The sun was low in the sky by the time the selection of champions was complete. The trial would be at noon the next day. Sabit paced the champions’ rack of weapons, trying each in turn. The balance of her new spear was not quite perfect, but there was no time for a new shaft to be crafted.
The grizzled overseer passed by, Qaansoole close at hand. Sabit assumed the archer was off to visit her hostage before the trial. She hoped Allamu’s embrace would be enough to soothe the wounds Qaansoole would bear after tomorrow.
Sabit had hefted and laid aside nearly the entire rack of weapons when a young guard bearing the Magistrate’s seal approached. “Time to visit your hostages.”
“I have no need to see them,” Sabit said. “My ship’s crew lives or dies by the Magistrate’s word, not my actions.”
“The Magistrate commands that you come with me,” the guard said, taking Sabit by the elbow and leading her out.
Sabit was surprised to find herself taken not to the hostage’s dormitory, but rather to the Magistrate’s edifice of white marble. The smell of wine and the sound of merriment were evident even from the secluded alcove where the guard secreted Sabit.
Some time later, a screened panel opened in the back of the alcove. On the far side, the Magistrate himself spoke from beneath a heavy hood. “Champion, you will lose tomorrow.”
“I do not fear the little archer,” Sabit proclaimed. “I cut her once and I shall do worse tomorrow.”
“You are a prideful fool,” the Magistrate hissed. “The King of Rurr showers gold upon us all. He claims that Yuheim seized his ship, but it is merely a ruse. The king still has all of that ship’s riches. When you lose tomorrow, he will add Yuheim’s payment for the ship to his coffers. Such wealth buys a great deal of justice, and the King is a generous patron.”
“This is the Magistrate of Vert?” Sabit said. “A petty coin-clipper bearing the vestments of justice? Do you use a statue of Verq herself for your spitoon as well?”
The Magistrate’s eyes flashed with rage. “I’ve no time for your slave’s pride. You will lose tomorrow, or your ship’s captain dies, and half your crew. Defy me and all of you will suffer.” The panel snapped shut.
As the guard led Sabit out of the ornate marble halls, they passed the grizzled overseer. Sabit expected to see him with Qaansoole’s hostage, but Allamu was not with him. He led a small boy by the hand. The brown-skinned lad could not have seen more than six summers. The boy glanced up at Sabit with bright, brown eyes still wet with tears. Sabit had seen those eyes before.
They were Qaansoole’s eyes.
Wayfarings of Sabit: Broken Justice is copyright (c) 2016 by Michael S. Miller. All rights reserved. New chapters post every weekday. You can support this and other stories on Patreon: https://patreon.com/michaelsmiller or http://ipressgames.com/fiction/