A Long Road Chapter 10 Ficbit – Grisly Ghouls

Heh. Even in a city as crowded as Haven, there’s one place no one sane stays at night.

Tense, Wei Wuxian tucked a leaf-talisman into his belt, keeping shadows wrapped around himself and Wen Ning as they paced the edges of this particular out of the way square. This was exactly the place he’d been looking for. He breathed in, breathed out….

Dark mist frosted the air, echoing with lost pleas, demands, regrets. Resentful energy, ingrained too deep for prayers or Companion-hooves to wipe away. Haven’s execution grounds.

Calm now, Wei Wuxian walked up to the gallows itself, laying a hand on night-chilled wood-

No no no – you should die, not me – she was ugly anyway – he deserved it – it’s not like I killed someone who mattered-!

-Yanked his fingers away, shaking them out with a grimace. Yes. This would definitely do.

“D-do you think they know hanging’s safer than beheading?” Wen Ning whispered, keeping an eye on the streets leading into the square. Just in case someone less sane walked this night.

“No idea,” Wei Wuxian shrugged, just as quiet. “In all those taverns we’ve only heard one tale that might be a hopping corpse, and that was supposed to be somewhere over in Karse. Nothing that sounds like a fierce corpse rising at all.”

Wen Ning nodded, eyes already darker than human. Between dark clothing and resentment misting up from the cold stones, he barely needed the talisman’s help to blend into the shadows. There was a hum in the air; glimpses of flowing red silk, there and gone like blood in the water.

“I’ll be careful,” Wei Wuxian murmured to those red shadows. Not that he could blame them for hovering. The bride ghosts had visited execution grounds with him before. They knew how risky this could be.


22 thoughts on “A Long Road Chapter 10 Ficbit – Grisly Ghouls

  1. I’ve never seen anything like a guillotine in Valdermar so if they do it right hanging would be the more humane option.

    I hope they find a really good bakery the next morning, something sweet that will help with all the evil ick they’re gonna have to sift through. Maybe a light pudding for Wen Ning since he can’t handle solids.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. And I’m suddenly reminded of one of Vathara’s SG1 fics where methods of execution are discussed, and Daniel mentions it more likely one would be stoned than burned at the stake.

      Never done any research on the issue myself, but hanging (or strangulation) and stoning would make sense to me as the most common methods of execution, when contrasted with the problem of beheading (everything I’ve found indicates it’s really not as easy as media would seem to imply) or gathering and using sufficient wood to incinerate a human body.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Both stoning and burning were used because of the public participation/ability to make it really, really nasty. (as opposed to just a horrible way to die)

        If anyone else had to suffer through that horrible short story called some thing like The Lottery, the part with picking stones with an eye to quickly killing the one chosen was probably the most accurate aspect of it.

        (…yes, I am still salty about a story-form declaration of an author’s view on human nature that basically announces anything they don’t understand is irrational and would be called evil if they recognized evil, especially when it assumed the conclusion it was then used to teach; rant umpty-bazillion on ‘if they were trying to make folks hate reading, what would they do differently?’)

        Liked by 2 people

      2. You’re right about stoning being popular, BTW– especially if you expand it to include various other mob-killing-with-found-objects, like beaten to death or chopped up with roof tiles. (I can’t remember the word for that, the one that was used on that ancient Greek lady who backed the wrong Bishop and got murdered by a mob in the popular style of the city. The myth-version is very popular but does the Pocahontas cartoon treatment.)

        Liked by 1 person

      3. The philosopher Hypatia is who you’re thinking of, and she was probably clocked over the head or stoned with roof tiles, not scraped by them. (You’re thinking of the common mistranslation “scraped by oyster shells,” which is what happens when Alexandrian Greek people call their roof tiles “oyster shells” because of their curved shape.) She was far from the only Alexandrian to get stoned with roof tiles by a mob. Alexandria was a rough, rough city, at the exact time that it was a wonderful and brilliant place to be. Shrug.

        Hanging is not a resource intensive method of death, no.

        The Chinese did a lot of garrotting as an execution method. Not nice.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh dear. When the four living adjacent people with you think this is a risky proposition, they’re probably right. Noticeably, none of them are talking him out of it, and he has done this before.

    I love the description of Wen Ning blending into the shadows around them, the brides sliding there and away. This is the Ghost Flute that struck in secret. Haven has no idea what is about to hit it.

    (I’m not fully convinced even the Niè have an idea. They may be able to conceptualize the fact that Wei Wuxian spent ~three months of the war secretly ripping Wen camps to shreds.

    And, wow. It just hit me that Wei Wuxian was missing for three months. That doesn’t mean he spent the whole time in the Burial Mounds, if Lan Wangji and Jiang Cheng were able to follow a trail of shattered camps to him. Or do we know if Wen Chao’s camp was the first he hit?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. IIRC, canon had Wei Wuxian missing for 4 months, 3 of which (people did not know until later) he spent in the Burial Mounds. Or at least, Lan Wangji and Lan Xichen mention tracking something ripping through Wen offices for about a month before they finally find Wei Wuxian.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. I believe there was a line in Take a Thief where Alberich was musing on the evils he was dealing with down by exile’s gate, about a forest of gallows, so hanging does seem to be Valdemar’s thing for the death penalty. At least in Selenay’s time.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. To be a little silly, it is kinda like that Star Wars Jedi ability, I can’t remember the exact name off the top of my head, the one where they can get impressions or feelings from touching an object. Psycothry or psychometry, I think it is called…

        Liked by 1 person

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