Lord Alfred

Somnambulant beef? I can't stand the stuff. Disgusting, if you ask me. I don't mind the mess so much but when a man sets himself down to eat, his meal should be thoroughly and certifiably dead, not still squirming about like so many maggots on a platter. You know what we do with foes that are still squirming on the battlefield? We make sure they end up thoroughly and certifiably dead.

Lord Alfred Carver likely would have agreed with me regarding the beef. Poor sot was so shocked to find his steak wrigling that he choked on the first bite he took. Killed by meat. Isn't is supposed to go the other way around? Or was he? The propagandized histories you're likely to find in royal libraries will say that the Lord of the Jade Duchy was the victim of a tragic accident. But ask about in the taverns and inns of Kenzhia, and you'll hear tales of an elaborate assassination plot. At first, these stories seem too fantastic to be anything more than wild speculation by the common folk. In my travels, though, different accounts of the incident have key details in common.

First, it is generally agreed that Lord Alfred perished while dining on Somnambulant Beef, a Kenzhian delicacy. Second, one of the things that the written histories get right is that, at the time of the 49th feast, Kenzhia and the Crystalline Nation were embroiled in a bitter dispute over control of trading routes along the Rhyl River. No outright battles or skirmishes ever took place, but it is well documented that Kenzhia's ire was most focused on the Jade Duchy, with which it shares a border. These things may be viewed as mere coindicences, but when listening to the common folk speak, it's easy to tell they are anything but.

Any citizen of Kenzia will tell you that the Kenzhian Cap Of Somnambulance is not only the mark of Kenzhia's master chef, but also its master assassin. Kenzhian Assassins in training are often put to work as cooks' assistants in order to learn how to best slip potent poisons into food undetected. Unfortunately for Lord Alfred, the assassin responsible for his death was a master because all accounts point to bloodroot as the poison that killed him. When the sap of the root is properly distilled, it makes a fast acting poision with a red hue and acrid taste that would blend well with the nearly raw preparation of Somnambulent Beef. It seems clear that the Kenzhians saw the 49th Feast as an opportunity to eliminate key nobility within the Crystalline Nation in order to secure the Rhyl River.

- Marcello Josse

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