Tuesday, July 14, 2015

And the River, It Goes On--Part 19

As the five Dukes paced around Mansemat with their swords raised, Viviane raised her mortar.  "You stand down!" muttered the Badb.  "You stand down, and you don't..."

Pelleas waved his hand.  "Don't... this isn't..."

"Hail, Lord Mansemat Cthonique!" shouted Belengier.  "The Duke of Agrismont salutes you!"

"Hail, Lord Mansemat Cthonique!" said Rainald.  "The Duke of Montalbon salutes you!"

Viviane blinked and lowered her mortar.  "Okay, I'm lost."  She glanced at Pelleas.  "What is going on here?"  The King of Leonais motioned for her to be quiet.

"Hail, Lord Mansemat Cthonique!" said Gurnemanz.  "The Duke of Montfort salutes you!"

"Hail, Lord Mansemat Cthonique!" said Agrivane.  "The Duke of Monleone salutes you!"

"Hail, Lord Mansemat Cthonique!" said Brunello.  "The Duke of Carrara salutes you!" 

The five dukes raised their swords over the Dark Lord's head, forming a pattern not unlike star.  "With our blades we crown you!  By our swords we name you our lord protector!  To rule through service, and to be our shield, as we will..."  The five dukes lowered their swords around his neck.  "Until we will it not!"  And then they raised their blades again in a salute. 

A group of musicians appeared from where they'd been hiding in the balcony.  "Hail, hail to the Lord of the lords' choosing!" sang their chorus, as the flutes and fiddles played.  "Hail to he who was crowned with blades!  Hail!" 

Viviane nodded as the lyrics continued into banal interchangability.  "These guys aren't very good are they?"

Rainald cast a resentful eye at the balcony.  "It's the bloody Entertainer's Guild.  They charge an arm and a leg, and half of them can't play..."

Pelleas glanced at Agrivaine.  "He's the one whose paying for this, eh?"  The older duke nodded.

"So... that's how you choose a Lord Protector?" asked Mansemat quietly.

"We usually don't spring it on people," said Belengier.  "But sometimes we do."  He gave a wink. "Keep 'em on edge.  That's our motto!"

"Hence, why choosing a leader involves threatening them," said Mansemat.

"Yep," agreed Belengier.  "That's the idea.  We want our boss to know who's boss!"  He smiled at the Dark Lord.  "Have to say, you've handled this well."

"My chains of office are actual chains," said Mansemat.  "This is pretty much normal for me."

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