I used to take the moon for granted. I never realized the power it actually asserts over the earth. Little Luna, the silent Queen, sitting in the sky and staring down at us. She never falters, and has kept her post for eons. Until now. It was Jax, all along. He fooled us all.
At least I have assurances he'll never fool me again. The rope around my neck is pretty damn convincing of that fact. I can feel it, scratching against my week old stubble like it's trying to start a fire. Least of my worries. Hell, a fire would actually be pretty damned useful right now. Can't see a thing, since Jax finally caught her.
I can hear laughter, over the next ridge. Through the scrub and dirt, they ring through loud and clear. Four of them, Jax' boys through and through. They got their marks not too long ago, now they're out to prove themselves. Just my luck. A blessing they don't know who I am, exactly. This would have been a lot slower. I consider toppling the log I'm standing on, just to deny then their fun, but I can't quite bring myself to do it. It's not like I haven't thought of it already, I've been out here for hours. I've just never been able to, uh, take that leap. C'mon! That was funny. If you can't laugh with a dying man, you're going to have a hard time getting through this.
Their laughter stops abruptly, and I can hear their heavy boots shuffling towards me. I guess they're done digging my grave. Rather nice of them, all things considered. They could have left me strung up, and nobody would have found me for a hundred years, not here in the Eld. One of those holes in the map that wouldn't be explored for centuries.
I see their torches, now, cresting the ridge. The leader, in full iron and carrying a broadsword, came over the ridge followed by his three cronies. To be fair, the term 'cronies' might be too harsh. They were just boys, really, from the surrounding villages. They thought they were doing the right thing, and wanted to save them and theirs. I can't fault them too harshly. I might have done the same, at their age. I might not have known anything else, if I had drank the Kedra.
The three stop short, but their leader continues his confident strides towards me. He stops close enough that I can smell his fetid breath, and hear his spittle hit his face plate. "For your crimes against the one true God of the Seven, you are to be hanged," the creature that was once a man croaked out. "Hanged by the neck, burnt, and buried in a pit 2 by 2"
*Elm, ash, and rowan too." His lackeys - see, isn't that better? - chanted behind him
I stared incredulously at them, before turning back to their leader. "Nursery rhymes about fae and demons now?" I asked flippantly, and rather proudly for managing to keep my composure.
"The rhymes and fables have to come from somewhere." It hissed at me. "You are going to die, tonight. The only question is whether you will repent, and die in the favour of the Lord, or be branded a heret - "
"I've heard all this before," I sighed. "Can we just get this over with?"I asked with as much bravado as I could muster.
"Very well, I wouldn't want to keep you..." It replied, as it placed it's misshapen foot on the log and slowly pushed it over.
The tension on my neck was immediate and excruciating. I could feel it dig into my neck as I dropped to the ground, and suddenly stopped. The bastards hadn't made the drop far enough, now I had to dance for them.
I could feel my lungs burning for air, as my body struggled in vain. The blood was pooling in my ears, my capillaries were bursting behind my eyelids, yet I could still here the faint laughs as my body started to twitch.
Somebody once told me your story can't be a tragedy if you're still alive.
"Well, shit. I guess I know what kind of story mine was," I thought as my body finally started to go limp. I saw light flooding the clearing, and then I was blissfully unaware.