Chapter Six Transcript

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Intro music...

Alicia (Narrating)

This is Alicia August, and you're listening to Seeds.

Intro music...

Alicia (Narrating)

I’d listened to that recording about a hundred times. Probably more. I wasn’t counting: 

Recording 

Ianderu… Audátaupa llistye gósha, faratága !uru. Nautaupa llimisishá. Naudátaupá akitè gósha. Aki fita, etàtama. Etátama. N shikarapa ushára, shikarapa llimisisháshá. 

Alicia (Narrating)

Considering every other language that ever existed died, then it had to be the language of the Aphist Priests. I considered asking one of the lesser priests for a translation but figured they would have been warned not to speak to me. If I went behind Aarnol’s back, they’d probably tell him, and then he’d never speak to me. 

The only way I’d find out was from Aarnol, directly. 

I set off at five am; maybe I could catch him at the Aphist Quarters before he left for the day. I brought a copy of the recording with me on another old USB Drive. 

High Priest Aarnol lives in the communal quarters, with all the other priests, on the western edge of the forest. He moved back in after his wife died. 

The statues around it are mostly blank. I guess they must have had faces once, but the acid rain has peeled them away. When I was a kid, I used to go there, and stare at the one statue that survived. The big lady, with her ridiculous golden headdress. I wonder who she was meant to be. Was she some God that the old ones used to worship? 

As opulent as their communal quarters seem on the outside, it’s even bigger inside - plenty of places to hide. I snuck in once, through the chimney, just to have a look. I know, crazy -- but I was a teenager. 

When I got there, the Aphist guards didn’t want to let me in. One was a skinny little thing -- hardly capable of guarding anything. But, the other was tall, well-built with a scar that went from his missing ear down his neck and into his uniform. 

I told them to go tell the High Priest I knew what happened with Murphy-Murphy. They stared at me, blankly. 

Alicia 

Tell him I’ll put it on the pitchcast, unless he gives me a comment.

 

Alicia 

I held my recorder up to the skinny one’s face. 

They radioed through to another couple of guards in the palace. 

Radio 

Escort her up - take the recorder. 

Alicia (Narrating)

You’d think they would have assumed I had another recorder, and would have searched me a little better. I did. They didn’t. 

They escorted me through the huge halls of the priests’ has-been palace: marble columns, huge rooms, in the tackiest of colours. One of those rooms was covered from floor to ceiling in peeling, browned yellow wallpaper -- patches of mould all over it. You could tell the priests wanted to look powerful, but they still live in the same ruins as the rest of us. 

When I got to the High Priest’s personal office, he was standing at a bookshelf, reading from a scavenged box of sacred texts -- books which contain such dense and complex knowledge, ordinary fools like me would be incapable of understanding them. I just caught the name on the book, as he threw it back into the scavenged box: Vonnegut, I think it said. 

Alicia 

What’s it about? 

Deputy High Priest 

It’s an ancient book, about the principles of logic and reason in relation to the natural physics present in nature and how they interact with us on a particulate level. Far too much for you to understand, I’m sure, but it will no doubt add to our immense research. 

 

Alicia (Narrating)

Later, I wondered what Vonnegut could possibly know about logic and reason, that we didn’t.

 

I’ve never been particularly bothered by the Aphist Priests’ hoarding of knowledge. But it pissed me off then. Not only did he know the truth about Ianderu; he also knew more about the world.

 

What gave him that right? 

On the desk, just in front of the High Priest, sat a little steel cylinder, covered in black dust, no bigger than my hand. It had rows of letters, numbers and symbols on it. The cylinder was mounted on a piece of metal, with a weird angular shape cut out of it - filled with even more black dust, which someone had tried -- unsuccessfully -- to clean out. 

The High Priest saw me staring at it and quickly shoved it into a drawer. 

Deputy High Priest 

Why don't you tell me what it is you think you know. 

Alicia 

I’ll tell you, once you answer some questions. 

Deputy High Priest 

What questions? I can tell you everything about that night, and I can assure you, whatever the wagging tongues have told you, it’s untrue. 

Alicia 

I don’t care about Murphy or that night. But, now I know, you do. 

Alicia (Narrating) 

I gave him the USB Drive and he plugged it into one of the old computers, piled up in the corner. 

(Deputy High Priest hysterically laughs) 

Alicia (Narrating) 

That was not the reaction I was expecting. 

Deputy High Priest 

Oh dear. You look so sad. You look so sad. Did you think you cornered me? Ooh the evil High Priest! The murderer! The sadist! Give it up, honestly. You’re embarrassing yourself. 

Alicia 

What does it say? 

Deputy High Priest 

Nothing. 

Alicia 

I don’t care what you think it says. Translate the words, or I’ll tell everyone about that night with Murphy. 

(Aarnol laughs again.) 

Deputy High Priest

Okay... Okay. First of all, you know nothing. I do mean that quite generally, by the way -- but also, you specifically know nothing about Murphy, and you know nothing about me. And, quite frankly, these threats do nothing for you. 

Alicia (Narrating)

It’s true, I didn’t actually know anything about that night with Murphy. But, the fact that he let me in proves that something happened. 

 

Deputy High Priest 

This recording says nothing, because it is gobbledy-gook. 

 

Alicia 

Gobbledy-gook? 

 

Deputy High Priest 

My apologies. It’s a very old word, from one of our sacred texts. I shouldn’t have expected you to know it. The words don’t mean anything. It sounds like our language, I’ll give you that but it’s not. 

Alicia 

It must mean something. 

Deputy High Priest 

Where did you find it? 

Alicia (Narrating) 

A talking squirrel gave it to me… I didn’t want to tell him that. 

Alicia 

It doesn’t matter. 

Deputy High Priest 

Someone has played a fantastic trick on you, girl. Wonderful. Please, do tell me, how many times have you listened to that recording?

 

(High Priest Aarnol laughs again.)

Please, may I have a copy. I’d love to show some of the others. Very funny. 

Alicia (Narrating)

I took the USB back out of his computer, hiding my embarrassment. 

Deputy High Priest 

Oh, surely you can see the funny side? 

Alicia 

The Namanes’ clock is wrong. 

Deputy High Priest 

Excuse me? 

Alicia 

Mary-Anne-Elizabeth Namane said she saw Ianderu at ten o’ clock. But, that’s not possible. It’s only possible if her clock was wrong. Which it is. It runs thirty minutes slow which means she saw Ianderu at ten thirty, not ten o’ clock. 

Alicia (Narrating)

The Deputy High Priest stared me down, cogs turning. He tapped his fingers off the desk. 

Deputy High Priest 

I’m going to show you something, and you’re going to feel extremely stupid. If you tell anyone, no-one will believe you, and I will personally convict you of high slander. 

Alicia (Narrating)

He opened his computer and turned it towards me. On one half of the picture, High Priest Maté washed up his dishes in his kitchen. On the other half, six other videos played, presumably from other parts of the house -- all bathed in some sort of green light. Aarnol told me, that was because those rooms didn’t have any lights on. 

Deputy High Priest 

The High Priest had these recording devices installed. Some scavengers found them in an ancient warehouse a few years ago.

 

Alicia (Narrating)

He pointed up to the corner of the room, just above the long window next to his bookcase. 

Deputy High Priest 

We believe the old world used them to keep an eye on its citizens. Fantastic idea. In fact, if you look around the streets of Silitra, you’ll see there are hundreds of them, everywhere. Of course, not all of them work, of course. But, we’ve gleaned some important information from many of them... Do you understand? 

Alicia (Narrating)

I understood. The Aphist Priests were spying on us. 

Deputy High Priest 

All in the name of safety, of course… 

Alicia (Narrating)

I ran through everything I’d done so far in this investigation. Did I do anything criminal? I didn’t think so. I hadn’t gone into Frinka’s house -- not yet -- but that was meant to be my next stop. I sent word before I went to Mary-Anne-Elizabeth Namane’s place. Had she really gone to see the New High Priest? Or, did he send for her? 

And, Bryony. The New High Priest must have known that Bryony came to see me. 

On-picture, High Priest Aarnol sped the video up. There was even a moving camera in the toilet. I wondered if Maté’s cess tank overflowed like mine, and everyone else's. I doubted it. Only the best for our beloved leaders. 

Deputy High Priest 

Do me a favour, A-leech-ia. Look at that little clock, on the wall in the study. Tell me what time it is… 

Alicia (Narrating)

I looked at the time on High Priest Maté’s clock. 

Deputy High Priest 

Read it to me. 

Alicia 

Ten-fifteen.

Deputy High Priest 

Now, watch. 

Alicia (Narrating)

He walked around the desk and knelt beside me as I watched. Then, he pointed to one of the smaller videos. It was Ianderu McConnell, banging on the door. 

Maté looks at his watch. Shakes his head. Maybe because it was so dark he can’t see the time? He shouts back. 

Ianderu shouts something, then bangs harder. Maté grabs a knife off the kitchen counter, then runs upstairs. 

He runs into the study, opens the window and shouts down at Ianderu, brandishing his kitchen knife. 

Ianderu kicks the door -- again and again, until it caves in. 

Maté runs back downstairs, into the kitchen. He slashes Ianderu deep in the gut, but Ianderu pushes Maté over, who smacks his head off the marble counter. Ianderu takes the knife out of Maté’s hand and stabs him in the chest. 

At this point, I looked away-- 

Deputy High Priest 

No, no. No girl. This is why you’re here, is it not? To see your enemy? 

Alicia (Narrating)

He wrapped his arm around me in the chair, holding me down then grabbed my eyelids from the top of my head and held them open. 

Deputy High Priest 

That man is your enemy. He is the enemy to us all. He is a murderer. No. No! You will not look away. You will watch this. You will stop spreading lies. You will go back to reporting the insignificant squabbles of ignorant farmers. 

Alicia 

Get off me! 

Alicia (Narrating)

I won’t repeat exactly what I saw in detail. You know the story. It’s just what they said. Ten-fifteen. Ianderu killed Maté. Forty-two stab-wounds: 

Deputy High Priest 

Seven. Eight. Nine. Ten. Eleven. 

Alicia (Narrating)

So, Mary-Anne-Elizabeth Namane’s story was true. She saw Ianderu at ten.

Deputy High Priest 

Twenty-two, three, four, five… 

Alicia (Narrating)

They didn’t want to tell the truth about how they knew, because that would have alerted Silitra to the fact that they were being watched by the Order. So, why am I telling you now? 

Deputy High Priest 

Thirty-one, two, three, four… 

Alicia (Narrating)

Because I think you should know. They’re watching you. Plus, Aarnol’s threats don’t really matter anymore… Not for now, anyway. 

 

Deputy High Priest 

Forty-two. 

Alicia (Narrating)

When he finally let go, I gathered up my stuff and left. We didn’t say another word to each other. He was right. I knew he was right. Worse, he knew I knew he was right. 

And I did feel stupid. 

A squirrel didn’t give me a fucking USB Drive. The fumes from Frinka’s plant must have gotten me high. I hallucinated. I picked up some old thing. Thought it was a clue, because I was looking for one. 

Listening back, is that voice even saying Ianderu? 

Recording 

Ianderu… Audátaupa llistye gósha... 

Alicia (Narrating)

Maybe it just sounded that way, because that’s what I wanted it to say. I thought, what if I just couldn’t believe that someone could have murdered someone else in Silitra? What if, I was just trying to make my own world seem a little less scary? 

Sure, a sinister conspiracy, in which our world is controlled by an evil cabal seems pretty bad at first -- possibly worse than just, you know, a murder. But, then, think about it. At least the sinister cabal is in control. That leaves at least some hope. But, if the world is just crazy? Random? Violent? Chaotic? What hope can there be? 

But, if Ianderu really was there at ten-fifteen -- and he was, I saw him -- and if Mary-Anne-Elizabeth Namane’s clock wasn’t wrong, which I guessed, it wasn’t -- at least it didn’t need to be, for that video footage to take place -- that means Bryony lied to me. She said Ianderu left her house at ten, or maybe just a little after. Ianderu’s an athletic guy, but he can’t run seven kilometres in minus ten-minutes. 

Why? We hadn’t spoken in years. Why would she just come out of the blue, ask for my help, and then lie to me. All this rolled around my head as I walked back through the crumbling corridors of the Aphist Quarters. If Bryony lied, which she must have, she put me in danger. She knew I would investigate. Of course I would. That’s what I do. But, if she knew she was lying, then she also knew that lie could put me in danger of creating slander. Bryony’s lie could have put me in prison for years. 

No. No. No, no, no, no. My misplaced trust was what might have imprisoned me. People lie. It’s my fault for forgetting that. 

As I left the Aphist Quarters, the two guards smiled at me -- as if they had anything to smile about. I thought over everything I’d just seen. How I’d spent so many days and nights, trying to deconstruct the Order’s narrative of that night -- trying to poke holes. Only, I didn’t realise, I’d been constructing a false narrative of my own, based on the assumption that my childhood best friend would never ever lie to me. 

I looked back at that dilapidated castle, filled with secrets we would never be permitted to know. I thought about the New High Priest, laughing in his chambers -- laughing at the stupid leech. Did he pick at the peeling wallpaper, ripping it up like so many forget-me-nots? 

It was my belief in Bryony’s lie that put me up in that tree in the forest, the day after Aarnol showed me the murder video. 

A couple of days after that unpleasant interaction with Aarnol, after the Militia Captain finally decided to check on his guards at my house, I climbed down out of the tree. 

The blind mouse squeaked around in my pocket. I didn’t know if they were squeals of fear or delight. Either way, I wasn’t going to let it back into the wild -- not until I was sure it was okay. 

I took off my shoes and padded through the forest. Listening out for any militia that might still be searching for me. 

(Sounds of the forest. A branch snaps.) 

I stopped. Listened. Someone was there. Nothing else in Silitra is strong enough to snap a branch. 

(Boots sneak on leaves - Snap!) 

Militia #1

Shh. 

Alicia (Narrating)

I doubled back towards my house. It was a safe bet that Mazin would go back to punish my guards. If they were searching for me, then they would take the widest area. He wouldn’t waste two searchers on an area he was searching anyway. 

There were at least two militia in that area, searching for me. Otherwise who were they shushing. That meant there were four more possibly searching, as well. 

I figured, they would probably try to make a net, to trap me. They’d start by covering the east, west and south sides of Frinka’s clearing. If the south side guys -- the ones who were near my position -- moved slower than the rest, they could gradually wrap around and trap me in a circle. 

The Militia Captain might even round up the guards at my house and trap me from further south, on the north side of my own clearing. 

That would be game over. I didn’t think they would take any chances if they caught me a second time. If, as I suspected, all of them were searching the area, then, that meant none of them would be near Frinka’s house. But, what if they’d left one behind, in case I came back? 

I figured they probably had done that. But, that would just be one militia guarding a whole half an acre, dotted with rocks, old equipment and dips. 

If I could make it back to Frinka’s clearing, and evade that guard -- if he was even there -- then I could make it to Maté’s house. Once they realised I’d escaped, that would probably be the next place they’d check. Still, that gave me at least an hour. 

I worked my way back, halfway towards my own clearing, then turned left, going what I thought was east. I figured if I ran faster than they searched, I could slip through the net, and circle back to the east side of Frinka’s clearing. 

(SNAP!) 

Militia #1

Stop. 

Militia #2

What? 

Militia #1

Shh. 

Militia #2

Do you see her? 

Militia #1

Stop moving your fucking lips. 

Alicia (Narrating)

There wasn’t a whole lot I could do. They sounded like they were about twenty feet away. I looked around for a tree to grab onto, but thought better of it. They’d hear the rustling. I stayed still. 

(Owl screeches in the distance) 

(Squeak from the mouse in her pocket) 

Militia #2

You hear that? 

Militia #1

Where is it? Shh… 

Alicia (Narrating)

I reached into my pocket, and stroked the mouse. It rolled over in my pocket as I scratched behind its ears. 

Militia #1

It’s gone. Keep going. 

Militia #2

I don’t really want to find her. 

Militia #1

Yeah. Neither do I…    

Alicia (Narrating)

The militiamen kept searching. I kept still, trying not to draw attention to myself.

 

(Owl screeching) 

(Mouse squeals)

 

(Feet on forest floor) 

Alicia (Narrating)

Before I could move, one of the Militiamen spotted me, through the trees. I could just see his eye, peeking through the melange of tree-trunks, so presumably, he could only see mine. 

 

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Alicia (Narrating)

He stared at me but did nothing. 

Militia #1

What is it? 

(Forest silence) 

Militia #2

Nothing. Let’s go. 

Alicia (Narrating)

He moved on. I didn’t have time to question why he didn’t arrest me. I padded away again, as quietly as I could, around to the eastern side of Frinka’s clearing. 

I was right. They had left one behind to guard Frinka’s burnt out water factory. He walked around on top of the hill, keeping his eyes on the perimeter of the clearing. He must have been bored because he just scanned the whole place every now and then. When he wasn’t scanning, he stared out towards his friends who had entered the forest to look for me. 

The small path to Maté’s house was on the far north-west edge of the clearing. If I’d had more time, I could have just gone back into the woods and followed the perimeter around towards the north and gotten in that way. But, I didn’t have time. Less, now that other militia man had seen me through the trees. 

I had to get across the clearing without being seen. If I could just get behind Frinka’s house, I could slip in behind his purification machinery, the militia man on the top of the hill wouldn’t be able to see me and I could cut through the forest on the other side and get to Maté’s house that way. 

The Militia man took another cursory scan of the area. I made a break for a pile of rusted old metal girders at the bottom of the hill I didn’t know if they were high enough to give me cover, so I lay down behind them. From there, I couldn’t keep an eye on the Militia man. I’d just have to place my faith in his laziness. 

After about thirty seconds, I took a peek over the girders -- he was just finishing another cursory scan. I made a dash for the metal container at the base of Frinka’s hill and slipped inside. I crept up the hill, within the container, towards the light on the other side. 

Something moved. The mouse had run out of the container when I found him, so maybe this was his home? Maybe I could leave him here with the rest of his family. 

(Owl screeching) 

(Mouse squealing) 

It was one of the owls from my clearing. I didn’t think they’d venture out this far. And then, I understood why my mouse was squealing. The owl pecked at a pile of dead mice, ripping them apart. My mouse had escaped, and I’d just brought it back. 

When the owl heard my mouse squealing -- when it heard the fresh, living meat -- its head span around and it flew directly at my pocket: 

(Loud, echoey, owl noises) 

I tried to bat it away, but it kept coming at me. It pecked at my hand, tearing my palm open.

I punched it in the head and it flew outside to get away. It flew up higher, then turned around and made a beeline straight for me. 

(Wings flap - Owl screeches) 

(GUNSHOT - metallic flop as the owl hits the floor of the box.) 

The militia man -- more like a militia boy -- appeared at the entrance to the box, his rifle slung over his shoulder, delighted to catch his prize. Then he spotted me. 

A young guy, no older than fifteen. He’d probably just missed the first Prep and this was how he was going to serve his community. You could see where he was trying to grow a moustache, but he’d only managed to push out a couple of weeds. 

Alicia 

I’m not going with you. 

Militia Boy 

No. 

Alicia 

You know how to cook that? 

Militia Boy 

I- I- I think my mom does. 

Alicia (Narrating)

I felt bad for my owl, but then, this kid had probably never even tried real meat. I picked it up and threw it to him, but he jumped out of the way, scared. 

Alicia 

Are you… scared of me? 

Militia Boy

Don’t tell them. 

Alicia 

Tell them what? 

Alicia (Narrating)

He ran away. At the time, it made no sense. What was he scared of? Me? Why? 

He ran back towards the clearing. I didn’t think he’d tell them anything. He probably waited in the edges until I made my way through the clearing and out the other side, towards Maté’s house. 

But, why was he scared of me? 

When I got to the edge of Maté’s property, I looked for the video recorders the High Priest had shown me. There was one, just above the front door. I thought through the rooms I’d seen in High Priest Aarnol’s moving camera. 

I figured, if Maté had hidden anything, it wouldn’t be in those rooms anyway. All I had to do was avoid the rooms with video recorders and I could get in and out without anybody knowing I was ever there. But, I had to do it quickly. Before the Militia Captain had the notion to search for me there. 

I approached the back of the house, where I supposed the kitchen must have been, according to the High Priest’s video recorders. I knew the moving camera in the kitchen didn’t have a window in it, so I walked up to the kitchen window to get a look inside. The floor, the walls -- everywhere -- still stained with dried blood. 

But, it didn’t look like it had been cleaned. Quite the opposite. It looked like the whole place had been trashed. Searched from top to bottom. 

(Shouts coming from the distance) 

I turned around to see Captain Mazin and the scared Militia Boy exiting the forest, followed by the rest of the militia, including the ones who had been guarding my house. He took them towards the metal box and they disappeared behind the trees. 

I ran around the corner of Maté’s house, broke a window and climbed inside. I guessed I might have had about twenty minutes before the Militia Captain would decide to search Maté’s house. 

Maté had died weeks ago at this point. Maybe Aarnol wasn’t going to move in. Maybe he didn’t want to move into the murder house, next to the suicide house. At this point though, I doubted either of those two events happened the way we were told. 

As I’d sat in Aarnol’s office, while he pinned me to that chair, forcing me to watch Maté’s brutal execution, I tried to switch off -- zone out. My mind tried to drift, but each time Ianderu stabbed Maté, it snapped back to the reality of that recording. 

One thing that kept racing through my mind, as I walked back home from Aarnol’s office that day: What was that weird cylinder? He definitely didn’t want me to see it. 

As I walked back home, from the Aphist Quarters, trying not to think about those videos, I looked around every now and then, every time I heard a rustle -- maybe those squirrels would show up again? Of course not. There were no squirrels. No talking squirrels anyway. 

(Rain on leaves) 

Rain started to drip all over the forest ceiling, so hard that, even if there were a talking squirrel lurking behind a tree, I wouldn’t have heard it coming. 

All around me though, huge rats darted off in the same direction, further into the forest. I’d never seen so many all at once. If my mind wasn’t otherwise engaged, I probably would’ve been freaked out. 

At the edge of the forest -- the opening to my clearing -- I smelled burning. Burning? I got a flash of Samuel Frinka’s house. Ran out of the trees, up the hill and… Nothing. 

My house wasn’t on fire. Of course it wasn’t. 

But, my heart still pounded as if it was. 

(Sounds of heavy breathing - faster - faster...)

 

(Clanging and pounding rain) 

Inside, I checked every light switch, drowned every candle, even though they weren’t lit. I stuck my hands in the fireplace, searching for embers, stirred it round with a poker. Nothing. I knew there was nothing - but then, visions of my house on fire, my blackened body trying to escape -- the High Priest laughing -- everyone laughing -- all… 

I’m sorry. I should-- I need water. But, I don’t have any left. Just a half-bucket of Namane. 

When I finally calmed down -- I was shivering in a corner, rocking -- my soaked clothes dripped. 

It was dark. How long was I searching? How long had I been sitting there, rocking back and forth? 

(Thunder in the distance, presumably lightning too) 

Why? Why the flashes of Frinka’s house? I didn’t know him. I didn’t care about him. Would they-- would they kill me? No. Ianderu was the murderer. The priests didn’t kill anyone. Well, maybe they did, who knows. But, they never killed Maté. I saw it. 

I couldn’t close my eyes. If I closed my eyes, shapes appeared, formed by a light that wasn’t there -- green and red. Faces. Faces I didn’t recognise. Didn’t know who they were. Just knew they were bad. Dangerous. At any point, they might escape my closed lids and appear in the darkness. But, I would never know. Not until... 

The dark. I needed to make light. The light would keep them out. 

I fumbled around for a lightswitch-- No power. Something must have broken it, again. Lightning, maybe? 

Between the flashes, and the flatches, I managed to get hold of the-- the-- ...some tinder and matches. I lit a fire and sat in front of it, staring into the flames. 

 

My poker slid out of the fire, dragging some burning tinder with it. I’d forgotten it was in there. I jumped up and stamped out the tinder with my foot - then thanked my faculties for preventing a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

I reached out to pick up the poker--

But -- fuck! -- but it was red hot. It’d been in the fire too long. 

I stared at it, waiting for it to cool down. 

Hang on. Hang on. Hang on. Hang on.

The video of Ianderu murdering Maté… 

It was dark. There weren’t any lights on. There was no fire. I could see the fireplace -- it was stone cold -- who would light a fire in the middle of Petrochin anyway? 

But, at Ianderu’s trial - the Militia Captain testified that Ianderu was holding two weapons. One, the knife, which I saw on the video - and… 

Militia Captain 

… in the dark holding onto a big-ass knife in one hand, with a red hot poker in the other. 

Militia Captain

... a red hot poker in the other.

Militia Captain

... red hot poker in the other.

Alicia (Narrating)

I watched Ianderu stab Maté forty-two fucking times. He didn’t have a red hot poker in that video. Maybe he picked it up afterwards, but Mazin, the Militia Captain, specifically said, more than once, it was a red hot poker. 

That would mean, Ianderu would have had to start the fire, wait for it to get hot enough and then put the poker in the fire to heat up, until it was red-hot. Then he would have had to grab it, and go back to stand over Maté with both the poker and the knife. 

Samuel Frinka testified that he rang the bell just as Ianderu broke the door down. From the time that Ianderu entered, to the time the New High Priest counted the forty-second stab wound was at least fifteen-minutes. 

Mazin said they arrived thirty minutes after the alarm bells rang. That means, Ianderu had fifteen minutes to do all that before they arrived? 

(Alicia laughs manically)

That doesn’t make any fucking sense. 

Think about it. He’s got to drop the knife. Find the tinder. Find the matches. Both, in a house he doesn’t know. Then, he’s got to actually light the fire. He got to start the fire. Then, he’s got to heat up the poker. Then get back to Maté. Plus, why would he do that? Why would the murderer even want a hot poker in the first place? 

I needed to see the rest of that video tape. Why would the Militia Captain lie about the poker? It didn’t add anything to the trial. It didn’t make Ianderu any more or less guilty at the time. So why add it in if it wasn’t there? 

Also, if Ianderu was at Maté’s house at ten-fifteen, which he was, then Bryony lied to me. Why would she do that? 

Thirdly, if the New High Priest had nothing to hide, why would he show me, the leech, a private video that proves the order is spying on us? Ostensibly, it was to get me to stop spreading lies. 

But, people have lied before. People have committed acts of irrationality before. Those people are all in prison. So, I thought, why am I not in prison? How is the Order’s secret spying less important than my supposed lies? And if my lies were truly such a worry, then surely they would’ve already arrested me. 

I stumbled into the toilet and vomited -- missed. Did I drink that much? No, my heart was ripping through my chest, crushing my lungs. It wasn’t the Namane. Couldn’t be. I collapsed onto the floor, outside my toilet. My mind raced so fast, I had no more signals left to send to my limbs. Through the floorboards, the sounds of those few rats seemed to multiply to the sounds of a thousand scurrying feet and squeaks. 

Maybe I was high that day in the forest. Maybe there weren’t any squirrels. Maybe the voice recording was a cruel prank at my expense. But, one thing I did learn from that meeting: Aarnol didn’t want me digging any further into the night of Ianderu’s murder. Furthermore, he was willing to jeopardize the Order’s security and control to keep me from digging any further. 

I needed to find out if and why Bryony lied to me, before the High Priest changed his mind and decided to imprison me after all.

 

More importantly, I needed to see inside Frinka’s house, to find out what they were hiding from us. 

I didn’t know it then, and I wasn’t even sure by the time of Frinka’s funeral, but now I do know… Frinka didn’t commit suicide.

 

He was murdered. 

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