Breus and Eurydice le Fidelé unfurled the golden banner before them, and gave it the necessary, symbolic three waves before attaching it to the flag post. Eurydice turned to her sisters, and gestured to it. “Behold, oh children of the Faithful! The Cthoniques fly the banner of war!”
Breus nodded. “Grave times indeed, my heir! What shall we do?”
“What can we do, oh father, but be what the Fidelé
have always been!” declared Eurydice. “Ever faithful! Oh, my kin, shall you do your duty?”
Her sisters nodded. “Yes!” they cried in unison. “We shall be faithful!”
Across the ramparts, Maximilian Rho glanced at Pelleas Pescheour . “You know, watching that, I find myself getting damned impressed, before realizing that I am watching a bunch of bloody young girls.”
“Oh, I’m simply impressed,” said the King of Leonais. “I’ve watched them practice. Formidable young women the lot of them.”
Maximilian blinked and then sighed. “All these years, and I’m still never sure whether you’re bloody joking or not, Pelleas.”
Pelleas spread his hands. “Isn’t that part of my charm, Maximilian? That wonderful sense of uncertainty?”
Maximilian stared at him for a moment, then shook his head. “Well, one thing’s damned certain if we manage to win this. Half the old bastards on the Council will likely keel over in shock when they have to deal with the real you instead of the vague… notion of you.”
“If my son has left them alive,” noted Pelleas.
Maximilian nodded. “Well… my reports suggest he has yet to… duplicate the sort of massacre he unleashed at Ys.”
“And how long before he does?” muttered the king. “Or even worse, decides to surpass it?”
“He kept you a prisoner for years, when he could have killed you,” noted Maximilian.
“He got pleasure from that,” said Pelleas. “And… I got a sense of him during all that. These latest acts… suggest what happened whenever he… lost his grip.”
There was a sudden pop. “Hey, Mister Road!” said Malina with a wave. “Hey King Pelican!” She looked at them eagerly, bright red eyes full of excitement. “Are you guys planning stragemies?”
Pelleas nodded, as the Preceptor of the Sacristans scratched his head in befuddlement. “Indeed, Malina, we were doing exactly that.”
Malina clapped her hands together. “Ooooh! Can I help? Auntie Morgaine and Uncle Nissy always let me help them plan stragemies! It’s so much fun!”
“Ummm… well you see, Your… Precious Grace…” said Maximilian Rho.
“Yaaay!” declared Malina brightly. “I’ll go get the popped corn!” She vanished from sight with a loud pop.
“Did you have to do that Pelleas?” snapped Rho.
Pelleas stared at Maximilian in amusement. “I don’t see where having her around would be that much of problem, Maximilian…”
Rho turned away, slightly abashed. “The Badb warned me to… watch my language around her stepdaughter. With… vivid explanations of what she would do to me if I didn’t. She’s quite terrifying.”
“Oh, yes,” said Pelleas. “Viviane is truly a force of nature. Quite inspiring really.”