Monday, May 8, 2017

The Journal of the ex-Lord High Constable, Part 9

I was woken in the early hours by Allaster informing me that Vijur was meeting with the Duke and Earl Esben. I suspected Esben would attempt further subterfuge. However I decided to let him play his game, because I don’t plan on playing it with him, I’m going to smash the board and bring down his world come the morning. It will also be a good opportunity for our future king to show himself to not be easily manipulated, or further prove to me how unready to rule he will be.

At dawn the captains and lieutenants of the North mustered as I ordered.  The Duke may have taken it upon himself to hastily appoint Cuylar Dane as my successor. But it is a military matter. And as such should be handled with the appropriate customs. When I handed Cuylar my pin of office, I could feel the old rivalry between me and him wash away.

Having Cuylar on my side is of absolute importance to me. I need to have someone I can rely upon in the coming future to take up position as Lord High Constable, and I could think of no better man.
After the short ceremony I introduced Cuylar to Magnus, and welcomed talks of the elven treaty he brought to the city at a later date. Even if I fail today I was assured that matters would be appropriately handled.

I then took Cuylar aside and gave him my first command as Regent of Dorn. Or rather a command to be enacted the exact moment I become Regent. With Conall’s deciphered documents I presented him with evidence of Earl Esben’s involvement in manipulating the realm. More importantly a list of locations and persons within Erenhead who work or belong to him. Together we created a strategy to simultaneously assault all of Esben’s holdings and arrest his agents. It was an ambitious plan, and we didn't have much time to prepare it. But between us I am confident in our victory, I must strike while the iron is hot!

Marching the the arena, I ensured Erenhead knew of my arrival. The city was quiet with anticipation. As if it was holding its breath, waiting to see what would happen. Our drums and bagpipes shattered the silence with Dornish anthems of our nation's past greatness. As I passed the common folk, they saw the future ruler. They saw that I was bringing back an era of that greatness.
At the arena however, not was all it should have been. Vijur stood side by side with Earl Esben and the Duke.
I knew our dear king was easily manipulated. But this?
A proclamation was read. Duke Ivass Tourbalt was to step down, anointing Vijur as the true king of Dorn. Of course with the addition of Earl Esben acting as regent.
I was ready to denounce Earl Esben before the people. But in his new position I had to adjust my words. Calling for the musicians to play their instruments over the crowds uproar, I turned their attention back to me and said my piece.

I called out to the people.
I called out that I came here as a true honourable Dorn. Here to lay an end to an era of treachery.
I called out for house Redgard, and that I would lead our country back into greatness.
I called out Earl Esben’s intrigue. I exposed his lies and threats he had made. Producing the finger of my boy I told the people how he was trying to use my family as leverage over me.
I called out that Dorn would not stand for this manipulation any longer.
Cuylar Dale rose and backed my claims. At that point things had turned and everyone knew it.
Every house present had listened to me. I was no longer the only one calling for Esben blood. The signal given our soldiers closed in and arrested Esben
Most people present failed to notice the flaming arrow that shot into the sky. Not me. I approached the dais with the knowledge that as I walked up the steps; Esben’s web of intrigue was being pulled down across the entire city.

The moment changed when Jahzir: Outraged by the unfolding events. Called out the dishonour of the whole thing, and took it upon himself to end the Dukes life. Without hesitation Vijur drove Wyrmclaw into Jahzir’s chest. Magnus and the available Galdrs tried their best so save the Sharif’s life, but after much effort failed.

This was a great waste of a good life. Jahzir, although headstrong was a man worthy of respect. And his killing may put Dorn in a difficult position diplomatically. I hadn’t banked on having to deal with such matters so early of my coming to power.

With the drama ended, all eyes remained on the stage. Calling out for a hail to King Vijur Dane and Regent of the realm Fergus Redgard, everyone kneeled. As I stood there with Vijur, I saw  uncertainty in his eyes.

However as regent I bear no uncertainty.
I shall be steadfast for the sake of Dorn.

Honour the name.

From the Journal of Magnus Sedrig, Session 9

Towerday the 2nd of Redfall 890 TA - Afternoon

I was rudely shaken awake by a messenger. Apparently Fergus Redguard had requested my presence at a meeting of some sort, and it has very important that I attended. I still hadn’t fully recovered from the previous day's exertions but given the current fragile situation it seemed sensible to assist my new allies in any way possible. Rest can come later.

The meeting was a discreet affair, Fergus had gathered the military leaders of the northern houses to assure their loyalty to the true king Vijur and convince them the Duke was not worthy of support. I agreed with most of what was said, and so kept quiet until the Eredane Compact was mentioned. This was my cue to give the now well-practiced spiel about how Izrador would soon return and we must be ready to unite against him, the Duke’s refusal to recognize the compact put the security of the nation in jeopardy. I was taken more seriously this time, in part due the presence of Kylar Dale and Fergus, but also because I had an actual living breathing member of the Caransil standing right there next to me. Lensa has refused to leave my side since our reunion and received a few curious glances, it’s hard to remember that most men have never seen an Elf.

With the exception of house Esben, who I believe Fergus has been feuding with since killing their assassin at the feast, most of the lords seemed to be swayed to our side. The meeting dissolved, and afterwards I offered to assist Fergus in any way he saw fit. The duel was only a few hours away, and I really would have preferred he win. Fergus asked if I could make his voice more impressive, so I conjured up a quick enhancement spell to amplify his already impressive bellow.

All too quickly, it was time for the Duel. I took my place in the crowd gathering in the great arena, next to my father. The assembled spectators waited in quiet tension as Redguard procession made it’s way through the city, the obnoxious squawking of their pipe band growing slowly louder. Vijur, the Duke and Sharif Ka’Mael were visibly arguing about… something, which was very curious. Finally, Fergus arrived at the head of his parade and the Duke immediately began spouting orders. I don’t recall the exact words: the Duke was abdicating,Vijur would rule alone as the sole monarch and Fergus was to be arrested for treason! I don’t know how, but someone got to Vijur, convinced him to turn on Fergus. I suspected he might have been ensorcelled by a Galdr, but he didn’t seem to bear the telltale signs of magical influence. The Sharif was furious, ranting about honour and such things to Arik, clearly the man had been hoping for a fight and didn’t approve of this sudden change of plans.

Obviously, Fergus wasn’t going to just surrender himself and he was protected by dozens of his own men. Not enough to win a direct bloody conflict, but enough to cause hesitation, no one wants to be the first to charge a Huscarl shield wall. Fergus took the opportunity to throw himself into another one of his epic speeches. It was a long one, so for brevity's sake I will summarize: the Duke is a puppet of Lord Esben, Lord Esben is the true power behind the throne and has been manipulating events to suit his own selfish ends, Fergus has proof of these claims and house Reguard is the only house that can lead the Dorn through the troubles to come. With Vijur’s consent obviously.

Perhaps it was my magic, perhaps it was natural charisma, probably a bit of both.  The Lords of Dorn  absorbed his words and a general murmur of agreement began to emerge, punctuated by the occasional “here here” and “yeah!”. Even Vijur was convinced, and humbly agreed to honour the original arrangement with House Redguard. When it was clear the tables had turned, the Duke began to make a move, attempting to slip away. Before he got very far the Sharif was upon him, blocking the coward’s retreat. The Duke was decapitated in one swift slice from the Sharif’s blade, but Vijur reacted instantly, seemingly on instinct, and drove his magical blade Wyrmclaw through the Sharif’s chest in retaliation!

The Sharif slid off the sword and fell to the floor, immediately Arik was at his side. He held his brother in his arms, desperately pleading for help as a circle of shocked nobles formed. Vijur demanded “help this man!”, the guilt of his rash action audible in the higher pitch of his voice. I pushed my way through the crowd to the fallen man, Lensa following close behind. Together, with the assembled court Galdrs, we tried to cease the influence of Wymrclaw’s powerful magic as the Sharif’s wound blackened and spoiled. I channeled every scrap of Aedra I could muster into fighting that magic, the effort drained me and my assistants to the verge of unconsciousness but eventually we proved no match for such power. Our magic failed, and the Sharif was dead.

I feel guilty for failing to save Arik’s brother, but today’s events will have a positive influence on the kingdom going forward. We have a strong, honourable family in control of the throne, backed by the legitimate heir. We are finally free from the Duke’s influence, and the puppet master Esben is exposed. Control of the Sarcoasan war host has fallen to Arik, a much cooler headed and sensible man than his late Brother. We have a long way to go, but it is a start.

Over the coming months, I must set about the task of negotiating an alliance between the Dorn, the Sacrosans and the Caransil. I must also carefully the Black Mirror, to ascertain if it can be destroyed or contained or even used against its master. We must be prepared for the return of the shadow!