Serpia, a country in the Great Triad
He sat back in his throne,
Hungry for bone,
"Bring forth the sinner!" he yelled.
A woman was shoved,
Her beauty he loved,
But he disliked the magic she withheld.
A Witch filled with power,
She made his people cower,
Could kill him with one little try.
Not God, she was a freak!
Inhuman, she was weak,
And for that, she was destined to die.
The woman was nailed to a post,
Her tears made him sorry, almost,
"Punish her!" he still commanded,
And 'cross the face she was backhanded.
His men, they beat and shamed her,
Publicly, they all defamed her,
A loud laugh, His Majesty did allow,
Where were her precious powers now?
The villagers enjoyed
Seeing her destroyed,
They pelted her with hot coals and stones.
They cut her by blade,
So much they were afraid,
'til all could see blood, skin and bones.
Bleeding and hurt,
Face caked with dirt,
She looked about ready to die.
But the king found this fun,
She couldn't be done,
"Bring the hot iron for her, aye?"
The townspeople cheered,
A huge path was cleared,
As a long, scalding iron came soon.
Red-hot, dipped in fire,
Then in poison, tip entire
And it was pressed into her wounds.
Her loud screams sounded like a melodious song,
Never did the king think that all this was wrong.
"My people, applaud me!" he arrogantly said,
"And look on before you, she stands halfway dead!"
Her once-pretty face now looked scared,
At him her grey eyes just pleadingly stared.
Then at last he grew tired of his game,
And alive she was then set aflame.
The king leaned back in his throne,
Ignorant, he feared the unknown,
But instead of learning, or trying,
He hunted, and left them all dying,
Never for his sins will he atone.
The town square was empty later that evening. Orange sunlight fell over the village like a veil, and tumbleweeds rolled across the barren streets. In the middle of the square sat an empty platform, with a tall post erected on it, and a crucified, charred, lifeless corpse dangling from it in the gentle breeze. A small girl stood quietly in front of the platform, watching the body sway, and her eyes narrowed in curiosity.
'Come, Mirabel, we have to leave now. It is not safe for us here,' a voice came, and she felt a comforting hand on her shoulder.
'No, Papa, we can't leave without Mama,' the girl answered, pointing to the post.
Bromithius lowered his head, concealing his tear-filled eyes from his daughter. 'Don't worry, princess. Mama is just sleeping. She went through a lot today, so we must leave her to rest.'
Mirabel gazed at him with her big eyes. They were her most charming features; one was sky blue, like his, and the other slate grey, like her mother's. That one blue eye was the only thing he had in confirmation that she was his.
Nothing else bound them together. She had Gisella's nose, hair and pretty smile.
'When do you reckon she'll wake up?' Mirabel asked. He shook his head and knelt to her height, 'I don't know. Probably not for a long time. But you cannot speak about Mammy to anyone again, do you understand? Can you promise your Papa this?'
Her eyebrows furrowed. 'Why not? She's my Mama.'
Her father broke away from her gaze and stared at the ground, "I'll tell you when you're big enough."
'I am big enough, Papa. I'm almost five.'
He chuckled sadly. 'I know, you're a big girl now, and very smart. But you have to be a bit older than that to know, dearest, okay?'
'Are you shamed of her?'
Bromithius' breath caught in his throat. 'No, princess,' he said, holding her shoulders. "How could you say something like that? Your mother'—he smiled to himself—'she was something akin to an angel, a goddess, even—the best thing that ever happened to me. Next to you, of course,' he added, ruffling her hair. Mirabel laughed, and it warmed his heart.
The truth was, he felt like a part of him had died earlier that day, seeing his wife in that state. There was nothing he could have done, and he hated himself for it. But he had to protect his daughter. If the townsfolk came to find that Gisella was her mother, they would take her away too. He couldn't lose Mirabel. He would give his life for her.
At that moment, reality struck him. It would be hard to raise her by himself—and realising that Mirabel could not know her mother's story, or her powerful ancestry—would be even harder. He himself did not even know Gisella's entire history, and being a mere human, how was he alone supposed to raise his daughter, of half-magical lineage, a race he knew almost nothing about? The child was not aware of any magical forces she possessed. He was not even aware.
'All right, Mirabel. Nightfall is approaching, we must head home.' Bromithius lifted his daughter in his arms and started his way. He felt Mirabel put her head on his shoulder, and heard her soft voice whisper, 'Papa, is Mama a bad person?'
Bromithius looked at his child. 'You know her better than anyone. Do you think your mother is a bad person?" The small girl shook her head. 'No. Everybody likes Mummy because she always helps them. She's nice.'
Bromithius smiled. She never failed to surprise him with her innocence. 'Well there you have it. Who better to judge someone than the one who knows them best? See, people today fear what they don't understand. Don't be afraid of anything, Mirabel. Go out and explore the world. And when you've finished, do it again. There's always something worth seeing once more.'