An attendant rode over to call the three knights, and they hurried over to Piersage and stood respectfully before him. Baron Forza remained on his bridge over a hundred metres away— it wouldn’t be alright to go forward and receive the man, but not welcoming him would be improper as well.
“Who are those people in the horse carriages? Why are you here?” Piersage questioned them. His voice was extremely raspy, like the sound of wind passing between granite; quite unpleasant to the ear.
The three knights looked at each other, before the oldest of the lot stepped forward to answer the question. These carriages carried the family members of the deceased titled knights, and Richard had let them go alongside the two others. They’d been sent to Joven, where the knight in charge didn’t know what to do with them and so gathered several tens of carriages and sent his assistant along with 200 warriors so that they could get to the Baron’s lands safely. Baron Forza would make the decision.
Piersage nodded, “So the rumours I heard were true. This means you two were captured by the invaders and then set free?”
“Yes! We would rather die than surrender, and since those invaders needed the noble ladies to be protected they had to set us free as well,” one of the former captives spoke up.
“What about the rest? I heard some of them surrendered?” Piersage asked.
“There were a total of seven of us held captive, and one died from an untreatable injury. Everyone but the two of us were subjugated by the invaders.”
“Very well, I understand,” Piersage nodded once more. But then, he raised his voice, “Men, capture these two!”
Several soldiers shouted in unison, moving forward to apprehend the two knights. They were startled, struggling as they cried out, “We are loyal to the church and to the Baron!”
However, despite their resistance, they were simply outnumbered and could not wrest free from Piersage’s troops. They were hit on the back of their heads, to prevent their cries from annoying the Baron. Piersage did not like noisy things.
“Send those in the carriages into Baron Forza’s castle,” Piersage instructed a group of knights.
It was only then that Piersage took a look at Forza. He urged his horse over to the other baron’s position, getting off with a smile as he nodded, “My Lord Forza, it seems like I’ve made you wait quite a while.” He tapped the reins of his horse to his metal gloves as he spoke, as if he’d just come back from a hunt.
“Of course not!” Forza forced a rigid smile. That nod wasn’t even the most informal of noble greetings, and if he greeted his counterpart with propriety that would acknowledge his own inferiority.
Piersage did not seem to mind the formalities, and his attention was no longer on Forza. He looked at the surroundings and said casually, “So then, do bring me for a look around your castle. And arrange for lodging for my warriors as well. Also, I wish to watch the interrogation of the prisoners later.”
“Prisoners?” Forza was somewhat befuddled. He didn’t remember any interrogation scheduled for that day.
Piersage turned back, holding a gaze into Forza’s eyes so long that the latter’s forehead glistened with sweat, “Those prisoners who secretly sided with the invaders.”
In that moment, Forza’s expression grew extremely unpleasant.
Two hours later, a partially public trial was held in the Baron’s halls. The ones being tried were the two knights who were released by the invaders, as well as the wives of the deceased knights, their seven mistresses, six grown daughters, and eleven children. As for the three grown sons, they had already been slain. They had a blood feud with Richard, and he would not let go of people who were destined to hate him throughout the remainder of their lives. As for the sons who weren’t yet mature, he did not worry about them— he had no interest in killing children.
By the time the younger ones grew into enough strength, Richard would have stepped into a realm that they couldn’t even dare look upon, and he would be back in Norland as well. If he wasn’t, then he would have been turned to ashes in this plane.
Those watching over the trial had some status in the baronage. The two surviving titled knights had been summoned over, and those familiar with the dead knights were present as well. Those in charge of the city were already here, so the hall was crammed with dozens of people.
The ceiling of the dimly lit hall was very high, making it somewhat gloomy. The flickering torches did not make it much brighter, instead adding a sinister touch to the atmosphere. Baron Forza was seated at the head, with Piersage in black robes beside him. The man seemed to drowsily adjust his collars, his gaze flitting across the hall.
The hall was extremely quiet, and even the women being tried did not dare weep. Piersage was well-known for enjoying his peace, and the consequences for disturbing it would be severe.
Piersage wasn’t just the top general under Earl Jayleon; he was the man’s nephew as well. There were rumours that he was a bastard child of the Earl as well, so no matter how many strange habits he had and how many people he killed the Earl still heavily favoured him. Looking at it from another angle, even if the two weren’t related by blood someone at level 15 was still a notable expert in the Whiterock Duchy, and as a Baron Piersage was also a capable leader.
There were two other generals under Earl Jayleon with similar commandership, and a level 15 expert who was a little stronger than the Baron as well. However, Piersage was the only one who could both lead troops and fight himself, so he was the last person Forza wanted to see. In fact, because of Piersage’s unique position and power, Baron Forza had no intention to get into a conflict with him. Not to mention avoiding conflicts, he would not even be able to reject any absurd requests the man had. If the fellow had been normal, he would already be a Viscount.
Piersage’s demands were normally unreasonable, with no time given for preparation. The trial being held now was a good example. However, Forza was acutely aware of the consequences of not meeting those demands. Five years ago, Baron Lowry’s family had been exterminated for getting on his bad side. Jayleon had only berated and fined Piersage for his misconduct, but even now half of Lowry’s fiefdom remained under Piersage’s rule.
Forza listened expressionlessly to the stories of the knights and Sir Kojo’s wife, and then looked at his subordinates who were quietly listening to the story as well. He then looked at Piersage.
Piersage’s half-closed eyes continuously swept past the people being tried, but he never turned to look at Forza. Forza knew that this judgement could not be avoided, so he gritted his teeth as he pointed at the knights and spoke in a deep tone, “You… Have conspired with the demons. There is no further explanation needed, you shall be punished by hanging!”
Once the judgement had been made, a clamour arose in the hall.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translation/TLC By: OMA
Edited By: Theo