Renald climbs the steps of the dark wood gallows erected over Tyrconis square. The steps bend and creak under his weight as he reaches each, one by one. The heretics to be hung already await their impending doom, nooses tightened around their necks. They are the last priests of the Leviathan dressed in their ceremonial robes, their braided tentacle pendants still draped beneath their necks.
The crowd already assembled quiets itself as Renald reaches the top of the platform. Those few still faithful to the old gods stand restlessly in the back. They know their numbers are not great enough to stop the impending changes. Renald raises his hands, and their shifting stops. He is about to say important words, regardless of their opinion on it.
“Changes have come to Tyrconis,”
Renald speaks. His voice echoes across the quiet square, deep and measured.
“Great changes, wrought from the forges of strife and turmoil. The Great God Ahllor is restoring the city to its former glory through them, and has blessed his priests and devoted with great privilege in this holy task.”
He pauses, as if to let the words sink into the ears of the masses. The crowd remains in silent awe of the powerful man before them.
“In this mission, we have already done many things: We have brought food and raised up the poor, in the spirit of the First Prince and Pauper of Tyrconis; We have rebuilt the walls of Tyrconis, and the monuments to its glory; And we have restored the territory of the old Kingdom, Rengall and Edmonton now under our rule once more.”
The dark-robed man sighs visibly, an invisible weight bearing on his shoulders.
“But, friends, our restored greatness has inspired jealousy. The jealousy of men who have lost their righteousness, who believe themselves and their religion more important than our triumph!”
As he says these words, Renald points to the men standing silently behind him, noose strung around their necks still.
“These men… These priests of a false religion have attempted to end my life. They have sent assassins after me and confessed to the crime… And they have failed, though some have escaped the city. Those remaining conspirators will be hunted down and defeated wherever they hide!”
The crowd jeer and taunt the priests as Renald lifts a solemn hand to his scar. The priest in the center lowers his head in defeat at the noise.
“The attempt on my life has still left me scarred and deformed… But I assure you, friends, that my resolve has never been stronger!”
“A new age is coming to Tyrconis, to Lyconia, and to all Erranor! An age of greatness, of divinity, and of righteous truth! We will usher in this era even if it requires our deaths… We shall begin by hanging those heretics who stand against us.”
The crowd cheers. Renald looks to the guardsman, and gestures downwards with a hand. The lever is pushed, the panels beneath the priests feet fall, and with a sudden drop their necks are snapped.
They will hang in Tyrconis for three days.