War Of The Broken Succession

If there's one thing nobility is good for, it's starting wars. Don't get me wrong. I've met my fair share of fine and benevolent lords and ladies, ones who would sacrifice castle and keep for the safety and security of their people. But even those of the nobility that are a beacon of goodness are still merely man and woman, no different than the farmer that works his fields or begger crying for alms on low street corners. They suffer the same hubris and misjudgments as the rest of us. To suggest that nobility is passed through the blood is preposterous. Nobility is proven in action, not by whom your great-grandfather buggered 75 years ago.

Take that trollop, Lady Brisband. By all historical accounts, she was an upstanding and righteous lady of the Crystalline Nation. And, indeed, stories abound of her charitable and magnanimous rule after the death of her husand, the late Lord Aidan Brisband. I myself served as a member of her guard when she first assumed power, hired, among many others, to present a show of force to keep those who desired her seat at bay. In court and in public, Lady Brisband was a prim and genteel lady. But I hadn't been on duty a week before the murmuring of chambermaids spoke of a wanton tart who shared her bed with seemingly any man or strong lad that caught her eye. It was even said that she traded her favor for alliances with some of the more powerful houses in the Emerald Duchy in order for better secure her rule. I myself, then a lad of 16, caught Lady Brisband more than once shooting a sly look and a smirk in my direction, as if she were wondering what lay beneath my guardsman's tunic. As if she hadn't seen it all on a dozen different men already.

I have no proof other than what I saw and heard during my time at the Green Keep, but I'm convinced that the War of the Broken Succession was directly caused by the fact that Lady Brisband couldn't keep her skirts below her knees. None of the houses that challenged her seat had the stones to say it directly, but there were serious questions regarding the parentage of Lord Brisband's son and heir. Though the boy was a full 5 years old at the time of his father's death, persistent rumors of Lady Brisbands numerous infidelities caused many to doubt that the boy's father was noble. The laws of succession in the Crystalline Nation clearly state that inheiritance is based solely and strictly on paternal blood lines. Given the Lady's alleged promiscuity, the problem for the noble houses of the Emerald Duchy was twofold. If the boy's father was one of the other nobles, that house would be handed rule of the Duchy. If the boy's father was a commoner, they he would lawfully be hier to nothing more than likely a dusty field and a pig sty. Even worse, some alleged that the boy's father wasn't even of the Crystalline Nation at all, but a bastard son of the Akvind Emperor. The only thing better at starting wars than nobility is an empty seat of power. If there hadn't been a foregin-born bastard with a claim to the imperial throne, perhaps a new Emperor could have been selected peacfully and the War of the Broken Succession could have been avoided.

The history books will say that Lady Brisband, belevolent as ever, graciously conceded her seat in the interest of avoiding bloodshed. Those of us that were there can tell you that she fled with her bastard child out of fear for her life. I suppose alliances forged in the fires of extramarital affairs only go so far. The irony is that I later served with that same bastard, Keefe Randal Brisband, when he was captain of my squad in The Red Claw mercenary company. His bloodlines may have named him bastard, but he was one of the finest, most noble men I've ever known.

- Marcello Josse


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