Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Siege of the White Mountain; Vol. 2: Fields Running Red--Part 30

“So--who’s the skinny man on the horse?” said a skinny man on a horse as he gestured to the statue on the side of the road.

Astolfo de Rabicano frowned to himself. He regarded the two men following him suspiciously. While he understood the importance of remaining loyal to the Prince, he had to wonder why the man insisted on being served by common gutter-scum like this, especially on delicate matters. Still--these were the men the Prince had sent to work with him. He had to accept that, and work with the irritating situation he was now in.

After all, one heard… rumors of how the Prince dealt with those who failed him. Unpleasant rumors.

“That is my ancestor,” explained Astolfo. “Enrico de Rabicano. A great warrior. He fought a battle here, with the Dukes of Agrismont.”

The big, bulky one blinked at that. “Thought you were allies.”

“We weren’t then,” said Astolfo. “The Free Cities are… complicated. There are land disputes. Family disputes. Land and family disputes….” He scratched his head. “Oh, yes, and religious disputes. Some of which involve land. And also, family.”

The thin man smiled, revealing a set of truly disgusting teeth. “Heh. Sounds like me own kin.” He glanced down the road. “Mum was an Old Believer. Seven candles burnin’ in the window every night. Nearly set the house on fire one night.” He looked at the statue. “Did he win the battle? Yer ancestor?”

Astolfo nodded. “That one, yes. Lost the next, though he made the Nestors feel it. A great man. He did much for the Rabicano.”

“An’ you built a statue a the man on the road to their castle?” said the thin man. “That you see every time you travel to it? For a visit an’ whatnot?”

“Yes” said Astolfo with a shrug. “That was where the battle was fought. Where else were we supposed to put it?”

The little thin man didn‘t seem willing to let the subject go. “Has to make it hard for ‘em when they visit you.”

“Oh, no,” said Astolfo. “All this was centuries ago, for a start. And we both understand that both families have their own heroes in the fights against each other.” He smiled. “As I said--the Free Cities are a complicated place.”

“Well, that’s right sportin’ of ‘em,” said the thin man. “Don’t ya think so, Razalic?”

“Sure do, Jernis,” said the large man. “Sure do.”

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