02: An Oath at Dawn


Clive: Fernand! You came!

Fernand: Of course I did. I am honored to finally be able to call myself a knight of Zofia.

Clive: Alas… I fear I am going to incur your family’s wrath anew for this. They blame me for every reckless thing you’ve ever done.

Fernand: What choice did I have? Am I to while away the time frolicking with my sister? Unfortunately, she’s never been one for climbing trees or playing at the river. She’s nothing like your Clair.

Clive: I fear my mother has about given up on my dear sister. She worries she’ll never marry her off to a proper family. If Clair hears you’ve joined the knights, she’s liable to try and follow. She does abhor being left behind…

Fernand: Ha ha ha! I’ve no doubt Clair will come to her senses. She’s at the age where girls learn to embroider and be demure. She’ll soon realize it best to leave the kingdom to us men.

Clive: Embroidery needles are just weapons to her. But we’ve other matters to discuss.

Fernand: Tell me, old friend.

Clive: Perhaps this is not a matter I should speak of, especially not while I serve His Majesty himself… but Desaix’s swift rise at court… troubles me. For all intents and purposes, he now rules the kingdom.

Fernand: Aye, he’s a cunning one. He has been putting pressure on my father as well, much to his chagrin.

Clive: No wonder—your father is a good and kind man. He doubtless has no desire to put his own people through such hardship. But he would be wise not to incur Desaix’s displeasure. Not these days. I hope he knows how to play his cards.

Fernand: As do I. We all know what happened to Sir Mycen, after all.

Clive: It’s a damned unfortunate business, all of it. I’m certain Sir Mycen would have led His Majesty down a wiser path. But now that he’s been driven off, there is no point lamenting it.

Fernand: If only that were the worst of it. Now that the king’s scions are no more, what becomes of the royal bloodline? The Knights of Zofia need a true king to protect, not a laughingstock.

Clive: Mind your words, Fernand. The king is yet young—he can produce more heirs. And while we cannot choose our king, we can still serve our people. The nobles of Zofia have a duty to her smallfolk.

Fernand: On that, we agree. King or no, it’s the kingdom itself that is most worth protecting! Now, are you going to tell me how things are done around here or not?

Clive: Ha ha ha! Let me get you settled.