2024, 6:32 pm

    Mercury Banner
    Cunning is the art of concealing our own defects
    and discovering other peoples' weaknesses.
    Mercury didn’t really know what to expect at this point. There was no telling how everyone was going to react to her opening the floor for others to speak their own minds about Khelben’s crimes. Next to no one in the room had ever gotten the chance to confront him, if only because they all knew that doing so would hurt Mercury just as much as it hurt Khelben. Out of respect for her privacy and trauma, they had maintained themselves… but she knew it was a struggle, much more of a struggle than they showed on the surface. They deserved the chance to voice their displeasure freely, before Mercury and Vandrad both would expect them to honor their judgment and drop the matter entirely.

    She wasn’t sure who would speak first, but wasn’t surprised that it was Themmy. The former duchess stepped forward to draw attention to herself, giving her overall opinion about rape and her opinion about those who committed it. She even insinuated that she had loved ones in the past that had been victims of assault, though the comment was vague enough that it didn’t leave much to the imagination as to whom she was talking about. The only reason she hadn’t taken vengeance against Khelben was out of respect to his people, and specifically to Mercury and Zemenar. Even then, there were days that she still toyed with the idea. Khelben shrank a bit beneath her gaze, his eyes flicking involuntarily away from time to time… but overall, much like with Mercury, he managed to do her the courtesy of at least giving her his direct attention and accepting her condemnation honestly and openly.

    However, she wasn’t simply going to focus on all the bad he’d done. The queen mother said her piece against his actions before turning around and acknowledging the steps he had taken toward redemption. Khelben was clearly ashamed of his actions, and had put his own life on the line not out of any senseless self destructive behaviors, but to do good for others who needed his help. And much like Vandrad himself had told him several months ago, she did not believe Khelben today was the same man that had hurt Mercury. Khelben… didn’t really know what to do with that, or how to react. A mere “Thank you” seemed a contrived response, particularly given that she hadn’t really been complimenting him so much as stating facts as she saw them. In the end he returned her nod with a nervous one of his own, too anxious to speak but still acknowledging her words.

    Themmy stepped back and placed a hand on Gren’s shoulder, silently encouraging him to state his piece. The room became even more thick with tension – an impressive enough feat. Everyone knew that Gren’s opinion of Khelben was the strongest, or at least the most hostile. He was constantly needing to be reigned in by others when the subject of Khelben came up, with Themmy often having to run interference to keep him from finding an opportunity to accost the Xocili. He was also one of the most, if not the most, vocally against the chosen outcome of the trial. Gren, more than anyone, needed to get his thoughts out of his head, off his chest, and finally get to let his anger and hatred out before it ate him up from the inside.

    So it was disappointing, then, when he instead said nothing. After a moment of struggling to find words, all he could do was let out an angered noise before storming out of the room.

    Mercury’s heart sank as she watched him go. She understood, of course. She would never, ever fault Gren for feeling as strongly as he did, knowing that it came from a place of caring about her. He loved her, almost as much as he loved Themmy, and Mercury would never invalidate his feelings on the matter. But… It still hurt. It hurt that he couldn’t approach this in a healthy way to lead toward healing. It hurt that he couldn’t accept the way that she had chosen to approach her own healing, that she had chosen to forgive Khelben and give him a chance. It hurt that he was so focused on his rage and animosity that he actively refused to let go of it, to the point that it was eating him up and doing more harm to himself than anything else, that he couldn’t even stay in the room to support her when she was tackling arguably the most difficult and traumatizing event she’d ever experienced in her lifetime of almost non-stop difficulty and trauma.

    “Anyone else..?” she finally asked after Vandrad gave one last chance for others to speak up, sounding more morose than she’d meant to as she turned her attention back to the matter at hand.

    This time it was Zemenar who stepped forward – yet another individual whom Mercury hadn’t been sure would have the courage or strength to speak. Her father was arguably in the most difficult position of them all, given his relationship to them both. Khelben looked up at his father, the shame etching deeper around his eyes. Zemenar himself looked like he would rather be anywhere else, but was forcing himself to speak all the same. “I don’t… know what I can say that you haven’t already heard from everyone else,” he admitted quietly, finding it hard to look his own son in the eyes.

    “I keep asking myself if there was something I could have done, if there’s something I failed to teach you. Objectively I know that your choices aren’t a reflection of my parenting, but when something this… abhorrent… happens, I don’t think there’s a parent alive that would be able to prevent themselves from wondering if some part of their child’s mistakes are our own fault. A good parent would give anything to protect their children, even after they’ve grown into adults that are responsible for their own actions. Even when they make mistakes, or make choices you don’t agree with, you still want to ease their suffering because you love them, and it’s your job to protect them and give them the tools to flourish, to pick them up and care for them when they fall…”

    “But when I found out what you did… When I learned how you hurt your own sister.. My daughter... If you had been any other man, I would have killed you myself.” Zemenar’s anger and frustration finally boiled to the surface then, a rare sight for a man who was nearly always composed and gentle of spirit. Now, he stood there as an avatar of fury, his emotions controlled but no less passionate. Khelben could no longer hold his own gaze steady, dropping his head in shame and succumbing once more to tears while his father continued. “To say that I am disappointed in you doesn’t even begin to cover it. I am ashamed of you. Your mother would be ashamed of you. There are days I don’t even want to call you my son..!”

    Tears fell down the older Xocili’s face as he let it all out, his righteous gaze practically boring holes through the younger man. Then, he took a deep steadying breath, closing his eyes for a moment to collect himself. When he spoke again, there was more sorrow in his tone than anger. “But you are my son, and I am always going to love you and want what’s best for you, no matter how difficult you make it to do so. I don’t know that I will ever forgive you for what you did… not truly… But I could never hate you, and knowing that you are actively taking responsibility for what you did gives me hope that we can get through this someday.”

    Khelben was a mess, his feet rooted to the floor even as the world around him felt like it was spinning. His father’s words had hit hard, as they should have, and he was doing his best not to whimper like a child but it was difficult. He was visibly fighting to keep himself from becoming a spectacle of self-pity, accepting the condemnation he knew he deserved and allowing himself to feel, but determined not to let his own shame and sorrow become a distraction. He was unable to speak, but gave several small nods of acceptance and understanding. Zemenar looked like he wanted to approach and hug him, but for now he resisted and instead stepped back to where he had been before next to Cyrene, wiping the moisture from his cheeks.

    Mercury gave another look around to see if anyone else seemed keen to say anything. When it was clear everyone else was ready, she steeled herself to bring the trial to a close. “Are you ready to accept your punishment?”

    “Y-yes..” He replied, his voice quiet but firm.

    There was a brief pause. Mercury raised one of her hands, snapping her fingers… and the chains fell from his wrists. “You are free to go, Khelben.”

    Khelben blinked down at his hands, his shock and confusion briefly overriding his trepidation. “What..? But…”

    “You’ve been imprisoned long enough. All of us have. You’re guilty… everyone in this room is aware of that. I hate you for what you did to me, and a part of me will probably always hate you… But it was imprisonment and abuse that steered you toward those actions. More captivity is not going to solve the problem. It’s not going to help you overcome your demons… and you need as much healing as I do. Maybe more. If we start a kingdom on the foundation of locking away all our criminals and throwing away the key, with no recognition toward genuine repentance, no support for rehabilitation… well, that’s just not the kind of country we want to build.”

    She turned back to Vandrad for a moment, her eyes full of emotion as she gave him a soft smile, before returning her attention to the man standing below them. “Besides… you’re my brother. I spent my entire life with no family to call my own, never knowing if my parents still lived, if I even had any siblings… I didn’t know what family truly was until I came here, and was adopted by the du Wolffs. I never, ever dreamed that I would have a family of my own, and now that I do… Well, I’m not letting go of it. We may be broken, and fucked up, and far from perfect, but we are family... and at the end of the day, that means more to me than anything else.”

    “You’ve been through enough. I want you to heal, Khelben. I want you to live, and not just an empty shell of a life. I want you to have the opportunity to heal, and to grow, and to experience all that life on Earthland has to offer. I want you to have the chance to find love, to find a purpose and a calling that is your own. I want my child to experience family in a way that I never got the chance to, to have an uncle that they can be proud of.” She pressed a hand against her stomach meaningfully. “I want a brother...”

    “So I’m choosing to forgive you. I won’t expect everyone in this room to do the same, but we do expect them to respect this decision and to not harass you about it moving forward, for both of our sakes. As part of your release, you’re expected to continue to see your therapist regularly, but otherwise you’re a free man.”

    Khelben had fallen to his knees upon Mercury’s words speaking toward forgiveness, no longer able to keep himself composed. He wept openly. After only a moment of hesitation, Zemenar gently approached and knelt down beside him, pulling him into a hug and just holding him. The queen apparent watched for a couple beats before motioning for Vandrad to give her a hand up. Carefully taking the steps down, she joined them on the lower platform to stand before the two men with an expectant look. When it became apparent that Khelben didn’t know what she was waiting for, she told him with a wry smirk, “Well, stand up, already. I’m not coming down there in my delicate condition.”

    Her brother stood shakily to his feet. When she opened her arms to invite him in for a hug, he stared at her in almost disbelief before leaning down to accept it. Khelben was hesitant at first, but the longer she hugged him, the tighter his own embrace became. “I’m so sorry…” he told her again through his tears.

    “I know you are.”

    “Thank you…”

    They held each other for several long moments, and when they eventually parted, Zemanar put his hand on Khelben’s shoulder. “Come on, son. Let’s get you home.”

    WORDS: 2165/5508 | @Vandrad Ragnos
    Serilda Sinclair



    _____________________________________________________________________________________


      Current date/time is 16th April 2024, 1:07 am