The Diffident Hero - NaNoWriMo 2012 - Chapter 9, pt. 1

The look on Sorcha’s face was many things all at once. Incredulous, surprised, shocked, dismayed, betrayed, concerned, hurt, angry, skeptical; all of these emotions and more warred back and forth across her features at Lena’s words.

Anger finally won the tussle. Her face was white and her eyes wild, lips a thin line until she burst into a shout. “How can you say that! She is one of us, one of the People! We—”

“—are individuals, just like everyone else. You have individual variation within your population, just as we do. I’m accusing her alone, not all of your people.” Lena was amazingly calm; Brendan would’ve quailed before the onslaught.

Sorcha drew up short, eyes narrowed, features still severe, but she nodded curtly. “Of course. I’m sorry for my outburst. You’re certain of your accusations? My people won’t like hearing this, and not all of their reactions will be as reserved as mine.”

“Sorry to be the bearer of such bad news. But I’m afraid it’s a certainty.” She sighed deeply and stared at the floor for a moment before looking up right into Sorcha’s eyes. “She left evidence behind that will tell you everything you need to know about who she is and what she’s capable of.”

“What evidence? Evidence of what?”

Lena’s tone was flat and even, without a waver or hesitation. “Murder.”

Sorcha scoffed. “Violence is unavoidable at—”

“’Violence is unavoidable, some might even say inevitable.’ She told me the same thing, early on in our travels. But this wasn’t some guard standing between us and our pursuit of a noble goal. This was the wanton, senseless killing of an innocent.”

Sorcha’s face started transitioning from pale and angered to sorrowful, though her eyes still held a bright spark of something.

Lena continued. “I was shocked at the time, not sure of what to do, but after the fact I returned and made sure the scene was still undisturbed. We can return there, verify my claims.”

Sorcha nodded, wiping at a tear that had fallen from her eye. “I’ll have to do exactly that. You’ll come with us for now.”