At the sight of Viola and Nalus, the nobles started to scream and protest. They demanded to see their families, the guard. Nalus was supposed to be on their side, and release them. This was a great indignity, how dare they be subjected to such torment!

Only two remained silent. Illyana Petrovich leaned against the back of her cell, forgotten. She stared back at Viola with open hatred. If these bars were out of her way, she would try to kill the countess, powers be damned.

And Lord Canterwright relaxed in a corner. A discontented sigh on his face, a wistful smile at the day gone by. He sat in the filth of his cell, looked at the iron bars, and whistled a happy tune.

“Viola!” Yoric screamed. “Viola, you witch! Release us at once!”

Viola frowned. She tapped her lip a few times. She mulled it over, weighing the pros and cons. And then smiled, giggled, and shook her head. “Sorry, Yoric.”


“Countess.” Viola’s face hardened, and nodded to Nalus. He unlocked Yoric’s cell, and dragged the noble forward. “Thanks to the events of this morning, I remain countess.”

Yoric spat, and glared at her. “Do your worst. I do not fear death.”

“Death?” Viola asked. “Death? You think I’m going to grant you death?”

Her hands glowed blue. She clapped them against his thigh. Yoric cried out, the cold searing into his flesh.

His screams silenced the rest of the nobles. They couldn’t protest, could barely look on. Viola released his face, only to grab his fingers. His screams intensified, scrabbling away. Nalus held the man fast. His own face looked on, impassive.

“God’s sake, stop this!” Someone shouted.

“Stop?” Viola asked. She released one hand, and snapped her fingers. Yoric’s hand froze solid.

“You don’t get it, do you?” Viola asked. “Did you think I was going to let you all go with a stern warning? Write your parents, make a request for punishments that would not come?”

Another snap, and Yoric stuck fast to the floor, his feet frozen to the stones. “You committed treason. Asked for my head. I do not forgive this lightly.”

Yoric whimpered. “Sienna! Save me, Sienna! It’s Yoric, your friend!”

Viola smiled. “Sienna isn’t here. As if I’d subject that poor girl’s ears to your simpering.”

“Our families will hear of this!” Someone shouted. “When they know what you’ve done, you will pay.”

Viola stopped, and looked back at the nobleman who dared speak. He looked back, sweating but defiant.

“Your families?” Viola asked. She turned to Yoric, frowning. “Yoric, will your family defend you?”

“Y-yes,” he stammered. “They shall.”

Viola snapped her fingers. A blast of cold shot out of her fingers. Smaller, but with far more fury than she had ever before unleashed. It tore into Yoric, striking his heart. The cold froze his heart, and he toppled over, dead.

“Apparently not.” Viola shook her head.

Someone screamed, and then another. When a third fainted, Viola sent a blast of cold over him to awake the fool.

The countess stepped over Yoric’s body, and looked at the nobles. They cowered, suddenly truly afraid.

“None of you get it. You are all just playing at revolutionaries, hoping to be victorious before life’s pains catch up to you. So let me be abundantly clear.”

Her eyes glinted. “Nalus, explain.”

“Your families are now being escorted out of their homes. On suspicion of conspiring in an attempt on the countess’ life. All estates, possessions, and anything of value is confiscated by the countess, and their lives now hang in the balance.” The counselor’s words echoed in their ears. If they could scream, they would have.

“Nobles…” Viola spat. “You’re not even that anymore.”

copyright 2018 Jack Holder

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