Long before the first execution ever took place, the civilians of the royal land decided that it was time to select an individual to take up the position of the Head Executioner. The position was highly valued as it was one of the most well-paid jobs existing in the land, however the reward came at a price; a number of cruel tortures would have to be performed on convicted criminals before proceeding with the execution, which often involved methods such as skinning and vivisection, and finishing the victim off with a slow and painful death.
In order to deter potential offenders from breaking the law, the civilians were looking for a single person who was able to cause another human being severe pain without breaking down in tears. They were looking for someone who was able to stand extreme amounts of emotional torture and remain loyal to the monarchy for decades; a dutiful and obedient subject who could skillfully use convicted criminals to set a good example for anyone who even thought about disobeying the law.
Unsurprisingly, many applied for the post despite the terrible nature of the job. People from far and wide gathered outside the palace doors to compete against each other, with some travelling miles on end by foot. Most of these were simply poor men who could not afford to feed their families, in hope of finally being able to escape starvation. Others were bored sadists whom of which had simply turned up to check out the situation, in search of a more interesting career.
Thousands of men pushed their way into the royal grounds and as the last few passed the golden statue which marked the entrance of the palace, the guards shut the gates firmly behind them.
To determine the selection, all candidates would be assessed based on performance in two rounds: one involving grueling physical challenges, and the second involving the skill of execution techniques.
In the first round, an introduction was given before the candidates were assessed using different activities such as distance running to measure ability. At the end of this stage, the half of the candidates that proved too physically weak for the position and were eliminated. The rest continued to the second round.
The second round assessment was based on performance in sample executions. Candidates were asked to perform manual executions on criminals, and after only a few days later, many decided to leave out of their own will. The cries of agony which erupted from the mouths of the victims as the knives pierced their flesh were too much to bear, and most of the candidates had not been prepared for such an experience. Some left the palace haunted forever by the screams of the suffering victims.
Still, a few managed to stay in the game. Many felt traumatized by what they had seen but decided to carry on, however there were a very few that seemed unaffected by the potentially scarring events. These successful candidates were given rooms in the palace and continued acting as the top executioners for the palace prison. Over time, they built up techniques and the less skilled were eliminated one by one.
At the end, there were only twelve candidates left.
The competition was at its most intense, and the entire kingdom was watching the ultimate round. These twelve young men were indeed quick with the blade and skilled in all methods of causing bloodshed; capable of making criminals endure hours of torture before death, and completely unaffected by the pain they were inflicting. These men were true sadists from the heart, the most reliable executioners the palace could obtain. They were taken to a room for the night and allowed to practice the techniques used in the execution chamber.
However, on the morning of the final round, not a single noise could be heard from the dorm.
The guard anxiously knocked on the door; but it seemed everyone was too nervous to open it for him. Perhaps they were still asleep. The final round needed much concentration to succeed in.
As he carefully pushed it open trying to avoid making the metal hinges creak, he was shocked to see a blood-soaked, disemboweled corpse roll towards the center of the room. Both its eyes were gouged out, leaving the sockets wet, still dripping slowly. The intestines of the corpse had been ripped from its stomach, leaving the man inside-out. Turning his head abruptly to examine the rest of the room, he saw eleven other dead men floating in the sea of blood and entrails.
And clutched tightly in the hand of every corpse was an execution knife, each blade soaked in red.