For Their Betterment

By J. Ruisu

The villagers stared on with wonder and horror as the mass impaling took place; there, their ruler, sat at a table with a chicken breast on his plate and his curls hanging perfectly around his head. One of the women had mentioned earlier how sad it was that he was so incredibly good looking, and yet so incredibly twisted. His name, to the people, Vlad Ţepeş. Hundreds of years later, he would become known as Vlad Dracula.

The Prince gazed at the Saxon merchants and tradesmen with hungry eyes as he fished some chicken from his mustache. A woman in the crowd of villagers was crying; it was an open secret of the town that one of the Saxons had been having an affair with her.

Despite the parasitic presence of the Saxons in Wallachia, the villagers still found horror in watching the almost nude men and their wives and children be pulled down the dull stake by horses attached to their limbs. Vlad had chosen a circular pattern for the stakes, this time around; this was nothing new for him, though.

"How could Matthias' cousin marry him?" A gruff villager grunted to one of his drinking friends. The equally dirty male shrugged.

"He's a rich bastard, that's all." The dirty man responded.

A young woman with tight black curls looked at the non-too-distinguished men with sorrowful eyes. "It's bad luck to be talking about Lord Ţepeş like that." She hissed, though she had been gagging only a few seconds ago. Her mother and father, anxious to have her married off, found it critical to take her out to any event in the village, impromptu or not – given the choice, she probably would have stayed back inside the village' crumbling walls.

The small Wallachian village was surrounded by a thin forest, with a grey sky overhead and devastated farmland all around. As with every village in his princedom, Ţepeş was making life look a little better for the peasants; slowly, the farmland was being returned to it's original state, and any threat from the Turks or Ottoman's was practically eclipsed for now. However, this horrendous spectacle of insanity always stirred up unsettlement in towns it occurred near; what normal human being could do such things, with out any sign of remorse? However, some men – and women – tried to justify these actions. It was common knowledge that enemies became terrified at the sight of rotting corpses on spikes, and Ţepeş always had a reason for his actions; whether it be that they were parasitic merchants, thieves, blasphemers or liars, there was always a reason.

Ţepeş stood, his squinting eyes skimming over the crowd. A convoy of covered carts held a few upperclassmen and knights, as well as his wife; she very rarely left his side, now in her late stages of pregnancy, despite the danger it could potentially pose on her and the child's life. These carts stood in a line, facing away from the torture, and a few of the villagers had wandered over and tried to stir up a blessing from the royals. However, the knights and common guard held them at bay with dangerous swords of an unusual length.

The prince spoke to his people with a strong voice, crossing his elegantly dressed arms. "People of the country do not see the danger posed by such leeches as these; foreigners that live on your streets, rape your women, steal your food! They act simple settlers, but be warned! I will have none of their stupidity in my Wallachia, good subjects! Long live!" The words were simple, but they stirred up a proud cheer from the people.

Vlad stepped down from the small wooden platform he had been made, and walked briskly to his cart, a few common-guard stalking him with straight backs. He climbed up onto his cart effortlessly, and even as the villagers began to stream towards the carts in an act to stop their prince and retrieve more hope-stirring words, the convoy set off at a striking pace.

"Husband, what of the horses? Will they be sent back to the capitol in due time?" Ţepeş' wife, a timid woman with long, wavy chestnut hair and cool tawny eyes looked at her skirts bashfully; it would be impolite to look her husband right in the face before his guard.

"The Knight of that village will have them sent to me when the Saxon bastards are dealt with," Vlad responded harshly as he adjusted his royal cap.

"They are valuable beasts," the woman murmured, patting her hands on her swollen belly. Ţepeş had spent a considerable amount of money on getting her newly tailored garments for her various stages of pregnancy.

Ţepeş just grunted, eyes trailing at the mass impalement as the cart pulled him away; he could still smell the blood and hear the horrified noises of the Saxons as the spike was pushed through them, causing extreme internal bleeding as their organs were split so that the spike could eventually come out of their mouths. A small smile turned the corners of his mouth; all for the betterment of his people, he reminded himself. Always for the betterment of the nation.