The Unforgiven And The Exile 10 Chapter 10/
The Unforgiven And The Exile 10 Chapter 10
The adept scurried from his place and approached the judge. She took the shard from his outstretched hand and turned it over in her fingers. Even held at a distance, the metal seemed similar to the broken blade.Riven's breath caught in her throat. There was the piece of her past that she had searched for and given up finding. Now it was on the verge of coming together, illuminating a dark and forgotten corner of her mind. The guilt Riven carried and had buried deep was finally being unearthed. Riven steeled herself against what she knew would come next."Where did you find this?" the judge asked.The adept cleared his throat. "In the bones of Elder Souma's neck."The council hall gasped."You did not bring this forward before?" The judge's eyes narrowed as she focused in on her target."I did," the adept said, trying desperately to look anywhere but the warrior priest who stood next to Riven's broken blade. "But my master said it was nothing."The judge had no such trouble looking at the warrior priest."Approach," she ordered. She handed the bit of mangled metal to the warrior priest. "Put it with the rest."The warrior priest glared at the adept, but followed the orders given. He approached Riven's blade and then turned at the last minute to the judge. "Magistrate, there is dark magic in this weapon. We don't know what this piece may reveal.""Proceed." The judge's words left no room for argument.The warrior priest turned back. All the eyes in the council hall watched as he took the sliver of hammered metal and placed it nearest the tip of the broken blade.The weapon was silent.The judge let out a small sigh. Riven, however, continued to watch the old man and his wife. She knew their hope would last only a moment longer. She had been weak to accept it, to believe that there was something in this world for someone so broken. Their relief at her fleeting innocence hurt most of all. It hurt because Riven knew in that moment the good they believed about her was a lie. The truth of her past was sharper and more painful than any blade.Riven heard the sword beginning to hum. "Please," she called out. She struggled to be heard over the chatter of the hall. She struggled against her restraints. "Please, you must listen."The vibration built. Now it could be heard and felt. The villagers panicked, pushing and shoving to get back. The judge stood quickly, her arms outstretched to the wooden table that held the broken sword. The edge of the table began to grow and curl, the wood budding new green limbs over the weapon, but Riven knew the magic would not hold."Everyone, get down!" Riven yelled, but the sound of the blade drowned out her voice, indeed all the voices, as the weapon built to a fever pitch.
Then, all at once the power exploded in a burst of runic energy and splintered wood. A gust of wind knocked everyone who had been standing down to the floor.From the ground, the faces of the crowd turned to Riven.Riven's lips were cold and her cheeks flushed. The ghosts of her mind, memories she had entombed, they were fully alive now, looming one by one before her. They were Ionian farmers, sons and daughters, the people of this village that would not kneel to Noxus. They were looking at her. Haunting her. They knew her guilt. They were her warriors, too, her brothers- and sisters-in-arms. They would have gladly sacrificed themselves for the glory of the empire, instead she had failed them. She had led them under the banner of Noxus, a banner that had promised them a home and purpose. In the end, they were betrayed and discarded. All of them cut down by the sick poison of war.Now these ghosts stood among the living, the courtroom of spectators knocked down by the power of the blade. The villagers slowly rose to their feet, though Riven was still there in that valley from long ago. She couldn't breathe. Death choked her nose and throat.No, these dead aren't real, she told herself. She looked at Asa and Shava and they at her. Two shades stood near them. One with eyes like the old man's and the other with a mouth like Shava's. The old couple clung to one another as they steadied themselves and stood, oblivious to the deathly past that surrounded them."Dyeda," the old woman said.At that Riven could no longer contain her guilt and shame."I did it." The words fell from Riven's lips with an empty hollowness. She would accept her fate at the hands of these people. She would let them pa.s.s judgment and she would answer for her crimes."I killed your Elder," she told them, breathless. Her ragged confession filled the room. "I killed them all."
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