Magistrate Galitor was concerned at his companion’s zealousness. Armsman Venian had a gleam in his eyes that shouted clearly to all that he had left sound and clear reason behind, replaced only with a religious fervor that was anything but quasi. Blind, violet belief.”Is it not glorious? Is it not beautiful?”
Galitor was thankful that Venian’s question had been rhetorical. As their horses plodded slowly forward, they passed row upon ordered row of impaled victims. The most recently slain had been passed, and as they continued toward their destination the corpses displayed on either side had increasing states of decrepitude.
The scent could not be ignored simply by breathing through one’s mouth. It was both pervasive and invasive. It found the way in and took root. It was an awful, horrible smell. A wrong smell, that someone in their right mind could never take any real level of pleasure in.
Venian had given up on classical sanity long ago, and he was not alone. There were many others like him, natives who had adopted Selvetarm as their deity and the Chosen Blood as His angels. Their faith drove them forward, pushing them to dangerous and unpredictable levels.
Galitor believed in Chosen Blood. As nearly all who remained in the unified territories of the northern mountains, he had seen firsthand the peace and stability they had brought. They no longer needed to live in fear from the many predators that sought to overtake them, the innumerable creatures who had plans of their own for humanity. Chosen Blood had liberated them from fear and darkness, and brought the denizens of the northern mountains into a new era of happiness and prosperity. There had been sacrifices along the way, regrettable instances of certain individuals lacking the ability to adapt to the new order, lacking the will to keep themselves from breaking the law, but the harsh reaction to such events served as a clear sign to any who would seek to upset the peace and prosperity of the order.
Zealots like Venian had passed beyond this understanding. They believed in a manifest destiny, in which eventually the whole world had been taken into the order, and there no longer existed anything but peace and prosperity. This, of course, could never actually take place, but what did such trivial details such as the constraints of established reality matter to the faithful?
Eventually, it started to get better. The passed on down the road to the point where the corpses had decayed enough to be noticeably less pungent and unpleasant. Venian seemed unaffected, but Galitor breathed a deep sigh of relief as the effort to prevent the vomit he had been struggling to keep from expelling itself lessened measurably.
The demesne of Saris Fey-Branche was at last reached at the end of the road, a luxuriously sized and militantly constructed manor house. Numerous armsmen patrolled the perimeter, while chained slaves, indentured and otherwise, were visible in number as they methodically set about their assigned duties.
As one, in solemn and respectful silence, Magistrate Galitor and Armsman Venian dismounted their horses and ascended the elegant stairs…