Note:    I do not own Berserk, nor the rights to it.  That belongs to Miura-Sensei.

A/N:     This is where the fire caused by the fan burns everything around it to the ground. The Noose and the Corpse

Chapter 5 of 5

            Her eyes welled up with tears as she gazed helplessly at the horizon.  Tiny hands grabbed her arms trying to pull her away, but Sabina stood her ground not even noticing the gentle pleas coming from Emiya.  The footsteps of six men echoed in her ears, resonating the sounds of death with each footfall.  She saw Felicia, Clothea, and D'lynn run past her in a vain attempt to escape the swiftly approaching Chain Knights, but their passage was blocked as the man on horseback galloped past them, shutting off their last chance to live.

            The Chain Knights finally closed in on their prey and formed a tight circle around them.  Emiya buried her head in Sabina's side and tried to block out the faces of the soldiers who hovered around them like vultures.  Unconsciously, Sabina put her hand on the girl's head trying to comfort her.  Felicia held on to Clothea and D'lynn as her entire body trembled with fear.

            The man on horseback watched the girls indifferently.  He hoped that they would have been able to catch more of the heretics, but had to settle for the five girls quaking before him.  His men were waiting for his orders as he silently deliberated over how to properly persecute them.  He smirked as the image of a certain oak tree crossed his mind. 

            "Take them to the great oak!" he commanded.

            The girls looked at each other confused and frightened as to what they would see at the great oak.  Sabina felt a blunt object jab itself into her side and she lurched forward as the men prodded them with their weapons to force them to move.  They all silently complied and took the first steps toward impending doom.  The girls were being led to the slaughter like cattle: knowing that they were to die, but uncertain how.

            Seconds turned to minutes, but to the five girls marching to meet their death, each second felt like an eternity.  It's strange how life feels like it's moving too fast for you to catch up with, but when you are faced with death, your last minutes become sluggish nexuses of time.  The group passed over a small hill and the faint image of a large tree could be seen off in the distance.

            Long branches stretched out at awkward angles, some reached for the sky and others dropping straight down.  At first glance, Sabina thought that it was a weeping willow they were approaching, until she noticed that the branches that appeared to grow straight down to the ground weren't branches.  Fear pulsated through her and settled in her chest as she saw the bodies decorating the tree like prize ornaments.  A few corpses had been there for years as their skeletons moved hauntingly.  There were two that looked fresh, as if they had been hung only a few days or weeks before.  Crows picked at their desiccated skin to make a meal out of the flesh that still remained.  The images of the bodies only showed the girls what they would eventually become, catching a glimpse of their own deaths.

            Sabina tried to choke back the sobs as she watched the bodies of her four friends dangle lifelessly from the tree.  She felt a sudden wave of pain hit her stomach again, as if her own child knew what was going to happen.  Sabina had dreamed of how she was going to raise her child.  She hoped that he or she would never live the hardships that she had to endure, but all those hopes and dreams were being destroyed as the noose started to tighten around her neck.  Now she prayed that the child would die with her and never have to live in this cruel, uncaring world. 

            Her body was quickly lifted off the ground and on reflex she reached her hands to the rope around her neck.  Her legs kicked helplessly in the open air.  Then Sabina felt something burst inside her and her hands flew instantly to her stomach.  Amniotic fluid gushed out of her womb, flowing down her legs like two waterfalls.  No, please.  Not now!  Her vision blurred and the pain in her stomach felt numb: she was dying.  Her legs only wavered, as her hands could no longer hold on to her stomach protectively.  The body stopped first as her mind gradually lost its hold on her consciousness until everything turned into nothing.

            Mercenaries rode their horses through the muddy road led by their leader, Gambino.  They strode cautiously as the grotesque image of the tree strung with corpses appeared around the corner.  The bodies of five young girls swayed back and forth as if they were still alive.  Blood ran down the legs of one of the girls and dropped bit by bit on a small bundle of flesh a few feet below.

            A woman saw the small bundle lying helplessly on the ground and quickly hoped off the cart she was riding in to rush to its aide.  The bundle was a baby boy, newly born from the body of the girl once known as Sabina.  The estranged woman cradled the baby in her arms as if she once had one of her own, or desired one but lost it.

            "Hey Shizu!" Gambino yelled at the woman, but she didn't listen and continued to hold the baby.

            "How long do you intend to do that?  Pull yourself together, that kid's already dead!" Gambino shouted as he forced the woman to drop the child.

            But the child wasn't dead as the shock of the fall woke him and he cried for the first time.  Shizu quickly picked him up and carried the newborn back to the cart where she cradled it in her arms as if it were hers.  A wave of uncertainty and fear ebbed through the line of mercenaries as they saw the birth of a child under a corpse as a bad omen; for surely life cannot be born out of death.

            The men bickered about the boy, but in the end Gambino let Shizu have him, thinking that it would be a bandage to help heal her shattered heart.  He also hoped that the child would eventually die of diseases, but a child who is born out of the lifeless body of a woman cannot be killed by something as simple as a virus.  Gambino led his men away from the gruesome scene taking the boy with them.  The body of a once pregnant woman looked on with her lifeless eyes; never knowing that her prayer was never answered.  Some greater force must have played a role in keeping the boy alive: some all-knowing, all-seeing being.  Something that knew he would become a major gear in the clockwork that binds humanity to its fate.


End of the Noose and the Corpse

A/N 2:  Yay!  Finally done.  Please let me know what you think and whether or not I did a decent job.  Thanks for those who have already reviewed!