Princess Sophia lay curled up in the fetal position on the pile of straw that stood in for a bed. The daughter of the House of Crawford was now the only remaining member of that noble bloodline. Up until last month, her life had been one of luxury and privilege. But even she, a sheltered little princess, could tell things were going badly. Her father barely spoke to her, bags under his eyes, and her mother had been snappy and temperamental. Then, just a week ago, the enemy had pushed into the capital. The Kingdom's soldiers had fought valiantly, but they could not fight with no food and no ammo. They laid down their weapons and allowed the enemy free entry into the palace grounds.
Sophia still had nightmares of what happened next. Dirty, rough men, tired and angry from long months of fighting rampaged through the halls and countless rooms of the estate. They raped the maids, killing those who resisted. They stole anything not tied down, and smashed anything they could not take away.
The soldiers found the royal family hiding in one of the attic spaces. She remembered everything with crystal-clear clarity. Her mother screaming, her father pleading with their captors. Then, two gunshots and her parents slumped over with ragged holes in their chests. The men turned their attention to her, the little girl cowering in the corner.
She remembered The sensation of strong, rapacious hands exploring her young body as they tore off her precious silk nightgown. Then, the sudden pain in her crotch as the soldier took her first time. More hands, gripping onto her golden blonde hair, forcing her delicate mouth open as they satisfied their pent up urges. Sophia was stripped of everything that day. Her family, her title, her fortune, and her pride. For the first time in her short life, she knew what fear and pain felt like.
"A visitor for you, princess", one of the prison guards announced. The young girl stood up and gracefully curtsied as the heavyset man lumbered into the dank cell. Sophia recognized him. He was the general of the enemy ground forces. She greeted him in his language, haltingly. "No need for that, miss", he said gently. "We've set your execution date for tomorrow, at mid day", he took off his spectacles and rubbed them on his coat as he talked. "They wanted to make an example of you, but I convinced them to be lenient. You'll be attended to by the best headsman in the army". Sophia felt the last vestiges of hope crumble. The princess forced herself to thank the man, but all she desired was to scream obscenities at him.
The unfortunate girl spent her last night tossing and turning on that cold patch of straw. Despite her fervent wishes, the next morning came, spilling bright sunlight through the city. The guards came with a bowl of porridge and a cup of milk, and she took a few half hearted spoonfuls. She hadn't much of an appetite. The guards came back, one of them tossing a threadbare gown at her feet, the other placing a sponge, a towel and a large bucket of warm, soapy water on the cell floor. They left, leaving the princess to wash herself in private. The princess slipped out of her stained camisole and bloomers, picked up the bucket and slowly poured it over herself. She rubbed her soft, pale skin with the sponge, cleaning the grime and grease of the past 7 days away. Sophia toweled herself dry, then pulled the fresh gown over her head, tightening the strap around her waist. She sat down on the straw pile and pulled her feet up, resting her chin on her knees.
The hours seemed to pass by in minutes, and soon enough it was almost time to depart for the central square where her sentence was to be carried out. Flanked by several guards, she was escorted to a motorcar and slowly driven past crowds of onlookers. The citizens were mostly quiet and respectful. The car slipped through some concrete bollards and arrived at the central square, where it came to a stop. The guards helped Sophia step down from the vehicle, where she promptly fell to her knees.
They took hold of her arms and dragged the princess across the square.
A raised wooden platform had been erected in the center, where the headsman waited, his axe by his side. Her guards firmly pulled the princess up the stairs. They reached the top of the platform and forced her to her knees.
There was a large wooden block placed in front of the girl, its top dark old blood stains and marked with the cuts from a thousand beheadings. The guards forced her head down, and Sophia grimaced as she laid her neck on the pitted surface of the chopping block. They pulled her long hair clear from her nape, to allow the headsman a clean shot.
Sophia tried to remain composed, but despite her upbringing, she was still an 11 year old girl. Sophia closed her eyes tight as the headsman read the charges against her. She had no tears left, but her heart still shook in terror. She felt her bladder release, piss dribbling down her thigh, and blushed in shame.
Having finished reading out the charges, the executioner raised his axe, and swung it down. It was a good strike, and the axe blade had been kept sharp. The girl's head tumbled off the block and rolled forward, coming to a stop a few meters away from the edge of the platform. Sophia's body jerked, bright red blood spraying forth from her neck. The guards let go of her arms, letting her corpse collapse on its side, her slender legs twitching as blood pooled around her prostrate form.
The headsman grabbed her head and looked in her eyes. For a few seconds, her pupils wandered around, as her lips tried to form words. Then, as blood poured out the bottom, her eyes dulled and became still. Princess Sophia was no more, and the House of Crawford had ended.