The east end of Commerce Street winds through an upper-class residential neighborhood before winding up at Lord’s Market. Behind spiked, iron fences stand the “city cottages” of Toresal’s wealthy merchants and nobility, built tall and narrow to make the best use of limited real estate.
Three stately houses are built close together on the north side of the road: Black Gate Estate to the northwest; Red Gate Estate to the north; and the Jacobs family mansion to the northeast. The street itself continues east and west, and the City Park lies to the south.
There seems to be some sort of spectacle going on in Lord’s Market; pedestrians are crowding the streets, pressing east.
Lord’s Market is packed with people from every part of the city, all of them pressing in, blocking the streets. You’ve never seen it this crowded before.
There is some sort of wooden structure erected in the center of the square.
It’s a raised platform, with some sort of scaffolding built over it, and a rope dangling from…
Suddenly your mouth goes dry. It’s a gallows.
A man steps up onto the wooden platform. By squeezing between two spectators and craning your neck, you can just make out that it is Baron Fossville addressing the crowd.
“Citizens of Toresal,” he shouts, “as Lord of this City, it is my duty to administer justice within its gates, and punish those who transgress against the Queen’s Law. More often than not, this duty is a heavy burden. Though I may wish to be lenient, consideration for the sanctity of the law and the safety of the Queen’s subjects must always outweigh my softer instincts. Today, this burden weighs particularly upon me, for today I must administer the most stringent punishment allowed by the law.”
Soldiers prod a second man up onto the platform. The black bag covers his face, but you recognize him by the clothes he’s wearing – it’s Bobby!
“This man before you stands accused of plotting high treason against the city of Toresal,” shouts the Baron. “The evidence against him has been weighed, and he has been found guilty by the Honorable Magistrate Hester Rudup.”
Fossville gestures to a third man standing on his other side, a gaunt man wearing crimson robes – the man who captured you last night at the fountain.
“Despite the grief it causes me, the penalty for this most heinous crime is clear.” Fossville pauses; the crowd is hanging on his every word. “By the power vested in me and in accordance with the Queen’s Law… I hereby sentence this man to hang by the neck until dead.”
The Baron turns to one of his soldiers at the platform’s base and nods his head.
Later, you cannot remember whether you really heard the clunk of the trapdoor falling open, the rope snapping taut, or whether you only imagined it. You remember screaming, clawing at the spectators in front of you, and being pushed back by rough, angry hands. You stumbled and fell onto the cobblestones; you never saw his body drop.
Everything goes black.