Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Sometimes I find it amazing how quickly time goes by. I could be sitting doing something and get wrapped up in it while never noticing the hours pass by. Suddenly it is close to 3am and I have not even started that which I wanted to complete tonight. So I work now on it. Hoping I can complete within the little time I have left.

She entered the town from the south entrance. Going out to track down some bandits that were rumored to be camped near the town. A few select men and fast horses proved the rumor to be true. A swift sword and good planning allowed justice to be done. The stolen goods were being brought back behind her. They were a good mile or two behind her. The wagons they found laden with stolen goods. Pulled by what remains of the bandit camp. Soon they will be tried and sentence will be passed. Justice will be carried out.

The energy from the previous night’s fight and the feeling of a job well done coursed through her veins. Riding along her stallion she rose through the town up to her family’s house. As she approached the gate a young boy ran towards her to attend to her horse. She dismounted and threw him the reins while heading to the front entrance to the house.

Last night while she was looking through the bandit leaders belongings to find any of the money that was stolen so it could be returned she came across a letter written to the bandit. The letter reviewed a contract or an agreement between the bandit and another person. The bandit would pay out a portion of the loot to this person and that person would offer protection. This letter brought many confusing thoughts to her mind and she wanted to speak with her father. She walked through the entranceway and stopped briefly to throw her cloak on a hook. With a purposeful walk she headed towards her fathers study. The door was closed but she did not stop. She threw the doors open disregarding any politeness. Her father was sitting in a chair reading a book as she entered. He looked up at her with a warmth in his eyes watching his only child follow in his footsteps as a justiciar for the town.

“Ello there Emily. How went the hunt?” Word that she had gathered up a few men and left off to the north had reached him quickly.

“The hunt went well father. A rumor I heard paid off and I caught the bandits that have been attacking people for the past two months.”

“Interesting. I thought the bandit reports in the north were further out. It must be dire times when they dare stay that close to our town. Where in the north did you track them down? The ruins? Near the river? Wait was it along the Do’Sek’s Bluffs?” Interest had appeared in his eyes while he carefully put away the book he was reading. A silk marker stuck out from the middle.

“No I actually caught them near Pearson Crossroads to the south.”

“But you left to the north.” A look of surprise came across his face as if he remembered something important. “I have not heard of many attacks to the south. Are they here in town? I shall have to interrogate them immediately and we shall make sure they see a swift trial.”

“I already have spoken with all the bandits, father. They did not say anything at all. However the leader had this in his personal effects. I figured I would personally give it to you. Let you examine it.” She threw down a piece of paper onto the desk. “It appears they had an agreement with someone high. I did not tell the men anything. Such corruption would spread unrest if it got out too quickly. I will tell you the tale another day. I must go tend to my men. They should be entering the town now. I will see you soon.”

She turned around with a quick snap of her feet and walked out closing the door behind her. As she slowly walked away she thought about the seal on the bottom of the letter. It seemed familiar and she knew who it belonged to. After taking a few steps she quickly turned around and opened the door again to her fathers study. Stopping for a moment in surprise as the truth she did not want to believe was shown in front of her.

In the study on the desk there was a simple candle. Hanging above the candle’s flame was a piece of parchment that was starting to catch. The flame was licking up the sides of it. A look of pleasure was on her fathers face as he watched it burn. A look of horror slowly replaced the pleasure as he realized his daughter was watching.

“They offered me a good amount of money. I had been using that to help our poor and hire more guards. Why are you looking at me like that. I did it for the greater good.”

Emily looked upon this scene realizing the truth that stood out in front of her now. The money her father has been getting and had been using for some good had came from the blood of others.

“The greater good eh. Tell that to those who died during one of those bandit raids. Tell that to the men who I took with me and fell to bring those bandits to justice. For the great good you dare have the audacity to say.” She reached behind her back and grabbed a pair of manacles she kept out of habit. She unhooked them from her jerkin and threw them on the desk. The steel slid slowly across the wood leaving little scratches along it.

“For the greater good then put these on.”

“Emily I cannot do that you know. What would the townsfolk think?” He stood up and took a step back away from the manacles.

“What would the townsfolk say if I tell them what you did and nothing came of it. We are here to serve justice both our law, job, and god dictates that no one is above the law.”

“But I brought peace to this area. I squashed the orc tribes that used to harass travelers. I cut a deal with those bandits because one bandit group in the south reduced the total amount of raids and made the roads safer. I have done so much for this place and for you. This is how you wish to repay me?” He took another step back towards his coat rack.

“You taught me that justice is for both the poor and rich. You also said both uncivilized and civilized people deserve the same amount of justice. Yet you stand here and dare say that after all those years and teachings the law will not apply to you. Who do you think you are?”

“I am your father.”

Emily faltered and stopped for a moment now realizing she had a hand on her sheathed sword and was slowly advancing on her father. She was halfway around the desk when she stopped. Tears filled her eyes as she realized that indeed this was her father. She remembered the cold jail cells and the cries of pain that filled the hallways when she did her time as a guard there. She remembered the crying women as their men were hauled off to the gallows. Even the tears of men as they realized what punishment was awaiting them either in the cell or in the gallows. She lowered her head and looked at the floor watching a few drops fall to the floor.

“Your right you are my father. I’m sorry but I have to follow the law. You taught me that much.”

“Then I am sorry for the both of us.”

He had pulled out his sword and leaped forward to pierce her heart. His words spoken out of love though had given her warning. She turned to the side and the sword glanced off the supple chain mail she wore underneath her jerkin. The tip of the sword still drew a cut along her skin but it did not go deep. She looked up at her fathers eyes and realized what he meant to do. Taking a step back she drew her sword and slashed at his hand hoping to disarm him. He parried her strike with experience and swung again this time aiming for her neck. Her right arm came up instinctively to block but lacking her armed gauntlet she was used to the blade bit into her forearm into the bone. She screamed out in pain causing her father to freeze for a moment. When she regained control she used her right hand to grasp the blade and her left arm to drive the blade into her fathers belly. He tried to pull the blade away. Twisting it and pulling attempting to cut her hand enough the muscles would fail. She gripped it because her life depended on it. Blood spilling down onto the floor in large amounts. Her strength was quickly leaving her but she also felt him weaken. She pushed the blade in at an angle deeper and deeper into him until he released his sword and fell to the floor. She quickly followed him to the floor after throwing his sword across the room. She knelt over him mentally preparing the words she needed for a prayer. She knew she would only get one prayer off but she needed to heal him. All those times she fell as a child and he would help her up and kiss away the pain came to her mind. Tears blurring her vision while blood covered everything it could stick to. She reached to his face to say the prayer and he looked into her eyes. The light in his eyes started to fade and he tried to mumble something. She tried to say the words to heal him but could not. Darkness enveloped both of them.

A fading sun’s light pierced through the window. She found her self surrounded by soft. A fuzzy brown world was all she could see. Except a pinpoint of light shone through a hole and found its way into her eyes. She tried to roll over but a sharp pain in her right arm woke her. She tried to sit up but failed. An old man was sitting on a chair nearby reading a book.

“My dad?”

The old man looked up at her with compassion in his eyes. He set the book down to move closer to her.

“He is dead. I could not save him. We did however find the remains of the parchment. We figured out what happened and healed you the best we could. Your lucky the young captain wanted to personally deliver a report when they got back into town. If he had not found you both you and your father would be sharing the same afterlife together.”

“I wish he would have found me later. I do not know if I can bear the shame of living now.”

“Tisk tisk. You will be alright. It was not your fault he had allowed corruption to grow inside him. Besides the people here need you. They need another justiciar one that they could look up to and set an example for those who struggle against evil.”

“Why would they believe in me? I almost failed. If he had not…..”

“You did not fail though. Love is not a fault. Nor is it a weakness. You have done something few can ever achieve. Many preached it but when the time comes for them they find themselves wanting. You were measured my dear. I have found you to be more than enough.”

“You found me. Who are you? Are you from the council?”

“I am from a council of sorts. I just know that you shall live and I hope you shall uphold the laws in this area for the people.” The old man stood up and a cane appeared out of nowhere. He walked towards the door and opened it.

“Wait a moment. Who, what, where”

The old man appeared to hear nothing as he walked out of the room closing the door behind him. The book on the floor lay there for a moment and she looked over and read the title. ‘The weight of justice’ She pondered for a moment then shook her head. She put her arms to her face and cried as both the pain and the memories filled her up. The tears poured out but the memory still stayed fresh in her mind. When she finally opened her eyes she looked at the hands that killed her father. With hatred and contempt she realized she never wanted to look at those hands again. Though the right one was bandaged up completely she reached over with it until she found her boots on the side of the bed. Pulling a knife from them she held it while pondering the next action. Cutting off her hands would not do as it would take too long and she would pass out before she could finish. Seeing her only option left she quickly thrust it into her left eye and while the pain filled her she stabbed into her right eye screaming out in both pain and rage darkness became her world. The vision of the dagger the last thing she saw as she again passed out.

Years later people would enter the town of Marmauth and marvel at how nice the town was. The lack of crime and seemingly wonderful place out in the middle of a lawless land. They would sometimes question a guard on how the place came to be. All of them would hear the tale of Emily the blind. Justiciar of the town. Who killed her own corrupt father when she found out and he attacked her. Who was blinded by the Gods themselves so she would dish out justice equally and evenly. She at a young age became the woman who lead the town in establishing law around the area for 2 days ride in every direction. One who applied laws to everyone including herself and others who entered the land. One who made peace with an barbarian tribe to the west who respected her as one of their own.

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