The glowing images of the Kings of Marik, Tetrica, and Agisthas rose to cast their supporting votes as well. All along the main table, the High Tribunal was coming to its feet - Elders Nesthius and Zanandrei, the younger helping his elder rise; Chief Judge Zeesrom; and the bluish images of the Governors of Tradeston, Fulrath, and Capena; General Crompton - all of them voting in favor, their faces set, their eyes narrowed with determination.
Judgment Seat Geshiann and the other two Chief Judges remained sitting. Across from them, the twelve lesser judges did likewise.
Jase felt a rush of anger wash through him. They were three votes short of what was necessary to invoke wartime authority, and it was obvious the fifteen judges knew it. Their faces were smug, their eyes challenging.
He cast a sideways glance at Randle. The King's face was a mask of anger as he glared at the lesser judges, but there was a hint of something else in his face as well - worry perhaps, or maybe sadness. Without the freedom Military Law and Power would give the Core Council, they would have to fight with the lesser councils each and every time they needed to do something to fight the war with Shadan. It made him want to take hold of them with the Power and shake some sense into them.
He looked to Gideon, fully expecting to see anger in the big man's eyes, and blinked in surprise when he found him smiling. He followed Gideon's gaze and discovered why.
All along the five tiers, people were standing in a symbolic gesture of approval, their faces hard as they gazed down at the judge who headed their council. Within a matter of moments, every person in all of the five tiers was standing.
Jase turned his attention to the lesser judges and smiled when he saw that they were unaware of the multitude of eyes fastened on them from behind. He caught the attention of one of the judges and pointed to the tiers. The man glanced over his shoulder and stiffened in surprise, then nudged the judge next to him. One by one the rest of the lesser judges looked behind them. Each time their surprise was evident by the way they stiffened.
He watched them for a moment longer, then turned to regard Judgment Seat Geshiann and the other two Chief Judges. Their anger was obvious, but only a fool would ignore what had just happened. To do so would mean the end of a career.
Judge Geshiann stood. "Yes," he hissed, and the rest of the judges followed his lead.
Randle nodded and lifted the blue-flame scepter from the table. "It is done," he said."AMilitary Law and Power is hereby invoked and the governing of Kelsa transferred to the twelve members of the Core Council until such time as our enemies are vanquished and peace is restored. For the honor of God, the Flame of Kelsa, and the liberty of the people, it shall be so."
"Amen," Elder Nesthius said, and a ripple of >amens' swept through the crowd.
"All delegates are asked to return to their duties and proceed as normal until further notice," Randle told them. "The governing of Trian is still in your hands. The war is in the hands of the Core. We will keep you informed of our decisions and let you know what you can do to assist in the war effort. Thank you for coming, and God bless."
Jase watched as the delegates from the lesser councils began filing out and marveled at how smoothly things had gone. After the difficulties he'd witnessed at the Chellum Council, he'd anticipated more resistance. It made him wonder if last night's attack had influenced the outcome.
He glanced at the ruined doors of the Overlook and nodded in satisfaction. Of course it had, he decided. The Con'Kumen's brazen assault had influenced a vote for the very thing which would make destroying them more feasible. The irony of it all was exquisite.