“T’was these two, Your Grace.”
“My Queen, I swear it. He started acting nuts, he was howling and came at Frank here,” the man said pointing at the frail boy brought with him. “Pinned him on the floor and tried to scratch his eyeballs out. I had to do it.”
Pamela considered him for a moment, could what he’s said be the truth of it, she turned to her Elder Horton, who has all the answers, for help. He only nodded his head ever so slightly, letting her know he was as clueless as her here.
“Even if whatever you’ve said is what really happened, ser. You still killed one of our own men, one of your brothers! For that, you will be executed.” she said finally.
“Oh I’m begging you for mercy, Your Grace. Mercy! Mercy!” the man screamed.
Too loud, he’s being too loud, that’s no way to speak in front of his queen, Pam thought.
“Fine, your friend here who you claim to be innocent will be pardoned as he has none of the blood in his hands. A quick painless death is all the mercy you are getting however.” she said.
The knight was dragged out of her tent by her guards kicking, screaming and cursing. “Some more minutes and he would have tried to have me believe the dead man had turned into a unicorn and attacked him.” she mused to her Elder.
“Stranger things have happened.” he said.
“No, they really haven’t,” she giggled.
Queen Pamela Flame was one-and-seven years but still was a little girl at heart. Never having seen the world outside her parents’ tents or over her guards’ tall shoulders, she was much too good for this world but knew what she had to do as Queen when she had to. An illness, suspected to be spread in their camp by one of those treacherous Frosts, had claimed both of her parents three years ago. Any Frost who abandoned their camp and sought refuge with the Flames was hanged from then on. She hated every one of them with all of her heart and contributed actively in attack strategies and war councils with her generals, hoping to end the war as soon as possible.
It was almost always the same way it has been for probably hundreds of years now. The bulky ‘Heroes’ were in the front, with scrawny young men as their ‘shields’.
The spear-men were next, the swordsmen behind them and the few horsemen that remained were behind them. Most horses just ended up being dinner, if there was ever a food shortage. Certain men who treasured their loyal four-legged creatures were the only ones still horsed.
The archers were next, far behind them all, protecting the women and the ‘Broken'(the weak or crippled men).
The Queen herself was quite skilled at archery and sat in her wagon in the center, much to Horton’s dismay. He would rather have her be with the other women in the back, but she would have none of it. She wanted to be with the men fighting for her to help them remember what they were risking their lives for. If not for anything else; let them fight for her.
“Elder? Did I do the right thing?” she asked.
“What must be done isn’t always the right thing, my child. You did what you were meant and expected to do. Don’t you worry about all that. I’m pretty proud of myself on your account. I’ve done a mighty good job at raising you just right.” he replied with a proud face that couldn’t have been faked. It meant the world to her.
“But,” she couldn’t help but wonder. “Could it be that the man was actually saying the truth of the matter? The dead one had been one of his closer drinking buddies for some time now, I’d heard…” Did I send an innocent man to his death? If he was not lying, I myself can’t see any other thing he could have done.
“The boy looked quite shaken too, and the scratches he mentioned were also visible and very real.”
Elder Horton cut her off there, “The man’s already probably dead, my lovely princess.”
“Queen,” she corrected.
“Ah, yes I forget. You will always be a little princess in my balding head, my QUEEN. And as I was saying, I could ask them to stop the execution. There might still be some time. Just have to inform one of your spokespersons and he would see to it.”
“No, don’t. I’ve made a decision. It would seem weak and childish to show doubts AFTER making a decision at court and trying to undo it,” she said still unable to decide whether she had done the right thing.
“That was just the right answer I expected from you, child.” he said. This time she didn’t correct him. He can call me what he pleases while we’re alone, I AM his child, always have been.
Even when her parents were alive, she had spent most of her time with the Elder. Her parents actually developed a bit of distaste towards him and sent him on errands quite often because of it. Still even then, she sometimes managed to go along with him.
She sighed deeply, reminiscent of the good old days, things were just so easy back then, being just a little girl with not a thing to care about in the world.
“Thank You, Elder. For your wise counsel, as always. I don’t know what I’d be or what I’d do without you. I can’t express how grateful I am to have you beside me.” she told him.
“Pleasure’s all mine, dear Pam. Err, my Queen.”