Book 10 - The Shattered Axe - Chapter 22: Friend or Traitor

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httyyd
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Joined: 10/12/2013

Finding the time to write these last few weeks has been a challenge because the down time at work has been few and far between and then the time during the week has been just the same.  Then a werid case of writer's block where I know where I want to go but just how to get there was difficult to figure out.

 

Slowly but surely, I completed this chapter.

 

Are you prepared for what this chapter has to offer?

 

I hope you enjoy!

 

(Okay, when did the edit return for the original post of a thread?  Now I can copy paste my chapters into the original post of a thread...  But if I click reply to the thread and try to post a copied segement of words to the reply, it won't copy over.  I am pleased that the edit button is back, but confused why I can't copy paste words into a simply reply to the original post.  I guess this is what I get for not being really on the forum for about a month.)

 

Here is the epic music mix for the chapter:

Audiomachine - Destroyer Of Worlds | 2022 Dark Powerful Aggressive Apocalyptic Battle

 

The Shattered Axe

Chapter 22

Friend or Traitor

 

Jarl's Point of View

 

         Do I stop and tell my crew potentially alerting Khaos?

         Do I stop as Samantha did in the darkness after Turn One and give myself a little bit of time to see what is up, eventually alerting Khaos?

         Wait, do I let Anora race while I jump off and see where Samantha went?

         Maybe I planned too many plans to choose from.

         Whatever I choose to do, I have until the next Sheep Lap to find Samantha.  That is now less than ten minutes.

         I wait until Anora and I are crossing the start-finish line on the next lap to tap her on her neck.  She looks back.

         I signal with my finger rotating in a circle in the direction of the track then lean in to say, “Keep flying.”

         Anora nods her head.  By taking a wide line after the start-finish, she begins to set up a very tight and high entry into Turn One.  I also slow her down a bit to let the “Samantha” rider pass us so when Anora rounds the corner, I can activate one of the contingencies plans I had told the crew could happen.

 

         A few days ago, when I did get some practice time on the circuit, my crew and I practiced a Dragons Only Race, meaning no rider.  Anora, Fredrick, Ultra Violet, Electic, Windshear, Spiker, Star Scream, Marigold, and Fintan all raced each other.  But to get them to race each other, Dragon Riders who had Dragon Flight Suits rode the various dragons.  So, not all dragons were flown with their respective owner, such as Vixxen racing Fredrick for example.  My Thunderdrum seemed excited to race with Vixxen riding him.  A very small thing now, but in hindsight, extremely massive for Fredrick to willingly let Vixxen on his back.

         Long story short, we all flew the dragons for a few laps before we signaled and or gave a command to the dragons to continue racing without a rider.  The rider would jump off the dragon using their Flight Suit to glide down to safety.  Some hilarious results on the first few tries, both viking gliding down and dragon trying to save rider who was “in danger” as they saw it.  But after the fourth attempt, we got all the dragons to complete a forty-lap sprint.

         See where I am going?

         My crew has been wanting to start a rider free racing series to help train dragons for…  Times when a dragon will have to fly in battle without a rider.  Surely not because we were expecting any unique situations to occur during the race.  Once trained, the dragons can make critical decisions and help in battle without feeling overwhelmed in the chaos or solely wanting to rescue or protect its rider when the rider is just fine.  Instead of the dragons wondering, “Where did my rider go?”, asking instead, “What target should I attack next?”

         All this was done to mask what we really were planning for in case Khaos was watching our practice sessions.  Mask pun intended.  You know…  Khaos have full mask helmets?  Anyway, this was the plan if something suspicious happened on the track and I was the only one to notice.  And of course, not wanting to tip our hand with Khaos at the race, this whole practiced maneuver could be done under the cover of night and used in the various blind spots from the crowd around the track.  Also banking on racers being so focused on the race, that once in the blind spot, no one will be the wiser.  I had a hunch whatever Samantha was planning had to deal with the cliff area on the west side, after Turn One.  This is the biggest blind spot from the racers rounding Turn One, so for vikings up to no good it would be the perfect spot.  Because this is the only area on the island that would not have any one from Aberdeen or anyone in my crew patrolling.  The latter was on purpose to encourage what Samantha needs to happen so we can catch her.  As much as Samantha said she could figure out what she needed by tonight, she is not getting off this island, whether she likes it or not.

 

         Nearing the turn, I unhook my safety hooks, as much as I can I subtly take my feet out of the stirrups, lean down my arms to ready my flight suit – which operates much like Hiccup’s – and then the moment Anora rounds the corner…  I jump!

         I glide over the trees, still carrying Anora’s speed I create enough lift to extend my flight.  Cutting the distance to the cliff area in half, I start the approach.  Now with less than half the speed, I dive between a row of trees, spot a strong branch in front of me, aim and fire my grappling hook.  The hook wraps around the branch, I lock the chain, and commit to the swing.  There are some small branches I have to muscle my way through, there is noise so not the most subtle descent.  The Dragon Armor can take this kind of beating in stride.  At the bottom apex of the swing, I prepare to cut the line when the swing arcs me up.  Once I do, I therefore free run through the branches as I work my way down.  The land around here is ascending up to the cliff area, at this point the ground is only twenty feet below and increasingly getting closer.  I use my momentum to my advantage to make up the distance to the cliff I still have to go.  Stepping on the branches to leap to the next, grabbing one to swing to another along the path, dodging and weaving my way through the maze of wood, I eventually land and roll forward to absorb the rest of the energy from my trek.

         Now on the ground, there is about fifteen yards to my goal as well as scaling the rest of the hill, this area is littered in boulders and trees still.  While I go, I keep a keen eye for anyone around.  However, no one in their right mind would be over here because I assume there is a small path from the south leading to the cliff area allowing for easy access.  Only idiots would come from the thick forest and rock climb, taking the hardest path possible, even when said idiot has a grappling hook to bypass the boulders.  But the idiot wants to stay stealthy.  Besides, where is the fun in settling for the easy way?  Where is the fun in that?  Everyone does the easy way.  Only an elite group can overcome the hard way.

         Finally reaching the edge of the area, I have to take a moment to catch my breath.  Also, the packs of dragons still racing by made me flinch the first time.  The sound of them screaming by as well as the whistle as they fly through the air is loud, brash, and awesome.  Come to think of it, I have been in more races than I have watched, so this is relatively new to hear.

         This took too much time to get here, but at least my ruse is intact.  The crowd sounds fine as if nothing has changed.  However, I feel I only have five minutes to have time to spare for rejoining the race before the Sheep Laps are over.  This is when everyone will know something is wrong.

         When a lull between the dragon packs came, I heard voices.  Refocused, I ease my way around the cover of the boulders to hear what they are saying.

         One of them is definitely Samantha.  It is slightly muffled so she must still have on her helmet.

         She barks, “Where is he?”

         Another woman’s voice answers, audibly trembling, “I…  I don’t know.  He- He never tells me.”

         “You must know!”  Samantha demands.  “You’ve got to know!”

         Suddenly, I hear a smack and landed on the ground…  Such as a body crumbling under the weight of a hit!

         At this moment, I pop my head around a column of rock without realizing Samantha is right there.  Thankfully, her back is turned.  I see her standing over the woman.  The woman sounds young, but her short stature could be misleading for the features on her face look older.  Yes, it is dark, but there is the orange hue over the entire island from all the fire stacks.  This creates enough of a difference, plus my eyes have gotten used to this type of dark.

         “Please, p…  Please, don’t hurt me.  I’ve done everything Khaos has asked of me.  I- I swear I don’t know.”

         “Not the answer I was looking for.”

         “No!” the woman pleads.  “Please, don’t hu-.”

         Samantha…  She…  I cannot…  I am shocked.

         Not only does Samantha kick the woman in the gut with her still on the ground Samantha reaches down with her left hand, grabs the woman’s shift, stands her up, and punches the woman in the face!

         Now, Samantha with both hands holds the scruff of the shirt and shakes the woman, “You must know!”

         “I beg you…  No…  No more.”

         Samantha lets the woman alone and they stand face to face, “If you won’t disclose his location, then Khaos has no use for you.  You can-.”

         The woman gasps, then falls forward, hits the ground, not even trying to break her fall.  Her body just goes limp.  Samantha stands there, not moving, looking at the woman.  Then it dawns on me.

         Samantha abruptly darts towards the cliff.  I intercept her by tackling her to the ground.  Before I could stand up, Stormstar jumps in, throwing her spikes at me.  Like at me, at me.  Both Samantha and I had to dive out of the way, though now she is next to her dragon.  Samantha stops her dragon from firing again.  But as I stand up, Samantha draws a knife and Stormstar spreads her spikes, ready to fire again.

         Samantha ironically says, “This is not what it looks like.”

         “A former friend has drawn a knife on me, and her dragon just tried to kill me.  And to top it off, a woman is dead because I let you go.  I won’t make that mistake twice.”

         “I did not kill her.”

         I laugh, “Oh sure.  She just fell over on her own, face planting on the ground.”

         “Exactly.”

         I am in disbelief, shaking my head, “Samantha, I saw what you did to that woman.  What you said before you…  No, I can’t let you go this time.”

         “You trusted me before.  You won’t be sorry if you do it again.”

         “NO!” I snap.  “I only trust my friends.  Not traitors!”

         As Samantha tries to utter another excuse, I whip my helmet off and fling it at Stormstar’s head.  I rush Samantha and dive at her, causing us both to cascade off the cliff!

         Samantha yells, “What are you doing?”

         “Making sure you can’t escape or let Khaos rescue you,” I reply.

         Samantha does not fight me as we free fall.  I could have used my grappling hook, but I reacted too fast to have even gotten it ready.  Not to mention, I am not letting Samantha out of my grasp again.  We both brace for the inevitable splash, my heart racing.

         Speaking of racing…

         There is one still going on.

         We never come close to the water but are caught in mid-air by a dragon.  Not just any dragon, but one golden Monstrous Nightmare with a rider of none other than Jason Ketell.

         As Samantha and I hold on to the leading edge of Jomar’s wings, Jason shouts, “What in the blue blazes are you doing?  Why aren’t you on-?”

         I interrupt, finding the words for this unusual situation, “Long story, tell you later.  Just get me to my crew on the mountain.”

         “Pfft, I ain’t stopping for that.  You’ve slowed me down enough, I’m still in first!”

         I counter, “If you want the extra weight to slow you down even more, go ahead.  But people will admire you for rescuing two riders.”

         That made him pause, then veer off to the right to take the Sheep Lap line.  He drops me and Samantha off.

         I say, “Thank you, Jason,” as he immediately lifts off, looking back without saying a word.

         My crew rushes up to me and are shocked to find me standing here, let alone Samantha too.

         Cullan begins to ask, “Why aren’t you on-?”

         “No time to explain,” I hurriedly interrupt.  “Heather, take Samantha into custody.  Vixxen, go over to the west side on the cliff area.  The area needs to be secured immediately.”

         Vixxen left without hesitation or without needing to know why.  That question was asked by Heather.

         “What happened?  Why do you have Samantha with you?”

         I sigh because I still cannot believe it, “I saw a woman hidenext to Samantha.”

         Samantha whispers not totally wanting to be heard, “I didn’t do it.”

           Ignoring her remark, I add, “Samantha ran again, and I could not let her go again this time.”

         “Again?” Heather echoes.

         “I’ll explain later,” I assure.  “Be on high alert, Khaos knows we know now at this point, now we need to go along as if I was separated from my dragon.  Maybe we can catch them in the act too.”

         “Alright,” Heather replies.  “But this is the last Sheep Lap.  If you don’t score here, you will drop a lap.”

         “Does it really matter at this point?  But I’ll continue for the sake of keeping the ruse up for Khaos.  Get to the Sheep Launcher, I’ll get on Anora.  You guys launch the sheep for our Last Lap Strategy.  Anora and I will be ready.”

         Everyone scatters to accomplish their task and give me the room to flag down Anora who is coming around.  Waving my hands and letting out Anora’s Razorwhip call, she spots me.  I start running in the direction of the track then look back to see where Anora is coming in from.  She rolls to the left to fly upside down to let me jump up.  When I grab the handlebars, the jolt causes me to grimace under the strain.  I swing myself up on the saddle, while Anora continues the roll to the left to help my swinging motion land myself in the seat of the saddle.

         With no time to relax, I hear my sheep being launched.  Still flying dangerously close to the ground, we see the sheep arcing down from the mountain towards the docks.  We have just enough room to dive down to the sea level, fly under the sheep, I catch a face full of wool, and Anora banks hard to the left to keep the momentum we gained.  The left tip of her wing slices through the water’s edge.  Anora uses this to stop a bit of her speed, so that we do not have a wide exit out of the corner.  Her built-up energy carries us to the start-finish line where I have to start my throw towards my Sheep Basket much earlier than normal because we are maintaining so much speed.

         Without looking back, I hear the roars from the crowd.  It must have gone in.

         I have lost track of where I am in placing.  But the one thing I do know, Jason and Jomar are in first.  If I pass them, then I win.

         Leaning down to Anora, I tell her, “It’s go time!”

         No helmet is a bit of a problem for me as the wind is pelting me in the face.  I forget what it is like flying without a face shield, however, it is still what I have been doing for years flying before I had the Flight Suit.  Just not used to doing it in a race as of late.  Also, with the Deathsong Amber in the helmet, seeing a race without a hint of orange hue is strange.

         The last third of the race went by in a flash.  It is difficult to maintain focus with my brain getting sidetracked every time I went past the cliff area after Turn One.  Anora took over flying for the most part, although some abrupt maneuvering was needed when passing some racers.

         By the time the last Sheep Laps came, the original gameplan was to go on the second Sheep Lap, since there would be the usual suspects on Lap One and some more trying to be copying my crew’s strategy on the Last Lap.  Going where everyone is not, is the strategy in a nutshell.  How we go about shooting the sheep is another.

         Coming around to the Sheep Launching area right before the first Sheep Lap, I tap Anora to roar two times.  This signals my crew to wait until the second of the Sheep Laps to fire.  Knowing that I must focus for these, I forget about what has happened here tonight to complete my task of finishing this race.  Pointing Anora in the direction of the tightest lines on the track to squeeze out as much time saved as possible.  We duck out of the way of cliff faces, tree branches, and ship masts, even other racers.  At this point, instinct took over.  I am back in the zone.

         More racers than anticipated went on the first lap, which was great.  While they flew up to catch their sheep, Anora and I swoop underneath to pass the biggest pack of dragons that I could never catch the last several laps.  By my count, I should be Top Ten or better.  As I round the last two turns, I can see Jason and his Nightmare nearing the start-finish line.  Only five dragons in front of me, so I am just outside the Top Five.  He did not have a sheep with him.  Knowing him, he is going to copy my crew’s strategy of a last lap toss.

         Anora catches the draft of the sixth place Nadder.  We have the momentum and the speed, yet the racer ahead is sticking to the middle.  To use as little movement as possible, I nudge the reins down to slip underneath the dragon and above the Sheep Baskets.  The move gets the attention of the crowd.  They are shocked.  The Nadder and racer now behind me are most shocked too.

         At the corner of Turn One, I am already setting up my line for the Sheep Lap.  I take a slightly higher, in elevation, line than normal.  Though I may be out of the wake of the Changewing in front of me, the dragon is small.  Anora’s profile is larger and would catch wind drag anyway.  While I may lose a couple of tenths now, I will make them up later and then some.  Sometimes one has to go slow to go fast.

         I stay to the right flank of the Changewing, but then start the bank of my turn into the next corner very early.  Though I pass the Changewing going into the turn, the Changewing technically takes the better line and crosses me over to pass me back.  Because of my early entry, I have a late exit.  This is on purpose.  Knowing the Changewing would be in front of me, they would have been slightly distracted by my move and have a loss of momentum.  I catch their draft and have better speed exiting the corner even without the preferred line.  This all sets up the gameplan.

         While the other racers will have their sheep shot at them or straight up in the air, they will have a quick moving target coming at them.  One of the key components of my crew’s strategy is to shoot the sheep in the direction of the fastest racing line of the current track.  Timing is everything.  The previous Sheep Lap was a lot closer to the maximum of the margin of error than I would like.  It may not have been pretty, but it worked.  This time will be how the second Sheep Lap should have been like.  Anything shot out of a catapult or bow launcher will quickly slow down on its upward trajectory.  But if you launch it straight out, the speed of the release will last longer before the object catches the wind resistance and slows the object down tremendously.  Although if you shoot it straight out, gravity will make up most of the lost speed from wind resistance.  If things go according to plan, picking up the sheep will be as simple as walking past a table with your favorite mug on it and picking it up.  The sheep will essentially be matching your dragon’s speed for a short window where you reach out and grab it as if it were the mug on the table.  Yet, instead of a walk, all this is done at breakneck speeds.

         All the racers move to the left side of the track to receive their sheep, while Anora and I stay straight after taking the slight left turn.  We essentially make Turns Two and Three into one large, sweeping turn to take a closer, direct path to the sheep.  This is the better line to make to not lose time, but if you take the faster line and miss your sheep, you are done.  They took the cautious approach.  Any time any other racer moves out of the racing line, you can gain time.  By hugging the right side of the track, you set up the last corner nicely by essentially going straight across the top edge of the mountain and then banking hard into the final corner.  I should be able to pass everyone by taking this line.

         My crew sees my trajectory and fires my sheep out over the edge.  Anora and I catch up to the sheep, diving underneath the sheep, I censored the sheep out of the air.  It bleats the entire way.  After catching it, there is still one more dragon to pass as I start my dive to the docks.  But the Zippleback is coming from my direct left, nearly perpendicular to Anora and me, to take an outside approach to the final corner.  My line is set up to take the inside, so we barely miss each other.  They see me diving, so they aim up and they fly overhead.  I get the better entry with speed, so my exit is fast though wide.  The Zippleback does not have the speed to cross me back over.  They are content with following behind me, though we both break off to score our sheep.

         With the final lap to go, Anora kicks it into overdrive and takes off with a newfound burst of speed.  And guess who I see twenty dragon lengths in front of me?

         Anora and I have nothing to lose now, so we go for it all.  Similar to the lap we just ran, we take a similar route.  Although now, we do not need to set up for a Sheep Lap, we simply need to fly.  Drive it in deep and hope it sticks.

         Turn One done, fifteen dragon lengths.

         Turn Two done, ten dragon lengths.

         Turn Three and Jason catches his sheep, five dragon lengths.  He does in fact successfully copies my crew’s strategy.

         Jason takes an inside line into the final two turns, but I Anora and I go even more inside.  This forces Jason to the outside, allowing Anora a slight advantage during the turns.  But Anora has to slow down a bit to not wipe both Jomar and her out of the race.  So, now, Jason and I with our dragons are even going towards the line.  With Jason’s basket being first on the right, it works in his favor that Anora and I took the inside line.  This might be why Jason did not fight us for the positioning inside, to easily score his sheep without having to fight through me to get to it.  Crossing the finish line, it is too close for me to say who won.  It will come down yet again to a judgment decision.  However, I believe Jason won.  If not for his dragon nudging out Anora by a few inches, then for that fact that I was not seated on my dragon for the entire race.  As far as I know, there was no rule specifically stating what unique situation I faced, but it has to have some penalty against me.  Right?  All this effort and I may not even get rewarded for finishing the race.  Pretty much how this night has gone.

         As with every race, you take the next lap to bring the speed down slowly to cool off your dragon and for you to take a breath.

         After the race is over, each racer is to reconvene with their crew and wait for the results.  Doing so, I land and greet my team.  Jason’s team is also right next to us, so I walk over to congratulate him.

         “That was a great race, Jason.  Congratulations on the win.”

         “Win?” Jason sounds surprised.  “I didn’t win.”

         Now, I am surprised, “What do you mean you didn’t win?  I saw Jomar edge out Anora by just enough.”

         Jason laughs and shakes his head, “In your quest to sabotage my race, you did it up until the very end.  You intentionally raced me wide while opening up the inside to let that no name racer on the Zippleback win.”

         “What?”  I am stunned.  “But they were behind me.”

         “Yeah, but you and your strategies about using the draft and all finally bit you in the rear.  That Zippleback stayed behind you, caught your Razorwhip’s draft and had the better momentum to pass.  You keep saying that the person in front is a sitting duck on longer straightaways.  All it takes is timing and the second, or third place in this case, dragon can pass anyone.  Some random girl on a Zippleback beat both of us.  First you aren’t on your dragon for the middle part of the race, fall out of the sky and slow me down, and leave the inside line completely open totally disregarding any thought of someone passing you.” Jason walks over to me, gets in my face.  “This isn’t over between you and me.  Best watch your back.”

         Jason is such a jerk.  I come over to congratulate him on a great race, yet I am the bad guy.  However, he does have a point, in his own arrogant way.

         Returning to my crew, I see Annabeth and Star Scream with Dawn and Fire Song fly in.

         My crew is as anxious as I am to ask, “Who won the race?”

         “What is it with you and close races, Jarl?” Annabeth stalls.

         Dawn bluntly reveals, “You lost the race, Jarl.  But at least it wasn’t to mutton brain over there.  Although with your lack of race awareness, you are giving Jason a run for his money.  Why with a dragon behind you, do you not protect against your inside?”

         Still, stunned, I answer, “I thought for sure it was just between me and Jason.  I forgot about the Zippleback ducking in behind me.”

         Annabeth admits, “But had you not pressured Jason, he would have won.”

         I sigh, taking a deep breath, “Had it not been for me slowing him down, he may have won anyway.”

         Annabeth questions, “Why would you say that?”

         Before I could answer, I hear more dragons flying in.  Turning around, it is Vixxen and Mak riding on Ragnorak along with Heather and Samantha on Windshear.  Knowing where Vixxen had gone, I am eager to hear her report.

         As she dismounts, Vixxen admits, “This might have been one time I should have asked what I would find.  Per our plan, I took Mak with me to investigate what you had found, since he is on Aberdeen’s Council.  While we expected something bad tonight to happen, no one expected this.”

         Mak then asks me, “Could you briefly explain what happened?”

         While we are in the open talking about an active investigation, we are still in the crew only area.  But with the crowd and other crews focused on the result of the race, this is the best place to be right now to confront the events tonight.  I give a quick rundown of what happened.  My crew had not heard this either, so they are hearing it too for the first time.  When I described what I saw happen to the woman, pretty much everyone present leered at Samantha with distain and disappointment.

         When I was finished, Mak tells what Vixxen and he had found, “From our initial investigation, your account matches what we had found.  The tall woman was lying on the ground with a knife wound in her heart.  The way she lay there on her back…  I was preparing for various events amid the drastic preparations we took, but murder was not expected.  I will ask for the council to convene tonight to discuss how to proceed.  More than likely, we will announce it to   Now, we will have to begin legal proceedings.  I’m sure Hiccup will want the case to be held on Berk, since that murder led to the murder of this woman.  Although, I would have to assume those from The Iron Conclave will want to have a say in where the case will be judged.  Samantha has the right to have representation, but after all the evidence against her even your own, Jarl, I am not sure if anything could stop the eventual verdict.  Who would want to take this case?”

         There came a pause.  Before I speak my thought, which came to mind, I raise my hand to my mouth to think if I am ready to commit

         I answer, “I will.”

         Everyone instantly looks at me.

         Mak questions, “Jarl, I know Samantha is part of your crew but you don’t have to tarnish your name by going down with the ship as captain of your crew.”

         “That’s just it, I want the truth to be heard and the only way I would be sure it will be if I represent Samantha.”

         “But why?” Mak says.  “I don’t understand.”

         “One question,” I put to him.  “How was the woman lying on the ground when you found her?”

         Mak is confused but repeats, “She was lying on her back.  Why would this make any difference?”

         “For the sole fact that I clearly saw the woman faceplant before Samantha ran towards the cliff.  What I saw and what you found do not match.  Another fact is the woman I saw Samantha talking to was short in stature.  The woman you found, you said was tall.”

         Mak follows up, “What are you saying?”

         I clearly state.  “Someone is trying to frame Samantha.

         “You yourself just told us you saw Samantha murder the woman.”

         “I said I saw a woman was murdered.  I didn’t say Samantha did it.”

         Mak reminds, “It was dark when you saw Samantha and the woman.  You could be misremembering, blinded by the fact you saw your friend and crewmate murder.”

         “Well, I want to be sure the truth is told,” I confirm my choice.  “Samantha’s life will depend on whether people will believe what me and Ali saw.”

         “That’s just it,” Mak counters.  “Your testimony could do the opposite too.  Two of Samantha’s crew coming to her rescue and being the only two sole witnesses to the crimes Samantha committed.  That looks very bad for Samantha, but for you and your friend.”

         “Then that settles it then.  I must find the truth of the clues and let that speak for itself, not what people want the truth to say about the clues.  Speaking of which, I will want to revisit the site if that is alright with you.”

         “That is fine,” Mak sighs.  “I know you are a great Mystery Conqueror, but this may finally be your match.  You may find the truth, but you will also find people will believe what they want to believe regardless of the facts.  When you go up there, just tell the guards posted that I sent you and they will let you see for yourself.”

         Mak starts talking to Vixxen, my crew talks amongst themselves, and I stand there staring at Samantha.

         The expression on her face is worried relief.

         I want to believe Samantha is innocent.  Any objective viking can see there is a lot of circumstantial evidence.  But even then, if those who will judge Samantha infer that the evidence points to her, then they will stop with Samantha without checking.  My crew wants to believe Samantha did not murder either Gladstone or that woman, but the choices Samantha has chosen since Berk would guide someone to the opposite belief.

         If me and my crew does not find the truth, then no one will attempt to do so.  It is so easy to say Samantha murdered both individuals.  The evidence, so far, points to such a belief.  But if Ali is unsure of what she saw and my testimony does not match what Vixxen and Mak found, then this should be reasonable doubt to Samantha’s possible guilt.  Mak’s point about Ali and my connection to Samantha could be seen as desperate measures by friends of Samantha to cover up what Samantha might have actually done.

         So much has come to a head all at once.  What I think of Samantha now will decide if Samantha will be proven innocent of all charges and choices to align herself with Khaos, proven innocent of murder but guilty of colluding with Khaos so therefore Samantha would be exiled, or…

         Executed for murder.

         As I look at Samantha, her body occasionally trembles, her hands are anxiously fidgeting, her breath is short and nervous, but her eyes…  Her eyes are terrified yet focused on me.

         Samantha is either a friend scared of what might happened to her or a traitor acting to hide the fact she is what everyone thinks she is.

         What do I think?

         I really do not know, and that scares me.

         If I do not find the truth in time, then Samantha’s life might not be the only one that is changed.

__________________

Rest in Peace NarixuZen.  2004-2017

Member/Group Leader of S.O.D.A.H.T

 

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Book 10 - The Shattered Axe

Chapter 17 - Back on Track

 

The Jarl Mollerson Mystery Series

All Chapter Links
 

 

Destiny in the Dark

Chapter 3 - Friends and Enemies

 

Proud Leader and fellow member of:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are links to the chapters of my fan-fic series.  The books go in chronological order.

 

The Clue of the Missing Socks.

Chapters 1 and 2                         Chapter 3                                       Chapter 4

Chapter 5                                      Chapter 6                                        Chapter 7

Chapters 8 and 9                        Chapter 10                                     Chapter 11

Chapters 12 and 13                     Chapters 14, 15, and 16             Chapter 17

Chapter 18                                    Chapter 19                                      Chapter 20

Chapter 21 and 22                      Chapter 23                                     Chapter 24 and 25

Chapter 26 - There is a hidden surprise.  Can you find it?

Chapter 27                                   Chapter 28, Part 1                         Chapter 28, Part 2

Chapter 29                                   Chapter 30                                       Chapter 31

Chapter 32                                   Chapter 33                                       Chapter 34

Chapter 35                                   Chapter 36                                       Chapter 37

Chapter 38                                   Chapter 39                                       Chapter 40

Chapter 41                                   Chapter 42                                       Chapter 43

Chapter 44                                   Chapter 45, Parts 1 and 2

 

The Mysterious Frozen Fire

Chapter 1         Chapter 2         Chapter 3         Chapter 4         Chapter 5         Chapter 6

Chapter 7         Chapter 8         Chapter 9         Chapter 10       Chapter 11       Chapter 12

Chapter 13       Chapter 14       Chapter 15        Chapter 16       Chapter 17       Chapter 18  

Chapter 19       Chapter 20      Chapter 21        Chapter 22, Part 1       Chapter 22, Part 2 

Chapter 22, Part 3

Epilogue/Preview for my Third Story!

 

Thoughts of Guilt

Chapters 1 and 2          Chapters 3 and 4          Chapter 5          Chapter 6          Chapter 7

Chapter 8          Chapter 9          Chapter 10          Chapter 11          Chapter 12, Part 1

Chapter 12, Part 2          Chapter 13         Chapter 14         Chapter 15         Chapter 16

Chapter 17 and 18         Chapter 19         Chapter 20         Chapter 21         Chapter 22

Chapter 23         Chapter 24         Chapter 25         Chapter 26         Chapter 27

Chapter 28         Chapter 29         Chapter 30         Chapter 31         Chapter 32

Chapter 33         Chapter 34         Chapter 35         Chapter 36 and 37

Chapter 38, Part 1         Chapter 39, Part 2         Chapter 40, Part 3         Chapter 41

Chapter 42, Parts 1 and 2         Chapter 43         Chapter 44

Chapter 45, Part 1         Chapter 45, Part 2

 

On the Edge of Mystery

Chapter 1          Chapter 2         Chapter 3        Chapters 4 & 5    Chapter 6, Parts 1 and 2   

Chapter 7          Chapter 8         Chapter 9            Chapter 10       Chapter 11        Chapter 12

Chapter 13        Chapter 14       Chapter 15          Chapter 16        Chapter 17       Chapter 18

Chapter 19        Chapter 20       Chapter 21          Chapter 22       Chapter 23      Chapter 24

Chapter 25        Chapter 26       Chapter 27         Chapter 28        Chapter 29 Parts 1 and 2 

Chapter 30       Chapter 31       Chapter 32 and 33                         Chapter 34 Parts 1 and 2 

Chapter 35 Part 1         Chapter 35 Part 2        Chapter 35 Part 3        Chapter 36

 

The Secret Symbol

Chapter 1    Chapter 2    Chapter 3    Chapter 4    Chapter 5

Chapter 6    Chapter 7     Chapter 8    Chapter 9    Chapter 10

Chapter 11    Chapter 12    Chapter 13    Chapter 14    Chapter 15

Chapter 16    Chapter 17    Chapter 18    Chapter 19    Chapter 20

Chapter 21   Chapter 22   Chapter 23   Chapter 24 and 25

Chapter 26    Chapter 27    Chapter 28    Chapter 29 and 30

Chapter 31    Chapter 32    Chapter 33    Chapter 34    Chapter 35

Chapter 36    Chapter 37    Chapter 38    Chapter 39

Chapter 40 and 41    Chapter 42    Chapter 43, 44, 45, and 46

 

The Legend of Shadow Mountain

Chapter 1    Chapter 2    Chapter 3    Chapter 4    Chapter 5

Chapter 6    Chapter 7    Chapter 8    Chapter 9    Chapter 10

Chapter 11    Chapter 12    Chapter 13    Chapter 14    Chapter 15

Chapter 16   Chapter 17    Chapter 18    Chapter 19    Chapter 20

Chapter 21    Chapter 22    Chapter 23    Chapter 24    Chapter 25

Chapter 26    Chapter 27    Chapter 28    Chapter 29    Chapter 30

Chapter 31    Chapter 32    Chapter 33    Chapter 34    Chapter 35

Chapter 36    Chapter 37    Chapter 38    Chapter 39    Chapter 40

Chapter 41    Chapter 42    Chapter 43    Chapter 44    Chapter 45 & 46

Chapter 47    Chapter 48    Chapter 49    Chapter 50    Chapter 51

 

Teaser "Trailer" for Book 8 - Conquest of the Truth

 

The Crimson Storm

Chapters 1 and 2     Chapter 3    Chapter 4    Chapter 5    Chapter 6

Chapter 7    Chapter 8    Chapter 9    Chapters 10 and 11    Chapter 12

Chapter 13    Chapter 14    Chapter 15    Chapter 16    Chapter 17    Chapter 18

Chapter 19    Chapter 20    Chapter 21    Chapter 22    Chapter 23

Chapter 24    Chapter 25 and 26    Chapter 27    Chapter 28    Chapter 29

Chapter 30    Chapter 31    Chapter 32    Chapter 33    Chapter 34

Chapter 35 and Epilogue