Two members of H.A.M. had watched the whole ruckus from the beginning, starting with the rally near the windmill. They sat up in a tree in Lumbridge swamp, as smoke drifted into the air, tainting the end of a beautiful summer day. The woman spoke first.
“I did not think it would amount to this,” she sighed. “Was our cover blown?”
“No, we had only had one brother in the skirmish, and he was well disguised,” confirmed the second.
“He was the one who shot the arrow, no?”
“Yes he was. Luckily we had aroused the peasants enough that it was well-received.”
“You saw all the damage, yes?”
“How could I not? The battle is a beacon, a lighthouse of fire and chaos.”
“How do you think Varrock will respond?”
“I don't think it will affect us; we are known, but our location is unknown. They will not be able to find our fingerprints among the ashes of the church.”
“I still feel there is blood on our hands. There was one of ours among them.”
“He only slew one man, as far as I could tell. Charles was always an uncontrolled dissident. He did not fit in well with our brothers and sisters.”
“So you sent him to commit murder?”
“Not murder, he was only to provoke the people. He signed up for it.”
“So you did know that he would've attacked people.”
“We could not send him with a raiding party, you know that. He nearly ruined our last one. We found a way to use him, and he accepted. It is not his nor our fault that he and others were slain.” The man then began to descend down the tree and ran off deeper into the woods. The other lingered.
“This was not right. Not right for Lumbridge, Varrock, Charles, or the rest of our brothers. I thought we were fighting beasts and monsters for the glory of Saradomin. Have we become monsters ourselves?” The remaining woman sighed, then gingerly jumped down and chased her companion back to the lair.* * *
King Roald was not used to pacing. He did it whenever there was bad news, but news of that sort came rarely. He had been waiting in the candle-lit throne room through the deep hours of the night while Aeonisig stood in the corner, mumbling prayers and thinking to himself. Eventually the awaited soldier came rushing down the corridor and through the doorway. “I came as soon as the doctors cleared me, your highness,” the man gasped as he grimaced and held his leg.
“You are hurt sir! You should return to the infirmary!” scolded Roald.
“It's just a scratch Your Majesty. You need to hear the events of this disaster.”
“What happened in Lumbridge? Start from the beginning.”
“We accompanied the delegate sir, just as you had ordered. We gave him armor and our protection, and we thought he wouldn't be frightened away, like the representative from the Duke. The farmers didn't let him speak much, they said something about not taking orders and defending their rights to arms. The representative started to say you canceled the proposal, but an arrow found his neck and he fell over dead. I've never seen quite a skilled marksman among a group of peasants. They never did hear him say you canceled it. We considered an attack on him, an attack on us, so we then charged at the peasants. For a moment they drove us back. It was a tough battle on the bridge.”
“They fought you off?!” exclaimed Roald.
“Yes Your Excellency, they took us by surprise. As we fought over the bridge, I heard more shouting, then they attacked Lumbridge Castle.”
“I knew it, I shouldn't have sent in the proposal. It's all my fault!” the king cried as he covered his face with his hands.
“No Your Highness! It is not your fault! It was the misunderstanding of angered farmers!” corrected the soldier.
“Please Your Majesty, let the man finish,” said Aeonisig as he nodded at the soldier.
“Fortunately for us, we were able to regain the bridge and fend off the farmers who remained. We gained momentum and tore through their force quickly. The Lumbridge guardsmen were very effective at defending the castle. It was over in a matter of minutes. Unfortunately, some of the peasants had lit torches and thrown them through the windows of the castle. Also, the church caught on fire.”
“No!” shouted Aeonisig, mouth gaping open.
“We carried buckets of water quickly, in attempts to limit the damage, but the fire burned quickly. We went after the castle first. Because of the wounded in our unit, it was mostly the guardsmen who could fight the flames. We managed to save the castle before great damage was done. The Duke and all his servants are fine.”
“And the church?” questioned Aeonisig. The soldier paused.
“It is nothing but ash and rubble now.”
“Curses!” swore the priest as he slammed his fist against a wall.
“Aeonisig! That is no way to act, especially for a monk!” chided Roald.
“They burned the church for heaven's sake! Those devils acted on the will of Zamorak himself!” snapped Aeonisig. He pounded the wall again and again, then leaned against it with his head supporting him. “They burned... they burned the church...” panted Aeonisig. He ran forth from the room, weeping as he went.
“They weren't just peasants,” lamented the soldier. “They were fathers, brothers, and uncles. There were farmers from all over: Falador, Camelot, and Ardougne. We killed them all, we had no choice.” He sat down against the wall. “We just came to tell them it was over. The proposal had been dropped. Then we fought them and killed them like they were an invading army. They were our brothers from across the land, and we slew them.” The soldier hung his head.
“It is a dark night for Geilenor. Tomorrow wives will wake up widows. Children will wake up orphans,” Roald announced. The king sighed and slowly walked off to his chambers. “You are dismissed soldier. Thank you.” Yet the soldier stayed, sobbing silently to himself. He would remain there for the rest of the night, as the wax on the candles burned like the rage of the farmers who had died that day.