The Dawn of the End by Kristen Ashley



“You won’t be there long,” True shared. “And I imagine you suspect that. Thus, I can understand why you would not fear it. However, with all clear rights, claims and powers over this land, I can make any number of decisions. Indeed, all of them. Including the one I make in the now. You are found guilty of high treason against the Kingdom of Wodell.”

“I’ll have my tribunal,” Carrington stated calmly.

“You…will…not,” True bit.

Carrington stilled completely.

Brilliant.

Now he had the man’s complete attention.

“You studied extensively in Go’Doan. Do you remember what happened in olden times when a man was found guilty of high treason in Wodell?” True asked.

Carrington began to squirm in his chair.

He knew.

“Drawn and quartered,” True told him regardless. “Hanged, almost until dead. Publicly. Then I’ll have your cock severed from your body. Publicly. I will then have your bowels spilled from your gut. Publicly. And as you are there before all, spread open, spilling out, emasculated, I’ll have your head. That’s the last you’ll experience. But now you’ll know your dead body will be quartered, the parts taken to the four corners of this city, set out, and what is not torn away as naught but carrion will be left to rot. Your head, however, will be on a pike affixed outside the window to my mother’s bedchamber.”

“You cannot do that. That practice was outlawed—” Carrington began.

“We have not had an incidence of high treason since then, or at least not one instigated by someone not of royal blood. Now, we have. And as I will soon be the law of the land, I’m making it not outlawed any longer.”

“I did not bear the bow that killed your mother.”

Rage burned in him at the reminder of just some of the massive amount he’d lost that day, and True couldn’t hold it in check.

He backhanded Carrington so hard, the man nearly toppled to the floor.

He then got it in check and shared, “As supreme ruler of this land, I’ve decided I don’t fucking care.”

True turned on his boot and moved to the door but stopped as both the guards there saluted him.

“Take him to the Down,” he commanded. “Relieve him of his clothes. He wears commoners’ prison garb. Broth and bread once a day. No butter. No meat. No coffee. No milk. Half carafe of water a day. Half a candle a day for light. No books. No papers. No exercise. No visitors. No talking. If a guard responds to him, relieve that guard of his duties, that being his employment with the Royal Penal Guard, and assign another who will not break this order. He does not leave his cell and put him in the smallest one we have. Am I understood?”

“Yes, Your Grace.”

“And see to this immediately,” True went on.

“Yes, Your Grace.”

“Then send a guard to his home,” True continued. “Strip it of all his possessions. Claim them for the crown. At the exact hour my mother lost her life this day, tomorrow, I want everything burned that can be burned. Anything of worth can be liquidated, the proceeds divided between the Royal Service Infirmary and Our Lady the Queen’s Orphanage, after ten percent is deducted to be donated to the Temple to Wohden.”

“At once, Your Grace.”

“And last, you do not have to handle him gently,” True finished.

The guard he was addressing smiled.

He was either loyal to True, loyal to Mercy, or what being one or the other actually meant.

Loyal to Wodell.

“You cannot do this!” Carrington called agitatedly as True began to leave the room.

He turned back. “This was your mistake, Carrington. For you put me right where I am. And I can.”

With that, True moved out of the room, his group coming with him as Carrington shouted, “I will have a tribunal! You cannot prove a thing! I demand to speak to the king! You cannot prove—”

He was silenced abruptly. Clearly, True’s final order had been carried out with due haste.

There was silence until they reached the ground floor.

As they made their way down the long hall to the opposite tower, Mars fell in step beside him.

“Farah,” was all he said.

True felt his mouth tighten before he forced it to relax in order to reply, “You saw yourself it was a flesh wound. The arrow went through, easily broken at the head, the shaft removed without further damage. When I left, it had been cleansed, stitched, and her arm has been put in a sling. She was given a sleeping draught. The women are with her.”