AN: Well, I'm back. After a harrowing second semester at university (including my aunt getting diagnosed with breast cancer and my mum suffering dengue fever), I've managed to get the inspiration to finish this story. Never fear, the last installment, whose name is still undecided upon, will also be written, but as of right now, nothing has been written down for it.
However, since I've kept you all waiting for so long, I will be posting Chapter I tomorrow. For now, this is just the prologue.
- Marquis Black
One Day Later…
The populace of Harrisburg, and visitors from all around the small archipelago arrived for that they knew would be the first instance of Imperial Law being delivered. Somehow, even the weather seemed to realize the gravity of the day, for the skies were entirely covered with the grey masses of clouds.
In the Central Square, at the foot of Coronation Hill, stood a single, wide wooden gallows. Leading up to the gallows was a long line of prisoners, chained one to the other, leading all the way back to the docks, where the prison ship had unloaded them.
On top of a balcony overlooking the square sat Elizabeth, with Harry standing beside her in full uniform. To her other side was Prime Minister Lee (sitting), and the newly-appointed Opposition Leader, Saul French (also sitting), as well as Supreme Court Judge Beckett. All of them watched grimly as the prisoners were escorted under close supervision by Imperial Guards. All of them also knew that the execution was being televised to the rest of the world.
Mostly, however, the Guards' presence was to protect the prisoners on their way to their deaths, as the populace had taken to throwing heavy, solid objects, fruits, and vegetables at the prisoners, all of whom seem terrified at their fate.
None of them would survive, they realized with horror as they saw the gallows. And indeed none would, for they were all survivors of the raid on the prison in Salt Lake City. Thus, they had all, one way or another, partook in deflowering and spoiling the Queen.
Slowly, the procession made their way up the streets towards the gallows. Finally, when they arrived at the foot of the steps leading up, four more soldiers arrived and unshackled the first five while Neville, dressed in full uniform, stood to the side and addressed the people, reading from a scroll, with Susan next to him with her wand out.
"Hark ye, People of the Free Empire of Great Britain!" he called out, his voice magnified by the wand Susan was pointing at his throat while he read. "Today we do celebrate the swift retribution of Law and Order upon those Villains most Evil, who dared impose themselves in a manner most atrocious on our beloved Queen Elizabeth III, long may she reign."
Solemn calls of "Long may she reign," answered him.
Neville nonetheless continued as if he'd heard nothing. "The following charges have been brought up in a Just Court of Law and a verdict has passed," he announced as the first five prisoners were led up the stairs towards the gallows. All five were brought before their own noose and the executioner secured each before returning to the lever.
"On the charge of High Treason," announced Neville. "Guilty."
A swinging sound heralded the opening of the trap doors, causing all five prisoners to fall shortly before suddenly stopping, most of them dying instantly due to their necks breaking.
All five were pulled out of their nooses and summarily tossed into an awaiting cart. The next five were brought up, featuring the first woman in the column of prisoners. The woman was truly only about 17 years old, but had been found torturing some of the lower-importance prisoners.
"On the charge of conspiracy to commit regicide….Guilty"
Once again, the trap doors opened and the prisoners died either from suffocation or a broken neck. Five more were brought up.
"On the charge of murder with genocidal intent….Guilty"
"On the charge of wilful murder…Guilty"
"On the charge of attempted murder…Guilty"
"On the charge of illicit sexual assault…Guilty"
"On the charge of torture with malicious intent…Guilty"
"On the charge of conspiracy to commit systematic genocide…Guilty"
"On the charge of aiding and abetting the former crimes….Guilty"
"On the charge of regicide…Guilty"
And so the execution went, until nearly one hundred and forty people met their end at the gallows. The entire thing was televised, and the message of the executions was clear.
The Empire's retribution against its enemies would be swift and cruel.
The Queen watched, emotionlessly, as her captors were, one by one, pretty much dragged to their death, kicking and screaming all the while. Her face was completely stony—not a single flicker of emotion got past the mask she had put up. Even the Duke of Halifax, who had suffered nothing at the hands of these particular…monsters looked vindictively pleased at the executions.
But for Elizabeth, there was nothing. No satisfaction, no anger. There was no sadness, or pity. There was only fiery, raging vengeance. It was all that consumed her heart and mind at the moment. She had personally pushed for this particular method of execution, wanting to see her captors hang in the air—to watch their terror-stricken faces as they realized that they would choke to death. She found no pleasure in it—no happiness. She didn't even feel satisfied when the executions were finally over. All she could think of was that there were more of them out there. More Death Eaters raping and killing little girls and young women—more Death Eaters who were responsible for the ever-increasing number of orphans.
She wanted them all dead. She wanted them all to suffer.
She knew that the darkness of her heart would consume her—that it would poison her mind if she was not careful. But right now, watching her tormentors, her rapists and their helpers all die, she could not bring herself to care. All she knew was that she desired every last Death Eater dead. She would never grant clemency to any of them.
She had initially felt apprehension in taking the role of Queen, but after seeing the amount of satisfaction she felt with every passing Death Eater casualty, she had felt renewed in her purpose. She now latched onto her role with a passion. She wanted all of them to die. Every last one of them. Death Eaters and their allies alike. Even those who had abandoned them to the mercy of these murdering bastards would pay.
For his part, Harry was looking at the Queen from the corner of his eye worriedly. He saw in her eyes the darkness her face did not show. He knew the effects that such unbridled hatred and lust for vengeance could take on the human mind. After all, he suffered through it daily. The Queen was merely another notch on an increasing list of officers, soldiers, and civilians who were being consumed by their desire for vengeance.
Still, it worried Harry. Would this mentality hinder her ability to perform her duties? Could she rule justly, seeing as how she would rather hang Death Eaters and collaborators than strike a deal with them? Not that Harry ever would even consider such an idea, but he had to admit that there were a few Death Eaters who could be intimidated into providing information. The Intelligence Service he'd created after founding Harrisburg was particularly adept at that.
Giving a cruel smile as Harry heard yet another set of trap doors suddenly fall through, causing more Death Eaters to hang by their necks painfully, Harry turned his thoughts back to the executions before him. Yes, the Queen's predicament could be dangerous. Yes, it could become a problem for him in the future.
But for now, all he wanted to do was to see the men who'd helped kill his family die. Unknowingly, Harry's thoughts mirrored Elizabeth's in this way.