The dust whipped across the dusty field, making pennants and flags making audible snaps as they whip about. The chill breeze from the ocean, a direct contrast to the shimmering desert heat that radiated from the ground. On an elevated rock, a group of humans, Saurigs and dwarves all well tanned by the desert sun looked down on the prisoners. In front of the rock, arrayed in straight lines and holding spears are additional Saurigs and humans who also glance across the field to the prisoners. The prisoners were a dirty, dusty lot, many with wounds, some coughing and others who needed to be held up by their comrades. Most were wearing their Mercenary Company colors, perhaps the only thing clean on them, with pride. There were also who were of the Vemany military and many were in fear.
One of the humans stood up, resplendent in his turban and light chain spoke to the prisoners. To the side of him was another human dressed in the heavy desert garb of his people. He spoke in a loud resounding voice, “You, whom have led badly by the now deceased King Assuary, fought bravely in a bad situation and for that, I will grant you your lives. However, you all will be put on ships and banished from these lands forever. If you are found in these lands again you will be put to death. For those whom fought with their King, I will grant you amnesty and the ability to be part of our army again provided you swear fealty to this council. If you wish to proclaim your allegiance to your former King, then you will be killed, your family killed, and all existence of your miserable lives will be expunged.” Some of the prisoners translated the words to those who did not understand the tongue but all understood the tenor of the message.
There was a moment of silence, and then one shouted out, “Assuay was the rightful king. You and your kind are vultures, which shall be like carrion and destroy what is left of our kingdom.” The man stepped forth and spit on the dust. The man in the turban motioned and two of the Saurigs moved forward, their tails making a trail in the desert floor, their lizard like bodies moving sinuously to the defiant man. They grabbed the man and dragged him to the turbaned man.
The turbaned man just looked at the defiant man before him and smiled. He put his hands on the man’s’ face as if centering the head before speaking to him. The struggling man screamed, and there was a cracking sound, the man’s head exploded in a spray of blood and brains as it was crushed between the turbaned man hands. The turbaned man, covered in blood and brains quietly ripped the dead man’s shirt and wiped his face slowly clean and his hands. The silence seemed to go on forever. Finally the Turban man turned away and walked back to the rock.
He spoke again after mounting the rock, “These ships will take you away to various lands. May you fair well in other places. If you come back you will be dead.” With that he turned away and left the rock. The Saurigs and others pushed you to the ships. The native troops who decided to return to the army were led away. There were no others.
The rain was falling lightly about the grounds. The day was grey and dour.
The crowd stood with their heads bowed as the body of Emmanuel the second was pulled by carriage behind a group of six Clydesdale horses. The Household cavalry of the order of the Lion was resplendent in their plate and barded horses followed in double ranks, followed by the elite infantry in their dress blues.
The Queen Wanda dressed in completely in black sat in the royal throne with her handkerchief in her hand. It was rumored that she had wanted the king brought back, but the king’s final wish was that his death be permanent as he was some 80 years of age and in great pain from the ravages of time and his penchant for fighting as a youth.
The queens’ retinue stood at attention behind her. Many in the crowd noted that one of the retinue was the ambassador from the Dallian Confederacy Ivo Gunduli was standing next to the Queen whispering words to her instead of standing at attention.
The smoke was curling from the Ritaris house. The tribesmen were in a ribald mood and there had been much horseplay among the younger barbarians. The winter had been long and brutal, there were invasions by the creatures of the wild lands on the east coast and savagely put down but at a loss greater than many of the leaders wanted to acknowledge.
Ritari(king) Egil Stenmark awaited the word of the Oracle Astrid. The wizened old hag would show up and make her proclamations by gutting a sheep and performing writing for a period of time with the blood of said sheep. Egil was getting sleepy but was willing to perform his kingly duties on a couple of young wenches when a wind came up opening the doors and putting out the torches. The noise went to only the sound of the wind blowing.
He could make an outline of somebody advancing into the great house. It was Astrid. She was said to be old when Egil was still nursing at his mothers breast. She had the look of being emaciated but moved with a lithe grace. The smell from her was overpowering from at least feet away. Her hair was matted and her teeth rotted but her eyes shined brightly. “Ritari Egil, I have a vision. The Lion of Hebrean has fallen and the wolves surround the carcass, this I have seen. There can be much feasting upon the lands of Hebrean. “
Ritari Egil stood up at the news and shouted out. “Men, we have a reading from Astrid. We have a place to go and raid. Call out the chieftains, its time we make war again.”