Thursday, 17 January 2013


A Queen's Crier, braving the snow in Royal City
As snow continues to fall over the Royal City, a stark red symbol stands proud against the white. The six stroke cross, long the symbol of Abevorn, has taken upon new meaning. Now it stands for the defiance of the people or the hubris of a single man, depending on who you listen to.

On Monday, Lord Hawkcroft made a rousing speech that ended with a call to look for the six stroke cross in the days ahead. Now it has arrived, woven into pennants flying from lamp-posts and daubed on doorways across the city. Step through one of those doorways and a member of the newly founded People's Militia will ask you a question:

Are you loyal to King and Kingdom?

If you answer 'no', then expect to be ejected through that doorway in short order. Expect also to have a call within a few hours from more members of the People's Militia seeking to explore the ramifications of that 'no' in greater detail - detail found in the grain of crude clubs and at the pointy end of a rusty knife.

Things go altogether more cordially if you answer 'yes'. Joining the People's Militia can involve anything from a hearty expression of support, through donations to enlistment. The latter means accepting a black-dyed army surplus uniform, a meagre salary of three copper coins a month and swearing an oath of allegiance to the protection of Abevorn. Duties then involve enforcing loyalty among the populace and putting down any behaviour deemed un-Royal. Qualifying behaviour is covered by an extensive list, but for those who can't read, so-called 'Queen's Criers' are now walking the streets with the six stroke cross on their chest, shouting out all those things now considered unacceptable - from banditry and theft, to failure to stand for the national anthem prior to a football match.


'I think it's marvellous,' said Capus of Mossbank, 22. 'Really makes you feel like the people are taking the future of Abevorn into their own hands.'

'It's madness,' said Abigail the Clothmaiden, 35. 'I know some of these lads going around in those Militia uniforms and they don't give a toss about king or country. They're in it for the money and the brutalising of things and not necessarily in that order.'

When contacted for comment, Lord Hawkcroft's spokeswoman said that the People's Militia was an entirely independent organisation over which he had no control, but one which he fully supported. In reply to Duke Kiekegaar Sanval's call for the general populace to be armed with magic, Hawkcroft's spokeswoman would only say that the Lord-Councillor applauded the Duke's original thinking, but doubted the Magisterium would ever condone such a policy. Still, she was keen to reiterate Lord Hawkcroft's belief that if we trust the people with power, Abevorn will only grow stronger as a result.


'Power is not something to be shared out willy nilly,' said Lord Fife outside the Sevvenia House of State. 'A farmer working the fields does not need power, he needs seeds and a plough. A miner working in our mines does not need power, he needs an axe and a lamp. Power is nothing but a tool and those qualified to wield such a tool are the nobles and generals, not... oiks.'

Such differences in opinion may explain why the next meeting of the King's Council has been postponed until further notice.

Casewick Essendine

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