Irish labor was cheap. And no one missed the laborers when they died. Or if they did they were too far away to complain.
Blackkoven reclined on a Persian couch in the shade of his black canvas tent that stood on a small rise overlooking the progress of his latest fortress on the riverbank. Today the men would break down the dams holding back the river. Once removed the river would fill in the moat the Irish had been digging for weeks. He was pleased. The engineers were ahead of schedule. That happened when you whipped them enough.
From his vantage point Blackkoven could see the task masters shouting final orders and getting the all the Irish laborers down ladders into the moat basin. This is why he had come today. The actual building of the fortress interested him very little, but what was about to happen next filled him with black hearted delight.
The Captain of the guard approached the his tent. Blackkoven stood and without acknowledging the salute he received from the Captain, strode out to get a better view. By the time he reached the reinforced edge of the moat the Irish were all inside working.
Blackkoven paused to enjoy the site then turned every so slightly to the Captain. In a voice little above a whisper, and chilled with evil he commanded,
“Captain, fill the moat.”
The Captain met Blackkoven’s eyes for a moment then looked down once more before answering, “Yes, Sir.”
In that slight delay Blackkoven could see that he would be needing a new captain soon. This one was too soft hearted.
At a quite command from the Captain, soldiers standing at the top of each ladder quickly hoisted the ladders out of the dry moat, while other soldiers swiftly cut the ropes attached to the hauling baskets that were used to remove dirt. At first the Irish didn’t notice anything, but as the Captain moved onto the framework above the dam that held the linchpin they began to look for a way out. Seeing no ladders and no ropes they began to panic. A second soldier moved on to the framework at the other end of the moat and prepared to remove that linchpin as well.
By now the Irish workers were shouting and running some knelt together in a circle and prayed. Blackkoven watched the whole scene with a small smirk of pleasure crooking one corner of his mouth. But it couldn’t last forever.
Blackkoven looked to the Captain bent over the linchpin ready to pull it, his face was set and pale, grimly determined, they locked eyes, the Captain waiting for permission, Blackkoven considering how to kill the man. As the screams and pleading rose to a fevered pitch Blackkoven gave a single curt nod. Without looking away the Captain pulled the linchpin. The corresponding soldier did the same. Water raced from either side of the moat like the closing of the Red Sea.
Standing upright the Captain tossed the linchpin into the cascading water that rushed a few feet beneath his feet. Perhaps the Captain would not need killing after all. A man that stone cold could still prove useful Blackkoven thought.
With every scream that rose to his ears and was quenched in the tide, Blackkoven couldn’t help but feel one step closer to his overall goal: the removal of those terrible Terrasylvans from his woods. Permanently. Maybe this fortress would prove interesting after all.