In the lands where white snow struggled to fall from the highest mountains, a Kingdom reeked of endless thrill seekers rallied at every corner. These lands were beyond archaic, yet are filled with new minds in all sizes. Young and old, the filthy and the rich, finding middle ground in wealth is very rare.
The Kingdom of Vulrik, home to people in the thousands, the stature of the common people were also archaic, refusing their young to seek adventure outside the grounds, telling tales of the evil and corrupted, with their own truths and their own lies. The focus was to strike fear, and at this very moment, showing a live example is usually the best way to keep an image deeply rooted.
The lands of Vulrik consisted of staggering clusters in most constructions. Thin towers dedicated to taverns and castles standing above other structures, hugging the steep mountains and sloping trees, what was vast was also more claustrophobic.
It was easy to go inside a rectangular wooden tunnel to hear the snores and laughter, and on more awkward situations, smacks of putting a sausage into thick bread.
Vulrik was no place for people who are claustrophobic, most of the common people were either accustomed to acknowledging the variety of areas as either “cozy,” or a “playground.” The cramped statures of the common people didn’t complain for the most part, unless they had to compare themselves to the wealthy, the people who lived in houses of stone miles above them. Large areas of frozen lakes and trees, a sight to even see the sky was considered a luxury.
The areas where the rich and the poor met were on the open stone structures filled with nothing but merchants sitting idly behind their small stands, having large bear skins for roofs, keeping a fire beside where they sat, selling exotic fruits and odd weaponry while soldiers in thick fur coats kept a close eye, everyone had a routine in endless motion.
But aside from work, mining into the mountains for materials, or expanding structures, there was very little in the entertainment department.
Apart from the climbing trials, and the occasional band of actors who perform around the world, everybody loved a good hanging.
For those wanting action, seeing a death up close can bring small satisfaction, some of the twisted ones even ask for the corpse to be brought to their homes. Yet for the strong families taking part in their community, they often bring their children, to either show fear to win an argument, or to punish a child who is too cowardly, to straighten them in.
Most of the community were humans, loyalists to the northern province. Whereas Dwarves and hardy Elves are mainly in line for selling rather than standing politically. And ironically, for the upcoming hanging, there were three of each, the jack of all trades in execution.
Where the open stone bridges were plain and vast, where merchant stands didn’t touch, a large wooden stage standing at three feet was centered at the square format.
An enormous crowd carried torches, tugging against their ragged coats covered in snow and mud. Most of them were humans, shouting for the watchmen to hurry it up, looking to where the marketing district ended, a large watchman in blue and brown leather shoved in an Elf towards the first row.
He was as thin as a branch, lacking proper posture and care for his blonde hair, the sight of him wearing what appeared to be layers of large potato sacks sewn together, the first men and women wit garbage in their hands immediately took aim.
Rotten food, wine bottles, reached out hands with sharp nails, the Elf took immediate blows to the face from rotten food. As they cursed and hurled, the Elf immoderately vomited when a black spotted tomato found its way to his nose.
His bare feet scrapped across the broken glass more than he could count. He was small for his age. Thankfully he was quick enough to keep up with the watchmen who took their time to finally push back the eager crowd.
“Kill the knife ear!”
“Rip his cock off!”
Those were only a few of the many words the Elf can muster to understand, the humans in this land usually had a very thick accent that was almost impossible to understand to the common ear.
The Elf simply spat back, “mine is too big to rip off ya cunts!”
Despite his grueling non menacing stature, he was ready to dive into the crowd. Yet a large rough hairy hand tugged on his pale knee, shoving him back into the watchmens lead, slowly making their way to the stage.
The Elf looked back to see the Dwarf who pushed him back into the line.
“What the hell was that?”
“Was keeping you from acting like an idiot. You ain’t a fighter. Hell, even if the best fighter in the lands were here, naked and chained, any crowd would easily tear them to pieces.”
“Ah, right. Forgive me if I want a different death than being hang-”
Before the Elf could finish his sentence, a stiff dead rat sprinkled with ice struck his head, letting out a rather girly scream from the rodent almost nearing his lips. The Dwarf laughed until a club was driven into his rear.
“Whoa! What the hell? Who taught you how to swing a weapon? ” The Dwarf grumbled, trying to keep up with the Elf and the third prisoner walking up the wooden steps, looking back to the idiot with the club, whispering “I ain’t no whore...”
“Quiet you...” One of the watchmen hissed, now looking to the crowd roaring for the deaths of the three prisoners on the stage. An Elf, a Dwarf, and what appeared to be a man who still had a potato sack covering his face.
The rest of the men in armor held their torches high, pushing the crowd into a manageable bundle, yelling commands as the Captain stood at the middle of the stage, unrolling a scroll, attempting to keep a strong grip from the howling winds brushing the snow off his gloves. And with the exaggerate clear-out for his throat, he read aloud.
“In the name of Kingdom Vulrik, and out lord, lord Murdok, vassal of Queen Harmana, first of her name, has the right to enforce the laws of these lands, placing leadership in the people, to serve the people. And as Captain as the Watchmen, sentence these three thieves for a hanging. But...there’s more...”
“Oh! Juicy!” The Elf shouted, only to be silenced by a watchman punching him in the gut, letting the Captain continue.
“Now now...like everyone else, these deaths do not carry out without reason. This Elf, Fillion, twenty years of age, birth unknown, has numerous accounts on aiding and abetting. Serving unjust distractions on all sides for these little games, countless forms of harassment towards the watch, and...making love to men...the most despicable crime of all...”
Fillion wanted to come back with a sly response. But the look in his eyes said it all. One wrong word at this point, and it was all over. A blade, an arrow, a gouge at the eyes. No matter what Fillion would say, these people are either too traditional or too young to understand. They didn’t have a solid religion, they had no proper upbringings to begin with.
Preferring the comforts of men wasn’t a keen lifestyle in Vulrik, but not enough to be considered a crime, or people to show up to your house and trash the place. It was the fact that Fillion was an Elf, who slept with humans. And the worst bit was that the last one was the person who reported Fillion, claimed it was “against his will.”
An assault charge like that spoken by a human was enough to send an Elf to the hang. In the bad parts of the north, humans only allow other species to trade and do business, not to start families. Anyone who’s not purely human is considered an abomination.
While Fillion grimly pondered in his thoughts, the captain went to the Dwarf.
“And as for the Dwarf, Hugh...Wait...what? What the hell kind of name is Hugh?”
The Captain glanced at the Dwarf, trying to get a sense on how he appeared, red hair, large nose, the usual dark eyes, the Captain never heard of the name “Hugh,” and was only met with a shrug.
Though in actuality, Hugh’s mother had a crush on this play actor who often performed the “manly hero” role in most of the performances. The name of the play crew has been long forgotten, but like any Dwarf mother would think, might as well put that message on something completely different.
“Well, Hugh, the Dwarf, over a dozen cases of theft, most from components from the smithing areas, tampering with equipment in the barracks, and constructing illegal machinery...”
Hugh scoffed as he puffed up his chest, trying to look at the captain in the eyes. “You call an ale mixer illegal machinery?”
“An ale mixer which you used to smuggle royal branded coins...” The captain snapped, walking past the dwarf with a huff, now walking towards the man with a rucksack still covering his face.
The Captain swiped the rucksack off, to reveal a man at his height, but slightly younger. Dark ragged hair, a small beard the was met with a claw marking scar that was old. Though the bruises were brand new, his right eye was so puffed from his arrest that he couldn’t even see.
“Ah hell...what the fuck did you do to him!?” Hugh yelled at the captain.
“He resisted...” The Captain stated, now gracefully punching the man that caused the crowd to cheer for their personal justice. The man groaned as his shoulder hit the floor, then was forcefully moved back into a standing position from the nearest guards.
“Listen...Hugh...if that is your real name...Your associate sent two of my men into the doctors cabin. And I reckon he’s the one who actually carries out the thieving, running on roofs like an immature drunkard.”
“His name is Remy you damned bastard...”
“Does it matter? Remy...Hugh...Fillion...you lot are just names. Names that are listed onto a common crime. I don’t care what fancy titles the people gave you, reputation means nothing if your dead. And today is where your reputation ends...”