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Library: The Highwayman: Part 1

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Author: neclord
Date:Oct 30 2017

%A damp, dark prison cell, chains hang from the walls. Inside the prison is
quiet except for the echoes of the mob outside awaiting the execution of the
Highwayman.

%A voice asks the Highwayman, "You're the one they are shouting for?"

%Highwayman says 'I am.'

%A voice asks the Highwayman, "Who are you?"

%Highwayman says 'Who I am... is soon to be of no consequence. I was a good
man once, I suppose. Not so long ago, and yet, a lifetime ago. It's been
nearly 6 years. I began to steal medicine, and bread to feed my family, at
first.'

%A voice asks the Highwayman, "What happened?"

%Highwayman says 'I came upon a carriage one night on my way home. Before then
I had only stolen from carts and stores, but the carriage was already stopped
and my take for the day was small.'

%Highwayman says 'I took out my pistol and crept up on the driver, I could
hear a man and a woman arguing inside. The driver didn't even see me before I
sapped him...'

%Highwayman says 'I threw the door open and shouted, "STAND AND DELIVER!" I
demanded the woman's ruby brooch, the man refused to allow it. I pointed my
pistol at them and demanded she hand it to me. When the man grabbed for it, I
shot him in the chest. From then on things were different for me.'

%A voice asks the Highwayman, "Is that when it started?"

%Highwayman smiles.

%Voices from outside call for the execution of the Highwayman, a few voices
shout, "Release him!"

%Highwayman says 'That's when it began with Captain Vandurant. He took it upon
himself to find and bring me to justice, but it wasn't to be just yet.'

%Highwayman says 'We would meet face to face for the first time 7 months later
on the same road. I waited behind a tree for a carriage. When one came upon me
I lept on and threw the driver from it. Pulling the door open, I noticed it
was empty, and immediately realized I'd been had.'

%Highwayman says 'The powder in the captains rifle would ignite and a loud
crack echoed in the night. The bullet threw me to the ground next to the
carriage. I rolled underneath it only to watch many more flashes follow. It
was a trap and I had fallen into it perfectly.'

%Highwayman says 'I escaped into the night when they stopped to reload. But
what would come next thrust me from the level of a common criminal to a legend
in this city.'

%A voice asks the Highwayman, "What did you do next?"

%Highwayman says 'Three months after our first encounter, I decided he was too
dangerous to be left on my trail. I followed Vandurant to a tavern and waited
until he left. I concealed my face with my coat, and approached him in an
alley. I knew he was skilled, so I drew my sword and attacked without warning.
He was quick but clumsy with his pistol and missed his shot as he drew his
sword.'

%Highwayman says 'He was good with a sword, but the drink was working against
him. Our swords met time and time again, I couldn't break his defense even
while he was drunk, but it was only a matter of time before he made a mistake,
and I took advantage of it. I lunged and he easily sidestepped it, but he
didn't notice the debris that littered the alleyway, and he lost his footing.'

%Highwayman stands up and makes elegant moves around the cell as if he were in
a duel with Vandurant. Parry, thrust, parry, RIPOSTE!

%Highwayman says 'I admit, at the time were he sober I would not be here
today. But as he lost his footing I hit his sword away with my own, and moved
inside his defenses. I thrust my rapier into his gut.'

%Highwayman kicks some dirt up as if to kick a sword away.

%Highwayman says 'I kicked his sword away from his hand, and prepared to take
his life as my prize.'

%Highwayman says 'But just as I put the point of my blade to his chest, a shot
rang out from the entrance of the alley. It was several of his men, coming to
his rescue.'

%Highwayman sits back down on the bench in his damp cell.

%Highwayman lets out a deep sigh.

%Highwayman looks out the window at the sky. The rain is pouring harder, and
now with sporadic thunder and lightning.

%Highwayman says 'I fled when his men came to his aid. I didn't finish what I
started, but I thought I had killed him anyway. But he was stronger than I
thought. They called me Hell's Highwayman after the brazen attack on the
captain of the guard.'

%A voice asks the Highwayman, "So, it was you that did it?"

%Highwayman says 'Yes, I did it.'

%Vandurant comes and begins to unlock the the Highwayman's cell.

%Vandurant says 'It's time.'

%Vandurant leads the Highwayman out into the yard toward the gallows. Rain is
falling straight and heavy, angry citizens and sympathizers are yelling on
both sides of his path with the gallows at the end. A woman shouts, "JUSTICE!"

%Vandurant walks the criminal up the stairs and onto the trapdoor. The crowd
cheering, shouting, and cursing all at once.

%Vandurant fits the noose around the Highwayman's neck. A man shouts,
"MERCY!!" Somewhere a woman yells, "You killed my husband you BASTARD!"

%Vandurant whispers 'I want you to know, I'm going to enjoy this.'

%Vandurant says 'This man is convicted of numerous and heinous crimes against
the crown which include no less than 17 counts of murder and no less than 51
counts of robbery, 7 of which were against mail coaches, which carries the
punishment of death by hanging.'

%Vandurant says 'Have you any last words?'

%Highwayman says 'It was a life of freedom, living outside the confines of
society. Living by my own leave, taking what I want.'

%Highwayman says 'I would tell my wife that it was for the good of our family,
but it would taste a lie to say that it was not what I wanted. I have many
regrets, but this is not one of them.'

%Highwayman shouts 'Strike now, you bastards, and know you hang a free man
today!'

%The crowd becomes silent, holding their breath as they watch the executioner
reach for the lever. The executioners grip on the release lever tightens as
rain falls heavier. Vandurant nods to the executioner. A loud crack echoes in
the yard as the lever is pulled and the Highwayman falls through the trapdoor.


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