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Canon: © Anne Bishop
Board's Plot: Blood Rites
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Established February 2010
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* Plot Information for Pruul

Seven children are destined to save Pruul and shake the traditions of the territory to their very core. In response, factions have broken the peace of a previously unified territory and violence has erupted across the dessert. It is a battle between the past and the future, the young and the old, and blood won’t stop seeping into the sand.
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Author Topic: It’s not a mystery to solve. It’s a depth to drown in.  (Read 331 times)

Description: Solo; Seeking justice for crimes against the Geiba; cw child abuse.

Offline Matin al-Sabbah

  • Character Account
    • te2pd
    • wp
    • Role

      Steward

    • Faction

      Sabbah Clan

    • Territory

      Pruul

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      mu

    • Posts

      82

    • View Profile
PART I
If you ask dangerous questions, you will get dangerous answers.
But sometimes we need dangerous answers.
Thread contains themes of child abuse and discussion of genocide.
193 AP, Late Spring

“I am not Salma’s father here.” Matin’s level gaze shifted between the two youths sitting in his office. “You are not the sons of my lover and dear friend or the boys I have raised my daughter alongside.

“In this room, I am a representative of the Sabbah Court, and you are informants in an investigation. Do you understand?”

Barin shifted in his chair, then took a breath and sat up straight. “I understand. What do you need to know?”

The First Escort of Clan Sabbah raised an eyebrow and the young Warlord Prince straightened a little more.

“...Prince Matin.”

Matin nodded and looked to Yari, who gave a similar affirmation. He looked down at the sheaf of documents he had already collected and the stack of new paper and wrote the date and the boys’ names along the top.

“Prince Barin, you gave Lady Elenor al-Sabbah a list Geiba orphans who had had crimes committed against them. I would like you to repeat those names to me now, as well as any others you know of. We will discuss what happened to them later. Mister Yari, if have any to add, do so.”

Barin started reciting names with the steady, mechanical rhythm of memorization. The longer he went, the more the young Warlord Prince’s composure began to crack, and eventually Yari took over. Matin’s heart ached as the list grew, both for the victims and for the two brothers that carried their weight. The Geiba orphans who had not been adopted were Clanless, so these crimes should have been handled by the city or Territory Courts, but they seemed to always fall between the cracks. Adults were apathetic at best, and Matin had some idea of how dangerous it could be to bring attention to problems a person would rather ignore. Hadn’t that been his justification for not demanding that his Queen help them?

Once the list of names was complete, the three males began the even more difficult task of going through each, one by one, and gathering any details the boys knew and anyone who might have more information. The list became a stack of paper, each sheet representing a child who had been hurt or killed and never given justice. Sometimes one of the boys would remember another name, and it would become another piece of paper and the beginning of another file. Eventually there would be even more, but it was a beginning.

Six hours after they first sat down, silence choked the air in Matin’s office.

“Prince Barin, Mister Yari, is that all the information you have for me today?”

Exhaustion bled off of both boys, and Yari had a glassy look in his eyes.

“Yes, I’m sure there’s more but I can’t remember anything else right now. There are others though, that might know more. Specifically, one Blood Male named Khosro al-Hague. He takes care of the youngest of us and those who get sick,” Barin said, voice strained with exhaustion but back straight. “I can take you to him.”

Matin wrote down the name. He had a good sense of the important members of the Sabbah’s constituent Tribes, but that name wasn’t familiar. “Thank you, Prince. I will have you do so at a later date. For now, I need to process this paperwork and I think the two of you deserve some rest.”

His manner relaxed as he stood and rounded his desk, motioning for them to stand. He wrapped his arms around the two boys, kissing each of their foreheads in turn as he squeezed.


Written with DragonGirl



Threads   ·   Court   ·   Writer

Offline Matin al-Sabbah

  • Character Account
    • te2pd
    • wp
    • Role

      Steward

    • Faction

      Sabbah Clan

    • Territory

      Pruul

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      mu

    • Posts

      82

    • View Profile
Re: It’s not a mystery to solve. It’s a depth to drown in.
« Reply #1 on: Dec 01, 18, 08:13:45 PM »
PART II
If those who commit atrocities are an entirely different species than humans, then you could never be complicit. These impulses would not exist within you. But they do. The bad is as human as the good.
193 AP, Early Summer

Khosro al-Hague was too busy to meet with Matin at the Sabbah complex. The message Barin sent had been clear: Every minute he has is precious. If you want to talk to him, help him. Matin’s afternoon off had coincided with the younger Warlord Prince and his brother’s lessons, so was alone as he approached the ostensibly abandoned warehouse. The door was boarded over, but Barin had instructed him on which boards hung loosely enough to be pushed aside; the passway they left was clearly sized for children, but Matin squeezed through, the wood scraping against his simple dark blue kaftan.

The room’s tension was suffocating. From what Matin had been told, this was one of the few places Geiba orphans had to escape the condemnation of the rest of Pruul, and a strange adult entering the space must have felt ominous. He scanned the sporadic glow of witchlight, using every ounce of his experience to appear nonthreatening, though he avoided the Craft that would have enhanced the effect. Nothing that might be cause for alarm.

It didn’t seem to help when the first person he recognized—a young witch named Elizeh—yelped when he met her eyes and bolted to an exit on the other side of the room. The mood among the children turned from caution to fear. Before Matin could say anything to calm him, another familiar child rushed forward.

“He’s one of Barin’s. The one looking into the shit people do to us. He’s safe. You are safe, right? Cuz if you aren’t I’ll fuck you up.”

The corner of Matin’s mouth curled up. “I am safe, Niv, you have my word. You all have my word.” While the terror had subsided, the warehouse still bristled with unease. Matin spread his hands in a gesture of goodwill and surrender. “I am Prince Matin al-Sabbah, First Escort to Lady Elenor Lirion, Queen of the Sabbah. I am also, before and above those responsibilities, the father of Salma ibna Geiba al-Sabbah.”

When Niv didn’t contradict him, the children began speaking quietly among themselves. Moments later, Elizeh returned, followed closely by a young man.

“You must be Khosro,” Matin said, stepping forward.

The male dusted floured covered hands on his pants then held one out to Matin. “I am, and you must be Barin’s warned-of guest. He said you would be by. I was just kneading flatbread dough for their lunch. I can talk while I work but could also use some help. We have a lot of mouths today and I have to be back at work in an hour.”

Matin grasped the offered hand. “Matin al-Sabbah, and I would be happy to help. I brought cheese and dates as well.” Khosro didn’t look Geiba, but he must have had a parent in the Tribe, like Naya, or some other connection to them like Matin himself. “I appreciate the opportunity to speak with you.”

“Just as long as it doesn’t cause trouble for the kids, I’ll answer as honestly as I can. It’s good that someone is finally bothering to ask questions. Come on, this way, and thank you for the cheese and dates.”

They walked into what might have been a meeting room when the building was built, and now held a stone table and a smoky clay oven. Everything here was mismatched cobbled-together with an ingenuity that spoke of poverty and desperation but also of an adamant resolve to make the best use of what resources were available. Matin called two large crates to a spot that seemed out of the way. He wondered if he should have brought more, but this had been paid for out of his personal salary and not the Sabbah treasury. That had been important to him, as had coming here during his free time instead of working it into his already-cramped schedule. He was going to help these children as a representative of the Sabbah court, but he also felt an obligation to help them as a member of the Clan and the parent of one of their cousins.

A boy of eight or nine sat at the table, curly hair peeking out from the chafiye on his head. There was a tray of grain in front of him but it was momentarily forgotten, his gaze moving between Matin and Khosro and his expression unreadable. Khosro walked over to the shabby table in the center of the space and reached into a bowl, pulling a large ball of dough out onto the floured top. “Would you help me knead while we talk?”

“Of course.” Matin rolled up his sleeves and called in a clean cloth to wipe his hands on before dusting them with flour. “How did you come to work with these children? Did you have family among the Geiba?”

“That’s not a question I’m prepared to answer right now.” Kho replied, not looking up though his shoulders grew tense.

“Alright.” Matin split off a portion of dough and began kneading, the rhythm of folding and turning centering him. Any question related to the massacred Tribe could be delicate if not painful, and Matin didn’t need to know Khosro’s past to get the information he was here for. “Are you working with Lady Zhaleh? She has an allocation of court funds for  the orphans. From what Barin told me, the ones you are helping are some of those who need it the most.”

That was, hopefully, a safer question to start with.

Kho hesitated, then nodded. “Sometimes. She’s given a little here and there but most of the ones here are not… easy to accept. I think the term was ‘not a sound investment.’ I make do with what I can earn and what the children bring in. Prince Barin helps too, he has a whole network of people who donate food, the occasional coin, and water to the children here and other small groups like this one.”

Matin frowned slightly. He would have to look into the exact wording of his mother’s instructions, but he didn’t think that Elenor had intended for the money to go primarily to children who already had access to resources.

“There is a limit to what I can do until my Lady returns, but I will see if we can do more. The least among us should not be the least served.” In terms of raw power, he was the only member of the Sabbah Triangle in the Territory and could have done nearly anything he wanted, but taking too much would only hurt the Geiba long-term. “My primary reason for being here, however, is to gather information on people who have committed crimes against the children.” He glanced at the boy, whose mouth moved silently while he stared at them. This could be a difficult topic for someone so young, but Matin trusted Khosro to know whether the child should stay or leave.

“Barin has his list, you’ve talked to him. I’ll answer what questions I can. There are several among the children I am aware of who have suffered greatly… and most who have done harm to them have never shown remorse. Elizeh and Dori are the two that spring to mind most urgently.”

“Thank you. I have met Lady Elizeh briefly and hope to speak with Dori soon. Do you think either of them is in immediate danger?”

They continued to speak while they worked, Matin occasionally pausing to take notes. About the children, about other adults who were helping them, about people he knew or suspected had hurt them in the past. Matin was exhausted when they finished preparing the meal, but he helped distribute the bread, lentils and cheese to the children. There were more of them than there had been when he arrived, and as he served them he noticed the older children helping the younger, the stronger-looking ones sharing their food with those who seemed most haunted by hunger.

Once all of them were eating, Matin joined their caretaker in the kitchen.

“Lord Khosro, I’m afraid I must return to my other duties. Thank you again for the information, and the opportunity to help.”

Khosro nodded then seemed to hesitate. Carefully he looked up at Matin. “Prince Sabbah, would you agree that these children need me and people like me?”

Matin nodded. Was the Blood Male asking for some kind of personal favor? Or did he fear retribution if his involvement with the Geiba became public?

“Justice is important and these kids deserve it, but in looking into this you might find… other things. Mistakes that were made that never were brought to the attention of the law but that Prince Barin has… attended to. These include the man, then teen, who was among those who injured Prince Masuod. I’m paying a Price and will be for the rest of my life. If the Queen asks for a further price these children will be on their own… I’m not a coward and I’m not a liar, but some things are better left as well-known secrets.”

Matin gave Kho a long, thoughtful look. “If there is a chance that this information might surface some other way, it will reflect much better on you if it comes from you. Your fate would be up to Lady Elenor, but I can recommend that your past and continued service to these children and care of Prince Masuod, as well as your cooperation in this investigation, be counted as fair penalty for your crime. The Queen is looking for justice, not vengeance, and I do not believe you are in danger from her.”

The young man still hesitated, then spoke softly, first the names of four Hague and Sabbah men. “They and I found Masuod and hurt him for sport. I would plead mob mentality but that doesn’t matter. He was hurt and has never recovered and no one looking on ever said a word.” He listed six more names, of older men and women Khosro knew had witnessed the crime but had never reported it. “They said we were just kids being dumb. They never give the Geiba the same leniency.”

Matin clenched his jaw. It was clear that Kho had been with his charges for several years and Masuod was… young. The Prince couldn’t have been much older that Salma was now when this happened. The part of Matin that was a father rushed with bitter anger on Masuod’s behalf and fear for his own child’s future, but this was not the time for those emotions. He added the names to his notes before speaking.

“Thank you. Those who were minors at the time will likely be given leniency, but the bystanders… I hope my Lady will make them into a lesson on the responsibility adults carry in such matters.”

“Thank you. Just… if that isn’t how it goes and you bring this to the Queen, make sure that these little ones are not forgotten about.”

Matin lowered his head.

“I swear by all that I am.”


Written with DragonGirl



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