Shelling

"Butterfly Barry" sentenced to be Shelled

After a twenty-day-long trial behind closed doors, the pirate lord is convicted

False portrait of Barheim Fran Wurm
by Pouaseuille
According to a public statement delivered from Bathum, the Federal court has declared the businessbird Barheim Fran Wurm responsible of the terrorist explosion that destroyed the Wurmbeek Supreme Court earlier this year. Barheim, who was captured in the middle of the Spring by the Federal Guard, had been on the run for almost three seasons. Ke was also found guilty of organizing multiples acts of piracy that devastated the Federation's coasts between 5553 and 5555 AR.   According to some sources in Bathum, it is the decision to Shell the crime lord, a sentence that has not been delivered in the Federation for over 10 years, that lengthened the trial. The sentence will be delivered the next soulday, after a full workdose of preparation. The philosophical and practical implications of the sentence will be discussed at the end of the newsroll by our spirituality expert, Mikara Fran Black.
The Federal, Soulday 12th of Summer 5556
  "Barry, what's a Shell ?"     The young bird looks at me quizzically. I sigh. "Heh. I'm not sure I should tell you. You're still young, and it's a pretty harsh thing to know about."   The bird frowns. "So, is it like death? I know what a death sentence is, Barry. Maybe where you come from they want to protect the baby birds at all cost, but that's not what we do here."   You got me there, Turnac. "Oh well. Alright, then. The thing is, It's probably worse than death."   "What do you mean?" Turnac asks me.   "You see, the thing is, the death sentence is directly aimed at one's body. I mean, that's obvious. To kill someone is to destroy their body. Your head gets chopped, you're crushed under a rock, drowned... Loads of possibilities. The Shell sentence... is different. Often times, the body is not even affected at first. What they are destroying is your mind."   "What, like brainwashing?"   "More like your entire consciousness, the you that observes the universe, that some religions believe goes on after the death, is entirely and methodically destroyed. After a shelling is completed, there is no you that remains. Only a useless body, an empty shell, is what is left.   You see, the issue for the types of people that deliver a Shell sentence is that it is theoretically possible to escape a death sentence. If you manage to take over one's consciousness, or enter the Spirit world and jump from brain to brain until you find a body to call your own. Or just turn into a Shadow creature for a while. It happens. A Shell sentence, on the contrary, is permanent. It's a way to make sure the personality and the very consciousness that you want to punish is destroyed, forever."   I refrain myself from mentionning the way they actually do it. When I studied at the Peekas temple, I was taught this. The thing is, you are surrounded by extremely potent shamans. They all enter your mind at once, and prevent your consciousness from escaping anywhere. You're trapped in your own body. Then, one part by one part, they fragment your consciousness into small bits, that get destroyed as they turn into white noise. You can feel yourself loosing touch with your nose, with your ears. Often times, your memories are thing that remain for a while, apparently: I guess memories are fairly stable and can't really escape all by themselves. Anyway, the thing is at some point you'll have memories of seeing things, hearing voices, or even just talking to people, but you'll not be able to process these anymore. You won't understand what sight is anymore.   Hmm. Come to think of it, maybe that's actually the reason why they keep the memory intact for a while. Just for the final distress it causes.   I shiver a bit, and look back at Turnac. It seems appalled. Heh. Seems like I scared it, after all. Still, I ask the baby bird: "Say, pal. You okay? You seem really pale"   "That's horrible! How are you so calm about it ?! Also, even if your body remains after that, if you're shelled like that you won't be able to teach us to read again.   Oh, so that's what it is. I smile as reassuringly as my old scarred face can. "Don't worry about that, fledgling. Look again. The news also say that the federation captured me, doesn't it?"   The fledfling seems confused. I smirk darkly: "That's your second lesson for the day, Turnac. The news lie. Truth is, they just quit looking for me a while ago. Either they don't know where I am, or they do and they know they can't get me there. Yet, they still need to reassure their population. As a result, they faked my capture and my trial, and now they are going to fake me receiving the worst form of punishment that one can suffer in this world."   "But how are they going to do that ?" It asks me innocently.   "That's a lot of depressing lessons in one day, fledgling. What they did is they probably arrested a poor apple thief, and now they're going to Shell kem. Maybe ke wasn't even an apple thief. Maybe ke was just a poor bird, someone without too many acquaintances that had made the mistake of looking a bit like me."   I sigh. I know I'm not exactly an angel. I was a criminal, a greedy pirate who stole defenseless people. But still, this is just unfair. The Federation is supposed to represent some form of justice, isn't it ? How is destroying the existence of an innocent, just to keep face, justice ? That's what I hate about them. This hypocrisy.   "Barry, you're muttering again."   I look at Turnac. "Right, I'm sorry. You know what, fledgling? Let's skip the reading-the-news part of the lesson. Today, we're going to focus on your writing.


Cover image: by Pouaseuille

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