Session 24: Outstanding Warrant
As dawn came in Creation, Red Lion bowed to his sifu and bade him goodbye. A night of training with Five Days Darkness had refined his brawling into a true martial art—Solar Hero Style. Now, he had only to pass through the Calibration Gate, catch up to his friends, and see the wonders of Yu-Shan. It all sounded so simple.
Meanwhile, at the mansion belonging to one of Prism’s prior incarnations, the rest of the circle was doing their best to relax. They had #1130 looking out for Red Lion’s arrival in the city, Sankara keeping an eye on official channels, and Gideon listening to the sounds of their mystical brothers’ bond since he needed no sleep. Prism meditated in the main hall, unused to such opulence and wondering what sort of man his previous self—this person called “the Hierophant”—might have been.
Red Lion’s meeting with celestial lions went no more smoothly than his companions’ had, though he was eventually able to negotiate his way past them with a combination of raw charisma and genuine fanboyishness. Outside, a strange metal spider was waiting for him, and he hired a barque to take him to his friends. Once he realized that he still had to pay for such luxuries in Heaven—and that he was just as broke as on Creation—he had to persuade the driver to wait outside the mansion for him while he ran in and begged money from Ven.
The circle was pleased to see that their exuberant Dawn Caste had arrived safe and sound, and quickly explained to him the problems they had encountered. On hearing that he was wanted for a crime, and apparently a quite serious one, Red Lion has shocked. He hadn’t meant to do any harm; he was just trying to win. Blazer bitterly pointed out to him that the cost of winning wasn’t just the destruction of a manse and the wrecking of a relationship with other Solars, it was also being tried for high crimes in Heaven. Red Lion fell into a more pensive mood than his usual outgoing nature.
Before they could begin to make plans, a knock came on the front door. Prism opened it to find a huge shark-like deity standing there, backed up by a small horde of clockwork men with golden wings. He produced a writ of search for the premises, as well as a new summons. It seemed that Red Lion was now also wanted in conjunction with a civil suit; a Sidereal named Oberen was suing him for personal damages and humiliation, with the upshot being that if Red Lion lost the case Oberen would take the Lion’s Roar!
Prism asked for a minute to consult with his circle mates and examine the writ of search. The deity politely acknowledged the request, and while he waited outside the circle scrambled to hide Red Lion as best as they could. The next several hours were an exercise in desperation as the clockwork soldiers became ever more resourceful at seeking out hiding places. Though they never found him and went away frustrated, the search convinced Red Lion more than ever that he had to do something to stop this.
He told the others: he was going to turn himself in.
The protest was immense. If he went to trial, the odds weren’t just stacked against him—they were utterly impossible. The entire court system was set up by their enemies, staffed by their enemies, and manipulated by their enemies. Going to trial was a death sentence. Gideon pointed out that, in a very real sense, Red Lion was guilty; going to trial to prove himself innocent was relying on the system to fail rather than succeed. Perhaps the most vicious and vehement of the decriers was Snapdragon.
“There are no heroes,” she lamented bitterly, “only dead fools.” What was the point in him throwing his life away in some foolhardy gesture with no chance of success? Was he really so desperate to die? Red Lion looked at her and saw the desperation in her eyes. Snapdragon was genuinely scared for his life, and it touched him deeply enough that he almost embraced her—almost. He was still a little afraid of her, even at her most vulnerable. Naturally, Venomous Spur backed up her mate, while Prism was in favor of any tactic that brought the fight directly to the hated Sidereals.
In the end, Red Lion’s adamant stance on the matter decided it. He would turn himself in on three conditions: first, the trial had to happen within 24 hours of his arrest; second, he must be tried by a single judge, and that judge must be of the highest rank of gods; and third, he would have his circle as his legal team. Their friendly neighborhood pattern spider was dispatched to the appropriate authorities with these conditions, and the circle settled in to wait. Sankara nervously informed them that due to various problems in her office, she would not be permitted to act as legal counsel—officially. She would still be in the stands during the trial and pass as much information to Blazer and Gideon as she could manage.
Within the hour, the authorities and the press were at the gates of Prism’s mansion. Red Lion exited calmly, more the arrival of a war hero than a criminal. He answered questions pleasantly but noncommittally, and turned himself in to the celestial lions. Gideon and Snapdragon sensed impending danger however, and they quickly zipped to the top of a nearby pagoda with Blazer to stop a Sidereal sniper from ending Red Lion’s life before he could come to trial. The assassin escaped, however; they were getting quite sick of Sidereals and their ability to end a conflict without resolution.
Red Lion and Ven were transported to a facility that was more guest quarters than prison, but the guards outside the doors left little doubt about their true purpose. Ven rapidly started spreading around her wealth to make friends and influence people, and by the end of the first hour there, the guards were calling Red Lion “sir” and Ven “ma’am.” No one knew what tomorrow might bring, but tonight was the time to gather their strength, muster their forces, and start turning the tide of public opinion in their favor.
With the next day would come the trial…