The day of Elmpam’s sermon had arrived. Arsha, her lovers, Elmar and Calandra, Elmpam’s family, King Lektem and Tegnar, Lady Gramfar, one of the five Green Divine Ones of Earth, and many other people were in the pews as Elmpam went through with her sermon. “We always seek answers from the Divine Ones,” she preached, “but what good is it if they simply hand us the answers? How do we learn? Remember that Lord Glaktem once said that our discoveries of how the Realms work are what improve the Realms, and I see evidence of that every day. More often than not, our prejudice is made less when we discover the answer ourselves than if Lord Slameek tells us how the waves work or if Lady Alpira hands us the answer on why casting a curse feels like your soul is freezing. And thus, we all must remember that our Pantheon, like parents, would want us to find things out for ourselves. We are all children of the Divine Ones, from the first species that went extinct to the ones that rise up today, and we must make them proud by finding the answers ourselves. Let us also remember that even we have surprised the Divine Ones at various points in time. The most famous incident that leaps to my mind is when Lady Gramfar heard the news about Blenders. She thought it impossible for different species to be together and create hybrid children, yet Blenders are such a common sight now. With that, I would like to finish with this prayer.” All the churchgoers declined their heads and closed their eyes. “Divine Lords and Ladies, bless us with continuing to expand our knowledge and keeping our sense of wonder alive. Amen.”
“Amen,” repeated the church. Elmpam then looked to Lady Gramfar.
“My Divine Green Lady, do you wish to add something?”
“Only my prayer for you all,” replied Gramfar. “Bless us with continual surprises, because they make the Realms better.”
“We’ll certainly do so,” chuckled Elmpam.
“What tripe!” called a voice. Gramfar’s face contorted into a snarl.
“WHO DARES?!” she bellowed as she whirled towards the back of the church.
“I dare!” barked the voice’s owner. It was a damaged Oltor. “I may be no fan of Oyed, but he IS right about one thing!”
“And what would that be, O Wayward Child?!” challenged Gramfar.
“The Realms are too messy as they stand!”
“Your Majesties, My Divine Lady, could you get everyone out?” asked Elmpam. “I must deal with Oltor.”
“Mama, you’re gonna get hurt!” protested Malnar.
“That IS a possibility,” conceded Elmpam. “However, I’m bound by my morals to stop him and I don’t want anyone else’s pain on my conscience.”
“…Be careful, my child,” urged Gramfar. She and the Kings then herded everyone out through the back, leaving Elmpam at the altar and Oltor at the door. They both then strode down the aisle.
“You’re better than this, Oltor!” growled Elmpam.
“Even parents need to let their children go!” replied Oltor. “The Divine Ones and Oyed can’t grasp that we don’t need them! Their fight fractured a perfect world! Now look where we are! Thieves, rapists, murderers, black magic being used in the Over-realm, and the Final War’s gonna start soon! That’s the trouble with fighting for diversity, we lose sight of where we came from!”
“And killing Out-realmers will make us remember? First Lektem’s dad, now this? When does it stop?”
“When the other Realms understand that the Over-realm is superior in its attitudes! When they understand that light MUST triumph over darkness, the two can’t be balanced! We want the same thing, Elmpam!”
“You misunderstand what I want. When I first came to the Under-realm, I once believed that their use of dark magic was too liberal. I really did. I got over that prejudice when I discovered how many steps one needs to memorize to cast a curse. There are actually so many opportunities not to go down that path and Under-realmers take them, they’re not the all-necromancer society you think they are!”
“Your best friend and name mate died by an Incubus’ hands!”
“And, for a while, I wanted to avenge Elmpam Roosheef’s murder. I really did. I wanted to kill that Incubus so bad, but it’s not the life she would want me to lead and this isn’t the life your wife and son want you to lead.”
“Don’t you DARE put that on me!” Oltor was about to swing his clenched fist when Elmpam pulled a metal cylinder out of her dress’s waistline. “…A TNG?”
“To block your powers and level the playing field. Your ability to talk someone to death IS magic based. You need to stop. Take time to learn before it’s too late.”
“You wouldn’t dare set that thing off!” Elmpam wasn’t bluffing. She pressed a button on the TNG and dropped it. The button flashed before the whole thing exploded, knocking the two Inus back. TNG, short for Thaumic Nullifier Grenade, designed to temporarily block any magical abilities. Unfortunately, it doesn’t differentiate between people, so both Inus lost their powers. They got up and Oltor snarled as he tore pieces of the pews off and twirled them like stakes. “You’re supposed to be my sister!”
“Which is why I have to stop you.” Elmpam took off her skirts, leaving her in nothing more than her bodice and pantaloons, and grabbed a candelabra, twirling it like a staff. Oltor roared in rage and charged at Elmpam. Elmpam swung the candelabra and kept him at a distance. She then threw a non-lit candle at Oltor’s eye, but Oltor rolled out of the way and threw his stakes. They buried themselves into a pair of Elmpam’s arms, and she yelped in pain. He then dashed forward and drove an uppercut into her jaw. Elmpam tried to shake off the pain, but Oltor slammed her head into a column. Elmpam then noticed a cloth near her and grabbed it. She then swung her tail into Oltor’s face, getting some loose fur into his eyes, and he howled in agony as he tried to get the fur out. Elmpam then got behind him and got the cloth around his neck before she grabbed both ends in one hand and pulled hard. Oltor then slammed Elmpam into walls in an attempt to get her off before he passed out. He gasped and panted until…he fell, unconscious. Elmpam checked his heartbeat, sighed in relief when she heard it, then looked mournfully at him as the sentence for what he did was death. “…I’m sorry.” She then used the cloth to bind his arms, then got another cloth to muzzle his mouth. Gramfar and Arsha with her lovers dashed into the church to see how the fight ended. It was then Elmpam felt the pain of the stakes in her arms again. Gramfar and Malnar dashed over to her and cast pain-numbing spells while Arsha called for a prisoner pick-up. Officers and medics arrived at the church as Oltor was waking up. The officers picked him up roughly and fear took over his heart. He knew what was coming.
The next day, Roolpam was pleading with the Kings to mitigate Oltor’s sentence, but they were deaf to her pleas. “Your Majesties, please! I’m his mother!” she wailed.
“He was disowned by your family, according to official records,” reminded Lektem.
“He has personally killed 429 people in his bloody career,” supplied Tegnar, “one of them being Lektem’s father.”
“He has also attacked other monarchs, Fae Empress Rellmeer being the most famous.”
“We’re sorry, Mrs. Tonsur, but Oltor is to be hanged tomorrow.”
“Please, I beg you!” pleaded Roolpam. “He’s let grief dictate his actions!”
“His mistake,” hissed Tegnar. “We had a report saying that Rentir’s house had been destroyed in an explosion and a bomb’s remains were discovered amongst the wreckage, on top of Rentir and Glanfu’s dead bodies. We may not like Rentir, but killing him disrupted elections, another capital offense.”
“Your Majesties!” begged Roolpam.
“We do not wish to detain you with a futile effort!” Lektem pointed towards the throne room’s door, meaning that they were certain of their decision. Roolpam’s tail drooped as did her head. She left the throne room in a somber manner.
Because of his threat level, all Over-realm monarchs attended the execution, as did Oltor’s family. The gallows stood in the center of the execution yard and awaited a person to choke out their breath. Oltor was dragged to the gallows and was held near the noose. “Hear ye, all in attendance!” called a robed man. “Let it be known that on this 1497th day of Rafem in the 4006300080th year of the Three Realms’ Third Age of Unity, Over-Splitter Supreme Oltor Tonsur is found guilty of the following charges: mass-murder, destruction of Multi-realm facilities, attacking Realmfleet, and disruption of politics. Let it be known that the judges have deemed he is too dangerous to be kept alive! Let it be known that he is to be hanged until dead by a former accomplice of his so the Realms may rest easier! Let it be known that none in attendance are to discuss what happens here unless at the Felomphas’ discretion! Your Majesties, will you follow the judges’ recommendation?”
“We have spoken and have agreed that we shall heed the judges,” replied one of Lardeth’s moms, Queen Jeefef Felompha. “Who is the former associate of the Condemned?”
“A Mermaid that has had her trial, Halfam Malfee,” answered the robed man. Oltor’s eyes goggled as Halfam, in her human form, strode towards the gallows.
“You?!” snarled Oltor.
“Me,” confirmed Halfam.
“Let it be known,” called the robed man, “that, because of Halfam Malfee actively mitigating the damage the Over-Splitters have done and proving repentance of being part of a terrorist organization, her sentence is temporary banishment from the Over-realm. If the Final War does not begin, she will live somewhere else for 100 years. If it does and she proves bravery, she will return sooner. Before that, she has requested to be the one to carry out the execution.” Oltor fixed Halfam with a look of burning hatred as the noose went around his neck and was tightened. “Has the Condemned any final words?”
“Halfam Malfee, you are a traitorous fish!” snarled Oltor.
“And you’re a cousin-banging freak!” replied Halfam as her hand went onto the lever. She turned to the robed man. “I am ready!”
“Hang him!” called the robed man. Halfam pulled the lever and the trapdoor beneath Oltor opened. The noose tightened further and Oltor flailed as he tried to get air into his lungs. That futile battle lasted about 11 minutes before he stopped moving. An Inu doctor moved towards the gallows and checked Oltor’s breathing and pulse.
“…It is done,” pronounced the doctor. The silence was deafening as the yard emptied and Oltor’s body was removed from the noose and taken to the morgue.