No longer burdened by what’s left behind

Henry frowned at Eishi and then poked him. “Why’re you so down?” he said, tilting his head to one side.

Eishi scowled. “Cassidy was murdered,” he said, shaking his head. “It’s not – I can’t just get over it the way the rest of you seem to have.”

“Eishi,” Joram said, his tone gentle. “It’s not that we are cold. You truly seem to be more… effected by her loss. I think Henry’s… just worried about you.”

Henry nodded. “I don’t want you to be sad, Eishi,” he murmured. “I just… don’t know how to help you.”

“Because you won’t tell us what’s really wrong,” Amera said, nodding.

For a moment, Eishi was silent. Then, he heaved a deep sigh. “We… we didn’t tell you,” he said, his voice cracking. “We weren’t sure how – how you’d feel about it – about us.”

“You and Cassidy were seeing each other?” Joram asked. He sighed and threw his arms around Eishi’s shoulders. “Take all the time you need, Eishi! I don’t know what I’d do if anything ever happened to Cianal!”

For a while, Eishi just cried softly. When, he quieted, he wiped his tears away. “Somehow,” he said, his voice faint, “I feel better. Thank you.”

“Any time,” Joram said, settling back on his own cushion once more.

that we should voyage far

“Do they do it on purpose?” Barnabas asked, looking over at Joram. The senior judge made a curious sound and Barnabas added, “It seems that they chose this place to make us travel as far as possible. Was their intention?”

Joram blinked and then looked intently at Barnabas. “You… really don’t know?” he asked, looking shocked. He didn’t wait for an answer. Instead, he looked at the others. “What about the rest of you. Do you know why this place was chosen as the home of the High Court?”

Eishi and Amera both shook their head, but Henry grinned brightly. “I know,” he said excitedly. He looked at Barnabas. Nodding proudly, he said, “This is where they wrote the constitution. The sovereign and the councils all meet in the capital, but they wanted us separate – so we’d remember that we aren’t supposed to toe any party line.”

Joram nodded. “They selected this place because it’s where our first laws were set down,” he said, his voice soft. “What better place for the High Court to meet than the one that gave birth to the laws we’re meant to uphold?”

“When you put it that way…” Barnabas said, his voice faint. He smiled faintly at Joram and then at Henry. Maybe he’d been a little harsh in his initial judgment of them. He wondered who else he’d judged wrongly.

destiny calls and I go

Barnabas had never asked to be appointed as a judge on the High Court. He certainly hadn’t wished to gain a seat because one of their prestigious number had been murdered. However, that didn’t mean he didn’t want the job – that he wouldn’t do his best at it.

As he knelt among the other four judges, he looked them over and tried to figure out his first impressions of them. Henry didn’t seem capable of taking the job seriously. Eishi looked like he wished he were somewhere else. Joram was completely inscrutable. Then, there was Amera.

She was the only woman among them now. She seemed to innocent to understand the implications of their decisions. She was soft and lovely, but there seemed to be a strength inside her – hiding just beneath the surface. It made him wonder what these people were like outside of the court. Perhaps, God willing, he’d learn that too.

walk in empty places

Henry pulled his cloak tighter around his shoulders as he made his way home. It was late. Normally, he’d be snuggled up in bed already. He hadn’t expected Cassidy’s memorial service – and the party that followed – to run so long.

The street was deserted at this time of night. It wasn’t a bad neighborhood, but he was still tense – expecting an attack at any moment. He heard a noise behind him and gasped. He glanced over his shoulder, squinting into the darkness. He couldn’t see anything, but he’d heard something.

He turned away and bit his lip. As he started along the walk once more, Joram’s words echoed in his mind. “I believe Cassidy was targeted because of her position on the High Court,” he’d said. Suddenly, Henry was scared.

He broke into a run. He was fast when he wanted to be – when he didn’t have Eishi or Barnabas telling him that a judge should move with poise. Poise didn’t matter now. Getting home was all that was important.

Henry slid to a stop in front of the hotel where he lived. The doorman was standing in the light of the doorway. He strode briskly up the walk and into the light, then he glanced back over his shoulder. He couldn’t see anything.

“Your honor?” the doorman said. “Are you all right?”

Grimacing, Henry nodded. “Better now I’m home,” he said. He bit his lip and, with a polite nod of his head, turned and headed inside. He’d call his cousin when he got upstairs. Robin would either tell him it was his imagination or have someone check things out. Either way, Henry would feel better.

over the world and under the world

Joram frowned slightly as he stared at the headstone. It had been one thing when Daniel had died. They’d all known he was sick. It was, almost, a relief to hear that his suffering was finally over.

That wasn’t the case with Cassidy. She was younger than Joram. She was active and lived one of those healthy lifestyles that doctors were always trying to get Joram to adopt. In fact, that lifestyle had – in a round about way – caused her untimely death.

Joram’s magic – the only power he had – was seeing things in his mind that he couldn’t possible see with his eyes. Things that happened far away or long ago. All he had to do was close his eyes and he saw them. It was like watching a movie.

He closed his eyes now. He could see Cassidy jogging along her familiar route through the park. She was enjoying the solitary run, listening to music on her headphones. Then, a form loomed in front of her. Joram gasped softly, more out of reflex than actual pain. The attacker had struck Cassidy across the temple, rendering her unconscious almost immediately.


He pushed the vision away and opened his eyes. “Who would do this?” he asked Cianal, his voice coming out faint. He glanced over his shoulder at his clerk. “Who’s next?” Cassidy was safe now, her body in the ground and her soul in heaven. That wasn’t true of the rest of the members of the High Court.

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