XXII

Baronstown Burned

 

Collapsing to the grass grown high on the hill,

Maria looked back as fires raged still.

The princely town of wealth and desire

had suffered holy vengeance in a baptism of fire.

 

As the siege had drawn out for days and a time,

Maria took action in ways she thought sublime.

Disrupting supply lines and sabotaging defence,

she trusted the attackers to offer recompense

for all who would surrender and swear fealty to the King.

She realized very swiftly the horror of the thing.

 

Ensuring that no refugees would flee to safer places,

the mounted soldiers cut them down,

bereft of compassionate faces.

 

And as more royal troops converged upon

the town of rebellion with all hope gone,

the circles of fire were set and the burning had begun.

Baronstown was punished to the last; except for one.

 

Maria hid in the bodies, stifling her sounds.

The smoke and flames were frightful

and charred life was all around.

 

As the search went on for lives remained,

Maria fought her fears.

As the hours went on and the day was drained,

she could not hold back her tears.

 

She had thought the King beyond such horror,

and had dared imagined recognition for her.

Concluding rationally that the blame lay elsewhere,

she set off for the palace with smoke still in her hair.

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