You’re free to go.”
The voice belonged to Judge Oatley, the man who had sentenced me to life in prison.
“Free to go?”
He stood inside my cell, blocking the open doorway. Instead of answering in words, he stepped aside.
“How come?” I said, although my path to freedom stood before me, unobstructed.
“Father Mortin is dead,” Judge Oatley said, unable to stop his voice from cracking. He had served as First Officer on Father Mortin’s ship. Although he became one of the most vocal of Father Mortin’s opponents (when Father Mortin’s words still had enough weight that opponents were needed), he had always treated him with respect. Despite their differences of opinion, Judge Oatley never stopped thinking of Father Mortin as a friend. My trial had tried the Judge’s impartiality. “He asked for your release in his will. I’ve convinced the council to honor his wishes.”
“Father Mortin’s dead?” Then, “How?” I said, although I was afraid I already knew the answer.
He’d gone after the Redeyes himself. No one else would go, so Father Mortin went after them himself, just like I’d told him to.
Father Mortin, who I had tried to kill for killing Beth. Father Mortin, who I had beat so badly by the time the police found us that the doctors didn’t think he’d pull through. Father Mortin, who begged for my release in his will.