Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Siege of the White Mountain Vol. 3: Due to the Dead--Part 37

Ludovico sat on the great gate of Montalban, strumming idly on his lute. "Oh, red, red, red ran the field," he sang, "red ran the field with blood.  It... something something, and then, something, and then... la la la mud."  He frowned quietly.  "No... no, that's a crap rhyme."

"I'll say," muttered a familiar voice.  Ludovico turned to see the tall, grey-skinned Marsh Erl standing nearby, black and gold cloak fluttering in the breeze.  "Never heard that one before."

Ludovico stood up proudly.  "For a simple reason--it has not existed until now!  I am writing it, even now--a lay of the great deeds done here, before the White Walls of Montalban, by your Dark Lord, our Duke, and of course, all of us, their humble servants."

The Marsh Erl nodded.  "I have to say, it was a surprise seeing you Pal... people, out there."

Ludovico glanced out over the wall.  "It was a surprise to be there."  And it was.  When Duke Renaud had called for pikmen to issue forth, it had been the Palazzos who had taken up the call, they the lowly of Montalban had answered, and been among the first to face the foes that had besieged them in battle.

It really was quite remarkable.  Ludovico had never heard of anything quite like it happening in the city's long history.  And he even recalled the tale of the Duke who'd killed his wife after she'd gotten back from a pilgrimage to Carcosse, which was not a story the Lazaliezes liked repeated far and wide. 

It was... quite amazing, really.

"So... why are you writing it here?" asked the Marsh Erl.

"Well, it's a lovely spot," answered Ludovico.  "And it gives an excellent view of the field. But mostly, it's a lovely spot, Sagramont."

"Sacripant," said the Marsh Erl.  "My name is Sacripant Fenswater."

Ludovico bowed.  "My apologies.  Still you must admit, that is excellent for a man who has heard your name... only once."

"No, I don't," replied Sacripant.

"Then what's my name?" asked Ludovico.

Sacripant frowned, and began to scratch his forehead.  "It's.... got... an 'e' in it, somewhere," he said.  "That much I'm sure of."

"Then you sure of nothing," said Ludovico.  "Because I have no 'e' in my name whatsoever."

"You're joking," said Sacripant, squinting at the Palazzo minstrel.

"No, I am not," replied Ludovico.  "Not even a little."   He gestured out towards the horizon.  "Nor am I joking about this view.  You can see for miles upon miles here, out to Agrismont, and..."

"What's that?" asked Sacripant, pointing towards the distance.

Ludovico turned and blinked.  "I... assume you mean the menacing black pillar of smoke in the distance, yes?"

Sacripant gave a nod.  "I do."

"Well, other than a menacing black pillar of smoke, I have no idea," said Ludovico.  "Save for a vague suspicion that it is... trouble."

"Sounds about right," muttered the Marsh Erl with a frown.

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