1. Welcome to the Fantasy Writing Forums. Register Now to join us.

The Council of Barons

Discussion in 'Machiavel: Ambition' started by Ravana, Oct 3, 2011.

  1. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

    2,012
    292
    83
    THE COUNCIL OF BARONS

    Several of the realm’s barons, concerned about recent events, have called for a meeting of all their peers, to “investigate issues of common concern” and “issue advisory opinions” to the higher-ups. This is a good place for you to interact with one another and NPCs of the same rank… the class of people most likely to share your own interests. Assuming you’re interested in remaining a baron, that is. Of course, many barons also hold other (higher) titles; no one’s going to bar the doors against them, but you may occasionally need to consider who’s speaking in favor of or against what, and what their own interests might be.

    One of the hottest topics of discussion–albeit of little debate, since most people in the room seem to favor the notion–is that of finding a way to make the Council of Barons a permanent fixture.…

    [This is an open thread. Have at it.]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  2. myrddin173

    myrddin173 Maester

    729
    43
    28
    [Assuming most of the Barons are already present]

    Alec moves towards the long, rectangular table in the center of the room, conspicuously empty despite the large number of Barons in attendance. He taps the side of a water goblet with his knife quieting the varied conversations throughout the room. "I propose we start discussing the matters at hand, beginning with the possible continuation of this Council."
     
  3. Night Terror

    Night Terror Dreamer

    16
    0
    1
    Lazarus enters the room, clothed in his traditional black habit. He takes a seat near Alec, and signals a servant for a flask of wine.

    "Go ahead," he says. "Make your case. What is so important for us to discuss that this council needs to continue?"

    Lazarus sits back and grins, exposing a mouth full of silver teeth.
     
  4. TeaBerry

    TeaBerry Dreamer

    12
    0
    1
    Safrax eagerly leans forward, elbows on the table, as his hands clasp in front of his mouth. Pondering the day's business, he thinks to himself, "This better be worth the long journey. I have much better things to which I need to tend."

    Meanwhile, Anthusa mingles with the other ladies, sipping wine in the adjacent room.
     
  5. Night Terror

    Night Terror Dreamer

    16
    0
    1
    "Gentleman and ladies, may I have your ear." He waves a hand, commanding the room's attention.

    "I arrived at this council nearly two days ago, and yet nothing has been accomplished during this time. Other than petty gossip, little of interest has been said. And yet we have such pressing matters to discuss."

    Lazarus walks to the front of the room.

    "What we are lacking is leadership. We are a body without a head. Nothing can get done, and things are frozen in limbo. We are in a crisis, my dearest friends, and what is most sorely lacking is a leader to move us forward. Someone with the initiative to take charge, and get something of value accomplished."

    From within his black robes Lazarus pulls out a scroll and foists it into the air.

    "This scroll, which I present to you today, offers a vision. A vision of a unified, strong empire. A world full of hope. A world open to change. We must lay aside our private interests, and be one people again. But to reach this level, we must have the audacity to hope and believe that we can overcome our divisions."

    He lowers the scroll and places it on the front table.

    "Our dearest friend, Alec, a man of wisdom, has asked us to discuss making this council a permanent fixture. I support Alec's request, and add a further proposal. Let us make this great council an ongoing body of leadership. And let us choose a head to direct it's affairs."

    He raises both arms in in a cruciform position.

    "I am willing to sacrifice myself to serve you. For there is no greater love than to give one's life for his friends. I will set aside my personal interests, and will be your servant. Your leader. I will be your guide. Offer me your support, and I will take us on a journey that shall be most excellent."
     
  6. myrddin173

    myrddin173 Maester

    729
    43
    28
    Lazarus' announcement unleashes an outcry of protest from the assembled Barons, most notably those holding higher titles. Seeing an opportunity Alec rises, and getting the attention of the Council speaks.

    "My fellow countrymen, please. Do not attack our peer, Baron Lazarus, for his proposal does have merit. Yes many of you must be afraid that having such a concentration in one person is the beginning of a coup against our superiors, however that is not my vision. This Council has great potential, not as a resistance against the Empire but as an advisory body, helping the future Emperor, his Ministers and the others in Power to better rule not only this realm but the three Kingdoms as well."

    "I do not believe, however that Baron Lazarus should become the Speaker of this Council, the stresses of such a position could be better handled by someone somewhat younger, myself for example."
     
  7. TeaBerry

    TeaBerry Dreamer

    12
    0
    1
    Baron Safrax rises from his seat. Eyes closed and hand on mouth in a moment of contemplation.

    As he opens his eyes, he gestures toward Baron Lazarus.

    "My fellow barons. The saying goes that with age comes wisdom. Baron Lazarus has faithfully led his people for only six months, but his proximity to the throne for the many years before his tenure has allowed him to govern with strength.

    "I, myself, have faithfully governed my people for the last four years, allowing us to rise in stature and power from our humble beginnings.

    "It has not always been easy. I know the struggles that come with balancing the needs of the people and the needs of my own family - which always comes first.

    "Baron Lazarus is not only very knowledgeable and effective; he has no wife, no children to distract him from the many needs of our lands.

    "I must agree that he, indeed, is the man who can fundamentally transform our lands into things much greater and into further prosperity."
     
  8. myrddin173

    myrddin173 Maester

    729
    43
    28
    "Nevertheless there is another saying, age doesn't always bring wisdom. Sometimes age comes alone. I am curious however as to why Baron Lazarus is without a wife, for is not Imperial Law that an heir must be wed to inherit a Baronial Seat. Why should we place power into the hands of one who so blatantly breaks the laws of the land, which we are sworn to uphold?
     
  9. Dark Guardian

    Dark Guardian Scribe

    25
    0
    1
    Excellencies, leadership is a good thing. But true leaders arise: it matters not who we appoint. To me, the question is not who leads, but what he is leading. What do we make here?

    The Emperor is too removed from his servants. The Dukes use us for their purposes. We are the ones expected to supply their needs, carry out their dictates, collect their taxes. Where is our voice?

    Where is the voice of the people? We are closest to them. We know their needs. We know what they can provide. Our peasants grow the food, chop the timber, mine the ore. Our craftsmen make the swords, the ships, the gilded plates the mighty dine on. Our merchants move the goods.

    This is our strength. But alone we are powerless. Only united can our voices be heard. This Council must become permanent, so we can have a voice in the Empire.

    But to make it permanent we need a law. To get the law, we need an Emperor to pass it. So I ask this: which candidate will agree with our aims?
     
  10. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

    2,012
    292
    83
    The general tenor of the Council is unquestionably in favor of its continuance as a permanent fixture; most seem to agree that having some real (legal) power behind it would be a good thing.

    A few of the barons who are also higher nobles point out that this could seriously upset the present order… however, they don't do a very good job of saying precisely how, apart from making the obvious point that any disruption of an existing order could impact all those who are a part of it—i.e. the rest of you. If the barons "demand" a voice in the running of the empire, who else might come forth with their own "demands"? Are the barons prepared to accept "councils" within their own fiefs, with "real powers" to restrict the baron's freedom of action?

    A different tack is presented by a few members: should this Council be continued as a body in its own right, or as part of an Imperial Diet? (This presupposes that it would be a body with legal standing.)

    Several members of the Council bring up other areas they'd like to see "looked into," as well, most of them specific rather than general ones—though the specifics could have broad effects:
    (1) It is generally known by now that the Lord Marshal and Count of Aldenthau was assassinated. This has yet to be investigated.
    (2) Why was Duke Palatine Rudimer made a Legate, and why was he granted Freedom of the Royal Mint?
    (3) Does the Electorate need to be changed, and if so in what way? (Suggestions here are numerous; most involve increasing the number of Electors… who would receive the new ones almost always degenerates into a shouting match.)
    (4) How is the conflict over the County of Aldenthau to be resolved?
    (5) Was the Duchess of Alstein within her rights in dissolving her duchy, and granting an entire county to one of the chivalric orders?
    (6) The succession to the County of Grenteheim is becoming an increasingly awkward issue: the county itself is split between three duchies; half of it is being administered by an incompetent heir (and an unmarried one, preventing him from assuming title), the other half by a caretaker who reports to a regency council; its proper countess remains in exile—though perhaps the new emperor will lift this?

    Other issues will no doubt be added over time.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2011
  11. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

    2,012
    292
    83
    Riduvar, Baron of Horlig, rises to the question of the death of the Lord Marshal:

    "Excellencies, the late Lord Marshal was slain while passing through Dravuchim on his way to our southeastern lands… which as we all know erupted in conflict soon afterward. I put it to you that the Prince Sebeschar was at that time known to be in, or was at least last seen in, the Duchy of Dravuchim… but that no one is aware of his precise whereabouts in the weeks surrounding the Lord Marshal's death. I further put it to you that he was next seen in the Archduchy of Eszerthagn–whose vassal the Count of Neraldsfel reasserted his claim to, and invaded, the County of Aldenthau, of which the Lord Marshal was lord, lands which indeed the Count of Neraldsfel has long claimed, though unable to prosecute his ambitions while the other count yet lived. I further put it to you that the Prince has since asserted for himself the title of Lord Marshal, which he has long been known to covet, but that he has made no effort to restrain the untoward violence taking place within that county–apart, indeed, from 'ordering' those lands adjoining Eszerthagn to demobilize their forces. Neither has the Archduke acted in any way to restrain his vassal.

    "I am troubled by the conjunction of these facts…"

    Anything else the baron might have had to say is overwhelmed by clamor from all directions.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  12. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

    2,012
    292
    83
    Aleyu, Baroness of Tredetzny, rises to speak on the question of Duke Palatine Rudimer:

    "Excellencies, while the bestowal of Imperium on the Duke Palatine was indeed unprecedented, it is a power granted at the will and pleasure of the Emperor: he may make and unmake Legates as he chooses, and I do not see that it is our proper place, nor within any possible scope of our powers, to question this appointment–unless we intend to question the power of Imperium itself."

    [A couple murmurs of "And why not?" can be heard, but the baroness continues.]

    "The other item, granting the Freedom of the Royal Mint, is a different issue altogether. This power is indeed precedented–as suggested by the fact that there is a ready term for it in Imperial law–but the precedent, the sole precedent, stems from the Civil Wars, and it was extended only as an emergency power, and was withdrawn once again when the emergency passed and the Second Imperium was established. What 'emergency' existed here? I remind you all that this was done at a time when the Empress Consort yet lived, the conflicts in our southeast and in Aldenthau had yet to materialize… indeed, at a time when the Lord Marshal and Count of Aldenthau himself yet lived. What possible crisis could the Emperor have foreseen, that he, or any person, might have held equal to that of the wars that tore our Empire asunder over the course of two decades–and at a time when the empire seemed as much at peace as it ever is?"

    A number of attendees seem to consider this a remarkably perspicacious observation.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  13. Night Terror

    Night Terror Dreamer

    16
    0
    1
    Lazarus rises again to address the gathering, this time raising the black hood of his habit.

    "Clearly the Emperor saw what lies in store for us. He saw the coming crisis. He saw our impending fate."

    He walks to the front table, and bows his head in a moment of prayer.

    "So much loss. So much death. Let us mourn our departed. The Lord Marshall, struck down unjustly. Our beloved Emperor. This life is so temporal. So fleeting. When you consider the reality of death, everything comes into perspective. In the face of death, all trivialities melt away."

    He motions towards Alec.

    "My friend Alec, thank you for your concern for my health and well-being. I know that you don't want a strain to be placed upon me, and would rather bear the burden of leadership yourself. Perhaps you are ready for a place at the head of our table, despite your youth."

    He then signals towards Safrax.

    "And Safrax. You are a voice of wisdom and temperance. Our younger and more impetuous members would do well to follow your example."

    Lazarus slams his fist on the table, and then lifts the silver-embossed scroll which he had placed there earlier.

    "As I said before, a vision of hope has been recorded in this scroll. It came to me during one of my spiritual ecstasies. It contains hope, but before it change. For I foresaw the crisis that the Emperor feared, and the great change that it will bring to us all."

    He again places the scroll on the table.

    "I would ask you, once again, to read this vision. Only those whom have been chosen will understand its deeper meaning. Only those who truly see will comprehend both the glory to come, and the crisis which must now be faced."

    He motions his arm towards the scroll.

    "So who will go first? Who among you is brave enough to read the scroll, and witness what lies in store?"
     
  14. Dark Guardian

    Dark Guardian Scribe

    25
    0
    1
    "If it's any clearer than Lord Ilderich's predictions, I'm game."

    Aw crap. Did I really just say that out loud? My mouth will get me killed some day for sure.
     
  15. TeaBerry

    TeaBerry Dreamer

    12
    0
    1
    Safrax listens to those speaking against Lazarus' suggestion that he become a leader among the Barons.

    Quietly, he thinks to himself that, while legitimate in ways, the arguments against leadership appear to be more out of fear of the unknown. However, leaving each Baron to independently govern without a true leader could mean disaster as the people of each fiefdom could rebel against their own Baron or even the Barons of neighboring counties.

    Knowing too the gravity of two assassinations, the people may worry that each Baron, left independent, may become so concerned with saving his own life that the needs of the people may no longer be met.

    Safrax shakes his head in disbelief.

    He again rises from the table, and proceeds to pick up the scroll.

    Holding it before the council, he declares, "Fellow Barons. What I hold in my hand appears to be of obvious concern. Otherwise, it would not have been placed before you this very day."

    After pausing for a few moments, he begins to slowly open the scroll, revealing what appears to be prophetic in nature.

    Reading the scroll with great interest, his eyes squint with concern. Astonished at the very words written, he glances at Lazarus with utmost intrigue while reflecting, "This cannot be. How can this possibly happen?"

    He shakes his head as these words resonate within his mind: "No. No! These words... they are too strong to ignore."

    Rolling up the scroll as he proceeds toward Lazarus, he glances back at the other Barons.

    Handing the scroll to Lazarus, he breaks his silence, uttering the words:

    "I cannot say for certain that this prophecy is true. If it indeed is, we must act now or the entire kingdom could be at risk of falling apart; and the people, too, will suffer greatly.

    "These very words speak of trying times. Yet, their true meaning cannot necessarily be discerned. I am worried, however, that we may face a crisis which cannot be ignored. Each of us is in danger of risking a catastrophe."

    Returning to his seat, Safrax leans back, closing his eyes, raising his right hand rubbing his forehead, then lowering his hand to his mouth with great concern for what the future may very well bring to the lands.
     
  16. myrddin173

    myrddin173 Maester

    729
    43
    28
    "Baroness Tredetzny, I agree completely. To question the power of Imperium is tantamount to questioning the Empire itself! Without which, I might add, we are powerless. Baron Horlig is right to voice concerns over the death of the Lord Marshal and the possible involvement of Count Neraldsfel I move that the first act of this counsel be the investigation of these events."

    Alec leans back to contemplate other recent events on the counsel particularly the rudeness of Lazarus. Not only is he mute as to the justification of his marital status but he is referring to us by our given names. He's not even using my full name! I must admit however the scroll has peaked my interest. Leaning forward again, "Baron Maderbrim, I will read your scroll."
     
  17. Night Terror

    Night Terror Dreamer

    16
    0
    1
    Lazarus, again in possession of the scroll, holds it close to his chest.

    "Let us see. Only one person at a time can read the scroll. Clearly Safrax possesses the wisdom to discern the message hidden within. But for some, the message may be indecipherable. For others, it may drive them mad. Those who are youthful and impetuous are especially at risk." He glares at Alec.

    Lazarus hands the scroll to Lothar von Hügeleute.

    "You may read the scroll. When finished, return it to my possession."
     
  18. TeaBerry

    TeaBerry Dreamer

    12
    0
    1
    Safrax silently chuckles as Baron Lazarus speaks of Baron Alecsander's impulsiveness, knowing all too well the perils which such unthinking haste can bring upon not only himself but all Barons of the lands.

    He snickers, "These young ones just think they know everything."
     
  19. Dark Guardian

    Dark Guardian Scribe

    25
    0
    1
    Lothar reads the scroll. Twice. His lips move in a few places, the second time. He rolls it up carefully, and sets it back on the table in front of the Baron of Maderbrim. He returns to his seat.

    Then he shrugs. "I can work with that."

    A few minutes later, he rises, locates a scribe for parchment and quill, writes a dozen words, sands it, seals it, hands it to a messenger. "For the next post." He returns to his seat again.
     
  20. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

    2,012
    292
    83
    The elderly Mikyl, Viscount of Evresach and Baron of Fepmezy, rises–with some difficulty–to address the council: "Your Excellencies, I know not if old age brings wisdom, or merely experience; perhaps the former is attributable to what is done with the latter. Whichever is the case, I offer you this, from my own store thereof. When a monarch is strong, he rules the empire. When a monarch is weak, it rules him."

    He pauses to catch a breath. "That much is a truism, hardly worth accounting 'wisdom'… though it seems to be one that fewer know than have heard, if their actions be any indication of understanding. But it is one I would not have bothered to speak, had it been my sole purpose in rising, it being too commonplace to be worth the effort required. It needed to be placed foremost in your minds, however, Excellencies, that you be able to resolve yourselves upon an answer to the question I did rise to put before you."

    Which you might never get to hear, if he needs to spend any more time gasping. Finally, though: "The question is this: which sort of emperor do we want?"

    Another silence follows, as those present expect more to be forthcoming. Instead, he seats himself, closes his eyes, and appears to fall asleep. An alarmed neighbor makes a swift check, then nods and waves off any need for medical–or funereal–assistance.

    In the still-lingering quiet, you note eyes widening in more than a few faces… in many cases accompanied by either slight smiles or looks of startlement–in some, almost shock. You can practically hear the sound of reassessment going on in the minds of your fellows. It's enough to make you wish you knew where they stood five minutes ago.…
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017

Share This Page