The bells rang at midnight for the first time in seventeen years.
Yont knew this, exactly, because the last time the bells rang was when his daughter, Clara, was born.
Clara, beautiful as the day is long, and twice as smart as any of her peers. She was touched, some said, by Heaven, and the Gods, and the blessings of a thousand souls from Paradise, to help the Kingdoms find peace. Yont did not believe this, because Paradise to him was a scar on the minds of the young, and a false flag for the sick, and the poor.
When she was young, Clara helped guide the children through the pastures and found a new way to bring peace to the three kingdoms. Her crown, the day they made her queen at the young age of fourteen, was of triangular origin, and her face betrayed none of her true loyalties. Yont was exceptionally skilled as a soldier, and a bright farmer on his own, but on the night of his daughter’s ascension, he did his duty for his kingdom, and his new Queen, and killed the Lords of the two other kingdoms. The country was united together, and Clara ruled peacefully for three years.
Then the plague came, and the same farmers and workers and clerics who had declared Clara a blessed person condemned her, called her a demon and a soldier from hell. There was no stopping the rush on the castle walls, and, try as he might, Yont could not hold back the throngs of people who overtook the castle walls, the yard, the throne room.
Eventually, covered in blood and sweat and the thunderous rain from above, they heathens strung up his daughter’s body in a horrid act of sacrifice. Yont himself was thrown in a dungeon.
He was convicted as perpetrator to the crimes of his daughter, and made to suffer the rest of his life knowing he’d outlived his offspring — a fate, some say, worse than death. The bells tolling at midnight were meant to signal the dawn of a new era in the Kingdom, of prosperity and plentiful crops.
For Yont, they meant the end of living.
He yearned for Paradise to find him soon.