[size=200]SING A SAD SONG[/size]
*“They say that you abandoned your post Hugh - you were left guarding the south road and yet you were gone half the day. As such I am charging you with dereliction of duty. How do you plead?”
“Guilty, magistrate - but I wish to submit a plea of clemency.”
“I see. I assume the troubadour intends to speak on your behalf?”
“I do magistrate, thank you. I am Ser Eddard and Hugh is part of my congregation. As you will be aware magistrate, it is not unknown for sentries to slip away from their post on occasion, but usually it is to enjoy a game of dice with a fellow soldier or else the comfort of a welcoming pair of arms in some brothel. On this occasion though I swear to you that Hugh was with myself, and his thoughts were only for his immortal soul.”
“I see. That does sounds pious. Perhaps you can enlighten me as to the virtue of that action Ser Eddard? I assume you have some claim to that?”
“Ah… yes… the virtues… yes. It’s the birds you see, lovely creatures to be sure - but their song is desperately sad. And Hugh’s sister, Elaine, was killed by the Druj near a decade ago fighting in the Barrens. And he’s been hearing that mournful song for days now and when you hear the words you just can’t help thinking about all the people we’ve lost. Now Elaine (that’s his sister) was the one in the family everyone was sure would pass the test, and poor Hugh has always looked up to her…”
“The virtues troubadour”, the magistrate interrupted, cutting the priest off mid sentence. “A plea of clemency must make the case for the virtue of the guilty person’s actions.”
“Quite so, quite so! So Hugh was wise to come and talk to me… because I was able to help him by reminding him of how his sister would have wanted him to stay at his post. And he showed great loyalty to his sister in wanting me to compose a song for her. And it was prosperous because he was then able to return to his position. And brave because we are all in grave danger of being attacked by the Druj.”
“Thank you Ser Eddard, you have helped me to see clearly what role the virtues must have played in Hugh’s action.” The Highborn magistrate paused for a moment to adopt a stentorious tone. “Hugh of Ellotry - you are guilty of dereliction of duty. I fine you four crowns and order you to stand the watch every night for the next month. In future I recommend you listen less to fine words that move your soul - no matter who sings them - and more to the orders of your commanding officer. Perhaps then neither your soul nor your feet will move.”*
While the Knights of Eleonaris support the Eastern Sky (albeit grudgingly), a stranger set of creatures attend the Golden Sun as they hunt the Druj through the forests of Holberg. Issuing forth from a Night regio somewhere in the depths of Axmure, a stream of brightly coloured bird-heralds of Lashonar proceed joyfully up the road to Holberg to meet up with the army.
Deftly avoiding any entanglement in the sordid business of violence, they instead infest every camp-fire and baggage train, a haunting refrain on their beaks - a new song apparently commissioned from Lashonar himself, a song of Glory, of lost love, of death in each others arms …
Lashonar is not an eternal of Summer, but of Night; his song is excellent at communicating its message, as one might expect from Lashonar the Loquacious, and also at tugging at the heart-strings and provoking emotional responses. Unfortunately, these intoxicating emotional responses are primarily contemplative, or downright sorrowful. They do nothing to kindle determination or encourage enthusiasm for the war. Hardly an ideal sitaution when facing a foe such as the Druj, no strangers to provoking their own emotional responses in the Imperial troops.
The general effect of the song appears to be driving soldiers into the arms of religion - attendance at Holberg congregations is gradually creeping up as soldiers manage to find time away from the front to attend to their immortal souls, the condition of which they have been driven to heavily contemplate due to the reminder of their likely upcoming bodily demise.
If the song continues to spread, it will have a detrimental impact on the operational effectiveness of the Golden Sun and every Imperial army in the same territory, reducing their combat effectiveness by 5%.
There are some benefits to the songs, as the soldiers seek out priests or alehouses to cheer their soul. Congregations in the territory will receive two extra votes and an extra dose of liao while every business in the territory would gain an extra 18 rings.
The influence of eternals is often complex and unpredictable; they may be countered - or encouraged - in many different ways by individuals acting alone or by appropriate action of one of Senate, Synod, Conclave or similar body. Civil servants in the Hub are ready to provide advice and costings for any Senate motions, Conclave declaration or Synod Judgements that might theoretically be passed.
Here we go again! This evening we start with an overture courtesy of Lashonar the Loquacious, Guardian of the Southern Skies, Keeper of the Gates of Wisdom, Eater-of-Silence, Singer of Sad Songs, Speaker in Dreams, Conscience-of-Kings! (profounddecisions.co.uk/empire-wiki/Lashonar).
While the “problem” is focused around the Golden Sun right now, the song and the singers have that infectious quality that mean they are going to spread like … something contagious. It’s almost enough to make one feel sorry for General Starac. Almost.
#fateandfortunedaytwo, #itslikethatepisodeofBuffy, #Lashonarlovessinging!
The photo needless to say is from wikipedia. I picked it because the colours are a nice match for the golden sun and also Lashonar’s heralds look a lot like parrots. Fact!