Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Journal of the Lord High Constable, Part 7


Returning to the great hall I was worried that our re-arrival would cause attention and a stir. However my concerns were relieved when I came in and saw Arik and Magnus already making a fine scene and firmly holding the attention of the guests of the feast.
Magnus was shouting about assassins in the pantry. Arik looked to be injured.

Father noted that things were quickly escalating in the hall and perhaps it was best to strike now. I was in agreement with that and headed behind the staging area.
Here was in disarray too, as people rushed around confused. I made an attempt to bluff the organiser of the acts into letting me take the next performance, but as I began to speak with him the Sarcosan dancers began to filter out; into the hall.

The last woman in the line had a trickle of blood running down her arm, and her skin was not the dark tone of a Sarcosan. Grabbing her I asked if she was ok, and she replied in a badly feigned accent. Noticing my alarm at her attempt at impersonation the bitch threw something in my face.
It burned like hell, and looking in the mirror later I still have a bloodshot eye.

Blinded and in pain I gave my Huscarls the kill command. When I had rubbed my face clear of the burning I saw her on the floor with a few of my men’s francisca in her back. Taking her dagger from its sheath I saw it of fine make, and looking at her face left me with no doubt this was Arik’s shorn eared assassin he had been looking for. I ran her own blade across her vile throat to make sure she was dead. Then wrapping her hair in my fist I dragged her into the great hall.

Entering holding the corpse of an assassin wasn't exactly the plan, but it got the desired result. I had everyone's attention. This was the moment, I spoke the words that would likely change our Kingdom:

“Lords, Ladies, Earls and Sharif.
Many of you are aware that I did not conduct the tour of the city this evening. And that Duke Torbault has seen it fit to relinquish me of my position as Lord High Constable of the North.
A position I have trained and commanded for my entire life. I have been dedicated to my duty of training and raising the soldiers of the north into a fine army despite the limitations placed on us. And as I address you all my lords, I look around and see that I am surrounded by men I have known and trained with for most of my life. I would go as far to consider them friends. I could tell each of you which of your guardsmen can draw their sword fastest, who has the surest strike. Do any of you here know each of the northern guardsman's names who have stood watch over us while we feast?
I do.

I’ve digressed though. I was speaking as to what caused his Grace to violate the terms of the treaty House Redgard signed... when we surrendered as the last house left defending our nation?
I discovered a rebel group... swiftly killed and arrested them...
Before they could put into place plans they had to assassinate Jahzir Ka’Mael.
Because I acted without his express permission, his grace claimed I had undermined his authority.

But... he has no authority to begin with. And you all here know it to be true.
Our leader has stolen documents containing a diplomatic treaty with the elves!
He set his men on the brother of Sharif, forcing him to leap from a palace window to safety!
He keeps my son hostage, but has taken him from the city to deny that I even get to see my boy!

But what could we expect from a man who’s claim to rule, stems from stabbing our king in the back!
Then murdering the entire royal family!?

You’ve all heard rumours of a living Dayne in this city I’m sure. And yes my family has been putting on a rather amusing show of drama for you all this evening. It was not without warrant I assure you.
Allow me to introduce Vijur …. Dayne….. My soon to be brother In-Law. And king of Dorn.  

The rulership of House Torbault has come to an end. It is time the royal family was reinstated.
House Redgard backs Vijur Dayne’s rightful claim to the throne, and will guide him through his reign as regents of the realm.

I will place my life in judgement. And challenge Ivass Torbault in single combat, as the founding house leaders once did before we united as Dornish...”

As my words ended I felt the support and backing of every other house present. I’m sure the Duke did too. He knew he was backed into a corner and had no choice but to face me now.
He pulled out an unexpected trick though. Accepting my challenge  he called Jahzir Ka’Mael as his champion. The foolish Sharif accepted to champion him without hesitation, claiming I was inciting rebellion. This was not the result I was banking on. Indeed even if Jahzir wins he’d likely have a rebellion on his hands anyway judging by the other house's reaction to my speech. I must find a way to get him to see sense if I can.

After speaking with all of the Earls who approached me in the great hall I eventually managed to return to my chambers.

My duty is never done though. Earl Esben arrived demanding audience. Entering he carried a box and said it was a gift. He said that Redgard overthrowing Torbault was not within his best interests right now. And with delight he revealed the contents of the box. Ethan’s finger complete with our house sigil ring.

Kali immediately began to despair and show weakness. I did not.

Now was the time to show Esben not to try and harm our house. He probably expected his leverage to make me fall to my knee’s and beg like my wife. I am soon to be Regent of the realm and a ruler does not show weakness. Commanding my men to cut off the same finger from Esben as a way of showing him I was not in the mood to negotiate this with him, we made to take him to the prison. The sly bastard had stationed his men wielding crossbows down the hall. As tempting as a show of force had been, I ordered a retreat into the chamber. With little time and few tools at my disposal I had Esben thrown out of the window.

He screamed that Ethan would pay, but if he wants to have any hope of surviving his poor decision he’ll not harm him. I must make sure he knows it.

Ordering Allaster to prepare a surprise assault on the Pig and Whistle tavern I noticed Kali had done nothing but sit and weep. She’s distanced herself so much from me now, I was sure that nothing I said would matter to her. Once more despite my best efforts she likely regards me a monster. Taking Khiran-Thul in my hands I channeled my rage and hurt into a mighty blow that shattered the table with Mithral and Fire.

Only then looking up at me I stood over Kali, with Khiran-Thul still aflame in my grip. I swore to her that Ethan shall be returned to us.

Leaving the chamber I informed the others of my family to be on guard. Sending a message Cuylar Dale I requested more men be placed for both House Redgard and Torbault. No more treachery should befall anyone before the matter of tomorrow is settled.

I also requested that he and all Captains of the north assemble in the early morning for me to officially bestow on Cuylar title of Lord Constable of the North.

Win or lose I must ensure the realm best interests are served. And without my official blessing Cuylar could earn the distrust of my men. He was once like a brother, I do not wish him that situation.

I will end this night watching as my Guerrillas make their assault on the tavern. While a surprise attack against mostly unarmed Dorns isn't the most honorable, they are agents of House Esben.
Their deaths will be necessary to send the worm a message.