trialMay 29, 2008
The archmagi wrapped the tip of his staff on the marble floor, the runes that covered the gnarled artifact blazed sliver. “We will begin!” The seven judges standing in a rough circle began to intone and a curtain of mystical energy blossomed to life. Those seated in the raised stone platforms before them felt alternately warm and cold as the ribbon pulsed through them. Some remained standing, some sat, others still passed out.
“Save the poor girl! She knows not what she does!” The woman’s protest was cut short by a templar brandishing a short quickly into her gut. She squelched a moan and died.
One over-large, robed man spoke from behind his topiary beard. “This one has been charged with murder and blasphemy against the High God Yawe. As is custom and law by the Book of First Days, she will be put to death.” He raised his staff, whispering small words of summoning and let a flicker of flame dance around his head. It wavered elliptical before jumping off his skullcap to the girl’s naked body below. Her sharp cry of pain pummeled the few weak but standing. She strained against the ropes cutting into her delicate flesh. Mother’s in the audience vexed their hands as they cried.
A single girl of twelve, barely in her own Moonlife, and she was already a heretic. Even some of the men sobbed.
Since the last feeble days of democracy, this land had been scarred by the Order of Yawe. This high profile order of mages proclaimed the One True Knowledge and held it over the ignorant people like a dangling sword. Hundreds were brought to death each year, many of them children, yet the heart refused to die in the face of such horror.
The seven judges took their turns flicking flames from their heads into the girl, whose flesh became cindered quickly, already blackening under the magical fire. Rufus eyed the third judge, Vlad Cardimus, hoping to find some light of humanity left in him after all these years. From the full distance of the gallery, nearly twenty meters, he could see nothing. Nor did he see the slight hesitation in the fourth judge, which could have surely saved the girl some agony.
But hesitation is not respite, and the girl was against attacked by heat.