EXERCISE Picture Challenge #19: Execution

Discussion in 'INSPIRING MUSES' started by redblood, Apr 19, 2015.

  1. INFO: They say that a picture can tell a thousand words. How many can you find?

    Each week a new image will be posted, and your challenge will be to write whatever the image inspires you to write. It can be anything as long as it relates to the picture. A plot, a scene, a short story, a poem, a character, etc. You can write as much or as little as you wish. It's not the length that matters, it's what you put into it. There is no time limit to these challenges, so feel free to jump in at any time.

  2. Tariel watches from the stands as Ciana is carried out into the arena on the shoulders of a member of the royal guard. A hint of wind ripples across the sandy floor, though whether it's a natural wind or that of one of his companions Tariel cannot tell. The sun beats down on onlookers and participants alike, though the king and his kin are protected by a pavilion.

    Ciana's eyes meet Tariel's; somehow she always knows where he is. He doesn't dare nod, nor even blink, because to arouse the king's suspicion could mean the end of his plans before they've even begun.

    The guard throws Ciana to the ground near the block, and besides closing her eyes to avoid getting sand in them she doesn't even flinch. Tariel knows why, and it's not because of some foolish desire to show strength in her last moments. By staying completely still, Ciana can save her energy for what she knows, or maybe just hopes, will be coming.

    She rises to a crouch, mere inches away from the block, which is already bloodied- albeit more than Ciana expected- from the previous executions of the day. The sun catches her blonde hair, creating a halo around her head. The rest of her glows almost as brightly between her pale skin and her white servants' robes. Ciana looks back to Tariel once more, and this time he does risk a nod.

    Ciana sinks to her knees and faces the block, awaiting her sentence. The crier doesn't let the suspense build for long before he shouts the words the onlookers are expecting.

    "Her kneels Ciana, daughter of house Whitehall! She stands before you accused and convicted of treason, specifically in attempting to conceal the only works known to have survived the fall of the Silver City!"

    The crowd sits silent and still. It's likely they've all heard of the witch's daughter, the one who made off with the scrolls and tomes that survived the utter destruction of the Silver City, which floated through the sky until the death of the goddess of magic brought it down to earth.

    The crier, audibly disappointed in the lack of awe he's inspired so far, continues.

    "By order of the king, Ciana Whitehall is sentenced to death by beheading!"

    The crowd sits silent and still once more. It's likely they've also heard of the witch's daughter, who helped the poor and protected the weak. Ciana, the daughter of the witch who discovered the power that remained in the artifacts of the ending Age of Magic. The witch's daughter, who sought only to protect the records of magic from those who would gladly destroyed all that remained of it.

    There are very few in the crowd who want her dead, and those who do are either royalty or deluded, but they are enough. There are those in the crowd who are there to save her, to free her, and as the executioner draws his axe, they descend on the arena.

    Tariel leaps to his feet, and Y'zael and Kai follow swiftly. They sprint down the aisles, ignoring the crier's repeated orders to stop. The royal guards begin to make their way down to the arena as well, but they are not nearly prepared for what meets them there.

    The executioner falls before Tariel's feet hit the sand- a bolt from Isaac, somewhere in the crowd, takes the man through the neck. Ciana stands, catches the ornate bracelet that Tariel tosses in her direction as he draws his staff, and she unleashes hell.
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  3. Yes. This is my job. And yes. Sometimes, I enjoy it. I get to be the killer, without being punished for naught. I take out my own cruel desires on the people who may or may not have committed a crime. As long as the king says they're guilty, that's enough for me. But today was different. I had just killed the court jester. Or, I guess you could call it an execution, I don't see much of a difference. But then, she came out. It was a woman I had only recently met, but I'd grown fond of her. We'd only spoken a few times, and she had no idea of my profession. You see, my face was always hidden by my hood during the executions, so nobody knew it was me. There was even a point in time where people thought I was a mass murderer, since I carry a dark aura about me. But she, she didn't see it that way. Through all the times we spoke, we never told each other our names. She told me that it was easier that way, since she wasn't to stay in the kingdom long. She was only visiting from her homeland, which was across the western sea. Though I have never bedded her, she claims that I would have been her first. How could a pure woman such as this, be scheduled for death?

    Until now, I had never asked the king why someone was being executed, I had never cared before. He told me she was caught stealing an apple from a fruit stand, giving it to a homeless orphan, who couldn't afford food. I was hurt by the king's decision, which was a first for me. I stood there, looking to her. She looked to me in fear before smiling, a single tear forming under her eye. She then willingly put her head on the stone and awaited her punishment. I cried lightly, and quietly. I wouldn't let the others hear my weakness. I raised my axe with a heavy heart. The woman had spoken a single word, her name, before meeting her fate. I walked away from the execution grounds, putting my trade tools away before walking away from the castle. I had just killed the single person I had ever loved. I felt odd, for I had no feelings of remorse. Maybe this was what it felt like to be completely insane. I walked out into the city with a single tear rolling down my face.

    "Goodbye, Lizzabeth.."

    (Oooh! I might make a character based on this. Though I obviously won't have my character kill his love interest XD. I hope I did good)
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  4. My feet felt as if they were weighed down by lead, but they moved automatically as they shuffled against the cold dirt beneath me. I looked up at the raised seating around me that encircled the small enclosed area. Civilians spectated silently with far away looking eyes. I looked up at the raised throne where a man in silken robes and a golden crown resting upon his temples eyed my disdainfully. I returned the favor to that damned tyrant. It was his fault I was ere right now. It was his fault I had even attacked my supervisor in the first place. It was unfair how he was treating us.

    I felt myself falling as the man behind me pushed me down. I landed roughly on my knees, trying to hold my head up to show I wasn't scared. In reality, I was terrified. I straightened out the dirtied robe I was wearing with shaky hands and looked in front of me. Before me sat a concrete block where only a few days ago my brother's head rested. I had watched, frozen, without a protest as my brother's life was snatched away by death's greedy claws. Now it was the citizens' turn to watch quietly. My hand lightly touched the block, fingers coming off stained red. The blood was still warm. That would explain why i had heard a short scream when I was waiting in a holding cell just a few minutes ago.

    The citizens still looked on, having been forced to attend by the tyrant. I noticed their pale skin, hollowed stomachs, and pale skin adorned with bruises. Their chapped lips seemed to move nervously, though none spoke. They had suffered abuse living and working in such harsh conditions. The tyrant had plenty of men to enforce his rules, but they were more animal than human in the way they carried out punishments so brutally and without so much as a second thought.

    The executioner had been made to be one of these brutes. I remember his name on my tongue. Clyde. He used to be a baker and had a little shop in town with his wife. His wife was amiable, plump woman who always seemed to have flour on her hands and sometimes slipped in a cookie for me. Clyde was kind too, smiling at my brother and I whenever we had purchased a warm loaf of bread for the week. He had changed whenever he had found his wife in the town square one quite morning with her throat opened by a thief's dagger, the culprit long gone with a purse jingling with coins. From then on, the smiles were gone and he always seemed to be unfocused and quiet. When the tyrant killed the true king and stepped into his place, Clyde had been one of the first to join the pack of loyal followers. Maybe he did it for a coin or two, to save his hide, or maybe he had truly gone insane. I wondered if he felt anything when his hand pushed my head onto the block. I wonder if he had remembered my smiling face or the conversations we had on pleasant summer days. Probably not. He was a broken man now.

    The blood on the block stained my cheek and white hair. I remembered when my mom had braided my hair as a little girl, using nimble hands as she hummed. Too bad illness had stolen her away last year. My family has never had a good relationship with death. I heard the gravelly voice of Clyde behind me, his words escaping from his layers of black garments. "Natasha Elenari has hereby been sentenced to death for her treason against the king."

    All I had done what fight back when a supervisor at work hadn't let me mourn the loss of my brother. That was all. I wish I had managed to do more. Dread suddenly filled my gut as I realized he was about to lower the axe. No, no, no! This couldn't be the end of me! My pulse quickened and my blond ran cold. What could I do? Oh wait...my powers! I had refused to use them since my mother warned me I would be burned at the stake if they were ever discovered, but what would it matter. At least when I burn, I could be glad I had managed to do some more damage. I prayed that this would work and closed my eyes, focusing. I heard the executioner ready his axe and his breath as he began to use force to swing it down.

    I tensed and heard a collective gasp. I kept my head low, but removed it from the block. then I raised it and saw the executioner's axe was frozen in place. I got to my bare feet and wiped the blood from my face. It had worked! The king had stood up as well. "Executioner, why have you disobeyed my command to kill the girl?"he asked angrily.

    "I..I haven't, your grace. The axe is being held by some sort of unseen force."Clyde stammered.

    I laughed, a dark sound. I had the power now. The axe was pulled from Clyde's grasp and raised into the air. the crowd looked to be in awe, wondering what was happening. the king looked dismayed as he looked to the armed guard beside him. "I thought you had found and killed all of the bloody magic users!"he hissed.

    The guard looked confused. I lifted a hand and made the axe move back and forth, building momentum as everyone looked on. "I sentence the tyrant, Robert Tamoshi, to death for killing the true king and abusing the civilians."I said with a strong voice. the civilians cheered and the blood drained from the king's face, his sapphire colored eyes filled with more fear than disdain now. I mentally pushed the axe towards the king with surprising speed. The blade found its mark in the king's throat. Blood gushed off of the blade and dribbled onto the lap of the king, his eyes permanently widened in fear. His head rolled off and landed in his lap. I found myself smiling as the civilians rushed forth and chased off the executioner and guards, sending them off of this territory. Then, to my surprise, they all knelt before me. I walked over to the dead king and plucked the crown off of his head, setting it on my own. I faced the people and grinned. "I see you have chosen me as queen. Well."I said, pausing for effect. "Let's get things sorted out here, shall we."
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  5. Mist stared blankly out over the assembled spectators, her eyes glazed. One of her fingers ran slowly across the still-wet blood on the stone block. She surreally registered that her blood could be joining it soon. Her other hand clutched her hair, hanging across her chest, as she did when she was anxious. Her mouth turned ever so slightly down in a nervous frown. She could almost feel the heavy breath of the executioner behind her. The jeers of the crowd echoed through the air. They had no idea who she was, what she had done. The judge standing on the raised platform above her had told them that she had betrayed the crown by practicing magic. If only it was so simple. Was the only thing she could think. If only that was all she had to answer for. She felt herself pushed down to her knees, her head forced down onto the block. Warm blood stained her cheek and her hair. That was when reality hit her like a slap in the face.

    What am I doing?

    Calmly, she stood up. She shook her head and watched the crimson droplets, freed from her hair, sail toward the stone dais. She turned around and studied the axeman, stepping out of the weapon's trajectory. She stepped up to his side and carefully pulled down his hood. She looked at his features. A heavy-set man, probably not more than thirty, with short and ragged brown hair, matching brown eyes, and a face creased with wrinkles that told his story of worry better than words could. His expression was numb; he was desensitized to the constant killing. They brought him prisoners everyday, Mist knew. It was a cruel job. But if he refused, he would go under the axe himself. She nodded, satisfied. He didn't deserve to die. The girl carefully uncurled his fingers from the haft of the weapon, taking it herself and swinging it experimentally as she stepped away from him. It wasn't her kind of weapon. Heavy and brutal, it was meant to take lives quickly and messily. Mist preferred a finer touch. She dropped it, looking up toward where the judge stood, looking down on the executioner's block with a disdainful expression. She hopped off the dais, jumping up onto the wall of the former arena that served as the execution's venue. The lass easily skipped up the jutting stones, sliding over the railing of the judge's platform.

    She studied the judge's face as she had the axeman. He had blond hair, tinged with gray, and green eyes. His face was harsh and thin, similarly marred with creases and wrinkles. But his was not the weary look of a man who had seen too much; his was the look of a cruel man who was tired of people objecting to his decrees. His was the look of a tyrant. Mist had seen enough. She turned to one of his guards, a man standing proudly in decorated scale-mail. She drew his curved sword from his sheath, examining it in her hand. If she used a blade, this what she liked. Light and fast. She stepped behind the judge's chair and carefully drew it across his throat. She felt his skin give way under the blade, watched the red river of life flow out of him. She set the scimitar down on the arm of his chair, then took a running jump back onto the dais, rolling as she hit the ground. She took one last look at the face of the executioner, then pushed her way through the crowd, relishing the feel of the warm sand on her bare feet. She left the arena, exiting back out into the city. Some people, perhaps, would have been happier had she died that day. Some people thought that it was wrong for her to choose who lived and who died. They told her she wasn't a god.

    But wasn't she?
    #5 Valentyne, Apr 24, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2015
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  6. Areon's eyes were closed, but she had never been more aware. She knew what was coming...but the thief had felt the cold grips of death closing in on her before. With a breath that fluttered away on icy air, she opened equally cold blue eyes and stared out at the crowd gathered around her. She shifted her position slightly as the executioner read out what she'd done to deserve her sentence. It was quite long and exhausting, really.

    As she moved, her fingers brushed against the chopping block and came back stained red- the drying lifeblood of the poor bloke that had been cut apart before her turn. Huffing, she rubbed her fingertips together, attempting to remove the red liquid from her skin. It didn't work.

    A few more moments passed in silence as Areon planned out her escape, analyzing everything that could prove to be a liability.

    She calculated wrong, it seemed, as the reading seemed to be over and her head was shoved down onto the block. Red droplets soaked into pale blonde hair and reddened paper-white skin.

    Okay. She could work with this.

    Areon twitched as the ax was taken in hand.

    She held her breath as it was raised above the executioner's head.

    And then, as it dropped...she rolled. The movement was swift, almost too quick to follow, and her body crumpled into a ball at the executioner's feet. The ax slammed into the block instead of her neck, and the bloody wood was shattered. But before he could even attempt to grab her, the thief was already moving.

    Areon leaped to her feet and dodged around his arms, running full tilt for the gate- and with it, freedom. Her feet slipped on the soft sand, but so did the guards' giving chase. And she was faster than them anyway.The thief burst through the crowds, snaking her way around grabbing hands and tackling bodies. Eventually, she broke free and escaped death once more.

    It wasn't the first time she'd done this, nor would it be the last, but it was too risky to stay here.

    Time to move to another city.
  7. Anna looked at the crowd gathered to watch the show and frowned a bit. Why did such a thing delight them so? were they aware of the whims of a maddened king who sent people to their death for how they smelled, or dressed that day? No. they were kept in the dark about the decline of the king's state else there would be a mass riot, or rebellion or even worse, and enemy could swoop in and catch the people unaware of their precarious situation.

    She glanced down and saw the head of the jester and her fingers rose to grip the end of her braid. There was no escaping her fate this day. She had delivered cold bread, and the price would be her life. She could only hope that she would be the last. Her head was put onto the block and she felt the dampness there from the jester's blood that was spilled there just moments before and tears formed and fell from her eyes, for both of them and for the people who watch on in ignorance.