“Now Lord Courts, last I saw, the mother of Ascocenda was awash with good health and good breeding, surrounded by a pretty array of petals...” he poured himself a drink and sat down, goblet in his hand, “And our Lord Drayvon here.” He raised his cup and the gentleman let out a bawdy cheer.
                “See now fellows, a headless rose sits amongst a field of flowers? ‘Tis bound to be ripped up for a weed.” There was a smattering of chuckles from Damyen’s side of the table.
                “In my experience, my Lord,” Devlin began, “if there is a problem with the flower, surely it is the gardener at fault?” He winked, laughter arising from the Drays and Bier and spare others.
                “Experienced at shambling in the sod are we Dray?” Rosenfield leaned over to comment. Things were getting quieter. “Sir Eldin and your sister were if I remember rightly.” He let out a raucous laugh, shared by a few. Damyen closed his eyes and rubbed his forehead.
                “Well all flowers do have their roots from the mud.” Came another voice from the other side. “What gardener leaves his lilies and roses so beheaded?”
                “Oh you know the phrase surely?” Damyen said suddenly, raising his own drink. “When the bud becomes too big for the stem, what do we do?” he asked to the table.
                “Lop it off!” Came the resounding reply.
                “Personally, I would place the blame on the master of the house.” Bier uttered, “for appointing a buffoon, as gardener, where a simple commoner would do a better job.”
                “Careful now,” Lord Courts edged in, “’tis treason to speak thusly—“
                “—of fields and flowers?” most of the table roared with laughter.
                The King stood over on his raised platform, and a hush settled within the room.
                The youth of the King was made all the more apparent as he stood alone upon the dias, even in his royal finery. Damyen would not forgive being spurned of having his son rejected for Captainship, so it was that he stared with annoyance at the boy up on his own.
                “My dear Ladies and Lords who sit before me. ‘Tis with good grace that I welcome you, even in the light of my father, King Louen V’s recent death, to His... my humble hall. With the impending tournament laid before us, I am sure you share in my excitement of what this event may bring. For whilst we look toward a prosperous and prestigious future together, just as we are in this room, so too does it bode us no ill to look at what has gone before us. All of us have ancestry stepped in great good and great evil, but who are we that deny the entirety of the past?” He stopped then, looking out, and turned to clasp his cup.” Every great wine is both sweet and sour and so made all the richer, every great Kingdom can flourish in spite of great evil. Four hundred years ago our peoples escaped a country in great tragedy, and it is from this that we celebrate our freedom today, as a country liberated and learning from the mistakes of long ago.

The End

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