The Dread Lord Dag, sixth King of the Middle to bear that name, did announce that he would hold court in his Barony of the Flame on the first day of the New Year, being May first and beginning the forty fifth year of the Society. His missives hinted at some great announcement to take place during this court.
I was curious as to what may actually be announced. Dire rumors had been spreading throughout the Kingdom; that banditry was on the rise, excessive taxes on the Baronies, strange troop movements, and treasonous talk and symbols among the populace. I myself had witnessed several strange occurrences in other courts; twice a gray-cloaked bandit did steal these new taxes from right out of the Kings Court. The Dread Lord seemed to on occasion become short of temper, on several occasions demanding mutilations of his servants and vassals for the slightest errors, railing at the chivalry for not catching the bandit and one of our own from Red Spears, Lord Godfrey Thacker of Northumberland, had even been arrested for treason and reported weeks later to have died in the King’s prison while under interrogation.
So I did travel to the far South of the Kingdom to attend our King at his court, as is the right of all peers and noble members of the populace. Unfortunately the weather did turn foul on the last day of my travels, storming thought the night and continuing to rain the next day as we arrived. The court, which was planned to be held in the open field, was moved to a large chapel and it quickly became crowded as like myself many had great interest in what the Dread Lord might be planning. Not just from our Kingdom but I saw some who had traveled from as far as Ealdormere and Northshield to see what this day would bring.
The Dragon Herald called all to attention and in processed the Dread Lord Dag and Queen AnneMarie with their champions and retainers. Once settled onto the thrones and having bid the populace to sit, Dread Lord Dag did rise to address the crowd. He spoke with great enthusiasm that his great plan was ready to be put in motion. This plan was to restore the Middle Kingdom to its former glory, restoring the now sovereign lands of Northshield, Ealdormere, and Calontir as subjects of the Midrealm Crown. With the new taxes he has hired a mercenary army now staged on the border of Ealdormere and ready to conquer them as the first stage of the plan as soon as he joins the army to leads them himself. The Queen did try to protest that Ealdormere was our friend and this was wrong but he ordered her to be silent. He then had his champion, Sir Angus Gordon, give him Oathbinder, the sword of Midrealm Kings, as he would wield it himself. He then sent Sir Angus to make ready to travel with him to join this army. After this they did send off their other champions and retainers to prepare, each with orders as fit their respective position or abilities. Once all had been assigned he instructed his Herald to close his court.
The Dragon Herald seemed nervous, glancing to the back of the court, and asking hesitantly if any others had business. At these words, in boldly strode the bandit Gray Thorne the Cloaked declaring that he had business, he would have the throne. Dag shot to his feet and challenged him to reveal himself. Gray Thorne then did throw off his homespun cloak and mask. There in fine raiment stood none other than Prince Radagaisus. The Dread Lord smiled and declared that this was no surprise; he had known for weeks that the Prince was the bandit and just needed for him to reveal himself. (And now to think of it the Prince was out of the Court during both appearances of Gray Thorne in the King’s Court.) He then ordered his personal guards to seize the Prince. As the guards stepped forward to take Radagaisus prisoner, King Quilliam and Queen Dagmar of Ealdormere and a force of their soldiers quickly joined Radagaisus and the King’s men fled.
The Dread Lord then did call forth the knights and ordered them to, “stand behind your true King.” The knights of the Kingdom present came forward and arrayed themselves between the Dread Lord and the Prince. Then Duke Edmund of Hertford and Ullr Jarl did step forward and took turns reciting what it means to be a King from the ancient and traditional coronation ceremony of the Middle. Once finished they each stepped to stand with Radagaisus, followed by the rest of their Order including Ser Farthegn, who had been knighted by the Dread Lord’s own hand.
At this point the Dread Lord flew into a rage. He started to go on as to the punishment he was going to heap upon the knights and how he would rebuild the Order in his image...until red faced, nothing more came out as his mouth still worked. I at first thought that he had just reached such a point of fury that he could no longer speak. Then the Dread Lord slowly turned to face the Queen who had risen unnoticed during all this to stand behind him. Protruding from the center of his back, visible to the populace as he turned, was a slender dagger. The Dread Lord collapsed, dead, on the dais. Queen AnneMarie bent down and retrieved something from the body then addressed the Order of Chivalry, ordering them to, “Remove this debris.”
After the dead King’s corpse had been removed. Radagaisus came forward and was crowned King of the Middle by Duke Edmund. Then his Lady, Princess Ceinwen, was summoned and Radagaisus did Crown her Queen. AnneMarie moved off to the side of the dais until their new Majesties would decide what to do about her, for even when done for the good of the Kingdom, regicide is still a grave crime and can not be taken lightly.
King Radagaisus and Queen Ceinwen first act was to pardon all who had been imprisoned by Dag and ordered the prisons cleared. (Some little consolation that would give Godwin Thacker, Godfrey’s brother who had come to Red Spears from Northumbria for his brother’s funeral.) They then proceeded to name their own champions, King and Queen’s Champions, Rapier, Archery, Equestrian, Youth, and Bardic. After naming their champions they called AnneMarie before them to decide her fate. Though they owed her their Crown they could not let her crime pass.
At this point the voice of Sir Angus Gordon did call for the new Crown’s attention. I turned and he and Sir Meurisse were coming up the aisle carrying between them sorry figure of a man. He was clothed in rags and his face obscured by long matted hair protruding from a mask of wide iron bands that encaged his head. Sir Angus reported that as he prepared to marshal the King’s forces to join the mercenary army, word of the King’s demise and the Order to clear the prisons did reach him. This man they carried was found locked away in the deepest cell of the dungeon two weak to stand. He just kept calling for AnneMarie and they could not find a key to the mask. They figured that if the Dread Lord kept this man under such conditions there must be a reason and so brought him to the Crown. They brought him forward and AnneMarie offered them a key that the Dread Lord had kept around his neck at all times. This being the same I saw her retrieve from the King’s body and had been in her hand since. With some struggle to get the key to turn in the rusted lock they removed the mask. The man’s hair and beard had grown so long that his face could still not be seen. He called out AnneMarie’s name once more and she did recognize his voice as that as her love, King Dag the sixth. The Dread Lord had been an imposter that had captured and imprisoned him many months before. Radagaisus reached for the Crown on his head to return it to the true Dag. Dag held up a shaking hand and almost slipped from the grip of the two knights that held him up. “No,” he gasped, “I am too weak and the Kingdom needs strength.” Dag just wished to retreat to his personal estates and recover from this frail condition his imprisonment has left him in. Their Majesties then did give Dag and AnneMarie a sack of coins to see them to their estates since there was no telling what state the imposter had left their personal treasury. Dag, with the help of the two knights, and AnneMarie then did leave the court. To my knowledge none know the true identity of the man who styled himself Dread Lord and imprisoned our King.
Their Royal Majesties did continue their court for a while more but the rest that took place were more normal proceedings that one would expect from the court of a newly Crowned King.
After court was suspended for the afternoon I saw Godwin in the back of the chapel. He was now wearing his brother’s livery…or I should say his livery and not that he was the heir to Godfrey’s arms. It turns out that it had been Godfrey the whole time. While the Dread Lord had been south in the lands of Gleann Abhann, supporting Ansteorra in war against Trimaris, Godfrey had been smuggled out of the prison by the Prince in his guise as Gray Thorne, who had returned from the war before the King. The jailors reported his death rather than admit to the Dread Lord he escaped and so Godfrey took on the disguise of pretending to be his own brother.
These were the true events that I did witness myself and that I set to paper to the best of my recollection on the forth day of the forty fifth year of the Society as a record of these historic events.
Meister Konrad Mailander, OP