The Punishment

~THE PUNISHMENT~

I am not dressed for receiving people in court, yet I do not have time to go to my chambers and become properly attired. Calling in the handmaidens and changing into a court dress would take far too long. I want to deal with this now and get it over with. To wait and let the knowledge of him being here burn in my mind is more than I can handle now.

Accompanied by my general I make my way to the court. My strides are long, my steps are sure as I approach the large, closed, double doors. The knights guarding them await my signal. I give them a sharp nod and the foreboding entrance is opened. I see him, bound and standing in front of that platform where I sit guarded by two knights.

My general reaches out and touches my shoulder. I look back to the right where he is standing behind me and he gives me a reassuring smile. He is with me in this. He is with me through all.

I lift my head, square my shoulders and march forward. My heart is pounding, my blood is racing, yet my steps remain sure and steady. I can handle this.

I step onto the platform, turn and take my seat. I keep my expression blank. The sword hanging in its sheath on the back of the large chair digs into my shoulder and gives me strength.

I stare boldly at him for several minutes. His head is bowed and I wonder what he is thinking.

Memories begin to flood my mind and I look away quickly so he cannot catch a glimpse of the tears gathering in my eyes. I remember the love we shared, the joy that filled my heart.

My general starts to give the nod that would have had the two knights dragging the viscount down to my dungeon, but I hold up my hand for him to stop.

I turn back to the viscount, coldness in my eyes and voice. “I ordered you away. You have gone against my orders and reentered my territory. I could and should dungeon you.” My expression softens. “But I cannot bring myself to do that.”

The viscount looks up at me, hope in his eyes.

“My orders for you are…” I pause and look away again before continuing. My eyes meet his again. “…Total banishment. You will be taken to the wilderness and left there with naught but your sword, a cask of water and a wallet of bread and cheese.”

His expression falls.

“Do not set foot in my territory again else next time the punishment be far worse.”

I nod to the knights and they lead the viscount out of the court and to his fate.

The End

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