The last dying embers licked the evening sky. Where the village once sat, there were only burned out husks, barely maintaining the shapes they once were. Most of the peasant men were slaughtered, save those that begged mercy and gave into the armored soldiers' demands. The women were, of course, spared, as well, but Saddler's knights and soldiers were already busy ransacking any valuables that had survived the assault. The charred buildings were turned over, and every survivor's person was searched. There was not much to be gained from these impoverished people. This was a pale excuse for war spoils. These men, however, were a new type of bandit. Hired marauders, who's poor salaries were augmented by the things they could pilfer from the underclass. Livestock were taken, and young men were captured, to serve the rest of their days as pages.
This would not be the end of the peasants oppression by the army. With the battle over, the remaining townsfolk would be subjected to fiefs, where their crops were now property to the invaders, and their men unpaid foot soldiers in the service of the king. One knight, who strode through the squalid refuse with a refined swagger, danced his fingers along the pummel of his sword and looked over the destruction. He was no different than the rest of the men, except that he was a high ranking knight. Having been in the srvice of his lord for seven years now, and at the age of 27, he had the vile intentions of any man of privilege. One of the peasant girls caught his eye and he accosted her, his silver armor shining in the crackling fires.
The young woman, who had eyes tired beyond her few years and red hair falling down about her face, looked up at him in terror.
“Come with me.”
“Please,” she said, but Deorwine took her by the arm and led her to the far side of the village, where no eyes were looking.
This was life for the unprotected people of Sardon. Little control existed over the soldiers in service of the king, and these meaningless proxy wars happened every day. Reasons, such as honor or glory were cited, but the real reasons were thinly disguised. Revenge, greed, and petty trivialities were truly to blame, and the people were violated in ways that were wholly unthinkable. Deorwine was almost finished his 40 days of service this year, and he figured a few villages would help fill that time.
To find the city plunged into absolute chaos was not what Deorwine was expecting, nor did it do anything to keep his moods high. People hurried in all directions, and a garrison of soldiers could be seen sprinting for the castle. A few of the men in Deorwine's party rushed to join them. The knight began shouting. “What is this?!” He grabbed the nearest person to him, a man in silk clothes. “What is about the people?! What has happened here?!”
“The King,” said the man, trembling in Derowine's grasp, “Word is that Saddler has been murdered!”
Deorwine tossed him with enough force to nearly topple the man. “Just what I need!” Sword drawn, he marched for the castle, taking the rest of the soldiers with him. When he entered the main hall, another knight and a vassal ran to him from a large crowd gathered inside.
“Deorwine,” said the other knight, “The King has been assassinated! We have the culprit on the run, but he's an element wielder.”
“I trust he's escaped?”
“No. He hasn't left the city walls yet. Come.”
In the city square, five men faced Maximus down. With an abstract dance of his hands, he pulled lightening from nothingness and devastated the men, wearing plate armor that served to further conduct the electricity. The first man to rush him, wielding a spear, was fried where he stood. He spasmed and collapsed to the ground. The others fared little better. Deorwine was cursing when he arrived on the scene.
“What is this?!” He held his sword towards the foreign Knight, who still had static bursting between his armored fingers. “Was it you?! Did you kill the King?!