142 46 3

Jorah eyed his fellow council members. "There is more."

A few groans erupted, but all turned to him with attentive looks.

"Ian has found Argos."

Excited conversation broke out. The day that the traitor Argos was caught was a long-awaited day.

Jorah looked at the table unable to face his friends as they learned of this disturbing news. "My son has also learned that it was not Argos who has been murdering our people. It is a human scientist, perhaps a group of them that are performing experiments on Atlantians."

Outraged cries followed his words along with one council members words, "And these are the people we try to save?"

Ian quietly asked Jorah's permission to speak as he had not been directly addressed. After Jorah nodded his approval, Ian said, "Although most Atlantians have spent some time in the air, it is usually for education or leisure, and not for a long period of time. I have had the unusual opportunity to spend months and years among humans. I know them well."

Ian sighed. "Yes, there are those such as this evil group who if they fell dying in the sea, I would watch from a distance with no pity. But there are others. They are good, and kind, and more like us than anyone here would like to admit."

Ignoring the scoffs, Ian went on, "I am convinced that it is these that we were asked to save. The one who asked came from here, and he was good. Without him, we may not have lived. He would have known there were other good people too."

Jorah agreed. "That is true. Many are the stories of the kindness of the traveler, not the least are the ones that include our people. He would not have sworn us to save a wicked people."

As Ian put a hand on his father's shoulder, he said, "The good ones are being swallowed up by the bad. We can show them what life can be like, should be like."

Mako spoke up. "Of course, of course, we have discussed this already. We save the humans, if at all possible. The real question is this; What will we do with Argos? He may not have murdered us, but he still stole from his people and murdered humans."

Tiburon smacked his hand to the table. "I refuse to punish him because he killed humans. He killed the ones that tortured and murdered his Intended. Watching her die like that is more punishment than any man deserves. If the humans have a problem with him, they can take care of him."

Jorah watched most at the table verbally agree. When a show of hands was called for, all hands raised except for two of the council who were undecided but willing to go the way of the other votes.

Jorah heard his son's sigh of relief but felt Ian tense again as Jorah continued. "Argos is an old friend of my son, and his family, who have already suffered overmuch, are friend to many that sit around this table. I would like to forgive him. Ian says the world above has made him old and gray, perhaps that is punishment enough."

There were dissenting voices, and Akami from Mysticeti Clan stood. "If this were any other theft, we could impose the usual punishment, take ten percent of his possessions and mandate him ten extra hours a week of work for a year. But it is not. He is no longer in Atlantis so the punishment cannot apply. In addition, this was not some shiny bauble he carelessly took from a neighbor, this was our treasure. He understood the value of it to us and to the fate of the world, and yet still, he took it, not as a careless act but a deliberate one. In my opinion, a recompense needs to be paid."

"If I may speak again," Ian said, "on Argos' behalf. Argos is expecting punishment. He is even willing to come back to Atlantis to accept it. He was a broken man when he committed this crime, in a way few of us will ever be. It is hard enough for our ancient ones to lose their loves, but they have a long lifetime of remembrances to look back on, and they usually follow their Intendeds within a short time."

Ian remembered the persistent raw pain that had enveloped him when he lost Sonora. "When one is you, it is—it is so horrible, I cannot put it into words."

Many in the council looked away, unable to look upon the pain that still resided in Ian's face.

"He is as accepting as he can be over losing her," Ian said, "He takes comfort in other things now. Please, I ask you, do not be so very hard on him."

Akami shook his head and sighed, but softly said, "That is two things you ask of this council today, Caspian. But given the circumstances, I, for one will allow it."

Akami pulled at his chin. "There has to be a punishment. Perhaps we banish him for the rest of his life, that would not be so bad for a man that had already suffered. If he his already old, life is almost over for him, and I would think he has a well-established life on land by now, and little desire to come back here."

"But what if we cannot save the humans?" Mako said, "Would we expect him to live on the empty land, alone? That is too harsh."

"I will find the cure!" Ian said.

Mako took in his defiant certainty, and a look of sadness came to her eyes. "I hope that is true, but there is no guarantee."

"If the worst happens," Akami said, "we will offer him a home in Atlantis. I would offer the following restrictions for the council to consider. Argos will be stripped of his name and clan. His time will be spent for the betterment of this city. He will be given a comfortable home and his necessities, but he can never accumulate wealth. There is little chance to have gathered much anyway, and this way he can live out his life in peace."

Ian winced at the recommendations. Not the loss of the name Argos. He didn't think that would bother Blake since he had taken another name and Argos had been spoken of in low whispers for so long it was a tainted name. The time given to the city would also not be a bad thing, every person willingly gave of some of his time to better the city.

But to have no clan was to have no protection in times of need. If Blake had none, neither would his family, even if the Atlantians accepted them in time. Sonora would be clanless, but she could take on Ian's clan once they were married, which would give her some protection even if it was not the full protection an Atlantian woman customarily received. But the rest of them would be like driftwood, untethered and wandering, among the people.

But they may never realize that, Ian thought, if all goes well, and they never come here. Still, he opened his mouth to speak in defense of Blake's family but then clamped it shut. Ian was still relying on the council's first promise to accept Sonora. He didn't want them to know it was Argos' granddaughter he was asking them to take in until he had accomplished his mission. Later, I can argue for them later. For now, this is the best outcome Blake could have hoped for.

A/N: For any who are wondering. :) For the Atlantian's personal names, I try to use something water-themed. For clan names, I'm trying to use ocean animal names. Some are obvious such as Clan Orca or Clan Great White. But a more unusual one surfaced in this chapter. Clan Mysticeti. A Mysticeti is a type of unusual octopus that has, for lack of a better word, skin between its tentacles similar to the skin between the limbs of a flying squirrel. Check it out on Google. It looks a little creepy!

If you enjoyed the chapter, please press the little star below. :)

Sea Bound  (A Sanctuary's Aggression Novel)Read this story for FREE!