“Ursel R’Gina you are exiled for life.” The judge’s words slammed into her as nothing else ever had.
“No.” Mother’s scream echoed through the small courtroom.
Ursel stood, numb, unable to move.
What more can there be than never being able to go home again. Forbidden to return to the only life she had ever known.
The judge’s words droned on. “Before serving confinement and work detail for six hundred-seventy-five combicycles you will be taken to a surgical unit. There the symbols of your heritage will be permanently removed.
Ursel’s hands went to her forehead. “N…not the bands.” The whisper tore out of her throat as if scalded liquid bubbled there. The pink bands of Naldo marked on the forehead of all native Naldonians were to be taken from her. “Please,” she begged.
The gavel slammed against the wooden surface. Everyone in the room stood. A guard on either side of Ursel supported her weight, forcing her to remain upright and face her punishment.
“My poor baby.” Ursel heard mother try to push forward. “Let me talk to my daughter.” Words ignored, the guards pulled Ursel to the back of the room. Through the exit they took her to the holding cell she’d occupied before the trial started this last lightcycle of her life.
How can I go on? Once in the cell, she fell to her knees sobbing.
“Look at her now.” The guards stood outside the bars, each sneering at her. “Thought she was going to get off easy.”
“She did.” The second guard laughed, his long tail brushing the floor behind him. “If I had my way she wouldn’t be going on anywhere.”
“Yeah. Serves her right.” The first guard kicked at the solid door with a heavy booted paw. He let his long serpent like tongue pass between the bars, then retract back into his mouth. “If you don’t learn from this, nothing will teach you.” Both guards left, laughing and joking about what she had to look forward to.
“My baby, my baby.” The voice announced her mother long before she stopped outside Ursel’s cell.
Ursel stood and tried to control the shudder that racked her body. “Do…don’t come in.” She turned her back on her mother.
“Please. Can’t you let me help you now?” Mother’s voice trailed off in a harsh whisper. “I loved your father, but he’s gone.” The plea went unheard.
If Papa was here, this wouldn’t be happening. “Leave. Me. Alone.” Ursel sat down on the bench. The shackles on her legs clanked against the solid surface.
“She’s only getting what she deserves.” Thoran Armandu, the commander who had arrested Ursel sneered. His long antennae waved with the bright orange eyes on the ends blinking in amusement. He leaned down to point the left one up at her. This served to emphasize his words. “I’ll be back to take you to the surgeon.” He laughed.
“She tried to hurt members of my family before she came under the evil influence. As far as I’m concerned, she got off easy.” Thoran said to her mother, but Ursel knew the words were meant for her. Mother’s sobs matched her own.
“That’s enough Commander.”
“Sir.” Thoran’s voice stiffened into respect. “I only meant-“