Perry hung his head and let his hands drop to the table. “Let’s just let it burn,” he said.
The room went silent. The dozens of rebels that had been arguing, nearly at each others’ throats, turned as one to stare at their leader.
“What?” came a small voice. Olivia, from the sounds of it.
Perry lifted up his gaze, using it to pierce each of his followers in turn. Not one of them met it for long. They looked away, and were unsure why.
“I said: Let. It. Burn,” Perry replied.
A few people recovered from the spell, some of his more outspoken opponents. Folks who contradicted him on general principle.
“Think of all the people!”
“The children! The families! We can’t just -”
Perry slammed his hand down on the make-shift war table, cracking the aged wood down the center. “We wanted them dead, right? We wanted this whole God-forsaken parliament run up on the gallows, drawn-and-quartered, then burned for good measure? Isn’t that we always said?”
Perry’s face was red and could barely breathe. He had to pause just to get enough air to continue.
“Well look what we’ve got! A whole city burning! They’re all there! All the ones that matter, anyway. There’s no evacuating them. No saving them. The smoke will take whichever ones the fire and the lava don’t get. We get everything we wanted at no risk to us.”
His teeth peeled back in a grimace as he hissed his conclusion. “There were always going to be innocent casualties. Now we just know who they’ll be.”