“…And so, even knowing the consequences, this traitor chose to run away from his duties to the country. A country divided by war, with an uncertain future. Here on out, let this be a reminder to all those who take the oath to protect.”
A large crowd gathered within the square of Belpoint. Murmuring amongst each other, all eyes were glanced at the large wooden, scaffolded stage that was located right in the centre of the square. Usually it was used for public speaking, town meetings, and special events of the sort. However, on this sunny afternoon, it was gong to be used for an execution. Devin squeezed through a few people to get a closer look at the stage and more importantly, to get a closer look at the ‘offender’. Personally, Devin didn’t think leaving the line of battle should have warranted this big of a punishment, however, he knew as well as anyone that he shouldn’t question the rules. The man on stage who was in charge of the execution, was none other than Mayor Donol. A somewhat strict man, who was more on edge than ever now that the war was officially in full swing. He shouted, continuing to recite the wrongdoings of the victim, whilst several other people on stage stood around, the executioner included. He was a more slender man, however, his dark hood still made him the every bit scary and ominous to Devin. And it seemed like the victim did as well. Although no visible tears were in his eyes, he definitely had a more sombre, depressed look to his face, not even putting up a fight to defend himself. Suddenly, just as Devin was lost in thought at the speech, the crowd suddenly gasped and sparked a more scattered chatter throughout themselves. Devin looked to the stage, as the man waved his hand and signalled the executioner, who swung his blade. The blade fell, and sliced through the victim’s neck as smooth as Devin had ever seen. In that quick second, that build-up to the highlight of the morning was finished. People continued to talk amongst themselves, with others beginning to disperse and continue about their daily morning. Devin just stood for a brief moment, looking at the man’s lifeless head that dropped into a wooden bucket, dripping with red. In a world of violence and war, that sight definitely didn’t help the gloomy blanket that covered the city.
“Hey Devin…” A man tapped Devin on the shoulder, prompting him to turn around. Standing behind him was a stout, gruff looking man. Grey hair covered his head, along with a grey moustache. Devin recognized him as Lars Fior, otherwise known as Old Man Lars by the townsfolk. He was a nice enough man, although stuck in his olden ways. These days, the man really had nothing better to do other than waltz around town doing whatever he pleased. “Are you going to come by to fix my door later?” He asked Devin. “The darn hinge is getting worse by the say, I swear.” He mumbled.
Devin nodded in agreement, chuckling a bit. “Sure, I was actually just about to head over after the execution.” He responded. Devin grabbed his satchel that slung around his body, that contained his basic equipment for jobs like the one Lars needed.
“Excellent! I’ll walk with you. That little spectacle was probably the only notable thing happening all day, anyways.” Lars said, beginning to walk alongside Devin who remained silent. “Between me and you, they could have found another use for the man.” Lars looked up at the sky, almost as if he were thinking.
“Another use? Like what?” Devin responded.
“Well I mean, they didn’t have to kill him. These are stressful times we live in, and people want to know that their leaders are going to protect them. Not kill them.” The old man paused. “Whether the Mayor likes it or not, he can’t just kill someone when he gets scared or if something doesn’t go his way. Maybe that’s part of the reason we are in this mess, because of leaders like him.” Lars spoke with a bit more passion, seemingly trying to get something off his chest.
“Well, you have to be careful with how you speak. You can’t just say things like that openly.” Devin responded back, glancing around to make sure no whistleblowers were near by. “Besides, like you said, we live in stressful times. That means the Mayor must be stressed as well, no?” He said.
“What’s the worst that could happen to me?” Lars laughed unexpectedly, causing Devin to raise a brow. “Devin, I’ve lived my life. If he wanted to execute me for something, he can go ahead and do so. I’ve served and did my part for this world. The only thing I want to see at this point, is for this war to end. If I can see the end of that, then I’d be a happy man.” The old man paused, continuing to walk and think to himself. Despite being somewhat neutral in political affairs, even Devin could grasp the severity of what was going on in the country. If anything, he agreed with what the old man said, which could be said was rather uncommon.
Reaching the edge of city, echoes of shouting and loud noises could be heard. “Look.” Lars said, pointing at a small brick building, with several workers seemingly helping to construct it. Devin glanced around the area, and saw several small brick watchtowers surrounding the outside of the city. It was a weird sight, seeing views of lush grasslands and hills, and then seeing these out-of-place brick constructions.
“I guess that’s we are called Fort Belpoint now. We are starting to look more like a fortress.” Devin chuckled to himself.
“Apparently, the King himself has sent several parties to come and help out. Should be here any day now. More workers, more soldiers. They are really pushing this to become a pivotal city for war operations.” Lars watched the workers, seemingly daydreaming. Devin stood there watching them as well, pondering about what Lars had just told him. If this city was supposed to become a front for war operations, then that would certainly put a damper on everyone’s day to day life. He knew the royal capital was far away, so having another main city for the war would definitely aid in tactics and messaging of the sorts. However, Devin himself wasn’t sure if he was ready for something like that just yet.