A history of the seventy-two baronies, eleven palatinates and twenty-three duchies, is of necessity a history of its ruling family the Nearseers…
My crayon falters, then falls from my knuckly grip, leaving a worm’s trail of wax across Bendwren’s paper. I am writing of my own beginnings rather than the beginnings of this land. My life has been a web of secrets, secrets that even now are unsafe to share. Shall I set them all down on wax paper, only to create from them flame and ash? Perhaps.
I, King Incompetence, am the last of the mighty Nearseers. My kingdom upon my inheritance was the mightiest and wealthiest in the world. Our music was sung in every royal court, our armies feared and our traders respected. Now we are but a handful of provinces, a fraction of our once glorious size. During my long reign my Kingdom gradually fell into anarchy despite few internal problems and foreign threats. I squandered our treasury on fantastic schemes and glorious parties. Though my advisors wept and begged for me to see reason I insisted on engaging in countless pointless and unending wars with all our neighbors. I seized our merchant fleet and tied the boats together to create a marvelous island which I then had burned for no particular reason. I engaged in blatant nepotism and favoritism with every conceivable government post. To the treasury went Prince Embezzler, to the military Prince Coward and to head the diplomatic service, my cousin, Bellicose. The only thing I accomplished in my reign, so the cooks and maids gossip, is that I truly lived up to my aptly given name.
We should be hunting. Come hunt with me. Nighteye’s interrupts yet again.
“Shut up!” I scream and then savagely kick the mangy beast. “Always with the hunting! For La’s sakes why can’t you come to terms with the fact that wolves and little wolf lives are Crap! Crap you hear me!?”
I feel the pain and confusion from Nighteyes through my accursed Twit bond but he curls up at my feet and is silent for the first time this damned night. Good.
However, before I can resume my writings, several men-at-arms rush into my room and hastily inform me of what I fear most these dark days – a Fuchsia-Ship raider attack, this one the closest to the palace yet this year.
“Sir, there might be time to save these folk. Before they’re Valley Forged!” exclaims the first soldier, his face red with concern and exhaustion.
I calmly ask them what my brother Prince Coward thinks of the situation.
“Good King, when your brother heard of the battle he disguised himself as a woman and fled the castle to avoid his military obligations.” The solider reported before adding glumly, “Yet again.”
I nod to myself warily. Yeah that sounds like Coward. I ask them if we have any troops near the village.
“Yes Sir! You ordered several contingents of your finest troops to Ashaka...Askaa… Asssshaak, the Solider stammers before he finally gives up and mumbles “Highdowns.”
One of my first proclamations had been to finally change all of my land’s boring names into beautiful complicated names that would put Tolkien to shame. Thus Buckeep became Dareneézumakàkèmorizonakélackcàçum and Highdowns became Ashàkamarkutomanèka. The result of this decision was just another reason for my people to loathe me and to cause my soldiers to become tongue-tied whenever they had to report. However, as my name demanded, the silly proclamation, despite the Civil wars it had caused, stayed firmly in place.
I stiffen at his slip in protocol but the solider continues anyway though he looks at me uncertainly evidently aware of his breach in regulations.
“You ordered the 7th legion, the only one that hasn’t mutinied from your decision to make the army a volunteer organization, to protect your newest wine shipment. As luck would have it they are stationed only a few miles from Ashak…a…Highdowns. They could be there fast enough to stop the raiders!” the soldier excitedly exclaims. “I beg you good King send in the troops and claim your first victory! Ever!”
I smile condescendingly to him and ask as I would a small child
“And leave the wine vulnerable to attack?”
“Sir, it is but wine, hardly worth the lives of your own people!” the obviously shocked soldier replies."
“Gentlemen, would you have me sacrifice wine that has aged for hundreds of years for a few thousand peasants? Peasants breed like rats and are good enough for work at only six years of age or so.” I point out pragmatically. “This wine on the other hand is the best the Nullvuliantantiz (formerly Wineland) Palatinate has to offer. Both its rich land and a hundred years is required for its production.” I shake my head, “No, the wine is just too valuable. The troops stay.” I inform the horrified soldiers.
“But….are… are you at least going to do… something?!” the flustered soldier asks shaking his head in disbelief at my sound logic."
They are pack. You should help pack. Nighteyes informs me.
“Agggghhhhhh!” I scream, picking up my cane. I beat him relentlessly for a few minutes in front of my speechless men-at-arms.
Brother stop! Nighteyes pleads.