A cold wind was blowing off the Murkenmere, making the banners of the Easter King in the camp down beneath the walls of Joyeuse flutter and wave so quickly it made the eye hurt to follow it. Sacripant Fenswater shuddered and shivered, as he warmed his hands on the coals in the brazier before him. "Glad you're not down there, I wager!" came a hearty voice. The Marsh Erl turned to see Constans Mu standing nearby, a large furred muff on his hands. Sacripant nodded.
"Well, yes, as then I'd be a prisoner of the Easter King," he said.
Constans chuckled at that. "Oh, that would be terrible. Those bastards are savages, through and through."
Sacripant shook his head. "I always thought you people got along better than this..."
"Well, technically," noted the Sacristan, raising a finger, "most of them down there are your people. Just all... converted into proper worshipers of the Holy Light and all that." He shrugged. "But really... well, you see how it is in Leonais. And the Free Cities. And... well, the Concordat is something else. But the Easter Kingdom..." He clicked his tongue. "Nasty place. Wouldn't want to live there. Makes nasty people."
Sacripant raised an eyebrow. "You do realize that Justinian's from the East, right?"
"Breakers on the fringe," noted Constans. "That's how we get people there. Not like the real Easter Kingdom. Farther in, it's wild. Very unpleasant place."
Sacripant stood there blankly. "I'm from the Accursed Marsh. There are large portions of it that consider roads a fascinating, and revolutionary idea."
"Well, yeah," said Constans. "They are. Change everything. A really good road is amazing. Takes a lot to build, and some places, it's tough to do. Same way in the northern fens. Ground's soggy, so we just use little footpaths. And boats." He glanced at the two fleets assembled in the river. "Little boats. Not big ones like over there."
"You've never seen the ocean, have you?" asked Sacripant.
"Once, when I was very young," replied Constans. "Very wet as I recall."
The Marsh Erl chuckled to himself. "That's about right."