“How dare you!” Lady Amandine spoke in hushed tones so that the groomsmen Barton wouldn’t hear her. “Please, Lady Amandine… listen to reason. The King is losing favor with the people, it is only right that we should all make our own beds more comfortable.” Lord d’Hardt smiled and crossed his arms. “It’s your fault the King ended up with egg on his face over this whole assassination business anyhow, you are supposed to be his Intelligence Chief! Instead you went around killing civilians in Malas!” “Please, my men and I are not murderers. We laid low a few unseemly folks that sought to break the siege of Falling Waters, yes. Traitors all and they met a traitor’s death.” “As will you Fabian, in the end!” Amandine spit her words. “I can see that I cannot persuade you, that is too bad. The King is out of the castle chasing rumor of a Xorinite, Dupre is drunk in town. I thought you would be more receptive to my… proposals. A woman in your condition, alone and undefended…” “You disgust me” The bedridden Lady Amandine crossed her arms. “If you will not help me, then you will have no role in the future of this Kingdom.” Fabian produced a key from his pocket and quickly slipped out the door, locking Lady Amandine in her room. “Barton… or should I say, Lord Barton. Lady Amandine is tired, see that she is undisturbed.” Fabian smiled darkly and dropped a large emerald ring in the Groomsmen’s pocket. The courtyard was filled with Kingsguard, loyal knights, zealots who seemed to worship King Blackthorn as a sort of living god. Above them, Lord Fabian d’Hardt stood a scowl on his face. “Kingsguard!” Lord d’Hardt’s call was answered back by three hundred militaristic guttural howls of attention and praise. “The King has given me orders, we are to march upon Trinsic. It is to be our new Stronghold. As Serpent’s Hold was once to the now forgotten Order of the Silver Serpent. Trinsic shall be ours, a gift from our King!” Fabian raised his sword, and below him three hundred knights raised theirs in salute and shouted… “In the name of the King!” and the words shook the stones of Castle Blackthorn. Fabian and his closest knights raced forward across the bridge into Britain. Behind him the Kingsguard dragoons began to form ranks and companies for their march south to Trinsic. Above them, a single bright blue ribbon waved wildly in the wind from the open window of Lady Amandine.