A moment of silence followed the sarcastic remark of the would be assailant, and as the yet cold winds of the mountain pass swept though his oak brown hair not covered by his crown, lord Eralas carefully considered the words with which he would address these most unlawful men-at-arms who had dared not only to block his path but to unleash their weapons, most definitely stolen or otherwise wrongfully acquired, against his person and his royal guard of knights.
Having recognised the symbolism of the tabards with which they boosted themselves, that of the accursed and self-righteous Freedom Movement, whom had been thorn in the side of the royal house since the time of his grandfather, Eralas, controlling his temper, decided that the situation called for a modest display of authority but in a form so unexpectedly unlike him that it would shook not only his escort but most likely the rebels themselves. Having made up his mind and mentally considered his plan one last time did he, with a twisted smile, dismount his horse and pulled it by its leash towards the squire asking him politely to hold it for him as he went about his business and the squire, who at this moment was equally astonished and surprised and in no position to object the word of his lord, obeyed the request of his king. Freed from the burden of worrying over the welfare of his four legged companion.
Eralas, understanding fully the boldness of the actions he was about to commit, walked away from the escort until he felt that the distance between himself and the escort was equal to that between himself and the rebel occupied gate. He then drew his sword, an ancient heirloom and symbol of his royal authority, and stuck it softly into the ground before crossing his arms across his chest and once more lifting his guise towards the tabard clad warriors atop the majestic gatehouse of Thordins Wall.
"Normally I would find such sarcastic remarks insulting" he then spoke with a confident voice "but as a gesture of good will and the sake of dialog I shall answer your rhetorical question, and rhetorical it is as my identity and that of my pairs are not unknown to you just as yours are not unknown to me"
He then slowly pulled the royal ring of Arathor, easily recognisable due to the crimson colour of the mighty amberstone which dotted its centre, from the middle finger of his right hand and lifted it high into the air for all men to see and then, he spoke with a thundering voice:
"I am King Eralas Trollbane, Son of Falrion, lord and master of these lands, hills and mountain peaks, servant of its people both young and old"
He paused for a moment and then continued
"And you, unless my eyes deceive me, are members of the rebellious Freedom movement, who have plagued these lands for nearly an age and claim to fight for the future and right of my realm and subjects"
Then he paused a second time and took a deep breath, as if to control his emotions as he moved on to the more outrageous actions of these self-proclaimed freedom fighters.
"And doing the cause of your most heroic struggle" He continued "you have continuously attacked defenceless farmsteads, claiming everything from corn, life stock and much needed water to farm tools, which I suppose you intended to use as weapons, and resorting even to sinful acts of kidnapping and murder in an effort to strengthened an already weakened and deluded movement"
A third pause followed in which he observed the reactions of the rebel bowmen, who now seemed to show signs of faltering determination.
Encouraged, he continued
"I must admit, however, that I find myself impressed by the share scale of what you have accomplished here, who would have thought that a band of untrained brigadiers, who most likely abandoned their families, loyalties and loved ones in favour of fame and glory, could somehow overrun the greatest and most important bastion in Stromgarde, second only to Strom itself, de-manning it so such an extent that it will take me weeks if not months to scramble a force with which to rearm it and in the meantime this vital strategic stronghold, which has shielded us from the horrors of troll kin since the heydays of the Arathorian Empire, will stand empty and unguarded, leaving Stromgarde mostly if not utterly defenceless"
Once more he considered his words, his anger lessened and hiding his concern over fact that the great wall was indeed defenceless, before proceeding, with a slight hint of sarcasm:
"What a great victory this is for a movement which claims to fight not only for the freedom of the subjects of this realm, but also for its safety and protection, do you think that my people will rejoice when they hear that the great Wall of Thordin has been sabotaged, that they will show restrict when they realise just whom they have to thank for this insult? have happen my doubts regarding such an ourcome"
He allowed the would be revolutionaries to fully understand the meaning of the words he had just uttered, after all most of these people were either farmers or former blacksmiths. "But do not despair you proud soldiers of rigorousness" he said with a slight hint of sarcasm "for I have an offer, a compromise if you will, which may deliver you from this most cruellest of fates and assure that neither of you will ever find yourselves in the close proximity of a noose or the hands of an angry mob and I and my companions will not be denied our passage to a summit of greatest importance, but only" He made clear "if you chose to listen"
He waited for awhile, listening as the brigadiers above exchanged opinions and a few moments later they were in agreement, they would listen to what the lord of the land had to offer.
He answered their questioning eyes with a less sarcastic tone, dominated by a plea for reason and understanding:
"Your faction has, as stated before, bothered this land and its people for many generations, but the reasons for your hostility to my bloodline and the crown we wear was never fully established" he spoke with great confidence "In fact, gentlemen, your past leaders never approached Stromgarde with any official demands or requests, making the chances of us understanding your misguided uprising all the more difficult"
He remembered the tales his late father used to tell him about the start of the uprising, which had occurred towards the final years of his grandfathers' reign, when a noble of the lower houses had suddenly left the royal court in anger, an anger which was most assuredly unfounded and unexplained, assembling a host of dissidents from all flocks of life while marching north in to the mountain passes bordering the hinterlands, which had been their main area of operations for as long as this generation could remember, which was why this conquest of the great wall was as surprising, considering its once formidable garrison, as it was unnerving.
He then continued:
"Never once did your founding lords seek peace and understanding, not a single time were our summons and calls for reason acknowledged, as you all already know we had no choice but to hunt you down whenever we could, knowing not why our former subjects had so suddenly turned their back on the very country which had feed and protected them."
His tone lessened for a while, the fact that the legions of Stromgarde had ever been used against its own people, though misguided, had always been a course of great discomfort and concern to him. Once more he spoke:
"But with this latest act, though impressive, have you robbed this land and its people, for awhile at least, from the very protection which was once given to you and the lords you serve, I evoke the right to question the wisdom and fairness of such exploits, for if you ever fought for the people then why would you offer them this? Not to mention the many children who will now mourn the loss of a father"
He paused , carefully considering his words of conclusion:
"I stand before you, offering you a chance to abandon your ways of warfare and murder, to embrace a calls for peace, friendship and union under my reign and that of my successors, I offer you a hand with the promise of understanding and openness, should you decide to finally inform me and my realm of your reasons for rebellion and bloodshed, do this, and I shall be open and just, as is the way of the Kings of Stromgarde, you have my word for this and in the name of the ever holy light, it shall be kept"
Eralas then released his sword from the ground and returned to his mount and escort, clearly relived that he had returned to them, he then turned, mounted, once more to the rebels and declared:
"You have heard my offer, men of the movement, and the outcome of this encounter shall be decided on the nature of your answer, know that should you accept then I shall show mercy, as I and my forbears have always done, but know as well that I am in a hurry and time is as ever of the essence and as such I cannot await your reply with the patience it would otherwise deserve"
"And finally, know that should you refuse and seek to spill my blood, then this matter would be forever decided and the nation would know that you had chosen war over peace and embraced your own destruction, the legions would show restraint no more."
The offer of peace as well as the warning had now been given, the outcome of the day was now in the hands of the light and the bandits above him, as the rebels considered their answer to the kings offer and ultimatum, Eralas, discreetly, called the captain of his escort to this side and made it informed him, with a very low voice, that he had his doubts regarding the movements ability to overcome the full might of the garrison which had been stationed here, and that it was his wish, once the current situation had been death with, that preparations were made for a full investigation of what had actually occurred here and whether or not the garrison that the rebels had fought and slain had in fact been weakened by defection or other acts of treason. The Captain nodded in approval of his king's decision.
He then sat silent, awaiting the reply of the criminals above and hoping that this annoying interference, whatever the outcome, would not result in any further unnecessary delays. He had planned to visit and spend the night in the Hesperian city of Andriano, a city which had suffered greatly at the hands of his father doing the last great incursion into Hesperian territory, with this visit he hoped, to an extent, to improve Stromgardes standing and reputation in the region, a move which could prove decisive and important in the days ahead.
OOC: I might need a day or two, in game, to get to Fenris before the meeting, to make it more realistic as it is a rather long journery