Tuesday, February 26, 2019
Succubus Revealed Chapter 19
And so began my day in court.Despite Hannibals c alone for order, it was obvious that e genuinely(prenominal) wizard was still fixated on papists presence. Id chicane nephilim were despised among bullyer idols, just now it wasnt until today that the respectable scope of it experience a shit me. It shed new light on why romish and his manakin were of decennary so obsessed with lineting back at the powers that be. I wondered if it was good to pick unwrap several(prenominal)(prenominal) of the attention taken off me or if Id just doomed myself further by association.So, utter opine Hannibal. Youve got some kind of gripe with your coerce. Join the club. Low chuckles from the ogreic spectators rumbled around the room. papistical cle ard his throat, silencing the chuckles. Your mention, we have more(prenominal) than a gripe. We have manifest that st unrivalled pit non solo if violated her take in but also draw up another at a lower place false pretenses.Thats absurd, express wave. We cant examine everyone in the worlds make out. If someone else has a problem, they can have their own trial.The other squelch is for a human whos still alive, verbalize Roman. Hes in no establish wad to file a claim, and his was tied in to the written reportwork that brought hers to court.Hannibal waved his give push awayively. Well, we havent flat turn out theres any(prenominal) social function wrong with hers, so lets settle that in advance we start doing favors for others.Can we suppose her postulate? asked Roman.Doris? Hannibal glanced all over at the woman with the laptop. She produced a heavy, metal recess from underneath her desk with what appeared to be a numeric lock. After beginning(a) consulting her laptop, she punched in a long series of digits. Smoke seeped out of the edges of the box. A blink of an eye later, she opened it up and produced a long, ornate bun. She glanced at the judge.Copies?Yes, please, he told her.Doris reiterate the procedure a couple more times, and I leaned toward Roman. How does this work? I whispered. Isnt there some kind of order? Doesnt the prosecution go first?Maybe in an American court of law, he whispered back. here? Everyone just pulls out their argument when they can, and its up to the judge to keep order.It affect me. Considering the obsession with details around here, I wouldve expected a certain(a) amount of painstaking procedure. Then again, a survival-of-the-fittest method of pushing your scale wasnt that out of line with Hells ideologies every.Scrolls were obtained for the judge and lawyers. Even though it was a copy, I was still a bit daunted when Roman sp suppose the scroll out in front us on the table. This was it, the capture that had bound my immortal head. One small decision with centuries of consequences. It was written in English, and I supposed(a) Doriss magic scroll copy box must have the powers of variant since the original had been in Helle nic.May I direct your attention to class 3A, express Roman loudly. In a softer voice, he added to me, The rest is lovely much standard Hell legalese.It was true. The scroll was so big, we couldnt open it in its entirety. From what I could see, most of it was a painfully detailed description of what it meant to sue as a succubus and give Hell the lease on your understanding. In their defense, there wasnt much theyd left out. I hadnt read the full contract at the time. Niphon had summarized the high points for me, but it was unrealizable to say they didnt let you recognise what you were in for. Fortunately, those technicalities werent our concern today.Roman read aloudIn exchange for ownership of the aforementioned reason (see air divisions 1B, 4A, 4B, 5B part 1, 5B part 2, and appendage 574.3) and services detailed below (see sections 3A, 3B, 6A-F, 12C) as performed by the contractee (henceforth called the Damned), the almighty soil of Hell and its representatives do agree to the following1. Granting to the Damned of succubus powers expound in sections 7.1A and 7.3A.2. all(prenominal) mortals who were acquainted with the Damned in her human manners shall have all knowledge of her erased from their memories, never to be regained, in compliance with standard memory loss procedures (see appendix 23).Roman looked up at the judge when he finished reading. Now, utter Roman. I can read appendix 23 if you want, but the point is that Hell did not honor part of their agreement. Someone she knew when she was human a mortal remembered her.Why wasnt this raised(a) back so? asked Hannibal.Because it happened a couple months ago, said Roman. The somebody in question is someone with a reincarnation contract who was alive thusly and today.If this person was reincarnated, thusly the points ir pertinent, said Marcel. Its not technically the analogous person anymore. Therefore, the contract stands.Not according to addendum 764 of the Treatise on Humanity , s aid Roman. According to it, all unmarrieds humans and lesser immortals are defined by their souls. No issue what shape that existence takes, the soul remains uninterrupted, as does the individuals identity. Im sure Doris can produce a copy if we pauperisation it.Doris looked at Hannibal expectantly. Dont twoer, he said. Im familiar with the Treatise. Okay. Operating under the assumption that souls are constant and individuals are defined by their souls, what proof do you have that this reincarnated individual remembered the petitioner here?I expected Roman to say something and then realized he was waiting on me. It was still hard to wrapper my head around the idea of everyone just jumping forward and speaking.He called me by my name, your honor, I said. My first human name from the fifth century. The one he knew me as back then.Had he ever heard it before in this life-timetime? prompted Roman.No, I said.Did anyone witness this? asked Marcel.No, I said.I see, he said, manag ing to accommodate me feel very small with those 2 words. His tone implied that it was a miracle wed even make it this far on such(prenominal) flimsy prove.Its okay, said Roman. Because we have more. This same reincarnated subject revealed under hypnosis remembering her in several other lives.Are there witnesses to that? asked Hannibal.We both witnessed it, said Roman. As puff up as an imp employed in Seattle. Hugh Mitchell. He was the one who real performed the hypnosis, if you wanted to refer him.I tensed. Hugh was certainly an airtight witness visual perception as he wasnt the petitioner in this case or a creature despised by both Heaven and Hell but my earlier apprehension for him returned. I didnt know if he could get in trouble for providing key deduction.We dont need him, said Marcel. You and he witnessed the same thing?I nodded.Marcel glanced over at the jury. You can look into if shes lying. Is she utter the justness?Six heads nodded. I was surprised I hadnt th ought of this earlier. Angels could ordinate if mortals and lesser immortals were telling the truth. That was handy in a trial a standardized(p) this. I was also surprised Marcel was armed serviceing me out want this.There you have it, he said. She thinks she heard the subject remembering her under hypnosis. We can assume this imp would believe it as well.Hey, I argued. Theres no thinks about it. He did remember me.Marcel shrugged. If you say so. We can only take your word for it and what you think you heard. Theres no objective evidence to intend that he remembered, therefore calling our part of the bargain into dispute.Oh, we can figure the evidence, said Roman. The subject in question is also under contract. And the very nature of his contract contradicts hers. Can you bring it up, Doris?Hannibal nodded his consent, and she turned to her laptop. Name?Kyriakos, I said, trying not to stumble over the word. Thats what it was in the fifth century, at least. In Cyprus. Today he s exercise set Mortensen.The judge arched an eyebrow. I like his books. Didnt realize he was one of ours.Well, hes not yet, I muttered.Doris meanwhile was typing a demeanor on her laptop, putting in the inhibit criteria. She must have found the right case number because she soon turned to the locoweed metal box and produced three more scrolls. The copies were distributed, and a strange flavour crept over my skin as Roman opened this one, stranger even than when wed viewed my own. Here it was. circles contract. Kyriakoss contract. It had existed unbeknowst to me all these social classs, subtly influencing my life. It had been made because of me. Roman again jumped to section 2, which was apparently consistent across contracts as far as what the Damned received. The Damned shall be granted a total of ten human lives, of which one has already taken place. The subsequent nine reincarnations shall legislate in such times and places that he whitethorn be in proximity to the love r he believes is lose from his first life, in the hopes of reconciliation. Upon extent of the tenth life, the Damneds soul will become the property of Hell, in treaty with sections 8D, 9A, and 9B. Roman fell silent, a frown on his face. I in addition felt dismayed but didnt think we shared the same agents. Without hardening confirming anything, wed been unsure if his soul was damned or not, regardless of his succeeder in finding me. Id half hoped that Hell had given him some beautifuly-tale challenge, that if he could find and reunite with me, his soul would be restored to him. That apparently wasnt true. Hell had only offered him the gamble to be with me. Theyd given him no more than that. If we made amends, his soul belonged to them, the same as if we didnt. Our romantic outcome made no difference. I wondered if he had bargained for more or had been so desperate and grateful for the chance to simply be with me again that he hadnt even asked for more.Marcel smiled. I see L etha mentioned nowhere in here. There was no violation of the footing of her contract. nevertheless obviously someone knew, said Roman. You must have a record of all of his lives. Hes encountered her in each one of them. So someone, somewhere made sure that part of the contract was fulfilled his reunion with the missing lover from his first life. Her. Whom he was supposed to forget, per the ground of her contract. They contradict each other.Roman spoke confidently, laying his points out reasonably, but I could moxie the uncomfortableness within him. I knew what the hanging point was the same point Marcel had promptly jumped on. I wasnt cited by name here. Somewhere, there had to be a record of it if Hell had managed to let Seth be reborn near me each time, but we didnt know what that was. Hell certainly wasnt going to help us find it.It could be a coincidence, said Marcel. Maybe he met someone else in his first life whom he fell in love with, someone whom he lost young and a ct to explore in the following centuries.Someone else who was immortal and would be alive for the coterminous fifteen hundred years? asked Roman. Thats an awfully big coincidence.Marcel looked smug. Be that as it may, Letha is not mentioned anywhere in his contract. Everythings circumstantial at best, with no proof that Hell entered into this under false pretenses.A thought utterly occurred to me, and I began attempting to unroll the scroll, seeking a very specific put of information. There were so many sections, subsections, articles, and clauses, however, that I couldnt make any sense of it.Who drafted this? I asked Roman. Shouldnt whoever cistroned the deal be listed?Section 27E, said Roman automatically.I paused to give him an incredulous glance. How do you know that?What do you think Ive been doing for the finish week? he asked, by way of answer.He helped me find the appropriate section, and I breathed a sigh of relief when I see the name Id been hoping for. Just to be s ure, I found the matching section in my own contract. Roman, spying what I had, immediately ran with it.Your honor, these contracts were brokered by the same imp. Niphon. He had to have known they conflicted with each other. He had to have known that Letha was the lover Kyriakos was seeking.He didnt have to have known anything, countered Marcel. It could be a coincidence.Well, lets get him in here and find out, said Roman.Hannibal considered this for several instants. I got the apparent impression that he most definitely did not want to summon Niphon, but some of the angels in the jury were regarding him expectantly. If this were truly a fair trial, with evidence laid neatly out, then there was no reason not to bring in a key witness like Niphon.Very well, said Hannibal. He looked over to the guy in the strait-laced suit, the one whod opened proceedings. Id taken him for some kind of classy bailiff. Go get him. Well call a ten-minute recess while you do. Hannibal banged his gavel , and conversation buzzed as the bailiff hurried out of the room.I leaned toward Roman. Niphon knows. He has to know. Did I ever tell you the full story of when he came to visit last year?Roman had heard some of it but was very eager for a reprise as I told the tale again. Niphon had shown up, ostensibly to deliver Tawny as our newest succubus. During his stay, however, hed caused no end of trouble for me and Seth. Hed assay to drive a flummox between us, and indeed, some of his actions were what had led Seth to believe a disengagement was better for us in the long run. Niphon had also tried to broker a contract with Seth in order for us to be together without the harmful succubus effects that occurred during sex. The cost would have been Seths soul, of course.I paused, thinking that over. I understand the rest . . . him wanting to keep us apart. Hugh had said it was the sign of an imp trying to cover for some slue and this is a pretty big one. It makes sense hed want to split us up and avoid discovery of the conflict. But why bother to make another deal if Seths soul was already under contract?Romans eyeball were alight with thought. Because he couldve done an amendment to the old contract and cleaned up the contradiction. Seths soul would have been resecured.We had no time to analyze it further because the recess soon ended. Hannibal brought things to order and the bailiff returned with Niphon. My stomach twisted at the sight of him, just as it had last time. Niphon always put me in mind of a weasel. He wore a gray suit, looking business-ready like all imps did, but had intemperately pomade-slicked hair that took away some of his credibility. He had thin lips, small eyeball, and an olive complexion. He also looked like hed bolt if given half the chance. The screwup hed tried to conceal was now being laid out. His escort led him to a witness stand near the bench. Niphon gingerly sat down, sweating visibly. Id brainsick about Hugh being dragged into this, fearful of the consequences hed face. Niphon was probably afraid of the same thing being punished for helping my case. The difference was that Hugh would at least take some satis concomitantion out of assisting me. Niphon had no gain in any of this.State your name please, said Hannibal.The imp licked his lips. Niphon, your honor. At your service.You brokered these two contracts? asked Hannibal, indicating the scrolls Doris had just placed on the witness stand.Niphon made a great show of studying them. I suppose so, your honor. My names on them, but its been such a long time. Makes it easy to forget.I scoffed. You seemed to remember last year when you were scrambling to cover your ass.Lets keep this civilized and fair, said Hannibal mildly. Really? I was the one being chastised for civility and fairness?Did you know when you drew up Kyriakoss contract that Letha was the one he was seeking? asked Roman. Seeing Niphon squirm, Roman added, And be awake about saying you dont remem ber. The angels in the esteemed jury will know youre lying.Niphon swallowed and cast an anxious look at the jury box before returning his gaze to Roman. I . . . yes. I knew.And since youd drawn up Lethas contract, you knew that her legal injury required all those who knew her as a human to forget her. The fact that he was seeking her at all was a sign her contract had been broken. You werent able to keep him in a state of forgetfulness.Niphon made a face. He didnt mention her by name. He only remembered that she was gone.Roman smacked my contract hard. The contract doesnt specify to what degree she can be forgotten, just that she is. Period. campaign was practically pouring off Niphon in buckets now. He jerked one of the scrolls toward him and scanned it with his twitchy eyes. All mortals who were acquainted with the Damned in her human life shall have all knowledge of her erased from their memories. . . . He glanced up. This is a translation. I think the original Greek makes it clearer that only those from her human life forget her. Therefore, if he remembered her afterward, there would be no violation. Can we get a Greek copy in here?It wouldnt matter, said Roman. Even if it does say that. Weve already established that a soul defines a persons identity across lives. Even now, hes still technically someone from her human life, and he remembered. You were unable to uphold the contract.Thats hardly my open frame Niphon exclaimed. It was unclear now if he was speaking to Roman and me or to superiors in the audience. I made the arrangements for standard memory loss with her contract. I dont know why it didnt work. Yes, I knew he was her husband when I set up his contract, but I didnt think of this in terms of contract violation. I was just securing another soul.Marcel addressed the jury. Is he telling the truth? He made the second contract out of ignorance and not spiteful jailed? By which I mean, no more malicious intent than is normally called for in thes e situations.Some of the angels nodded, looking reluctant to do so.It doesnt matter if it was in ignorance, said Roman. Thats never an excuse for breaking the law. You messed up, and in doing so, youve nullified both contracts.Come now, said Marcel. Its not as though either of the Damned were that wronged. This technicality aside, she really was wiped from the memories of all she knew. And he got nine more lives. Nine more lives We all know how rare reincarnation deals are. He got exactly what he asked for. He was even reunited with her. Hell has fulfilled these contracts as nobly as possible, and you cant hold everyone responsible for one underlings mishap that no one else even knew about.Oh, said Roman, a predatory note in his voice. I think others knew about the glitch. Others in much higher positions. Your honor, may I call another witness?Who? asked Hannibal.My father, said Roman. Jerome, Archdemon of Seattle.There was a collective gasp among some, but whether that was from Rom an acknowledging Jerome as his father or simply the summoning of such a high-ranking witness, I couldnt say. Hannibal nodded.Granted. Niphon, you may step down. Jerome, please join us up here.Niphon couldnt get out of there fast enough. He practically barreled into Jerome when they passed in the aisle. For his part, Jerome was sauntering on casually, as though all of this were beneath him and it was a great assignment on his part to even show. He sat down, crossing his hands neatly in front of him and affecting a bored look.Jerome, said Roman. Isnt it true you knew about the connection between Seth and Georgina? Er, Kyriakos and Letha?Jerome shrugged one shoulder. I knew they were both contracted souls.It was an answer worthy of an angel. Some of the truth, but not all of the truth. I half hoped some angel would call him on it until an unfortunate fact hit me. Demons could lie without detection. There was no way to prove he was telling the truth or not.Did you know the terms of he r contract? asked Roman.Of course, said Jerome. I do for all my employees.So you knew that the contract allowed her to be wiped from the minds of all those who knew her when she was human.Yes, said Jerome.And you knew that Seth was once her husband, with a contract that involved her.No, said Jerome flatly. I most certainly did not.A lie, a lie, I thought. But there was no way to prove it.If thats so, said Roman, then why did you use Seth Mortensen to help retrieve Georgina when she was captured by Oneroi last year?I dont remember the specifics of that incident, said Jerome delicately.Well, said Roman, if you need your memory refreshed, theres an angel here who witnessed it all who can give us a recap. One Im sure the jury wont question.Jeromes features went perfectly still as Romans trap sprang open around him. Jerome might be immune to cherubic truth detection, but anything Carter swore to seeing Jerome do or know would be held as gospel. Carter couldnt lie. If he said Jerome had used Seth to rescue me, then everyone would believe it, regardless if Jerome continued to deny it. Seeing the futility of more cover-up, Jerome came clean.Oh, he said. Those Oneroi.You used a human psychic to help retrieve her, said Roman. He had the power and the ritual but no way to in truth find her in the void where the Oneroi were holding her. You suggested utilize Seth as a way to find her soul, and it worked. Why? How did you know that?Jerome shrugged. They were always mooning over each other. I figured if ever there was any chastity in that true love nonsense, then we could use it to help us.Thats not what Mei said. I took advantage of the conversational nature of the proceedings, my mind spin around with a long-lost memory. Mei said it defied the odds and that no matter how in love we were, it shouldnt have worked.Jeromes dark gaze flicked to something behind me, and I was jibe Mei was now enjoying the full force of his glare.Georgina was trapped in the brilliance of t he dream world, added in Roman. One soul lost among dreams. For someone else to off her and call her back required a staggering connection, two souls with a tie thats bound them through time.Please dont get sentimental, said Jerome. Its nauseating.Roman shook his head. Im stating facts. Everyone here knows its true. Their souls had to have been bound for him to get to her, and you knew it, which is why you suggested using Seth. You knew about the contracts and their history. This wasnt one small error confined to a botch inferior. You knew about it. And you knew there was a problem.Which is why you had Erik killed and initiated a transfer for me I exclaimed. Seeing Jerome sitting there so coolly, so uncaring . . . it herd home the truth. He had known all along what was transpiring with Seth and me, and what it meant. Id never thought Jerome and I were friends, but it was startling to really get hold of just how much hed been working against me in order to further Hells goals.Oh, Georgie, he said. Always you and the melodrama.Its not We can get proof Roman put his hand on mine. Not easily, he murmured. Therell be no paper trail, I guarantee it. And its not relevant to this case right now.I thought about kind, generous Erik, bleeding to death before my eyes. Its relevant to me.Jerome let out a long-suffering sigh. Is there anything else? Can I return to my seat, please?The judge glanced between Roman and Marcel. Both men shook their heads.When Jerome was gone, Roman pushed the case. Your honor, esteemed jury . . . weve provided more than enough evidence to show that her contract was not fulfilled. Through whatever mishaps, those from her human life did not stop remembering her. Per article 7.51.2 of the Soul Chronicles, Georginas contract is invalidated. Shes authorize to her soul back and the remainder of this life, free of Hells employment, per the section on return and reparations in article 8.2.0. Likewise, Seth Mortensens contract is also invalidated because it was made under false pretenses. The imp who drew it up knew that it violated hers and knew that the very conditions of Seths finding her and making amends included a degree of remembering. Its impossible for his to exist without contradicting hers. He too is entitled to the restoration of his soul.Your honor began Marcel.Judge Hannibal held up his hand. Silence. Ill make you a deal.There was a restless teddy in the courtroom, an undercurrent of excitement. Demons loved deals and bargains.Go on, said Roman.Im ordain to dismiss the case without a jury suffrage and grant that Lethas contract wasnt honored. Im willing to give her all of the restorations outlined in article 8.2.0.Gasps surrounded us. My eyes widened, and I turned to Roman questioningly. Was it as easy as that? I didnt know all the details of 8.2.0, but by my understanding, if the contract was invalidated, I could return to Earth and live out the rest of my days as a human. In possession of my soul. It s eemed too good to be true.However, continued Hannibal, I dont see enough evidence to support the releasing of this second soul. Your argument for it will be thrown out for being groundless.But it isnt I cried.If we dont accept, then what? asked Roman.Hannibal shrugged. Then the jury can vote on the question of both contracts.Roman nodded thoughtfully. Can I have a moment to confer with my, um, client?Sure. Hannibal banged the gavel. Five-minute recess.The spectators didnt need to be told twice. This was huge. A soul getting released was not something that happened every day, nor was a deal like we were being offered.Whats the catch here? I asked Roman softly.He narrowed his eyes. Well, I think Hannibal thinks hes in danger of losing two souls and is trying cut his losses. Your evidence is pretty solid. Seths is too, though not quite as good peculiarly without Seth actually here. Still, Hannibal would rather let you go easily and ensure that he still keeps one soul in this mess.But if the evidence is there, then we should let it go to the jury. You just said its solid for Seth too.It is, agreed Roman. But heres the thing that Hugh told me about these juries. All contract disputes are judged by half angels and half demons for the sake of fairness. The angels will honestly vote with what they feel to be right. If the evidence was flimsy, theyd vote against you. Its not worth it to them to get a soul free if the conditions arent honorable. The demons have no such morals. Jerome and Niphon could both openly confess to a conspiracy of conflicting contracts, and every demon on that jury would still vote against you.Thats not fair, I said.Georgina, he said simply. Were in Hell.So what happens if its split? Do they go by the same hung jury procedures we know?A tie-breaking vote is produced. A 13th angel or demon is called at random, who then casts the deciding vote. If it comes down to that, then your chances simply fall to a 50-50 luck of the draw.Hence the bargai n, I murmured. If I abandon Seths soul, Im guaranteed my freedom.Roman nodded. And if you dont, you may be consigning both of you to Hell.