Piece V

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Irritably tapping his foot, the vassal’s squire gave Rowan a sour frown since he arrived in court. The squire stood to the right of a granite table – his master's current post. The vassal, interested in witnessing how Rowan would handle the situation, sought to be his case’s judge. 

        Soleil court had always been open to all citizens. Hence, anyone could stick their noses on the latest happenings inside. Many native folk, in beige, green, azure or pastel yellow, came to court to witness the trial.

        The vassal formed a steeple with his fingers and cleared his throat. “Tell me what you did son.” 

        Rowan recounted how he just wanted to make friends with Soleil fledglings, “… the boy got surprised and he dropped the crucible.”

        “A native told me you can command liquid fire,” the vassal interrupted.

        “That is correct my lord,”

        The vassal stood. “Soleil Book of Rules and Policies says in… in…“ 

        “Rule eleven, my lord,” the squire said. The townsfolk broke into murmurs, Rowan guessed that he broke a special rule. 

       The townsfolk fell silent upon hearing their leader speak.  “Rule eleven. Thank you squire,” the vassal nodded to the squire and turned to Rowan. “Rule eleven states that morphing or transmutation IS irreverent to Soleil.”

        “It is blasphemous!” the squire added. 

        “Yes. Put it bluntly, it is blasphemous,” the vassal agreed.

        “Huh?” Rowan stared blankly at the vassal and squire because he had no clue what they were talking about.

        “It is corrupted!” the squired got carried away. “It violates the natural laws! It is diabolic! IT IS EEEVIIL!” 

        “Oh-” the servant noticed the vassal’s annoyance with his actions and behaved himself.

        In the end, the vassal sentenced Rowan to two hours of whipping, and two days of work in the mines. “You cannot do this! I don’t know that it’s forbidden to morph in Soleil,” Rowan begged for pardon.

        “Son, if you are in Soleil, do as the Soleil folk do. A big bulletin is outside. The standard rules and policies are posted there.” 

        Rowan felt dread and wonder from the townsfolk’s stares as guards escorted him to the dungeons.

                                                                                 

Before dusk, white tents of varying sizes were set up in an abandoned quarry near the mines. All tents had Soleil’s sun insignia on its sides.

        That night, Greendale refugees ate their pumpkin soup and bread in silence. Everyone knew about Rowan’s fate.

        “Rowan is punished?” The Greendale Lady struggled to temper her anger. “I want to see the vassal now.”

        “My Lady, please calm down.” The servant of Rowan’s mother consoled her to no avail.

         “No! They treat us like slaves!” Rowan’s mother stood up. “We are not like this to them in when they are Greendale!” She only composed herself when she saw Soleil guards coming to her tent. After a short interrogation, she sent them off, bidding them goodnight.

        Clover, and Hana were in the same tent as Rowan’s family. 

      “Already done?” Clover did not hear Hana. She left a half-eaten meal and headed outside the tent, not even bothering to be excused. She could not bear to eat. No other Herbard had reached Soleil. Add the illegality of morphing in Soleil, she worried that the morrow won’t bring any good news. 

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