25 Mark My Words Pt.1

    The raging red embers engulfed the thatched houses, consuming the village in a blazing inferno. Grey smoke climbed to the inky sky, its smouldering fumes carried the suffocating scent of burning wood, gunpowder and decaying flesh.

    Kim Hyesung watched in tranquillity as the village before him caved into chaos. The sound of distant screaming; the sight of the villagers fleeing and the taste of fear in the air surrounded Hyesung but, he remained unfazed. He felt nothing. Not even a sliver of remorse.

    "Ye monster!" he heard a woman shout.

    Hyesung peered down from the comfort of his stallion, his face still impassive.

    "Ye will rot in hell! Damn ye!" she continued to scream hysterically as she struggled against the ropes which bound her to a wooden stake.

    Hyesung remained motionless as his underlings buried the area around her feet with dry tinder, creating a mound ready for lighting. Hyesung watched as they worked mechanically, like him, they showed little emotion. And, so they should. For even the slightest sign of sympathy to the enemy would signal weakness. One, which could cost them their lives.

    "Are you sure about this, brother?"

    It was only when he heard his younger brother speak did Hyesung allow his mask to slip off. He turned to the youngest of the Kims who looked on at his elder with the most apparent concern.

    "It must be done, Hosam" Hyesung murmured solemnly. "They are the enemy."

    "But they are innocent people!" he replied pleadingly. "Surely they need not perish-?"

    "No," Hyesung replied sternly. "We cannot let anyone of influence live." He looked down at the glaring woman in front of him, "especially her."

    The woman screeched at him contemptuously, "This is not the end! Ye will not succeed in ye's campaign!"

    Hyesung looked on as his henchmen completed piling up the kindling. "At your signal, My Lord" he heard one of his men say. He was carrying a glowing torch.

    Seeing the torch-wielding man, Hyesung noticed a flash of fear reflect on the hysterical woman's eyes. It was only briefly but, the corners of Hyesung's mouth twitched into a smile: he enjoyed seeing the terror in his enemies' eyes.

    "Any last words, Oracle?" Hyesung jeered mockingly.

    The woman held her breath as she watched the man lower the torch towards the pile of dry wood beneath her feet. Soon, she will be consumed by the hot flames like her kinsmen. But despite her fears, the woman regained composure and managed to speak coherently. She snarled at Hyesung and the other men that had gathered around her stake to watch. To them, she was just a delirious woman; a desperate villager; a fake shaman.

    Oh, how they were all wrong.

    The woman let out an ominous cackle that sent chills down the spines of all the men present. "Hear this, Kim Hyesung," she sneered. "I need not place a curse upon ye for ye have already tied ye's fate when ye began this barbaric task." She smiled malevolently, "I will give ye the gift of knowing ye's future."

    Hyesung scoffed at her remark. "My future?"

    "Aye," she affirmed. "Mark my words, the House of Kim will crumble. All of what ye dreamed of will collapse. Ye's efforts are futile."

    Hyesung, not feeling at all threatened, waved his hand dismissively. "Burn her."

    At his command, the footman dropped the torch.

    The woman watched in horror as the dry wood came alight with the flames rapidly growing. She edged herself closer to the pole as if she could escape the flames that were licking at her feet.

    "Ye will fail!" she screamed desperately. "The Kims will fail!" she eyed Hyesung and seeing his blasé countenance further enraged her. She shouted exasperatingly, "A daughter!"

    At this, Hyesung was intrigued.

    Amidst the crackling of the burning wood and plumes of smoke, the woman's cries were barely audible. "The house of Kim will be brought down by ye's own daughter" Hyesung managed to hear the woman screech."A daughter of Kim will unravel and thwart all that ye have worked hard for. Mark my words, Kim Hyesung!"
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