I have a bad feeling about this.
“The baron of the myre – Baron Mosli – was killed by an arrow to the throat when he was out game hunting with the nobles. Apparently, one of the hunters accompanying him thought he was one of those rare wererabbits.” Rhodes made a gesture pointing at his neck.
“Alright, so what happened then?”
“It was rumored that the baron owed five hundred gold coins to the underlord and failed to pay his loans. As a result, they assassinated him to prove that even a landed noble can’t escape his debts.” The underlord was a notorious man, known to own the largest share in the black market itself and has multiple dark organisations under his wings. His web of connections range from various noble power houses to the lowest caste of society. To be in debt to such a man simply courts death. The baron, on the other hand, was someone I knew. A snobby, suck-up of a fat boy who used to beat me up all the time when he lost to me at swordplay. Clearly, he grew up to be even less of a buffoon when his pride as a noble forced him to plunge into debt with the underlord no less.
“What an idiot, less than five years after being handed a landed title and yet, still a scum,” I muttered.”Since he’s now dead, is his child inheriting the title?”
“That is the problem, boy. He left no heir to inherit his title. No relatives either after the older nobles were purged after the..uh..i-incident.”
“You don’t have to be reserved with me, Rhodes. It’s been almost a decade since I last came back to that darn rut anyway. So, what’s next?”
“According to the line of succession, if the baron leaves no heir to inherit his title, the child of the previous ruler will receive the title. Meaning – ”
“Meaning it’s time for me to come home,” I sighed. Eight long years after being exiled by my own father – the late Baron Henry – and the bells finally sang to call me back to reclaim my home. Don’t be mistaken, though. I would love to come back and inherit the title and reclaim my homeland, but now thinking that the fate of House Chevar falls upon me, I don’t feel that relieved.
“How long do I have until my absence in the barony will make the people uneasy?”
“You might want to consult Chancellor Farren about the details, but from the current situation, I’d say you have about a year?” That should satisfy for now, I guess.
“Alright, I should at least be able to maintain my sanity for another year.Changing the topic, did the interrogation went well?” I went to a corner of the room where a jug of clean water rested on a wooden table against the wall. Sev took a couple of wooden cups from the cabinet beside the table and poured the contents of the jug into the cups.
“We cross-examined his accounts. An apprentice mage in my employment placed him under a truth spell and we confirmed the information.” After the great war, a new airborne particle was formed from the various toxic gases and chemicals, known as mana. When inhaled, this particle allows the user to cause reactions and manipulate their surroundings. This is known as magic.
After the raid, we captured the fat merchant to verify his claims. It was apparently true that the kingdom of Rustar is currently assembling a mighty host at the fortress city of Penn, near the Rustar-Riddoc border. The merchant was on his way to the city to provide supplies and provision to the army when we ambushed his caravan on the main road.
Downing the cool water, I walked back to the long table and rearranged five knight-headed figures on the beastskin on a large round-shaped symbol. Penn fortress was a massively constructed city with walls reaching 40-feet high, with mounted ballistas and protected by the Prince Leon’s War Wraith legion of 10,000 and housed approximately 120000 inhabitants. Once the conscripted soldiers from all over the kingdom arrive at Penn fortress, the total population of the fortress city will swell up to 160,000 people.
“So the war against Riddoc will most likely happen within three months, I presume?”
“I will send in my scouts to report of the situation in Penn within a weeks’ time.”
“The doves have been getting noisier lately, it might be good to let them out. You might need them to assist you in gathering reports,” Sev offered. Her voice filled with concern, but I couldn’t confirm that since she has her mask on.
“I’ll take you up on that offer, Sev. Now, my boy Eric, you better be going along now. I’m sure you have yet unfinished business to attend to. I’ll see you in the evening.”
Sev and I exited the flower shop from the front entrance and briskly walked down the street. We were now heading towards the bakery at the west section of the city. The sun was already up now, almost an hour before noon and yet, the air was cooling. It was currently late spring, and the flowers have started to bloom in the castle garden and surrounding fields of the city. Since we were already late for breakfast, I decided for us to grab some food at the bakery.
The west section of the city housed the middle-class of society. Inns and taverns lined the sidewalk along the square and small carts were neatly arranged beside the pavement. The people were up and about another day’s work.
As we we walked towards the bakery near the square, something – or rather someone – rushed out from the other side of the street and almost bumped into me.
“Oww!” a little boy winced. ” Watch where you’re walking, jerk.”
“I don’t think you should be running down such a busy road, Eddie.” I lifted the boy up and he dusted of his shirt and back.
“O-oh. Sorry, big bro,” Eddie stuttered, his face red in embarrassment.