The Aresan Clan is published four times a week (Tue, Wed, Fri, Sun). You can see what's been written so far collected here. All posts will be posted under the Aresan Clan label. For summaries of the events so far, visit here. See my previous serial Vampire Wares collected here.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Aresan Clan pt 90

Mill languished in his cell: hungry, cold, bored and anxious over his fate. When his door was once more opened without prelude and the guard entered and told Mill to get onto his feet immediately, he thought this might be the point when his fate would be finally resolved.

“Hurry to your feet. You’ve been tried and you’re going to be sentenced momentarily,” the guard said, “I ain’t letting you keep them waiting.”

Mill tried to promptly lift himself to his feet, though his muscles were stiff and sore. He followed the guard out of the cell, through the prison, and up the stairs to a window-lit hallway. This time he was led out outside, through a door into daylight.

When he stepped down the stairs to the dirt-covered street, he saw that crowds lined the thoroughfare that he was being led down. As soon as they saw him they launched into an onslaught of booing and yelling curses in his direction. Soon rocks were being launched at him, small ones mostly, cast at his body, bruising him on the arms and on the side, even a few striking his head.

“You’re not allowed to throw stones at him,” the guard shouted halfheartedly after several stones had already struck Mill, and the stones were brought to a halt.

Mill was led to a square, which had been cleared. In the center of it were a pair of parallel posts that protruded out of the ground. To these, Mill was led. As soon as he arrived, his shirt was stripped, leaving him topless before the crowd. Then one of his wrists was snatched and it was wrapped in a wrist strap attached to one of the poles. His other wrist was affixed to the opposite pole, and then ropes were pulled until his arms were fully splayed. His ankles were next affixed as well until his legs were spread, leaving him almost no room to move.

At this point, a crier who stepped forward read out the sentence. Mill could see the man just to his side and he shouted to the assembled crowd, from memory, a statement as it had been related to him: “Citizen Aleck of the city of Orinda-forr has been found guilty by a duly assembled court of law of having committed espionage on behalf of enemies of the Order of the Fourth Road to Divinity. Citizen Aleck has been cooperative and helpful in providing information to the Order, and for this reason leniency has been sought and granted. Citizen Aleck will be punished with a mere forty lashes to be administered immediately, and will be subsequently permanently excommunicated from all lands, cities and villages of the Order of the Fourth Road to Divinity from hereon and to the end of time.

“May it be the will of God that all punishment be just and that every man be punished in proportion to his crimes. Let the punishment commence.”

At this point Mill saw the crowd erupt in cheers. He could only turn his head to see behind him, and it was just enough to see a man bearing a large, leather bullwhip approaching. He clenched his body as something of a defense against the whip, and that long and unendurable period of anticipation began. It was then that he saw what appeared to be Kayla standing in the crowd, looking at him with a look that appeared to convey empathy for his plight.

When the first blow struck, he entirely went limp as energy was sapped from him by the agony. A long stinging line stretched across him after the thin tip of the whip violently slapped his back. The pain lingered and a red mark was left. The man gathered up the bullwhip, and, as soon as he’d done so, he swung it out to its full length. It again slapped him across the back, creating an agony that not only equaled, but stood on the shoulders of the one before.

More whips came in close succession. The pain of each lingered, like an echo, and as the number of whips increased, the echoes amplified into a cacophony of suffering. Mill’s skin was split open, leaving long bleeding wounds across his back, which dripped in red drops and made his back a mass of spattered red.

By the time the forty whips were finished, Mill didn’t have the strength to stand and he had to be carried from this square back to his cell. There he was dumped on the ground and left to suffer the still potent pain of his many wounds. At the time, he did not have the presence of mind to notice that he wasn’t being immediately released and banished from town, in accord with his excommunication.

<-- Go to Part 89         Go to Part 91 -->

You can see what's been written so far collected here.

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