After entries in each of the first eleven months of the year, today we make our final visit to the village of Mejaran. Things have really come a long way since January, and I've greatly enjoyed the voyage.
I will write more about the journey tomorrow.
But for now, let us return one last time to this village and the citizens who call it home. Allow me, if you will, to bring you the beginning of the end...
The village of Mejaran became a very different place in the years following the events surrounding what soon became known to all simply as The Betrayal. Many lives were sacrificed for the changes, but those transformations were suitably drastic.
No longer would the people suffer under the thumb of two Ladies and two Principals, offices filled by bloodlines rather than competency. The community had never been large enough to require such bureaucracy; only the madness brought on by the river's divisive path had demanded it. Sanity, however, had made a long hoped-for but entirely unexpected return.
Only one Lady and one Principal watched over Mejaran after The Betrayal, and each was elected to office every two years by a democratic vote at the north bridge, which had become a historic landmark of sorts. Villagers from both sides of the river cast votes of equal weight, though the winners of that first campaign were unanimous.
Lady Jocelle and Principal Liefert were declared the victors to no one's surprise, but equally little fanfare. The blood in the streets and stench of smoke in the air was still too fresh. It would linger for generations.
It was not a time for celebration. There was work to be done. Bodies needed burying, the injured needed proper care, debris cleaning up, and buildings repaired or rebuilt.
Punishments needed to be meted out.
Azmar got off the lighter of the two who took the fall for The Betrayal. He was placed in stocks in the middle of the north bridge and left there for a full week before being transferred to Mejaran's cramped prison. Rain provided his only drinking water, food was strictly forbidden. He suffered dearly, to be certain, but he did receive many visitors over the course of those seven days.
Which is more than could be said of the man left to hang limply directly above the disgraced estate agent, his corpse twisting this way and that in the wind...