• Closed • Judged By Lightning

Faith and Patrick

29th of Ashan 720

Seated on the shores of Lake Lovalus, Rharne serves as the home of the Lighting Knights, the Thunder Priestesses, and the Merchant's guild. This beautiful trade city is filled with a happy and contented people who rarely need an excuse to party.

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Judged By Lightning

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29th of Ashan, 720
Lightning Cathedral, Rharne

The room where the trial was to be held was on the ground floor of the Lightning Cathedral, and it was an open house, so that any who wished may witness the proceedings. It was a well lit room, with grand, stained glass windows depicting historic moments in Rharne's past. It was well spacious as well, with plenty of room for the audience around a center space that had a chair for the accused, a bench for the witnesses, and a seat and desk for the judge. Right now, however, the only witness was Doctor Faith Augustine, Champion of Famula, General of the Zuuda, and Vanquisher of the Necromantress, among many other titles. However, it was the ones related to the war with Ellasin that currently stuck out the most in people's minds. That such a person was not only a witness to this trial, but apparently the only witness, gave a great deal of weight as to the gravity of the proceedings, but also created no small sense of curiosity as to what exactly this trial was for.

Then a member of the Lightning Knights stepped forward. "Bring in Patrick Barnell." he commanded, his voice booming. Patrick Barnell was not necessarily unknown, but he wasn't known as someone who merited this much gravitas for a trial. When they brought the man in, however, it was clear that while he hadn't been mistreated, his stay in prison hadn't exactly been kind to him. Of particular note, however was his eyes. Patrick was now, very visibly, blind.

Patrick, for his part, could hear the crowd around him as his guards led him to the chair. Then, when he sat down, all those in attendance got to witness a miracle as his eyes cleared and his vision returned, allowing Patrick to witness the proceedings himself. The knight who had called Patrick in moved to take the judges seat, but before he could, the sky outside darkened as lightning began to crackle inside the room, a ghostly wail was heard, and a beam of light appeared as if from nowhere.

Then lightning struck the floor in front of the desk, the wailing coalesced into a dark red portal, and the beam of light solidified. Then, from these three aparitions stepped three Immortals. Ilaren, the ruler of Rharne, was not in any of her usual, more casual clothes. Instead, she wore studded leather armor under the blue cloak of the Lightning Knights. Famula likewise was not dressed as usual, instead wearing deep black armor with a hooded, crimson cloak. Qylios was dressed somewhat as normal, in burnished white and gold plate armor, but she lacked any of the warmth or approach-ability that normally marked her demeanor.

A hush fell over the crowd as the three Immortals appeared. Then Ilaren stepped forward. "I will be the judge and jury for this trial. This is a matter of high treason, and as such, I alone have the final say in the judgement of the accused. Famula has a vested interest in the outcome of these events, and so has asked to be present. Qylios also has such an interest, and has agreed to remove her curse from the accused for the remainder of the trial." she said, speaking to the crowd. Then she looked at Patrick.

"Patrick Barnell, you stand accused of three counts of high treason. You are a citizen of Rharne and promised the criminals who plague Rharne the aid of it's military. For this, you are accused of high treason. You bear my Blessing and aided those who prey on the innocent of my city. For this, you are accused of high treason. You were a member of the alliance against the Necromantress, and you promised the aid of its general to those who would have profited off the conflic. For this, you are accused of high treason." she said, her voice laced with rage, yet calm and clear despite that.

"Witness testimony will be given regarding these crimes. After it is given, you will have a chance to defend yourself." Ilaren said, before looking at Faith. "Faith Augustine, you called as witness to these crimes. Step forward and give your testimony." the Immortal of Lightning commanded, stepping back to stand between Qylios and Famula.
 ! Message from: Basilisk
Right, so Patrick, you're in some trouble. Posting order is Faith, then Patrick, then me. If I feel the need to post in between the two of you, I'll let you know.
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Re: Judged By Lightning

Treason is such an ugly word...
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She didn't want to be here.

It was beautiful, it was her duty, it was necessary. Faith knew and understood all that, and as a woman who had once been a slave, she was very used to doing things she did not want to do - and being places that she did not want to be. However, that wasn't why she didn't want to be there. Faith was more than willing to do what needed to be done, to perform her duty and to serve the people of Rharne, the Immortals she was here at the behest of. It wasn't something that she enjoyed doing, and she'd rather not have to go to any trial. But none of that was why she didn't want to be here.

She didn't want to be here because she truly didn't want to believe that it was true. That Patrick had done what she knew he had.

Faith's demeanour was as it would always be. She sat, completely still; her back was straight and her hands were folded in her lap. Her fingers were entwined together, tightly pressing against each other. Faith's black hair was pulled back and she wore basic and minimal make-up. Keeping her eyes ahead, her gaze did not deviate until things got underway. When they brought Patrick in, Faith watched him, her expression neutral as she kept hold of her emotions by virtue of her highly disciplined personality.

What had happened to his sight, Faith wondered. She didn't know and, in the big picture, it really didn't matter. He looked like his time in prison was far from kind to him. She had seen Lucas, her brother, in a similar state and Faith felt a deep sorrow for what had happened. But Patrick, like Maxine, had made his decisions and - like Maxine - he needed to face the consequences of that.

Silver eyes flicked over to the desk as lightning struck the ground. Faith's face was pale at the best of times - in that moment she seemed to be made of porcelain. As three Immortals appeared, she watched carefully. Never before had she seen Famula in armour - Ilaren seemed frankly furious. Qylios, too, was bristling with emotion it seemed. Faith wasn't surprised that the Immortals arrived, she knew and understood the depth of what Patrick had done. What he - and Maxine - had risked. Who they had sold out and she knew that it was way beyond her. They had endangered all of Rharne.

Ilaren stepped forward and spoke, taking charge. As she did, Faith recognised that Qylios had cursed him and that was why he had been blind. That made sense, Faith recognised. As Ilaren took control, as she listed the crimes, Faith experienced an overwhelming calm. Ilaren spoke the three charges of High Treason and then, she was called forward. Faith stood, and then stepped forward to where she had to stand.

"Begging your indulgence," Faith said, and she realised that her voice was shaking. "It will make the most sense if I speak to relevant events in the order they happened. I will stick to what is relevant." Once she had been given the nod to this, Faith began. "On the 10th Cylus 719, Ellasin and the Coven sent a force of several hundred zombies in an attack on my house. We sent out a call for aid, and Patrick was one of those who responded." Faith did not look at him, her eyes did not waiver towards him. "He spoke, in front of many others, of how I had helped him when he had been a Sessfiend and then he said that he knew Ellasin, he had met her." Faith recalled the meeting perfectly, of course. "He explained how he was marked by Qylios and Chrien. Then, he pointed to his brother - the ghost who is with him - and said 'He's ready to help however he can in this as am I, we're tough sons of a bitch so you can count on us! That and I've met Ellasin only once through Alistair, and would personally like to see that she's dispatched from this world. For good.'. He agreed to share his memory of that with me, and that helped my husband and I in crafting the item which we used to track Ellasin." She stopped, and then she looked at the three Immortals. "He won't remember who Alistair is. Alistair was cursed by Vri, no one remembers him." She assumed that didn't work on Immortals, but just in case.

Then, she said, it was three trials later that they met in Zuudaria - in front of the Lightning Knights, the Scalvoris Elements, and many others - Nir'wei, many others. There they laid out their plans, their numbers, and many other critical pieces of military information. "At the end of it, Patrick spoke about the Shadow Quarter," Faith said, softly. "He said, ' "But I did have a little project I left unattended, a network of informants within Rharne's Dust Quarter as well as the Earth Quarter. If what everyone else has been suggesting is indeed crucial, then I think I do have a means of pitching in. The Shadow Quarter has always been a mythical part of Rharne, even the shadiest of men have a hard time reaching them there. I'm gonna do my best to reach them, after I brush up on my fighting skills a bit. I don't know what to expect or what they'll want in getting involved, but with their help we could probably gain another source of information; as well as a means of spreading false information to any we might consider an enemy." And I... " She stopped and she looked at Famula. Her mother in law, the Immortal that she had worshipped all her life.

"I knew if I pursued it even at all, he was going to end up in trouble. I know .. I thought I knew Patrick. I believed he wasn't a bad person, and I thought he was just ... I glared at him, said nothing, and believed he was just shooting off at the mouth because he was in a room with people who had authority, power, and the ability to help. He felt like he wasn't helpful, I believed, and I didn't believe for a moment he was serious." Faith sighed and she looked down, just briefly, at her hands. "I thought I was helping him by not drawing attention to what was obviously treason." There was no massaging of the facts as far as Faith was concerned. She said it how it was.

From there, she said, she didn't see Patrick again until the 1st Ymiden, as arranged. "Then, we had a meeting on the 13th" It was in that meeting Faith said that both Maxine and Patrick walked out. Patrick left behind a note saying "Keep in touch. Win this somehow." But Faith explained, "by this point I was realising just what a liability he was. Maxine is a needy child who is having a tantrum, but Patrick?" Faith sighed slightly. "He is genuinely chaotic and that made him genuinely dangerous." As far as Faith was concerned, he was the most dangerous of the pair. She spoke, then, and this was where things she said were things Patrick did not know. "I spoke to Carter and asked him to have both Patrick and Maxine followed." She described the conversation and then she spoke through what Carter's agents reported.

The reports she had been given, Faith said, she was not able to verify as absolutely truth, but equally, she knew the people who had found the information and she was sure that he was above reproach. "It is my understanding that there were murders of citizens of Rharne as a means to gain access to the Shadow Quarter. When he did meet them, he promised them... here, I have the report." She handed over the report of what she had been told.

Finally, she lifted her head and spoke. For the first time since she had started speaking, her voice was not shaking. "Then, on the 15th Ymiden, Patrick's brother Dominek came to speak to me. He told me that Patrick had contacted the Shadow Quarter and asked me to come and help Patrick. I refused," Faith said. "I knew what Carter was planning, and I wasn't prepared to risk the fate of Rharne because a man I had believed was my friend had hurt me." There was no doubting it. Faith had a lot of opinions, a plethora of emotions, but she kept to the facts. Faith lifted her gaze to Ilaren, and her silver eyes, tinged with flecks of red, were full of emotion. "When they left, Maxine went to Ellasin and Patrick went to the Shadow Quarter. Dominek told me that, in Emea, Patrick had sacrificed his goodness and, at night, he'd given in to his baser instincts." She had refused to go and save Patrick from the Shadow Quarter, Faith said, and she had been clear with Dominek why.

Once she was done and told all of the situation - laid it all bare for them all, she stopped. Looking at the Immortals - she still had not gazed at Patrick even once - she waited to see if there were any questions.
... and an even uglier action
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Re: Judged By Lightning

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Ashan had been nothing but an intense battle with time and thought, for the moment first light fell upon the land Patrick also felt light within himself again. Yet after the suppression of one's own humanity and resignation to his very fate, one could only stare at the abyss they've kept within for so long. Thus not long after his initial wake Patrick suffered not at the hands of knights or fellow prisoners, but the brutality that came with feeling everything that came back. Ever since his light's return the bulwark that contained every thought and feeling cracked, and gave way to the surging power of emotional turmoil as it all rushed through. Every memory he'd hoped to forget, every deed both good and bad, any and everything that defined him all barreled through his mind.

It was a cycle of repetent torture, however one that wouldn't rectify all the wrong he'd caused. He'd arrived a couple hours ago at the cathedral, thoughts still racing as he recollected significant details. Being blind and on the outside he felt robbed of true sentiment, for not being able to see his home again was the true curse in his eyes. But the smell of Rharne had never changed in his time away, the pungent smell of booze and pollen filtered through the air on his way up. Now after those in the cathedral were kind enough to provide, Patrick had been allowed the opportunity to wash up and change into something different. Prison rags were something he felt more resigned to, but as a broken man he felt less entitled to turn down such generosity. For he expected such a thing would be all he received from this point on.

While he sat down in some other room awaiting his trial, the sound of a gathering crowd could be heard beyond his door. Blindness was certainly not his ally wherever he went, and while he had help with getting around the coming storm wasn't his only obstacle. Fingers drummed anxiously against the arm of his chair as he brushed others through his messy hair, as the locks on his head and face resembled that of a wild untamed jungle by now. While he hadn't any idea how his outfit looked, the fabric felt akin to either jute or perhaps even cotton. He could feel his forearms breathe the chilly air in the room, although it was likely his nerves responding to the palpable tension in his form.

"Bring in Patrick Barnell."

His fingers stopped at the sound of the voice which boomed in the main hall, the cathedral likely now packed with onlookers who came to witness the trial. In that very moment his heart grew heavier, ready to plummet at any given notice now that he knew it was time. When the sound of footsteps came to approach him, Patrick eagerly brushed his palms across the rough texture of his pants; and carefully rose to a stand as cold firm hands gripped his forearms. It was finally time, but the first step felt next to impossible for him to take. However the knights wouldn't wait for him to pony up for this, and so the Rharnian cautiously marched forward with legs that felt like jelly. The transition from the room he'd sat within to the main hall was easily noticeable, for the muffled sounds of banter and curiosity cleared into a song in his ears.

There was a lot of confusion and uncertainty about him from the general crowd, but a few of them weren't also afraid to judge him for his crimes already. Treason had been what brought him here after all, and no proud Rharnian would bear love for a traitor in their midst. Pat's nerves fell into a jittery pattern displayed within his hands, as the knights who escorted him brought him to a halt moments later. At the nudge to sit he eased into his chair with a relative weight in his figure, though not the sort which implied any sort of packed meat or fat either. No his was the weight of sin and regret, of a tortured mind that awaited the coming storm. Soon he would probably feel the lightning's wrath, and Patrick only hoped none of his family was there to see it happen. As much as that small part of him yearned for it, he was far from deserving to hear anything about them again. But to see...

Hold on... The color of grey started to pilfer through his darkened vision, then as the blackened sight lessened his whole world became a mess of color. Agitation developed as he felt the need to brush his eyes with his hands, the welcoming return of a world with light one most unexpected for the Rharnian. Initially it was like gazing up close to a freshly made painting, the colors solidifying into shapes and structures as his vision cleared. Immediately he took in the first few things he could see, the desks and chairs they were stationed to sit at, and then the walls with their beautifully decorated stained glass windows. These were the things he'd missed being able to see, and while he took in the cathedral's grandeur with all; Patrick realized how for granted he really took it all. He could probably count his number of visits here on just one hand, yet not one of them was just taking in the sights of this amazing place. A look past his shoulder revealed the clustered mob of onlookers gathered, while a shift in direction pointed his gaze towards the witness bench.

Towards Faith.

She sat all alone now as the trial waited to commence, and Patrick couldn't help but wonder why that was. Was she the only one they needed to damn him? It wouldn't take much for sure, not after the heaping mountains of trouble he caused on her behalf. He felt the bitter sting of regret pierce his heart then, for he noticed she also avoided looking his way. He'd truly made a mess of everything hadn't he? Deep down he knew it was well beyond undeserved, but a residual part of him lingered on her specifically; and more importantly on the forgiveness he wanted from her. Then the arrival of those who would judge took place, as Ilaren stormed in with a grand shock of an entrance. Immediately when the Immortal's sights fell on him, Patrick lowered his head with complete shame in his eyes. Yet the arrival of the other two?

"Holy shit," He immediately thought to his great dismay, "there's three of them here now?!" Reluctance plagued his intent when he slowly gazed back up, his eyes on Famula briefly before they moved to Qylios afterwards. It made sense to him though when he thought more of it; Ilaren was to judge one of her own citizen's to-trial while the others watched, Famula's involvement regarding Faith and the war no doubt, and then Qylios solely invested in Patrick after everything that's happened. But of course the truth of the matter was that he didn't fail his friends and family, he also failed the three Goddesses gathered before him. He also regarded that they were all donned in armor for this trial as well, which led him to wonder if they wore it as a means of stature or for another reason.

Ilaren's veritable temperament was felt even in her tone of voice, and Patrick's thoughts started to race at the incline of how she felt. Would they execute him to-trial? Or would they find him guilty and see that he atoned? The Immortals presence felt more than a justified appearance on behalf of both parties, but that alone was the last concern in Patrick's mind as of now. Right in that moment he felt his heart cave and plummet within, the accounts of high treason he'd been charged with were a comparable hammer's blow to the nail; which he felt finished the seal on his would be awaiting coffin. Yet the trial had to begin before he was even given such a sentence, and when Ilaren allowed Faith to take the initiative with her testimony; Patrick's remorseful eyes fell to the devoted champion when she rose. Faith still avoided looking at him. Why?

Scratch that... he knew exactly why. But that still didn't mean it hurt to see her act in such a way, the woman he knew to be utterly kind and compassionate seemed distant now. What was even worse was the fact he made her like this, his very actions is what brought her to act in such a way now. She began and her voice shook a little, garnering a pique of curiosity and concern when he tried to read into it. Was this as hard for her as it was for him? That faint sliver of hope nearly blossomed into something more, before Patrick closed his eyes once more to keep his thoughts from carrying on too far. "Stop hoping things will be alright... You're here to accept the charges and your punishment." He reminded himself as the champion began her testimony, her words a resounding echo to the memories which surfaced within. In short Patrick recollected it all, everything she began to say rang true to his memory.

Cylus had been when it all began, he'd received the call and answered it without question. Faith was ready to start a war with Ellasin and Patrick, somehow, felt inclined to take the bitch down; for Faith as much as it was for him. His connection to the Necromantis however felt vague compared to before, as though there were elements missing to the memory. Yet in that first meeting he remembered clear as day the promises he made to Faith, which made it all the more crushing on his spirit when he realized his actions proved the opposite. He was never there to help Faith like he should've, and he certainly didn't take down the big baddie like he hoped to either. None of his actions led him to become the hero he wanted to be, just another problem Faith herself had to deal with at a later date. It was at the mention of someone named Alistair however, and Faith's clarification, that Patrick realized what he was missing from the memory.

Ellasin would've never approached Patrick before so why? Why then? This Alistair person played an important part in that, and while Patrick can remember being scared and taunted by the Necromantis, it all just didn't quite add up without the memory of this one person. Was Alistair someone special to him then? Confusion nearly overtook his focus right then, except Patrick still yearned to make sure he remained on the same page. After all his story was just as important as Faith's, and he wanted to make sure everything aligned perfectly before his time was up. Faith also remarked upon how he mentioned seeking out the Shadow Quarter, and the projects Patrick left behind prior to trying to reach out to them. It was apparent right then he truly fell at the mercy of those before him, and ultimately he knew covering his tracks was nigh impossible. But why even bother? He came here for retribution after all, therefore he wouldn't hide the facts or the shame found in his past; for those too were important elements to his story now.

Faith also remarked upon noticing his shortcomings he displayed, the eagerness to play an important part which he felt quite short of in terms of capacity. There were many times Patrick questioned his role in the war, and while he wanted to prove he was an essential asset; he failed to justify his own course for Faith's own cause. Ultimately he failed himself when he failed Faith, which is when he started the process of self sabotage. It first began with the suppression of his humanity, burying every feeling or regret deep within so that it wouldn't surface. It also led to him digging his very own grave, for the act of reaching out to the Shadow Quarter was one riddled with blood. Patrick's breathing intensified a little as he tried to remain calm, his collected memory still matching the story Faith spun for those gathered. Everything he heard was true, almost to the point where denial remained impossible; again however he wished for retribution. To pay for his wrongs and, hopefully, find a way to set things right if he found a way. But that remained on what went down here to-trial...

The mention of the Ymiden meeting came up and it was right then Patrick felt his stomach roll. For that had been where everything began, every wrong turn he made based on a hopeless facade. It was fear that drove him to become the rogue pawn in the war, yet like so many others he became removed from the board far too early. All because of his illicit activities in hopes that he'd be the better gamble, that he'd outpace the ones who truly influenced the war's own direction. It was then he recollected the moment Faith glared at him, as she described, and felt an utter sense of stupidity fill his very mind. Had he been so desperate to be so important? Did he truly think himself worthless at that time? The answer was a redundant but firm yes. Then the rest became a sense of history he wanted to change, but remained ever so powerless to do so in his current state.

At the telling of Faith's spy having Patrick and Maxine followed, a sense of guilt and anger collided within the tangled mess of emotions within. She didn't feel he could trust him even when he tried to remain on her side, and what's worse was the fact he had a chance at being aware of it also. The night he met the infamous Witch Doctor she had mentioned he was being watched, but he perceived it as an assurance that Faith still cared for him well enough; not that he'd become such an intrepid threat to her mission. Now that he'd realized it a revelation also dawned on him, in which Qylios's earned wrath spurned Her to act in accordance with a curse. Time after time he's shown himself to betray not just himself, but the ones that were closest to him as well. Darkness governed his actions consistently at the time, and he in turn allowed that darkness to consume his own life.

Blasphemer, traitor, and coward. These were the qualities that made him unworthy, the reasons why he had earned her scorn even in prison. He turned a blind eye to the ones he loved, all because his heart knew only fear and darkness in the end. Which is why when his eyes shifted from Faith to Qylios, the Rharnian then made a mental note in Her own regard. Atonement would be ever so far out of reach for him, at least for the duration of his endeavors to repay for his sins. When Faith mentioned that murders took place in her reports Pat's heart felt even heavier, dragged deeper into the lingering abyss that would be named remorse for his actions. It was true he'd killed a couple of people, one in cold blood due to his darker nature, and the other just to get in contact with the Shadow Network. It was his way of trying to cement the previous deal they'd made, as well as attempting to win back over the friends he'd lost that Ymiden Trial.

Then after hearing Dom's appeal to Faith in an effort to save Patrick, the Rharnian's very heart finally tore in two at the telling. To have been driven so far as to forcing his own dead brother to such a length, even now Patrick wondered where Dominek had gone since the night of Pat's capture. Even worse Faith was forced to choose between a friend once dear to her, and she had to choose the many at risk over the one in question. To put her in such a situation? That was far beyond the antics of a friend, and far more than a cry for attention on his own behalf. Why? Why did he stoop so low? Why didn't he consider any of this from the start? And of course finally to hear that Pat's actions had hurt Faith sunk in, not that he needed the verbal assurance to realize his own deed. Even now as he dwelt on it, the overwhelming sorrow and pained regret felt on the verge of killing him. Had he actually done what he was supposed to do, then none of this would've ever come to pass. By now he would've likely conquered his own darkness, but instead he remained feeble and faltered to the same cowardice he'd always displayed.

Now however that everything aligned with his thoughts, and Faith's testimony came to it's conclusion, Patrick remained utterly silent as he waited for just a moment. None of the Immortals seemed eager to question anything right away, thus with a heavy reluctance the Rharnian rose out of his chair. "Ev..." His voice cracked immediately as the emotions inside almost poured out. But after a quick pause and clearing of his throat, Patrick paced the tremors noticeable in his breathing. "Everything Faith has said... is true." Even now his capacity to admit his wrongdoing failed to justify things, the hopes that all his suffering would ease or even lighten never even appeased in such an act. Those stories where those buried by guilt were cleansed felt like nothing but a lie now, a misgiven hope to remind him of the fact he was utterly and truly vile in every way.

"I... have little to say in regards, because in the end everything is true." He admitted with a weighty shrug of his shoulders, with his eyes downcast in complete shame. "I joined Faith's cause against Ellasin because..." Patrick recalled the very memory that played such a key role, still unsure of the significant found in the missing piece of that one puzzle. "Because of whoever Alistair was I'd like to think. I was troubled even then, so it puzzles me that I'd forget someone so important in such a memory. I think..." Ellasin taunted him about power and magic, and Patrick remembered how terrified he'd felt at the time. "I think he made me a Rupturer? Ellasin wouldn't have been there otherwise, and the meeting ended briefly on a bad note." He could never forget the rage he felt towards her, the innate desire to prove that he was anything but what she called him.

"But it was Faith I'd vowed to fight for in that war, because she was always there and always a good friend to me." He came to admit finally as he knew Ellasin wasn't the only cause for him to join. "But I repaid her with treachery instead of kindness..." Which was the reason he'd been brought to trial as of now. "Which proves how reckless I truly am... Time and time again I've had to make tough calls, often avoiding the thought of consequence once they were made." It was perhaps his most truest quality, the very embodiment to his chaotic nature. "In the past I'd hope to meet the Shadow Quarter alone, but this was further back within the Arc seven hundred and seventeen. During that Arc in Vhalar things happened..." Was this where he was to answer for all his crimes? He'd faltered for so very long now, it was almost easy to forget when it all began. But the story of his brother and the murder that happened held no place here, at least not to Patrick's knowledge as of now.

"I intended to build an intelligence network that would get me in favor with the Shadow Network, and when I attempted it the arrangement backfired on me. So naturally I ran from that like I did all my other problems, I even left Rharne because I was a newly cursed Sessfiend at the time." Those were the times where his life felt darkest, even now he cringed a couple of times remembering those nights. "I never came back to Rharne until Qylios finally set me free. Never even thought about the Shadow Network again until last Arc, when I thought they'd have the resources to aid Faith's mission for the war." Ultimately Patrick's tone was filled with a sense of uncertainty, as everything that led up to this moment felt like one waking nightmare. "I came to realize that they were dangerous after I met them, but I never..." He trailed off in thought for a second, his mind aloof to find the appropriate term. "ascertained the threat level they posed."

It was then he looked back to Faith before speaking to the Immortals once more. "But I never had any intent to betray her or her cause. I never wanted to betray anyone honestly..." That much he'd hoped was obvious, which led him to the moment of clarity in the story. "It wasn't until the meeting on Ymiden the thirteenth, when that came and everyone was briefed on Ellasin's motives..." He sighed heavily as the words proved loftier to admit, because at the end of the day it was the truth; no matter how much he yearned to disregard it. "Fear got the better of me when I learned what was planned that day. I allowed it to distract me from what's important, all because my cares for everyone else were far more important." Perhaps Dom's story did play a part in this, then again so did the part of his mother, of all the people he'd come to lose over the Arcs.

"Time and death has never been kind, not when you're raised in the streets of the Dust Quarter. I've lost so many people over the Arcs, watched them either die or slip away before me..." It was then his attention shifted back towards Faith, that part of him deep down still pleading for forgiveness bounding forth relentlessly. "Call it desperation, betrayal, or whatever you see fit. I know what I did was wrong, but it was never meant to be wrong. I went out on my own hoping to gamble on Maxine, because I thought she'd deliver me straight to the problem. But when she turned down the idea of partnership, I knew then I'd made a choice that'd come back to haunt me." And haunt him it did.

His eyes started to redden now as tears forced their way through, the mental armor he'd hoped to wear now failing to contain the storm inside. "I was terrified by that point because I didn't want to lose everything that mattered to me. Family. Friends. Rharne. Everything was at stake and I felt powerless, driven to do whatever it costed just to prevent it from happening. By the time I'd reached out to the Shadow Network, I knew I was way in over my head." And why wasn't he? He was no spymaster, not like that Carter man Faith counted so dearly on. "Regardless I still went against everything I stood for, because I wanted to save everything I loved... even if it costed me." Where was that said before? Oh wait, back at the Cathedral of Dreams. He'd sacrificed his innate good nature and with it the light of his soul, a mistake he'd also ignored because of his cowardice.

"Despite my previous failures, I've learned a lot more than I ever thought possible... and I'm ready to face the consequences set before me." He admitted now with somber eyes upon Ilaren, hopeful that his words reached Faith in the way he meant them. He could never express just how sorry he truly was, for all the harm and ill he brought upon her and everyone else. For what it was worth however, he felt a little more ready to face his charges now. "And I'll face them knowing it's for the ones I still love" At last he said it, the word he could never find it in himself to share. Love and sentiment were the things he'd thought to cast aside, and yet no human could ever truly rule out their rooted feelings. He was by no means a hero in this tragic tale, but a martyr who was ready to face the light of his crimes.

Thus Patrick swallowed hard and took his seat before the Immortals once more.

"Patrick", "Follower", "Ri", "NPC"
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"Freedom is everything."


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Re: Judged By Lightning

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During Faith's testimony, the three Immortals were all fairly silent, though Famula gave her Champion a slight smile when she mentioned trying to help Patrick by not drawing attention to his existent plans to contact the Shadow Quarter. However, when Faith was done, the Immortal of Souls stepped forward. "Some small additions to my Champions testimony. I have dealt with the matter of Maxine. She is a petulant and very troubled child, but a child nonetheless and in the grand scheme of things, about as dangerous as one. She is, hopefully, now in the charge of someone who will raise her properly. Furthermore, Faith Augustine passed information regarding Patrick's treason to two of the Knights of Rharne were working closely with her." she said, her voice clear. Then she stepped back to her place next to Ilaren and Qylios.

Then Patrick started his response and the three Immortals fell silent again. As he spoke, however, it was clear that his justifications were doing very little to quell the anger of the three Immortals. In fact, if anything, it seemed to making Famula angrier. Qylios made a slightly disgusted noise when he brought up that she had freed him from Syroa's curse, as if she regretted the action. Certainly, he had caused far more damage out from under Syroa's curse than he had while inflicted with it. Ilaren, however, remained much the same as she had at the beginning of the trial, anger clearly written into her face. When he was done, she looked at Famula, who was by now visibly quite angry. "I take it, Famula, that you take some umbrage with Patrick's response?" she asked, her tone showing her own barely restrained anger.

"I do." Famula said, her tone curt as she stepped forward and raised one hand. Two clouds of ectoplasm began to coalesce before fully forming into two manifested ghosts. While most of the people in the cathedral reacted to the two forms with confusion, Patrick would no doubt recognize Cobra and Belinda. "Your names and when and how you died." Famula barked, her words a sharp command. Faith would know this better than most, but ghosts had minds of their own and didn't have to listen, though it appeared Famula was in no mood for spectral insubordination right now. Faith would be able to feel Famula's power compelling the ghosts to obey her command.

"I...a lot of people knew me by a lot of names. In the Shadow Quarter, they called me Cobra." Cobra said, his voice hollow and strained. To those with the knowledge to recognize it, Cobra and Belinda were both low ranking ghosts, the type that had given into their obsessions. Famula was forcibly uplifting them for the trial. "I died on Ymiden 9th, 719." he said, before pointing a hand at Patrick. "He murdered me, claiming revenge for a brother that I never killed." he said.

Belinda looked up when Cobra finished. "I was called Belinda. I died on Ymiden 3rd, 719." she said, before pointing at Patrick as well. "He murdered me, though I was no innocent. My Spark was driven mad with hunger by the fall of Emea and it fed on people to replenish itself." she said, her voice as hollow and strained as Cobras. "I watched him carve the word Mage into me, called me and all who use magic a monster." she said, and a note of fear and sorrow entered her voice.

When the two ghosts finished speaking, Famula let them return to the Beneath. "The 3rd and the 9th. 10 and 5 days before that meeting, respectively. Two premeditated murders, one hunted down and executed as though you were a serial murderer, the other done in a style associated with professional assassins. These are not the actions of a man who is on the edge of panic, nor are they the actions of a man who was acting to preserve that which he loved." she said, her tone harsh. "You admitted to having past connections to the Shadow Quarter, but you neglected to mention two murders committed while you were actively allied to my Champion and her forces." she said, before turning to Faith. "Faith, what was happening between 3rd and the 13th, please?" she asked her Champion.

When Faith was finished, the Immortal of Souls turned to Patrick again, her crimson eyes cold and filled with rage. "You say you had the best interests of those you loved at heart, but this does not play that out. Two cold blooded murders, one of an upper level member of the Shadow Quarter, after you had once tried to get into their ranks and failed. Now, you had created an opening and could come to them with war information, a highly valuable commodity. So then, the question becomes this. Can you, in fact, prove that your treason was not also premeditated?" Famula asked, her voice cold.
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Re: Judged By Lightning

You don't shake the Devil's hand...
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When Famula stepped forward and spoke, Faith bowed her head, slightly, and smiled in gratitude to the Immortal. She said nothing, of course, for it was not her place to do so.

And then, Patrick spoke.

Faith listened to it - to all of it. She attended to every word and, in the moments when he spoke, her emotions were all over the place. None of it showed on her face, not if her discipline allowed her differently, but she felt a range of tumultuous shifts and her fingers pressed together. Patrick spoke of himself as someone who did not intend to create the chaos he did - who had not intended to betray her, rather it had happened by his lack of thought, his lack of planning.

"avoiding the thought of consequence once they were made."


Had he really not understood what he was doing? Really not thought through the consequences? Faith couldn't argue it - she had spent the majority of the war completely overwhelmed and mostly doing the best she could from one moment to another. Was it the same for him? He described himself as a person who was doing his best, his very best...

"Fear got the better of me when I learned what was planned that day."


She herself had made decisions on the spur of the moment. The War against Ellasin had seen Faith be pushed into situations she didn't understand, that she felt that she could not deal with, and yet she'd needed to be the person others needed her to be. Earlier on, she'd described Patrick as feeling powerless in comparison to those around him. What he spoke of, how he described himself, was a man who was caught up in the situation; when he'd followed Maxine out it had been on a whim, due to fear and Faith's tendency to see people positively came to the fore.

"I know what I did was wrong, but it was never meant to be wrong."


As Patrick spoke, Faith's emotions rolled, but then she saw Famula, Qylios and Ilaren and Faith wondered what it was that the Immortals knew that she didn't. Soon, Faith was under no illusions as Famula called forward two ghosts. The first one spoke, and told of awful deeds which Patrick had committed. But there were all these words, all these words and she was hearing them all.

"I died on Ymiden 9th, 719. He murdered me, claiming revenge for a brother that I never killed."
"It wasn't until the meeting on Ymiden the thirteenth, when that came and everyone was briefed on Ellasin's motives."


Then, the second ghost spoke in response to Famula's question and Faith wanted to beg her not to. Because every word that she heard made lies of what Patrick had said. He claimed that he had acted in fear, yet he'd planned things, he claimed that he had been scared because of what was said in the meeting yet here, here was a second individual who had died at his hands - murdered by him - before that. To gain in power. To grow in influence. To become someone who was able to deal with things themselves, rather than have to ask or send his brother to ask on his behalf.

"I died on Ymiden 3rd, 719"
" I never had any intent to betray her or her cause. I never wanted to betray anyone honestly..."


A knot twisted in Faith's stomach and her skin paled further as she felt nausea rise in her throat. Tears sparkled at the edge of her eyes for a brief, undisciplined, moment, and then she addressed the question her Immortal, her beloved Famula asked of her. "On the third, I spoke with Carter and Jess about sightings of Ellasin," she said quietly. "Things were tricky, because Nir'wei had just... we'd seen him die and tried to save him. But I knew we couldn't stop. That meeting with Carter and Jess led to the realisation that Ellasin was responsible for the plague in Rynmere, so I spent the time curing the plague. I then distributed the plague cure and kept finding out more and more about the links between Ellasin and House Venora, where Alistair came from." Faith's voice was cold, her emotions locked away inside her. She breathed in, pressing the pads of her fingers together. "Padraig, Vivian, Varlum and I went to Uthaldria. I found a hidden Coven base, was trapped in a mirror. Then, Vivian, Varlum and I explored that mirror. That was where..." she looked, then, at Famula and tried to gauge the Immortal's reaction to her unspoken question.

"We secured the help of Ralaith and Pier and Pre during that," she said. Vri went a bit mad, but she didn't mention that as it seemed rather irrelevant. "And I.. we discovered that there was a link between Ellasin and my daughter, Rose, who was taken from us." Faith sighed, still not willing to include Patrick - or Dominek - in her answer. "I held my daughter for the first time in two arcs as she crumbled in to dust in my arms. Which is the only explanation I can give, and my Lady, I apologise unreservedly," she said, her gaze returning to Famula as she said it. "My emotions were high, and if they had not been I might have noticed when Dominek came to see me that he was not being honest." Faith shook her head, swallowing the bitter taste in her mouth. "As Patrick is his anchor, he must know what happened. That Patrick had murdered in the trials before, that he was already in with the Shadow Quarter." Then, finally, she turned to look at Patrick ~ and his brother. Faith's face was paler than it had ever been, her eyes glowing deep red as she did.

"You lying, traitorous bastards," she said, tears finally escaping. "Don't you know how many people died? Don't you care?" Shaking her head, she dragged her gaze away and looked once more to Famula, and the other Immortals - waiting, as she always would, to find out if there was more they wanted to know.

... and say you didn't mean it.....
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Re: Judged By Lightning

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Famula's precise addition to Faith's testimony brought new questions within his mind, as Patrick wondered about Maxine's current state. It was apparently obvious she'd done something to lash out, a quality that forever remained prevalent in her behavior. Admittedly it was the very thing he counted on that hectic day, but of course the idea of going after Ellasin alone didn't suit her interests. His gambling habit certainly failed him there, a remarkably (not so shocking) ordeal since Chrien marked him long before.

Then again if the furious child, as Famula called her, actually managed to meet Ellasin? He should've went with her regardless, maybe that would've granted him the opportunity he'd sought. But Ellasin's power would've been far to great, whereas Patrick's own skills were a far cry from ever being even slightly comparable. He would've carried out his wish to the fullest then, pointlessly die while trying to end the war for Faith. "Yet why does it matter?" He thought to himself fundamentally, as he was aware Faith had somehow managed to win against Ellasin. However, how many did it cost in terms of lives? Who all was left when the war had been won?

His time out had left him even deeper in the dark than he anticipated, granted he wasn't sure what to expect when he was out. Seeing Faith again after so long, Patrick wondered what it costed her in the end as well. She was always willing to sacrifice so much for the greater good, had Patrick believed in her to the end then maybe... just maybe... Reflecting back to Famula's words however, Patrick did remember the two knights that came to apprehend him that night.

When the Shadow Quarter made their move, so too did Faith's closest companions that evening. Vivian. Varlum. It made sense that Vivian went after him, she did after all briefly know Patrick before things went south. Varlum's connection to Faith remained ever the mystery however, and at the current moment Patrick didn't have time to linger on it. None of the Immortals were pleased to hear his plea, if anything he only fueled their bitterness in speaking what he felt. Not that the traitor could blame them after all, everything he'd done went against what he stood for.

Qylios appeared utterly resentful towards him after she'd heard his story, and Patrick could only bow his head in shame as result. However it was Famula that came off further infuriated, a fact that Ilaren took note of before giving Her the floor. The Goddess of Souls wasted no time in manifesting two pockets of ectoplasm, conjuring forth the very souls of the ones that had died at his hands. Initially upon looking at them his eyes widened, with a jaw agape in horror at what he saw. Cobra. Bellinda. It didn't take long for the memories to rise from within, the emotions so deeply buried felt for the first time in what felt like ages. Cobra was a man who dealt with the Shadow Network, working as a dealer and a loan shark to poor unfortunate souls. He was a ruthless man who had been deceived, and slaughtered like a lamb at breakfast because... because of anger? Patrick's pit of a stomach rolled as he felt beyond appalled, his discomfort prevalent as he shifted in his chair.

He remembered everything now. He remembered seeing Karvon again after so long, wanting to him dead based on the fact he killed his older brother. Yet when Patrick thought of Cobra, not once did he ever feel the need to kill the man... until... Was Karvon really lying? Cobra's words that night. "You mean he didn't tell you? That man came to me wanting protection, not long after he attempted to kill who I suspect was you!" The words echoed through profound anger and hatred, but he felt suspicion and confusion over what took place that night as well. Patrick would've thought back to the moments prior, up until it was Bellinda's turn to speak out against him. Here was a woman who was now but a shade, her time cut short by a man who should never have had any control over her life. Yet Patrick took that very life from her... And in the reeling storm of his thoughts, he dug deeper and deeper until he remembered everything he could about that night. It was warm and the winds were soft, with a lilted tune on the breeze as he...

Patrick tensed a little at what he felt next, his memory filled with a sense of aggravated motivation. Bellinda was a mage and deep down, Patrick had really grown to hate such a thing. He didn't hate mages necessarily, not enough to go out and kill them. But it was magic... somehow magic always tainted what it touched, and that's how his darker self felt justified when he carved the word into her chest. He... did that? Horror filled his very expression not because of what he heard, but because of the fact he started to see what everyone else saw. He'd been an absolute monster, worse than the very being he was forced to turn into before. Immediately he felt the earnest need to deny it, but what point was there when he too could remember what he'd done? Even if it wasn't of his own volition his darker nature drove him to those lengths, and not once did he find the guts to face the crimes he'd committed. He just ran, like he always did; until the past finally caught up with him.

Immediately Patrick looked over towards Faith, tears still streaming down his face as he knew what to expect. He'd seen a few, only a few, sides to her that he'd learned, in the time that they had shared together. He'd seen her be genuinely friendly, maybe even happy, as well as supportive and even stubborn. He knew how firm her beliefs truly were, he learned the moment she tried to help Dominek cross over to the otherside. He had seen her troubled and worn out because of how much passion drove her, but pretty soon he would come to see a side never thought possible. When Famula had finished and sent them away, she had then proceeded to inquire what Faith's activities were between Ymiden Third and Thirteenth. With his gut wrenching Patrick focused on her specifically, eyes narrowed in a pleading manner as he began to listen. This was what he needed to hear, what went on without him. What a worthless human being he really was, while the real heroes were out there saving the day.

From what he could tell she was already deeply disturbed by what she'd heard, which didn't help with the sinking feeling getting deeper within his belly. Shortly before the third they had lost Nir'wei, and Patrick's jaw hung as low as it could as all he could do was empathize. Nir'wei was... he was honestly a stranger Patrick wasn't close to, but that didn't change the fact they were both allies in the war. While he hadn't any idea how close Faith was to the Mortalborn, Patrick couldn't help but clench his jaw as he continued to listen further. Nir'wei had been killed, Rynmere had been plagued, and Faith worked tirelessly to undo Ellasin's work. House Venora was mentioned and, as he still tried to connect the dots, Alistair had apparently came from there.

Hence why Ellasin would've been so heavily involved with the Venora's, but when the part of Uthaldria came next in the story? He had never known before what it costed Faith, what had happened that could've so easily destroyed so many others. To learn she'd discovered a link between Ellasin and her own daughter? And then afterwards suffer as she watched her own child wither away into dust? Were his circumstances not so changed, then Patrick would've lacked true empathy for her then. He would've never understood the loss of a child, not until he learned that same Ymiden 719 that he in fact had one of his own.

To say that he wasn't afraid of what he learned was an understatement, but Patrick had never once disregarded the idea of having a family. Not that he'd likely have the chance of that after to-trial, but seeing other loved ones after they'd passed? He remembered the day he and Dom walked in, hopeful they'd save their own mother with the medicine they worked so hard for.... only to find that she'd been lost to the fever. Shocked as he felt he wasn't prepared for any of this, as the guilt grew heavier and heavier the more he listened. His entire chest cavity felt full of grief and sorrow, empathy and regret towards the Champion, but most of all racked with an emotional torment that wouldn't cease.

Then when she mentioned the part where her emotions were high, Patrick's somber gaze became much more sullen as he watched. She then, however, proceeded to apologize to Famula; for it was because of that she'd failed to realize something about Dominek. He was a ghost that remained anchored to his brother, and therefore witness to everything Patrick had done. "Faith please," beyond all the hurt and pain he felt, he knew it paled in comparison to what it was she truly felt. "I don't know what to do. I..."

"You lying, traitorous bastards," She directed right towards him, or rather them, as the tears fell from her face. "Don't you know how many people died? Don't you care?" Patrick's spirit couldn't handle anymore, for her words travelled far deeper than any blade ever could. Given he had really failed to show it, the Rharnian wanted her to know... wanted them to know... that caring was all he ever did. Yet it was also what broke his heart too many times as well, so you could imagine just how deep of a wound that inflicted; learning that his own actions ruined someone at their very core. After that it was Famula's turn to weigh in once more, after Faith took her seat once again in total silence. She declared his actions proved the opposite of his statement, that ultimately in the end the treason had in fact been premeditated.

Yet how could he prove otherwise? He was by all means a man with no means of proof, any real truth he wanted to share could've easily been seen as a lie. A cover up just to attempt saving his own ass, and with the Immortals present he had already felt a sense of defeat. No. The defeat was himself ready to just give up, for everything he'd heard made him feel the same as before. Broken. Alone. Worst of all shunned for what he was, because not only was he a traitor but a monster to all. He needed to pay for his crimes, he needed to be put down or... or...

A cold aura placed itself on his shoulder and Patrick looked quickly at his other side, the ethereal form of his brother now manifested before all. "Dom?" Was all the man could utter, as his heart fell too low to process further emotion; and he considered himself pointless to save. So why was it Dom revealed himself now, when Patrick was yet again at a loss on what to say.

"Bad time little brother." His words were cold and almost hollow, compared to the kind and loving sibling he always knew. There was an array of emotions he likely felt also, yet the downcast look declared the length of trouble he was truly in. Plus he donned the Inquisitor's uniform he still wore that dark night, as the old puncture wound imitated the loss of blood from his very sternum. Almost out of habit of duty he knelt down before the Immortals, his tone adjusted to sound more respective to the three. "High Matron Ilaren," His voice echoed as he started with Her, "My Lady Famula, and my Lady Qylios." After he addressed each of them, Dominek slowly rose from his imitated bow. "I'd like to request a chance to speak on his behalf, or at least coerce my little brother into telling everything."

It was then he looked down to Patrick once more, with a heavier emphasis on what he felt the need to reiterate. "And I do mean everything."

"Patrick", "Follower", "Ri", "NPC"
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"Freedom is everything."


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Re: Judged By Lightning

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The three Immortals once again listened quietly as Faith responded to Famula's request. When she apologized, however, it was Qylios who spoke instead of Famula. "Champion, no one who had gone through what you did would be in full control of themselves. Most would be broken down to inactivity by such things. You have naught to apologize for." she said, speaking for the first time, her voice momentarily regaining a shred of the warmth it normally carried. Famula, for her part, nodded her agreement of Qylios' words.

Then Dominek appeared in order to request the chance to convince his brother to come completely clean. There was a moment of silence from the three, then Ilaren stepped forward, her expression bleak. "You're Dominek Barnell, once one of my Inquisitors. You knew of these murders and said nothing, and now you say there is yet more that has not been confessed?" she asked, a sound like the rumbling of thunder in her voice. There was a moment of heavy silence from the ruler of Rharne as Ilaren considered both Barnell brothers, her gaze steady and ominous.

Then, the Immortal of Lightning nodded. "You had best be certain that he confesses, or that you reveal all that has been hidden, if you have any love for your brother." she said, her tone cold and direct. Then she looked at Patrick, her gaze severe. "You would be wise to listen to your brother. You see how well keeping things hidden has served you, and any further omissions would be rather dire indeed." she said, her tone calm, yet all the more deadly because of it. Ilaren stepped back to stand between Qylios and Ilaren, waiting to see what Patrick and Dominek said.
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Under better circumstances a lowly knight such as Dominek would've been honored, however the waiting fury of the Matron's storm was prevident in her tone. Nothing about being up on the stand brought honor, for it was that very honor as well as their integrity that came to be questioned this day. The residual silence that followed prior to his manifestation felt heavier and heavier now, and for a moment Patrick himself became afraid over what might happen next. Would they punish his older brother as well? For failing to do his duty even in death? The younger sibling didn't want to allow it, he didn't want anything to happen of course; not when it came to protecting those he loved. So wasn't that exactly what Dominek was doing too?

It was then Ilaren made her decision, clearly, for Dominek and Patrick both to listen to. Everything was to be shared now, all of Patrick's 'extracurricular' activities needed to be fully revealed; along with whatever reasons Dominek had for not reporting his own brother to the authorities. This had certainly become a fine mess for the two siblings, yet the moment Dom heard Ilaren granting them the opportunity to come clean; his spectral form briefly shuddered before he straightened once more. "Thank you, my Lady!" His tone sounded grateful when he laid eyes upon her once more, her extra words for Patrick already taken to heart as the older sibling turned towards the younger.

"Dom I-" Patrick started off like he did before, but already the supportive brother Dominek used to be seemed gone once more.

"Shut up and listen." Dominek's words possessed a soft distant echo to them, a quality Patrick never noticed before when he listened to the ghost. Yet it was the attitude that Dominek possessed now, which daunted the younger brother even further. "Time after time I've watched you, helplessly unable to save or stop you from making a bad decision. Now that we're both here, you can see what making those bad decisions has cost you." The older brother gestured an open hand towards the middle of the cathedral, implying that Patrick had very well brought this own trial unto himself. "I'm not here to save you this time Patrick. In fact I'm finished with even trying, because it's high time you learned how to help yourself."

Just when he was beginning to wonder where this was going, Patrick felt another stab take place within his own heart. Dominek wasn't here to save him? Even done trying? Had Patrick really forced his brother to act in such a way? The younger brother felt so overwhelmed by all this, so caught up in everything that he was starting to drown now. "Now. Stop skirting around the truth and tell them what happened. You already know you're in deep with this, so telling them what you think they want to hear isn't going to help your case. Tell them everything they need to know." Suddenly it was starting to make sense now... Patrick's grim expression tightened a little, his reddened eyes narrowed on the spector standing before him. Before he just wanted to accept whatever punishment was thrown at him, willing to submit to every charge without even clarifying his actions. Right to the very end he would've been a coward, unwilling to stand with any sense of purpose or conviction.

"Start with what took place after the first meeting in Cylus." The ghost instructed as he crossed his arms, his eyes sharpened on the little brother before him. "Now."

"Uh..." Patrick was truly dumbstruck for a moment, his thoughts reeling as he started to listen to his brother. Right when Dominek seemed determine to nag him on, the Rharnian sure enough found the point in time to reconsider his defense. "After the meeting I..." Faith glared at him when he'd suggested seeking out the Shadow Quarter, he knew this before and yet he ignored it... "I never questioned the look Faith gave me after the first meeting, I should've but I was too fixated on being..." Gods this was already getting embarrassing for him, the fact he wanted to admit this aloud made his stomach roll even more. "I wanted to be a hero like everyone else was already. So I figured if I could train to fight like one, I could use the Shadow Network to serve a role in the war." That was the crux of the issue then wasn't it, thinking he could leash an independent syndicate to the cause.

"During Ashan seven hundred and nineteen, I started training at the old Thunder Den around the thirty-fifth of Ashan." So far his memory hadn't failed him yet, for that was when he'd came back from Volta after visiting with Gennadiya. "The proprietors there started to coach me, but it was probably after I suggested bringing more business their way." Patrick took a moment to reflect more on that memory. "On second thought, it wasn't what I said that led them to mentoring me. I think they knew the real reason why I was there, that I wanted to fight and become a hero. I didn't stick to the training like I should've however, instead I grew too eager with the war. I thought the sooner I started making connections the better." By now Dominek had visibly lost a bit of tension in his spectral form, his arms still crossed as he watched Patrick go on.

"It was around the sixty-eighth of Ashan that I made the first step, that's when I met Cameron. Knowing that the Shadow Network was the source of all underground criminal activities, I went back into the Dust Quarter to look for a dealer I could use. I knew that if I wanted to start pulling strings, I needed to get the dealer to buy into what I could offer first."

"What was you able to offer Patrick?" The older sibling cut in, his eyes still sharp as he never budged the moment he asked.

"Connections mainly, but drugs as well." Admitting that made Patrick experience another dropping sensation in the pit of his stomach. "I was working as a freelancer at the Harlot 'n' Hound, made the arrangement with Rose so that I could work there independently." It was when his mind trailed back to that memory he started to recollect things, things within the meeting that had been said between the two of them. It became clear that his older brother wasn't leaving anything to chance, that every moment spent around the Shadow Quarter was a moment Patrick needed to remember. Rose had said something that day he never thought twice over, which was the fact he'd met the blonde representative back in Vhalar 718. How did Rose know about that?

"What did you two discuss?"

"How I wanted to be a freelancer under her roof, and how I..." Damning himself for his past actions, Patrick glowered more or less at himself. "would be a favorable asset to the Shadow Network." Right away Dominek shifted to lean in low, never minding the invasion of personal space.

"You wanted to go back to them. Why?" Patrick didn't know if there was any real reason behind it, given how whimsical he always acted before everything took place. Yet he had to have a reason, otherwise he wouldn't have wanted to go back.

"I wanted to use their resources to track down your murderer." Patrick admitted with a heavier heart, knowing that he could've never let any of it go. "Karvon got away, so I wanted to find him... however possible." While still quite visibly tense Dominek drew back once more, arms folded once again before he nodded for Patrick to continue.

"I was the connection between Rose and Cameron by then, I facilitated drugs between the Harlot 'n' Hound to get closer to him. So that he could be my connection to the blonde man I'd met the first time. It took a while but he eventually found Cobra also, along with..." The pause was one filled with disgusted heartache, for the very man he'd been looking for was found that same day. "On Ymiden sixth when I met with Cameron again, I started to plan how I was going to meet with Cobra. He was the man who the blonde representative wanted me to deal with, before they would've considered meeting with me a second time. On that same day Karvon Murdock revealed himself, with the intent that he wanted to remove Cobra from the picture also." Patrick looked from his brother to the Immortals. "It was Karvon who wanted Cobra dead that night, how the killing weapon ended up in my hands..."

He knew now. He knew it and he didn't want to believe it. Any of it. Could everything that had happened really be that twisted? "In order to get to that point we needed to draw Cobra out, he was overly cautious and paranoid for someone in his position." Granted the guy was involved with the Shadow Network, it was no wonder why the man wanted such protection. But Karvon? "I came up with the plan that would separate Cobra from his bodyguards, even went so far as to involve Rose so she could help orchestrate this."

"Why?"

"If it worked it was a guarantee on the first deal we made. I would've been able to reach out to the Shadow Network, and in turn she would've had me in her pocket...." Yet there was that one detail... "Unless she was already involved, and merely played along the entire time." One of the corners of Dom's lips nearly budged, as though he suppressed the urge to grin at his younger brother. "Rose knew about the meeting I had with the blonde man, and Karvon needed Cobra removed because he'd used Cobra for protection." Patrick then looked to Famula next, a pleading look in his eyes as he mentally begged for her to understand. "Karvon wanted me to be the one to kill Cobra, he even lied about it so that I'd invest revenge into the act. It wasn't until Cobra said something before his death, something that even the darker version of me felt lost and confused over."

By now his mind was racing at all the subtle implications, leading Patrick to question his own memory as of now. Yet he wasn't finished with drawing conclusions yet, not when he'd so foolishly ignored all the signs beforehand. "The plan was for Rose to draw Cobra to the Harlot 'n' Hound, make him believe she was needing a loan for a new business venture. Then once she had her harlots separating Cobra and his men, Karvon and I stepped in to confront Cobra in his own bedroom. Thing is..." Patrick then looked back to Ilaren. "I don't think I ever would've killed Cobra. Killing isn't something I actively do, unless the survival of me or someone dear is at stake." Of that he knew for sure, from the time he fought so hard on Faldrass. He never wanted to kill any of those men, but it wasn't until they shot down his friends that changed.

"Karvon had to have known, otherwise he wouldn't have used my need for revenge against me. He must've also known about what happened to me after The Fall of Emea, when I was among those who failed to repair the damages." Yet Qylios had been there watching Patrick the entire time, even went out of Her own way to help him after his sacrifice had been made. "By day I still feel my whole humanity lingering, because of what you've given me. I see now that I took that for granted as well, the moment I buried my head in the sand due to my failure." Now everything started to make sense. He killed a young woman who was hardly innocent of being a mage, and that in turn gave his enemies everything they needed to see. "Karvon on the other hand found an opportunity from the moment I murdered Bellinda... I don't know if he saw or not but after the sixth of Ymiden, all our following meetings took place prior to sundown. If he was aware of the fact I had no control over my darker half..."

Then that meant all of this had been a setup from the moment Karvon reappeared in his life. "Now what have you learned from all of this." It was so much more than a question now, it was a point that Dominek needed Patrick to realize. Had the Rharnian not looked into his past mistakes, he would've never seen the truth at hand; he would've believed himself forsaken and beyond any hope. Now that Patrick's own eyes had been opened however, an even deeper and personal truth came to light. Patrick wasn't ready to give up like he believed he wanted to. He wanted to do whatever it took to fix everything, to right every wrong that led him here, and to become someone far better than the person he proved to be.

"That running from my own problems will never resolve anything... that my actions still require recompense due to my ignorance." Patrick looked from his brother to Ilaren then, a pleading look in his eyes as he leaned forward in his chair. "High Matron I understand now the gravity of my actions. I face the charges with a changed heart, and beg for you to consider the possibility of redemption!" He knew it was well beyond his right to ask for anything, knowing good and well how far things had been taken. "I'll accept the punishment you deem fit for my actions, but please don't let those actions define who I really am! I'll do anything, go to any lengths required of me; just for a chance to make everything right again."

Satisfied now that his younger brother had experienced a full change of heart, Dominek then twisted to face the Immortals once more; with a respectful kneel made before them before he added; "Upon Vhalar's name I swear to you, everything Patrick has shared is the truth. He sought vengeance on my behalf, believing the Shadow Network would help him achieve this. When the war came and he answered, he wanted to use their resources to collect intelligence and spread false information to Faith's enemies. Never has he meant ill will to the ones he's hurt, only blindly allowing his insecurities to the harm for him." It was then he lowered his head into another bow, his tone more somber when he continued. "I'm not proud in my role in all this Grand Matron, for the fact it's costed me everything I ever cared for. Rharne is my home, my brother the only thing left in this world. My role in all of this is plain to see, I did not come forward because I desired to protect Patrick. Because I didn't want him, or any other, to possess such a dangerous truth."

Patrick then shifted with an alarmed look down at his brother Dominek, certain that there was something else the ghost had yet to come forward about. "Dominek?" The ghost tensed at the sound of his own name now, with a somber look cast over his shoulder to the traitor behind him. It looked as though Dominek was on the verge of tears now, as though what he was about to share had been haunting him since the moment of his death.

"I thought if I could remain here, I could protect him from it all." The older sibling admitted with a trembling tone. "But now I see... in hindsight all this happened because of me." At last Dominek looked up to Ilaren once more, with the same amount of shame and regret Patrick himself displayed moments prior. "I've been lying Grand Matron to everyone, even my own brother, over the fact I couldn't recall my death. The truth is that I've never forgotten, and the one responsible remains at large still." The ghost subconsciously placed a hand over the bleeding hole in his chest. "Karvon Murdock was first my squire and then my partner, he aided me in investigating the Shadow Network. I learned later that he was a spy on their behalf however, along with another fact I never expected to discover."

Dominek seemed to drop the one knee down now, with his head bowed towards the Immortals in a repentant manner. "The infamous Kingpin Cheshire... He's... Patrick's biological father." Dominek almost sounded like he choked on those words, as though admitting them brought tremendous physical pain. As those words reached his ears however, Patrick's weary face paled to almost as white as Faith's. "I'm so very sorry Grand Matron... I only wanted to protect him from what I perceived to be the real threat." The spector reiterated mournfully now, as the Rharnian himself shifted forward to bury his face into his hands. Was this actually happening? Was Patrick really being announced as the son of one of Rharne's most sinister underground criminals? Immediately he felt sick to his stomach after hearing all that, and for a moment Patrick felt as though that last secret pushed him over the limit. In short the Rharnian tried, and failed, to hold back the sobs in his chair; his face still buried in his hands as he tried to pull himself back together. Now wasn't the time... no matter how much he wanted, or needed, to cry his shattered heart out.

He needed to accept the circumstances of his situation, and he needed to do that with the strong sense of conviction he had found in himself. Sure enough after just a brief bit of tears, and painstakingly amount of care in keeping his screams internal, Patrick slowly revealed his conflicted expression to the Immortals at hand. Regardless of what awaited him now, Patrick wouldn't run away from this anymore. He'd face the future with a fearless heart, and hope that he could make it through this alive.

"Patrick", "Follower", "Ri", "NPC"
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"Freedom is everything."


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Re: Judged By Lightning

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The three Immortals, as was their habit at this point, listened silently to the additional testimony from Patrick and Dominek. Their expressions did not change throughout, barring Qylios giving Patrick a more direct glare than she had before when he mentioned having no control over his darkness. When the brothers were done, Ilaren looked to Qylios. "Would this lack of light at night have any affect on how in control of his own actions he is?" she asked the Immortal of Light.

Qylios shook her head, then stepped forward. "It would not. Light and dark are not, in and of themselves, inherently good or evil. Falrdun, the enemy of Rharne itself, for instance, wields the power of Fire and the Sun itself. These are not dark Domains, yet they have been used for great evil and destruction. Raskalarn wields the power of Devastation itself, a very dark Domain, yet she's built one of the most powerful nations in Idalos and while I oppose her methods, I am reluctant to call her evil. At worst, the absence of light would remove Patrick's inclination towards acts of kindness, love, or generosity and the like. It would not mean that he can't help committing acts of murder or other such evil deeds. Indeed, there are many in the world who lack a sense of empathy, yet are not criminals. Many of Chamadarsts followers, for instance." she said, before looking at Patrick again. "Whatever acts he did at night were based on his already existing desires, he did not become a completely different person when the sun went down." she said, her tone grim. "Moreover, Patrick, you knew of what you did at night, yet you seem to have made not attempt to keep yourself from hurting others at night, as would be expected of someone who truly meant to avoid committing the kind of evil you've been charged with today." she said, before stepping back into line.

Ilaren sighed and moved to speak, but stopped when Famula held up her hand. "A moment, please." she said, before stepping up to Patrick and Dominek at Ilaren's nod. "Dominek Barnell, nothing you said or convinced Patrick to reveal could have changed what was done. Two lives taken, one by mindless hatred and one by empty vengeance. More lives ruined by those deaths, and parents mourn a son and daughter, children weep for lost parents, siblings grieve for a sister or brother. Then yet more lives endangered by foolish ambition turned into blind treason. What do the steps taken on this path matter, or the reasons behind those steps, when the path itself has already been taken, and the deeds done?" she said, her tone intent. There was, to Faith's senses, a faint probing coming from the Immortal of Souls as spoke to Dominek's ghost. Then her face softened ever so slightly. "Ah, I see. Patrick is your obsession. You have remained too long and are starting to lose yourself." she said, shaking her head. "Worse yet, you are like as not to lose your anchor this day. For the love you bore your brother, I will spare you the fall into nothingness." she said, her power visibly gathering around her as her crimson eyes glowed. "Go, Dominek Barnell, and be at peace." she said, and with a sigh, Dominek Barnell passed beyond Idalos.

The Immortal of Souls stepped back to Ilaren's side, and then the Immortal of Lightning stepped forward. "Enough of this. Patrick Barnell, your defense has done nothing to soften the initial charges nor the new charges of murder. You ask for clemency, but you bear the Blessing of Palenon. As such, you are held to higher standards of conduct, not lower. The sentence for murder alone, much less treason, is death, and you have been found guilty of all charges." Ilaren said, her voice cold and final. "However, before you are sentenced, there is one last thing." she said, before her gaze turned to Faith. "Champion of Famula, you have a personal stake in this trial, and Rharne owes you debt of gratitude. I would hear what you would have done with this man." she said, her tone not promising anything.
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Re: Judged By Lightning

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Somehow, things had turned from a trial into a drama. Faith listened as irrelevant point after irrelevant point was made by Dominek, then Patrick, then Dominek again. Dominek seemed to think that somehow he'd become Patrick's interrogator - perhaps his representative. And the pair of them spoke of things which were - at best - circumstantial and secondary to the charges. At worst, they were deliberately obfuscating. Faith listened as the whole farce continued and it took all of her discipline not to sigh, roll her eyes, or shake Patrick. After everything he'd done, somehow, he had the gall to stand there and just try and make it all about him, to make him a victim. Patrick nodded along with Dominek, did as his brother's ghost commanded, played the role. And Faith listened to it all.

And none of it made any difference.

Not to her, not to the people Patrick had endangered. Not to Rharne. None of it mattered, because none of it was relevant. She watched as the brothers fed into each others stories, each other's versions of why they weren't at fault, why they weren't to blame.

" I wanted to fight and become a hero."
" I did not come forward because I desired to protect Patrick."


And then the "big reveal" of Dominek's continued lies, of Patrick's parentage. Faith wished that she could just close her ears to it all because it made her feel sick. Genuinely sick in her stomach. People had been murdered and this former Lightning Knight and his still-living brother held no remorse. Did neither of them see? Patrick asked for his actions not to define him and Faith felt a small ball of fury begin to build inside her. The show went on and on, the pair of them just continuing to talk about themselves, their wants. How either of them had the sheer gall to try and justify their actions was beyond Faith. Truly beyond her.

Eventually, after the self-absorbed drama-fest had ended, the Immortals spoke. First, clearing up the idea that Patrick was not aware or responsible for his actions in darkness and then Qylios cut to the heart of the matter. He was not a different person at night, he acted on his own volition and - of course - had made no move to protect others. Far from it. Dominek, too, had seen it all unfold and had done nothing to change it. Then, Famula dealt with Dominek and Faith observed the interplay between the Immortal and the ghost. She saw and felt the soft sigh as Dominek passed over and she observed her beloved Famula intently. The moment was coming, Faith knew, when a decision would be made.

Then, with grim finality, Ilaren pronounced him guilty.

Faith knew Rharnian law, and it was clear. Guilt meant that he would die, being executed immediately. Feeling the static in the air tingle against her skin, Faith's expression was wide-eyed as Ilaren turned to her and spoke, asked her a question. And what a question it was.

"Champion of Famula, you have a personal stake in this trial, and Rharne owes you debt of gratitude. I would hear what you would have done with this man"


Faith stood up again, of course, to answer. Her hands were clasped together and her back was straight. She stood, pale and unmoving and then, finally, she spoke. "Thank you," she said, "For asking. I appreciate it, very much." She breathed in and gathered her thoughts. Her mind was reeling, her body still and almost transfixed in a clear juxtaposition to the tumult in her soul. But Faith was who she was and, long since, had she been able to do what she now did.

"When I was a slave, I was taught to put my emotions, my feelings, my wants and needs, into my hands." She smiled slightly at Ilaren. "I need to do that now. To answer your question fairly." Glancing down at her hands, she lifted them, revealing one arm on which glowed a band of Qylios. She wasn't marked by that Immortal, but it spoke of her connection to someone who was. "On a personal level I am betrayed and hurt. Patrick's actions threatened my life, my reputation and, more important than anything to me, my family. For that, I forgive him." She did not speak to Patrick, nor look at him. "I can not, and will not, forget. But I can not carry hatred in my heart, it hurts only me and mine." Calmly, she turned her gaze to Qylios and Ilaren and Famula, "And frankly, he has hurt me enough. So, my hands would say that he meets his execution, the consequences of his actions, knowing that." Faith's voice wasn't cold, but there was no warmth to it when she said.

"And that would be justice done."

She sighed then, just slightly. "But the bigger picture is clear, too, and I would suggest, most respectfully, that execution of this man stops any chance for him to make reparation. He has endangered Rharne and betrayed you both." The 'both' were Ilaren and Qylios, of course, "While posing a direct threat to you," she said to Famula. She breathed in and then spoke again. "The damage he has done is beyond measure and, while I forgive him on a personal level, I think ... " She paused, just for a moment, the weight of her words heavy on her. Then, when she had regained her composure, she continued. "I think that true justice would be for him to put right what he has done. And to be seen doing so." Faith's voice was shaking now. "Death takes away any hope of redemption for him, it sends him onwards without dealing with the consequences of his actions and, thus far, that is all his life has been. What I would have done with this man? I would bind him in lifelong service to Rharne, to Ilaren. Take away every freedom he has enjoyed and ensure that his actions, for once in his life, have consequences for him."

Faith's eyes showed her emotions. "I have worked all my life to abolish slavery," she said. "But death negates any chance for him to learn, to grow, to face what he has done. Prison the same, and he is too dangerous to be free in any way. So, that is what I would have you do with him." She looked between them all and smiled mirthlessly. "I am aware that death would be more merciful, but ...." Faith paused and then spoke the truth, as she saw it.

"In the big picture. The peace it brings him is poor payment for the damage he has done."
... and justice must be served.....
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Life, Death and the In-Between .
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