Saturday, June 20, 2015

And the River, It Goes On--Part 9

There were four other Dukes waiting to meet the new Duke of Agrismont as he entered the city of Orgagna--Renaud Lasliaz of Montalbon, Agrivain Beacurs of Monleone, Brunello of Carrara, and Gurnemanz Graharz of Montfort.  Belengier Nestor gave his kinsmen a brusque nod as he rode with the Nemain of the Marshes at his side. 

"It is good to see you again, Duke Nestor," said Brunello quietly.

"Likewise, sir, likewise," said Belengier, riding on past.

"I don't know if I'll ever get used to calling him that," muttered Gurnemanz, to no one in particular.

Renaud and Agrivain spurred their horses on and rode up beside Belengier.  "Cousin," said Renaud, "I... will not claim to equal your loss, but I can claim to understand it.  I lost a father too, at Amfortas' hand, and..."

Belengier nodded.  "Well, I shall add your name to those I mean to shout at the Prince's face as I'm pounding him into jelly."  He gave it a moment's thought.  "And your father's.  He was good man, Duke Aymon.  He'd be proud of you, you know..."

Agrivain stared quietly at the younger man.  "It is not your fault, you know.  Their deaths."

"Of course, I know that!" snapped Belengier.  "It was Amfortas.  Which is why I'm going to crush his smirking skull with my bare hands if I get the chance!"

"Well, I simply felt it needed to be said," replied Agrivain quietly. "When my father died..."  He sighed.  "Never mind.  An old man, thinking his story is yours.  Give it no heed."

Belengier looked away awkwardly.  "No, no.  My apologies for losing my temper.  This is... tense for me..."

Jean coughed.  "Ummm, right.  Seeing as this all seems to be a lot of... family matters, I think I'll go find Manny and Viv, and tell them I'm here again."  She smiled at the Dukes.  "Nice seeing you all.  Let's all focus on kicking Prince Amfortas' ass, ehh?  And not on... depressing things..."  She gave another cough and rode off.

"Pleasant girl," said Duke Agrivain.  "She reminds me of my own daughters."

"They can level castles with a wave of their hand?" asked Belengier quietly.  The others glanced at him.  "Well--small ones, anyway..."

"I'm only now starting to appreciate what the Nightfolk can accomplish," said Duke Brunello.  "So... now that Agrismont's here, we do it tonight at the feast, eh?"

Belengier gave a sigh.  "If you insist."

Renaud chuckled, his hand going almost reflexively to his sword-hilt.  "I almost feel sorry for the Dark Lord Cthonique."

Agrivain shrugged.  "Demands of war, Duke Lasliaz.  Someone must bear the burden.  Well... that burden."

Brunello nodded. "One's thing is certain--whatever happens, tonight we make history."

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