Again, they braved the desert during the day, fools that they were. This time, mahado could simply follow the river, so the journey wasn't as difficult. Neither spoke much. There would be time for talking later. They were content just to be together.
The sky was dark when they arrived. The palace would not receive them at such hours, so they stayed in the inn for the night. People eyed isis as they came in, but no one said anything to the pair. mahado made sure of that.
The next morning, mahado went straight to the palace. He did not notice the people still staring at him, deducing that his foreign woman must still be in their room.
mahado told the guards at the gate why he came. They led him into the palace and, after hours of waiting, to the priests.
mahado marveled at the throne room. He felt as though he'd something like it before, but where, he did not know. His home was even less compared to it, and his home was hardly more than dirt and sticks.
The guard prompted him to speak. Kneeling before the priests, mahado told them he'd come from the destroyed village and was seeking the compensation the palace had promised. One of the priests bade him to stand.
"To prove you are who you claim, we shall judge you. If you speak true, you have nothing to fear." He held out a golden ankh shaped like a key.
mahado felt an image of a creature. He didn't actually see it, he just knew it existed. A tall thing with the shape of a man, but with oddly shaped wand. Its name was-he simply knew the word was its name-Illusion Magician. Then the priest lowered the key, and Illusion Magician left his mind.
"He speaks true," the priest concluded. He motioned for one of the soldiers to come forward. "Give the boy his money."
Before the man could move, a messenger burst into the room.
"The girl!" He shouted. "The foreign-"
"Silence!" Another priest stepped forward, one of his eyes made of gold. "Whatever it is, it can wait! Do not interrupt us!"
"Calm yourself, Akhnaden," The pharaoh ordered, rising. "What do you have to say, soldier?"
"Forgive my intrusion, pharaoh, priests," The man bowed, embarrassed by Akhnaden's scolding. "The foreign girl, who appeared here many years ago, is in the city again. We have brought her to the palace."
"What foreign girl?" The pharaoh asked, not remembering.
"The... black dragon," the soldier said.
"isis!" mahado shouted without thinking. All turned to stare at him. mahado cursed to himself. Idiot!
"Do you know this girl?" Akhnaden demanded.
"I... have met her," mahado avoided the full truth.
"Bring her in," the pharaoh ordered. "We shall see how the boy knows her."
mahado bowed his head, furious with himself. He didn't look up when he heard the doors open. Footsteps echoed in the huge room. Three or four people came in. Men shouted vulgar things. mahado kept his eyes shut until they threw her on the ground next to him.
"I'm sorry," she whispered, as the guards placed themselves in a circle around her.
"Girl!" Akhnaden pointed. "We arrested you three years ago for destroying parts of the city. You escaped into the desert, and have been a fugitive since. Both of these offenses are punishable by death."
"No!" mahado shouted.
"You 'met her before'," The priest with the key quoted. Set ignored it.
"Please, do not kill her!" mahado begged.
"You would defend her?"
"mahado, I'm sorry!" isis said again.
"The girl of the black dragon-"
"I wanted to tell you-!" isis raised her voice to be heard over the priest.
"-who destroyed your village?"
The priest's voice echoed. mahado was still looking at isis, who was almost in tears.
"What?" mahado whispered, his voice growing louder as his shock faded and rage built. "What?"
"I didn't mean to!" isis said. "The slave traders... they had nearly killed me... the dragon came out on its own, and I couldn't stop it...
"You...!" mahado did not hear her words. He could only hear his mother and brother screaming, could only see his house burning, everyone he ever knew in life dying.
"mahado!" isis begged. The guards grabbed her and forced her to her feet.
"Your judgment, pharaoh?"
"...the girl is too dangerous to let live," the pharaoh concluded. "She cannot control her ka. At sundown, we must execute her."
"I can control it!" She screamed. "It hasn't come out since that day-"
"You lie to save your life!" Akhnaden cut her off. "Take her away!"
The guards forced isis out of the room. mahado watched as though he were only an observer, not in the room with her. Every time he thought to help her, he thought instead of his family, burned alive, and murdered by this woman.
"isis..." he murmured, but he could not make himself want to help her.
· Tue Dec 21, 2010 @ 09:49am · 0 Comments