Judgement is Served

Two Watch Dogs Ambrose and Joshua, face the leaders of the enclave.  The third Watch Dogs, Jesse slowly makes his way back in from the snow storm outside, his temper cooled off for now once more.  Elliphal, Gracy and Ebonisa stand holding each other, their spirit and fight now broken.  Simon holds on to Flying Eagle’s hand, both of them looking drained of energy.  The rest of the peoples mill about in the background unsure what to do or what will happen next, some holding each other while others look on.  Sleeping Dog is sat out of the way towards the back of the Watch Dogs, keeping an eye on Flying Eagle with what looks like a measure of respect.

Sleeping Dog instructs the Watch Dogs that he will be taking Flying Eagle back to the tribe with him, and he looks surprised when he gets no argument from the Watch Dogs.  Ambrose addresses the gathering within the cave, asking them all about heading back down to the town in the morning.  There is a murmuring and Elliphal speaks up for the people, telling him that they will do this and wishing to know what will happen then.  Ambrose assures her that they will lead a normal life according to the Book of Life.  She demands to know from the Watch Dogs as to what will happen to them who have more partners than they should have, whether they will have to throw them away as if they are nothing.  Ambrose turns to the other Watch Dogs and Jesse suggests that they need to have a private talk, just the three Watch Dogs.

The three Watch Dogs head off to a more private room to discuss what they should do with the situation.  Talking about the sin that has been done in the enclave, the extra husbands and wives and what will happen if they allow this.  They all agree eventually that they will need to get themselves and everyone else back to the town first, so that the town and the steward can be witness to the judgment as well as having all the sinners in one place.  Also discuss what the penance should be.

Sleeping Dog appears in the room with the Watch Dogs while they are talking, and tells them that he will be leaving soon to take Flying Eagle back to the tribe.  He shares with them that he has not seen a spirit caller with that much strength for a long time, she will probably complain but believes he can convince her.  “If we can stop her being so damn stupid then she will of use to us.”  Sleeping Dog then goes on to needing to take Simon with him as he is the father of Flying Eagles unborn.  Ambrose asks him what will happen to Simon, and is told that he will raise the child.  He assures the Watch Dogs that they will be able to see him to pass their judgment.  Sleeping Dog tells them that he will present them to Bad Horse, and then he will have to get Honora back to town.  He asks if they will have any objections for him to do this, and the Dogs accept him doing this.  Jesse shows his concern for Simon seeming to have an easy release from his punishment, however Sleeping Dog assures him that he will not have freedom to go about as he wishes, not until he earns it and learns his place.  Jesse wonders whether part of his penance could be that Simon will have to teach the word of the King of Life, however Sleeping Dog doesn’t like this and suggests that they can and will do without a father if need be.  The Watch Dogs decide that they will pass his judgment later, so allow Sleeping Dog to leave with him.  Before leaving Sleeping Dogs tells the Watch Dogs to watch themselves.  “You were mighty slick out there.”

As the day has progressed to night and the storm still busy outside, the Watch Dogs stay in the encampment for the night.  Come morning they lead the enclave out from the cave in to the now calm day.  A pale hazy sun is slowly climbing in the sky, and some of the fresher frost is turning back to water and dripping.  The Three Watch Dogs lead the people down from the mountain back to town, Jesse in the lead with Joshua bringing up the rear, and Ambrose is pacing back and forth along the line keeping an eye on the sinners.  The people slowly shuffle along giving furtive glances to the Watch dogs, and when they think they are not being watched they hug and kiss each other.

As they walk past the Tree of Life on the outskirts of the town, most of the people look away not wishing their glances to linger on it, while others give furtive glances in hope.  Gradually the town’s folk begin to filter out from their homes, some throwing their hands in the air and cheers carrying across the air.  Honora opens the door to her house looking out as the Watch Dogs walk by.  And as the procession draws near the chapel the doors open and the town steward walks out.  “Yes they come.  The sinners come to the fire.”  Jesse glares over at Cresse as he begins to preach this.  “I can see the anger in the Watch Dogs eyes.  They’ve come to be chastised.”

“Cresse!”  Jesse raises his voice to be noticed.

“To be…” Cresse slowly quietens down, “whipped and beaten.”  And then at a normal volume, “Greetings Watch Dogs.”

Elliphal steps forward and asks the Watch Dogs what happens now, whether they can walk their own way.  Quickly the steward Cresse steps forwards and demands that she doesn’t speak to a Watch Dog like that, that she needs to drop to her knees and lick their boots.  He then pleads with the Watch Dogs to allow him to strike the ‘heretics’ for their words.  All of the people from the enclave look worried by this emotional steward, except that is for Elliphal and Gracy who look none fazed, almost a smile crossing their faces as if they know he could do them no harm.  Jesse ignores what is happening and asks Cresse to hold the door and allow the sinners entrance to the King of Life’s house.  After a pause Cresse nods and walks over to the door, “Oh I see, I see.  You are to bring them back to the light of the King of Life, before we burn them so that their soul does not fall again.  That is generous of you to save their souls.  Yes of course.”

A few of the people spit on the ground as they enter the house of the King of Life, but most still have a look of confusion on their faces.  Jesse quickly glares at those that spit and suggests that no one else should do this otherwise he may not be able to hold his anger.  Elliphal turns back and informs him that they had only agreed to return, however Jesse quickly replies that they need to show more respect.  “What like you showed us?”

“Have we killed you yet?”

“Had we killed you when we out numbered you thirty to three?”

“You couldn’t manage it when you out numbered me two to one.”

“You got a friend.”

“So had you.”

“We’ll see we are playing your way so far.”

Eventually they all manage to cram in side the chapel, almost like sardines in a can.  The humidity building within from the very close proximity of all the bodies.  Cresse stands at the back rubbing his hands with a fiery glee.  The three Watch Dogs have a quiet word together before going on in to the chapel.  They discuss what possible actions they should take.  Jesse throws out the suggestion that they could lock them in the chapel and set fire to the place, as they have sinned to the extreme and that this action will warn others with similar ideas.  Joshua states that he is not happy about the chapel being burnt down.  He then suggests that it may be interesting to see Cresse administer the punishment.  Ambrose asks them how they can bring them back to the arms of the King of Life.  He also thinks that it would be cheeky to burn them all and just leave his brother alive (and Flying Eagle).  However he is in favour of trying a peaceful action of bringing them back, especially after all that they did back in the cave.  Joshua agrees that he would love to make an example of a few of them.  Jesse leans towards Joshua’s idea and suggests that they should target Elliphal and Gracy, but they should leave Ebonisa from the punishment.  They argue that Simon did show a willingness to change and had come to them first.  And Flying Eagle is not of their society so they should leave her.  After agreeing that they should punish the three, Elliphal, Gracy and Ebonisa, they decide on what the punishment should be.  And they agree on seeing Cresse dole out the flagellation.  Finally after some time of heated debate they agree on allow Cresse to administer the punishment to the three main players, Ebonisa, Elliphal and Gracy, and to make sure that he doesn’t go so far as to kill them.

The Watch Dogs lead the three flagellation targets to meet Cresse outside, a whip in his hand already, his knuckles white with the grip and his face red with the vengeance running through him.  Ambrose and Joshua stay stood by the door way leading in to the Chapel, while Jesse resides over steward Cresse.  The rest of the sinners and the whole town stand and watch.

Jesse addresses the three head figures of the enclave, informing them that as their punishment he will be handing them over to the town’s steward.  “For the sins you have committed and the demons you have called upon the town.”  With a small slither of spittle dribbling down the corner of his smiling mouth, Cresse steps out and cracks his whip directly at the woman Elliphal.  As the whipping begins Elliphal speaks out as the three huddle together.  “So that is what it is worth is it, all your pretty talk.”  She then spits on the ground before Jesse’s feet.  She then lunges forward shouting that she will try to get the first hit in even if she won’t get the last.  As she tries to head butt Cresse he manages to avoid the blow, side stepping and bringing the whip down across her back.  She tries to roll forward and the second snap of the whip send a dusting of snow in to the air.  Next she tries to lunge and bite at his ear.  However he kicks out at her shins forcing her to loose balance.  He then presses his foot down on to her shoulders pinning her while he sends the whip across the back of her legs.  As the whip goes back and forth across her legs, Gracy and Ebonisa holding on to her hands, blood splashes and dances through the air some splattering across their faces.  Gathering some strength Elliphal manages to stand and throws herself at Cresse, doing a wild dance as her legs kick out here and there at anyone nearby.  Pressed in against Cresse he brings up the butt of the grip from the whip and knocks it in to the side of her head.  Jesse steps in and knockers her across the head with his knuckle dusters on his fingers, keeping her resistance in order.  Soon the fight has left them all together and the whip whistles through the air many times, sending sprays of blood in to the air, the snow turning a dark red by the end.  The screams from the three fill the air and echo off the mountains.

Bloody and beaten on the ground, the ringing from the whip dieing down, Elliphal pushes Gracy away and holds on to Ebonisa.  Gracy has utter shock and rejection on his face.  Similar actions are happening all through the gathered people from the enclave.  Holding on to what little they have left and what the King of Life will allow them.  Others drop to their knees and begin to pray, hoping for the forgiveness.  Cresse becomes all excited once more, exclaiming how the people have bared witness to the wrath of the King of Life, and he then demands to have the oils brought out.  As no one makes a move Cresse moves of stating that he will get it himself, “Quick there is burning to be done!”  Soon a few from the towns folk step forward with oil skins and hand them to the Watch Dogs, an apprehensive expressions on their faces.  However they are told to keep a hold of the oil for now just in case it is needed later.  And then Jesse glares once more at the steward Cresse, reminding him who is in charge and to not press the matter further.  He finally agrees that it would be best not to burn and cause any damage.  Jesse quietly reminds him what had happened last time he had got carried away.  “I am just following your example Watch Dog.  You have been a great inspiration to me.”

After Cresse manages to calm his wrath down and stops preaching about heretics brimstone and fire, Jesse suggests that they allow the people from the enclave to reflect on what has happened, so they can pray for forgiveness from the King of Life and show proper respect.  A whispering can be heard spreading through the throng and soon they drop to their knees and painfully give pray to the King of Life as loud as they can muster.

Next the three Watch Dogs decide to go and visit Honora, and address a pressing situation that has developed there.  The Watch Dogs notice that the town’s folk avoid being in the way of them as they walk through the town, they even avoid the gaze of the Watch Dogs.

As they hammer on the door of Emmett’s home, the Watch Dogs can hear quiet whispers, furtive in tone, something about fear of being in trouble and not wanting to annoy, Emmett’s voice can be heard instructing Honora to open the door, “They seem to like you.”  Soon the door is opened carefully by a very tired Honora.  She is still wearing all her different bangles and talismans.  However she is wearing her shawl deliberately open to show that she is not wearing her knife.  “Hello again, is everything alright?”  A nervous smile on her face, “Sleeping Dog told me that you may be wanting a word with me?”  Jesse enquires as to why she nor Emmett or Kesiah were at the flogging with everyone else.  She tells them that she was quite tired from the previous night, which Jesse tells her their appreciation.  She also tells them that her husband also had a tiring night.  Jesse then asks her if they could have a private open and frank talk with her.  She agrees with the request and suggests that it would be a good idea to go ask if they could use Mallikai’s workshop, as Jesse doesn’t agree with her first suggestion of outside by the tree.

They all head off to the Blacksmith’s and when asked Mallikai quietly just steps out of the way and leaves them to it.  Honora notices something left on the anvil and quickly pockets it before sitting herself down.  Jesse stands before her holding his hand out.  Slowly she pulls out a single fletch from a distinctive arrow.  Jesse then asks her why she would want to hide this, and she tells them that she thought Sleeping Dog was trying to antagonise Joshua again.  Jesse then reminds her that they have asked her to speak open and honestly with them.  He then gets straight to the point and asks her about her feelings towards Sleeping Dog.  Her mouth opens in shock at the abruptness of the question, her eyes blinking in shock.  After a small skirting the subject she agrees that there has been thoughts, but confirms that she is a married woman and knows her place.  Jesse praises her for her help with the situation, and the help is has given to the town, he admits that he trusts her.  Honora blushes on hearing this.  She admits how much of an honour it is for her and her husband Emmett to be given a second wife.  Jesse keeps pressing her to carry on.  Honora confesses that Sleeping Dog has made suggestions, and she was strong and turned him down.  But then there were others times she admits, that she made suggestions and this time Sleeping Dog turned her down.  She fears that one time they may both be weak at the same time.  After admitting all this she turns away quietly asking whether she will be cast out.

Jesse turns to Ambrose and Joshua, asking them whether they should put in to motion what they had discussed before.  Honora upon hearing this pales with fright.  Ambrose states that for his part he believes that there has been no sin, yet.  He turns to Joshua and asks his opinion.  Joshua agrees with what both of the other Dogs have said.  There is a long agonising pause for Honora as the three Watch Dogs are lost in deep contemplation.  Honora holds her breath without realising it as she waits for what is to come next.  Jesse then speaks once more, admitting to her that they have been aware of her situation for some time now, and that Emmett has now been preoccupied with his new wife.  And that they can not allow this situation to continue.  Slowly Honora lets her air out and takes in a sallow gulp of fresh in.  She then confesses to them that all she can see is this room they are in, and see a whip and nothing more.  She believes that she will not be leaving this room.   Jesse asks her that she has a responsibility to her children to which she agrees.  Honora admits that it is the thought of them that has kept her strong.  She agrees that they mean the world to her and she wants to stay with them.

The Watch Dogs once more discuss what they should do with the situation before them.  Amongst the talks Ambrose brings up recanting the privilege of men taking another wife beyond one.  Honora stops breathing once more, this time in shock and awe at what she hears, at such a big faith altering discussion.  Both Jesse and Joshua agree with Ambrose’s suggestion.  However Joshua questions what will happen to the ones that have already taken more than one.  The Watch Dogs agree on making it compulsory from this day on.  Also that they will allow Honora to be a free woman how can pick a new husband if she so wishes.  Again Honora sits in total shock at hearing this.  She questions them to what she is hearing.  Ambrose continues to allow her to have her children and bring them up in town within the faith.  The Watch Dogs agree to inform Emmett to what will happen, and remind Honora to remember the King of Life.  She quickly fumbles about her clothes and necklaces, her fingers finally resting upon the symbol of the King of Life and lifts it out.

Next the Watch Dogs go back over to Emmett’s home to have a word with him as to what is about to happen to his life.  After knocking on the door again they hear furtive talking.  “She’s not come back.  They have come back for us now.”  And then there is an argument as to who should open the door.  Eventually the door is gingerly opened by what now appears to be a small man.  Emmett doesn’t seem to be as tall as he was before.  Kesiah can be heard telling the kids to stay in the back.  Emmett then asks after Honora and is told that she is well.  He then asks if he can help, and if they would like to come inside.  Ambrose instructs him that it would be best that they have their conversation within in home.  As he passes a side table Emmett notices Honora’s knife, he pauses if a mere second and then decides not to reach for it and move it out of the way, instead he reaches for a coat and throws it across the table top.  Next he turns to the children and asks them to play outside as he has important business with the Watch Dogs.  “Your second mother will help you go to play.”

The first thing Emmett asks after sitting down is whether Honora has done something wrong, assuring the Watch Dogs that she is a good woman, even if a bit odd with her beliefs at times.  Jesse stay stood looking down at Emmett.  Ambrose tells him that they have made a decision regarding marital relationships and to him and his wives.  Ambrose goes on to inform him about how the problem with the enclave has lead them to change their ways of looking at relationships, telling him that there will be no more from now on.  He also states that men in general, including Emmett in the populace, can not maintain two wives.  After all his praise worthy gratefulness Emmett quickly splutters at hearing this, “Are you telling me I can not be married to Kesiah anymore?  This is ridicules.  This is an insult!”

“NO” Ambrose pointedly replies.  He then instructs Emmett that as a symbolic gesture to his last picking of a new wife, Honora will be given the chance to freely pick a new man if she chooses.  Again Emmett splutters his words at this outrage in his eyes.  “That is the woman of my children I will have you know.”

“You have neglected them.”  Jesse adds in reply.  Now Emmett goes in to telling them how he has not, giving them a roof and food.  Ambrose tells him that in that case Honora will not choose another man.  This stops Emmett’s torrent and he pauses as he takes in a deep breath.  “I see what your doing Watch Dogs, I see.”  After Ambrose asks him what he means, Emmett suggests that they have turned her against him.  Ambrose assures him that they have not, that they have had much more important things to do.  Emmett tells them that he will find someone to complain to, and Ambrose suggests that he should go talk with the steward.

Emmett implores with the Watch Dogs as to what he can do to stop this from happening, telling the Dogs that he has not sinned, and he was not part of any sect.  However Ambrose assures him that they know he has not sinned, nor have they got anything personally against him.  Eventually Emmett submits his defeat to the Watch Dogs decision and demands that they leave a man alone in his own house.

As the Watch Dogs leave they see Kesiah happily playing with the children.  Honora can be seen sat outside the blacksmith’s looking on rather melancholy.  A slight smile crosses her face as her eyes meet those of the Watch Dogs.  They then hear a familiar voice come from around the back of a building nearby.  “I hope you didn’t mind me listening in.”  Sleeping Dog states more then questions them.  He admits that it may not be the right time to say especially as Honora doesn’t look too happy at the moment, but asks them if they could turn back up for the wedding.  Sleeping Dog laughs and then adds that he would really like to have Joshua preside over it.  Ambrose demands that he doesn’t mention that idea to the steward ever.  And then before disappearing once more he thanks them.

The next day Ambrose heads off to the Mountain Folk’s camp once more accompanied by his fellow Watch Dogs.  Once there Jesse and Joshua wait for him to deal with his brother Simon waiting for him in the visitors tent.  Ambrose is taken to a communal tent where he can easily see Simon amongst the other younger natives.  They are busy learning to tie knots.  Upon seeing him Simon greets Ambrose.

They talk for a while, mostly small talk.  Simon shares his concern for what had happened to the people from the enclave.  He also shares his surprise to see him still alive and not yet dead, but also on the other hand with the two he walks with he can imagine it would be very difficult.  They also talk about Flying Eagle.  About talk that has gone through the tribe of how strong she is, but she will not be given any position until she is much older than she is now, and Ambrose suggesting that Simon to keep an eye on her.

The two brothers bide farewell to each other, Simon hoping not to see him again but Ambrose assuring him that he will see him again.  A sort of peace and understanding now resting between the once lost brothers.

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