Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Siege of the White Mountain, (Volume 1: Raise the Black Banner)--Part 12

“I am done prevaricating,” declared Mansemat, as he strode down the hall.

“Are you sure about that?” asked Nisrioch, rushing to his side.

The Dark Lord of the Plains froze and turned to his brother. “That is what I just said!”

“You can’t blame me for wanting to be sure,” stated Nisrioch chirpily.

Mansemat glowered at him. “Yes, I can.” He slapped his hands together. “Assemble a battalion. House Cthonique marches to relieve the siege of the White Mountain!”

“Hey! Hey, guys!” Morgaine jogged up towards them. “Wait up!” She looked at her brothers resentfully as she approached. “You guys really should remember that not everyone has your freaky long legs.”

“Sorry about that, Morgaine,” said Nisrioch. “In my defense, I regularly forget all sorts of things about the limitations of other people.”

“I know. All is merrily forgiven.” She regarded her twin for a moment. “So you still set on starting the Great War now?”

“Amfortas is starting it,” snapped Mansemat. “I am simply taking up the gauntlet he has thrown. With every intent to slap his smug face with it.”

Morgaine blinked. “Damn. You are really feeling this, aren’t you? Haven’t seen you this determined in a while. Almost makes me wonder what…”

“Manny!” said Viviane, darting towards her husband. “Are you getting things ready? I really want to go kill a few bastards.”

Nisrioch and Morgaine glanced at each other. “Well,” said Morgaine, “that answers that.”

“Hmmm,” murmured Nisrioch with a slight nod. “And here I’d been ENJOYING your effect on Manny.”

“Ehh, I could do without the bad love poems,” said Morgaine.

Viviane took a deep breath. “Why is it you listen to these two, Manny? Because I’m really, really wondering right…”

“I just asked the same question,” noted Mansemat. “They provided a very illuminating answer.” He coughed. “That Viviane and I share a certain… moral clarity on this subject is hardly surprising. Our similar temperaments are part of what drew us to each other, after all.” He regarded his siblings icily. “Now, as the Cthonique of Castle Terribel, I have made my mind known on this matter. Do you consider my orders in this ignoble and improper?”

The pair looked at each other for a while. Morgaine at last let out a sigh. “I’ll go have Greedigutt gather some men,” she muttered, trudging off.

“I have a few… preparations to make myself,” said Nisrioch. He turned to leave, then stopped to regard Mansemat and Viviane for a moment. “When this is all over, I hope you both still feel certain in your… moral clarity.” Nisrioch’s eyes gleamed, their strange shifting hues brighter and stronger than usual. “I sincerely do.” And then he turned and went on his way.

Mansemat and Viviane stood there alone for a moment. “Well,” said Mansemat. “That went fairly well, all things considered.”

“What would not going well have looked like?” asked Viviane.

“Them deposing me,” answered Mansemat.

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