The darkened streets are lined with the outcasts of society, sitting down against the walls at the mercy of heaven above. Every day is a battle for them, begging is the only art they’ve known so far and many die with their empty hands outstretched waiting for the help that never comes. The wind battles them most of the time, sweeping their last breath away and leaving their hungered bodies behind.
Mist swirls around the moon, disguising itself as clouds of misfortune. A streak of lightning flashes and cracks in the deep sky but the thunder never comes. Moans of hunger and death become the lullaby of the night and shadows of the nightmare conquer the pallid moon overhead.
“Seems like we came in a bad night,” Astra voice says, drifting me back from my silent reflections. We are standing in the steps before a wooden door, having knocked on it thrice; we are now waiting for the host to welcome us.
“So it seems,” I reply, shifting my glance to the plaza being flank by tall, dark-red brick buildings. In the center of the plaza is the most feared and imposing structure of death: the stake. I shudder at the thought of it; the visitors of the night are not welcomed in the Kingdom of Anglier. That loath triggered the burning of “witches” a couple of months ago.
Once, a poor woman was seen roaming during twilight through the trash of other people, trying to find something edible. She came across an empty stall and knelt down to hopefully find spare food that might’ve fallen into the ground. Her efforts were in vain for she only found a cold gust of wind, followed shortly by dust blinding her eyes. She stood up, rubbing her eyes and sobbing silently into the night. Misery will be always the most terrible fiend to defeat.
An officer found her and wanted to take advantage of her pitiable state of sanity, taunting and mocking her for her poor hygiene and filthy body. She shouted into the night, enraged at false accusations and deliberate insults. The officer sneered; his cold laugh didn’t last long for an invisible force thrust itself over his body, tearing him apart. His screams drowned hers as his life was leaving him. She saw how he was being skinned in thin air and his blood covering the cobble-stoned path. She covered her eyes and hummed herself to sleep, trying to ignore the screams of the officer who were slowly dying away.
By midnight, lights from the adjacent buildings came to life and several heads poked out of their windows. The carnage scene they saw filled them with dread and repulsion, the heavy stench of blood was carried throughout the kingdom by the northern winds. The woman was intact; she had her arms wrapped around her legs and her face buried in her arms in a fetal position and rocking back and forth. She was drenched in blood and the poor victim laid beside her with his chest open and several deep scratches in his arms and legs.
She was taken to trial in which she pleaded innocence, but couldn’t answer when she was asked what creature attacked the officer. She stuttered every time she tried to unveil last night mystery to the court officials. Her fingers and face were forever tainted in red blood. The town pressured the kingdom for justice and the king delivered. The next morning she was hung in public view for atrocious murder of an officer and the belief that she was possessed by a demon attributing her with inhuman and evil powers.
More of those sanguine deaths followed shortly, setting the town into a state of turmoil. The male population became wary toward women, many claiming their wives to be possessed by demons. Women went to trial throughout the kingdom and court found some of them guilty of witchcraft. A priest suggested that the witches’ body should be expurgated from demonic sins, and thus, the stake was created. Women were unfairly treated and the famous witch hunters emerged, claiming glory whenever they hunt down a “dangerous women” and brought them to justice by the fate of a fiery stake.