11th February -- Dark Citadel
The streets of Alowca were crowded, the mobs baying for blood. At last, a young woman was drug from the dungeons, flanked by the Harbinger's guards. They held chains, and walked alongside Valentina as she crawled along, unable to stand due to her restraints. The crowd hurled stones, rotten food, and dung at the Halcyon noble. A woman screamed "My son died defending your lands, and this is how you repay his sacrifice!" Based on the attitude of the crowd, she was not alone in her rage. The crowds swelled and the hate was palpable. The only thing holding them back was their respect and fear of the Harbinger. Valentina endured this gauntlet for a mile, her knees raw and bloody, blood and dung running into her eyes.
The procession arrived at a small platform erected by the Blood Moat, and Valentina was bodily lifted and restrained on a wooden "X".
The crowd roared approval, and suddenly everyone was silent. The Harbinger emerged, flanked by his assistants, who were laden with his tools, various knives and items for cauterizing. The Harbinger quietly announced the sentence.
"Valentina Goldhammer, you have shared your art with the Dominion. I will now share mine with you." A small table was set up, and a leather bundle unrolled, knives glistening in the sun. Myles' s hand hovered over the knives, and he thoughtfully selected one. He held it aloft, inspecting it as a painter would inspect a brush. Satisfied, he approached Valentina and considered the first stroke of his masterpiece.
Myles reached up and began to peel the skin off of Valentina's pinky, and her screams rang out in the square. The Harbinger hummed along to the melody, a master artist enjoying his craft. Inch by inch, Myles flayed Valentina's skin from her body. Brands were applied to staunch any bleeding, but the Lord Flayer was truly a master of his art, and after an artfully long period of time, not a scrap of flesh remained on Valentina's body.
Valentina had run out of screams, but still writhed in agony against her restraints. Myles set down his knife and plucked a lemon from a bowl. He sliced it open, and squeezed it over Valentina's fleshless form, eliciting screams again. He bit into the sour fruit, and grinned.
"Nail her to the wall. Have the skin treated and sent to the Fashionista to be made into a garment."
Garm Tanngrisnir Crownguard
Ahhhh, I love the smell of flayed flesh in the morning.
Aoifa sat and wept when the messenger delivered the news from Alowca. How could Khagistar the Almighty suffer such evil to consume His sacred city? How much more must His people endure before the ancient prophecies were fulfilled?
"Are you alright ma'am?" Dietmund motioned the messenger to withdraw.
"I'll be alright," she straightened her shoulders and the fierceness of her eyes scorched the twilight, though her legs still seemed unwilling to bear her weight.
"I did not know Lady Valentina was a friend."
"She wasn't. My tears are for the City Dietmund, and for all those who suffer under the Dominion's yoke..."
15th February -- Dark Citadel
Thick, viscous fog sat over the Dark Citadel. Darius sat on the edge of a dry, cracked fountain, in one of the mid sized squares that dotted the city. He'd been watching the dark shapes flitting through the fog, wondering how to catch one. He figured he should take this opportunity to diversify the peasants in Ravossol, Baron or not. He could set up small towns of different peasants for each realm, and mix and match. He broke his frown to smile slightly at the thought. He could breed the perfect peasant for anything, big burly ones for the army, and plump ones to harvest for the AYMCA and BnB. He'd probably have to breed special ones for Jitney, he was quite picky about his ingredients. He leaned his head back and closed his eyes. He'd have to oust that damn Edain somehow, the idea would require access to the whole region to have enough room. In the meantime, however, he had to research the other realms' dungeons and justice systems. He had to reclaim his InJust title as well. He sighed into the mists. He really needed to stop making a mess of his titles, it was highly detrimental to any of his ideas.
"Sir? A package for you." Darius opened his eyes and sat forward. A messenger, baring the colors of his realm, stood nearby, gently holding a small package wrapped in brown paper, as if a careless move would cause it to blow his hands off. Darius looked at the package, perplexed. He hadn't gotten any mail that wasn't reports, or open letters to the realm in ages. "Who's it from, messenger? I don't need any gag gifts. The last time I opened one of these, three hundred hornets killed 6 of my men." The messenger grimaced, offering the package. "It's from Jitney Blue, Kepper of Hair and Fluff of Outer Tilog, Ambass-" Darius waved his hand, "Yes, yes, I know who you mean. This had better not be unpleasant, or I may have to vent my frustrations." The messenger looked mortified as Darius took the package roughly. With a scowl, Darius tore the paper off, and flipped open the top. Inside, one large blueberry muffin sat in the center, slightly off kilter. Darius's face split into a wide grin. "Messenger! Do you know what this means?" Darius's voice echoed across the empty square, "It means I'm going to be a father!" Darius jumped off the fountain, nearly knocking over the messenger, and nearly ran from the square. The messenger sighed, and thanked his gods he had survived the encounter.
22nd February -- Dark Citadel
Myles stood, admiring the rotting form of Valentina, and adjusted the cloak he had had made from her flesh. As ordered, a crowd had been assembled. The Harbinger was prepared to address his people. He turned to face the assembled crowd, and looked about, Valentina's distorted cloak based face also facing the crowd.
"Aren. I know. We have suffered setbacks. We have lost a few battles, and our enemies have thwarted our takeover of Abaka with corruption." Myles approached the crowd.
"THE COWARDS TRIED TO TAKE IRDALNI... However..." Myles paused. "However..." He said, and then he grabbed a man from the crowd, threw him to the ground, and stabbed him in the neck, repeatedly. After a moment of violent stabbing, Myles stood, covered in blood.
"I will not tolerate weakness. We shall not tolerate weakness. Oritolon ran a takeover for two days, and what progress did they make? NEXT TO NONE! AN INFINITESIMAL AMOUNT OF THE REGION, BARELY ENOUGH TO ENCOMPASS A LATRINE! In the meantime, their capital has fallen to Outer Tilog!"
Myles pointed to the corpse at his feet.
"That is Oritolon. A corpse, bleeding and twitching, unable to accept that is dead! The weak fools need four nations to match our might! FOUR! AND NOW OUR ALLIANCE WITH OUTER TILOG WILL OUTMATCH THIS PATHETIC GATHERING OF FEARFUL NATIONS. WE WILL REDOUBLE OUR EFFORTS TO GRIND EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THESE COWARDS INTO PASTE. GO FORTH AND RIP EVERY MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD OF ORITOLON TO PIECES BEFORE THEY DRAG US DOWN INTO THE PILE OF FILTH THEY WALLOW IN. BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD MOAT! BUILD THE BONE THRONE! LET THE COLONIES BURN!"
24th February -- Dark Citadel
Jitney read the letters from the Senate. He furrowed his brow, lifted Stephen's head from the bowl of plum wine it was submerged in, and then looked at the ground.
He let Darius take Stephen's hair and he turned, leaving the room.
Outside, Jitney looked around, making sure no one was nearby.
Complete silence enveloped him.
He knelt, and with a single finger, poked the earth.
A barely audible "oh well" seemed to issue from nowhere and everywhere all at once.
Jitney grinned and walked back to his room.