Chapter 4 - 'The High Council'
Jason was stroking a feather gently. It was white and the softest thing he'd ever felt.
That was one of Jason's earliest memories, lying in his little bed. 'I must have been about four at the time,' Jason thinks to himself.
Now, waking from his dream state, Jason realizes he's holding a soft, white feather in one hand, absently stroking it with the other. He looked about him and realized he was no longer in the motel room. In fact, he realized, he probably wasn't even in New York State anymore.
He was laying on a white, wooden, four-poster bed. The pillows and sheets were made of some un-imaginably soft fabric that smelt vaguely like rain in the spring. He turned his head and looked at the walls. They were made of pure white marble and alabaster and were covered in carvings of angels and cherubs.
"Sheesh! These guys really don't like variety, do they?"
He got up from the bed, and still clothed went to go find Matt again, until he realized the room didn't have a door. There was no panel to put his hand on, no window to look out of. In fact, there wasn't even a lamp, light just seemed to seep from everything.
"Crap." He said and sat down on the bed again. He lay down and tried to relax so that he could at least get some sleep. But lying there, he kept feeling like he was being watched by the angels. Eventually he grabbed one of the pillows and pulled it over his head and snarled into the sheets, "Crap. Crap. Crap!"
Jason pulled his head from under the pillow and looked about the room. Matt was standing across the room from him, still there was no sign of a door.
"You know, if you hadn't saved my ass so many times, I might be sorta pissed at you for leaving me here." He said sarcastically.
Matt sighed, "Come on, the Council is waiting."
"Maybe you hadn't noticed, but there's no door. And how did you get in anyway?"
Matt laughed and grabbed Jason, pulling him towards him. "You humans. Always thinking so practically. Just cause you can't see a door doesn't mean there isn't one."
Jason inhaled Matt's scent as Matt held him to his chest and stepped backwards. There was no fading of melting of walls, or bright light. They were just in the room, and then quite suddenly, they weren't. They were standing in a long, featureless corridor, lit with the same soft white light.
Jason stepped quickly away from Matt and looked about him. The corridor stretched, un-interrupted in a large arc, the only thing discerning about it was a small gold dot on the floor where they stood. Matt grabbed his arm and began walking him swiftly down the long corridor.
Jason kept having the feeling that if he concentrated hard enough, he'd be able to see something just around the bend, so he kept his eyes focused and only half listened to what Matt was saying.
"...just remember to relax, that's the important thing. Don't lose your temper and don't tell them what to do either. Even the youngest one's are my senior by at least a millennia, so give them the respect they are due."
Jason noticed a small gold dot on the floor, like the one where they had emerged.
Matt was still walking and talking, "...speak only when spoken to. Answer all of their questions, and co-operate with them. No matter how long they take, don't do or say anything until they do. Try and relax, and open your mind. I'll be there, don't worry, but I shan't be speaking to you or them this time."
They were standing over the gold dot again, and Jason was about to mention that he thought they'd been walking in circles. Matt stopped him just past the dot and turned him so they were facing. He straightened Jason's shirt nervously.
"Well, here we are. Brace yourself."
He turned Jason so he was facing the wall again.
"Hope they don't decide to kill you," Matt muttered under his breath, but Jason still caught his words.
"What?!" Jason exclaimed.
"Nothing." Matt said and he pushed Jason into the wall.
Jason closed his eyes and braced for impact.
It never came.
He opened his eyes and looked about him. He immediately wished he hadn't. He was standing in the middle of a semi-circle of ascending seats. Once more, everything was made from marble or alabaster, and the light still seemed to come from everything around him.
The seats rose like coliseum stands, high above him, and every seat was taken by a man or woman dressed all in white. They were the most beautiful people he had ever seen, all perfectly defined and proportioned, not a single blemish was visible on their skin. They ranged in age from looking to be
in their mid-thirties, to well over eighty, and Jason realized this must be the Council that everyone had been talking about. The members seated in the front row all wore the same uniform flowing, white robes with gold embroidery.
The woman seated in the middle of the front row spoke, and by her voice he could tell she was usually one who was deferred to.
"Hello Jason, we've been expecting you."
'Way to state the obvious,' Jason thought to himself. 'I mean you were the ones who "requested" my presence.'
"Matthew has explained the situation you have managed to get yourself in...."
'My situation?' Jason silently exclaimed. 'Like any of this is my fault!'
"...He has also explained some of the events during your stay at our safe house, recently made not so safe by your stay."
There was a faint murmur of displeasure from some of the council members. And Jason suddenly felt very small and alone, a strange feeling to experience in a room filled with so many people.
Jason muttered sheepishly, "Sorry about that." Then remembered that Matt had told him not to speak unless asked a question and silently cursed himself.
The woman, who seemed to be the spokesperson, arched a thin eyebrow at him before continuing. "Matthew told us you overheard a conversation he had with Mr. Wolf, but we need to
know just how much you heard."
This time, when she had started to speak, Jason felt something in his head, just a gentle nagging as if he'd forgotten something. He swallowed slowly before answering, "Um... I didn't hear that much actually, just some more about your project, and something about my mind being like chaos or something. I didn't really understand much of what they were talking about." He said, quite truthfully.
The woman flicked her eyes towards a very old looking man with a long white beard, who sat near the end of the row on Jason's right. The man shrugged at her. She turned her attention back to Jason and gave him a clearly forced smile.
"Do you have any idea why 'They' seem to want you dead so badly?"
The nagging at the back of Jason's mind suddenly became stronger. It felt to him as if someone were poking his head over and over. This, accompanied by the woman's attitude was really starting to piss Jason off.
"I don't even know who 'They' are, let alone how I'm involved with them." He snapped. The woman narrowed her eyes and her nostrils began to flare in anger, but Jason could feel his own anger welling up inside of him, desperate for some kind of outlet. "Maybe that's because no one will explain to me what the hell is going on." There were a number of outcries from members of the council who were seated further
up, and some those on the front bench began to glare at him with open dislike.
But at this point, Jason could have given less of a damn. "First someone tries to run me down, then my house blows up and I'm abducted, supposedly for my own safety! Turns out, I wasn't safe after all, cause a bunch of guys with guns showed up and tried to hunt me down, and then I was
abducted again and brought here, and now you're treating me as if this were all my fault! And you know what? I'm fed up with being kept in the dark. I'm fed up with all of you self-righteous freaks screwing with my life." Jason turned and glared at the old man on his right, "And you better stop that
before I really flip out at you!"
There were several gasps from the council members when Jason said this last part. Jason realized the man had outwardly done nothing so far, but somehow, he felt as if the prodding his brain was receiving was somehow caused by him.
Jason clenched his fists, fuming and was about to continue berating the council members, when the spokeswoman stood up fully and the rest of the council fell silent.
"You have no idea what you have done by showing up, do you?" She reprimanded him in steely tones. "We have spent the better part of a millennia, perfecting this. A few more centuries and everything would have been ready. Now everything has been thrown out of order and we risk exposing
ourselves to the world."
"Oh thanks, I feel much better now, knowing I was an accident. But in case you'd forgotten, it's your fault I'm here anyway." Jason snapped as the prodding his brain was receiving increased to a dull throbbing. "But maybe you ought to consider letting the world know about your little science projects! Just be warned though, most societies frown on eugenics these days." He snarled sarcastically.
By now, most of the council members were on their feet shouting to have him thrown out. The throbbing suddenly became a stabbing pain and his head felt like it was going to explode. Jason almost collapsed but managed to remain on his feet as he rounded on the old man who still sat, looking quite calm in the uproar.
"I said stop!" he shouted at the old man. They made eye contact and a bolt of lightning shot from each of their foreheads and clashed in the air between them. The room fell instantly silent as all eyes fell on the pair. The air cracked and Jason and the old man were thrown into the air. The man's fall was cushioned by several other council members that he collided with, but Jason wasn't so lucky. He collided
with the back wall about ten feet off the ground and slumped to the ground.
Matt ran over and propped Jason's head on his knee as he checked his arms and ribs to make certain nothing was broken. Jason relaxed as Matt's scent enveloped him, his vision blurred as he looked at the council members. Many were still standing, in shock from what had happened, while a few were
active, seeing to the old man.
When his vision cleared, he saw them with a new clarity. When he's first entered the room, he'd thought they were the most beautiful people he'd ever seen. Now though, he realized that they were too perfect. Nothing about them made them at all distinct from one another. Jason realized that their
perfection, rather than make them beautiful, made them horrible to look at.
Blackness of unconsciousness began to envelop his mind, and he tilted his head back to look at Matt. His eyes picked out tiny blemishes in him, the sparse freckles that dotted his face, the dimple marks in his cheeks. Jason sighed. Matt was indeed beautiful to look at.
Just as the blackness swallowed him completely, he muttered softly, still looking at Matt's face, so only he could hear, "My angel..." Something was glowing with white light behind Matt, but he had no more time to consider it.
* * *
Matt heard Jason mutter something that sounded like "angel," and smiled worriedly as he smoothed Jason's hair back from his unconscious face.
He raised his head to see the old man being helped back to his seat by the chairwoman, obviously still in shock from what had transpired. Once he was seated she turned and stalked towards Matt and the prone form of Jason.
"Did you know he could do that? Did you bring him here so he could attack us?" She asked angrily as she towered over Matt.
"I swear, I didn't know! I don't think he did either." Matt answered from the floor.
"None the less, he has attacked a member of the High Council and must be punished accordingly." She narrowed her eyes as she glared at Matt. "You know the penalty, Matthew."
Matt looked at her, startled. "You can't! He's the one. I can tell. Besides he didn't know what he was doing--"
"Never the less, the penalty stands and justice must be dealt evenly to all. That is the way." She interrupted. She stepped closer and brushed back her robe. She drew a long, elegantly curved sword from her hip and raised it with one hand to shoulder level. "Step away Matthew. The sentence must be carried out." Matt stayed where he was, Jason's head gently cradled in his lap. "What do you care of him Matthew?
He's just a mortal." She snapped.
"Miriam, you forget your place."
She started as the soft voice cut through the hall. She turned and faced the old man, now seated on the bench.
"What?" she asked surprised that he had spoken.
"You have forgotten your place." He repeated. "Only the council as a whole can pass judgment. You cannot take authority into your own hands."
She seemed quite taken aback. "I am the Chancellor, my word is final!"
The man looked at her and his eyes blazed white. "You would do well to remember that that is all you are. You may speak for the council, but not until the council has spoken. You are young, and so your presumptuousness can be forgiven. But remember, all life is sacred, especially the life of a mortal."
The Chancellor Miriam looked at the old man in disbelief. "He just attacked you! And you are going to let him remain unpunished?" she asked incredulously.
The rest of the council sat in silence as they watched the exchange take place. "He did not attack me." The old man said, quite calmly and simply. "I initiated direct contact with an un-attuned mind. That is all."
Miriam stalked back to her central seat on the bench and sat, glaring at Matt and Jason.
"Matthew, I suggest you take Mr. Parker somewhere to recuperate. There is much to be discussed about the boy."
Matt nodded and scooped Jason effortlessly off the ground in his arms. He walked to the wall and was about to step through, when the elder councilman called his attention again.
"Matthew, you're sure there is no way he could have been attuned?"
Matt shook his head, "None. I have watched over him since he was born. It was only recently that I tried to look into his mind though, so I could not say how recent an occurrence this is. But, no, I'm certain he has never been attuned."
The elder councilman nodded, "Good. I think it would be for the best if it was kept that way, at least for now."
Matt bowed his head in respect to the council and stepped backwards into the hall, catching a glimpse at the last moment of the Chancellor glaring at him.