Lautemy mounted the wooden steps, his head held high. Two guards, one on either side of him, kept firm grips on his upper arms but he moved without their urging. The gibbet creaked as an unseen wind played in its frame. Below him the two dozen people who had bothered to show up to the public execution looked on expectantly. Only one among them cheered as he made his way to center stage. The rest wore plain-faced disapproval and necessary solemnity.
A priest in the stark uniform of his office leaned in and whispered, “Any last words?”
Lautemy nodded. As the noose was hung around his neck and fitted, he began to speak. “Look upon me. Watch me as I die. Feel it in your heart as the embers of hope fully extinguish. Let the blackness consume you, for I was the last steward of justice in your lifetime. Repeat my story to your children and grandchildren so that when I, or one like me, comes again that they might be ready.”
Relief came as the words left him and knowing that he had done his best, he found peace.