Saturday, June 6, 2015

And the River, It Goes On--Part 3

Justinian stared at the ships poised around Joyeuse, bearing the flag of a man on a white horse, and shuddered.  "You know, I almost forgot he was out here," he said softly.  "I mean... I knew that Skarvsky was still sitting in Trinovant... I even remembered that he had troops in Precieuse... but I never thought he'd move against Leonais..."

Grizzel Greedigutt snorted.  "Well, why shouldn't he?  The land is there, and Amfortas and his fellows have done him the great favor of making it all ripe for the taking..."

"Oh, I know, I know," said Justinian with a sad laugh.  "Really, it's... downright obvious, in retrospect.  But even so..."

The old Goblin serjeant shook his head.  "It's war, Sigma. Things tend to get unpredictable.  When they aren't... well, you should start getting worried.  Because they're about to."  He glanced at the ships again. "Case in point.  Goodness, that's a large fleet."

"The Easter King rules a more land than the Cthoniques and the Maganzas put together," replied Justinian.  "When Ilarion Skarvsky puts his mind to it, he can get quite a lot done."

"Surprised he isn't ruling over all you Milesians then," muttered the Goblin as they paced back to their camp.

"Well, he also has to spend time worrying about getting a knife in his back," noted Justinian.  "It's a pretty nasty job, being the Easter King.  That's pretty much how Skarvsky got the job, actually.  Putting a knife in the back of his predecessor."

Grizzel winced.  "You'd think the Easter King would have people to take care of that."

"He did," said Justinian.  "Skarvsky was in charge of them."

"Charming," muttered Grizzel. "So, we've got to deal with a man whose entire history is one of betrayal."

"Cruelty and betrayal," stated the Milesian.  "Still, to the good, he's... not mad, the way Amfortas is."

The Goblin knelt by the fire and warmed his hands.  "Which makes him more dangerous, in many ways."

"I don't deny that," said Justinian.  "But it also means he can be reasoned with, as he actually has reason."

Sacripant glanced at the pair from his pile of blankets.  "What are you talking about?"

"The Easter King," said Justinian.

The Marsh Erl shook his head.  "I tell you, we just get done with all the sieges, battles and raids in the Free Cities territories, and we find ourselves dealing with this."

"Don't forget Amfortas burning as much Agrismont land as he could as he marched out," said Quiet.

Sacripant nodded.  "Right.  Like I was saying--we've been much, much too busy."

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