AN APOLOGY WRITTEN IN VINDICATION OF THE ADRIAN PEOPLE;
ON THE EMPEROR’S LIES AND HAENSETIAN COWARDICE
WRITTEN BY THE HAND OF
ALFRED, LORD MYRE
SENESCHAL OF ADRIA
O Muse of the Adrians, let your pity and weeping drive my pen ever forward in the service of justice. Look with kindness upon your people, and pray to the Lord our God that they might be delivered from the wrath of the nations. Amen.
I, Lord Myre, once humble servant to His Grace Duke Marius the Craven, have taken it upon myself to record a true account of the villainies which have beset the Adrian people since the succession of Emperor Anthony and his subsequent persecutions; to vindicate them against the attacks which their sworn Emperor let loose upon them; and to detail the pathetic cowardice of their sworn liege lord, Duke Marius, in signing the death warrant of his own people and allowing the hounds of Anthony to burn the City of Ves to the ground.
PART THE FIRST:
ON ADRIAN GRIEVANCES
Wheresoever to begin an exposition of the falsities which the hand of the Devil himself, Anthony, has spewed with tongue and pen about the Adrian people I know not; so I pray for your guidance, O Muse.
Let us begin first with a detailing of a petition signed and published almost three years ago now by a group of Adrian councilors, which went by the name On Adrian Apprehension. As loyal subjects to His Imperial Majesty, this group of men wrote with the understanding that their right to petition would be protected; that their liberties as men both common and noble would go without persecution. Woe to these men, for they were dreadfully wrong.
Within the aforementioned petition, a number of grievances were raised. Firstly, the question of Ser Darius Ault’s appointment to the position of Grandmaster of Anthony’s hounds, his personal army, the Dragon Knights. The man is a villain, whose evil is so blatant that very light of the sun does not shine where he stands; a criminal, a vagrant, and a traitor. Let those with ears to hear listen to the crimes of this noble ser, sworn to uphold the chivalric code, and come to understand why the Adrian people were so disturbed by his appointment to such a position of influence.
In the year 1705, when the City of Ves was first established by His Grace Duke Paul and his councilors, the administration of the city was in the hands of the late Artumee Ault and her husband, Darius Ault. This Darius was a ***** fellow; one could find him walking about with a prosthetic hand, designed as some sort of blade; but it is not widely known why he received such treatment. Let it be known: Darius Ault lost his hand as punishment for the crimes of murdering a Haensetian nobleman (were the lot only to remember!) The Ault family was by far the most influential within Ves, boasting a collection of power unseen by the other families. Artumee Ault held the esteemed office of Mayor, and as such as sworn to uphold the liberty of the citizens.
Hark: within a fortnight, Artumee began to abuse her power. The violent woman (she was one to swear profusely) began to threaten the tavern master, Lithren, into surrendering her ownership of the Bird and the Bard so that the Ault family might run it for their own profits. It is then said that Artumee drew a sword upon Lithren (a benevolent soul) and threatened her very life; Duke Paul, upon noticing, commanded that Artumee should disarm herself. This order Artumee refused not once but twice, an injustice against her liege lord: but listen now to the treachery that followed. Artumee’s husband, the villain Darius, arrived and abetted his wife’s crime, and the weapons were turned on their liege lord Paul himself- an act of treason! An attempt was made upon the Duke’s life, but his loyal retinue put the treacherous Aults down- Artumee was justly killed in the attack, and Darius was dragged off to Helena to be sentenced by His Imperial Majesty Augustus. This Augustus, an exemplary and just emperor that Anthony might learn from, banished Darius to the wilderness for his crimes of treason.
Upon succession to the throne, Emperor Anthony- always one to hold a grudge against Adria- pardoned Darius of his crimes. Villain! Wretch! How could it be so that a two-time traitor would be pardoned by the man who seeks to call himself the weapon of that which is right and just himself, the Emperor? But listen! There is more: this Emperor Anthony, in an affront to his Adrian subjects, named this traitorous Darius the Grandmaster of his personal army! This is the grievance which the most humble Adrian councilors petitioned against in their missive. Think, O reader: would you, too, not be most grievously offended by a traitor’s appointment to such an influential office?
Nextly, the humble Adrian councilors brought before the Emperor the question of representation in parliament- something so simple as that! When the Imperial Parliament was called, it was noted that the Duchy- when compared with all the other realms of the Empire- had scant representation. In fact, it was allocated only one or two seats! When exacerbated by Adria’s presence in not a single seat of Privy, this could only lead to a feeling of isolation. Do note, O reader, how simple a petition this was: would you, too, not seek representation where it was fit? Adria herself was isolated amongst the various realms of the Empire, and such a thing reflected itself in Imperial policy no doubt.
PART THE SECOND:
ON THE EMPEROR’S LIES
Dearest reader! Men, be courageous; women, let not your tears dampen the letters. Shut now your children’s eyes, plug up their ears, steel your heart: we proceed to one of those great tyrannies, which, spurned on by humankind’s original sin, pride, so sullies the pages of histories.
To humble Adria’s petition, their Emperor- who pretends to protect his people and lead them from all evil- responded in turn. Violence, bloodshed, aggression! Could not the Devil himself be turned from such tyranny! Oh, my pen trembles, my heart quaketh. Anthony responded with issuing an epistle so-named Question Not the Crown, the lies therein I cannot begin to number. But spurred onward by my people’s plight, I write.
To the petition detailed in the first part, the most humble of all addresses, the tyrant Anthony gave his own response: the Adrian people would submit themselves to martial law, that they would expel and have their very own mayor beheaded, and they would pay ransom for crimes they were innocent of. If they did not submit to these things, they would be put to the sword- their homes burned, their men murdered. Horror! But what could cause such atrocities!? Did you not, O reader, see the Adrian petition for yourself? Should it be henceforth forever known that were a subject to petition his liege lord for representation, his liege lord is right to respond with death and devastation? To demand his subject submit to martial law? Villainy! Abject tyranny!
The Emperor wrote that he should “lay low the apprehension of Our Adrian people.” What apprehensions, you ask? The apprehension that a subject should have his right of petition protected, and responded to with reason? Falsehood, in the eyes of Anthony, is truth. This is not an Emperor who cares for his people; this is not a lord who rules justly and with reason. This is a tyrant, the basest form of villainy; a man whose passions dominates his wretched soul.
What reason- if any- did the Emperor provide for threatening devastation against his own people? The false claim that the City of Ves was harboring bandits- a claim which had long been refuted. In what stretch of the world would it be regarded as just for an Emperor to threaten destruction of his own people, fellow men, for lies? Listen, O reader, as I vindicate the innocence of the Adrian people against these lies.
It must be admitted, for honesty and integrity’s sake, of error on the part of His Grace Duke Paul. Very early in his reign, there was great chaos in the military apparatus of the Duchy- and His Grace, like any just lord, sought to protect his people as soon as possible from pillagers. He thus unilaterally hired the Moredin Company. This Moredin Company was alleged to be a group of mercenaries by their leaders, and Paul was tricked; it took a year for him to realize his folly, after the alleged mercenaries began to attack citizens and merchants alike- the company, now known to the populace as reivers, was banished immediately from Adria, on the threatened punishment of execution. Shortly after, the City of Ves began to suffer raiding by these reivers, many a time winning victory over them.
Shortly after, too, the Empire had banished those who were known to be working for the so-named Nottingham Company, a group of merchants (and alleged reivers!) which had set up shop in Ves. This company the villain Anthony used as a scapegoat! He claimed that the city was harboring them; did he not realize that Nottingham had stalls and stores in Helena, and Reza as well? Nottingham formed no integral part of Adria, and it was easy to rid the Duchy of them. Was that insufficient? Would the Adrian people be put to the sword besides? Think, O reader, on this defense: is it not most reasonable? Yet read further, and open your heart to the sufferings of the Adrians.
PART THE THIRD:
ON THE PERSONAL UNION OF HAENSE AND ADRIA, UNDER MARIUS II AND I
“News was delivered by courier under the dark of an autumn night. The Emperor himself had declared that the Duchy, women and babe alike, was to capitulate to his demands or be put to the sword: there was great weeping and gnashing of teeth. The Adrian people had been forgotten by their fellow man, for what? Bustling evening streets, typically occupied with commerce, friendship, and good will, were now filled with a futile rage at the sudden movements of Fate.
The people took to the palace, throwing themselves at the feet of their liege lord. Paul looked over his wretched populace with a stoic gaze; he rose his hand for silence. In this moment, the beloved Duke understood the workings of Providence: if God should declare it so, how could man declare it otherwise? But the pitiful Duke could not stand to watch his people suffer. He kissed a weeping maid upon the cheek to give her reassurance. After a silence, the man spoke.”
The Adrian people were left stunned by the issuing of Question Not the Crown. They were betrayed- they were left as carrion for the vultures. Damned even by their fellow subjects- the cretinous villains, King Marius of Haense, and King Wilhelm of Curonia had signed the missive. Did these foolish men not realize the tyranny of their liege lord? Is it not understood even by children that the destruction of one is the destruction of all in common? Their liege lord had responded to a petition with violence and destruction, and they went along with it! Cowards, the whole lot. May the Lord our God rebuke them, we humbly pray. Amen.
But His Grace Duke Paul was wise. He took the most prudent route he could devise for his people: to submit to Anthony’s tyranny was death, and to disobey was death. And so the pitiful man abdicated. The Electors deliberated silently, hands trembling- they would elect the King of Haense as duke in order to secure the safety and prosperity of the Adrian people. O wretched men, had you only known! Were you only omniscient! Had you only known that your sworn lord, the coward Marius, would betray you, his own people!
“It is with open arms that I, His Royal Majesty King Marius II of House Barbanov, accept the decision of the Adrian Duma and take on the title of Duke of Adria. The Dual Monarchy of Hanseti-Ruska is honoured to accept the Adrians into its people, and remember the historic friendship between us as well as the Highlander blood that flows within every Adrian. As Adria is accepted into the Kingdom, the Dual Monarchy recognizes the people of Adria not as foreign subjects, but as friends and brothers reunited.”
This was the response by Marius to the wretched Adrians. Lies! Villainy! The least of men is he who betrays his friends. O reader, look upon Marius’s own words: judge you rightly. When word is contrasted with action, believe the latter most highly.
The products of this union, in its first showing, were fruitful. Ser Darius Ault and his dogs had been pushed out of Ves by a showing of Haensetian might. The city was safe from martial law and from Imperial devastation. Blessed Duke! Praises were sung to his name, roses thrown at his feet. Wretched people! Did you know he would betray you?
PART THE FOURTH:
ON THE TRIAL OF YURIY, IMPERIAL PRINCE
The retreat of Imperial aggression would not last for long. Listen, reader, to a true account of the events which occurred nigh two months past! The villainous Imperial Prince Yuriy collected himself a band of armed men from within the city of Helena. He sought to raid the City of Ves! How now! A prince, raiding the subjects of his own kin? Violence! Only in Anthony’s empire could such abject foolishness be tolerated and encouraged.
Yuriy reached the city with a group of about five or six; all brandishing weapons and armor and ready for a fight. Amongst them was one Calculus de Sola (who, reader, bears a rather peculiar resemblance to Emperor Anthony himself in speech!) and one impotent fool by the name of Ralph (who in his deformed looks bears resemblance to Ser Darius Ault! A mystery!) These men had raided and murdered in Ves before- a sure sign that the Imperial administration itself was behind all their previous crimes, given that they now were accompanied by an Imperial prince himself.
The defenders of the city were surprised and defeated by this band of Imperial brigands- what, O reader? Do you realize their hypocrisy? Look on! Look at the crimes of the Emperor! He threatens to put his own people to the sword over bandits, and then engages in banditry himself! Tyrant!
A trial was immediately called. Duke Marius was summoned to the capital Helena, along with all the Adrian witnesses he could muster. This was a grand show. Dozens upon dozens joined His Grace’s train- oh, had they known the betrayal that awaited them! They arrived to the show trial of Yuriy, where the man made a fool of Imperial justice. Duke Marius was outraged- how could the Emperor himself allow such humor? And then, O reader, the most abject of tyrannies committed by a man in all our histories led its attack.
The Adrian retinue which accompanied Marius was ordered by the Emperor to kneel before his throne. Confusion took over the crowd, muttering and mumbling filled the throne room. A command by the Emperor soon took to demands- that the Adrian retinue which accompanied Marius, for unnamed crimes, of which they were afforded no trial, common and nobility alike- would be put to the death! The Emperor enacted his trap- the throne room became a wretched bunker, the Adrians trapped in the very middle of the thing.
Outrage! Villainy! Treachery! Words used by all gathered. The Haensetians that followed Marius drew their weapons, most with the understanding that they would defend him and the wretched Adrians. Shouting grew to violence. Children, close your eyes! Husbands, put away your wives! Only pain and suffering awaits he who takes the journey forward. When Marius (a coward, but not here!) refused to allow his Adrian subjects to be persecuted unjustly by Emperor Anthony, he too was subject to the sword- a great skirmish ensued, Imperial against Adrian and Haensetian. The surprised latter were put to the sword and injured grievously, along with Marius. Marius himself fell in the battle, only to be dragged away by loyal soldiers.
PART THE FIFTH:
ON HAENSETIAN COWARDICE;
MARIUS THE CUCKOLD
O Muse, guide my pen, for it falters. I am only a man. I too have fears; I too succumb to them. I have pain and suffering; the depths of my heart is empty with despair. Tell, O Muse, of the sufferings of the Adrian people one last time- tell, O Muse, of the greatest single act of cowardice and betrayal in all history. The very bards which will forevermore tell this tale shall weep to its atrocity.
The Adrians and the Haensetians were routed by the surprise assault by the Imperial cretins. The former took flight to Ves; the latter took flight to Reza. At once, all prepared for what was only bound to come: war. A civil war was to come to the Empire over this tyranny. An Emperor putting his own subjects to the sword without trial! He is no emperor at all! He is a brute in possession of might- but only had the Haensetians not been guided by such atrocious cowardice! The man might have seen judgement yet!
But no war would come. There would be no uprising against the tyrant Anthony. The crimes of he and his kin would go unpunished. From the moment the first blade was drawn, Marius had whispers in his ears: his harlot wife, by whom he is infamously *****-whipped, spoke villainy against the Adrians. She filled his heart with cowardice. “Let the Adrians die, Marius,” she commanded him, and the coward acquiesced. *****! May she rot for all eternity! May her bones be crushed! And Josef Eimar, may his name forever live in infamy- it is said that he refused to draw weapons to aid his fellow Haensetians when the Emperor had them attacked, and then flung himself at his feet when the onslaught had finished! Your pathetic wishes were granted. A people have been vanquished- and yours, we humbly pray, will come next.
Marius, the coward, the cretinous villain, traitor to his own people, shame to his name, we pray that the Lord bring curses upon you and your house to the death. You let your people die- and what have you to say for it? You have issued no edicts, you have said no words. You have went with silence back to your halls in Reza. You have abandoned those you were sworn to protect- you allowed the Imperials to raze the city without the simplest budging. Did you wet yourself when your ***** wife ordered you to allow your own people to be put to the sword?
PART THE SIXTH:
A PEOPLE VANQUISHED
My penhand tires. I can go no further. Picture, O reader, my weeping; picture my wrath. I am left a refugee. My city is burned, my home is pillaged. Adria is left butchered: a centuries old duchy left annihilated by the hands of a tyrant emperor and a craven duke.
I pray, O Lord, that Thou harken to the devastation of Thy people. I pray that the tyrannies of Anthony shouldst find its downfall by the cleaving of Thy sword of justice. I pray that history shouldst look upon the fate of the Adrians with pity; that they should know of the treachery and cowardice, the vice and evil of their fellow men, which led to their lot. Amen.