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5/10/2017 2:11:05 AM

REEF MOB, Ch. 77: Witness

If you missed the last chapter of REEF MOB, you can find it [url=]here[/url], or if you need to find a previous chapter, you can find them all in the [url=]Table of Contents[/url]. Please give a bump or leave a comment if you enjoy this and any other chapter! ***  Ia’s reluctant screams still reverberate through my memory – the sounds of whips, shocks, slashes and broken bones echo around the small cell with every movement I make, keeping the torment at the forefront of my mind. And every time I try my hardest to shove it all aside, to ignore the agony as best I can, the monitor on the wall facing me forces me to watch it all again. The door to the cell slides open as I numbly turn to look, accepting any sight as better than what’s on the monitor. Seren meets my eyes, and my chains rattle lightly as I raise my hands toward her in supplication. “Please…..” I croak, my voice sounding hoarse, unused, through the electronic vocalizer. “What have I done? Why are you making me….” “I’ve told you,” she interrupts. “It is your destiny to bear witness.” “Why?!” I shout, rattling my chains violently. “Why am I to suffer like this?” “Because you told me to,” Seren answers cryptically, kneeling down next to me and unfastening the chains. My first instinct as soon as my hands are free is to throttle her, to seize her by the neck as tightly as I can and to never let go. But a dangerous twinkle appears in her eye, and I immediately think better of it. “There’s a good lad,” she smiles, rising above me. “Now, come.” She sweeps out of the cell and I unconsciously rub my wrists as I rise, pondering her words as I follow. [i]“Because you told me to.” What does that mean? Would she tell me if I asked?[/i] Out in the corridor, I see Seren watching me, flanked by her Maivas. I look down the other end and see my once-fellow Sarifs watching me warily, each clutching their weapon in anticipation. “Why are you doing this?” I ask Seren again, unsure of what else to ask, what else could be more important. “I don’t….I just…..why?” “Come,” Seren merely repeats, turning and leading her Maivas down the corridor. Footsteps from behind tell me the Sarifs are closing in, corralling me to follow. I obey and start walking, thankful enough for the reprieve from watching Ia’s suffering to not even consider my own. Leading me through the winding corridors of Hedon House, Seren’s entourage eventually arrives at the door to her chamber, where she turns to consider me. “This is the first thing you remember, yes?” [i]I feel a power source booting me back on, joints and circuits shivering as energy courses through them once again. My surroundings slip into focus, and with a whir I tilt my head to the side, looking for the ones who resurrected me. I gaze with curiosity at the face of a deceptively young, blue-skinned woman – vibrant, shoulder-length red hair wreathes her kind, inquisitive face, and she beams at me, smiling wide as she sees me acknowledge her. “There you are,” she whispers excitedly. “Hello? Do you know where you are?”[/i] “Yes,” I answer warily. “But you already know that.” “Only because of you,” she answers as she enters the chamber, her entourage following obediently. “What does that mean?” I ask again as I cross inside, the familiar crimson and copper banners reminding me both of how much and how little things have changed. “I don’t understand – “ Seren doesn’t answer, merely taking her seat on her cushion as the Sarifs close the doors behind us. “Shoko,” Seren finally says calmly, her lead Maiva nodding in silent acquiescence as she starts working on her tablet. “What’s she doing?” I ask, staring at Shoko, who ignores me, continuing to work on her tablet. “Hello?! Why won’t anyone – “ The monitor on the wall springs to life as I hear my own voice coming through the speakers, finishing the sentence. “ – [i]tell me what’s going on?[/i]” “ – tell me what’s going on?” I look at the monitor with incredulity, seeing another monitor being viewed through the monitor, and another through that one and on and on. “[i]What the hell?[/i]” “What the hell?” “[i]What is this[/i] – “ “What is this – “ I turn from the monitor, a shiver running down my alloyed spine as I stare incredulously at Seren, who calmly takes a drag off her hookah in silence. “[i]Turn it off![/i]” “Turn it off!” I look back at the monitor, seeing the video file sweeping back to look at the infinite loop of monitors within its depths. “[i]TURN IT OFF!![/i]” “TURN IT OFF!!” Out of the corner of my eye, I see Seren nod to Shoko, who mercifully turns the monitor off. I gaze around at the assembled congregation in shock, unable to speak, unable to comprehend the ramifications of what Seren’s shown me – “It’s not….” I struggle to begin. “It’s not….not possible….” “No,” Seren calmly replies. “It’s destiny.” “But….” I begin again. “…..why?” “Why?” Seren repeats with a slight edge in her voice as she rises from her cushion. “Why?” The Maivas and the Sarifs back away toward the walls, giving Seren and I a wide berth as she descends to circle me like a bird of prey. “Why did the Darkness spare us? Why did it transform us? Why did the Queen sacrifice our anonymity for the Tower? Why wouldn’t she do so when her own people were suffering and dying? Why did she bring first the Wolves and now the Guardians to our home?” I watch her wordlessly, unable still to comprehend what all of this means. Seren scoffs at my silence. “Why doesn’t matter – it never does. All that matters is what is – and how we respond to it.” Seren reaches forward and cradles my face lovingly, a simpering smile on her deceptively-youthful face. “When you came to me, you were a blessing beyond anything I could have ever imagined. You were a promise of freedom, of victory – I could have asked why, as you have, I could have pondered the meaning behind why you were sent to me – but it wouldn’t matter. In the end, I had only two choices – ignore the gift that was given to me, or use it to make things better. To make things right.” Another shiver runs down my spine as Seren smiles wider, an almost manic, triumphant gleam in her eye. “And now that time has come.” “What are you going to do?” I finally ask, unable to help myself. “What should have been done long ago, what must be done before my people are led to ruin,” Seren replies calmly, drawing her hands back from my face and clasping them together before her. “I am going to make Mara Sov suffer as she’s made her own people suffer.” “What?!” I blurt out incredulously. “You don’t need to agree with me,” Seren answers, smiling again. “All I need you to do is bear witness.” I start to ask why, but realize with a jolt what she means. “….I showed you this….” Seren nods. “Which means….” “That victory is inevitable,” Seren answers, a trill of excitement in her voice. “That my destiny has been revealed to me, and that I will bring new order and prosperity to the Reef.” Seren turns to stare out of the large window behind her cushions, gazing at the iridescent mystery of its wreckage. “All I must do is follow the plan that you brought to me, and everything will fall into place.” My mind races as Seren continues to gaze transfixed at the Reef – [i]Seren knows everything,[/i] Kenedi told me. I wonder briefly where he is before the revelations begin falling into place in my mind – [i]Djido’s infection…. Ia’s imprisonment…. Solis….[/i] I feel misery as I remember leaving her, knowing now that whatever we thought we’d find at Chryses would’ve been predicted by Seren long before we’d ever even thought to travel there…. [i]There’s no escape. Seren’s been ten miles ahead of all of us since the beginning. We were only ever just puppets to her, only ever –[/i] “You’re right,” Seren says suddenly, still facing away from me. “But without a puppet, a master is left holding only empty strings.” I bow my head, conscious now of even my own thoughts. [i]There’s no escape. There’s nowhere to hide. She knows everything. She’s seen everything. The Reef has fallen under the Witch’s spell. And there’s nothing that any of us can do about it.[/i] [b]END OF PART THREE[/b] *** Thank you all for following REEF MOB through the completion of Part III! We’re almost finished (can you believe it!), so be sure to see how everything comes to a conclusion in [b]PART FOUR: A SONG OF WOLVES & TIME![/b]

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