The Fate of the Second Sons
11th Sigismund’s End, 1909
~The Sons and Daughters setting up camp for the exiles of Petra~
The raspy hack of coughs and moans of the dying rang through the camp between the claps of thunder. The sharp cry of a babe pierced the camp as the Sons and Daughters of Petra cursed between scoops of mud. Holes, holes for their waste, holes for their dead, holes in their hearts for the loss of their homeland.
"How did we get here?” Constanz said to his longtime friend Sir Louis d’Azor. “How did this happen?”
His comrade had no response. He was deep in thought. All of the Petrans were. While they had brought all they could carry, it was not enough to fill the void that their lost loved ones and their land had once filled.
"Im not going anywhere Constanz. I will follow you wherever you take us.” Sir Emir d’Abbassia said to a room full of Petrans. The Round Table had called a town hall to discuss their current situation.
"I'm with Emir! We will forge a new future. As long as we have each other!” said the Mayor Eryane Rhodon de Rosius. The woman had gone from a relative stranger to a great friend since her successful election. She had done wonders for the people of Petra and gave hope when there was little to be found.
It was all any leader could ask for as Constanz smiled sadly as his companions. However, their words of hope would not solve their predicament. “They’ll hunt us while I draw breath. It would not matter how far we go. We would never be safe.” "Then we’ll kill them all!” said the brave Sir Wings von Hahn “We will have each other’s backs, just as we always have!”
"This is no longer your fight, my fellow countrymen. Use this to create a new start, a future for our people. This is our chance to create a life for our children and our children’s children.” responded the disgraced Archduke.
"B-B-But Papa! Th-Th-Th-They’ll kill you!” said his eldest son Albert. The young boy had the markings of a leader, if he could overcome his challenges. Constanz smiled at the boy, but there was a deep sadness behind his eyes. He would never be able to witness his son grow to be a man.
Later that dark night, a rider galloped away from the camp with a letter in hand.
"To Marius Audemar,
You owe me a debt. In a single stroke of carelessness, you tore apart both a family and a nation with your adolescent decisions. For the past year, I have been waging a war of survival against the likes of you and your rogues. You have turned my wife paranoid not just against me, but against the people of Petra as a whole. On that fateful day when Renilde learned of my knowledge of your unholy deeds, she fled to you instead of to her countrymen to which you waged war. A war sanctioned on women and children, on innocent diplomats, and on all Petrans alike.
On the day that I learned that Renilde preferred the company of other men than the company of her people, I was shocked that she would stain the legacy of Petra and risk its security by trading whispered words with another nation’s royalty. That same nation that now occupies our homes. But never, never, did I plot to seize her crown. I made no move in any sort of fashion, not as much of a thought of it, instead finding that she had attempted to seize the people’s funds with force through a fit of paranoia. She then fled to Haense where I became apprised that she was raising men to seize the city with Haeseni and Ferrymen forces.
I have seen firsthand what sort of wanton destruction the Ferrymen can cause, and many honorable Petrans such as Sir Arthur de Lyons, Sir Brandt Berhal, and Dame Livia d’Anpalais, died at the hands of their blades or worse, at the hands of darkspawn from within your ranks. I rallied the people of Petra to the keep for safety, and yet they still came. Only by the Grace of GOD did we survive that day. But I know my people will find no justice at the hands of your governments, and I know you will keep hunting them for crimes they did not commit so I leave my fate to GOD.
I, Constantine Antonius Novellen, challenge you to a duel to the death.”