Week 3 Story: Justice

Walking up to the gleaming Palace of Three, Armistice could feel the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. No one was allowed past the white gate – what his grandfather had told him of his parentage must have been true.

Armistice had a normal childhood, at least by mid-world’s standards. Living within the country had taught him the true value of things: justice, vengeance, and power – in this order, specifically, he was told how to rise up in the world, to be a representative of the place where he came from. He didn’t want to disappoint his teachers. That’s why he walked past the gate, why he was told of his relation to one of the three. Armistice didn’t simply want power to control his own fate, he wanted to control the fates of everyone around him – no one could get in his way.

He was in front of the large marble door now – he could see the engravings of past revolts, with Vengeance coming down upon the masses with her fiery whip. Next to these revolts was Power, the weakest of the three (if you could even say that), dressed in his all black suit, he loomed over the world, taking power from the heads of nations, reigning it all into mid-world. Finally, when Armistice looked far enough up the massive door, he could see his mother, Justice, with her scales trying to balance out the shift in power that came from the revolts of man.

Now knowing that Justice was his mother, Armistice wanted to take her power for himself – but he needed to prove he was a worthy successor.

He pressed his palm flat against the cool marble and before he could put any weight down, the slab opened inward into the Hall of Three.

They were each sitting in their thrones. Vengeance on her throne of fire, poised like a lioness ready to take down a gazelle. Power on his throne of obsidian, looking at Armistice with indifference. Finally, in the middle, his mother, with her enormous copper throne that was constantly shifting – trying to kick her off. Justice itself, where his mother got her power from, was formless – one had to learn how to reign it in. If you weren’t able to, it would morph, turning into an ugly cousin, chaos.

“Son, I know why you are here.” His mother’s voice was just as he had imagined, cold, steely, and unfeeling – she knew no bias, she knew only justice. “Do not go down this path, for it only leads to Despair.” Armistice knew the price of his challenge – to go and be with Despair, in his sunken lair deep beneath the palace.

“I want to be Justice, mother.” Armistice responded.

“Very well, young one.”

With a flash of light, Armistice saw the scales appear, more grandiose than he could have imagined – one side the brightest ivory known to man, the other, dark matter pulled from the depth of a nebula – they seemed to swirl around each other in a never ending motion.

“Balance the scales, Armistice, and what I have shall forever be yours.”

He saw the scroll come down out thin air, rolling down to the floor, full of red text. He knew what it would say before he read it. The scroll was known to damn the guilty but release the innocent – it was a list that described all crimes that had happened, were happening, and what was going to happen. It was up to him to judge the people on the list justly.

He set to work – the first few judged were simple, a robber, an arsonist, and a rapist – each one more guilty than the last. As he pulled their name from the list, a miniature version of them appeared on the scale – he then placed on the other side their punishment. If they matched up, the scales would balance, with the damned miniature collecting the soul of their larger counterpart. The miniature, being designed to not disobey, would follow the punishment laid out.

Days went by, still the list remained. He implored to his mother, “Please, no more judgment, I have not rested and I have not eaten.” As she turned her gaze unto him, he could feel her disappointment. “You have but one left, why would you try and stop now?”

At this statement, Armistice was confused – the scroll had an impossible amount of writing on it before. Now, written in green ink was one name – his own.

“What shall you judge yourself guilty of now?” He saw the crime next to his name – releasing chaos into the world once more.

“But mother, I haven’t done anything of the sort – I’ve been an unquestioning disciple of the Three!”

“Judge, or be sent to Despair”

Armistice never saw anything of the sort happening, he didn’t want to fail and what was a greater failure than being sent to Despair, something that would happen if he judged wrong or didn’t judge at all.

The punishment Armistice chose was incorrect and he knew it – no one could harness the power of justice except for his mother. The palace shuddered and the crack where chaos had been sealed appeared in the door – a glowing seam that released horrors that Armistice couldn’t have dreamt of.
He, in defeat, walked to his mother, who placed a hand upon his shoulder and said in guidance, 

“Know now what comes when simple men try and take power for themselves.”

The world was once again overrun with chaos and Armistice was cast down to Despair.

Legal Scales Black Silhouette - Free Clip Art
Image provided by ClipArt

This was a loose retelling of Phaethon's Ride, where Phaethon, learning that his father was The Sun wanted to use his father's power, riding across the world/heavens, shining light upon everything. This was a fools errand that eventually led to Phaethon's death at the hands of an angry Zeus.

Phaethon's Ride by Tony Kline


  1. I loved how creative this story is, making something new from an old story. I really liked the description of the chair and scales; the setting of the story took shape in my mind because I could picture the morphing and swirling of material. At the end of the story, I wondered why his judgements were wrong, leading to the release of Chaos? Were the Three his teachers you mention in the beginning? I like how you said that Armistice wanted to take Justice's power for himself - maybe you could connect that sentence to his wrongdoings. He came to the Palace for power, but Justice is not about power, it is about balance or something like that. Also, at the beginning of the story, I was a little confused about who the Three were and where Armistice was or had been. Maybe that was done on purpose though. By using mystery as a tool, you keep the reader engaged in the story because they want to figure out the hidden parts of the story. Thank you for writing such a cool story! I enjoyed reading it!

  2. I love how much detail and thought was put into the story! The descriptions of the engravings of the Three were really clear and provided wonderful visuals. I personally found myself rooting for Armistice just because there was so much put into his character, but I think the ending you chose was really meaningful. Great job! I look forward to reading your other stories!

  3. Andrew,

    I aspire to write as detailed as you. This story was very beautiful because of the description and creativity you put into it. I could follow the story very well up until the ending, I was curious as to what he chose that was wrong, what was the right choice? As I was thinking this, I realized that you could’ve done this on purpose and let the reader imagine what it could have been. Way to go on your story, I’m looking forward to more!

  4. Andrew, I love the detail! I often get told to add more detail--its probably because they read your stories first! Your descriptions painted an exact picture for me. Thank you. It was a nice read! I only wonder how old Armistice was? At first I pictured him quite young, but his desires to be his mother's successor already, lead me other places. I also think its interesting how Armistice took justice for himself and if you think about it, in an armistice does anyone get justice, or does everyone? Maybe its the amount of detail you have already spoiled me with, but it would be cool to see more of your decisions in the author's note! Just a thought, but such a great job!!

  5. Hey Andrew!

    Wow! What a story that was. The level of detail you went into was very impressive. I really struggle with writing dialogue and flowing from one thing to the next, and I will be taking a lesson from you. This reads so great - there is never a lull in the story. I wish I could be as descriptive as you without using a thesaurus.

  6. Hi Andrew! I'm going to agree with everyone else who commented and say that I love all of the detail in your story! I really enjoyed reading your story!

    Tell: Your detailing throughout the whole story is fantastic. I really liked how you described the Three- Vengeance, Power, and Justice. It really puts a clear image into the reader's head about what we're reading.

    Ask: At the end of the story when Armistice chooses a punishment and it's wrong, I'm curious about what was the right choice? And if he had made the right choice, would he have been able to harness the power of justice later on?

    Give: I haven't read the story you mentioned in your author's note that you did a loose retelling of. I think it would help the reader understand the story much better if you gave a brief summary of how the original one is and how it compares to your story.


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