“Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse, they do. Everyone has plans but no one can really predict the future, especially these days. There are a lot of high and mighty fools out there who think they can control the world but of course they can’t” Luphera told the man across the table from her.
She was dressed in a long white dress and petticoat. It was an oddly conservative outfit for the consort and information dealer.
“Seems to me like the powerful are at least very skilled at keeping themselves on top, even if they obviously aren’t very good at running anything. I’m a prime example of this, myself,” the Governor remarked with a self-depreciating chuckle.
The two of them were by themselves in a small room off to the side of the Governor’s mansion in the center of Daggerpoint. They were seated across from each other at a table and the morning sunlight poured into the room from a large window.
“Rulers and authorities come and go all the time. Most of them rarely leave much of a mark on the world before they’re usurped by someone else ruthless, cunning, and equally replaceable,” Luphera told him after taking a leisurely sip of wine.
“No, that’s just not true. Even terrible rulers leave an impression, sometimes more so than good ones. Take a look at the state of the world around us! Who is to blame for all the wars, violence, and poverty if not some godsforsaken king somewhere,” the Governor replied.
“Who knows? I was just recently reminded that the world is a much larger place than people realize, and most of it has never been seen by human eyes,” the woman commented. “We’ve lived on this continent for hundreds of years but we never truly conquered it. Travel any direction but East and soon enough civilization just stops. To the West are the great empty plains, to the North lie dark frozen forests, and to the South grow the steaming jungles. We have no idea how large this continent even is!”
“The lesson on geography is interesting but I believe you’re talking about Herad’s new pet,” the older man said with a frown of distaste.
“It would be a very foolish mistake to think of Blacknail as anyone’s pet. Meeting him was very eye opening, in more ways than one,” Luphera replied as she smirked smugly.
The Governor just rolled his eyes and poured himself another glass of wine.
“If you’re trying to shock an old man then you’re going to have to try much harder, Luphera. The rite of Beldeva was quite popular among the cult of Tera-Nan when I was young, you know,” he told his drinking companion.
“Hmmm, how intriguing, but I believe we’ve gotten off topic. I was talking about how the schemes of men and women are doomed to failure,” Luphera responded.
“And I was disagreeing with you. I take it this isn’t a completely philosophical argument, though? ” the man remarked.
“No, it definitely isn’t. Now that spring has come and the roads have opened people have began leaving the city. Just this morning Herad and her band headed back South for instance,” the woman explained.
“Ah yes, the Black Snake goes to rejoin the rest of her forces and prepare for the coming storm. My own investigations, as undoubtedly have yours, have revealed that there are significant forces set against them. Thus, her ambitions seem doomed and I suppose that’s an example of plans going awry,” the Governor remarked with a frown.
The older man then took a deep drink of wine and sighed in fatigue.
“I just wish my own fate wasn’t so tightly entwined with hers. If Herad falls and Werrick succeeds in unifying the rest of the bands then he won’t have much use for me. The city doesn’t need a neutral mediator if it has a king,” he added.
Luphera smiled reassuringly at the man. She was rather fond of him after all. Without him and the deal he’d made with the outlaw bands so many years ago there would be no Daggerpoint, and he was one of the more interesting conversationalists around.
“I was actually thinking of the exact opposite. Werrick’s mysterious backers are powerful and have obviously made some very long term plans for all of us. Undoubtedly, they think they’ve accounted for everything but they haven’t. The world is wider than they know and Herad could surprise them,” she countered.
“So they’ll try again. Even if the Wolf somehow gets himself killed I’m sure they could find a replacement. That mercenary band of Zelena’s was quite the shock. These people aren’t fooling around; Herad is simply outmatched in this fight. I fear we will all soon be under someone’s boot,” he replied bitterly.
“You might be right. Things change and it may soon be time for the North to have a ruler. Herad certainly seems to be the underdog here,” Luphera replied as she turned and gazed thoughtfully out the window.
A second later she turned back to her companion.
“The North is not so easily predicted though, and lately things have been… stranger than ever. I’ve recently expanded the scope of the information I collect, and what I’ve received so far paints a messy picture indeed,” she told him.
“Like what?” the Governor asked in surprise.
“Things have begun to change. The outlaw bands have done as they pleased for years now but that time may be over. The smaller more isolated groups have started to disappear; something is preying on them. There are more and more reports of mutant and beast sightings, and just yesterday I got news of brazen attacks and thefts along the southern road by goblins. That hasn’t happened in over a hundred years! After turning on itself for so long, I fear humanity has begun to lose its grip on the North completely,” she replied darkly.
“Surely, you’re exaggerating?” the startled older man asked.
“No, as much as we both detest the very idea, a king may be exactly what we need. It is possible that even in victory our would be puppet masters may win themselves nothing.”
Free Bonus Chapter!
Get access to a 9000 word bonus chapter set in The Iron Teeth and a new world map by joining my mailing list today.