The drums woke me up. It was the kind of pounding that I felt in my chest. I sat up on my sleeping mat and stretched. The drums continued.
I stood up and pushed my window open, filling my bedroom with the smell of the ocean and exotic flowers. I could see the castle on the other side of the island. I couldn’t believe I slept in. I quickly pulled an extravagant dress from my chest. I got dressed, brushed out my hair, and ran into the main part of my house. My mother was relaxing in her hammock, weaving a basket.
The main room didn’t have any walls, so the roof was supported by beams that sprouted from the ground. A gently sea breeze flowed through the room.
“Today of all days to sleep in!” My mother scolded.
“How was a supposed to know there was a meeting today?” I yelled grabbing my bag from the wood hooks by my mother. I shoved a few berries into my mouth and started running out.
“Lorleah!” My mother yelled, I was halfway out the door.
“Yes?” I froze.
“If you see your father in the market, tell him to come home.”
“I’m not stopping by the market.” And I was out the door before she could shout after me. I ran down the hillside, skipped across a creek and sprinted into the Castle doors.
Being late to a council meeting- especially as a member of the council- was frowned upon. I knew because I had done it several times. I slid into the main room and took my seat, breathing heavily and sweating. The women sitting next to me, wrinkled with age smiled.
“Interesting they called an emergency meeting.” She said, blue eyes trained on me, “They only do this when something awful has happened.”
“Mrs. Tia, I’m sure lots of things warrant an emergency meeting.” I didn’t run all the way down here to be disappointed. She chuckled and nodded.
“To be young and optimistic.” She turned away and faced the front of the room.
The main council room was decaying with age. The red paint was faded, some parts were worn clean of paint. It smelled like rotting wood and the small windows that were cut above eye level provided no relief. A large wood desk sat at the front of the room, made for the Supreme Ruler. About sixty seats faced the desk, including mine. I noticed that in the corner of the room there was a large wooden cage, big enough to fit a human. I assumed there was a false panel on the wall, so a prisoner could be brought in.
Minutes turned into an hour and more people started coming in. A middle age man sat next to me.
“I hear there is a crime trial today.” He smiled mischievously. A man behind him leaned up and started talking,
“I hear that one of the council members and their entire family was murdered.” I rolled my eyes. But worry suddenly washed over me like a wave. I hadn’t seen my father all morning. I couldn’t push away the thought that he could have been murdered.
More time passed and the rumors started flying around the room like a tornado.
“Have you heard, they can’t find the criminal?”
“I heard there are multiple criminals!”
“Maybe the Supreme Ruler was killed.”
Then a loud banging, like gunshots, filled the room and everyone went dead silent. A figure wandered into the cage as the Supreme Ruler stepped onto his stool. My eyes locked with the figure shaking in the cage. I recognized him.