Monday, May 18, 2015

Vialdami Chapter 5 - The Monarch

 King Ivan the 5th is still smirking as he heads back to the castle to see if Advisor Noah has successfully gathered the Tredony and Aarbyville scouts.
 Ivan can see that Noah has completed his duties as soon as he sees scout Honorius and Caleb in the throne room. Ivan intends to have a brief meeting with both of them.
 First he calls over his scout, Honorius of Tredony, to hear a report on what is happening there. 
 Do you have any news on what is happening with our friends in Tredony?”  Ivan says almost choking on the term friends.
 “I do your majesty!”

“Proceed,” King Ivan encourages trying to mask his impatience.
 Scout Honorius continues, “The Tredonian Guild Consortium has held an emergency meeting with Admiral Horus Mandrake of the Tredonian Navy to discuss possible counter measures in reaction to increased pirate activity.  I have heard that the Admiral recommends a full assault on the pirates.”  

“I see – “ King Ivan begins; stopping as he suspects that they are being overheard.
 Sure enough, Merchant Princess Kasey of Tredony enters the room.
 King Ivan waits until the Merchant Princess has passed before he proceeds with his instructions in a lower voice.

“I ask that you return to your scouting assignment in Tredony and continue to gather information.  Be sure to send word back here to Vialdami as often as you can.”
 Not taking any chances, Ivan decides to meet with the other scout as far away from the Merchant Princess as he possibly can.
 He has no idea how much she heard and how she could possibly use the information against him. 
 Ivan heads upstairs to the tactical map room; hoping that there are less people there as he meets with Scout Caleb.
Scout Caleb of Aarbyville is already there when King Ivan enters the room. 

“Did anyone see you come up here?” King Ivan asks.

“I do not believe so your majesty,” Scout Caleb quickly answers; looking around as if to check if he was followed.
 “What news do you bring me from Aarbyville?”  Ivan asks right away.
 “As you know, there has been increased pirate activity from Aarbyville,” Caleb begins.

“Indeed… that is why I have requested this session.  Please proceed.”
 “There are rumors that Dread Captain Clarisa Darktide has called a meeting of the Tribuna; and that the Red and Black fleets are doing heavy recruiting.”

“Just rumors?  How confident are you that these rumors have any bearing?” 
 “Well your majesty… I have seen some of these recruitment efforts happening with my own eyes, but… if I may be so bold…” Scout Caleb pauses as if to ask for permission to continue speaking

King Ivan nods giving him permission.

“I believe that we should proceed with caution.”
 Ivan gives Caleb the same instruction that he gave Scout Honorius; to return to his scouting assignment and report any new developments.
 The scout reports have deeply troubled Ivan; who may soon find himself in the middle of a war that his infant kingdom is not yet ready for. 
 Ivan reenters his thrown room to seek out the head of the kingdom’s security, Lieutenant Frieze.  As he spots her, he also sees the Merchant Princess of Tredony speaking to Scout Honorius. 
 King Ivan makes a mental note to find a replacement for Scout Honorius as soon as possible; believing that his position could be compromised by the merchant princess.

He approaches the Lieutenant.
 Ivan does not waste time, “ War is brewing and we must be prepared!”

“Yes your majesty,” Lieutenant Frieze answers; waiting for further instruction.
 “See that our forces are trained!  Visit the village and recruit as many of the young men as you can and see that they are also trained and uniformed,” Ivan instructs ignoring the look of concern on his Lieutenant’s face.  Once again, there is no room for weakness. .. although deep down inside, King Ivan realizes that he shares his Lieutenant’s concerns.
No matter who they recruit and how much their troops are trained…Vialdami still will not have the numbers and is by no means ready for war.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Vialdami Chapter 4 - The Monarch

 To clear his head, King Ivan leaves the castle and decides to take a walk toward the forest.
 Once again his mind wonders as he stares upon the empty land before him; realizing that he has much to accomplish and now is definitely not the time for Vialdami to participate in any conflicts.
 On the contrary, Ivan realizes that his role may very well be peace keeper if Advisor Noah’s speculations of ill feelings between Tredony and Aarbyville are true.
 Now that he has made up his mind, King Ivan can now enjoy his walk without war strategies ringing around in his consciousness.  Off in the distance he spots an object of potential amusement…
 A lone Guild Emissary stands alone in the clearing before the entrance to the forest. Ivan slows down his pace and grits his teeth at the sight of her.
 It is no secret that there has been no love between the Lords of the Guild Emissary and King Ivan.  After winning battle after battle along with his right to the throne, the uppity members of the Guild worked diligently behind his back to try and convince the nearby kingdoms that Ivan, because of his lowly background was not fit to be king.
 Ivan is convinced that they still secretly fight for their cause of having him overthrown.  Thinking that now would be a great time to test out his parrot Cruel’s newly acquired skills, he pulls a bird whistle out of his pocket and blows into it to summon the parrot.
 Almost hidden by the brightness of the sun, Ivan can barely make out Cruel’s outline high up in the sky.
 He holds out his arm, which becomes Cruel’s perch and the bird lands almost weightlessly on Ivan’s sleeve.
 “Good to see you again Cruel… I have a job for you,” Ivan whispers to the bird.
 Ivan lowers his voice further and whispers his next command, "Sic her!”
 Satisfied with the aggressive nature in which Cruel took off from his arm, King Ivan watches as Cruel once again becomes almost invisible amongst the trees.
 The bird swoops down and attempts to land in the hair of the poor Guild member.
 Ivan watches with satisfaction as the Emissary attempts to swipe the bird away with her hands, but her motions only make Cruel more aggressive.
 Ivan has no intention of actually harming her beyond a few minor scratches here and there to remind her and her other Guild members that he is not one to be challenged.
 Cruel swoops down again, grabs a claw-ful of the Emissary’s hair and  flies upward, tugging more and more the higher he goes.
 “For the sake of the Watcher, leave me alone!”  The Emissary yells out as she swipes her hand at the bird full force. 
 Cruel avoids her swipe , lands and tugs her hair again… this time with his beak.  The Emissary covers her face to keep the bird from getting to her eyes.
 Finally one of her blows connect , a powerful backhand, surprising Cruel and causing him to stumble backward.  He squeaks out in pain and digs his claws into the Emissary’s hand as he attempts to recover and fly away. 
 Ivan finally calls the bird off.  The Emissary looks around to see who is responsible for her attack, although she already suspects that King Ivan is behind it.
 Ivan claps his hands in delight, making it even more obvious that he had indeed sicced his bird on the lady.
 King Ivan once again holds out his arm… “Good work Cruel!”  He says as the bird lands once again.
 Ivan stands his ground as the Emissary walks toward him…
 “The other Guild members will hear of this!”  The Emissary threatens as she walks past Ivan.

“It was but an accident M’lady… these birds oft have a mind of their own!”  Ivan says in a merry tone;  feeling secure in the fact that the Guild has absolutely no power over him.
 The Emissary huffs and puffs as she stumps away from Ivan’s weak apology.  This makes King Ivan even more amused.  “You have earned several treats today my dear Cruel!”
Ivan sends Cruel off on his way and walks back toward the castle; totally unaware that the Guild may have more power than he ever suspected.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Vialdami Chapter 3 - The Monarch

Ivan enters his castle to search for his royal advisor Noah to tell him about the enemy ship and to come up with a plan.
Seeing his advisor Noah making light conversation with the Merchant Princess of Tredony immediately irritates him. 
King Ivan walks over and interrupts Advisor Noah’s conversation.  “I am so glad to see that you are safe here in the castle making merry with some princess while I have just come back from a ship attack,” Ivan says sarcastically.
“Pray pardon my Lord… I had no idea.”

“Obviously,” Ivan answers quickly.  
“You must show me on the tactical map where this attack took place,” Noah says, not taking the King’s chiding words to heart.
“Anon…first you must clear the room.  This information is not to be overheard,” King Ivan orders.  
“Certainly… right away your majesty!” Noah answers.
King Ivan retreats to his sleeping chamber  briefly while Noah works clearing all of the nobles and high borns out of the King’s strategy room.  He pulls out a whistle to summon his parrot.
Cruel flies down from high up in the ramparts of the castle to King Ivan’s arm.  “There you are!  Who is your king and future ruler of the largest kingdom of our time?”  Ivan asked the bird, which has become sort of a daily affirmation ritual.

“You are, you are… you are!”  The birds squeaks his answer.
As a young peasant child growing up, Ivan scrapped together coin for bread and milk for his family by training  wild birds and selling them as pets.  As he aged, his talent  level improved and he learned how to train birds such as Cruel to attack on command...a skill that often comes in quite handy.
Ivan gives Cruel a treat and dismisses him, before heading back to the nearly emptied strategy room.
“Where did this attack occur, Your Majesty?”  Advisor Noah asks.

King Ivan places a marker on the map, “About two miles from the coast, right about here.  We were attacked soon after we found the wreckage.”
Noah responds by placing his own marker on the board.  “Hmm, that is close to Tredonian trade routes… those waters are not known to be dangerous.  Maybe there was something in the wreckage that the attackers wanted.”

“Does it matter the reason… no one should dare attack a king unless they desire a war!”
Advisor  Noah stares at the map, going through every possible scenario in his head.  “Mayhap it was the pirates of Aarbyville involved.  Tredony and Aarbyville have been at each other’s throat for years, but generally they do not involve other kingdoms in their conflicts.”
“Well, they have involved the wrong one… have they not?”  King Ivan asks angered with no patience in going through possible reasons for his attack.  Left up to him, the waters around Vialdami would be tinted red with the blood of his attackers by midday. 

Advisor Noah does not agree, “ My Lord… we should not be so hasty.  There could be another explanation and as of yet… we do not have the defenses in place to engage in war.  I shall summon our scouts.  Maybe they can tell us more.”
Ivan realizes that Noah is correct.  Great kingdoms are not built with impulsivity… they are built with patience and smarts.
Ivan walks over and stares at the map once again, taking as much in before walking away…
… he walks downstairs to his throne room realizing that the best thing they could do at the moment is gather knowledge and be prepared in case things become dire.