Axe, pt.3 – EPILOGUE: Wars of the Dwarvish Lords
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Rumours abound of the Fierce Axe - the Axe of the Dwarvish Lords - which has the power to unite the Dwarven folk against their foes. But it has not done so yet...
THE CONTEST: 'THE UNITED PROVINCES' v. 'ECONOMIC ULEK UNION'
The “United Provinces of Ulek” (previously the Principality of Ulek) has long-standing ties with the disparate states of East Ulek, once it's colonies. All belong to the Economic Ulek Union, ostensibly an alliance for peace and trade, administered by a Commission of nine Lords – but who now claim rulership over all member states.
Many dwarven folk of the United Provinces want their Principality to regain independence, and a huge angry crowd gathers around the Halls of Government in the capital city, Gryrax. There the Primary Minister, Lord Kamrin of Spiv, appears hard at work - directing disposition of Ulek assets by a busy team of muscly under-ministers in overalls: “...Yeah, dat's good stuff, gerrit on the cart... yeah, dat too... nah, dat's rubbish innit, bin dat... bust da teef outta dat bust, dey's real gold... get back in dere, wiv crowbars - dere's good wood on dem walls – gerrit orf! Oy! Wot you lot doin' ere?” he exclaims, finally noticing the surrounding mob.
Sir Negil “the Rage”, an adventurer particularly outraged at the corruption of his homeland, steps forward and speaks for the People's Army'. Citing ancient laws, Negil challenges the Primary Minister to single combat – but the craven Kamrin orders Secondary Minister Cluggin to fight as 'Champion' in his stead...
An even bigger crowd gathers, and watches as the two duly meet to duel. Cluggin is overconfident and, it soon shows, out-classed. Experienced adventurer Negil deftly parries the young minister's wild hate-filled blows, and inflicts deep wounds in return. There is a pause in the battle – the crowd expect Cluggin to concede: honour is satisfied, all see Negil has won – except for Cluggin himself. Crazily, he charges at Negil again, axe swinging – with a tactic tried, and that failed, before! Negil dodges again with ease, turns swiftly, and clinically slices his idiot opponent across the guts... which slop out messily onto the dirty ground. Cluggin falls, gurgles disgustingly, twists in agony – and eventually dies.
Most of the people think Negil should lead their nation. But Baron Kamrin disobeys the ancient laws, preferring rules made up by his cronies. “I'm da Boss fer 5 years – and dere's nuffink you can do about it!” he shouts, now hiding amongst massed ranks of his hired Euroz goons. The crowd are confused, shocked their traditions can be so simply ignored, murmuring: “His champion lost!”, “His policy is proved wrong.”, “Why is he still here?” and “He was only P.M. With Cluggin's support, but now he's dead...”.
Then, also surrounded by goons, the crudely-stitched body of Cluggin shambles into view. “Uuuuuhhhhh....”, it moans.
“See!” crows Kamrin, “I'm still da boss! So you lot can get lost! I'm busy - shackling... er, Securing Ulek's Future – yeah... <snigger>”. Then he turns away, to a squat, cloaked grinning toad-like visitor. “Sorry, Hozay, dere's no cash left – you got it all!”, the Lord of Spiv laughs. The creature hands him a scroll, which Kamrin reads: “Wossis? 'Each citizen of the former Principality of Ulek promises to pay one thousand gold pieces.' - yeah, sure!”. Immediately he signs and returns it. The creature hurries away harbour-ward, to embark upon a fast east-bound ship heavy-laden with valuables stripped from across the old Principality.
“Trade wiv our East Ulek partners is vital for the 'Recovery'...” chants Kamrin automatically. “Uuuuuhhhhh....” moans the zombie.
“Yes, but WE'd do much better!” responds Guildsman Moribund, a rival councillor identical to Kamrin. “We'll make Ulek into One Nation where everyone (who obeys) gets Minimum Pay...” and he drones on. “Uuuuuhhhhh....” moans the zombie.
Then some now in the crowd whisper: “Zese politicians are zo boring...”, “Zey are all ze zame...”, “Zere is nothing ve can do...” and "Letz go votch de Footie...”, their cold eyes glittering. Some people shout against Kamrin, some against Moribund. Old, familiar reassuring rivalries return. The crowd finally disperses - the largest division following Sir Negil and his company of heroes, swiftly marching to Lexdrum Manor near Fort Stonewall, gathering more supporters all the way, where they regroup and prepare for the conflict ahead....
Meanwhile, Adventures Continue - in “Return to the Glitterhame”...