The Lions Council of 1095 AF
Sir Huw de Grognard
The Lions held their Council of Albion in the Great Hall of York Castle. Lady Elspeth Karlennon and Sir Hugo Charenten led the delegation from the Harts of Albion. The Great Hall was well provisioned with wine and had the remnants of a great feast spread around. At the high table was seated Corvus with Lady Roxanne, Duke Anree and Arch Matriarch Reverend Mother Denuvial of the Guild of Incantors to his left. Grand Master Mage Floris-Brand and the Violet Mage were seated to his right. The Anree Slayers untidily filled the trestle table to the left and opposite them was the Steppe Alliance with the imposing Tamerlaine Khan in their centre.
The guests were allowed entrance one at a time to show their respect to Corvus. These were instructed by him to address the council once they were bidden to their seats, so any guests entering afterwards would not hear what they said. Her Arachnessence, the Valsharess Vindryss Naxos D’Fey of the Tarantulas and her entourage entered with great show into the hall. She sat between Lady Roxanne and Duke Anree with her bodyguard stationed behind her. She dismissed the rest to the back of the hall.
Floris-Brand reportedly stated, “I warn all you spell casters, do not dare call me Brandifloss, Mr Silly or any such name, if you wish to cast magic ever again. My name is Floris Brand, do not forget it. There is great evil abroad in your lands, my Lords, so it is time to put petty bickering aside and unite to destroy them. My friend Schadel has disappeared less than a week ago.”After some wait, Baron Lachlan, Ambassador to the Dragons entrance was met by open hostility.
After an inordinately lengthy delay, the delegation from the Harts of Albion was finally granted entrance. The Herald of the Lions pronounced our names and titles with great difficulty and would not accept correction. Earlier, he had greeted me with, “Oh, I remember your livery. You are the enemy!” in a loud enough voice for eyebrows to be raised by Denuvial and Vindryss. Lady Karlennon walked serenely down the hall towards her uncle with Sir Hugo striding by her side. He greeted Lord Corvus with “Peace, uncle?” and extended his hand in friendship. After a long pause, Corvus replied, “For now,” and then when he clasped the offered hand, said, “…For now,..then.” We sat at the back of the hall, well below the salt.
Lord General Corvus introduced the new map of Albion by saying, “This map shows the limits of the Harts’ power.” Sir Hugo interjected, “And to yours, uncle.” After a lengthy pause Corvus replied, “Yes, Sir Hugo.” He continued again after a delay to collect his thoughts, “…It may be,…a little distorted in places…Do you accept this map, niece?” Lady Karlennon had no option at this time but to accept it on behalf of the Harts even though there seemed to be more than two thirds of the land divided amongst his followers.
Corvus then remarked to Lady Karlennon, “I call you to Speak.” Lady Karlennon replied, “Upon what, uncle? All I can say is. There need be no conflict between the Lions and Harts in Albion. We need to stand together to fight the Undead and outsiders.” Corvus snorted back, “At present I DEMAND…peace but it will be an armed one. It is crucial that I have free trade along the river from London to Norhault. Do you accept this, niece?” Lady Karlennon replied, “Yes, uncle but why should there be hostility between us? Are we not men of Albion?”
Corvus thundered back, “You, niece, are a TRAITOR to the true line of Albion. The Harts are traitors and will be dealt as such after those damnable Celts.” Sir Hugo Charenten answered, “We would have followed you. But you took the Pendragon Crown for yourself. Only the true Pendragon may do so.”
Corvus replied, with rising annoyance, “I took the crown as my forefathers had done, and proclaimed myself King to root out traitors to me within Albion.” Lady Roxanne added, “Not all of the traitors, my Lord.” Corvus continued, “When war comes, and it will….IT WILL!!…THE HARTS WILL BE CRUSHED.” Upon this last word, Duke Anree’s men responded with, “Hurrah!! HURRAH!!”
Lady Karlennon replied calmly, “I dispute your reading of history, uncle. Our family has never done so.” Corvus erupted in rage and turned on her, “You are not of my blood. Your marriage was a political arrangement and no more. You are no niece of mine. Your family started the wars in Norhault in 1092!!!”
At this stage, Duke Anree stood up and spoke, despite Corvus’ attempts to silence him, “May I say, my Lord….Again, may I say, my Lord…This is a Parliament…should not such recriminations be in private…Not in front of our guests….Why should we talk of spilling of more of Albion’s blood?…Are there not more pressing enemies? The Undead on our land, perchance.”
The altercation stopped by the staged entrance of Lady Tigre of the Wolves. Corvus warmly embraced her as he would a long lost sister. Corvus then announced the alliance between the of the Lions, the Wolves and the Tarantulas. Corvus called his usual rousing three cheers for each of his new Allies. He then called a recess in the parliament to regain his composure and consult with his Viceroy, Lady Roxanne.
Corvus asked the Valsharess Vindryss Naxos D’Fey of the Tarantulas to speak. “Lord Corvus has agreed five access points from our underground realms to the surface. These are at Berwick, between Norhault and Naseby, just outside Nottingham, Tauten Gorge and Silverlake (north of Bristol). I have heard of problems between Silver miners on your lands, Lady Karlennon, and my countrymen.” Lady Karlennon responded, “There have not been any. The Tarantulas will be allowed any access that they require in the lands of the Harts.” Corvus terminated this exchange by his statement, “This, niece, is of no concern of yours.”
Duke Anree stood and said, “May I address the Council.” Corvus nodded in agreement. Duke Anree continued. “There have been many hasty words said and I wish to reaffirm my allegiance to you.” He walked around the topmost table. Meanwhile Corvus explained, “The sword in front of me is Albion, one of the Swords of Waylund. As many of you know, only those with truth in their heart may touch it. It is the sword of truth.” The Lions Master of Arms ceremoniously handed the kneeling Duke Anree who said, “I swear allegiance to Lord General Corvus and Lady Roxanne to the limit of my honour.” These last few words visibly disturbed Corvus immensely.
Corvus then invited Tamerlaine Khan, leader of the Mongols and the Steppe Alliance to speak. He gave a moving rhetorical speech on the sterling efforts they made against the ‘Nameless One'[Lord SatÃ»n as we refer to him] and his henchman, the Death Knight. They did not take part in the battle last year because their Shaman had warned them of the probability of SatÃ»n returning during the melee. The Steppe Alliance was the only group that had any chance of harming him in battle. There was not one man or woman that could not accept their noble reasons for not engaging in the battle.
A portly clean shaven man in a green dress coat was summoned from the gallery. He marched down the hall and stood at ease in front Lord Corvus. He introduced himself, “I am here on behalf of Hariator, the leader of the Ravens, formerly known as Odyssey, to answer your questions and charges, my Lord.”
Lord Corvus said, “Greetings, my Lord. There are various difficulties over conflicting contracts that you [Odyssey] had out at the same time. There are a few points I wish to discuss. Why did you not accepted the Duchy I had offered you?” The Raven hesitantly replied, “We did not dishonour the noble trade of arms.” There was much noise in the room caused by this statement. Various Lions shouted at him, “Swearing and lying”, “Breaking your oath” and “What fool would trust you again?”
Corvus called for silence and asked, “Will you swear fealty to me?” The emissary responded, “I cannot my Lord as my group is a democratic one but I will take back to the membership what you ask of them.” Lady Tigre of the Wolves interrupted this discourse, “My Lord Corvus, these negotiations should be carried out at our forthcoming muster.” Corvus said to the emissary, “You and your leader are summoned to the Lions’ muster. Are you agreeable?” He agreed to be there with, if possible, Hariator. Lady Wolf said, “My Lord Wolf would also wish to be present.” Corvus agreed.
Finally, Baron Lachlan, the Dragon’s Ambassador was spoke despite the many interruptions made by Lord Corvus. These included; “I am a megalomaniacal dictator,” “Tyrants are us” and many times “Pull the noose around that Dragon tighter, Kusack!” referring to a stuffed Dragon hanging just behind him. This last comment caused light relief for some of the Lions.
Pacing up and down proudly, Baron Lachlan deliberated. “Do you mind my manner my Lord? This allows my flow of thoughts. I bring greeting from Lady Katrina du Venoir of Cymrija and Lord Figmentus Figmentii of Erin.” Corvus interrupted by asking Baron Lachlan, “Are you a man of honour?” He replied with due circumspection, “I consider myself an honourable man. I keep my word and honour Danu.”
Baron Lachlan returned to his main theme, “The victors of the battle last year…The Dragons that is,…ask…yeah! demand no war reparations…We only require your acceptance of the borders as they were before last year…Even though you lost the battle last year…This is a very magnanimous offer from Lady Katrina du Venoir of Cymrija and Lord Figmentus Figmentii of Erin.” Lord Corvus retorted belligerently, “If I wish to make hunting forays across my borders accompanied by a few men….well my army, I WILL DO SO.”
Baron Lachlan asked, “Are you the dictator that we take you for?” Corvus replied, “I must be doing something wrong. A tyrant is a noble profession.” Baron Lachlan goaded Corvus by saying, “Is this not a parliament? What do the Knights here assembled say? Let them vote.” Lord Corvus replied, “The idea of democracy is rather new, an experiment, so I ask those present to vote whether the borders should be kept as they are?” The vote was split according to Baron Lachlan who also counted the Harts. Lord Corvus disputed this as he only counted the Lions. The Steppe Alliance and many others abstained.
Corvus continued, “Are we at war with those despicable Dragons?” The Duke Anree’s men and the few other Lions present unanimous replied in the affirmative. One of then shouted, “A DEAD CELT IS A GOOD CELT!!” The Harts and the Steppe Alliance were shocked by this open declaration of war. Baron Lachlan replied to this with an absence of emotion that befitted his station.
Corvus then asked of Baron Lachlan, “Earlier I asked whether you are a man of your word and you said that you were. But you broke the promise of your parole two years ago to me, which stated that you would not return to your lands in Cymrija. I therefore arrest you on your breach of promise.” There was much uproar in the room as Baron Lachlan and his companion were unceremoniously disarmed by Duke Anree’s men.
The Harts of Albion led by Lady Elspeth Karlennon and her brother Lord Marshal Hugo Charenten advanced towards Corvus to question over the injustice that he rendered to his guest, an ambassador. Meanwhile, I looked at the warrant of safe passage to Baron Lachlan that was issued by the Lions and it stated that “…safe passage TO the council is granted to the bearer….” There was a heated discussion between Lady Karlennon and her uncle.
After tempers had cooled slightly, the mistaken grounds under which Corvus had arrested Baron Lachlan became clear. Sir Jaddvor Erland of the Lions had captured Baron Lachlan wondering behind our lines in the battle of 1093 AF by subduing him with a blow from his trusty axe. He turned over his charge to Lady Karlennon, who was with her Household holding the left flank of the army. Baron Lachlan gave her his promise not to return to lands of the Dragons until he was released from his oath by her. Lady Karlennon accepted his parole and escorted him from the field of battle. In 1094 AF, the Dragons held the severed head of Lord Elias Karlennon, her dead husband and in exchange for this Lady Karlennon released Baron Lachlan from his promise. At no time was there a promise made to Lord General Corvus.
To save face, Corvus said, “Let this be a warning to you and I will consider your wrists firmly slapped. Release him!! I warn you,” pointing at Baron Lachlan, “I advise you to get on your horse and make good speed for your borders.” This appeared to be no empty threat. On this sour note, Corvus closed the Parliament. As Baron Lachlan collected his belongings and thanked me for his sword and helm, Lady Karlennon said, “If our [Harts’] lands are closer make good speed and you will be welcome.”
Sir Huw escorted the affable Baron Lachlan back into Cymrija and talked much of the changes in the land of my birth. He commented with great pleasure over his kind treatment by the Harts and with pleasure that the Harts have renounced any territorial on Cymrija. He certainly enjoyed his stay in Huntshire. He seems to have taken a shine to my Lady Ailish O’Donovan who also originates from the Emerald Isle of Erin.
Severe strains in the Lions. Corvus called Duke Anree a traitor, his ‘last’ loyal subject.
Received a letter from Baron Lachlan and to quote a few parts, “I wish to thank the Harts and Lady Elspeth for her hospitality. I have returned safe to me beloved Erin….To be frank, I was very worried before I attended the Lions Parliament. When I reported Corvus’ actions to the High Court of Erin, a cry of joy went forth from my Lords that they were dealing with such an inept man….Oh on lighter matters, the Fool is the Dragon’s ambassador to the Lions. This will make a great pair.”
Lady Karlennon invited Duke Anree to the Harts Moot. He declared Norhault and Northumberland neutral.