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 heated
“You are not really considering bowing to their demands are you?” Char the Head of the Council asked shaking her head in disbelief.
“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 said.
“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 seat.
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
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 head.
“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
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