The two torch-wielding monks stepped forward, torches raised. There was no mercy in their eyes, no compromise in their gait.
John swung at the first, but the flare of the torch flame blinded him momentarily, and then the Monk was next to him, twisting his healthy arm to his back. Pain shot through his shoulder as he struggled to free himself, but he was helpless, and could only watch as the other Monk calmly unstrapped Marta’s body and pulled her to the center of the room.
He sprinkled her face with holy liquid from a clay bottle that hung at his side, muttering strange words as John screamed and pleaded for mercy. Marta’s body giggled at as her face was splashed, and then wrinkled her nose as she smelled the liquid. The Monk lowered the torch.
Marta was ablaze. At first she looked surprised, and then she leapt to her feet and tried to run. The Monk fired his crossbow into her knee, causing her to stumble, and she began to scream. The scream echoed briefly before she fell still, her hair twisting and burning away. Her skin wrinkled and darkened like parchment, filling the room with its horrifying smell. It was over in seconds. The Monk that held John began to wrestle him up the stairs as the others began to bless the rest of his workshop.
“Forgive me,” John wept like a child as he was being dragged away to be tried and executed. “I’m so sorry, I’ve failed you. Forgive me.”
His death was not swift, nor was it painless. He was strung to the post as he was still weeping, the fire lit from his burning house. His cries were long and loud, a warning to all sinners to remain true to the holy path of the Order, and to turn your back on things better left unknown.
The glow of the blaze could be seen for miles outside Kettleworth, and burned long into the night. The Monks who saw the glow bowed their heads in holy reverence at their lord’s judgment. The townsfolk of Kettleworth averted their eyes too, but it was not in reverence.
Only one pair of eyes stared as the last chance of her former life turned to ash. Marta watched the blaze, her face as easy to read as any cat’s. After the roof of her old house collapsed and the south wall fell to pieces, she stood from her crouch and padded away, unseen, into the night.