“The accused, please step forward.”
This whole experience was humiliating. How many were here? Hundreds? And all of the Fourteen. He must have really caused a stir, then. Unmasked, wearing a simple linen shirt and trousers, a man limped forward onto the pedestal. His hands were shackled with glowing chains, but he wasn’t struggling against them. He looked up at the line of seated figures though a mess of long, black hair. Most of it had fallen out of the loose ponytail he had hastily put it in.
The members of the Convocation all stared down at him, expressions hidden behind masks. Of course he wouldn’t be allowed the luxury of hiding his face. He would stand trial here, laid bare for all to see.
“Hephaestus. You stand accused of crimes of the noble art of creation and crimes against nature.”
Who was speaking? Ah yes, of course. Lahabrea. His honeyed tones would surely win over the crowd. Hephaestus tuned out the words. He knew the crimes, he didn’t need them repeated at him by some overdramatic Speaker. Crimes, he thought. According to whom? Yes, the Fourteen were the most powerful among them all, but does that give them the right to dictate what was and was not allowed to be created? Besides, no one had been harmed by his creations.
No one, save himself.
His mind turned to that day. The creature, made to act as a guard, had turned against him. The roars of the malformed thing had drawn others to him, finding the man bleeding out, leg almost completely removed. It was by luck that he didn’t lose it, but it left him with a permanent limp. That is when his other experiments had been discovered. Hence why he was now here, for all to see.
They could have at least let him have his cane.
The list went on and on, detailing the horrid creatures he had created. Were he not already convinced judgment had been passed, he would have raised an objection here. Why not make creatures to use for defense? Surely the peace they knew now would not last forever. Having a defense would ensure their future. But this was all for show now, he knew. He was being made an example of.
“And finally. Hephaestus. You stand accused of attempting to tamper with the Underworld.” Lahabrea’s words were met with mutters from the audience.
“Ah…” It was the first sound Hephaestus had made since he appeared on the pedestal. So, that little detail was found out. He scanned the Convocation until his eyes met one particular member. One member who was looking slightly away.
“Of course.” The words were hushed. Hephaestus couldn’t help a sad smile. This wasn’t a betrayal, really. Hades had a duty to the Convocation, after all. It wasn’t a surprise he would report something like this.
“How do you plea?” It wasn’t Lahabrea who spoke this time, but Elidibus, now standing, resplendent in his white robes.
“Does it matter?” Hephaestus replied. Despite his soft voice, the words carried through the hall. “Deliver your judgement, Elidibus, and let us end this charade.”
More mutters from the crowd, and even among the Convocation. But all fell silent when Elidibus raised a hand. “For these crimes, you will be delivered to our most skilled sorcerers, where all your magicks will be sealed.”
Now that surprised him. And from the sounds from the crowd, he was not the only one. Hephaestus’ shoulders slumped. Killing your fellow man was greatly frowned upon in Amaurot, but he almost wished they would just execute him. Now he would be made to linger in this world, powerless.
Or...so they thought. They were all too wrapped up in what the arcane could do, they all seemed to have forgotten what good, honest tinkering could also do. Hephaestus was careful not to let any emotion show on his face. This wasn’t a complete defeat, he would recover. He would find a way to still create.
Hephaestus was silent as he was led away by two sorcerers. He didn’t look back at the Convocation has he left, but he felt their eyes on him. He wouldn’t give them the satisfaction of him pleading for mercy. No, in time, they will be shown that you do not have to be a sorcerer to achieve great things.
Since the trial, new rules had been set in place. All creations must be regulated and registered, with strict standards, else history repeat itself.