Steel and FireMature

A head rolled off the block for the umpteenth time. The sweating headsman picked up his axe for the umpteenth time. And, for the umpteenth time, a prayer to Eres for the soul of the departed was spoken by an ageing priest in a grey robe.

This was the price of peace in Eastridge.

The men, women and children being executed were those who supported the rebellious Lord of Eastridge, Hrogar Balathon. Lord Hrogar once served under King Allun Gorn of the Southlands, until Allun was assassinated. When the news reached him, Hrogar named himself King of Eastridge. He reigned over the province for a matter of days before Allun’s son, Marck, stepped in to restore order.

“Captain Darris,” said the priest of Eres, crossing his arms across his stomach, “it is near dusk. We ought to stop this… work for today, and let our weary headsman rest.”

“Buy more time for you to set the traitors free, you mean.” replied the burly captain, straightening the greatsword slung across his back. The tongue-less headsman nodded at the priest, indicating that he agreed with him. Captain Darris sighed angrily.

“Fine. Get the prisoners back to the cells. We’ll get rid of the rest tomorrow.” Soldiers began to usher their terrified captives in the direction of Eastridge Garrison’s keep.

“Captain,” spoke the priest, in his slow and deliberate manner, “Why must we execute all of the prisoners? Surely the children, and the elderly-“

“We kill them all. King’s orders, Girram. We’re not here to reason, just do.”

“And die. Hundreds of soldiers died at the orders of a child.”

“That sounds like treason, priest. King Marck ordered us to recapture Eastridge and behead anyone who didn’t support us.” The priest Girram frowned at the captain before turning away. A soldier who had been assigned the task of protecting the priest broke away from a group of his comrades to follow him into the keep.

The End

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