Lord Henry scowled. “Don’t tell me you believe all that rot about his being the Son of the Sea and Sky, Darius.”
Darius stared across the battlements at the gathering clouds. Had he ever seen that sort of blackness before, that much weight of water? It was as though the sea floated above itself.
“That is not what I heard him say. And I question your judgment in killing the boy, my lord.”
“Watch yourself, Darius. I pay you to fight, not to think. Although I must say I am surprised that you place such stock in curses. You’re turning into an old woman.”
The ship had appeared in harbor as if from nowhere, disgorged its single passenger onto the docks and just as suddenly vanished. Some believed the boy was an old man in disguise. Others believed him to be a prodigal pilgrim, or perhaps a priest.
Lord Henry believed him to be an invader, the herald of bad fortune, ill tidings made flesh. He had the boy brought onto the wall in irons, the executioner dragging his well-worn ax along the stones behind him.
The boy had been allowed to address the crowd below. His quiet words filled all who heard them with cold terror, though none could agree what exactly he had said.
The ax fell. The boy’s head rolled like countless heads before it.
Lord Henry was confident in his decision. The castle at Kingsport had not fallen in six hundred years.