“We are in agreement on the matter of his guilt,” Gilbert announced. “On the matter of leniency, we are also in accord.” The crowd had gone silent. Somewhere near the back a baby cried, its voice a solo against the quiet autumn afternoon. “His crimes were carried out in cold malice, and his intent to do murder is evident. It is only by God’s grace that our Lady intervened. No witness has indicated otherwise. Therefore he is due the full punishment for his crimes, those completed and those attempted.”

Hugh broke from the group and headed toward Madeleine.

You don’t have to do it, I thought. Send him on his way. Forget the whole thing. Killing another man won’t undo what happened to Klaas and Marta. It really wasn’t an issue of justice. Or even mercy. I just didn’t want to see what was coming.

The crowd watched silently as Hugh and Madeleine spoke for a moment. Then she nodded, and Hugh wound his way back through the villagers. He nodded at Pons.

In an instant the crowd was on its feet, pressing in around Pons and Gerolf. Hugh held up his hands and called for order.

“The rope!” He called out.

Thanks to everyone for their great comments and suggestions for [[horsename]]’s new name. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, see last week’s post.) If you haven’t suggested anything, go back to that post and put a suggestion in the comments. Remember, you could win a one-year subscription to Dungeon a Day (for those of you just tuning in, that’s an ever-growing mega dungeon with a new encounter every day, plus unlimited access to the 450 or so encounters to date)!

I’ll keep the competition open just a bit longer, and then announce a winner—probably next week.

In the mean time, here’s a little something to keep you warm at night:

Click through for a PDF.

Just joining us? Find the first ten chapters here, and then read this, that, and the other thing. Then you’ll be all caught up!

Is Martin in trouble? This might be going someplace you don’t expect! What do you think?

Comment below; you know you wanna! And receive an email notification of every update to this site by subscribing (see the link to the right). Converse with me on Twitter at @charlesmryan, or follow my writing diary on Facebook at Charles M Ryan.