The Price of Victory

Dagon the Warhammer sat triumphantly on the throne of Thagnar the Wicked, who had killed his family due to a prophecy that the youngest son would slay him.  This came to pass and Dagon became leader. He wore a suit of bloody plate that glowed slightly and carried the Sword of Dark Desire, a blade that would gain power while striking your most hated foe.  

To his left stood Sir Mumford, a holy knight in gleaming silver mail.  He fought for the righteousness of the mission. To his right lurked an elf named Delphina in a black cloak that seemed to swallow her in shadow.  She disappeared and reappeared at will. Sitting in front of the group sat a halfling in a simple doublet and leggings who looked out of place among the hardened warriors.  This was by design, as he was actually a mighty mage named Segnan whose power blew open the Thrice Enchanted Gates of Erador.

People had been bustling in and out all morning, most with simple requests for aid in helping the fallen.  Father Bast was actually out circulating among the wounded, helping where he could. So it wasn’t a surprise when a man in peasant clothing with gray hair and with a hunched back from years of labor came in.

“Welcome citizen.  How can I help you today?”  Dagon said graciously.

“Well sir, seeing how our majordomo was blown to pieces in last night’s battle, the staff decided to send me to figgure out whatcha wanted of us,” the lame man eyed the bloody warrior as if judging him.

“I see.  I’m sure we can work out the details later.” Dagon began but was cut off.

“Begging your Lordship’s – It is Lordship, correct?” the old man said.

“No.  I am no Lord.  Call me Dagon” the bloody warrior said.

“As you wish Master Dagon.  First thing we was wonderin’ was if this was a coup or revolution?” the old man spat after he spoke.

“What do you mean?” he asked

“Well if this is a coup we should expect the same as out prior lord; beatings by overseers, little food, and no pay.  If this is a revolution then we will get more freedom and better treatment. I’ve been through these exchanges many times and believe me, it’s best to get it out of the way now.”

Dagon worked his jaw, slightly confused “I suppose a revolution, given the options.”

“Excellent. So our pay will return to two silver from 4 copper from our prior lord?” he said, his voice questioning.

At this Delphina burst from the shadows “Why should we give up our own gold for these peasants?  I still say we loot the place and leave it for whoever finds it.”

Sir Mumford growled and turned on the dark lady.  “It is the duty of all who are good to care for those beneath them.  We have an obligation -”

Delphina cut him off and mockingly said “to the people.” she then laughed “the people can shove off, I want my spoils.”

“Enough,” Dagon shouted.  Looking back to the man he said “You’ll have your silver, now if that is all..” he gestured for the door.

“I’m afraid not sir.  Got a few more questions” he coughed with a dry rasp  “Begging your pardon, what do you want done with the bodies and blood?”

Again Dagon was confused “What about them?”

“Well sir, do you want them left here to rot and let the smell chase you out or disgust the Lords who will be visiting, have them buried or burned, or beheaded and line the walls as warning to those who would oppose you?” the man went silent.

That was something Dagon had never considered.  Segnan spoke up. “If there’s a lab here I could make a host of undead to watch our walls.  We are a bit short handed.”

“By the Gods!” shouted Mumford “You would desecrate the dead?”

“You make it sound so dark,” Segnan replied “they are just empty vessels, their souls long gone.  I will merely fill them with extradimensional energies to make them move.” he graced the Holy warrior with a smile such as one would give a child.

Mumford was about to reply when Dagon spoke “We will honor the dead, not desecrate them.  However misguided they fought for home and country. We will show them respect,” he looked down at the halfling “and I expect their graves to be untouched,” Segnan sighed and nodded.

“Now then is there anything else? I have much to do” Dagon began rubbing his temples.

“Oh no master Dagon, there is much more.”  the old man stepped closer “What do you want done about banners and uniforms?  Do you have a crest you would like Milly and her team to work into the new decoration and clothing?”

“Of course I have a crest.  Send this Millie up and I will give her the image” Dagon snapped.

“Very good master.  It’ll take her about 2 weeks to make the changes.  How do you want your porters, servants and servers to dress until then?  Should they simply tear the emblem from their uniforms or wear peasant clothing until the new clothes are done?”

“I don’t give a damn!” Dagon shouted.

“Fine, master I’ll tell them to do as they wish then.  Now, what about the celebratory feast. Do you wish it open to the public as a show of good faith, or limited to noble guests?”

“Listen, I don’t have time to go over every detail of the running of a castle!” Dagon screamed

“Begging your pardon master, then why did you capture one?” the old man asked.

Dagon had turned a deep crimson, with veins pulsing in his forehead.  “Petrus!” he yelled.

A lady from the other room gave a squeal, and then a handsome man came rushing into the room, sliding his leggings up.  On his back he wore a mandolin.

“You know how castles are run, yes?” Dagon shouted.

“Of course, before I left my home I was a singer for Lord..”

“I don’t give a damn!  Take this.. person out of my site and help him organize the staff.”  Dagon took a deep breath “and find a new head of staff. I don’t wish to be bothered with the day to day running of this place.”

Petrus looked ready to protest when Dagon place his hand on the pommel of his sword.  Sighing, he said “Of course, MASTER.” grumbling he grabbed the old man by the arm and dragged him out of the room.

Relaxing, Dagon asked “anyone else expected today?”

“Yes,” Sir Mumford replied, “the village elder has a few questions regarding how to handle jobs and discipline in the village.”

Dagon felt as if his head would burst.  He turned to Delphina “So how long do you think it would take to plunder the treasury?”  Delphina smiled while Mumford gave a sour look.

Dagon just shook his head and said “Send him in.”

Published by Robert C Hartwell

I live in Northeastern Vermont in the US. I am currently working towards becoming an author. I am the proud father of two great kids.

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