XLVI - Order! Order!

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The trial continues apace. The Royal City-State of Yehparnath presents its case against us across four days of testimony, character assassination, and endless, ceaseless droning on and on and on. The worst is day two when widows and widowers of the courtiers slain by Ares parade by with tear-stained cheeks and sniffling noses. In the afternoon, they manage to scrounge up relatives of those who were slaughtered in Larkhenya. 

Thankfully, surprisingly, Ares, Aphrodite, and Hades speak up, taking responsibility for both harrowing nightmares. They answer endless questions, detailing the minute-by-minute actions that lead to an entire city disappearing. The Olympians beg for forgiveness and swear to the judges that Adras and I had nothing to do with either attack.

Still, their confessions are booed by an angry, fidgeting crowd. They don't care about the details. It doesn't matter that other gods were acting independently of me - the god. Besides, it hasn't been the faces of Olympians leading the charge for social and political upheaval over the past six years. That honor belongs squarely to Adras and me. We are a more guilty-looking party.

Cyrus, bless him, interjects with his own testimony and informs the crowd that as an in-person witness, he can attest to Adras and my innocence. He's booed off of the stand. Eventually, the charges are rearranged and the Olympians are accused of the massacres and Adras and I are held against more lenient accusations like treason and religious coercion.

The King and Queen take the stand against us. Adras' mother sobs and wrings her hands, wondering what she did wrong as a mother to make her son turn on her and bring unrest to the kingdom. The King shakes his head with quiet disappointment, huffing and muttering, at an utter lack of words for what to say. 

Adras turns ashen and withdrawn beside me, he darkens and his typically cheerful inner fire simmers to a low, dim broil. Foolishness and carelessness and shame ripple off of him in waves of grey soot and dirty snow. His emotions come tainted with the smell of stale summer skin and rotting fruit. 

We are not permitted to speak to our defense or rebut any statement. We must stand there, silently, politely, the picture of pious regret for three full days. Each night, weary and worn, Adras and I tumble into bed. Words barely pass through our lips. Instead, communication is achieved through scared embraces, reassuring kisses, and hurried the-clock-is-running-out lovemaking. We fall asleep locked in each other's arms and lost in our own thoughts. There is nothing to say to make it better. No review of the days' testimonies that provide insight into our fate. My flippancy and bravado from the opening morning of the trial lie dead and buried. 

On the fourth day, Adras and I are allowed to present our defense. 

I tell the truth about who I am, where I come from, why I'm here. I exhibit what I am capable of, turning dustmotes into doves and forcing the sun down below the horizon at high noon. I heal the crippled legs of a brave Parnathan volunteer from the crowd. A crowd that has tripled in density, eager to hear the so-called goddess' tale. 

Each expenditure of my powers leaves me shaking and sweating, a sore weakness vibrating through my muscles. Demonstrations require effort and focus that I've never needed before — before my powers started leaving me for another host. 

I hunch over, supporting myself by bracing my arms against my thighs. Panting, I call Adras from the box and ask him to showcase his powers. It's not a planned moment, but he nods and goes with it. Only the dark concern and worry thundering through the tether betrays his concern of my vulnerable state. 

The spectators ooh and aah as their hometown boy makes it rain refreshing mist within the courtroom and, most incredibly, raises the sun I just pushed below the horizon. Light and brightness fill the room once more and I have to spare a moment to marvel at this human endowed with unimaginable powers.

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