The Transmuted: Day 2’s Writing
[This continues from where the previous day’s writing left off.]
“What is the nature of your relationship?”
“I am renting a room from him.”
“That’s not unusual, but why is he behaving like this? Most citizens who act as landlords to you Kelzians just stand around looking distressed when we enter their houses in pursuit of people like you.”
“Maybe those people aren’t such good friends with their lessees.” $Name2 spoke up for himself. “Maybe they just think of them as a means of income. I don’t.”
“Is this true?” the guardsman said to Enrico.
“It is,” said Enrico. “$Name2, why are you doing this?”
“Didn’t I just say?” said $Name2. “You’re my friend. I know what’s about to happen to you as well as you do, and I don’t like it any more than you do. I think it’s time someone stood by you and helped you through it.”
Enrico could not believe his ears. “Are you mad?” he said. “You have a family. What will it do to them, if they lose you for an entire year?”
“You are part of our family,” answered $Name2. “And they’ll be all right. They’re off maintaining the family empire with their blankets right now. Just trust me.”
“Come on,” said the guardsman. “You can keep talking on the way to the judgment hall.”
The king of $Kingdom had a castle with a great hall and an audience chamber for holding court in, but commoners were never invited there. When there were matters to be dealt with involving commoners, he held court in the judgment hall. It was a smaller stone building located outside the castle walls, and designed for impressiveness, but not defensibility. It had only one story and was nearly as big as the cathedrals that were now being built in other places.
The guardsman marched his two prisoners into the judgment hall. The king was waiting there on what had to be a modest throne by royal standards. There were other guards and manservants around him.
“Come forward,” said the king when he saw them enter.
The three men approached the front of the hall.
“Your Majesty,” the guardsman began. “This man, Enrico Naveno, is known to the royal guard to be a Kelzian who has taken up residence in the house of one of our citizens without first registering with the Royal Office of the Citizenry. He must suffer the consequences. This man is the citizen in question, Mr. $Name2 Pulsipher. He requested to be brought here along with the criminal.”
“Did he now,” said the king. “And why would he make such a request? You may speak for yourself, Mr. Pulsipher.”
“Your Majesty, I requested to be brought here because I don’t want Enrico to have to go through what he’s about to go through alone,” answered $Name2. “He has no family here, and the landowner he’s working for wouldn’t even give him a place to stay, so I did. Criminal or not, he and I are good friends, and I wish to share this burden with him. I humbly beg of you, allow me to bear half of his punishment. Let me be transmuted along with him, but let us both remain among the transmuted only for the next six months.”
The king stroked his two-pointed, white beard, giving the appearance of thinking about this.
“You have not committed such a serious crime as to merit such a punishment,” he said to $Name2, “and you are a citizen yourself. You were never under any requirement to prove your loyalty to the kingdom, so there is no need for you to be punished for failure to do so, as there is in the case of Mr. Naveno. Are you absolutely certain that undergoing the transmutation is what you want?”
“And you are prepared for everything that involves?”
“I believe so.”
The king thought for a moment longer, furrowing his brow.
“Very well, then,” he said. “I will permit this. Enrico Naveno, $Name2 Pulsipher, you are hereby sentenced to six months of labor among the transmuted. Mr. Naveno, after you complete those six months, you will undergo a period of probation during which your activities and fitness for citizenship will be monitored. If you are found to be productive, loyal, and true, you will be permitted citizen ship. As for you, Mr. Pulsipher, after the six months are over, you will be permitted to return to your home and family with no further attention from the royal guard.”
Entry filed under: The Transmuted.