Thrust your hand into death's fire.
Do you have all which you desire?
All things worthwhile have a cost.
Are you found or hopelessly lost?
It was a week later that word came from the insurgents, a
group which planned to capture Cape Town and overthrow the
democratic city. Those who had escaped through the Fifty Year War
had amassed sufficient men and arms to either claim the city as
its own or tear it to the ground and kill all who dwelled within
the city's perimeter. Lester, Tristan, and the High Council held
a special meeting to discuss the proposal which the insurgents
had sent. Celine though not invited to the meeting sat secretly
and quietly in the wings of the Great Hall listening to the
"You are not really considering bowing to their demands are
you?" Char the Head of the Council asked shaking her head in
"All things are being considered," Lester replied sadly.
A rumble of discontent began as the members of the High
Council realized how grave the situation was. Celine unobserved
by the others felt a hysteria rising among the group. She could
feel her own mind reeling at what her father had so remorsefully
"Let's have order!" Char exclaimed to the crowd.
Once the roar of the voices was subdued Lester cleared his
throat and began reading the demands.
"Cape Town will surrender all buildings, supplies, and
residents to the Alliance," Lester read with a clear concise
voice, "Furthermore the daughter of Cape Town's leader will be
relinquished to the Alliance. She will be married to Thorn the
leader of the Alliance in an effort to insure a peaceful reign.
If these demands are not met within ten days the Alliance will
destroy said city and all the people who are residents of Cape
Town. Not one man, woman, or child will remain to darken the
glorious reign of Thorn."
Celine gasped as she heard the demands the Alliance had sent.
Chaos erupted in the Council hall. Members of the Council
screamed out their disgust at the proposals. Char and Lester
waited until the din became a murmured ripple.
"You cannot seriously turn Cape Town and your daughter Celine
over to these thugs?" one of the Council members yelled from his
Another round of loud talking and words of anger arose. Lester
stood waiting until the noise level dropped. Celine witnessed the
worry lines deepen in his strong face and there was a sadness she
had never seen before. She never realized just how much her
father had aged over the last few days.
"I will not see all that we have worked for destroyed by these
radicals," Lester said firmly, "For the sake of Cape Town and our
children we have no choice. We have witnessed first hand what
these demons have done to the smaller settlements not far from
here. All that remains of those dwellings and people is
desolation and ash. Is this the fate we want to experience?"
"Surely we can try and reason with Thorn and his Alliance,"
one of the Council members yelled out.
"I am afraid there is no compromise with these people," Lester
replied remorsefully, "We fought against them for fifty long
years because they wanted to control everything. I doubt they
will see reason."
A wave of discussion began. Celine from her vantage point
could see the hopelessness on her father's face. How she longed
to hug him and reassure him, but Celine knew he would be angry if
he discovered she was there.
"I have an idea," Thar one of the Council men said as he stood
up, "There is a way of destroying them once and for all. We have
at our disposal strands of a deadly virus. It was found in one of
the Alliance's laboratories during the war. Our scientists have
deduced the virus is so deadly the person dies within forty eight
hours. We could send Celine to them after we infect her with it.
I know she is your daughter Lester and I hate to bring it up, but
it seems we will all be dead soon no matter what we decide."
A deadly silence came about. Not one soul spoke. Celine gasped
as she heard what Thar had presented as a way of preventing
bloodshed. Peace would continue for all in Cape Town, but she
would have to die so others might live in peace. It did not take
Celine long to decide as her father's words resounded in her
"I'll do it!" Celine cried as she came out of hiding and began
walking toward her father, "I can do this to save Cape Town."
As the group watched Celine made her way to where Lester was
standing. His face had turned white. He stood shaking his head in
a negative manner. The Council members held their silence as
Celine walked with determination to her father.
As she approached him Lester was muttering, "No, you cannot do
this child. I won't let you do it."
"I will do what is needed to keep Cape Town safe," Celine said
to the Council and her father, "What is one life when that one
life can spare so many?"
"You will not do this thing!" Celine's father exclaimed, "I
forbid it. You are my daughter and you will do as I say. It is
better that you marry Thorn. I cannot and will not let you kill
Celine looked at her father imploringly, but she saw the
determined look on his face and knew it would do no good to
continue the line of discussion. The Council members upon hearing
Lester's reply began talking among themselves.
"It is decided then," Char said speaking loudly as she tried
to regain control of the meeting, "In ten days Cape Town will
surrender to the Alliance and Celine will be married to Thorn.
This meeting is ended."
Celine walked with her father back to their home. They made
the trip in silence. It would not be Lester's decision as to what
Celine's fate might be; she had already decided what needed to be