I realised something wrong as soon as the trees cleared and Mlisa came into view. below me. I pulled Silver to a stop on the edge of the forest, and at the top of the hill. I could hear a woman screaming, and could see the town was alive with activity. There were people swarming towards the centre of the town, pouring out of houses and stables onto the streets. I rode down the hill towards the town.
I pulled my hood up as i reached the first few buildings, to hide my giveaway white-blonde hair, and followed the throng of people through the town. When the crowd began to fill out into the sqaure and around the little water fountain, i guided Silver into a little alley to watch away from the people. It was hard to figure out what was happening. There was a lot of noise, people were jostling and talking, some were shouting. At last a hush fell over the crowd. On the south side of the square, people began moving aside, making a thin path. I stood up in the saddle to see what was happening. I gasped at what I saw. There was a small group moving through the path. The man at the front was carrying a young boy, maybe 10 years old. The boy's clothes were ripped, and bloodstained. More blood dripped onto the floor, gushing out of great wounds in his flesh. Behind them came a woman, dressed all in white. I guessed she was a doctor. Behind her were two men, dragging a boy between them. He was older than the other, maybe 17. He was limp, his feet trailing along the ground.
When the group reached the fountain, the first man lay the injured boy on a flat stone, and the woman began washing the wounds with the fountain's water. The two men behind them bound the second boy to a pole in the ground, which seemed to be there especially or this reason. He made little effort to free himself. From the opposite side of the square another little group appeared. There was a woman, crying onto her husband's shoulder. He held a little girls hand, who was also crying gently. In front of them were three men, one dressed in emerald green robes, and two others in plain black. They also made their way to the fountain. The man in green spoke.
"Ladies and Gentlemen," he began gravely, "A tragedy occured today. Once again, a child lays on that stone, dying, from wounds made by a Shifter."
He gestured to the boy bound to the pole, and the crowd jeered and shouted angrily.
"I didn't," the boy choked, riggling against his bonds, "I would never!"
"Silence!" commanded the man in green, whom I guessed to be the town Chief. He turned again to the crowd. "This - animal- is hereby sentenced to death."
One of the men next to him stepped forward, and drew a sword from beneath his cloak.
"No!" the boy screamed, his voice cracking, "Please, no. It wasn't me! Please!" He begged over and over. His looked franticly across the crowd, pleading and begging. His eyes met mine. They were electric blue, full of fear and panic. I knew in that instant that he was innocent. He held my gaze for another second, and then closed his eyes in defeat, and hung his head. The man raised is sword.
"Stop!" I shouted and trotted Silver forwards into the square. "Drop your sword."
The square fell silent. The man with the sword froze and glanced at the Chief, and me, and then back again.
"Who are you to give orders?" Called the Chief.
I lowered my hood. Chatter broke out quietly across the crowd.
"I am Princess Avariella, and I command you to release this boy."