3.39 The Annex

Location: Fubar, Orkney
Time: Sixth Age, Summer 49

“…and so, I, Diked Dinus The First, the King of all Orkney, now decree that, ah, the Mountains of Akka shall be,” the young lord stammered his way through the beautiful speech that his Chief Advisor had prepared for him. With Ramssee grimacing at every stutter, Diked pressed ahead, trying to complete his task, “ah, let’s see, yes…Mountains of Akka shall be annexed into the Kingdom of Orkney.”

The new king paused again, staring out from his pulpit at the  people gathered before him – important personages of status from throughout the Northern Kingdom had been invited to this special celebration, and these lords and ladies listened attentively to young Diked’s royal address. For many, it was their first view of their new ruler – since weather conditions during the early months of 49 had restricted travel into the early spring, most of those outside the capital of Fubar had not been present at Diked Dinus’s coronation ceremony. (1)

Countless tables lined the Festival Hall, occupied by the upper class of Orkney Society. Lavish foods, inspiring wines, creamy cheeses, and spiced ale had been enjoyed by all earlier in the evening, but now, no plates or silverware clanked, as instead, all eyes were on King Diked as he continued his speech.

Dressed in finery that his Chief Advisor had selected for him and with the newly bejeweled Crown of Orkney upon his head, the young despot pushed onwards, rapidly reading aloud the speed that Ramssee had written for him. “Be not afraid of Akka, my people, for the legends about that locale are not true. Ah, there is no plague waiting to threaten us. Instead, there is only…” and he flipped to the next card, “gold! Yes, GOLD! And lots of it, just sitting there abandoned, um, waiting to be claimed. Should be we let another kingdom – say Pennal or Inle – stake claim to the…lands on the borders of OUR kingdom? I think not. Yet, if we do not plant our own flag there SOON, then how would we dispute property rights when another kingdom beats us to the prize?”

Despite his words, the people of Orkney were not easily convinced, and while they listened to him, many in the audience shifted uncomfortably in their chairs, eyeing one another in disbelief. Noticing this, Diked paused in his speech and looked down at Ramssee who was seated on the dais to his right.

The Advisor, sitting behind the board in his high-backed chair, had been trying to relax as he sipped on a glass of his private label brandy; in truth, though, he had been unable to enjoy his delectable drink, nor the fine words of the speech he wrote for this occasion, nor much of anything about tonight’s festivities — for it was apparent to all present that Diked simply didn’t have the persona to meet the demands of his profession.

In short, Diked was a king in name only – like so many before him throughout human history.

Diked had butchered his royal address and it was everything Ramssee could do to hide his disgust. When the inexperienced king looked to him for support, The Chief Advisor merely sat tight-lipped and nodded his head slowly, signaling Diked to continue.  

“So, um…again, I decree that, as of this sixty-seventh day of the Spring of the 49th Year of the Sixth Age of Substance, Orkney has now extended its borders to include the whole of The Akka Mountains!”

“Here, here!” Called out Ramssee, raising his glass, trying to include the crowd.

The patrons too raised their goblets and cheered – though most doing so out of respect for the throne, than because of their conviction – for what their new king was proposing was still ominous to most who had grown up fearing the ghosts of Akka. Nonetheless, what Diked was about to next propose would prove even more frightening to the crowd.

“But, that’s not all, my people,” read the Fubar Lord from his notes, “For, how can we in good conscious just take ‘possession’ of Akka and not…ah, do anything to improve our own station in life with the wealth that is locked away inside those stone halls? No, I will not allow my kingdom to accept another day of living in the shadows of greater realms like those in Mersia or Ramos! Why can’t we…um, be considered the envy of the world? Yes, let the world know Orkney!”

“And,” Ramssee arose from his chair and coaxed the king on, “how will Orkney accomplish this, great King?”

Looking down to his notes, Diked read the reply aloud, “Um, let’s see…we will mine for the riches of Akka and…and use the proceeds to build a legend that no other human…kingdom in the world can exceed!” And raising his finger in the air, he pointed upwards and declared – now thankfully at the end of his monologue, “For, hear me well, my people…ah, I decree that, on the morrow, Fubar will send the first mining expedition to Akka. And, I expect the rest of my fiefdoms to do the same…so, um, so that we can all…share in the wealth that is now ours!”

“Hear, hear!” yelled Ramssee.

“Hooray!” shouted back the crowd in a still half-hearted manner, trying to trust in their new ruler, yet obviously not convinced.

“But, how can we be sure it’s safe?” came the anonymous call from a corner of the crowd.

“Yes, what about the plague?” shouted out another, now that the opposition had been raised.

“And, what will happen when the dwarves return?” queried a third, opening up the floodgates of doubt.

Soon, then, despite the explanations and answers provided earlier during the king’s speech, questions of all sorts broke out from the citizens of Orkney, all directed at a suddenly overwhelmed Diked, who was ill-equipped to handle such a barrage. Thankfully The Chief Advisor came to the king’s rescue – taking over the pulpit and allowing Diked to have a break, Ramssee began to work his persuasive magic on the crowd. (2)

Standing there upon the dais, the viperz raised his hands to calm the crowd and shouted above the turmoil. “Great citizens of Orkney, hear me – I am Ramssee, formerly the trust King’s Aide to Karl, and now The Chief Advisor to King Diked, and Royal Steward of Orkney!” 

Out of respect for the speaker’s titles, and especially given the obvious power of his persona, the people quieted, waiting to hear what Ramssee had to say.

“Orkney, do not fear the destiny that awaits you!” The Royal Steward proclaimed, his eyes spinning a mix of red and black and his words flowing like honey. “I know that some of you worry about the legends of the past. But, I say to you – fear not! There is no plague.” In response to the disbelief on many a face in the crowd, Ramssee directed his words to one of the doubters, the magic swirling from his eyes, “How do I know this, good sir? Because, I have been to Akka myself!” This was in fact a lie, but since nobody in the crowd knew it, The Advisor spun the lie further. “It’s true. I have walked those stone hallways, just twelve days past. And I ask you, do I appear sick? Do I look like I have a plague?”

Turning all around, the viperz let the crowd witness his healthy glow. Ramssee could see his display was having the desired effect — for it was clear that the audience agreed that he looked to be the picture of health.

With the crowd buying into his words, Ramssee continued, the Power of Persuasion coating his every word, sticking like glaze to his suggestions as they left his lips and influenced his listeners.“And, what about those stone men? Those dwarves? Well, I ask you, where have they been all this time? Why, it’s been almost fifty years since we last saw a little giant in these parts, right? Surely, if they still had a claim to this land they would have sent a representative to us out of respect, right? Yet, have any of you heard from the dwarves of Rhokii Pass?” 

Mutterings of agreement wafted around the hall, as again the citizens were forced to accept the Advisor’s arguments. 

“Of course not, my friends.” Ramssee continued. “That’s because the dwarves have abandoned this area. It’s too far from their homes, they don’t want to be bothered with this far-away locale. Why, it’s too cold for them, they are not hearty men like us!” And the viperz pounded his chest in pride, inspiring smiles from the audience.

“My people, there are times in History that grant us the ability to stand on the very threshold of Greatness,” Ramssee worked the crowd into his climax, “This is such a time for Us! Verily, we can sit back, shackled into non-action by our Fear. Or, we can rise up, into the World Society that is waiting for us to emerge, and take our place among the Capitals of the Planet! Akka provides us with the opportunity to do just that. Come with me…with us, as we lead you to Glory!”

“HOORAY! HOORAY! HOORAY!” came the standing ovation from the crowd, as Orkney now fully believed in the words of The Advisor, seeing itself as the next great kingdom of History.

Basking in the applause, Ramssee lavished the praises his people gloried upon him as he smiled and thought, It will be time to say goodbye to Diked soon.

Nektar’s Notes

  1. Despite the many questions that surrounded King Karl’s apparent suicide and his eldest son Brinn’s mysterious disappearance, Ramssee had been quick to install Diked on the throne. Taking advantage of the Orkney lords NOT being able to travel because of the poor condition of the roads was in fact a conscious part of the viperz’ plan – for by limiting the crowds, the Chief Advisor was also keeping away any who might have opposed Diked’s ascension to the throne. By the time these powerful people finally got a glimpse of Diked I, he was already king – whether they liked it or not.
  2. Ramssee had expected it would come to this. Certainly, he had tried hard to impart some of his Power into the speech that he had written for Diked, but when the latter had fumbled his way through the address, the viperz had guessed that much of his Persuasion would fail to transfer through to the crowd. Therefore, when he realized that the Orkney lords did not immediately buy in to Diked’s decrees concerning Akka, Ramssee himself took the matter into his own hands.
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