Tweet of the Day: Dianaes – Part Two
A familiar place.
But this time around it was not I who faced judgment but the men who tried to send me to my death and failed. A score of survivors regaled the assembly with tales of horror. The surge of wild eye barbarians. Men and horses battered by monstrous trolls. The pitiful screams of the wounded.
The accused squirmed under midday sun, Valerius in the middle. These desperate men faced a sea of frowning faces. The brothers, fathers and sons of those who died in the ambush.
“And what redress do the victims seek against the accused,” asked the Magistrate from his perch.
I stepped forward, “For treason? Death!” The audience exploded in angry shouts, “However, this is not an ordinary case. For you see, the threat against our city still exists. The barbarians prepare for war under the guidance of their true masters, the Aos Si!” more cries this time, tinged with fear, “So executing these greedy, idiotic retches will not save us from the oncoming tide . Only swords, armor and the willingness to use them will save us now. But that costs money, money that these men have a plenty. Seize their property and use it to build up our defenses for what is to come.”
The accused faces turned ashen as the assembly exploded in cheers.
I raised a hand to calm the crowd, “Even that will not be enough. Fortunately my brother has heeded my call and brought with him the very men that saved the city once before.” Anthony emerged from the shadows in full combat gear. The scales of his armor shone in the afternoon sun. The crowd applauded and stomped their feet. “And with this force!” I shouted over the din, “and with this force, I propose to take the fight to the enemy and eradicate the enemy once and for all!”
There it is. The bittersweet sweet taste of a well told lie.
Guards shoved the accused out of the forum while we made our way outside. A small knot of trusted advisers waited under the shade of a large tree.
“Ish, any word from Oby?” I asked the goblin.
“He says ‘the hall remains silent”, sir,” said Ish.
“Good, Anthony, what about the other cities, are they sending forces as well?”
“They suffered under the barbarian raids and are tired of paying ransom. They are sending men as we speak, but of their number or quality I know little,” he said.
“What about Justine?”
“She is fine, getting bigger by the day, but Mother is looking after her. She is a formidable one, that wife of yours. I never seen the house so well run or Father so ragged!” he burst out in a big belly laugh. “Come to think of it, you been gone just a few months but you changed, little brother. I’m….”
“I’m impressed. You’re not the wet pup my men dragged from the river a few months back.”
“It feels like a lifetime ago, Anthony, but we more important things to do,” I said. I turned to Tyrwyr, “Will your clan help us?”
Tyrwyr stroke his long red beard, “This is not their fight, but for the right price I could wrangle the best sell swords and engineers.”
“Then you should have the silver forthwith. Talking of silver,” I pulled Caliburn from the scabbard, “could your smiths make a a copy of this sword out of silver?”
The dwarf frowned, “I’m sure they could, but why?”
“I have my reasons Tyrwyr. Go and talk to your clansmen. The faster the better.”
The group dispersed. Galius, one of the survivors who spoke to the assembly came up beside me, “Sir, was it necessary to lie to them like that?”
“I’m afraid so. Besides it was not a total like. Your description of the ambush was accurate.”
“But the Aos Si are hunting us, if we flee….”
“We will be running for ever. Besides, the orcs are still a threat these folks recognize and the Aos Si were pulling their strings. Who do you think summoned those trolls or why we were sold to them?”
“I hadn’t thought about it that way, Sir.”
“I know. You’re right, we are bending the truth, and I wish we didn’t have to but if we don’t….”
He nodded, “I know. Good luck to us all.”