13 Our Lady Anwar“s Trial
_Marsilien. Stop spacing out. Wake now._
I came too gasping and spluttering. My body was soaked through. Wrong. It was submerged in water.
Was I in that fateful river again?
I madly blinked to clear my vision and saw I was neck deep in a rock pool placed at the center of a rose quartz cavern.
Light from solemn torches glared against those imperial lion head banners. It also revealed banners depicting an angelic woman with flowing hair around a slender waist and the hem of her dress caught in a sway. She held a sword at a man's throat at the moment he was about to violate the woman beneath him.
"Lady Anwar." The information came out of my mouth.
I frowned, wondering why I knew it then remembered the God's cavern further back. Of course, it would've been from there.
"Ugh!" I moaned when I felt undercurrents wrap around my limbs to bind me to the water.
I struggled and tried to lift myself up, but continuously splashed back down, gasping for breath when I spat out slick oily water. My body was completely naked.
A procession of women in navy-blue robes and long flowing crimson dresses (covering from their necks to their ankles) filed into the cavern. They sat on benches, which formed a top-down viewing half-ring around the pool.
Their countenances were tinged with blue from moonlight that poured through blue crystal windows that formed rose petals on the far back wall behind the women.
One of the navy-blue robed women rose from the bench and approached the silver-glass edge of the pool, making sure her rose-coloured sandals remained on dry stone ground.
Her angled aged face (many wrinkles etched into her forehead, corners of her eyes and thin lips) looked down on me with pure contempt and justice.
"The one known as 'Neven'. The girl whose name is 'No Name'. You are called to trial before our fair and benevolent Lady Anwar, for crimes of magic of the diabolical kind."
My eyes widen with shock and heart raced with panic. Crimes of magic? What the hell was that?! Since when did I do any magic?! Blurred memories of a winged lizard demon surfaced to my mind and was replaced with black and white blobby images. I trembled underneath the woman's condemning stare.
She held out an incandescent amber stone that was hanging from a silver chain around her neck. I hazard a guess that this was some judicial symbol of Anwar.
I gasped and cried out with panic when I felt something moving about the water. I saw shadowy movements in a dark recess of the pool.
"We all bore witness to the dark magic you performed to bring forth those demons!" The woman continued to accuse me with the symbol held higher before me.
The movements increased intensity. My eyes stung from the splashed water about my face.
"I DIDN'T DO MAGIC!" I shouted.
I couldn't remember myself doing anything like it. I didn't even know a spell. Did I?
"Liar!" The woman's voice bellowed to cause the cavern to shake around my head.
The splashes became low tides, gathering into a rip around my legs. A threat of pulling under was real, but that wasn't my only problem within the water. I sensed the movement of other creatures.
"Your black magic brought down stone to destroy a quadrant of the Upper Zone!" The woman yelled.
She removed the amber and held it high in the air, stirring the other women off their benches.
"Death!" I cried out as I gasped for breath amongst frantic spurting and spitting from the mad waves and splashes crashing into me. "Save me."
Low drones and vibrations in the water from the shadowy recess excited my panic. I felt more undercurrents stirred around my body.
"You cry for death, we shall give!"
The women rose their left arms in the air and pressed their right fist to their hearts.
"IN ANWAR'S CARE, WE DECREE, THE GIRL NEVEN, NO NAME, NO FAMILY, NO LAND. YOU ARE..."
"Stop!" A man's voice boomed through the women's chanting of my verdict.
The cavern fell to an uncomfortable silence.
I sighed when the water eased around my face and the undercurrent slacked around my legs when the woman lowered the amber.
"You gave me your word Sister Emorgen. I could examine this child before a verdict was handed down." The man scolded the aged woman.
He stepped further into the cavern, so I was able to see his indigo robes swaying about his ankles.
"Master Asuras. She is for Our Lady Anwar to decide her fate. We are merely following her guidance on the matter," Sister Emorgen curtly answered, her fingers hovering around the amber.
"You broke your promise to Our Lady when you broke your promise to me, Our Lady's Master Magis. Now, release this child so our promise can be recompensated." Orlando ordered the woman with his sound logic.
I held my breath when I saw the woman snarl back at the master magis.
"This trial shall be reconvened at a later stage. We shall observe her for the turn of two full moons. If at any stage she deems dangerous, she will be executed immediately." Sister Emorgen gave her lasting words on the matter.
"Sisters return!" She snapped to the women.
The water calmed around my body and lowered, so I felt air around my collarbones.
I watched the procession of women file out of the cavern until I was alone with Master Asuras.
"Now, lets get out of these waters infested with flesh-eating fish."
Did the man say flesh-eating fish?!
I hastily swam to the side of the pool, so the good master could haul me out of it.
He wrapped a long robe around my shivering body, drawing my attention to the shadowy recess. I realized it was a caged area under the water. It was crowded with regular sized fish.
He said a spell to release the gate that contained them and allowed them into the pool I had been neck-deep in.
I saw a bucket of blood-red meat next to a bench. He threw the bucket's content into the pool.
"Cytah!" I cursed and stumbled backwards with fright when the fish leaped into the air to greedily snap up the meat with sharp teeth.
The water splashed about in a wild foamy frenzy.
"That could have been your fate if I did not intervene," Orlando said coolly to close his demonstration.
I sighed. Of course, I owed him a lifetime of fealty from this non-random act of kindness.
"Now, let's get you dried and fed." His voice assumed a friendly tone.
The red flags in my mind was going off. Regardless, he did save me from being fish food, so I owed him for that.
"Thank you." I politely acknowledged his support.
He helped me out of the cavern.