He was no older than fourteen, yet his eyes spoke of fathomless rebellion and hatred, spewing out of the azure depths and inciting an answering response from those who were close enough to make out his features. There was a great crowd gathered this day, it seemed as if the very catacombs of Haria had emptied its bowels to allow citizens that had never seen the light of day passage to the event. The family of the boy had taken front row, standing near to the tall wooden supports of the gallows. Yes… a gallows. He would be hanged today, for all of the city to watch and jeer at. The boy stood perfectly poised and still, chin raised in defiance while his body was taut with inward fear. His long, thin arms were pulled behind his back and tied tightly with long lengths of rope, his feet remained free, since there was no running in a crowd this large.
Standing with the rope hanging directly in front of him, he would not allow his eyes to wander to the instrument that would be his death, he would not hope or wish that the rope would snap with the dance his body would give while struggling for oxygen, he would not cower and plead. It was enough for him to be able to speak one final time, to address the city at large and explain the slander the government had lain on his head. His executioner, a severe man that stood nearly six feet with eyes as black as death, pulled a scroll from another man standing near him and stepped forward to address the people of Haria, his voice booming over the masses that could not seem to stop their whispering.
“Sir Isaac Cordan the Third has been charged with crimes against the Royal Family. For the kidnapping, torture and death of His Majesty‘s, King Laraulo the Magnificent, only two children, this boy has been sentenced to hang in the square to ward off those who view these crimes as anything but monstrous! His Majesty’s wife, Queen Ophelia, has demanded a public apology for these actions. Sir Isaac may speak!”
The man’s final bellow was met with a complete, utter lack of noise. Nary a wind nor a leaf dared to rustle as Isaac was allowed to step to one side of the looped rope and forward to face the crowd. His own voice was only beginning to deepen with puberty, quiet in the aftermath of the executioner’s words, but it carried nonetheless. There was a quiet confidence in the way he spoke, the way he held himself with such dignity.
“The Queen would like me to apologize to this city for taking away their future rulers. She would like me to beg forgiveness of herself and her husband for ridding them of their only children. I may not have reached the age to marry or to take many titles, but I am a man, still. I will not apologize or beg for an action that I am not sorry for.”
Like a stirring ocean, the crowd’s voices radiate outwards in a wave of whispers. Some openly shouted out their contempt at his words, others remained silent and thoughtful. Isaac waited for the mass to grow silent before continuing his words.
“The sons that King Laraulo and Queen Ophelia brought into this world are more monstrous than any of you think me to be. Only months ago, they beat, raped and murdered my baby sister. She was only seven years and yet forced into these atrocities that Rinaldo and Clivas had both initiated upon her. There were witnesses. Many of them came immediately to the Royal House and begged to be seen by the Family. They were not only refused, but they were put into jail to silence their wagging tongues! I set about to see if there were others like me, families that had been affected by these two monsters patrolling our streets and hurting innocent girls. There are many! I gave my sister justice. I prevented the further onslaught of those two cretins. For this, I am not sorry. My death will not silence my words, they will not silence what the Family has done to all of us! I am more immortal than a body could ever be!”
By the final word, the crowd was panicked and screaming. Voices were raised in argument or agreement with his words, women cried for the loss of their children and men took to brutality to dull the edge of the hurt. They were a mob now. Rushing through the streets and whispering Isaac’s words, whether true or not, they had set about a chain reaction that had the entire city asking questions. The hangman was not pleased. Gripping the youth’s arm, he yanked the boy to the rope and used his other hand to grab a handful of reddened hair to loop the rope over. The rope was tightened mercilessly, but Isaac did not flinch. His eyes were sparkling with the scarlet light of the devil and laughter rang from his lips. In quick steps, the hangman raced to the lever and yanked to one side, pulling the floor out from under Isaac.
His legs began to dance the rhythm of death, racing in the air for purchase while tied hands strained in their bonds. The light slowly dwindled in his dark eyes, his panicked expression from the lack of air turned into one of swift glee… his body began to pulse a blinding white….