Chapter 3 (Cont.)
“The King rules by the divine right handed to him…”
“By the mother.” The condemned man interrupted him.
It was jarring. Having this uneducated man, someone who faced death before him, and seemed not to care.
“Yes, the Mother.” The High Lady of the Moon came instantly to his thoughts.
“The same mother yer king seeks to topple. Burying thousands of years of ancient tradition, for wat?”
The Executioner stared at him. He could not fathom what the man played at, but underneath his questions there was something, something he danced about.
“I do not speak for the King. I serve at his pleasure.”
Another hacking, coughing laugh from the man.
“Aye, he’s pleasure.” Hack, hack, hack again. “Wat one man does for another man’s pleasure ignores the backs upon which he builds he’s kingdom.”
There it was. The thread of the anarchists, that the king was a tyrant, a slaver, using the people he ruled for his own gain.
“Those same backs that he seeks to lift up? Through increased education. Through improving cities, towns and villages with the tax that is collected? The tax you stole.”
The condemned man turned and spat on the cold, stone slab beneath them. He reached up, using the dirty palm of his hand to wipe away the spittle.
“The same people he taxes into poverty Seizes their farms, leaving them homeless and copperless. Hav’ ye seen their bodies, Executioner? Rotting in the ditch along the western roads?”
The Executioner stared at him. He did not come here to debate. He came here to fulfill tradition. To ensure that the man had made his peace and accepted his fate.
“Two days hence, you will walk in the cold morning light. Seven hundred and seventy-five steps to the gallows. There you will kneel before the block. I will raise my great axe and in one, fell swipe… separate your head from your shoulders.”
“Straight ta business, eh? Canna be dissuaded from yer appointed duty. Jest like yer father.”
The words cut to the quick on the Executioner.
“How did you know my father?”