Chapter 1867: Victors and Vanquished (part 1)
Griffon Kingdom, City of Valeron, main plaza.
It was night in the Desert, but for the people of the capitol it was almost noon.
A large crowd had assembled around the tall gallows that had been built in the middle of the plaza.
The structure was made of rough wood, easy to assemble and dismantle.
There was nothing fancy about it because just like its purpose, it had to be simple and brutal.
The pinewood was stained with blood that was never cleaned and the chopping block was already in place on a dais.
Nobles, mages, and even commoners had come from all corners of the Kingdom to witness an event that hadnt taken place since the era of Arthan, the Mad King.
The public execution of someone carrying Royal blood.
Valerons descendants werent all good people, but Royals preferred to deal with the bad apples in a discrete and private way to not taint the reputation of the Crown.
Especially when the punishment was extreme.
Yet Morn Griffon had made his crimes public and so would be the carrying of his sentence.
The former General of the Army was escorted by three guards wearing the Royal Fortress armor arranged around him in a triangle formation.
He was dressed in grey clothes that while clean were rags compared to his usual attire.
His reddish hair was stained with dried blood and his silver eyes had lost any spark of nobility.
He looked and moved like a cornered rat, turning his head left and right in the hope to find a way to escape.
The guards pushed him forward every time he slowed down.
Morn had been a muscular man in his fifties, but now he was as thin as a stick and looked twenty years older.
Two days of torture made horrors for the health and being fed solely tonics, with no solid food, had slimmed him down greatly.
He had been tortured alternatingly with fire, ice, and lightning with pauses in between so that his body could never adapt to the pain.
As he stepped up the gallows, his eyes fell on the golden crown on Merons head and the General wondered what had gone wrong.
His plan had been perfect and its execution flawless.
The crown was supposed to belong to him now, yet the only ornament he wore were the chains binding his hands and feet to his waist.
“People of the Kingdom.” The King wore the same clothes he would for a gala.
A set of a silk shirt and pants with a mantle covering his shoulders.
Meron held the Sword of Saefel in his hands, the tip pointing down and resting on the wood of the gallows.
“Today we are gathered to witness the end of a man that once I considered a friend and an ally.
My very own cousin, Morn Griffon.” The Kings voice was enhanced by no spell, yet it carried clearly throughout the plaza thanks to his powerful lungs and the perfect acoustics.
“As you know, we are in times of war.
We have enemies outside and within these walls.
Its a time when petty grudges, ambitions, and differences must be set aside if we want to survive.
“Yet Morn Griffon, in spite of all that and of his duty as General of the Army, plotted against the Kingdom.
His action cost us a powerful Archmage and ally, sowed discord among our people, and most importantly, caused innocent victims.”
A hologram of the fight between Lith and Orpal appeared, followed by images of how Lutia had been protected by the Demons.
Then, appeared scenes of unrest in various cities of the Kingdom, where people attacked their neighbors believing them a Beast in disguise.
Raazs mangled body appeared, his face made unrecognizable but his wounds in plain sight.
After that, the hologram depicted scenes from the attacks of the Undead Courts.
“Archmage Verhen may have not been sincere with us, but he was an invaluable ally and a trustworthy friend.
I can understand many of you being angry with him and demanding justice, but again, we are in times of war.
“Verhen contributed to recapturing several cities, he protected the Kingdom from all kinds of threats, and he was our best hope to take down the Golden Griffon.
He was also the only tether we had with powerful allies that now might be lost forever.
“If it was up to me, he would have served his sentence by fighting for us until he had compensated the Kingdom for its losses.
Verhen took a few things, but saved countless lives.
The people nodded and their outrage for Liths crimes faded once they realized that they had much more to lose than to gain from his death.
“Yet Morn put his ambition first.
He put Verhen in danger and with him his family.
He is a criminal, but they are innocent.
And so are all the people injured during the mass hysteria that Morns foolish decree caused.
“For all these reasons, he has been sentenced to experience the pain he has caused to others before being executed.
Bring the prisoner.” Meron ordered and the Royal Guards brought the former general to the gallows.
Morns head was now magically locked on the chipping block, forced to kneel in front of people of lesser upbringing.
The King didnt ask him for a last wish or final words.
He simply plunged the Sword of Saefel straight into Morns heart and then decapitated him with one fluid movement.
The head was picked up by a Royal Guard and stored inside a dimensional box while the enchantments of the blade turned the corpse into dust.
This way, there was no way for Morn to survive or be turned into an undead.
The crowd remained for a while, discussing their future while the King walked away with the box under his arm.
“Ive already made sure that the news of the execution spread beyond our borders.” Sylpha said, bearing no grief for the death of her in-law.
“This and the head should appease Liths wrath and give us the opportunity to negotiate his return.”
“Too soon.” Meron shook his head.
“Youve seen what happened to his father and you know how much Verhen values his family.
Lets wait one week.
After that, his rage should have subsided and we can send someone all of us can trust as a mediator.”
Sylpha nodded and followed him.
She had already in mind the name of the perfect candidate for the job.
Lustria County, at the same time.
Count Zint of the Empire, Orpals alter ego, laughed like a madman at the sight of Raazs wounds and the death of Morn Griffon.
He was just back from the north, in Jambel, where he had visited the silver mines that he intended to buy.
He had come to Lustria to take a look at two more objects of his interest.
The Verhen Household in Lutia and the Verhen Mansion on the other side of the Trawn woods.
The Dead King looked in disappointment at Selias empty house, regretting to have lost an opportunity to hurt Lith.
‘The huntress is an old hag, but her kids and ours seemed to be great friends.
Also, according to the people of the village, the Fastarrow family and this Nalrond are good friends of the family. He thought.
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