As soon as the doors closed behind us, Éif, who had joined Dalz, began to fume.
“He shouldn’t have been that rough,” she said, referring to Arril’s searching of my mind.
“He did what he had to.”
Éif shook her head. “No, he did it because he hates you. I can’t believe they are going to search your mind again!”
“Éif, it could have been worse. I could have been banished,” I said softly.
She sighed. “Yes… I guess… But Râegan, what they’re doing to you… it’s… unfair.”
“They do what they must.”
“No, they do what they want to…” she muttered. “They’re just punishing you because they think you’re too young and reckless, and they hope that you’ll stop.”
Éif sighed in frustration. “How can you be so calm?! You’re going to be imprisoned for two days because of their judgement. Their unfair judgement. How can you stand it? How can you just let them?!”
“Éif, she chooses to accept her punishment as she will,” Dalz said. “Do not give her grief about it.”
Éif looked between the two of us. “You Sivvas… You’re a strange kind.”
“Éif,” Dalz sighed.
She shook her head. “You’re crazy. Both of you. I can’t believe you’re just letting this happen. Letting her be punished.”
“If I resist, the punishment will be worse,” I reminded her. “It is best to allow it while the punishment is simple enough.”
We reached my cell. My magic items were still there. Dalz took them.
“I’ll keep them safe for you until your punishment is done,” he promised. He gestured into the room. “In you go.”
I walked in, sitting down on the bed. A minute later, the door was closed and the magic lock activated.
My punishment had begun.
Hours passed. The door opened, and Arril came in.
“Good day,” I said, inclining my head in his direction.
“We’re here to investigate your memories,” he said simply.
Then his mind met mine, with even more force than before as he searched my memories.
“Ha. Weak,” Karnax laughed.
I tried to gather my thoughts together, but I couldn’t. He advanced on me. And then figures- the other Sivvas- appeared around me.
We had to save you.
Then it changed.
The dragon roared as it was pulled back by Hâfléngs. They tried to stop me, but I fought back. Then my magic returned, flooding back into me. The leader of the Hâfléngs laughed. Magic distracted me, and all the held back magic exploded.
Reckless. You should have been able to control it.
Karnax, with a smirk on his face. He turned the dial on the machine. I remained stubbornly silent. Then the heat was too great, and I let out a soft cry of pain.
Summoning the full force of my mind, I forced Arril out.
“What do you think you’re doing?!” he snarled.
“The real question is what do you think you’re doing. You said you were examining my memories to make sure no magic was placed in them, and for more information on Karnax,” I hissed. “Instead, you search for weaknesses to hold against me! The charges were already settled.”
Arril’s eyes blazed. “Remember your place, girl!”
“I am remembering my place,” I replied angrily. “You would do best to remember yours!”
I should not have spoken so brazenly. Arril’s eyes narrowed, and he took a step towards me.
“Would you like to challenge my authority here, girl?” he snapped.
I let my eyes drop from his, forcing my anger away.
Control your temper, Râegan!
“Good. It is not your place to tell me what I can and can’t do. Now open your mind.”
I reluctantly allowed him to search my mind again. He was even more vicious than before, but I bore it stoically, my hands clenched at my sides as he forced his way through my memories.
Finally, he was done.
He didn’t say a word to me, just left.
I slumped back onto the cot, exhausted.
One more day… just one… that’s all…
The next day, the experience was the same. Arril searched my mind, almost daring me to challenge him, and force him out as I had done before. But I wasn’t an idiot. Doing that would just put myself at a greater risk. Arril may have even been able to change the punishment to make it more severe if I resisted. So I waited, hands clenched, as he examined my memories. After he finished, once again he left without a word.
Later that day, Dalz and Éif came to tell me that my punishment was over.
I walked out of my cell. “Thank you.”
Both of them nodded.
“Are you alright?” Éif asked?
“That fool Arril didn’t...”
She shook her head. “I was worried he might have done something to you…”
“Éif, you know he would not have.”
“I know he would have!”
I sighed, shaking my head. “Éif, you are speaking of matters that are greater than yourself. You have to understand this. These matters, they are greater than me. Karnax is dangerous. If he had tampered with my mind, I could be dangerous as well. Also, a weak Sivva is easy to manipulate, therefore I would be a chink, a weak spot in our armor. A problem that needs to be fixed.”
“Râegan, you’re their strongest Sivva. You’re not a weak point, you’re a strong point. They’re fools to not recognize this!”
“Enough!” I snapped.
She fell silent.
“I understand your concern for me. I understand your anger at the other Sivvas. But for Åethril’s sake, Éif, get ahold of yourself! It won’t do you any good to be ranting at the Sivvas about unfair judgement! That could result in you being punished as well, and there’s no use in that. Just leave that to me, alright?”
She nodded frustratedly. “Fine…”
I shook my head. “It is pointless to speak out against the Sivvas. They will do as they please. Even,” I held up my hands to forestall her next words, “if what they do is harsh, or even possibly wrong. The law is what it is, and there is nothing we can do to change it. We must simply go along with it.”
“Always the perfect law follower, aren’t you Râegan… the ‘perfect’ Sivva…” Éif sighed. “You always seem to follow everything they say, don’t you?”
I laughed. “Hardly. But I know what my place is, and I do my best to keep it as it is, without making things even more difficult.”
“But what is your place, Râegan?” Éif asked gently. “A law-abiding Sivva, who follows the rules of the council without question? Or are you someone who thinks for herself?”
“Enough, Éif,” I said wearily. “Let me deal with the matters that I know best.”
“But what do you know best?” Éif pressed. “Obedience?”
“I am what I am, Éif,” I sighed. “Just leave me alone.”
Then I turned and walked away, ignoring the soft sound of protest that she made.
I heard footsteps behind me, then Dalz’s voice.
“You’re hurt, aren’t you Râegan.”
“Yes,” I replied without turning around.
“You feel they treat you wrongly? Judge you too harshly?”
I sighed. “I am nothing to them, Dalz. They were too willing to believe I was a traitor, a spy, some weapon of Karnax’s.”
“That’s not all though,” Dalz said instantly.
Why are you so good at reading people? I wondered, shaking my head.
“There is nothing else, Dalz. Leave me alone.”
“What will you do?”
“What I should. Return to my studies.”
I turned and walked away, leaving Dalz behind as well, and returning to what I knew best. No more trials, no more false accusations, no more danger. At least things would be better there.