Feel No More
"…or rise to your knees now, kiss the royal emblem of my cloak…
and you will feel no more."
William Wallace could hear his voice loud and clear, and all through the magistrate said it only once, it echoed over and over again in his mind and ears. It sounded more like Satan's temptations than an escape from pain to the Scotsman. His voice sounded like Satan's own telling him to take the easy way out.
Rise to your knees and kiss the emblem and it's all over. No more pain, no more suffering. Perhaps even life will remain with you. Isn't that a better way? Rise to your feet and die, rise to your knees and live.
"I don't want to be a martyr!"
"Nor I. I want a home, family, children peace. Every day I've asked god for those things."
Rise to your feet and die, rise to your knees and live. Didn't you say you didn't want to be a martyr? Should your rise to your feet, you will be a martyr.
"Mercy is do die quickly, perhaps even live in the tower. In time who knows what can happen?"
Perhaps live in the tower. Rise to your knees and you may live in the Tower of London. You'll be with Isabella. You say how she cried at the thought of your torture, let alone your death. Rise to your knees, not for your sake, but for hers.
Isn't it better to choose life? To escape the pain? After all you've done, don't you for once deserve to take the easy way out. Even if you die when you rise to your knees, you will feel no more.
The voice tempting him to give it up and just take the easy way. It brought back flashes of memories to support its cause. The voice spoke strong and clear, but it wasn't strong enough.
"It's all for nothing if you don't have freedom."
Rise to your knees and on your knees go back on everything you stand for, everything you said, anything that you love and care about. Rise to your knees and make yourself a fraud. To live in the tower with no freedom. To know there's a Scotland who shares the same fate as you?
"Yes fight, and you may die. Run, and you'll live… for a while anyway."
He'd only live so long, even if he did live in the tower. But what kind of life would he live?
"Every man dies, not every man really lives."
He had lived, he had really lived. But he wouldn't live if he gave into those tempting voices, and that magistrate promising an end to the torture.
"And as you lay dying in your bed, many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days, from this day until that, for one chance just ONE chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they will never take OUR FREEDOM!"
If you rise to your knees, would you be willing to, would you want to, or long to come back here, to this day and change it? Would you be willing to trade any time you live here after to come back and do it? You have lived free. They may take your life, but they will never take your freedom. If you do this, you will make every word you spoke at Sterling a bloody lie. Rise to your knees, and then to your feet and show them, SHOW THEM, that they make torture, and that they may take your life, but they will NEVER take YOUR freedom!
William Wallace struggled and rose to his knees, then breathing hard, he paused there. It was so hard to stand. Standing meant he'd endure more. But that wasn't way he found it so hard no. He was so tired and he ached. He looked at the royal emblem. He'd stand if it were the last bloody thing he did. If they struck him down with an arrow, if they struck him down with a sword, if God Himself struck him down with a bolt of lightening from Heaven, he'd stand. He sucked in his break.
Everyone gasped as he rose to his feet. The magistrate looked angered. But he had a smirk on his face. He turned and in a deep booming voice he shouted a command he knew would please the crowd.
The crowd roared with excitement. William Wallace made no effort to struggle as they tied his hands and feet. When they stretched him, it was all he could do not to scream. They pain coursed through his body. He felt like his arms were being pulled out of their sockets, like his legs were being slowly ripped off at the knees and thighs. The magistrate felt the ropes, smiling at their tension.
"Pleasant, isn't it?"
The magistrate was mocking him. When Wallace would not be goaded, he smirked again and gave the order to release him from the tension of the ropes. They just let go and he was dropped. He roughly hit the stage with a thud that was very satisfying to the crowds, and even more satisfying to the magistrate. Then some men picked him up and placed him on a cross-shaped table. They tied down their hands and feet and, too the Magistrate's satisfaction, they were less than gentle about it. The magistrate stood beside William, as a hooded executioner cut into his shirt with a curved knife. Wallace almost grimaces as he heard the sound the fabric made. It sounded like the sound his own flesh might make when they cut into it, probably with that exact same knife. The magistrate leaned down to whisper to him, to tempt him and to goad him into crying out. He felt the knife pierce his flesh, and then cut it as he was vivisected.
"It can all end now…"
Those same two arguments played through his head as they had played through the entire series of previous events that day. The same argument was winning.
"Cry out… Mercy."
Wallace would rather die, and die he would. Suddenly a woman in the crowd cried out.
Whether she was just goading him on, pleading for him to cry out, or pleading for his life, William couldn't tell. There seemed a pang of pain in her voice, that maybe, just maybe she was crying out for him. The rest of the crowd began chanting with her. He couldn't quite tell if they were pleading for him or goading him to cry out. It didn't matter. The magistrates would still kill him and he would never cry out for Mercy from Longshanks. William gasped for break and his eyes fluttered. The argument was fading away. He made it clear to the magistrate he wanted to say something. The magistrate smiled, smugly. Pleased with himself that Wallace was going to cry out. The Scottish would take a blow like none other.
"The Prisoner wishes to say… a word."
After a few more cries of mercy, the crowd silenced. There was no argument any more. He breathed heavily and caught his breath. He sucked it in. He wanted this to be heard form this square in London all the way to Wales and the most northern city in Scotland. With all the breath in him, with all the soul in him, with all the heart in him, with all the strength, the will and determination in him he cried.
He put all his heart and should into. Everything in him poured out in that word. The crowd was silenced. The magistrate, defeated, sadly shook his head. The hooded executioner picked up the ax.
William Wallace stared out into the crowd. He saw a smiling, serene, beautiful and familiar face among the throngs of people staring silently at him. He smiled back at her, his clear blue eyes at peace. Murron. Smiling, peaceful and serene. Now they could be together once more. Forever. No English could come between them. None of Longshank's men could harm them or rip them from one another ever again. They were together now, forever. Forever. He watched her move, as angelic and mystical as always. His eyes rested on her behind it two best friends, Steven and Hamish. He was glad they came. His eyes said a good bye to them before once more settling back on Murron. On her sweet face and beautiful eyes and the aura of calm and love she radiated. He clutched the embroidered fabric she gave him on their wedding. He looked out to her as the executioner took his aim at his neck. He felt no fear, no sadness, no despair and no pain. The ax dropped. His hand fell limp and the embroidered cloth fell from his hands on to the scaffold. And as his spirit left his body to join his beloved wife forever, he felt no more.