“Call me Rudolf,” the Landsknecht said. “Here, have a drink.”

He held out a stein of water to Georg, which the captive was just able to grasp by straining at his chains.

“Very kind of you,” Georg said, between gulps. His speech was slurred but intelligible given the swelling of his jaw and around his orbit. “I can’t say as your friend have been as hospitable since I’ve been their guest.”

“Well, Landsknechte are just doing a job,” Rudolf said. “Some take it a little too seriously. I do not. Your men fought bravely with inferior equipment, and killed six of my men. Six! It’s been a long time since we took that many casualties in battle, and even then it was against pike and shot. You took those men down with swords made from sickles and scythes bent into pikes.”

“And you ran them down for it,” Georg said. “There were close to a thousand of us.”

“Well, now there are five, give or take. Your leader has already been beheaded; might be able to see his head out your window if you lean just right. The rest of you get to share his fate once certain niceties are decided upon.”

“You came to gloat?” replied Georg.

“Defeat is the common fate of a soldier; it won’t do to wail against it, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a shred of compassion,” Rudolf said. “You and your peasant boys fought well against impossible odds. If you’d had our equipment and training, you’d have taken the field and we really would be rid of all nobles and kings, just the way you wanted. I’m tipping my hat to you.”

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