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#10685491 Feb 18, 2015 at 12:57 AM
3 Posts

Harold Brook

Several weeks had passed since the patriots of Westfall had been defeated at the siege of Bridgeport in the Duchy of Westridge. It was midday, and though it was still winter, the sun shined brightly in the sky. The air was crisp and cold as Harold trundled along the weary streets of New Borough, a town in northeastern Westfall, and he could see his breath whisp and dissipate as he walked towards the town hall - a recently renovated building that bore banners of crimson, orange, and red. He was followed by his bodyguard and friend, Adam Connery.

Adam was a curious fellow. At first, Harold almost doubted the man having found him as another vagrant on the road, but soon came to trust him after several certain close calls. Though he would deny it crassly, Adam did care about this land and the cause, and so did every man and woman in Harold army. Or, at least, he hoped.

A shivering couple both sheltered under a blanket walked his way, and he offered a kind smile as they passed. Poor folk, even this far north. It seemed the only way to live a good life was to be on the other side of the river. Stomping up on the icy wooden boards, Harold pressed the doors open into the hall. Two mail clad guardsman stood at attention upon his entering, but he calmly continued passed them, meandering down various hallways before trodding into the main room. Voices could be heard as he stepped into view.

“More raids pressing into the northern lands this last week. Mostly militias from Westridge, but a few organized attacks. One of the prison encampments was heavily bombarded.”

“Then strengthen the border guards - do we not have enough men to spare?”

“Afraid not, and Stormwind holds the bridge crossing.” Harold ran a hand through

his hair before pressing on into the room. It was guarded on all sides by various crimson guards, and in the center was a round table upon which laid a map.

Sir Edand stood across, flanked by Dame Catherine Walker and another nobleman. Harold did not recognize him, but Catherine did send a letter mentioning a southern lord lending what help he could. Sir Marcus Wall stepped in from a side room, speaking half in a grunt:

“His Majesty, King Harold Brook.” Marcus, however unbecoming his demeanor, was a true friend. First to lead the fight, and last to leave it. It applied to his relationship with Harold as well. He was a bit of a hard ass, and even frightened some of the men, but that was good, Harold figured. Good, at least, to have a staunch enforcer to keep any outbreaks in line.

Ironic, that. A rebel leader paranoid of outbreaks.

The several people gathered at the table all faced the King, though before they could kneel, he waved them off, “Not now, friends. Do tell me, though, what our current situation is.” Smiling, he stepped up to the table, looking over the map. He felt a twitch from his left eye, caused by the scar that streaked across his temple to his nose from a previous battle, but he ignored it.

Sir Edand cleared his throat, gesturing to the unknown man, “This is Sir Walter Paverly, from the Dust Plains. He’s brought with him two hundred bannermen to serve the rebellion.” Harold didn’t like the word ‘rebellion’, for it almost invoked a negative connotation, but he looked past it.

Sir Paverly performed a practiced bow, “I apologize for my lateness in arriving to these affairs. My lands have been under constant duress from the gnoll tribes that inhabit them.”

“All is well, Sir Paverly. Your timing is impeccable, actually, as we happen to be in need of men and women to fight.” The man nodded.

“They’re camped in the hills overlooking New Borough, ready to be sent to wherever they’re needed.”

Sir Edand cut in, pointing to a part of the map with a two-fingered hand, “And this is where we need them, my king. North of Jangolode and south of New Haven,” he said, speaking of a small port town on the northern coast, “Raids have become more frequent and we’re running thin.”

Harold nodded, “A fair enough explanation. Any information on Stormwind’s armies’ whereabouts?”

Dame Catherine cleared her throat, “It actually seems their First Regiment has been sent to the northern lands. For what reason, we don’t know. In their stead, the Second has been safeguarding the border.”

“Any confirmation on when they’ll return?”

“We haven’t the faintest notion.”

Harold frowned. This doesn’t make the best situation when it comes to planning, but he was an optimist, and as such, would make due with whatever came his way. Behind him, Adam Connery stood in a silent vigil, and next to him Marcus Wall kept a stern brow.

“Very well. Have we any reply from Dame Claurice of the Free Lands?” Harold asked. The Free Lands were the southernmost provinces of Westfall, safeguarding the coast. Dame Claurice had ever been a staunch supporter of action against Stormwind’s oppression, and when the time came for action, Harold expected her to be on the forefront of the rebellion.

“We’ve sent many letters, but none have returned,” Catherine explained, slightly frowning.

“A shame, then. I had hoped she would show her face in this time of need.”

“The Dame should not have run her mouth over things she wasn’t ready to own up to, then,” Sir Edand said dryly.

“Before we judge someone’s character, we ought to understand their situation, yes?” Catherine offered.

“A fair idea,” Harold settled, “Send another letter, this time time requesting an understanding of her status.” Running another hand through his hair, he continued to mill over the map with his officers for several more hours.

Night was falling as Harold perched himself on a hill overlooking New Borough, ever accompanied by Adam Connery. Squatting down, he picked a dead blade of grass and gazed into its darkening texture. A slight breeze wilted in the air, wafting towards the river, “Imagine, Adam, what this land could be if we succeed.”

“We will succeed, My King. It is assured in the Light,” Adam spoke bluntly.

“And do you actually believe that?” Harold stood, looking into his friend’s brown eyes, “Be honest with me. Tell me as a friend, not as a king. Are we doing the Light’s work here?”

Adam shifted a little bit, tightening his grip on his poleaxe, “I… do, yes.” He paused, the sun easing slowly into the horizon in the distance, “Before I met you I was wandering the dirt with my wife and a few others. Now, we have a home, and they have a home. Many have homes and fireplaces and food because of you, my k- Harold.” A pang of guilt tore across Harold’s heart, and he knew exactly where it came from.

“But what of the lives I’ve ruined, Adam? Do not think me blind that I didn’t see the burning of those towns in Westridge. I was there. You were there. Many innocents died.” Adam remained quiet for another moment before speaking.

“Innocents die in every conflict. What matters is what you do for your people. These people.” He looked out into the small town of New Borough, its’ roofs beginning to blacken, “Do you think the Light cannot see into your heart? It can see your love for your country, and your drive to better the lives of the downtrodden. That is why the Light is with us,” He paused again before starting up, “Think of how much we’ve accomplished already. Never has Stormwind faced such a foe on their own ground since the First War, and from who? Mere farmers from a backwater,” he chuckled at his own self-awareness, “That is not the doing of just men, Harold. There is something divine in that.”
The words comforted Harold, surely, but there was still something he couldn’t remove from his mind, “You are right, Adam. Forgive me for doubting… this,” he spread his arms wide towards the horizon, where the sun was finally setting, “And if the Light should decide that I am a villain, and all this is for naught, then who am I to stand in its way?”
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