"Kill him. No need to waste our breath when we know who sent him. Goodnight." Kyera replied turning away but Daxin and Lazren watched her for a moment. The way she had spoken, so cold and angry. There had been no compassion or pity for the soul who had tried to kill the prince.
"Are you sure, my lady? He is a kin lead astray." Oslo pointed out gently. He too did not recognize the coldness in Kyera's voice. Talis nodded his agreement with Oslo. The princess stopped but did not turn to face them, her expression carefully blank.
"We were a clan of nearly seven thousand shifter kin before the war. Less than two thousand survived. Most women and children. The three clans split that seven thousand and left for three different kingdoms. Then from our clan, those children who followed Londyn tried to excite the war again when we were barely a thousand strong. We… I took pity on them and allowed seven hundred shifters to part from the clan rather than killing them before they could further harm our people. We now stand, less than a hundred surviving of the main clan and you ask me this? We can not afford to pity those who would see our kind destroyed." Kyera replied coldly. They could hear pain and emotion in her voice, but no one could truly read her. "It sounds heartless, but I am your Princess. At a certain point I must chose to protect my own or allow you all to die because I could not take a stand." she explained before pausing, waiting for a response.
Her people stared on, sharing glances and realizing the truth of her words. There was a grim chill that seemed to saturate every heart. Kyera had always been the Kind and Forgiving Tiger Princess but now… she had changed to a warrior queen standing before them, reminding many elders of the Queen who led them in the war. She had grown to resemble her ancestors and make the pack proud, but many felt pain for the innocents murdered before them. Yet another casualty of war.
"Kyera, if we are merciless, then how are we different than them?" a woman demanded, maybe fifteen years old. Kyera turned to her then.
"I am not suggesting we slaughter them, man, woman, and child. I am simply saying that those who raise blade or bow to our people will find us without pity. What is the punishment for the crime of attempted assassination?" Kyera asked her, clearly making a point.
"Death." the girl replied, a subtle light of confusion in her eyes. Kyera felt a pang of guilt, because she knew this young girl's heart was innocent and gentle. She wanted to believe the best in people, just as Kyera herself had. Yet, Kyera had to teach her the bloody truth of the matter.
"And the punishment for the crime of murder?" Kyera continued and the girl swallowed. She was visibly uncomfortable now, but Kyera had to steel her heart against it. She had to understand.
"Death." she replied again. This time she looked away, starting to realize where she was wrong. She was looking at this from the position of lives lost and making a stand for a cause, not the crimes they commited to do so.
"Finally, what is the punishment for betrayal?" she asked and the girl looked up at her. The screams of the dying in her home village a stern reminder that this was indeed betrayal. Shifters killing shifters in such a massacre could be called nothing less.
"Death." the girl's voice was stronger now as she finally realized what Kyera was saying. The girl's expression eased Kyera's dread. If she couldn't help her people understand, she didn't have a chance at saving them. Now it was time to make herself clear.
"We will not slaughter mindlessly, or mercilessly destroy them as they have us. However we will not lay back like weak prey awaiting the slaughter. We will hold them accountable for their actions and punish them accordingly. I said we shall not pity them, we shall not make excuses for them, but that does not mean we forget the meaning of Mercy." Kyera explained firmly. Once she was sure her words sunk in, Kyera turned to Talis. "Execute the would be assassin according to his crime."
"Your will be done, Princess." Talis replied bowing to her before taking three men toward the prison cell. Kyera left, Oslo and Race behind her with Lazren and Clovis at het her sides.
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