The New Patron - Part 1
Ezra sat in his chair, as he had always done, and stared out of the tower window. The rain poured down over the forest sprawl below creating steam and mist that swelled from the forest valleys. He could hear them coming up the tower stairs and broke the magical lock on the door before they reached the top.
“My Lord! My Lord! You are late for the gathering! The whole..”
“I know, I know,” Ezra cut his advisor off “I was just having a slow morning is all.” He gave a weary smile and stood. Ezra gestured towards the door with what was left of his arms and followed his advisor down the stairs. Entering the main hall of Aevampartha always brought a deep sense of nostalgia for a time Ezra did not know. The keep was ancient and the main hall the oldest part, if the legends were to be believed. The broad hall stretched far with seating along the walls beneath beautiful tapestries that detailed the stories of House Cerelatir, Aevampartha and the people of the land. Candles and several magical sconces dimly lit the large space that nearly a dozen people had gathered in, seated at the round table on the deus at the end of the hall.
The other nobles of House Cerelatir sat impatiently waiting for the new house patron to take his seat at the table. The table sat twenty people but only half were currently filled, as some members of the house and important staff were out of the county. Ezra and his advisor took their seats at the table and after a long silence someone spoke.
“Finally the new patron decided to grace us with his presence!” An old, gruff, looking man clad in armor said with disdain. He glared at Ezra and continued “and here I thought you might actually take the position more seriously than your father did, the oaf.”
“You will refrain from speaking of His Grace like that,” The advisor, Albert, snapped. Ezra knew that Albert was upset at the slight against his late father and not the tone the commander took with Ezra himself. Ezra sat straight and looked about his court. They were a rough lot; several cousins, his uncle, the commander, several representatives and his advisor made the bulk of the court and none of them respected him. How could they? The young, crippled, son of the worst house patron in memory was hardly deserving of their respect, despite his position as patron and his history as a magical prodigy. If he couldn’t have their respect he figured he would start with their fear and work his way up.
“Everyone quiet!” Ezra projected in a deep voice that betrayed his young face “My father may have failed the house and the people of Aevampartha but I assure you I will not make the same mistakes that he made. I may be young and I may be a cripple but I will not tolerate this, or any, level of disrespect again do I make myself clear?” He looked around the table and was met with slightly surprised faces, save for the commander.
“Ha! You expect me to fall in line when you get a little stern? Please, I have lead the forces of House Cerelatir for decades and have taken shits more intimidating than you!” The commander laughed and stood, challenging Ezra’s glare.
“Then you leave me no choice. I charge you with treason for challenging the authority of the patron of the house Cerelatir. Your punishment is branding as a traitor, but I am willing to absolve you of this crime if you apologize and bend your knee.” Ezra said clearly and calmly, looking across the table matching the commanders stare.
“Piss off.” The commander spat.
“Branding it is.” Ezra said as the metal rivets, clasps and plates of the commander's armor began to turn from silver to orange, to red. The commander looked down in horror as smoke began to plume out from the armor, his garments beginning to ignite from the intense heat. The others shot out of their chairs and gasped, staring in awe and in fear. Ezra watched calmly as the metal began to sizzle and burn the flesh of the insubordinate commander, his screams piercing the otherwise silent hall. He scratched and clawed at his armor attempting to pry it off, but it was no use. He fell to the ground and pleaded, screaming apologies between cursings. Ezra walked over, made a gesture with his stumps, and the armor began to cool to a charred black color. Ezra stood over the commander and said
“Wenna forgives you, but I do not. You are hereby stripped of your title and position as commander of the Cerelatir forces. You may live the rest of your life outside Aevampartha, you are exiled,” He turned to the horrified faces of the court “Albert, please let the lieutenant know that he has been promoted by order of the House Patron and to meet with me later today to discuss the condition of our soldiers. The rest of you, I will speak to in private over the coming days. You are all dismissed.”