The editing process continues to continue on The Alchemist of Middlesbrooke. In the meantime, here’s the Middlesbrooke characters featuring in a short scene from this past September.
Incidentally, a chevauchée is: “A military raid by cavalry through enemy territory, designed to disrupt rural communities and weaken an opponent” — notably preferred by Edward, the Black Prince during the Fall of 1355 towards the end of the first chunk of the Hundred Years’ War.
As they are, for all intents and purposes, vassals of the personal household of the Duke of Middlesbrooke, Lucia, Apolline, and Petra have found themselves recently tasked with meting out the Duke’s justice on threats to the peace and security of the Duchy of Middlesbrooke. Roland and Alda have, too — but they’re not vassals of the Duke’s household so much as members of it.
Six of one, really.
Those threats currently take the form of the disgraced and outlawed knight Oswald von Schurke, who has responded to the Duke’s writ of outlawry by going all-in on the outlaw lifestyle, rampaging across the countryside and pillaging and plundering farms, leaving a trail of destruction and insulting letters to the Duke in his wake.
Finally, the group has caught up with the outlaw just outside Davidsthorpe.
“Duke Charles wants you to stop burning down the Duchy,” Lucia says, stepping forward to confront him
“It’s called a chevauchée,” the renegade knight answers indignantly. “And it’s a perfectly legitimate military tactic.”
“Tactic?” Lucia repeats incredulously. “You’re beating up defenceless farmers and burning down their houses!”
“And their goats!” Roland adds.
The knight nods. “Right. By inconveniencing the vavasours of Middlesbrooke, I disrupt the productivity of the region. Soon, Duke Charles will be forced to treat with me. And I, as it were, hold all the cards. He’ll have no choice but to give into my demands: being made Viceroy of Middlesbrooke, a huge plot of land, the hand of his daughter in marriage!”
“Hey!” Alda exclaims hotly. “Agnes would never marry a big jerk like you.”
“Yeah!” Roland agrees. “That’s my sister you’re talking about! Well, actually, we’re adopted, I mean, if you want to get technical, we’re his wards. But, still she’s like my sister, and I’ll thank you not to talk about her like that!”
“Yeah!” Alda says again.
“I cannot allow my grand ambition to be foiled by such a paltry, raggle-taggle band as this,” he declares. “For, you see, I have a higher purpose and an iron will.” He draws his sword. “And a very big sword with which to impose my will.”
Lucia scoffs. “We have Petra.”
“I’m going to stomp upon the lot of you,” he continues. He glowers at Alda. “Even that mouthy kid. Especially that mouthy kid.”
Lucia puts herself between Alda and the outlaw knight and flashes her claws.
“And then the rest of you: the cat, the dainty one in the hat, and the big, stupid one.”
“Hey!” Roland exclaims. “Don’t talk about my friends like that! Petra’s not stupid!”
“I wasn’t talking to her,” the knight notes. “I meant you, you big lummox!”
At this Roland is quite pleased that the honour of one of his companions has not been impugned.
“Well,” he says. “That’s — hey, wait! Now you’re insulting me! That’s even worse!”
He glances over at Petra.
“No, uh, no offence,” Petra he adds hastily. “I think you’re great.”
The Troll-Amazon favours him with an unbothered shrug of her stony blue shoulders.
“Can I Alchemy Punch him now?” Roland hopefully asks the others.
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