Chapter 6: Hedges

“Irritant’s Law: inevitable doom is a finite resource, and becomes mere doom when split between multiple heroic bands. Nemeses should never simultaneously engage a single villain.”
– Extract from ‘The Axiom Appendix’, multiple contributors

I sat at a table across from Baron Henry Darlington of Hedges and Baroness Ainsley Morley of Harrow, shared a smile with them and wondered which one of them would be the first to try to sell me out to the crusaders.

I knew for a fact that Procer had approached the both of them long before a hole was punched through the Whitecaps. Hasenbach’s people were good, but the Observatory was better and no one had any real idea yet of exactly what it could do. You couldn’t counter something you didn’t know about, as I had learned the hard way. I’d been keeping a close eye on these two, through both the Jacks and sorcerous means, and even though Morley was the one who’d just had to flee her own city my bet was on Darlington being the one to try for a deal. He was the older of the two, in his late forties, and though he’d had a reputation as a knight of some skill in his youth his belly made it clear he’d traded swords for mutton chops a long time ago. Morley, the Jacks had informed me, was in her thirties but had inherited the barony from her father only a year before the Liesse Rebellion. Her lands were larger than Darlington’s but her personal holdings smaller and the rest split among vassals who’d been rather unruly after her ascension. If the betrayal came from the Harrow contingent, I’d wager that it would be from one of her sworn lords and not Morley herself. Both of them were being very cordial as we shared a drink – water for me, that tricky little oath – but they were also quite bad at hiding how surprised they were I’d reached Hedges so quickly.

Seven days through Arcadia, and my twenty thousand strong Army of Callow began marching out into the pastures to the south of the city. The Observatory had confirmed that the crusaders were only starting to come out on the Callowan side of the passage through the Whitecaps. Slower than expected, but then our estimates had been based on Legion marching speeds. Revised downwards, of course, but apparently not quite enough. There’d been some alarm when we popped out of the woodworks, but I’d been one of the first out the fairy gate and to be blunt if we’d meant to take Hedges there wasn’t shit either of them could have done about it. The city was more of a glorified town, and its defences were laughable. The curtain wall was a short and worn-down compared to almost every other city in Callow, since the north had never really faced the threat of Praesi invasions. Their enemies had been each other, which involved more cattle-theft than sieges even in the old days before unification, and on rare occasion Daoine. The Deoraithe were not prone to expansion, but before they were brought into the fold by Eleanor Fairfax they’d not been above the occasional raid or punitive expedition to express displeasure at the royal family in Laure.

“I’m impressed by how quickly you got your people out, Baroness,” I told Morley. “And how thoroughly.”

There was a slight tinge of discomfort in their eyes at the reminder that I knew exactly what was going on in their lands and they had no real idea how. Darlington cleared his throat.

“Perhaps prematurely, Your Majesty, if you’ll forgive my saying so. It seems to me it might have been possible to contest Harrow.”

I took that more as an indication that he’d rather pitched battles not take place at even the outskirts of his lands than sympathy for Morley, but then he’d gotten on my nerves often enough I wasn’t inclined to think well of him. I sipped at my cup.

“They’ve moved slower than anticipated,” I conceded. “There are, however, concerns you might not be considering. Do you both know what a Hell Egg is?”

Morley paled but Darlington was unmoved.

“Some Praesi devilry, no doubt,” he said.

“It’s true then,” Baroness Ainsley said quietly. “The Lost Standard, it actually exists?”

“I have it on good authority it’s in the lands around Harrow,” I told her. “But my attempts to locate it have been fruitless for now.”

Darlington was lost, and by the look on his face that was not a state of affairs he was willing to tolerate for long.

“And what Wasteland tale is this?” he said. “I did not take you for a superstitious sort, Your Majesty.”

“Considering the Diabolist used one of those very standards against me at Marchford, superstition is perhaps the wrong term,” I very mildly said.

It was rather delightful to watch it sink in. It was a well-told tale what I’d faced in the defence of what was now my personal holding.

“There’s a demon in the north?” he hissed.

“My father told me that Triumphant left old madness behind her, when I was a child,” Morley said. “I thought it a legend, but are these not times where old stories breathe again?”

“I won’t fight heroes on grounds where releasing a demon is a risk,” I told them frankly. “The moment the crusaders forged a beachhead near Harrow, it became indefensible. I’m sorry for what that puts your people through, Baroness, but-”

The woman shook her head.

“No, Your Majesty,” she said. “Nothing was lost but pride and coin. If anything, I must thank you sincerely for your prudence. I would rather see my coffers emptied than my people…”

She trailed off, and I didn’t finish that sentence for her. Where demons were concerned, the least said was always the better.

“They’re my people too,” I said quietly. “I would rather not fight this war at all, but diplomatic resolution has been refused.”

Procer,” Morley said feelingly.

And though I suspected Darlington wished me dead at least once a day, even his lip curled in distaste at the mention of the Principate. We did like our grudges, us Callowans, and Procer had earned more than a few. That passing moment of common feeling did nothing to blind me to the very real possibility that one or both of these two would try to sell me down the river before the month was out.

“I would offer my men for the battle, Your Majesty,” Morley finally said.

“It’d be a pleasure to fold your horse under the Broken Bells,” I told her. “I’ll send Grandmaster Talbot your way. But if you mean to send foot as well, I’ll need Legion officers overseeing. Marshal Juniper will not agree otherwise.”

The latter was a little sketchy, under current Callowan law, but Juniper was the highest officer in the Army of Callow and theoretically had the same broad authority that the Shining Princes and ruling Fairfaxes had once held in war time. This particular request, though, had consistently seen me stonewalled by the same two nobles in front of me. Even after amending the request to having observing Legion officers it had remained a sticking point. Baroness Kendall had argued the matter wasn’t worth forcing, given the limited amount of men these two could bring, and she’d had a point. Better not to have them at all than have them only as unreliable addition.

“That will not be an issue,” Baroness Ainsley grimly said.

Some of my surprise must have shown on my face, because she offered a rueful smile.

“Morleys have held Harrow for three hundred years, Your Majesty,” she said. “I will not surrender my lands to some prancing Proceran shit without a fight.”

“We’ll be glad to have you,” I said.

That’d been… unexpected. And, though I’d like to think better of her, was enough of a change it raised my suspicions. Still, it wouldn’t do to look a gift horse in the mouth too openly.

“They sent an envoy,” Morley suddenly said.

My eyes sharpened as I studied her. She looked embarrassed but determined.

“The Procerans, they sent an envoy,” she said. “To offer terms.”

Baron Darlington had gone very, very still. I drank a mouthful of water then calmly set down the cup.

“Good ones, I hope?”

She snorted.

“I would be allowed to keep my lands,” she said. “A marriage to one of our betters would be arranged for one of my children as well. They wanted Henrietta, which was rather telling. They’re more interested in us taking their names than the other way around.”

“Let me guess,” I drawled. “You were to join with the army and pass information. Maybe change sides halfway through a battle?”

“They were slightly more circumspect,” the baroness said. “But the implications ran along those lines. They… it was a way to weather the storm, Your Majesty.”

I watched her closely. She’d not agreed, no. She wouldn’t have spoken up otherwise. But she’d not chased them out either. I’d already known that, but I was surprised she was willing to share. You dislike me, I thought. We both know that. But in the end for all that you see me an evil I am Callowan evil and that still matters, doesn’t it?

“Treason,” Darlington said thickly. “How horrid. It is mother’s milk to the men of Procer, we have always known this.”

“I do not hang women for entertaining envoys,” I softly said. “And would rather have honest, open opposition than a snake in the grass. Hasenbach will make offers again. She needs to, because she knows it is madness to try to hold Callow by force while warring with the Wasteland. But make no mistake, she needs to hold Callow. And we all know Procer does not easily relinquish lands it takes.”

Morley nodded slowly. She was not a handsome woman, and the stark relief on her face did her no favours.

“My duties prevent me from lingering,” I told them, and slowly rose to my feet. “Baron Darlington, an officer from the general staff will seek audience to discuss our supply lines.”

“They will find me a welcoming host, Your Majesty,” the man said, rising to his feet as well.

I nodded at Morley, then paused. I looked into Darlington’s eyes.

“A redheaded man,” I stated, “with a Liessen accent. He stayed two days.”

The man’s face went bloodless.

“Always assume I know,” I gently said.

I left only utter silence in my wake.

I’d decided, when first stumbling upon this particular wall, that it was too low to be meant as a defence. And too far from the city besides, though the low hill overlooking the outskirts of Hedges would have been good grounds to raise a guard tower. Most likely it’d been used to keep cattle penned in, though by the looks of it years had passed since it’d last fulfilled that purpose. With the cool evening breeze and the view, it made a pleasant enough place to sit as I awaited the people I’d sent for. This was my first visit this far up north, and to be honest the entire region seemed rather bare to me. Green and brown fields made muddy by the melting snows spread as far as the eye could see, touched by only sparse thickets of trees and the occasional low slope. Hedges itself was a far cry from the large cities of the south. Larger than Dormer in overall size, perhaps, but most that space was empty and the city itself was visibly poorer. No paved streets, here, only mud tracks. And fewer stone houses than any other Callowan city I’d seen, most of them wooden structures with straw rooftops. Aside from the run-down curtain wall that sloppily circled outer Hedges, there were no real fortifications to speak of. Even the baron’s keep was only a glorified hill with towers and a hall.

I puffed at my pipe and blew the smoke into the wind, watching twilight catch up to the Army of Callow encamped behind me. Cooking fires were already lit and the tents raised, a series of palisades preparing the soldiers for an attack unlikely to come this early. Juniper had insisted on full fortifications, though privately she’d told me it was more to drill the men in the raising of them than out of true worry got an enemy strike. A plume of wakeleaf streamed further and further away until it thinned out of existence, and I felt a smile quirk my lips. I’d have to give him this, even if my senses had only grown sharper he was still giving it a worthy effort.

“The mud gives you away,” I said. “Should have tried it without boots.”

“I have very delicate feet, Your Majestic Queenship,” Special Tribune Robber cheerfully lied, rising from his crouched position beneath the hill’s angled slope.

I hid the spasm of grief that passed through me when I looked at him. Robber was fifteen, now. Most goblins didn’t make it past thirty-five, and past thirty they began to swiftly go decrepit. I’d always known at as a villain, if I didn’t get killed, I’d likely outlive most my closest friends in the Fifteenth. Looking at the thickening eyebrow ridges and the fresh wrinkles around his mouth, I was imposed a fresh reminder that the goblins among my companions would be the first to go. Pickler wasn’t showing either of those marks, but then she was from a matron line. Those were supposed to be almost a breed apart. I waited until he was plopped at my side, swinging his legs like a greenish murderous child, to reply.

“You know, lying to your monarch is technically treason,” I informed him.

“I heard if you commit it enough time it cancels out,” Robber mused. “I should probably keep doing it, just to be on the safe side.”

“That’s the kind of talk that’ll get busted back to Lesser Lesser Footrest,” I said, eyebrow quirking.

“Oh come on,” he whined. “Where am I going to find another sworn enemy’s father to murder?”

“Well, if anyone can it’s going to be you,” I snorted.

I inhaled the smoke as he remained silent, though never still. It was something I’d learned to notice about goblins: they always seemed to be moving, even if only slightly. Like they were afraid they’d drop dead if they stopped.

“We’re about to start having informational issues,” I finally told him. “Too many priests and heroes with the Procerans, and that’ll screw with scrying. Even the Observatory’s.”

He grinned, wide and vicious.

“Are we still pretending that thing’s just a pretty bunch of scrying pools?” he asked. “’cause the Catherine Foundling I know doesn’t shell out that much gold for anything she can’t swing at an enemy.”

I smiled thinly but did not reply. The little discovery Masego had made that he called absolute positioning was potentially one of the nastiest tricks up my sleeve, but it was one I intended to sit on as long as possible. The moment I used it I would grow sharply as a threat in everyone’s eyes. I couldn’t afford that, not until I had all my pieces in place.

“We can narrow down their positions with the negatives,” I said. “But we can’t go in with sparse eyes against an army that large. How are the mages we assigned you?”

“They’re coming along nicely,” Robber said. “They don’t even scream anymore when they wake up with a knife to the throat in the middle of the night.”

“Don’t break my mages, Robber,” I sighed. “You know we don’t have any to spare.”

“You do me grave injustice,” he mourned. “I’m teaching them important life lessons, like ‘crying never helps’ and ‘sleeping deep is sleeping dead’.”

“You’re not getting new ones if you screw these ones up,” I warned him. “There’s nothing left from the Hedge Guild to draft.”

“It’s my Gods-given duty to educate tender-hearted Callowans like them,” he righteously told me. “Speaking of, I heard this thing about northerners. Is it true they-“

“Every single joke about northerners and sheep has also been made about goblins and goats,” I warned him.

“Calumny,” he protested. “That hardly ever happens unless the goat is shaved and painted green.”

I rolled my eyes.

“All right, if you’re comfortable enough fucking around then they won’t be an issue,” I said. “Juniper will put scouts on the field, but I want a set of eyes deep behind enemy lines. You’ve just volunteered for that duty.”

“I am the most dutiful goblin ever born,” Robber agreed, clearly pleased. “Tell me we’re not just skulking, though. It’s been a while since my people stabbed anything, they’re getting restless.”

“I’m keeping you as a dagger,” I said. “That means low profile until I use you.”

He blew his tongue at me, which was mildly unsettling considering it was pitch black.

“Boo,” he said. “Boo Catherine boo.”

“Have Captain Borer write you up for insolence,” I ordered. “The exceedingly well-document fact that you are a filthy wretch aside, we both know sending you to roam when there’s a crew of heroes on the loose is like feeding a wolf meat scraps.”

“They can’t kill us if they don’t fight us,” he shrugged.

“I thought you’d say that,” I grunted. “But I have worries, and Juniper shares them. So we’re assigning you a partner.”

“Tell me it’s Larat,” he begged. “The man is like a goblin that was fed particularly violent rocks.”

Wait, could goblins actually eat – no, Catherine, never go down the Robber rabbit hole. There are no answers at the bottom, only headaches and befuddlement.

“No,” I replied. “She’s actually coming up right now.”

Yellow eyes flicked downhill and then I was given the opportunity to delight in the vicious little bastard actually looking uneasy.

Gods no,” he said. “That’s sadistic even for you, Queenie.”

“Evening Cat,” Archer grinned. “And you too, Robert.”

“You know that’s not my name,” the goblin hissed.

“I’m very sorry, Bobber,” Indrani said. “I swear.”

“You can’t send her with us,” Robber said. “She bit off Akua’s head!”

I blinked.

“She did what now?” I warily asked.

Robber looked shifty, which considering he could skulk in broad daylight without trying was an almost miraculous achievement.

“I’m not saying it happened, but it’s possible a betting ring technically illegal under Legions regs just spontaneously emerged,” he said.

“Akua was a scorpion,” Archer cheerfully informed me.

“Not just a scorpion, you brute, she was a purebred Wasteland Rattler,” the goblin insisted. “And her full name was Akua Sahedon’t.”

“You bit off a scorpion’s head,” I enunciated slowly, looking at Indrani.

She shrugged.

“The Lady always said it’s important to establish the pecking order early in a relationship,” she replied. “Wouldn’t you agree, Borer?”

“That’s someone else,” Robber muttered peevishly. “And I had a month’s pay riding on Akua killing Willie Angels.”

So my sappers were importing no doubt massively oversized Wasteland scorpions, naming them after old opponents of mine and pitting them in death fights. I truly wished I could say that was the worst thing I’d ever caught them doing, but this was a bad time to start lying to myself.

“I’m going to pretend I never heard this,” I decided out loud. “Mostly because, well, Hakram’s not around and Im sure as Hells not filing a report about giant scorpions if I can avoid it. As your beloved queen, I order you to pretend to get along when I’m within hearing range. There, I fixed it.”

“I love it when she gets all authoritative,” Archer told the goblin.

“I hope you also enjoy scorpions in your bedding,” he whispered back at her. “Akua had babies, before you callously murdered her.”

“See, he’s already offering me snacks,” Indrani smiled. “Herbert and I are great friends, Catherine. Just the best.”

I closed my eyes and wished very hard they would disappear, but when I opened them they were obstinately still there. One of these days, that was going to work and they were all going to be sorry.

“Robber, get your people ready,” I ordered. “You’re leaving in half a bell. Archer…”

“No need, I’ve already prepared supplies,” Indrani replied, hoisting up what was quite clearly a wineskin full of – by the smell of it – hard liquor.

“Just don’t forget your bow,” I sighed.

Gods go with them, though hopefully not the ones Above. The kind if work I had in mind for these two would be frowned upon, upstairs.

76 thoughts on “Chapter 6: Hedges

    • Archer was able to bite one’s head off, which places an upper limit on the size – probably smaller than cat sized unless her Name comes with the ability to unhinge her jaw. Which seems unlikely but not impossible.

      Liked by 14 people

      • Your estimation hinges on expected size of object Archer can put in her throat, and I think you are doing her a disservice, even if she was out of commition for a year.

        Liked by 24 people

      • Yeah but scorpions don’t have the largest heads relative to their body size. Did she just bite off the front of the head, did it take more than one bite, was named bullshit involved? Given that goblins were able to handle them I suppose they’re probably not much bigger than dogs, but they’re described as “massively oversized” not just as big arachnids.

        Liked by 4 people

        • > probably not much bigger than dogs,

          I always wince when someone uses dogs for a size comparison: Dogs range from teacup breeds that can sit on your hand, up to Russian wolfhounds and bear-dogs that are bigger than most humans. (And Guideverse offers wolves big enough to carry orcs on their back.)

          Anyway, from a quick glance at WP, the largest scorpion species of our world(*) runs about 9 inches/23 cm long, but only weighs at most 2 ounces (56 grams). But given we’re talking about the Wasteland of Praes, the better question might be what size scorpions the goblins can hide from nosy officers. 😉 Also, the goblins themselves stand under four feet, so small enough for them to handle easily.

          Something about twice the length of the real-world max, perhaps a foot and a half overall, might be about the bulk of a one-pound lobster with extra tail (but half that weight). That could be kept in a big basket, but maybe a bit too big for discretion. A foot-long would be more easily concealed, and plenty big enough for goblin games.

          The “more serious” (not very) issue is that scorpions don’t have a separate head, but I’m sure Archer could bite off the front of the cephalothorax, while ignoring the claws pinching her ears. 😉

          (*) That’s Heterometrus swammerdami, a “giant forest scorpion” from India and thereabouts. It’s noted as having relatively weak venom, probably because they’re big enough to actually hurt things with their claws.

          Liked by 3 people

  1. Great chapter, as always!

    Thought: it seems like the cities of Callow are more healthy, and rich the more they’ve been invaded, almost. Up here in the North, there has been little cause for Named to show up, and, thusly, little cause for civilization to spring up around it. The more trials and pains that someone goes through, in this world, end up making you stronger and richer… which is interesting the way it plays out.

    Also, go vote everyone! Ward got a chapter released and we stayed on top! Let’s keep it that way!

    Liked by 7 people

  2. I think the best thing about this chapter was learning Dread Emperor Irritant’s plan of having eight different heroic bands after his head was successful.

    Liked by 16 people

  3. Robber remains the best side supporting character (I meant supporting in a way that the Woe wouldn’t be considered here)

    More interesting though is Morley. I like her. A lot actually. The fact she understands the importance of ‘don’t fuck with Demons’ raises my estimation of her immediately. Of course, also using a reasoning of her people doesn’t hurt either. And she told Catherine the truth about the emissary which is cool.

    This just means she’s going to stab my heart later either by betraying Catherine or dying.

    Liked by 11 people

    • Literally.

      A reasonable lord? No, no way. There’s a small chance of her becoming one of Cat’s aides, or perhaps stepping up to Anne Kendall’s post, but more likely she’s a red herring.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Mr.David Verburg aka erraticerrata I would like to garner your attention through this comment cause I was not able to find any other means of communication to contact you .
    I am a law student pursuing a BA LLB and have written some articles in local news papers and magazines as a freelancer.
    I have been reading your web fiction a practical guide to evil from quiet some time I just wanted to inform you that i am quiet interested in adding more detail to the lore of your web fictions like i.e the average life of a citizen in pares,life of a noble in callow or details about the administration of Procer.
    This would need your approval as you are the owner of the original work as I might be adding details to the original material or creating some new details in the existing.
    If approved I would like to guarantee you that the details and additional lore would never move away or obstruct the cannon that you produce this might even lead a few short stories i.e like the accounts of a paresi soldier during the doom of lessie and spin offs.
    I am ready to do this free of cost or at a token fee (if u like to give it to me totally upon you) everything I write will be first sent to you for approval first so I will in no way obstruct your work.
    please contact me through the email
    this is for a second time a ues or no will do sir


    • I hope you take this as constructive criticism instead of an attack. If you were serious in your desire to receive the author’s permission to add content under your own pen, one of the things which you should have considered was following the grammatical rules in your request. There are many errors in your writing, and in this context, is the equivalent to going to an interview in sweatpants and an unwashed T-shirt. It is actually worse because your presentation ties directly into the skill set you are trying to highlight for this “job”, i.e. you have shown that you cannot write to the proper standard required by your request (which is not a reflection of your ideas which may very well be excellent).
      I will not reply to any comments you make to this comment because I was just saying this as constructive criticism, not a way to actually engage. Please take it as such, and I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.

      Liked by 6 people

    • Dude. David verburg is a sprinter, are you stupid? That’s obviously not the author. Furthermore if it was why would you address an author gonna by by a moniker with his real name? Are you so daft?

      Liked by 2 people

  5. So are the gaint scorpions relatives of the gains sewer spiders?

    Also I’ve been thinking about Black and stories. Mentor and student come at odds with each other. Usually student kills mentor or mentor kills student. Because this is Cat lost trust in black, and not the other way around, it would normally be student kills mentor. Except she didn’t. Now the story goes in a different direction– either the student kills the mentor later on, or Mentor redeems themselves and dies saving the student and tells them they were right in their final breath. Sounds like a hero thing to do, but I could see it being possible. At this point this is all just speculation.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. This is why I’m reading this web novel. While plot and characters are engaging as well, the petty banter between the likes of Parcher and Berber is where practical guide shines most.

    Liked by 6 people

    • The last time positioning was mentioned in regards to magic was Masego telling in chapter 48 of book three that imprecision would make a ritual backfire, I’d go out on a limb and say that he’s now got his own Greenwich meridian and can now cast long-distance rituals in an area he has mapped out. Maybe even use it in conjunction with the distance-diminishing effect of his eyes.


    • I’m pretty sure it’s either that or the ability to precisely target some other kind of magic that’s very hard to target at range otherwise. I would guess that it allows her to punch through scrying guards, but we’ve already seen that she can’t.


    • Well, if you put a big enough magical punch under something, you can launch it into the air. And then once it’s falling, it’s simply falling. True, a magical shield could block/move/whatever this falling object, but if the falling thing were able to eat magic…

      I’m betting they’ll have set up a magical “goblin fire launching” system. Precisely deliver burning goblin fire munitions to anywhere they want…


  7. Gods i hope Robin gets Named and lives forever as Lesser Lesser Lesser Footrest to the Black Queen, it will be a sad day when hes no longer there to laugh maniacally at Cat’s mad plans


  8. Irritant having a law of narrative physics named after him was the funniest thing I’ve recently read.

    Or so I thought until I read the scene with Indrani and Herbert. That’s his official name from now on, by the way.

    Liked by 6 people

  9. Didn’t… what’s her name, one of the old goblin matron generals, live to an old old age because Black found a way to keep her alive? Through sorcery/black magic shenanigans or what not.

    Perhaps Cat will find a way to keep Robber in her services forever, unfortunately for her.


  10. The part where Robber and his cohorts started a scorpion illegal betting ring, is that a homage to Hedge (malazan book of the fallen)and his squad and their scorpions? (I forgot their names xD)??? OwO Sappers are all crazy!! But FUN!!!


  11. I feel like Cat letting him (and, in all honesty, them) know that she knows about the envoy is a bad idea. You can scare some people into never stepping out of line, but there will be those that keep trying to find ways around it until someone eventually succeeds.
    If they didn’t know they’re spied on, they wouldn’t think of extra countermeasures, but now they have the incentive.


  12. If a Praesi were offered this, they would have agreed already or pretend to agree but trying to play both sides then ultimately sealing their demise with it or getting it to work. Whatever the outcome, everyone is fucked.

    It is a miracle Malicia and Black was able to reign these people in for as long as they did.

    Cat is treating the situation with the gravity that it deserves, unlike every other person in this conflict aside from maybe … Black and everyone else who is not directly benefiting from this ordeal.
    Whatever the reason, the civil wars were as much Procer fault as Praes’s fault. They are not holding your family hostage and forcing you to commit treason. You are doing it on your own. This is Procer’s problem right there. Committing treason can be forgiven as long as you are a Prince while doing your patriotic duties gets you killed for being a peasant.


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