Chapter 42: Light Them Up
Chunks of solidified blood left a trail in my wake while I moved with confident strides. The moment I stepped foot into the enormous dinner hall silence began to take in its embrace, one by one, almost every individual present there. I paid no mind to the hundreds of eyes fixated on my body or maybe the body I was dragging along, and kept up my pace.
Needless to say, it was a laborious task to go through with, but I managed it still. Using the throne like chair, placed at the head of the largest food laden table in the hall, as a stepping stone, I maneuvered myself onto the table. I kicked the pitchers of beer off the table to stabilize my footing. With my fingers curled tightly around the nearly torn collar of Gritti’sshirt, I lifted him off the chair he was currently lying on, and slammed his body onto the hard wood of the table with great force. The loud bang created by colliding of solid mass with another solid mass brought all the undivided attention to the point of its origin.
A collective gasp arose and filled the air when everyone’s gaze came to rest upon the lifeless man. Sole of the leather boot covering my right foot rested upon the cold flesh of Gritti’s chest. Back straight and chin held high, I stood towering over everyone. Confidence exuded from my every move. I moved my gaze slowly around the room; meeting the eyes of every soldier, every general, and every other important person in service of Gritti without even an ounce of fear.
Silence had descended over every individual, as thick as the darkness at wee hours of the night, when they were showcased what remained of their late master, but, the silence receded just as fast as it came around. The moment the brains of people began the task of processing what they were witnessing, useless threats started to pour out of their tongues.
Utterly unfazed, I stared down every male in the confinement of the four walls. Nothing was going to instill fear in me, certainly not these helpless men. They were all pawns in a real life game of chess; I had not only checkmated their master but also outsmarted them all.
With Jonathon I had conjured up a plan which the two of us had put into immediate action. The boy had managed to enlist help of over a dozen other slaves. It was not that very difficult a task, not only Gritti but all those who worked under his command were nothing less than inhumanly harsh and brutal in treatment of all the slaves living in the fort, which gave way to deep seated resentment in the hearts of all the slaves, and that is what I cashed upon.
On my instructions Jonathon had slipped out the highly guarded building; under the ownership of Gritti, and ventured into the markets of the town. He returned with a bought stock of certain herbs that if mixed in edibles could put one into a deep slumber and leaves them drained of energy for hours even after gaining consciousness.
By the times the herbs were blended together it was past midnight, and the post wedding celebrations were in full swing. Save few lowly soldiers who were bound to guard the fort, all the soldiers and people of higher ranking and status were gathered in the dinner hall; having the time of their lives. Loud music flitted through the air along the unsettling scent of alcohol. Liquor was being passed around in abundance. Drunken lords and generals indulged themselves in the bodies of unwilling women. Protests and screams of women were drowned by the groans and grunts of men dominating them.
Jonathan and other slaves slipped the herbs into every container of alcohol present in the fort, while I stealthily moved around the building, distracting and disposing off the meager amount of guards on duty; most of whom were drunk enough to make my task easier than easy. Under an hour all the men were under the influence of herbs, and I along my supporters secured their hands and feet with the aid of thick iron chains.
I flashed a taunting triumphant smile to all the bound men trying to free themselves of the chains to no avail. They could issue threats but not follow up their threats. I laughed at their helplessness.
“SILENCE.“, I spoke in a voice loud, clear, and full of authority. My voice rang around the room bringing an end to the strings of curses and threats everyone was letting out.
“Greetings Lords, Generals, and my dear nobodies,” sarcasm was thick enough in my words for no one to be able to miss it. “How great, we meet again at this wonderful day, is it not?”
“What the bloody fuck you want, you little whore?” said the oh so irksome bastard son of Gritti.
Still on the table, I walked towards Gritti, intentionally sashaying my hips more than usual; showing men what they lust after is what will be their end. I squatted down in front of the bastard, getting my face to the same level as his. Pulling a dagger out of the belt resting on my waist, I pressed the tip into the skin of his cheek. I exerted just enough pressure on the dagger to extract few droplets of blood.
“How about starting with some respect?”
“Go to hell, you bloody whore.”
“I will not go alone, bastard!” I whispered with a smiled plastered on my lips.
I pushed the blade into his skin; leaving a deep gash. He howled in pain, but, I did not even bat an eye. I carved his skin slowly from the top of his cheek to his chin. Retracing the dagger, I rose to my full height in a swift move.
“Witnessing all the monstrosities you made the ones weaker than you a prey to just in the time frame of this singular night, I think you do not deserve anything short of the greatest tortures existing in this world to be inflicted upon you. The likes of you are not worthy of being called humans. Humanity is the second name for kindness, care, gentleness, forgiveness and much more acts that you are impossible to be familiar with. You forced yourselves upon helpless women. You whip, burn, beat, and stone humans just because they were unfortunate enough to be born poor. You all are a disgrace to human race, but I on the other hand pride myself on being a human. Since humanity is synonymous to forgiveness, I offer you all a second chance. I am a great supporter of letting people redeem themselves, and today I present you all with a chance to find redemption.”
I swept my gaze around the hall, gauging the emotions displayed on the features of every individual.
“Your master, your ruler, your general, your king, or whatever this heap of soulless bones and flesh lying at my feet was to you, is dead now. For many of you he might be the one who forced you into the lives of ill deeds. Leave this man and the life he brought along with his association in the past. Come with me, fight with me, and support with me a man, a king; who will consider you no less than himself, who will provide you a life of respect, who will provide you just as much money as you find now in a respectable way, who will give you a life in the light free of fear of hiding. Does anyone here wish for the kind of life which will bring you, love respect, and wealth all of which you deserve?”
Several voices rose in affirmation to my question.
“Will you walk with me as a free and equal person?”
Another wave of loud ‘ayes’ met my ears. Receiving a nod from me, my companions moved around unchaining all those who wished to be saved. Once untied, the men were more or less carried out of the hall since they were incapable of moving due to their weakened state.
As I had suspected beforehand, all the men possessing the status higher than that of a soldier were unwilling to give up their life style, if they wanted it that way then that way will they be dealt with. I let my gaze linger upon every man for a bit till I found who I was searching for; the commander of Gritti’s battle ships. Earlier in the day when the wedding feast in honor of me and my now deceased husband was held, I had heard Gritti talk to the man named Lord Ferira about battle ships at the Spanish docks.
I made my way towards Ferira, and pulled out the sword dangling at my hip. Without a word, I pressed the tip of the sword on his throat. The man paled the moment I pulled out the sword, but once the blade was pressed onto his skin he began to shake with fear. I laughed at the state of the drunken lord, now reduced to a shivering coward. He swallowed, making his Adam’s apple bob. The movement caused a small cut to open on his neck which resulted in the man wetting his pants. My laughter increased ten folds.
“Lord Ferira, I hope you will help yourself by answering my questions truthfully.”
The man could not even muster the courage enough to speak up and made work with just a nod.
“How many battle ships out of those that Gritti owned are currently in the Spanish waters?”
“What are they named?”
“Ma-ma-marry Kathl-leen, and Vi-victoria.”
“Good, do they have men aboard?”
He answered in negative with a shake of head.
“Thank you very much, Lord Ferira. You have been of great service.”
I showed hesitation for not even the slightest of a moment, and pushed onto the hilt causing the blade of the sword to tear its way through the man’s throat. The lord began to cough and spit out blood, but within moments his eyes rolled backwards and his chest stopped heaving. Ferira had truly been a great help so as a token of appreciation I delivered him a considerably swift death.
Sliding the sword back into the sheath attached to the belt encircling my waist, I jumped off the table, my feet hit the floor with an audible thud. I grabbed the first vessel; filled with liquor, I could sight in my vicinity. With some force I threw the container onto the ground. The container made of mud shattered to pieces; spreading its alcoholic contents all over the ground. Following my suit, my companions went ahead and broke the other containers filled with beer and wine.
“Everybody head out,” I yelled. I waited a while to allow all those siding with me to step out of the fort safely. Once I was sure everyone who was to be saved was out of the building I let a candle slip from the grip of my fingers and hit the floor. The floor caught fire in no time. I made out of the building with quick steps, but still I could not escape the sensation of immense heat on my back.