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Sunday Snippets #38

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Ghost Town by Rachel Caine
The Founder sighed and sat back in her chair, and it seemed to Claire as if she became a different person. One who was irritated and unhappy and sad. Hannah and Richard sat down, too. After a moment, Amelie continued. “Claire, this is a very unfortunate situation. You know that don’t you?”
Claire nodded, thinking, It’s really damn unfortunate for me.  But she didn’t say it.
“Having just harshly sentenced Kyle, I can now afford to show leniency toward you. There are mitigating factors — you were definitely acting in defense of your own life, and all of the witness statements support it. The vampire you staked was known to be extraordinarily violent, and we have been considering for some time what to do to restrain her appetites; you have removed this problem for me, and although I can’t be seen to celebrate this, I must acknowledge that you did me a service in this matter. Again.”
Amelie’s long white fingers tapped the table in a little dry clicking rhythm, and her eyes went half-closed as she stared at Claire. Finally, she looked to Richard Morrell. “What say you?”
“She acted in self-defense. Its unusual, but there are plenty of precedents — I did it myself once, and you found that what I did was justified.  I don’t support any kind of punishment for her.”
Amelie looked at him for several long beats after he’d finished, and neither of them blinked. She turned her attention to Hannah. “And you?”
“Not guilty,” Hannah said. “You changed the rules in Morganville. You gave humans rights to defend themselves, even if it cost vampire lives. Claire was within the law to do what she did, and she saved her own life and the lives of at least some of the people in that room.”
Amelie closed her eyes for a moment, and said, “I’d have preferred you to use nonlethal methods in your heroic defense, but I cannot deny that there is right on your side. On mine, there is only tradition, but tradition is a very powerful force to vampires. It will be quite difficult to convince them that you shouldn’t join young Kyle in the cage. Oliver already cast his vote. I will be obliged to overrule him.”

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