2nd of Goodmonth 383 ONT, 3:28pm, Chestnut Grove Farm, Southern Honatice, Argyle
Hagnon marched into the manor of Chestnut Grove, pushing both double doors open simultaneously and assessing the defensive value of his new base of operations. it was four stories and a sprawling display of the ill informed, this shelter would not be ideal for any long term fight. He turned to Pelious who had followed him in.
“Have the house searched, collect me slaves and family members and paid works, and gather them with the prisoners out front” The King said
“It will be done My King” Pelious said, nodding his head to five of their men to follow as they strode towards the stairs. Hagnon walked into a large chamber off the main foyer, it appeared to be a longer narrow room, a few benches lining the marble floor with painting adorning the walls.
“Arteus!” Hagnon called back, summoning his young cousin
“Yes My King?” Arteus asked as he jogged to an approach
“It is time for you to make use of your talents! This fool held the riches of Kings and yet beat his people instead of holding them up… find his silverware and any other bits or none weapon or tool metal that you can, I wish you to make a mold and a statue of our goddess to be set up here, this hall will be where we pray and show homage to the Goddess of the Night Wind. If we are to win this campaign, we will require her constant favour… find all the red wine, candles and incense in the house and leave it here for me to assemble an alter for her”
“It will be done My King” Arteus said with a smile, he enjoyed it when his cousin allowed him to stretch his artistic muscles.Arteus turned to leave
“Oh and Arteus….”
“Yes My King?”
“Should you find any other alters, any other holy symbols or anything supporting a God other than our Mighty Goddess… have those items dropped into the latrine, we will burn it before we move on”
“Arteus nodded again, offering a fist over his heart as a salute before jogging off to his work”
Hagnon walked up and down the hallway examining each picture carefully, he chose three that he felt incorporated a sense of glory in battle and beauty, things that were worthy to stay in the hall of the Goddess of the Night Wind, the others he pulled from the wall and placed by the front door, with the increasingly large pile of coins, statues, jeweled weapons, gems and tapestries. He spent a long time staring at one particular image, a painting of a man on a horse raising a sword towards an army whole a tornado raged behind him, he liked this picture and moved it to a place of honour at the end of the hall. He felt that he could be the man in the image, with the Tornado being his undefeatable Goddess, or perhaps the man had angered the goddess and she was wiping him and his men from the realm, either could be a satisfying answer he mused
“King Hagnon?” the soft spoken words of Cenon broke him from his deep thoughts. He looked to his long time companion wordlessly asking what was needed. “They are ready Sire” he nodded and followed Cenon outside. at the base of the steps of the manor, Their were three groups assembled, all on their knees. The first were the wife, daughters, children and family of the now very late Fredrick Lemmens. The ten or so of them huddled and cried for their lost Knights and in distress of their things, but as yet had not been harmed. The second group was maybe fifteen or twenty strong, they were the captives from the battle, the men at arms, as well any farm aids or paid employees of the Baron who had been on the ground with Hagnon and his men had won the day. The Last group was the largest amounting to almost fifty individuals, they were the slaves of Chestnut Grove, both the house and field ones. 10 of Hagnon’s men were arrayed behind the gathered with swords in hand to assure obedience and submission. Hagnon looked up to the sky realm of his Goddess before shaking his head with the knowledge of what needed to be done, he then stepped forward and spoke addressing the slaves first.
“Slaves of Chestnut Grove, It is clearly written in the Scroll of the Night Wind…” he held up the scroll where he had written the teachings of his goddess down “… That the Goddess does not like slavery, and will not suffer slavers. As such, I cannot keep you and thus will offer you freedom. If you wish it, you may join with my cause and campaign, as we are on a holy mission to avenge a fallen Captain and rescue the chosen of our Goddess, should you join with us, you will be given weapons, food and protection as best we are able, but will fall under my command for the duration of this campaign” He took a moment to meet the gaze of every man women and child among the slaves “Our task will not be easy, some of you die, BUT eternal glory resides with heroes of the Goddess, and I only share paths with heroes” he paused a long moment before continuing. “Any slave who does not wish to join arms with my cause will be free to take one armful of items from the treasure pile, and flee as best they can, our ties will be cut and my duty to your freedom will be complete. Think hard on this choice as you will not be accepted back…” He glanced up at the sun “You have two hours to make your choice, however you go, go with the blessing of the Goddess of the Night Wind” with his speech done he nodded. two of his men walked among the slaves cutting the last of their bonds, the men then moved to better guard the family and the captives.
the crying continued from the family as they realized their wealth and treasures would be given to slaves, Hagnon was not without mercy, he was going to wait until last, but the family appeared strained and he did not wish to draw that out
“Family of Baron Lemmens, You are Judged as Slavers, and as is written I will not suffer Slavers…”
“WAIT!” a women cried, she had keen eyes, she likely sensed where this was about to go “Please… spare the children, they are young…” Hagnon looked at those assembled, the children she spoke of were likely her grandchildren, of the ages 5 and perhaps 11. It brought him no joy, but he shook his head slowly
“Should I spare these children, they will grow up with vengeance in their hearts, to hunt me and mine while I am old and weakened. That is how wars continue through ages, our conflict is now, and so too is the punishment. The GODDESS OF THE NIGHT WIND WILL NOT SUFFER SLAVERS!” He shouted, forcing the lump from his throat and nodding to his men. Before the family could begin their pleads in earnest, his men stepped forward grabbing family members by the hair and slicing open their throats, in seconds all ten of them lay dead, puddles of red staining the green grass. When his men had wiped their blades clean and moved behind the captives Hagnon nodded again, gaining control of his emotions. “Any under their twentieth year will be given a proper burial, those older made their choices themselves and will be caste into the fields for the crows”
“HIIIIIIIUUU” his men grunted in acknowledgement, causing the assembled captives to jump. At last Hagnon turned to them and eyed each carefully. They were nervous, would they be offered an option akin to the slaves? or would they be considered slavers and be the next to be killed
“I understand the concept of conscripts, of fate, and of poor circumstance” He began to the assembled group “And it is written in the Scroll of the Night Wind that our Goddess is a merciful Goddess, and as such I shall offer a mercy to you” their were audible sighs of relief from those assembled, especially those who had raised weapons against the fierce warriors of Thefia. “Any among you who wish a change of circumstance, an opportunity to leave this life of sin and devilry behind now have a choice. Should you come forward, swear your soul to the Goddess of the Night Wind and swear fealty to me for the duration my my campaign, you will be granted the rank of one of my soldiers and all the benefits and privileges there in. Should you not wish to swear to my Goddess or HER cause, then so be, your fate lays on the ground beside you” he pointed to the red bloody members of the Lemmen family to their left. “Let us begin” he declared nodding to Pelious. Pelious grabbed the nearest captive to the King, one who had fought against them only an hour earlier that day. he was dragged up the steps and pushed to his knees on the steps before King Hagnon
“Do I not get time to think, to consider?” The man cried in fear. The King removed his Holy Symbol and held it out before him
“This is not a matter of the mind, it is a matter of the heart and soul, your heart does not require time to consider, it knows what is right and what is wrong, decide now, your soul is on the line” The King held the symbol for the man to kiss, at the same time the man shuddered hearing the SHINK noise of Pelious drawing his gladious behind him.
“I…” the man burbled and stammered
“Decide” the King said, all emotion and sympathy gone from his tone
“I…. I can’t… I need some time…”
the man’s head was cleaved off and bounded down the stairs. Pelious stepped aside wiping his blade as the King lifted one leg and kicked the body down the stairwell. The Body had barley hit the grass when Pelious grabbed the next man in line and dragged him up to kneel before King Hagnon
“Decide” The King said in the same impassive tone. The man said nothing, he fell over himself to quickly lean forward and kiss the holy symbol. Hagnon let out a light bark of a laugh, reaching down and lifting the man to his feet. “What is your name?” he asked, the man was terrified by managed to answer in a squeak
“Conner” was all he got out.
“Welcome Conner, embrace me as a brother” Hagnon said giving the shocked man a giant bear hug “Know that treachery in this world will mean torture in the next, but i fear you not, for we are brother’s in the goddess cause now… TO CONNER” he said taking Conners hand and holding it up to the assembled men
“HIIIIUUUUU” the men grunted in welcome thrusting their spears in the air in unison. Conner was offered a chance to go stand among the soldiers, while Pelious moved on to the next man in line.
Three men and two women lost their lives as they refused to swear or tried to bargain and play with words. Eight men and three women, and four children had come over without issue. Hagnon had made only one alteration, and that was for the two year old who had not yet mastered their words, he accepted the mothers and fathers promise to raise the child in the Goddess’s Shadow as promise enough. When all was done at the end of the day Twenty-nine slaves had opted to join his cause, and eight of them the path of his Goddess. the remainder had taken what they could carry and had made a run for it. It had been a productive day, tomorrow they would fortify for the inevitable retribution that would be attempted; he would kill the remaining nineteen knights to avenge Leslie, then move on to find the remainder of the crew of the Champions Thrust
To Be Continued