The Count of Rochefort sat on his porch, overlooking the land he had stewarded for twenty-six long years; a snuffed cigar lay in the ashtray upon the ledge by which he sat. His life had been a tumultuous one, and it may still yet to be. But for the time and in future years as his twilight came upon him what appeared was an opportunity for peace and comfort. Yet all he could think of as he looked across to the valley of Cathalon below, the township of Owynsburg that had been made to flourish, the fields made to grow, which now colored the settled land as a magnificent golden hue; all he could think to do was reflect on his time and pray it was enough. On the first he took solace that his brother would choose a worthy successor, his elder brother and all but one of the two folk of his long forgotten childhood who still beget time within his life. Yet now he was in mid-life, not the spotted ambitious youth of his sixteenth year; high on the regard of a newly wife and eager for the responsibilities that came endowed with them.
His next thoughts turned therein entirely to family and friends. His children now on their way to adulthood, his eldest daughter Lorena but a paltry year away from it. ‘She will do well’ he thought, ‘no, they will do well.’ He thought again, reaffirming his belief as his mind drifted to their prospects. With any regard, he would try to assure her ascendency to his own former post in the Lieutenancy which he had already promptly resigned but a few moments before. She would do well in any path she chose, and he was content in that, despite the Count’s reputation for the contrary he was and had always been a man of liberal dispositions. The sixth son of nine healthy children, and a boy with nothing but a name to inherit. Which he had levied to the best of his abilities in the industries of both the personal and the political. His son Adrian would serve well as Count when his time came, but not just yet. He would have the time to raise his youngest sons, Victor and William. His daughter Theodora would be given a good life too, or an opportunity to be taken care of so help the Lord. For if the family he hesitantly regarded broke their bond a second time he nary countenance the grief of loss that accompanied the death of most his siblings, his mother and father. It was nothing more than what he had, maybe far more, and he would have nothing less.
He had remained strong in his tenure, though it weened and waxed, and his good faith was tested, betrayed, and sometimes paid off. He had accrued strong friendships with the common folk of his Commonwealth, for all but in name he felt assured in thinking of it as such; his country, every grain in Cathalon and every brick in the mortar of Varoche. The O’Rourke of Elendil who had proven eternal in their fortitude, never wavering in their support of the shared project of prosperity for the valley they all loved. Newcomers by all means with no obligation to do so even, yet they remained and guided the land alongside his own hands even now. The goodly Mayor Alexander and the men of the former garrison, whom to his knowledge had all preferred transference to the Navy by which they could truly fight in a force that represented the spirit of their province, a force they could mayhap one day take pride in constructing like he and his had seen to the Commonwealth itself. Though his last thoughts were for his first, a man and women who without their support he would have truly failed before he began, his brief inexperience which would have spelled his doom: the late Karoly, his longtime friend and patriot Laurence Pruvia, and the scion of Dubois Mariana. ‘Though they were sometimes fickle’ he thought, they never abandoned him even unto their departure from his administration. They had been tireless in their pursuits, and their loss would always be a void of government and of his own soul that he knew would never be filled.
“Not so bad, I suppose. Not bad at all.”
he said the words with finality, his tone soft as he muttered the words to himself. he took one last look at the valley of his people; the Rhoswenii who had taken and cherished the land since his father’s dissolution of the old republic of the past. Though as he had always despised war himself, loathed the barricades that came with the most recent of them, loathed the loss of life that accompanied it. Yet so too did he despise betrayal and favour loyalty. An ultimate paradox, to hate the actions of one’s liege, but in principle to never betray him for it. He had only once done so in his forty years of life, and only in retaliation, Thinking again on his children as that one moment passed before him there was also no hesitation, and then the guilt which soon accompanied the realization of that resolution.
With that final thought his contemplation was broken, silently he thanked all before GOD which even then he saw in that valley below him. He thanked him for his opportunity to shepard his people, and while he could afford to do so no longer he would not forget the time he had been given. He left then his rocking chair to the solitude of the lone porch, a glass of whiskey drained and the glass itself cleaned in it’s absence, ready to be washed and reused.
It was his time, to lay at rest beneath his figs and raise his foxes.