Accused

Fiction detailing the ongoing events on the Homeline and numerous parallel Worldlines.

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Lord Reynolds
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Accused

Post by Lord Reynolds » Wed Dec 07, 2016 12:33 pm

Etheria 3. London – 1990.

The sound of iron shod hooves clattering noisily on slick granite cobbles echoed off the tall Victorian buildings that lined either side of a deserted and dark Newgate Street.
Ether-gas lams lit the street every 50 yards of so, leaving much of the street between in darkness.
Steel rimmed wheels bounced and rumbled along behind the hooves as the sleek black carriage followed behind the four beautiful white horses so that the overall sound was like thunder.
The horses looked fresh and eager despite their treacherously fast dash across midnight London.
The domed roof of The Old Bailey silhouetted against the dim glow of the city on the underside of low hanging clouds loomed into view and the driver pulled back on the reigns slowing the four mares to a brisk trot and eventually stopping at the huge arched gates of the prison that sat at the junction of Newgate Street and Old Bailey Road.
One of the two coachmen dismounted and pulled open the carriage door, standing attentively to the side while holding the door still.
A woman in her early thirties alighted. She was tall, her skin fair and her face classically beautiful. She wore an aqua coloured satin dress adorned with black lace that accented the many folds and tucks in the dress. Her fair hair was long but worn pinned up upon her head in many twists and swirls.
A matching aqua coloured hat, small and trimmed with black lace, perched upon the side of the hair-do, itself pinned in place to prevent it falling from its precarious position.
She had taken no more than three paces from the carriage when a heavy iron-clad door was pulled open casting a bright rectangle onto the slate flagstones of the pavement.
A prison guard, menacing in shades of black welcomed the woman with a silent bow and bade her follow him.
She was led through a high-walled courtyard towards the warm rectangular glows of the window in the building to the left of the entrance.
There, another man, this one in his late fifties, grey thinning hair, bushy moustache that would have been fashionable twenty years earlier and fine dark suit, awaited her.
“I wish to see my brother,” the woman announced before pleasantry exchanges could waste any more time.
The moustached man sniffed and chewed his cheek for a moment.
“My Lady,” he replied in a tone of syrupy dismissiveness that made the woman’s back stiffen and jaw clench. “If you had called ahead we could have made arrangements for your visit.”
Hands laced together in black silk gloves the woman stayed her anger.
“Sir,” she said calmly and politely, “I have travelled almost two hundred miles without break to be here. I must be allowed to see my brother.”
One corner of the prison wardens mouth turned up in a patronising smile.
“If your Ladyship had called ahead I could have saved you the journey.”
“I would come, no matter your warnings not to, sir!”
Another smirk.
“You misunderstand me madam. I would have saved you the journey here.”
“Will you allow me to see my brother, or not?” the woman interrupted, her anger and desperation making her voice break towards the end.
“No, I will not, madam,” the man growled. “But I am not being awkward. You may not visit your brother in this prison because Lord Reynolds is not here.”
The woman’s mouth hung open wordless and confused. “Not here?”
“No.”
“I,” she blinked rapidly, her shoulders rising and falling rapidly as she fought back tears. “Then perhaps you could inform me as to which gaol I should attend?”
“That madam I cannot say. Perhaps you should address the question to the office if the Lord Chief Justice. Now, I have a prison to run. Good night, Lady Reynolds.”
With that the man shuffled around his desk and fetched a walking cane, then strode purposefully from the room without a backward glance.
Elizabeth Reynolds felt panic rising within her. She swallowed, her mouth suddenly dry and her throat tight.
Turning on her heel she saw the mocking face of a guard awaiting her at the door.

She made it back to the carriage before the tears that were welling in her eyes rolled unchecked down her cheeks.
“Bloody hell, Sebastian,” she cursed at the dark, still night. “Where are you?”

Lord Reynolds
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Re: Accused

Post by Lord Reynolds » Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:46 pm

The warden stood in an unlit window overlooking Old Bailey Road. He watched the woman leave, climb into an expensive looking carriage drawn by four rather beautiful white chargers.
He watched it disappear from view.
Without turning he spoke to a deep shadow within the room that lurked just a few feet behind him.
“Is our guest settled?”
“I believe so, sir,” the shadow replied, then added, “He’s had a good welcome so far.”
The warden nodded his acknowledgement. “Not too good a welcome, I hope?”
The shadow gave a small grunt of a chuckle that sounded like he was choking. “He’ll live, sir. For now.”
“Hmmm,” replied the warden thoughtfully. “So he’s settled in is he? Well, send someone to unsettle him. We mustn’t let Lord Reynolds get too comfortable now, must we?”
Another choke of a chuckle.
“Right away, sir.”

Lord Reynolds
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Re: Accused

Post by Lord Reynolds » Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:46 pm

The room was spacious; one could easily fit a dozen men within. Its walls were bare stone blocks, the ceiling, bare stone blocks and for variation, the floor was bare stone slabs.
There were no windows, what light there was came from a brazier that burned in the passageway outside and shone in through a square barred opening in the heavy wooden door.
The door had no handle on the inside.
Water slowly seeped down one wall, the one opposite the door, and if anyone ever looked at the plans of the building they would know it was the outer wall of the prison.
Where the water ran, the wall was green with algae.
Once at the floor it pooled and then trickled across the slabs in a steady course towards the door. But, only a couple of feet from its source, the little stream met its first obstacle – a low straw mattress blocked its path. In days gone by the water had slowly collected against the side and crept around.
This of course had only lasted a few moments before the hessian had acted like a sponge and sucked the water in.
Those days had long gone and now the mattress was sodden, green with mould and mildew and stinking like a rotting corpse.
One the other side of the straw bed, free from restriction, the water carried on its merry way towards the door and the passageway beyond.

Lord Reynolds
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Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2008 7:01 pm

Re: Accused

Post by Lord Reynolds » Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:48 pm

Viscount Sebastian James Ambrose Reynolds and Baron of Roborough didn’t care that the matress was wet, or that it smelled like the dead.
His whole body was aching from the beatings he had received from the prison guards. Despite everything, he felt a glimmer of consolation that they had so far avoided his face. However he also knew that it was only a matter of time.
It wouldn’t do for him, a peer of the realm, and as yet un-convicted to appear before the judge and court with evidence of foul treatment upon his face. No, they would wait until they could officially kick the living daylights out of him.
No one would care if he turned up at the gallows black and blue.

A noise came from somewhere outside the cell.
Reynolds tried to move his head so that he could face the door but his body hurt so badly that he could barely move at all.
More sounds came to him. Heavy boots scraping on bare stone, the same bare flagstones he lay upon.
A metallic scrape, a key going into a lock and clicking as it turned.
Warmer air breezed over him. It smelt strongly of wood smoke and must.
The boots clumped heavily across the flagstones. Two pairs, by Reynolds’ reckoning.
Then there were hands on his arms grabbing him, lifting him.
“On your feet, you murderin’ bastard!” a gruff voice barked at him.
Reynolds felt himself hoisted into a standing position. It was only now he realised he had his eyes shut.
He eased them open, expecting bright light to sting them, but there was only the dim flickering glow from the passageway outside.
The two men how held him now were the same ones that had brought him here.
On, taller and thicker set with greying stubble and a burn scar on the side of his head above his left temple. No hair grew on the scar so it looked like he had shaved in an almost perfect square.
The other had hair cut short, almost to the scalp, was broad across the shoulders like a swimmer and was so tall that he had to duck as he and his partner dragged Reynolds out of the doorway into the warm, smoky passageway outside.
Reynolds checked each way, purely from habit, as it made no odds to him now.
The guards took him to the right, passed three cells similar to his own and entered the fourth.
Both guards were huffing with the exertion of dragging their prisoner.
Reynolds was making no effort to move, meaning that the men either side of him had to carry and drag him the whole fifty yards.
He had tried not to think about what might be happening. His warm welcome this evening had left him sore, aching and very wary. With good cause, he now realised.
The room was very much like the one he had been taken from, except this one was full of stuff. A trough against the wall opposite the door, a heavy looking table covered in dark stains that Reynolds guessed must be blood, shackled pinned with heavy bolts to the wall, another old looking table covered in what looked to be medieval instruments of torture.
Now panic rose in Reynolds and he fought against his captors grasp.

Lord Reynolds
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Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2008 7:01 pm

Re: Accused

Post by Lord Reynolds » Wed Jul 26, 2017 1:28 pm

He would likely have struggled in a contest of strength against just one of these men on a normal day. Today, weakened and tired his resistance just made the men laugh.
“Well now,” one of the chuckled. “His high-and-mightyness seems to be a hot one all of a sudden! Needs cooling off mat, don’t you think?”
“Aye,” the other replied flatly.
They heaved him towards the trough. Reynolds struggled against them but resisting proved useless.
He saw the dark water, his own refection a tramp glaring at him.
He managed to suck in a huge gulp of air before they shoved his head into the cold dark water.
They held him there as he struggled but very quickly he stopped resisting. Even in this state he still realised that struggling would burn energy, use up the oxygen in hi blood quicker.
His lungs burned as the poisonous carbon dioxide built up.
Reynolds tried to keep his heart steady, keep himself calm but his body was fighting him. His arms shook and his legs gave out on him.
Suddenly he was up, water streaming into his eyes and mouth, sucking in air through gritted teeth.
He made no effort to support himself, and probably couldn’t if he had wanted to. The two guards cursed as they struggled to hold him up.
Then he was dunked again.
Same thing; held until he almost passed out then up. It seemed to Reynolds that the third dunking wasn’t so hard to cope with, like it was shorter. Perhaps it was just his dulled senses or his mind breaking, or perhaps they were holding him under for less time.
He surmised that neither of them wanted to have to try to revive him if he suddenly stopped breathing. And they wouldn’t want to explain why they had killed a man awaiting trial.

Eventually the pulled him from the water and let him drop to the floor. Reynolds lay there coughing, sucking in air that burned his throat and chest.
He prayed for the fetid straw mattress and the chance to slip back into blissful sleep.
He didn’t get it.
Instead, the two rained kicks in, carefully avoiding his face, until Reynolds fell into unconsciousness.

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