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Chapter 9: 9- Lord Augustus Prestonheim of the 5th Batallion Pt.2

He rode into the cold unforgiving night during the lower level of Dunsupar. His men galloped away from the eerie castle of the Bieroffs, into the quiet town of Arenfall before crossing the bridge connecting the town.

The flames from the torches danced in the cold caressing breeze, as they moved along the dark path. Lord Prestonheim rode with somber thoughts floating in his mind. Why did he agree on killing the slaves? What is inside that castle that compelled him to do it?

Although a man of logic, Lord Augustus Prestonheim has always been a believer of the supernatural. As a child, he would indulge himself with books about the rich lore of the vast empire. From the gods and lores of the Prima Arteria, to the obscure tales of the 13 territories, Lord Prestonheim had read them all.

He believed that the Arenfall Castle might be cursed with something. Back in the Capitol, the Crescent Isle has been considered a mystical land that only the brave dared to go. During the olden days, it has been said to be home of monsters so powerful that one of the moon goddesses have to descend from her celestial abode in order to control them.

That is also one of the reasons why the isle is blessed with fertile soil and an endless supply of adamantite. But no matter how enticing the island's resources might sound, the Principalia never took advantage of the mines. The reason? Monsters lurking inside it.

It was only requested to be opened recently as the military continued to grow with each expansion of the territories. The supplies of adamantite from the mainland mines proved to be insufficient for the growing number of knights that the Principalia has employed.

Another reason, is an emergence of a powerful kingdom from the far west which the previous campaign generals say was unconquerable. The growing power of this western kingdom had made the Principalia set their eyes eastwards, trying to ignore the losses they had for almost 30 years now.

The new Imperatur believes that if they are left unchecked or if the Principalia will settle with the current weapons that they have now, it might cause the end of the biggest empire the world has ever seen--

" My Lord!" one of his knight escorts called out. " There seems to trouble in the camp!" He pointed at the slave brawling with a group of knights.

His thoughts left him as he saw it was urgent to stop the brawl as quickly as he can. He cannot allow an uprising on his watch! It's a pride of every General to keep his people and Principalia properties in check.

He kicked his steed hard, asking it to run faster. He overtook the lead and galloped his way back to the camp with speed that the other steeds cannot outrun. He got to the camp first, just in time for one of the drunken knights, lifted his blade and was ready to strike the slave down.

" STOOPP!" Lord Prestonheim commanded as he tried to suppress his anger.

The blade was a mere fingerling to the slave's neck. On a closer look, it was the same slave he had a conversation with, earlier that day.

" What is the meaning of this?" Lord Prestonheim wanted to get some answers from the knights who he presumed were inebriated.

" W-well, you see my Lord…" the drunken knight tried to look for a reason.

Lord Prestonheim scanned the scenario and saw an elf slave naked with her clothes torn into shreds. She approached the limped body of Servus 132-X, hugging him while she silently wept.

What he saw didn't need any explanation. The savagery of what the drunken knights did to the poor slaves tasted sour to him. Lord Prestonheim is not a stranger to this and other form of bloodlust, however, he made it to a point to train his men not to succumb into these indulgences as he considers it an insult to the Principalia.

With his anger boiling, he ordered his men to arrest the inebriated knights until he can put them to trial for disobeying his direct order to all his men when they first entered his regimen-- to discipline themselves.

" How about them, My Lord?" one of his escorts asked.

The thought emerged back from the deep recesses of his mind. Like a ghost haunting him, the voices and shrills of the Bieroff family pestered him again.

" Kill the slaves! Kill them or else…" the voices hissed from his mind.

Lord Prestonheim looked at Servus 132-X, disappointed on what he's about to say. " Take all of them to one of the cells." He sighed, " We will execute them all tomorrow."

Before he left, Lord Prestonheim asked his most trusted guard, Tristam, to give the slave elf some new clothes to wear or at least something to cover the poor woman with. After that, he went straight to his tent and asked for the gods of a good night sleep.

More came faster than his sleep ever could. Lord Prestonheim's massages his temples as he woke up after getting a mere two hours of sleep. He looked at his dial and saw it was half-past the lower level of Obura. He immediately hurried and fixed himself, it's almost time for the trial and here he is, still unprepared.

When he went out of his tent, the previously inebriated knights along with the guards and 2 other Xedecimas had already lined up at the clearing. He walked towards the formed line, where he was greeted by Tristam.

" My Lord, you have come early," he bowed. " I have already set-up the men, my Lord."

Lord Prestonheim has always been impressed with Tristam's promptness and commanding skills. He nodded to Tristam to acknowledge his effort.

" And the slaves?" he asked.

" They are still imprisoned," Tristam paused to glance at the other guards, " Should I get them here as well, my Lord?" he asked.

" No!" Lord Prestonheim answered, " Let this trial be just for us. I cannot humiliate the Principalia more, with the slaves looking at us as while we punish our own." He glanced at Tristam before walking over to his seat.

The knights made their salute as he sat in the chair provided to him. The wanton knights were then, brought to him for their trial.

" Remember your duty men, Remember to honor your uniform and privilege!" Lord Prestonheim announced, " Remember that you are the face of Principalia. Whatever you do, it will reflect on our nation's Imperatur and people. As such you are ordered to conduct with pride and honor."

He looked at the men who's faces looked remorseful for their actions, " Eferail, read the tenets of our order--"

Lord Prestonheim was suddenly interrupted by a mumbling knight among the accused.

" What did you say, knight?" He asked.

" M-my Lord, the other battalions are not like these!" He shouted, " Lord Avedron made his men do as they please, it is our right as citizens--"

" I am not Lord Avedron! Do not compare me to that man!" Lord Prestonheim stood up, " What is your name, knight?" he asked.

" I am Vaius Asteem of the Asteem! My father is working for Senator Ordus--"

" I asked for your name, knight. Not for your family!"

Lord Prestonheim's anger was palpable, but he remained calm, offering logic to mitigate the situation.

" Knight Asteem, as a citizen of the Principalia, one must know the oath. Can you recite the oath?"

" O-of course I can," the young arrogant knight answered. " I, the Citizen of the Prima Principalia, swears oath to my country and people to uphold the name of my beloved country with pride and dignity. I shall not make any action that can deter the name of the Principalia, through my work, my lifestyle and beliefs. I will uphold justice and truth and provide equal treatment to all men and women through different walks of life. For we are all born under the same sky and will die on the same ground," he smirked.

" And have you treated all men and women equally?" Lord Prestonheim asked.

"Yes, My Lord!" Asteem replied.

" Have you treated men and women from all walks of life?" Lord Preston clarified.

The knight stood there speechless.

" Forget about the tenets, Eferail," Lord Prestonheim stood up from the chair, " I shall declare my verdict now."

Everyone knew that the moment that knight had the audacity to speak out of turn, they knew it was going downhill for the knights in trial.

" On the counts of lasciviousness and bad behavior, I found you guilty! On the counts of disobeying order, I found you guilty! And lastly, on the counts of defacing the knight's order, I found you guilty." Lord Prestonheim declared.

Tristam and the rest of the guards approached him and waited for the order to whip them. Lord Prestonheim took a glance at the barbed whips and ordered them to be taken away.

" What now, My Lord?" the confused Tristam asked.

Lord Prestonheim looked at him then took out 10 stones, which he then blew his breath to the stone, revealing one white stone out from the bunch.

" To whoever gets the white stone, shall be it. I declare your punishment via decimation!"

The knights remained still, but their faces twitched after hearing the punishment. After all, the punishment was so rare, they thought it never existed until now.

Lord Prestonheim placed the ten stones inside a little pouch and asked Tristam to deliver it to the guilty knights. The convicted knights then picked up a stone from the bag.

Tension began rising as the others tried to take their time in choosing a stone that would determine their fate.

" Raise the stones!" Tristam commanded, after the last knight have picked.

All eyes were on the knight who raised the white stone, it was the arrogant Vaius Asteem. All the blood from his face went away. He looked pale as he pleaded with Lord Prestonheim but to no avail.

The ill-fated knight was stripped by all his weapons and armors, before binding both his hands and feet with Tristam's binding magic.

" Vaius Asteem, you are now to be bludgeoned by the remaining accused until I end it so."

He ordered the rest of Asteem's xedicima to put there swords to the ground, stabbing it into the dry dirt. He then commanded the men to take there batons and start the punishment.

The sound of the knight's agony was indeed harrowing, allowing with the sound of cracking bones and batons hitting the body. It sounded like a drum, a horrific-sounding drum.

Lord Augustus Prestonheim of the 5th Batallion, Patriarch of the House Prestonheim and the Lion Knight of the Gorge is a just and well-mannered man, but he is infallible too.

The knight's scream echoed. He pleaded for his life as the other knights continue to beat him--

Lord Prestonheim, never command the knights to stop.


CREATORS' THOUGHTS
MoeJam90 MoeJam90

Dear Reader,

Please check the guide at the Auxiliary volume to avoid confusion with the terms.

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