Will sat on top of the concert hall. The music drifted around him, through him. It was quieter this time, but there wasn’t anyone else to listen to it.
He had always felt comfortable here. Rooftops were the domain of heroes in general, but Kalliope’s was always barren. It was comforting.
It was quiet.
The music would end soon, and he wouldn’t have an excuse to stay any longer. He wondered how long it would take them to come and get him; he wondered who they would send. He knew they’d forgiven him, but that didn’t mean they trusted him.
Lux was the obvious choice. His cousin was one of the few people he wouldn’t brush off. But Lux was also the one they’d have the hardest time convincing that they needed to talk to him. He had always defended him, always urged them to trust him again.
Slipstream might show up. The mecher wasn’t exactly a friend, but at least they could hold a civil conversation. But if he didn’t want to go, then Slip wouldn’t be able to make him. They wouldn’t expect him to resist, but they wouldn’t risk it either.
He could hope for Janus. He had only known the slider for a few months before the incident, but he had wanted a chance to talk with her for a few weeks now, and he doubted he’d get another any time soon.
He knew they wouldn’t send Adamant or Sigurd. They’d never gotten along with him, and if he was going to resist, sending them would just encourage him.
If they actually thought Meister would show up himself, they might send him. But, despite his massive amount of power, Meister was lazy. You never knew if what you were seeing was him, or just him making you think he was there. Will was one of the few who could tell the difference, and Meister wouldn’t be able to force him like he could most.
Zero was out of town, but that didn’t mean much for her. She hadn’t left the county, so she couldn’t be more than 10 minutes away. Plus, she was one of the few who’d never blamed him. He’d always been grateful for that.
The Court didn’t owe him a debt anymore, so they wouldn’t hesitate to send him anymore. Plus, he was one of the only two who he could guarantee would be there tonight. If it wasn’t Lux, it’d be him.
But in the end it didn’t matter. He’d used his powers to cause an earthquake, to collapse part of a mountain. Even if they knew his reasons, they still had to make it official. Which mean he’d have to explain himself to at least two Council members, and one of them had to be able to tell if he was lying.
His own powers negated one of their abilities in that regard, and he’d learned to block out another’s years ago, so those two didn’t technically have to show up. They might anyway; just so they could convince everyone that it was being taken seriously.
The music below him faded.
“Time to go, Will.”
Will turned. Lux and Zero both stood behind him. He smirked a little. “Two of you? Didn’t know I deserved that kind of treatment.”
“You don’t,” Zero said. “I’m here to make sure you have clean clothes for the tribunal. It’s a small room, and you’ve been up here for almost a full day now. If we had time, I’d drag you home and make you take a bath. So am I gonna have to break into your place?”
“Sweet as ever, Addie, but no. I guess that means you drew the short straw, Luke?”
Lux nodded. “They had to send someone.”
“Then let’s get this over with.”
Will entered the shadowed room and heaved a sigh. “I know it’s tradition, but do you really have to do the whole shadowy council thing? I know who you all are anyway.”
One of the figures before him lazily waved his hand and the room lit up.
The Council stared down at him, the 8 most well-known heroes on the planet, each representing a different power classification. They were also the only legitimate form of oversight that could be placed over walkers. If they decided you went too far, there wasn’t a court in existence that wouldn’t agree with them.
Will had been here more than once before; the last time had been two years ago. He’d been released, of course, but he’d declared his retirement in the most public place possible.
If he hadn’t, then he wouldn’t be here today. But as far as the walkers at large were concerned, it wasn’t Rumor who’d collapsed the mountain, it was some unknown stroller flexing his muscles.
With any luck this would be over quickly, but he didn’t have high hopes. He’d sat in on more than one stroller’s hearing. Their powers were rarely known, their limits were unexplored; it took a lot longer to judge someone like that.
Meister stood center stage and cleared his throat. “William Writer, you have been summoned here to discuss your conduct two days previous at Mt. Hyrfell. Both you and Sigurd have attested that you are personally responsible for the earthquake that occurred. As you know, destruction on this scale must be confirmed warranted by at least three members of the council, or half of those present, depending on the situation. As such, you have been asked to testify before the Council, with Zero and The Court to confirm your honesty. Do you understand?”
Will nodded. He’d heard it before.
“Very well. Do you deny that you are responsible for the earthquake two days previous on Mt. Hyrfell?”
“I do not.”
“State you’re reasons for those present.”
Will took a deep breath. “I learned that there was an old and possibly dangerous material hidden by a glamour. Due to its size and nature, I deemed it necessary to seal off the entrance to its location.”
“Sigurd, as a witness, can you attest to this?”
Sigurd nodded. “There was a complete set of dragon bones. Will gave them a proper burial.”
“Dragons are highly magical. Their bones could easily be used for casting spells; given the attributes of a dragon, the spells would probably result in large amounts of destruction.”
“Does anyone deny the cause was just?”
No one spoke.
“Good. The cause has been determined as legitimate; we will now discuss the force involved. Your actions caused a large earthquake close to a population center. If you had lost control it could have killed hundreds, including the young heroes under your supervision.”
“Do you have a defense?”
“I did everything within my power to keep the quake contained within my radius of control. I also asked Sigurd to do what he could to prevent the earthquake from reaching beyond the mountain.”
Meister looked at the paper in front of him. “From what I know of your radius, this earthquake was far larger than you should have been able to control.”
“I was burying the cave in sections. From far enough away, it could look like one earthquake.”
Meister nodded. “Does anyone else have any questions?”
The room remained silent.
“Very well, we shall now take a vote. All in favor of dismissing the case immediately?”
Everyone’s hands rose in the air.
“Very well, the case is dismissed. “
Will raised an eyebrow. “That was quick. Don’t these normally take a lot longer?”
“We all know you, Will,” Lux said. “You’re retired, but you still hold some weight. And nobody thinks you’re that big of an idiot.”
Adamant raised his hand. “I do.”
Zero slapped the back of his head. “Not the time.”
“Enough of that,” Meister said. “If there’s nothing else, I wanna go home.”
Will and Lux snorted.
“As if you were ever here,” They said together.