Magic is dying , fading out. A darkness is choking the land. The kingdom of Man fall to greed and petty grievances. The elves are dying from a blight, the Dwarves have sealed themselves in the mountains centuries ago. All the while darker forces prepare to make the final blows against what was the bastion of light, and hope.

My knee's buckled as the paladin's elbow pressed into my shoulder. The nearly frozen mud did nothing to cushion my fall. A grunt escaped my lips rewarding me another blow to the head.

"Sarius Varik; you're found guilty of theft, Heresy, Murder, as well as conspiring against the Queen. Your execution will be made public at high noon tomorrow you will meet you're maker. Any words?" An arrogant silky voice said hollowing into the darkness of the town.

"I will spare you my words." I said spitting blood.

"Very well. Take him away."

The paladin's grabbed me from underneath my arms dragging me through freezing mud. I tried to lift myself up but my battered body only groaned in pain in response. They brought me to a wooden cart with a wooden but well built cage on it. They gave me no courtesy as the threw me in their. No did they utter a word. I wondered if they had put any thought into what they were doing or if they blindly followed orders like every other sheep lead by the high priests of the Queen.

"You don't honestly believe you are doing good?" I said mustering the strength to sit up in my cage.

"You will be Quiet." One of them growled.

"Or what?" I laughed, " I am a dead man, and if you must deal me more pain, so be it. You , the priests, the Queen are all blind. This world is dying it is sick yet. You ignore it, blame others, blame magic, blame your own people. You vowed to prote...arg!" The paladin behind me had reached and pulled my hair.

"you will be quiet!"

"What afraid to." He pulled my hair again I stopped. It was pointless. He let go barking an order to a peasant manning the horse.

I slumped into the wooden bars. My body felt heavy, worn, dying. My clothes were hardened by frost. My skin biting in the cold; my own blood was still running from the more recently inflicted wounds. I tried to pull a smile as I reflected back. I wouldn't have done anything differently. I knew when I had signed on as a fighter for the Red Hand that my life would end in a hopeless struggle against the Queen. Still I had lived through many battles, had saved many comrades, and children from persecution. I gave hope when there was almost none left. Or so I had hoped.

In the distance I could torches from the castle breaking over the crest of the hill. The smell of a heavy smoke assaulted my nostrils. Not to far off the wagon path was the burning embers of what once was farm. Next to the embers eerily lit was the hanging bodies of the farmers and their families. My gut wretched a bit.

" That's what we do with heretics and anyone who is corrupted by you villains." One of the paladin's sneered.

I shook my head the urge to resist was to great, " Your use of villain is Ironic, Those people did not do anything but let us pay for their goods. They were good people, they saw no need for division... for enemies, and your burned down their livelihoods before their very eyes then slaughtered the family before their eyes. If that is not villainy then nothing is."

"They used magic!" The other spat.

Anger flared in my weakened body, " Magic was not always considered evil. It once gave life to our cities, our people. Magic is what should be thanked for what we used to have and still have!"

"That's until it became our undoing! Until Magic became weak, and filled our hearts with greed and wickedness. Magic should not trifled with and should be left to those who know better not mere farmhands of easy suggestion. Do not lecture me heretic you are obviously tainted by the dark. A blight upon our land."

"So you know better than us? I know you Paladin's believe you derive your power from the divine powers that be. But have you ever considered that the divine powers is another form of magic?"

"You will be quiet heretic." One of them said threateningly. I looked own at my bed of my cage, and smiled again I had struck the right chord there.

The End

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