Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Siege of the White Mountain; Vol. 2: Fields Running Red--Part 36

Brother Law regarded at the armiger before him. Like most of his fellows, he was a picture of increasingly shabby gentility, fine clothes showing their wear, and cheeks just a little hollow. Still much, much better than the men serving under him--but no longer untouched by all this hardship. Somehow, it didn’t make the Flagellant like the man. “How could you allow this to happen?” muttered the armiger, staring at him.

“We have too many prisoners as it is,” said Brother Law.

Brother Cord nodded. “Men caught sneaking food. Men caught trying to desert. Men caught killing other men.”

The armiger raised an eyebrow. “Are you suggesting insubordination wasn’t as severe as any of those crimes?”

“Did I say that?” asked Brother Cord. The armiger narrowed his eyes. “I was merely explaining that we have many people here. Too many. It’s easy to miss things the men do. Too easy.”

Brother Law nodded, as the body was brought out. “So when a man wants to end his life before it can be officially ended--well…” He gave a shrug.

The armiger glared at the pair. “Don’t imagine your incompetence matter will be forgiven. If the Flagellants can’t be relied on to keep people alive until their execution, then we will take these matters out of your hands and start executing men on the spot.”

The Flagellants nodded. “Of course, sir,” said Brother Cord. “We… understand.” The armiger gave a nod, and then left the tent. Brother Cord looked at Brother Law. “Well, that went well.”

“Yeah,” said Brother Law. “I’m surprised he didn’t realize about… well, the guy’s neck.”

“It was either that, or let him choke to death on the floor at that point,” said Cord. “And as a man who saw that happen once, I wasn’t about to see it again. Unpleasant.”

Law nodded. “So… summary executions…”

“What do you expect?” said Cord, with a shrug. “The armigers like cavalry charges. When war doesn’t involve that, they tend to get… confused. Then unpleasant.” He sighed. “It doesn’t go well from there.”

“Yes, I’m seeing that firsthand,” agreed Law.

Brother Strict rushed in, his distress obvious. “Law--Cord… there you are…”

“Just dealing with that armiger,” began Cord. “He’s…”

Strict raised his hand. “No, no. This is… more important. The--the Dark Lord! He’s shouting challenges from the wall!”

Law and Cord looked at each other, then rushed out to see what sounded a great deal more interesting, and less depressing than the body before them.

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