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Captain of the Guard: The Party Expands

August 29, 2019

They headed out of the city, though the sky was starting to darken. It had taken a fair amount of time to determine Ro’s direction. Cedric intended to camp on the road as soon as they were out of sight of the city. He could have billeted his men in the city, or even back at the castle and then left as soon as the sun rose, but he knew the type of drama that would play out with the princess.

She would demand that he scour the countryside through the night, no stopping until her hero had been found. No, it would be more restful on the hard ground.
They headed west toward the yearling mountains. The mountains were aptly named, they were never snowcapped, had no jagged crags, and an army had never been met its doom by being caught by an early winter within its steep and treacherous passes, of which it had none.

They were essentially, rolling hills. Verdant, inviting, hills, but hills nonetheless. Mountains sounds more impressive, so that was what they were called. The name provided more defense than the hills themselves. Invading armies on at least two occasions, took the mountains at their word, or name, and planned a route that avoided them entirely and provided the Kingdom enough time to mount a successful defense against the encroachers.

Crows flew up as the men approached the gallows grove. There was always fruit in the trees for the crows to feast upon. The king was fond of saying that man could not improve on what the gods had created, and he felt trees for hanging were no exception.
The king was known for his swift justice and very public trials for corruption.

It was no coincidence that the individuals tried for corruption were generally disliked by the people. Argov the wise, was not Argov the merciful. He was a student of history and realized that the reigns of rulers known for their mercy were generally very short. No one respects a merciful king, even, and sometimes especially, the ones that received the mercy.

Perhaps it had to do with justice. Justice was expected to be fair. Mercy was a kind of favoritism. Favoritism is not justice. The king decided to leave mercy and forgiveness to the gods although he was of the opinion, never voiced, that the gods were extremely capricious were that was concerned.

They traveled quickly past the grove, and when they were a good distance, Cedric issued the order to stop for the night. Men were set to getting a cook fire, others to a watch schedule. The main purpose with setting a watch was less actually for protection, than it was to have someone to blame if something went wrong.

Vul set up camp across the road and immediately tended his horse, which was every bit as black and glossy as the man’s attire. Vul saw Cedric watching him and flicked off a mock salute which annoyed Cedric for reasons he could not explain.

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