Copyright© 2007 by Volentrin
The interview with the king had started out cordially enough, until he started asking John about his meeting at the inn with the count. It went downhill from there. The king asked point blank if John was supporting the king's position or the lord's position.
John tried to point out he was totally not committed to either side, but assured the king he was not for the lords. The king paced a bit in thought then told John outright if he was not for him, he was against him. John said he was sorry he felt that way, but he had not formed any opinions at this time, being new to the land, and the nobility.
"Your Duke of Candon is well known for sympathizing with the lords. He made you a baron. It is not hard to see where your loyalties lie. Good day to you," the king said, and walked briskly out a door on the other side of the room.
John sighed. The meeting had not ended well. John looked at the contents of the cup he held, and quaffed it down quickly. He then turned and exited the door he had entered. He surmised now would be a good time to leave the ball, but it didn't work out that way.
As he re-entered the ballroom, he was immediately cornered by several lords wanting to know, via hints, how the meeting with the king went and what they had talked about. John was feeling pressured by this attention, and already angry from his interview with the king, John point blank told them it was none of their business.
"Well, it is easy enough to see which side you fall on," an Earl said, and left with most of the crowd.
"How can you side with the king? He is being stubborn in so many ways it is not realistic," a Baroness said, and grabbed her train and swept away.
Great, within thirty minutes he was declared enemy by the king, and by some of the lord big wigs to boot, from the other side. Both sides now considered him an enemy. Not a good evening at the ball to say the least.
By the time John got back home, it was late. He was tired, but aggravated. He supposed he could have handled it better. They had backed him into a corner, though, and it would have relegated him to a subservient position, at least with regards to opposition to the lords. He had put his foot down, and was now classified as a royalist. The king thought otherwise.
'Shit!' he thought to himself.
The next few days were calm ones, and he started to forget what had gone on, until a messenger from the king showed up. John was handed an official message from the king.
I am directing you to leave a surety
to insure your good behavior since
your answers did not please me
at the ball.
I want you to leave your
moving home as surety of your good
behavior. Pending final disposition
of your loyalty to me, or at least a lack
of support to the lords in opposition,
will determine the length of time I
have to hold onto your property.
I read and reread the message with a feeling of dread. Damn this man! I had heard of the hostage situation back in the old days, where suspected lords had to give up close family members, children usually, as hostage to good behavior. I guess the king was worried about me, and wanted something that I valued greatly, and I did value my RV.
"Do you know the contents of this message?" I asked the messenger.
"Yes lord. I have been directed to lead you to the place of storage for your vehicle. I apologize to you for his majesty, but he has been under a lot of strain lately, and you have shown to be a very powerful man of thought. Your 'steam train?', which you created, has provoked a lot of interest in you. His majesty cannot afford to have you going over to the enemy's camp," the messenger replied.
John looked at the messenger, nodding absently. This messenger was dressed very well, and was most likely a page of a minor lord of some sort. Most other messengers would not have had the audacity to talk to a baron the way this one did.
"I understand. I don't like it, but I understand it. Very well. As soon as I finish my meal and grab a few items from inside it, I will follow you with my RV to this 'place of storage'. I expect it to be held safely, and nothing untoward happen to it while in his majesties care," John replied a bit grimly.
"His majesty takes great care with all or anything under his protection, my lord," the messenger responded.
John did not invite the messenger to eat with him. After his meal, John went inside and took out the open can of coffee, which was three quarters full, and a few other items. Aspirin, other items from inside the RV, and most importantly his camping equipment.
After that, he was ready, and spent over an hour following the messenger as he rode his horse and John drove. His guards followed behind mounted on horses and were leading one extra horse for John to use after he turned over the RV.
After parking his RV, he locked it with his remote, and thought no more of it except that he did not have it any longer. He was feeling robbed, at the moment. He decided not to think about the injustice of it, as it just made him angry when he did so.
He mounted the spare horse, and returned to his manor. He made plans to leave the next day for the three day trip back to Breverton. John got his camping gear in order in case they didn't get to the next house in time. Since he no longer had the RV, he could not travel as fast as before.
Bright and early the next morning prior to daybreak, John and his guards ate a hearty breakfast and all were eager to hit the road. With his gear packed and food brought along on an in case basis, they started out as soon as they were done eating.
Six guards and John made seven people, but three extra packhorses were used for supplies. They carried camping equipment, food, water, shelter, and even some firewood. When they traveled that first day, they made decent time, but the sky started to darken bringing storm clouds.
They never even made it to the first manor on the trip. The storm that threatened came on with a rush. They barely got the shelters up in time and they made a simple fire and cooked up some rabbit stew.
They had some salted pork, but John was not in the mood for that and opted for the rabbit that the gamekeeper from Foxworth manor provided. He also had venison, but did not want to break that out either.