The Death of a Country.

 The morning arrived with much excitement. Saber stood at his window watching as several of the Siberian guards turned the courtyard into the arena for his death. A crowd began to gather, whispering happily to one another at the looming prospect of the destruction of a man who wreaked such pain and suffering on their families. “Pathetic.”  He mumbled disgustedly as he watched them with contempt.

He turned away from the window to find Sebastian standing in the doorway. Sebastian was frowning curiously at him.

            “Yes Brother?” Saber asked.

            “You are still here.” Sebastian remarked curiously.

            “I have an execution to attend; apparently it’s the highpoint of the day. I couldn’t possibly miss it.”  Saber mocked bitterly.

            “Don’t play me for a fool, Saber. I’ve seen what you can do to men with even the smallest weapon, yet you don’t even make the slightest attempt to escape.” Sebastian said looking him over suspiciously.

            “Then what would become of your precious peace?”

            “Why do you care?”

            “I don’t”

            “Exactly. What are you playing at?”

Saber chuckled.

            “Maybe I want redemption.” Saber played along further with a grin full of malice.

            “Maybe not.”

            “Does it bother you that much brother?” Saber asked amusedly.

Sebastian didn’t answer. He turned from Saber with no more than a look of exasperation and an overwhelming sense of frustration. He addressed one of the guards.

            “Who is watching the wall? I don’t want anyone let in or out of the castle. Most importantly don’t let him do anything. Don’t even let him breath if it sounds the slightest bit odd.”

Saber chuckled amusedly to himself.  However, Sebastian had nothing to worry about. As the day drew on there were no surprise guests, ambushes or any attempts made by anyone, even Saber himself, to free the condemned prisoner.

The moment everyone was awaiting arrived with no mishaps. When Sebastian came to Saber’s room for the last time to lead him to his death, he found his brother exactly where he’d left him. Looking exactly how he left him—smug and casually amused.  

            “Come on brother.” Sebastian said, as he tapped Saber’s shoulder, in a state of resigned neutrality.

            “I always knew this day would come.” Saber mused aloud. “But I always thought it would be in battle.” He stood soberly, letting the guards pull his hands behind his back. They shackled his wrists.

            “There would be more dignity in a warrior’s death.”  He continued thoughtfully.

Sebastian led his brother away quietly.  Out in the courtyard the crowd waited for Saber with baited breath and when he finally did step out of the castle, the crowd began to cheer and jeer fiercely. As Saber reached the platform on which the executioner stood with black hood and axe, the crowd’s chants of ‘kill him’ died away with the suspense of the moment. 

One of the officers standing on top of the platform began to read off a list of all Saber’s war crimes. Half of which Saber had no recollection of. The list the man read was inordinately long and stated in no uncertain terms, that Saber was a horrible creature unfit for this humane world and would perish for his faults.

Saber glanced over the castle; this would be the last time he ever looked upon this place. Archers lined the roof with loaded bows all aimed directly at him. All the gates to the castle had been barred shut. The people felt secure that there was no possible way for Saber to escape his fate here. They believed there was no chance of anyone getting in or out. Sebastian had ordered the tightest and most lethal security measures ever executed in this castle. Little did he know he had created the perfect setting for his own death and the massacre of his new allies. 

The man reading off Sabers offences finally came to an end. The courtyard was silent.

            “Does the prisoner have any last words?”

Saber had many words to be voiced; only none of them were to be his last. He took a moment to look out into the crowd at all those eager faces. To him they all blended into one unsympathetic mass.

            “Everything I did.” Saber began; his fingers stroked the bone ring on his pinky finger. He felt his blood begin to warm almost to a feverish point. “I did for Russia.” His heart began beating frantically.

            “And I would do it all a thousand times over!” He shouted, his body trembling to contain a wild force rising within his soul. The crowd began to jeer once more and took up their chant for his death.

            “King Gerasim!” Saber shouted his voice growing unsteady; it began to grow deeper and stronger with each successive word. “Trusting Russia was the worst mistake of your life. DO YOU REALLY THINK MY BROTHER WOULD LET ME DIE?!” His last word gave way to a deafening roar that ripped through the already fractured morning. The courtyard fell into a shocked and fearful silence.

Saber toppled onto his knees. His wrists bulged against his bindings; his chest began to expand unnaturally, his neck thickened. His mouth pulled forward to form a muzzle as the teeth on either side of his jaw elongated into fangs that hung long outside his mouth.

Arrows flew from the archers on the roof. Some fell short of Saber striking civilians instead. Those that made it to Saber deflected off his skin as easily as if they were rain.

A woman screamed somewhere in the crowd, her cry waking the crowd from their stupefied stance. People began to run in every direction.

Standing alone on the platform in the prisoner’s place was a large Saber tooth tiger. He let out a triumphant roar that shook the ground, before leaping from the platform into the scurrying crowd of civilians. It was total chaos; people ran passed him in every direction. Saber swung out blindly getting accustomed to his new body. His paws made contact with several bodies sending them crashing to the floor. This was too much fun for him. He looked around for a more worthy target.

There. Trying to escape his position on the veranda was King Gerasim. Saber charged forward as fast as he could towards elevated gallery. He leapt. King Gerasim ducked.

Saber landed heavy on the wooden floor of the loft, his nails digging into the surface  pulling himself to a halt. He hunched his shoulders growling aggressively. The guards pointed their blades towards Saber forming a protective shield around their king.

Saber looked around the landing. In the corner he saw his brother, Sebastian, crumbled on the ground; blood pooling around his midsection where he'd been run through. Saber let out a purr of delight.

He turned his attention back to the ring of guards, he leapt toward them. He felt several strong swords shatter against his underbelly. The men cascaded to the floor several feet below. There was a sickening sound of bones breaking.  Saber pounced atop the pile of men, King Gerasim trapped safely under the heap. Saber lunged. His teeth caught the king’s throat. Blood ran over his fangs.

The End

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