What follows is the beginning of my 2009 National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo or NaNo for short) submission. The idea is from two years ago (!), right around NaNo time as well. I think I considered it but did not get to writing it because in some way, I had thought that the world needed to be different somehow. In fact I have an outline that tries to put a spin on almost everything. Like the technology was different from ours. For one thing, each house had it’s own power source which was a steam generator. This year I’m not doing that but I am striving to make it clear it is not our time and place. Below, you may notice a few things that are slightly different from what we have here, but I kept names of this world. (thank you behindthename.com – best tool for finding character names)
Title: “The Power of the Exiled”
Read the first part
The Prisoners were brought in and lined up in the center of the room. The five of them were all in grey tunics that were dirty and ripped. None of them were fortunate enough to have shoes but their ankles were still cuffed, leading to raw and chafed feet. As they walked, a dull scraping could be heard as the chains dragged across the floor. If one were to look closely at their faces, they would see sunken eyes with dark circles around them and pointy cheekbones. The Prisoners had not been allowed to eat or sleep for days.
They faced benches that filled one side of the triangular cave-like room. Occupying these benches were various members of the Government who played the roles of judge and jury. Torches were the only illumination and the light they gave was flickering at best. Besides the massive benches, several small tables were set up for the scribes who were bent over their massive roles of parchment in order to see what they were writing.
In the center of the benches, the one official in White, signifying he was the highest in the group stood up, “Miles Baris, Rose Cadwallader, Leon Tupper, Ryan Flynn and James Meyer, you all have been charged and convicted of multiple counts of treason, conspiracy and inciting public disturbances. Do you have anything to say for yourselves before you receive your sentence?”
The man that took a step forward to speak was tall, and less battered than his fellow compatriots. “We only wish to tell you that we have done no wrong and no matter what the punishment is, we still believe in our message,” he said defiantly as he stared straight at the high judge.
A sneer came over the judge’s face and a slight murmur of laughter could be heard throughout the room. The high judge silenced the room with one word. “Very well. You are hereby sentenced to become permanent residents of the alternate dimension known informally as Exile. May the Almighty have mercy on your souls.” As the newly Condemned were heralded out the door, he looked for any sign of fear in the their faces. Finding none, he muttered “Not that it is going to help much.”
Most of the Judges remained seated, but a few, including the high judge, rose from their seats and proceeded through a small door behind the benches. They crossed a corridor that was hewn out of the same material as the mock courtroom was and entered another triangular room. Only this room was smaller and it had a single bench with a single table for a scribe. Most of the room was taken up by what was known informally as the Exiler. A large square platform had two pillars rising out of it in the middle. On these pillars were numerous dials and other things that were being manipulated by a couple of men in lab coats. Above them, connected to the two pillars was a upside down bell with a cone pointed down attached to it. A low continuous hum was emanating from the machine. Connected to the bell was a massive globe. Inside a miniature Maelstrom of clouds and lightning roared, but no sound escaped from the glass.
“Alvis,” the high judge called with a cold voice. One of the men in the lab coats came scurrying down from the machine. “Is the Exiler charged?”
“Almost my Lord,” Alvis said with a slight bow. “It should be ready by the time the Condemned come in. My Lord will be pleased to know we have fixed the problem from last time.”
“Very Good, Alvis. Remain here though. I may want you to describe how our little… contraption works to them.” The high judge turned to the scribe who had followed the party into the Exiler room. “Send then in.” He proceeded to the bench and sat down at the center, with the other judges and officials filling in next to him. The same door opened and a guard came in leading the five Condemned. Like in the previous room, they were lined up so they faced the bench. Miles took center and stared down the high judge while Leon and Rose were immediately on his left and right and James and Ryan were at either end. Though they were about to meet the end on this plane of existence they still managed to find strength to cross their arms and stand tall.
Seeing this, the high judge decided to toy with them. “Do you know what is behind you?”
“No.” Miles shot back.
“It is what we call an Exiler. As you might have guessed, we use it to Exile you, to force you into the alternate dimension. I’ll let Alvis describe how it works.”
Alvis stepped more into the light. “Well it’s really quite simple actually. We channel energy from the lightning in the Maelstrom globe and polarize it. Then we send it through your body. It’s not enough to kill you but it is enough to send you to Exile. You will no longer be seen nor heard from anyone still in this dimension, and you will not be able to affect anything in this dimension either. You will be cut off from the world, completely invisible. And-”
“Thank you Alvis,” the high judge cut off the scientist, “You many return to your post now.” Alvis scurried back up to his pillar, and took some final measurements. “And I bet, Mr. Baris, that having all that energy being forced into your body is quite… painful,” and the high judge looked directly at Miles, who still stood staring and unmoving. “Though I wouldn’t know myself.” The judge’s lip started to curl.
The high judge turned to face the last man at the end of the bench. “Respected Malone, do you mind if you give the Last Blessing collectively instead of individually to save time?”
“Not at all Lord Duffy,” Malone said as he rose from the bench. He raised his arms and closed his eyes. “Almighty, we ask to you to hold these souls in your hands and wash them clean of all their transgressions,” he opened his eyes and stared straight at the Condemned, “if they be of your plan. Watch over theses wayward people as they cross over from our world into Exile. If they be of a penitent nature. We say this because we believe in the Almighty.”
“We say this because we believe in the Almighty.” Lord Duffy and the others repeated as Malone sat down again. The Condemned remained silent throughout the “blessing”. “Now, who should go first?” Lord Duffy asked.
“I will,” Ryan said. He was led to the platform and placed under the bell. Alvis adjusted the cone so it hovered just above Ryan’s head. His fellow scientist calibrated the Exiler and threw the final lever. The two men jumped off the platform as the humming increased. The machine slowly came to life. Suddenly a bright flash reflected off the glass and the room was cast in illumination for a brief moment. A massive boom startled almost everyone in the room, except Alvis and his co-worker. The light snaked its way from the globe into the bell as the noise increased. Ryan could feel the whole machine vibrating with energy. Above him, the bell and cone were shaking vigorously. As the energy left the tip of the cone and entered Ryan, he screamed in surprise and pain. A moment later he was gone.
“Next?” Lord Duffy said. Rose tentatively stepped forward. Of the remaining four, she was the palest. She was unable to get up onto the platform herself because she was so weak and scared. The guard had to help her up and hand her off to Alvis. The processes was repeated and the machine was calibrated for her. After the flash and boom, Rose started to cry. Her sobs were swallowed up by the noise of the machine, but the light from the snaking energy was reflected in her tears. With a high pitched shriek she was gone as well.
Leon then James went next, which left Miles to watch his comrades Exiled. Though the high judge could not see his face, he did notice a slight shiver with each scream. After James disappeared Miles walked part of the way to the machine. But before he jumped up, he turned around. “Help us Andrew! Only you can help us! Meet us in the forest on Tuesday!” He yelled.
“Stop him!” the high judge roared. The guards rushed at Miles as Alvis quickly calibrated the machine for its next victim. But Miles was to quick. He dashed under the cone just as the energy had reached it and with a loud scream, he was gone…
…Andrew woke up suddenly, just before his alarm went off. What a weird dream! And it was not the first time he had it either. Each time he watched as Miles, James, Leon, Ryan and Rose were sent to the Exiler. And each time he saw them one by one disappear. It was the same every time, right up until it was Miles turn. He had never called out to Andrew before. It just made this dream ever weirder, and if Andrew was honest with himself, a tad unsettling.
He didn’t know how he had come up with the dream. He never saw anything like the tribunal in real life and never heard of the Exiler either. But somehow by seeing their apparent destructions at least six times now, Andrew felt like he knew Miles and his compatriots. He had a gut feeling that what they stood for was right, even though he didn’t know what exactly it was. More importantly, what was done to them was wrong. He also knew that somehow, he should help them, especially if they weren’t Exiled yet. Maybe somehow, he could prevent it from happening.
But the problem was that he didn’t know how he could help them.