The woman lay squatted in a pool of mud, her arms clutched around a baby, who's desperate crying and screaming could be heard over the crackling fire in the village. Farmhouses, pigsties and workshops were smoldering around the woman, who tried to dig herself deeper into the mud, protecting the baby with her body.
"Please don't, please, I done nothing to you, not her please" she stammered as soldiers closed in around her, forming a semi-circle, barring potential escape.
A loud voice suddenly rang over the noisome fire "HOLD!". The soldiers stopped at once, recognizing the owner of the voice. A gap opened in the circle, and a tall man stepped in, throwing disapproving glances at the soldiers, who looked down in embarrassment and respect. The authority figure focused his gaze on the huddled woman, an expression of pity and concern on his hard face, a face furrowed with scars and covered in an uneven layer of stubbles. He spoke with a soft voice.
"Easy child, you are safe now. Be calm". T