|The Goddess of Justice - (Old Gods Parthenian - Justitia)|
18.104.22.168. Unfolding Justice’s Blindfold
‘Justice is blind.
Even though we unfolded her blindfold and restored her sight,
She’s still blind.’
- Garth the Golden Bear,
King of Halethia, Chairman of Regia Confederation
Rael’charon’s group treks on safely and leaves Wyrmspine Pass after about an hour walk through the last kilometer of the ravine.
Father Andreas Marvellini then checks on Kyflynn’s condition. Night elves are amazing indeed. This one, like the others, adapts well to magic and helps it to be more effective. Plus, his body heals naturally three times quicker than human’s. So, although still weak and leaning on Desmond’s back, Kyflynn is fully conscious.
Andreas asks him, ‘How are you feeling now?’
The elf answers, ‘That last stab really messed my system. Normally, it took days to recover from a wound like this, but thanks to your treatment, my life is saved and I’m conscious again now.’
‘Praise Vadis it is so. And we thank you for helping us defeat MacLair and his dark elves. We are deeply indebted to you.’
‘Aah, it’s nothing, really. Actually, we did that to save our own asses. You see, a mysterious guy hired us to hunt Robert and Rael’charon, no questions asked. I insisted on the reason as my principle demanded, and he said Robert is the Pope’s murderer and Rael’charon is his aide. I decided to check first and he “reminded” me of the Assassin’s Code. When I attacked Robert, I found no trace of him being the Heir or the Pope’s murderer. So I pretended to fail, and withdrew.
Then, when MacLair mentioned about the Code, I know for sure that the mysterious man must be him or his goon. If I didn’t kill him, he will hunt me down. So, good riddance.’ Kyflynn ends his explanation with a weak smile.
‘So, what are your plans now?’
‘I think we’d better stick around for awhile. With my rival gone, it would be nice for us to make up with Robert by helping him out, wouldn’t it, Ed?’
Ed, also known as Desmond Edmundsen answers, ‘Right-o, partner.’
Rael’charon nods on hearing that, and Robert doesn’t seem to mind.
The rest of the journey to Ascension, capital of Valanis is uneventful. The monsters are afraid of large group of people with powerful auras. Though their wounds are almost recovered, two days after leaving Wyrmspine Pass, the group still shows grim faces, hardly talking to each other.
They arrive in Ascension on the third day and twelve elite guards escort them to Basilica Vadisium. They take a longer route through alleys and shortcuts to avoid crowds – An angry mob can be the worst judge who punish without evidence.
The Vadisian monks inside the Basilica act more civil to Robert and his friends, even showing them the way to the meeting chamber and informing the Pope and Cardinals at once.
Cardinal Ryddus, the balding Cardinal with long, brown beard meets them in the main chamber. ‘Thank Vadis. Finally, Robert Chandler comes here willingly after all our efforts to apprehend him. I see you brought lots of company here.’
‘Yes, Your Grace,’ says Rael. ‘I’m here as Robert’s defendant to investigate his case. The Emperor of Arcadia sent Chris, Carolyn and Iris under Father Andreas’ supervision to make sure whether Robert is Vordac’s Heir or not and act accordingly. And Kyflynn, Agustina and Desmond are here as witnesses.’
‘Witnesses, you say? Well, you really have done extensive preparations, Counselor. The first hearing will be held tomorrow at dawn. Before so, Counselor Rael and Father Andreas will investigate the crime scene and Robert will be confined in the dungeon, fourth level. The rest will stay in the dormitory.’
‘Pardon me for saying this,’ says Cristophe. ‘But we would like to accompany Robert in the dungeon, giving him the support he needs.’
‘Very well, then. To the dungeon you go. May Vadis’ justice shine upon us.’
So, that night the lowest level of the dungeons becomes a cheerful place, with sounds of people praying, singing, merry-making and supporting each other.
Meanwhile, Rael’charon, Father Andreas, Cardinal Ryddus, two nuns and two monks are in the crime scene: the late Pope Xylen’s chamber. The site is – as per the Aurelian Convention of Justice – exactly like in the time of the crime. Nothing except the victim’s body has been moved, even the debris of the broken vase and the dried blood stains on the marble floor.
The Cardinal explains, ‘We have scanned this area with magic, Counselor Rael, and found traces of dark energy around. We also found dark energy on the sword, if you may observe.’
A monk goes forward and presents a wrapped sword to Rael. He unfolds the sword, and here it is: Robert’s kiliji. Weapon of murder.
Rael touches its blade. He closes his eyes, his long ears flutter. His fingers run from the tip to the hilt. Then, he opens his eyes and says, ‘Yes. There is still a trace of dark energy, but it’s so faint because the energy was channeled one time only. However, I also found a more powerful fire energy that dominates all – which, I believe, come from Robert himself.
I say we must run a check on Robert too. We need to know whether he has dark aura and how long he has it for.’
‘Very well, then,’ says Ryddus. ‘Now, in what manner Pope Xylen was slain?’
The elf stares at the death spot for a while, then around the room. Then he smiles and turns to the nuns.
‘Who among you saw Pope Xylen dead first?’ Rael asks.
‘It’s me, Solnii, Counselor,’ the freckle-faced nun answers. ‘Sister Nabelia was also with me, but I was the first.’
‘In what position Pope Xylen lay? Tell me in detail.’
‘She lay face-down with that sword,’ indicating the kiliji, ‘sticking on her back. I think she was stabbed from behind.’
‘Right, just as the autopsy statement. It’s simply the basic of stealth-killing. But again, let’s check this blood pattern. Blood started running out fifty centimeters from the table, then went inline about twenty centimeters more and ended on the pool here. The Pope must’ve used her last strength to crawl and call for help before she moved no more.
However, I see lots of blood sprinkling on the table. This is odd. No matter how powerful a stab is, the blood wouldn’t spray very far, especially when the stabber was right behind her, using a big sword. The blood must’ve sprinkled on him.’
‘So, you’re saying that Robert is not the Pope Killer?’ says Ryddus.
‘Innocent until proven guilty, Your Grace.’
‘Oh, of course,’ says Ryddus. ‘Let’s put all judgment in the trial tomorrow, and may Vadis show Justice the way.’
Rael’charon doesn’t give any attention to the Cardinal’s words and stares at the table. His mind is racing and a smile curls on his mouth.