You turn to the grim-faced guard next to you and nod solemnly as the sun’s disc slips below the horizon. He barks a command and four guards emerge from the nearby tent, roughly shoving before them a man clad only in rags and heavy iron chains. As they draw close to their destination – a T-shaped iron structure half again as tall as a man – the guards are forced to grab him as he attempts to escape. The man’s struggles only cease when one of the guards strikes him across the jaw with their steel-gauntleted fist.
As one, the assembled crowd flinches but remains silent. You share their sentiment, struggling to keep your emotions from showing on your face. The guards secure the man to the structure, his arms drawn high above his head by taut chains. Then you take a deep breath and step forward, coming to the edge of the raised wooden platform atop which you had been seated.
Immediately, the collective gaze of the crowd hits you like a warhammer. You know this is wrong. It takes all of your willpower not to step back. Instead, you marshal your thoughts and continue.
“Jareth Aincroft,” you manage to say in a loud voice that trembles only slightly, “the Royal Court of Gramadon finds you guilty.”
“Due to the…” you pause for a moment, steeling yourself against these treacherous words.
“Reprehensible, heinous nature of your crime, it has been decided that you shall be… executed.”
The accusing looks from the crowd before you are a physical pressure constricting your chest. Your pain is doubled by the knowledge that this is happening because you have failed. Your breath does not come easily. Standing still would be impossible were it not for the two men seated on the platform behind you – their stares are as glaring suns, searching your form for any sign of weakness, any doubts, any rebellion.
You must finish this. For Ceassia, for Dalia…
You take a shaky breath and forge ahead.
“Furthermore… due to the severity of your crimes, your execution shall be carried out…”
Two more words. Just two more, and then your part in this horror will be over.
“… Ein Sorceris.“
The collective gasp from the crowd seems to physically knock you back.
You retreat with less dignity than you would have liked and take your seat – the rightmost of the three chairs atop the platform.
The figure in the middle chair slowly rises to his feet and takes three measured steps forward, the crowd noticeably shrinking back in time with his advance. He is a giant of a man – eight feet tall and powerfully built.
Your fingernails dig into the wooden armrests of your chair. You know what is about to happen – have been working for days to prevent this very moment from occurring…
The man glares at the crowd for a moment – none daring to meet his gaze – before turning to regard the unfortunate Jareth. A few moments pass during which no one dares to breathe.
Then Jareth starts screaming.
Bright, unnatural, emerald flames erupt from his bare feet and slowly, torturously, begin spreading up his legs.
Your conscience screams at you, No! Jareth is not the one who deserves this!
What do you do?
>> Try to Intervene [ Chapter 04 ]
>> Do nothing [ Chapter 16 ]