All persons named, referred to, or victimized in this work are fiction or a fictionalized version of their real-life counterparts.

CHAPTER 1-GUILLOTUNE

The Harmonious Inquisitors were done with Ivan.

His trial was brief, his sentence met with blood-hungry applause by the peasant crowd, their filthy mouths gaping and exposing their wagging tongues. They all looked to him like writhing, freshly dug worms.

As he was lead to the dirty world outside, Ivan looked straight ahead; chin raised, and defiantly sang the infectious riff of the theme of his people—but his dry voice faltered once he actually caught sight of the guillotine.

The guillotine was, as all were, in the shape of a giant guitar laid on its side.

It had been refurbished with new fret strings. They gleamed sinisterly, mockingly.

"Let's hear a new tune!" A peasant woman shrieked, jumping up and down impatiently. This accidently created a rhythm, so she was executed immediately.

"A relaxing ditty!"

"A happy one!"

"No, an angry one!"

"Sad!"

"Romantic!"

A guard kicked the back of his knees and Ivan fell, his head was shoved into the sound hole that would end his life.

The string wire would be strummed, and if the executioner was merciful, he would quickly pluck the middle string and let it fall to sever the poor man's head...or he'd play out the top notes until Ivan was deaf and bleeding.
Ivan's heart beat out a steady, hard rhythm.

The executioner shouted, "GET READY FOR A SONG!"

Ivan closed his eyes and focused on the smell of the smooth, polished wood. It made him think of home.

"HALT!"

A sonorous voice thundered.

"STOP THIS EXECUTION!"

It was none other than the Great Wizard Cecil!