I bent down and picked a flower, it promptly turned to dust which floated to where I had picked it and reformed the flower. I did the same with anything I could reach. Grass, bark, tree limb. Each time the same thing happen. Even though I was aware of the dream, I found it odd that I was not able to change the landscape in the slightest.
I turned back towards the forest just as a warm gust of wind came billowing out through the trees. The whisper I had heard before was louder now, but I still could not quite make it out. Something was trying to get me into the forest, and it felt quite welcoming. I took a step towards the line of trees and the found myself awake staring at the Grand Courtroom in Brinwall.
I remember coming here once with my brother on the day he was sworn in as a Clarent. It was not something that happened very often so there was always a huge ceremony. People from different countries traveled to watch the Magi of the Four Totems swear the elite wizards into their new station.
I did not get to spend any time with him after that. Come to think of it, I hadn’t seen him since that day. I tried to look around to see if he might be in the crowd, to see his little brother being put on trial. Sadly, I was still being restrained by a holding spell.
Looking to my sides I could see Kulver on my right and the giant bloodstone creature on my left. I noticed a lack of jury as well as lawyers. This was not a normal trial at all. Did I really do everything Kulver said?
I looked forward to see the four half-story pillars. Each held a bench for the Magi of the Four Totems. Those that held these positions were the best in their field of magic throughout the world. The station was usually passed down through hereditary lines. But even wizards occasionally bare non-magical children. In those cases the bearer had to be approved by all current members.
The first pillar on the right is where the Totem of Sadrynal, the Great Magi of Life, presided. The next was the Totem of Xathsoq, the Great Magi of Air. The third was the Totem of Brodshav, the Great Magi of Earth, and the last was the Totem of Gerynx, the Great Magi of Death.
Each pillar glowed with the giant symbol for each Magi as they stepped up to their benches. Sadrynal had a blue crystal, Xathsoq had a giant white horn, Brodshav had a mountain top, and Gerynx had a large pyre. The Magi that represented the great ones were younger than most people expected. Though they were still old, they did not have long beards or balding heads.
As they sat down the whole room went silent. Whether people were awed or too afraid to speak, I could not tell, but both were usually the cause from the stories I had heard. The scowls the four Magi were wearing as they met my eyes easily frightened me speechless. It did not matter how innocent I felt, their glare made me feel the guilt of everything I ever remembered doing wrong.
If Kulver was right and I had been a Clarent, then these four had sworn me in. They had accepted me into a privileged role and I had disgraced them. I could not refute anything I could not remember. Amnesia has no bearing on the list of charges thrown against me. And those still were not clear to me. But I was about to find out.
A man, he looked to be around the age of thirty, walked out from between the second and third pillar. He must be one of the Requisitors. They were the one that spoke for the four great Magi. They would ask the questions, list the charges, and allow the lawyers to speak. It is one of the highest positions one can be afforded, almost equal to that of the Magi of the Four Totems. I have never heard or read how one becomes an Requisitor and it does not seem to be common knowledge like that of the Magi of the Four Totems or Clarents.
He stood there in his silver robe studying me, and then he spoke “Bartresq Hudson, previously of the Clarent status, previously Auditor 83429. Son of the late Amaya Bartron and Devan Hudson. Brother to the late Bartaryq Hudson.”
My mind went into a furious jumble of questions. They all ended in a simple menacing word that slipped off my tongue without control. “How?”
The horror of my thoughts must have been clear on my face, because as I interrupted the Requisitor he took a cautious step backwards. He quickly followed it with a quizzically furrowed brow. He straightened up and replied “That is why we are here today, Mr. Hudson. It is one of the many crimes you are accused of committing.”
I instantly flashed back to the night of the train wreck. The words I’d heard as I was being carried away ““Hg80-318 I command you to protect Bartresq. He is now your master, please watch over him!” That was my brothers voice. Were those his last words? If I’d killed him then why would he command his personal creature....his Golem.
The word came rushing to my mind, as if lost in some deep abyss all this time. That’s what this Bloodstone creature was, and that’s what the silver one from the night of the trainwreck was, a Golem.
I voiced this question, more spiteful than I meant. But I was angry at being accused of killing my own brother. “If I killed him then why did his command his golem to protect me? Why am I its new master?!” The anger in the question caused the Requisitor to take another step back.
Auditor Kulver’s gasp caught me by surprise. Had she not questioned this same thing? Or did she fail to add that into her report? The Requisitor confirmed the latter.
“There is no report stating this. If you do not recall killing your own brother then how do you know that he commanded his golem to protect and obey you?” There was a smugness to his question, as if I’d just confirmed the accusation.
Auditor Kulver stepped forward “Sir, I believe I can answer that question.” She seemed hesitant. “On the night of Bartresq Hudson’s apprehension as he was being carried away by SiO2-83, my golem, Hg80-318 began to act erratically. It seems that Bartaryq somehow recorded a communication onto his golem stating that he relinquished his command of Hg80-318 to Bartresq. I failed to put this in my report as I did not think it was relevant to his crimes.”
The Requisitor pondered this for a moment, then straightened up a bit, and seemed it best to catch Auditor Kulver off guard. “Auditor 74892, Syrana Kulver. Why do you think Bartaryq Hudson made this decision?”
She stuttered a few times, looked back at me, and then to the Requisitor. “I...I’m not sure. Because in the end Bartresq was his brother?” She relaxed a little, most likely thinking that answer was good enough.
“But you knew how much Bartaryq came to hate his brother in the end. You were there for many of the reports. Bartaryq was ready to end his brothers life happily. So what changed?” The Requisitor was questioning her as if she were on trial.
Every word that was spoken was pounding against me like boulders being thrown by a giant. My brother hated me? What did I do to make him want to kill me? If I were not bound by magic I would have sank to the floor and curled into a ball. But as it were, I could only hang my head and listen.
Auditor Kulver’s voice seemed as if it were being projected through a long tunnel. “Yes sir, but Bartresq was also the last of his family alive. Maybe it caused a finally lapse of judgement in the end?”
I could tell that even she did not believe her own words. Not that it mattered. If there was a reason my brother, a Clarent, was after me. And to kill me? Then I had done some extremely horrible things. And I did not want to remember what they were.
The silence in the courtroom was deafening, as were the thoughts in my head. It was impossible not to hear the door open in the rear. I could hear the crowd turn, saw Kulver turn, and could see the Requisitor and the Magi of the Four Totems look towards the source of the noise.
The thuds of loud footsteps followed as the rustling of clothing from the audience turning as it came down the long aisle. Whispers were rampant in the crowd. I imagined my brother walking up the aisle with his golem in tow. Even if only to confirm most of the crimes against me, he’d still be alive.
I heard the growl coming from Kulver that seemed riddled with spite. I also noticed the Magi of the Four Totems take their gaze off the proceedings and turn to look at the new visitor. The Magi of Brodshav seemed to be a bit perturbed by the person’s arrival. I noted that the other three Magi turned to look at him. Could that person have some connection to him? That dashed my hopes that it was my brother.
I sagged at this realization. I did not even feel like seeing whom it was that had surprised everyone. It did not matter. I listened as the Requisitor asked Auditor 7487 what the meaning of this interruption was. I heard her apologize, and then she said she had new evidence that could exonerate me.
I looked up to see her standing in front of my brother’s golem, my golem. Her Auditor uniform made her look like she was some teenager playing dress up. But her stance was much more pristine, very formal. I followed her gaze to the Magi of Brodshav and put the pieces together. She must be a daughter or granddaughter.
The Requisitor broke from his confusion first “You’ve come here with evidence for Bartresq Hudson?” He looked quite irritated.
Auditor 7487 gave a look of disapproval, boredom, and annoyance at a level that could only have been bred into her. “I have. It seems that Clarent Bartaryq Hudson was able to record things onto his golem, Hg80-318. The first recording we heard was the night of the trainwreck and it was nothing more than Bartaryq commanding it to protect his brother and follow Bartresq’s orders.”
She looked at me with a mild annoyance. There was something else behind that look, did I forget something about her too?
She spoke as she turned her head back towards the Requisitor. “He was also able to record the evidence he found after he subdued Bartresq. Evidence that the golem still carries on him.”
Auditor 7487 stepped aside and let the golem move forward. It was massive next to her. It stood at least four feet above her. If it had a mouth it could have probably swallowed her whole. It was a large gleaming construct that my brother had created. This was the last step to becoming a Clarent, you had to create a golem or you were not accepted. And they could only be made with the single mineral that was inherently linked to your body.
Some people could never create one, not having any mineral that was linked to them. It was much like magic users, you could not learn magic if you were not born with it. But in this case even many mages could not create them. If I was a Clarent then that means I also created one. Where is it? And why does Kulver have one if she is just an Auditor.
Better yet, what evidence did my brother leave for me? As I rambled about these questions in my mind the material on the golems upper chest started to swirl around as if liquid. When it finished it was in the shape of my brothers face. I could not stop the name from falling out of my mouth “Bartaryq...” Kulver turned towards me with anger in her eyes, making me flinch.
She jumped and spun around with a surprised and hopeful look on her face as the image started to speak. “This is Clarent Bartaryq Hudson. If my brother, Bartresq Hudson, has not succumb to his wounds and is being put on trial I pray that you will hear the evidence of his possible innocence I have discovered.” There was wheezing and coughing accompanying the recording, as if he were wounded when he made it.
“I found some form of parasite attached to his spine after I was able to pacify him. I regret that I will not get to study it further, as I will soon succumb to my injuries. All I ask is that you make sure this evidence is thoroughly investigated before you place your judgement on him.” The image disappeared with the sounds of coughing and moaning.
I had not noticed the tears running down my face until then. I thought I heard a sniffle come from Kulver as well. I suppose she knew my brother.
I did not get a chance to think much about it before the large silvery golem reached out its hand and produced a small globe. This must be the evidence my brother was talking about. As the liquid metal opened an overpowering shriek exploded. I felt as if my my whole body was about to rupture. As everything started fading in and out I saw that everyone was staring at me. Just before I passed out I could see the young girl running for me, her hand outstretched. I blacked out just before her thumb reached my head.
I found myself lying on the ground, the grass wet and soft. I picked myself up and looked around. The forest, I was in it. But, no, I stood there looking down the hill towards where the forest was suppose to be. I looked over to where the house should have been, where it was covered in vines and moss and small trees protruding through some of the broken walls. Like no one had lived there in decades.
I fell to the ground, my mind dizzy with everything. Then the whisper came, so clear that it washed everything else from my mind. “You are mine.”
Instinctively, my body shrank into a ball and summoned a shield. I sat there cowering on the ground against the tree hoping someone would come save me. Hoping my brother would come and save me from him.