Sunday December 8th, 2013

The exercise:

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...


Greg said...

You're quite inventive with your punishments, aren't you? The stocks didn't sound too bad until you put the corpse above them... I guess it gave Azmar maggots to eat when there was no-one around though. And I suspect he would have done, as he's a survivor first and foremost. I think I owe Morganna a debt of gratitude for introducing him to Mejaran in the first place.
I'm looking forward to your authorial retrospective too!

The corpse above the stocks lasted nearly a month before it had rotted enough that large parts were falling off. Azmar was hauled out of his cell, allowed to taste fresh air briefly, and then set to work taking the body down. He worked diligently and without showing much disgust, for all it was a far cry from his previous calling. When it was all down and wrapped in an old potato sack, Lady Jocelle and Principal Liefert stood over it.
Liefert kicked it with a foot.
"Shotek," he said. "I had no idea that the man was so old. Or so... mendacious."
Jocelle nodded, and then looked slightly puzzled. "Mendacious?" she said.
"Olean had a dictionary in his office," admitted Liefert sheepishly. "I'm reading it. I mean, I'm perusing it laconically!"
Jocelle hid a smile behind her hand. "He was very good," she said, staring at the sack again. "I really thought he was three different people for a while, but there were just such odd inconsistencies. And when he turned up dead like that I thought that they maybe it would all kind of dissolve on its own. I had such hopes."
"How did you know he wasn't?"
"Two ways. One was Vanara's reaction, and the other... is something you shouldn't worry about."
Liefert's eyes wandered to the owl perched on Jocelle's shoulder, but then he looked away again.
"And Vanara?"
"As good as dead," said Jocelle. "I think she set the fire in the pub to cover her getaway. I don't know if she did get away, the body-count--" her voice broke for a moment and her shoulders shuddered, the owl shifting its weight until she calmed-- "the body-count was enough to include her."
"Well," said Liefert. "So what do we do with him?"
"Bury him," said Jocelle. "He'll make good compost. Let him have a purpose serving us now."
Liefert nodded. For a moment longer they stood, and then they turned away.
"What do you intend to do now?" asked Jocelle.
"I intend to make good use of my time as Principal," said Liefert, humour returning to his voice. "And in two years, I'm standing for Lady!"

Marc said...

Greg - I just thought it would be inappropriate to separate the two of them. Though I did leave the secret mastermind of the whole operation free to strike again/elsewhere. Hmm...

Shotek again, this time it seems as a (former) master of disguise? Intriguing. He was quite the character, wasn't he?

It's a shame g2 wasn't able to join us for the finale, but I suppose it's never too late for her to chime in.

And I think Mejaran has been left in good hands :)