Salvation: Chapter Nine

The day’s work was over by the time Gadreel and the silver-toothed man returned to the yard. “You got lucky, taking your audience with the court so late. Not enough time to judge you and prepare for your punishment. One more night under my watch it is. Just maybe we’ll excuse the rest of the lot from pounding rocks tomorrow so they can watch the people passing by to watch your execution. To listen for the sound of the cheers when your head rolls.”

Gadreel nodded, taking in the words, but holding back his response. He was excused through the building and to the yard without another word.

The fire between the prisoner’s shacks burned brighter than the two nights previous. A few heads turned his way, taking in again his unlikely presence. Piers stood and met him halfway. “Once again, you return from the castle. It seems that you are a person so complex that they cannot decide what to do with you.”

Gadreel shook his head, approaching the fire with Piers at his tail. “No. I have had an audience with the king of this land. It is decided. I am to be executed.”

More sets of eyes landed upon him, only daring a glance, before furrowing themselves once more before the heat of the flame. Arthur stood up from the edge of the group, arms crossed. “And you don’t seem the least bit worried. A shame it seems our deal is going to fall through.”

Piers blinked at the big man before begging for Gadreel’s attention again. “When? What sort of crime are they charging you with?”

“Tomorrow.” Gadreel answered. “They say I have attempted to poison the minds of the people who inhabit this land. I have yet to be here more than a small collection of days and hardly have my words gone outside of this group of people here, behind these walls. Your king… his word is without question, it seems.”

Piers shoved his hands under his arms to warm his fingers. “What he says… people believe. That is the ease that being a king has. And it seems his belief is that a stranger, an outsider… is the biggest threat to us all. Even if nobody can seem to understand what sort of meaning your words carry.”

Gadreel nodded and pushed up to the fire, gently making way between the others attempting to soak up the warmth. “I beg of you all… I sense the capacity in you all to accept salvation. To come to God after your time here on this land has come to an end, at whatever point that may be. That is my offering to you all before I leave this place. All you must do is choose to believe, and the Lord will reach out to you when the time comes.”

Gadreel looked for those craving acceptance, but only saw the downward glances of those who either did not understand or care to do so. Piers grabbed his shoulder and pulled him back. “I’m sure you mean well, Gad, but the best most of us can do is live each day on its own. The end… is just that. No more toiling. We wish for no more. But your presence here has been… something unique for all of us.”

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