The next part of the BoBS anti-Oleon storyline!
Just as soon as Guy K. Wyndzon heard the news of King Fernando’s rash attack on Oleon, he knew his presence would be absolutely necessary in Terreli. So he sailed off on the fastest ship that could be found.
Halfway across the Brick Seas, they were hailed by another Eslandian ship carrying the latest news of the Mardierian reaction to the Eslandian offensive.
As they stopped for fresh supplies at Weelond on their way, the townsfolk came bustling out, full of the news from Nellissa, where Román Esteban Fontonajo had declared independence from the crown.
On all sides, Guy was beset with questions. What did the High Council think of the King’s actions? Would there be war with Oleon? How about Corrington? What measures would be taken to stop the King? Would the colonies establish a new government, closer to home?
Throughout it all, diplomatic messengers flew back and forth between nations, taxing Guy’s letter-writing capabilities to the utmost.
Nor was he completely free from rumbling mutters of discontent and distrust. Who could be sure that the High Council wouldn’t simply use this opportunity to increase its own power?
Really, his prophecy that without Uncle things would fall to pieces had been fulfilled beyond his wildest nightmares.
Speaking of nightmares, the last leg of the journey took them through rough waters. Sea-sickness combined with the turbulent diplomatic situation really ought to be enough excuse for anyone to have a few bad dreams.
Well, be that all as it may, Guy arrived late one night at the MCTC headquarters in Terreli. There to greet him was an impromptu gathering of friends and business connections.
There was E. T. W. de Chauncourtois, darting excited glances out from under his impeccable wig.
There was Captain Whiffo, pacing the room violently and tapping his massive sword on his hook.
There was Lord Maximillian Damaximus, looking fresh, new, and important in his faultless black suit.
There was Governor Guilder, of Weelond, waiting patiently to broach his own ideas and concerns.
Guy looked as though he would much rather no one had showed up until tomorrow, but, stifling a yawn, he proceeded to business.
“First of all, gentlemen… but, in truth, there is so much to discuss, I’m not sure what ought to be first. I’ll take suggestions.”
“To my mind, the thing that calls most desperately for amendment is the colorscheme of this building. It is completely out of the fashion!” Captain Whiffo drew himself up to his full height (six feet seven, if you included the plume of his hat) as he said this.
There was a bit of a laugh, and Captain Whiffo seemed disappointed to find that no one took him seriously.
“Well,” Governor Guilder began, “perhaps we ought to take things in chronological order?”
“An excellent plan, Governor,” Lord Damaximus interjected. “First let us discuss the policy of the King in attacking Oleon.”
“There can scarcely be aught to discuss in that regard,” Guy replied. “It was a clearly illegal move, completely without declaration of war. We must apologize formally to Oleon as soon as possible. Moreover, we must take measures to ensure that such a thing will never happen again.”
“Which brings us to the more pressing point, I think,” E. T. W. spoke up. “Far too many Eslandians have shown a desire to take the law into their own hands. Revolution is the most dangerous thing that could happen! We cannot permit this to continue unchecked!”
“Certainly not,” Captain Whiffo agreed. “Yet something must be done.”
“The King,” Governor Guilder suggested, “ought to give security to us, making it impossible for him to attack Oleon or any other nation, or take any other important measure, without the consent of the High Council.”
“Of course. But what King in his right mind would sign away his power like that?”
“King Fernando may not be in his right mind,” Captain Whiffo interjected suggestively.
“And how is that going to satisfy these revolutionary spirits?” Guy asked, ignoring the insinuation.
“Satisfy?! Do you want to satisfy such lawbreakers?” E. T. W. sounded quite indignant.
“But not all of them are so radical. And there is much that is true in what they say.” Guy drummed his fingers on the table. “The fact is, this government, so far from the colonies, is not quite capable of understanding all the exigencies of its subjects located so remotely. Consider for instance the case of Mardier. We, in the colonies, were able to realize the necessity for active exertion once we discovered the close proximity of an island claimed by Mardier. Yet we were hindered by the King’s orders to relocate the troops against Oleon.”
“Hardly hindered,” Lord Damaximus pointed out, “since we didn’t obey.”
“Foul! I call foul! Royalty cannot be disregarded in that fashion! If this continues it will spell the end of the old regime, and quite possibly the end of law and order as well!” E. T. W. had sprung from his chair and begun to pound the table.
“Softly, softly, sir.” Governor Guilder’s peaceful voice was heard. “Law and order must be maintained, certainly. Yet they must be maintained in the face of an illegal monarch quite as stringently as in the face of an unruly mob.”
“True,” E. T. W. conceded. “Neither King nor people can disobey the law. I must own, however, that one tyrant seems to me preferable to several hundred, a fickle mob.”
“I trust it has not come to that choice for us. Even in Nellissa, where matters have progressed furthest, the mob has not strictly come into control. Rather, the natural leaders have advanced farther than desirable in shaking off the King’s authority. Yet who can blame them? Something had to be done. I for one am sure that a satisfactory conclusion can be reached with them once we have resolved the problem in hand.” Guy stared thoughtfully at the floor.
“Yes? And what was the problem in hand, again?” Captain Whiffo asked.
“How are we to get the King to sign this… what shall we call it? – Magna Charta? How are we to get him to sign the Magna Charta without being guilty of lawbreaking ourselves?”
“Oh!” E. T. W. interjected. “Is that all? Pshaw. I’ll handle that. Good night. Sweet dreams!” So saying, he bowed to the company, took up his hat, and left.
Lord Damaximus was the first to break the silence. “Well, that appears to have been settled.”
“Indeed. I wonder what his plan is?” Governor Guilder added.
Captain Whiffo spoke up quickly. “Ten to one he’s going to try to k…”
“Hush!” Guy interrupted. “I don’t want to know what he’s going to do!”
“But I was only going to say that if he m…”
Guy clapped his hands over his ears. “Stop! Stop, I say! Tell me nothing that might conflict with my duties as Secretary of State! Besides, you really don’t know what he plans to do, right?”
“Oh, no, no, of course, not exactly. We were only throwing around some ideas this morning. –No, don’t worry, I shan’t go into details. No Kings will be harmed in the making of this charter… at least, not very many. And Chauncourtois is so strict for law and order, too.”
“Well, however he does it, so long as he does it, I’ll be pleased.” Lord Damaximus rose from his seat. “Have matters been settled satisfactorily?”
“Not quite,” Governor Guilder replied. “Many people desire a new, Colonial Government. How ought that to be structured?”
“The structure ought to be left to the people themselves, by representation of course,” suggested Guy. “I move that the Charta include a clause allowing for the establishment of this new government.”
“I second that,” Captain Whiffo added.
Lord Damaximus spoke up. “It seems like a good proposal to me. Captain Whiffo, you will take care to inform de Chauncourtois?”
Guy gave a sigh of relief. “Then this meeting can adjourn. Thank you for your assistance, gentlemen. With a new structure, I have faith that we will make Eslandola great again!”
As Guy went to bed that night, he wondered what Uncle might be up to. It really wasn’t like him not to have a hand in such a pie as this. “I’ll bet we’ll find out that he’s been behind the scenes somewhere or another. He couldn’t stay away from such a mess! I wonder how soon he’ll show up?”
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