Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Day Four-Forty-Two: The Judgening


I'd been gearing up for a long, hard chat. Such simple agreement was difficult to swallow. "Certainly?"

"Certainly. Were you gearing up for a long, hard chat?"

"I was gearing up for a long, hard chat, yes."

"S'only gonna get longer 'n harder if ya keep fucking around like this. Hoi, brownie! 'nother drink for the big man, please?"

In retrospect, I should not have chosen to meet Pagan in the Beefiary. He'd been suffering from the backlash of eating one of Libby's pies until this morning, though, and my dad insisted on taking him out for a drink as soon as he recovered from the shock. Sigh. Still, the agreement was a plus.

Bora dropped off another drink for my father with her usual indulgent smile, batting away one of his spindly wooden hands as it tried to grope her rear end. Why even bother? I'm sure hers looks nice, but butts are dirty. Ew. I'll never get thinger things, even if I, you know, get them. You know.

Anyway. Enough about Bora. We're not talking about Bora here. She's… like… gross. Ew. Gross.

Still looks after Eve, though. When I'm busy. Gotta thank her for that. Though I bet my mom would be willing to


"Why're you so keen to be judge, Pagan? I'd figure most people wouldn't wanna do it."

The old knight shrugged and hoisted his tea. "Why not? I've never judged anyone before. Not in a courtroom. Sounds like it could be fun. I can also appreciate the value of the man's life. I doubt anybody else in Pubton will be so impartial towards Jeffrey."

"I could," Oswald said, struggling to lift his mug to his face. His silly little arms just aren't long enough to reach up his massive body. I don't think they'd even be able to swing a gavel probably.

"You would challenge him to a headbutting contest, you grimy thug," Pagan commented.

"Damn right I would! S'the only way to settle disputes!"

Mug and teacup clinked. I shook my head. I'll never understand their relationship.

"Well. I'm glad that was so easy. Thanks for your time, Pagan. Glad you're feelin' better 'n all that." I stood to leave, my mind already turning to an inspection of the outer walls, one I'd been promising to conduct for a long time.

"Hold on," Pagan said, ushering me back down into my seat. "I'll do it. But I have a condition. A condition and a promise."

I sat. "Okay. Shoot."

"First the condition. This trial doesn't distract from the defence of this town. I haven't forgotten our battle with those… things… in my manor. Nor their attack during the winter. Construction of the walls continues, and if possible I'd like your workers to look into turning that… Matriarch… thing… into a proper fortress. Reinforced, with working cannons. We need to be ready when those creatures come back, and I think some people in this town are slowly forgetting the precipice upon which this world sits. Agreed?"

I nodded. An hour doesn't go by when I don't think of crumbling kingdoms or beady green eyes in the dark. "Agreed. What's the promise?"

Pagan sat forward, his eyes slitted and stern beneath his helmet. Almost a hundred years of hard warfare marched in his pupils. "I don't believe in going halfway on justice. Justice is absolute, and criminals need to be punished. Swiftly and harshly. If King Jeffrey is found guilty of whatever charges you throw at him, he will be executed. That is my promise."

My mouth fell slack. I'd obviously considered the idea that Jeffrey might be killed. I'd also considered the idea that he might rot in jail, or be sentenced to community service, or lose his mind in the middle of the trial and start clucking like a chicken, or eat a poisoned piece of bread and miss the whole trial thing completely. Anything was possible. To suddenly have a lot of those possibilities closed… it was bewildering.

Pagan didn't back down. "You still agree? Or are you rethinking your choice, Mr. Mayor?"

I did. For a brief second, I rethought my choice. But every other potential candidate was nowhere near as good as Pagan.

"Done." I reached across the table and shook his hand. "If he's guilty, he… dies. Welcome aboard."

We watched each other in silence a moment, Pagan drinking his tea, I blinking and chewing my bottom lip, wondering if I'd just made a deal with the devil. That last part may have been confirmed when my father slapped me on the back and told me there was hope for me yet.



Dragomir the Mayor


  1. ... That escalated quickly.

    Also, for some reason, Pagan's eyes remind me of Logan. I miss Logan...

  2. Also the "strike through" didn't work.