Thom's Kingmaking

Book 2-3 Interludes - The Festival of Silver – (Kerubiel's point of view)

Book 2-3 Interludes – The Festival of Silver – (Kerubiel’s point of view)
As summer hangs on, the town is becoming larger as we draw closer to our country’s one year celebration. Everywhere I go since getting back with Cora, people are in better spirits. Posters and invitations around town from Gith, our new councillor, seem to be really helping build excitement.
The food, fireworks, monument park, and decorations have seen many involved and happily taking part to make our first Festival of Silver a memorable one. As we gather around the temporary stage the crowd must be close to one thousand.
Due to his size, others give him a lot of space, I see that King Vesket has joined us with one of his lady friends, Kulgutfrul. Cora seems a little nervous at first, but I squeeze her hand and she seems reassured. She rests her other hand on Sorath’s head, who stands behind us.
I welcome him and introduce him to Cora as my partner, because I can’t think of a better term. Before we can talk more, Gith has taken the stage. Here we go, I hope she meant it when she wanted to be able to speak for the people.
Strong start, saying we are here to celebrate the founding of our great country, good. Gives herself a new title, ambitious young thing, but for today, I’ll allow it. It causes Jensothi to do a spit take, however.
She then tells us that many were involved in the hunt for the impressive stag skull that sits at the base of the stone. Which, Cora and Robin did fantastic work on. The names are clearly carved and as look and see the staff and carved into it a small tear forms in my eye. I wipe it away and smile at Cora.
I wonder who did win this hunt, as many came asking me for advice, which I never did provide, just smiled at them, and wished them all luck. Didn’t want to play favourites after all. Gith then announces that the winner of the hunt is a dwarf named Kvasir. A good man who was a big help in the hunt for Hargulka. Gith is holding up the Silver Bow reward, but he is nowhere to be scene. Then someone whispers to her that he’s out feeding his bear. Must let him know, trusted companions are welcome in our town.
Gith then announces that the race will begin in two hours and that the winner will receive a spot-on council as Champion of the High Councillor. Oh man, what have we done giving her a position? The crowd then starts to disperse and visiting market stalls and eating delicious foods is a priority for some, going down to get a good viewpoint for the race.
Cora and I continue to chat with Vesket. He says he is happy to experience our strange culture and tradition with its weird foods at our banquet, but still excited to try it. I whisper out of his ear shot that I saw him eat raw troll flesh and he calls our food ‘strange’. She giggles and we all five continue to walk.
Picking up on me calling her my partner earlier, Vesket points to Kulgutfrul and then to Cora and says ‘harem?’ ‘same?’ and not sure if it is the same, but I nod and say yes. Apparently not what Cora wanted me to say, because she stomps my foot, grabs Sorath’s collar and says she she’s Finn has arrived with candy. I again thank Vesket for coming and rush to catch up with her.
Later, as we gather for the beginning of the race, Gith reminds every one of the rules of the event and that they will become her champion, oh brother. Then Finn goes up on a stage, and he has a new look. His plague doctor mask has been replaced by a mask that looks more owl-like in appearance and he has a jaunty walking cane. Good for you, cousin for rebranding yourself. He then says a prayer and blessing to all contestants, mostly from Sarenrae – as Meridith and a small group around her know exactly when to echo certain parts of the prayer.
Gith then comes back, thanks Finn and tells the contestants the route of the race. Cora and I then hop on Sorsath and ride down to the ‘box seats’ for council members at the finish line, but we watch the water balloon toss first. Oph, Drael just took one in the face from Corax I think, but he’s still going. That a boy.
As we ride ahead it appears that a bulry half-orc woman with a large hammer strapped to her back is in the lead. I wonder if she’ll maintain that the whole way through. We ride ahead and get to our spots to watch the contestants as they hit the line.
We sit peacefully and chat with each other. The day has been near perfect, Cora and I hold hands and look at the Tuskwater and I think back to when we started dating and we went out in her little rowboat so she could show me how to fish. I still do not like fishing, but it was great to see her side of life.
Oh snap, there is that same half-orc woman, still in the lead, by quite some distance. It looks like she is close to 100 feet ahead of Drael and another half-orc woman, but what the hells. That same monster that attacked me last spring has risen from the Tuskwater and snatched the woman near Drael! Damn. I didn’t think I’d need the lance today. At least I have Gyronna Sunwrought with me. I kiss Cora quickly and leap onto Sorath’s back and we charge to help.
As we ride, Drael causes fire to erupt at its base and it retaliates by spitting at him a thicky sticky substance. Then hammer girl makes an impressive leap from the cliff and lands it. Sorath and I are almost there, Finn has showed up from his spot in the crowd and hurls a bomb at it.
Then a dwarf with red hair is peppering it with arrows and the guy who helped with Hargulka is telling bad dad jokes. I wonder if this guy helped much on the hunt. Shit, looks like the girl has gone limp. Looking around to be able to give battle commands, because we won’t make it in time, but there is no need.
The monster, having a victim constricted in its long snake-like body, starts to try, and flee but the hammer half-orc seizes the opportunity to jump and drive her hammer right into the eye on the top of its head and it tears down several feet. The monster then lays limply and the dwarf and funny guy, use some healing magic to bring her back to consciousness. Well glad that crisis was averted. We do inspire greatness here in my kingdom. Oh look, Finn is already collecting samples.
Later, after Gith announces Aila – that’s the hammer lady’s name, as the winner, I approach her and congratulate her on winning the race. I also let her know that Gith is just the councillor, there is no such thing as a ‘high’ councillor.
She tells me that her dad and sisters just moved here and are new residents of Silver Falls. I welcome her ask her where she is from. She addresses me as King Kerubiel – I like that she shows respect where it’s due, and then says they are from Dobrinth. It is a unique place, if I recall correctly where half the city is underground and mostly occupied by gnomes. It is a kind of free city with no formal government, and so citizens do their own thing.
I then ask why they chose to move here, and she says that she recently lost her momma so her father thought that this place would be a good place to have a fresh start. I tell her I am sorry for her loss. I then tell her that she certainly earned her title today of champion. She smiles and says that she’s the strong one in her family. And if we ever need help lifting things, she is happy to help. She might have even said she can lift a house. Will definitely need to keep an eye on this one. Lots of potential. I then say let’s go to dinner and welcome her once again to Silver Falls. I then ride back to Cora and fill her in on what I just learned about the ‘High Councillor’s Champion’.
As we ride back into Founder’s monument park, lots of log table rounds have been set up and a large banquet table is in the center. Riding towards the stage, I recognize the faces of two of the three Varnling Host. Glad that they were able to show up. I greet them and thank them for coming.
They respond by thanking me for the invite and saying that they are sorry they are here later than intended. They are experiencing some troubles back home and so he (Maegar Varn) and Cephal were only able to make the trip. I tell them, sorry for their troubles and share that we recently experienced a great loss in the death of Ellira.
They agree that these are dark times and tells us that centaurs have been harrying them quite a lot. They are nomadic and they tried to make a deal with them when they arrived, but it did not work. Then Cephal interrupts and says they were fools to ever try and make a deal. They should have never given them an inch.
Finn, who has joined up with us responds that they are sentient beings and wonders if there is a possibility of redemption. As he is saying this, I wonder if he knows we are talking about centaurs, because I think that is what his hometown was attacked by lots in the past. Hmm.
They continued the conversation while I was lost in thought for a moment and Finn looks like he may have offended them, oh well. In the awkward bit of silence, I offer for them to please stay in the castle while they are in town as our honoured guests. They are thankful and of course extend the same offer for when we come to visit them later in the fall. Finn then wanders off to go mingle with others.
The funny bard has just finished his set and people are all about to be ready to eat. Plates of food are piled onto the banquet table. Stag prepared a plethora of different ways. Smoked, baked, braised even. There are lots of root vegetables and fresh, late summer fruits. The sweet chestnuts are delicious. While we eat, I introduce the host to Keston, Lily and Taldeth.
Gith addresses the crowd again and awards Aila with the stag skull marking her as this year’s race winner and again calls her the ‘High Councillor’s Champion.’ Aila says thank you and accepts the trophy, then they go and sit and eat a table with Finn.
Meanwhile, a different bard has quite a display set up of various trunks and chests and he starts to address the crowd after pulling out a white beard and wig and talks about having a baby and losing it – I don’t get it, but then he looks at Kasner. Oh he’s trying to make light of him. Some people chuckle and Kasner who is a couple spots from me just raises an eyebrow.
The performer then goes to get another costume on and Kasner asks who arranged this guy, and I honestly don’t know, but reply that he is awful. Oh gods, no he has a boogery raven mask and is talking like a baby about his cousin. Ugh, this is enough, I quickly find Jensothi and ask if he knows anything about this guy. He doesn’t, which seems suspicious because this man always has his finger on the pulse of what is happening in our town. I tell him to go ask some of the other council members and I will go ask Gith.
The ‘entertainment’ – if you can call him that, now has a hat with a wide variety of phallic shaped items dangling from it as says he’s so well loved and then uses a cloth to rub one of the penis shaped things. Some chuckle, but some families are trying to hide their children’s eyes.
As I approach Gith, Finn whispers to me, that he thinks that is supposed to be me…’Cockatrice’. Ignoring him, I ask Gith if she hired him, and she says she’s never seen him before. The champion, Aila, says this guy is a huge jerk and I think I hear a piece of the table crack and see her shaking with rage.
I then say, I am going to deal with it, and Finn just blurts out, ‘like cut his head off? Feed him to sharks?’ …I just keep walking but turn and mouth ‘shut up’ to my cousin.
As I get to the stage, I walk up the stairs and start giving him so applause to interrupt him, he is currently going to change his look again, but this time I see a blue wig start to come out and he will not sully her memory so I try to make it look like I am tripping, and go to push him off the stage into the dirt like he deserves. However, he didn’t buy my feint and steps out of the way and rushes over to a door on his wagon and disappears through it.
Moments later from over near Finn’s welcome tent we see him appear and hop on a black smoky spectral horse…but then, that voice that fills me with so much loathing shout out, ‘So long suckers, see you losers next year!’ …By the gods, I want Grigori’s head on a pike.
To then try and undue the horrible performance he just gave I raise a glass and give a toast about the glory of Argentum and thank everyone for being there. My words are not as eloquent as usual, probably due to my burning hatred of that man. There is general applause and glass raising but the rest of the meal has a cloud that hangs overhead. Bastard, taking this from us. From the people who worked hard all year and deserve a day without huge pricks getting in the way.
I then tell Jensothi to get people to start clearing his shit off the stage. He nods and gets some people, and Aila even comes and gives a hand. She seems eager to get past that jerk’s performance as well.
However, I will give it to my cousin, because while we are cleaning up, he has had people moving to another section adjacent to the monument. There is a beautiful flower archway at the front of a many rows of seating. People are being handed a blueberry toast type dessert and then I catch sight of a beautiful bride to be. Lily is with Taldeth. They have planned to get married today. That’s wonderful.
To try and help I encourage people to leave the dinner area and head to the ceremony area. The archway has seats on either side of it reserved for council members and I bring Cora up there with me.
Once many are seated a quartet of instruments come in and start to play as Keston and his boys get into place. And then the blushing bride comes down the aisle, escorted by Taldeth.
Finn speaks of Sarenrae’s healing light and love and to be honest, I have never heard my cousin speak so eloquently. Looking at the people of Argentum as he talks about faith and devotion to a loved one, tears of people being moved fill the audience. I take Cora’s hand and we both squeeze at the same time.
Finn then has them pause and tells them to take in this moment with all that are present. All the people that are here to support them and care for them. They each slowly turn and look at different faces. And then, just as the sun sets, he invites them to kiss and be named man and wife of house Garress-Weaver. We stand and clap. I think I hear that Aila girl snort cry at some point. She’s quite loud in her laugh and cries apparently.
We are then encouraged to head to the hills overlooking the Tuskwater for the evening’s fireworks display. I think Drael has been working on these since they got back from the hunt. I don’t know if I have seen him before this morning.
Cora and I find a cozy semi-private area and lean together against Sorath. My arm wrapped around her when the darkening sky is lit up by a solitary firework that explodes with a medium firelight. There is some clapping and cheering from the crowd, but then, from just above the Tuskwater come a blue and silver dragons that swoop over everyone and race to the sky and then explode in a brilliant flash of blues, golds, and silver. The crowd is very impressed by this.
As the fireworks continue to go off, ones better than I ever saw in Brevoy I might add, even on celebrations for the King there, I pause to reflect on the how much I miss my friend, and I run my fingers through Sorath’s fur and remember all she was willing and did do to help me get her back.
I then look over and this wonderful woman who I met in a bar at the beginning of this year. How she did incredibly as my partner today, meeting various honoured guests. She was sweet, charming, and intelligent. Although I don’t like calling her my ‘partner’, I want more than this.
She then meets my eyes and tells me how happy she has been since we meet and the whirlwind romance we have had. She has learned that she can be herself around me. She tells me again that she was so worried that she would lose me during the war, but she was even more worried that I would change and be someone different afterwards. She says I have changed, but not for the worse. Losing Ellira she can see that I have a kind and compassionate heart and one that will strive to do what’s best for the people of Argentum and that includes her.
I then share with her how much I loved spending the day with her and the only part that kept feeling wrong was when I called her my partner.
She agrees and that she was shocked during the wedding – we both agree that we were surprised by how moving Finn was and well-spoken. And she tells me that she was nervous that I would be able to put someone besides myself first, but she now believes that I will do that and care about her needs too. She then says that she doesn’t know much about being a queen, but if I was interested, she would be my betrothed.
Completely overjoyed, I quickly reach for the silver ring I have worn almost right away since coming to the Greenbelt, and I get up to kneel and ask her if she would do me the honour of becoming my queen. She says yes and we kiss.
I am told that the finale of the fireworks was quite spectacular, but Cora and I don’t see them. Our moment ends when the sound of people clapping fills the hillside. I make a mental note to tell Drael that it was incredible.
As we ride back to the castle, we see Finn heading that way too and both congratulate him on a fantastic service tonight. He nods and then Cora says we might need his service soon and shows him the ring on her finger. He congratulates us and then says with a grin, that we’ll have to book soon because he is very popular, and others have already asked him to do their weddings. We laugh and say that we will. A wonderful end to the Festival of Silver.