|The warm scent of bread, fresh from the oven reminded him of what he was about to lose. The birds chirped, perched on the fountain he couldn't see but remembered well.
How many times he faced death? He couldn't remember, as it was his constant companion since the age of fifteen. Today he would make his father proud and show everyone what the Captain General was made of.
The Commander of Belgrade would not cower in face of a sickly whelp hiding behind his mother's skirts. He should have dealt with his namesake when he had the chance. The brat deserved the same treatment as that scoundrel, Ulrich of Cilli.
He shouldn't have listened to his mother. Look where letting women meddle in matters of state led him.
He rattled his chains but didn't raise his head. He knew Posthumus was somewhere there, gloating over the sight. He wouldn't give him the satisfaction to see the despair slowly seeping through his veins.
Of course, they didn't give him a chance to defend himself, not after he outwitted so ably the Diet of Futog. They threw him, blinded and chained, stumbling in a chamber where he was read some nonsense about treason.
Dread settled in as he understood he had run out of choices. He would die like a man, without blinking an eye. He fisted his hands, murmured a prayer and anticipated the blow.
Oh hell, they'd better get done with it, what was taking so long? How long could he endure the scent of fresh bread and hear the careless chirp of the birds, painful reminders of what once was?
Too bad he'd never be strong enough to fill his father's shoes.
He would raise his eyes and beg.
"Forgive me, father."
That's when the sword hit.
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