An Eye for an Eye

Rolandus and Percyvell concocted the ultimate plan to steal 3 prized painite rings from the King of Astilat. But when Percyvell is captured and sentenced to death, a rather different tale of grieving and vengeance unfolds. ~A short historical and fictitious novel about revenge and death in the middle ages~

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4. Chapter 4

The King stepped out onto the balcony and loomed down at the execution post. A crowd of spectators had gathered and were exclaiming excitedly in hushed voices around the raised wooden platform. He watched as the executioner stepped up onto the platform and leaned against his axe.

The King motioned to the guards either side of the crowd and they disappeared beneath the balcony, returning with the young man held captive between them, hands bound with thick rope. The King cleared his throat and prepared to give his speech.

"This man is a treasonous traitor. Last night, he broke into the compounds of the castle, slaughtered three guards while doing so and then proceeded to attack me in my chambers. This morning he told the guards that his aim was to steal from me - although what it was he wanted, he never said. But all the same, he is a murderer and a traitor and must pay for his sins…with his life." the King informed the growing crowd of spectators. He allowed himself a wry smile as the man was forced to his knees and his head was placed on the block. If the King wasn't mistaken, he saw a petrified tear slip down the man’s face, but it could have been the light.

"On my count," the King called, raising his hand to the executioner. The crowd fell silent as the axe was raised.

"One. Two. Three!" the King lowered his hand and the axe dropped with a swish and a thud. The man's head fell to the ground in a puddle of blood. The King cleared his throat again.

"This is what happens to traitors. This -" he was stopped by the screams of an elderly man at the back of the courtyard.

"My son! No! You killed him!" The frenzied man screamed, pushing through the crowd of spectators. The King stood defiantly on the balcony, watching impatiently as he sobbed below him.
"He was a traitor, fool. He deserved everything he got, no less," the King snarled, "Take the body away! Guards, hold him back." The man struggled to reach his son's lifeless body but was swiftly restrained by two burly guards.
"No! You butcher, you royal scum! An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth - a son for a son!" he roared.

"Get him out!" the King yelled, his heart pounding furiously in his chest. But he could not ignore his comment. My son...if anyone lays a finger on him, I'll...I'll...

He didn’t finished his sentence. The King swore that he would never forgive himself for what he'd done if his son perished at the hands of this crazed man.

 

*

 

Galot saddled his horse the moment that he saw the sun rising to the east. He had wasted an entire twenty-four hours guarding a village with only half of its original population and a hall ridden with sour corpses, crying villagers and a mumbling priest with a goddamn stutter. It was to his utter relief that he could now return home to the comfort of the palace.

"Come on, men, I want to get back to the palace by lunchtime," Galot called, clambering onto his horse and waiting for the knights to do the same.

"My Lord, should we inform the villagers that we're leaving?" Bardulphus asked, his horse sidling up to Galot's. Galot shook his head and told him that they were leaving now. He started off moving at a trot, but soon the knights were galloping through the trees alongside him.

It was Galot's impatience that meant he didn't see the danger approaching.

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