Saturday, December 1, 2012

For The Greatest Good -- Intermediate II

Intermediate II -- Compensation

As the last of the guards marched out of the throne room, Lord Ross clasped his hands behind his back. Behind him, Lord Campbell stepped forward.
  “Now, Ross,” The fair haired ruler’s tone commanded the attention of Ross and several of Ross’s men nearby. “About my compensation you promised.”
  Ross smiled, and abandoned his contemplations to face the castle’s owner, putting his hand on Campbell’s shoulder. “Of course. Do not worry, my friend, I had not forgotten.” He motioned to the guards. “Give him his compensation.”
  With a nod of gratitude and satisfaction, Campbell turned to the three soldiers. He paled in horror, just as the captain gave a savage thrust with a long knife into the lord’s chest. Campbell managed a strangled cry, eyes bulging, and he grasped the bloodied hilt. When Ross’s captain withdrew the weapon, stone faced, Campbell collapsed motionless on the ground, his expression of terror still etched on his face
  “My Lord, Campbell’s men are with us.” The captain reported, cleaning his blade on the edge of his victim’s cape before straightening again. “Those who disagreed were dealt with.”
  Ross smiled, eyes glinting in satisfaction as he walked towards his new throne. “Very good. I chose wisely when I promoted you, Wesley. Have one of your underlings send someone to clean up this mess here before something gets stained.”
  Captain Wesley bowed, then gestured to one of the other two men to do as Ross had said. “Thank you, my lord. If I have merited your trust to venture, might I question one of your recent decisions?”
  Settling into the simple, but commanding seat, Ross waved his hand in approval. “By all means.”
  “Thank you, my lord. It is about the hiring of the warrior Set.” Wesley said. “By our deductions, when we captured MacDonald in the halls, I believe his original intent had been to slay the lady Kearney. Besides that, though, I do not trust him; he is….difficult to fathom in his methods. I fear his intentions will not always mirror what my lord has in mind.”
  Ross steepled his fingers, tapping his chin in contemplation. “Why would he seek to kill Kearney? Why not MacDonald?”
  The captain frowned. “I….hadn’t thought of it, my lord. Set seems to enjoy inferring pain upon the Guardian Knight through life rather than death. There seems little other explanation to his hostility to him, and yet his reluctance to slay him outright. Macdonald’s death would damage our cause little, after all, his forces being destroyed.”
  “Indeed….” Ross fell silent for a few moments, then settled further into the throne. “Well, keep an eye on Set, if you wish. At present, he is a valuable asset against the Guardian Knights that we cannot afford to lose, or we will diminish our advantage. If he becomes more of a danger than a help, however, inform me, and we will decide how to deal with him. Does that satisfy you?”
  Wesley nodded. “It would give me pleasure to be the one to deal with him at his usefulness’s end, my lord. Thank you.” He bowed, and at Lord Ross’s dismissing gesture, he exited the throne room with his one remaining guard behind him.

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