The table was magnificent. Carvings of lion heads adorned the four corners, their manes gilded in gold. The top was smooth as glass, without a single flaw that could be found. Jonathan ran his hands over it in amazement. Two large open windows let in so much sunlight, that it beamed on the table as if it was some magical thing. Looking out the windows he could look down and see a beautiful view of the grounds around the castle He was alone in this room; one of the many rooms of Castle Nostrove in Aliander. He was escorted here by four well-armed guards, who now stood outside the room. “The royal family would be right with you”, the head guard had said to Jonathan. That was over an hour ago, giving him plenty of time to do nothing else but admire the beauty of the table and chairs in the room.
Finally the single door opened, and with a booming voice, the head guard announced, “The Crown Princess Alendra Nostrove of Kormyre”. She entered in a flowing blue and red gown, a immeasurable improvement from the tattered rags she was wearing when Jonathan first found her just under a month ago. She was young, just barely in her twenties and beautiful. She smiled pleasantly at Jonathan and stood behind the chair closest to him.
The guard announced next, “The Crown Prince, Aleric Nostrove of Kormyre!”. Prince Aleric strode into the rooms using strides of great vigor. He held a posture that demanded an aura of presence; no doubt he was trained at this since birth. He also looked to be around the same age as the princess and Jonathan. He sported a long dark brown mane of hair tied back with a blue silk ribbon and a smoothly shaven face. He wore a doublet of deep reds and blues, adorned with golden rope as trim. He stood behind a chair as well, but just stared forward and did not show much in the way of emotion.
Finally the sounds of horns blowing in the halls were heard, followed by heavy foot falls. “All Hail, The King, Leoric Nostrove of Kormyre, Defender of the Realm!” The King, as Jonathan had expected, looked the part of his title. Despite being an older man with a healthy amount of white in his beard, he was regal in every sense of the word. His dress was a masculine and kingly robe, and upon his head sat a magnificent gold crown adorned only with the richest of rubies and sapphires. Closely behind him followed in an unannounced man dressed in a white frilly shirt and a red doublet. This unknown man held himself very strait and proper. He pulled back the Kings chair, before his majesty sat upon it, and when he did, so did all the others in the room, as the door slammed shut. Only this man, remained standing, hands clasped behind his back, two paces behind the Kings chair.
The room now contained the three most powerful people in all of the realm, an unknown man, and a common bounty hunter who was the son of a cooper and a baker. Before it had even began, Jonathan found himself fully curious as to how this meeting would end.
The King spoke. “My daughter will not stop talking of her heroic rescue, Mr…” the king nodded to Jonathan for his sentence to be completed.
“Travance, your majesty” replied Jonathan.
“Interesting name. Are you from the Ravenswood?” he asked.
“No your Majesty. I was born and raised in a small hamlet near Althawine, just outside the Witchwood.”
“You traveled a long way to save my daughter then…”
“No your Majesty, I was already not far from Altrion, when I saw your Majesties royal missives for assistance, my profession leads me to travel often.”
“Well the gods shine upon us then, that you were already near.” The King paused for a few moments to stare at and truly take in Jonathan. “My daughter sings praises of your battle with her captor. She sais you nearly died, and given the chance to flee with your life, you choose instead to stay and see the deed done, even if it meant surrendering your last breath.” The Princess silently smiled in acknowledgement. “She also said that she passed out from her own wounds near the end and awoke only periodically during the journey back. The trauma of the situation seems to have blurred her memory and she seems to recall very little. I was hoping that you could fill in the details to this noble tale of rescue.”
Jonathan knew that he had to proceed cautiously, “Your Majesty, the tale is as your daughter tells it. I tracked her captor to a secret location, did battle with him until he died, and then brought her back. She was unconscious for most of the trip back, but I stirred her for long enough to make sure she ate and drank each day to keep up her strength as her wounds healed.”
The King did not look pleased by the lack of detail in Jonathans story, but quickly changed the topic. “The Crown Princess of the realm is alive and well, thanks to you, Jonathan Travance. There is the matter of your reward as was promised on my royal word. Declare it and it shall be yours.”
The room was silent as all waited for Jonathan’s reply. The Princess herself stared at the table and occasionally flashed a blushing smile up towards Jonathan. The smiles were warm and inviting, and for just a moment, Jonathan thought to ask for the one thing that seemed to be expected of him. He knew however, that for the fate of many, he must stay his course, and so he cleared his throat, strengthened his resolve and stated clearly. “I wish to be made one of your Barons, your Majesty.”
The Princess seemed to almost instantly sink into her chair, and for the remainder of the meeting she would not look up from the table. The King stirred in his seat uncomfortably. “All of my Baronies have acting Barons. You ask me to unseat one of my nobles. This is not easily done; perhaps you would consider a different request?”
“No your Majesty. I wish to be made Baron of your Majesties newest lands, those that lie across the Great Rift.”
The King raised a confused brow. “You have done my family a great service sir, but do not think to play games with a King! The Rift has not been crossed since its creation. We hold no lands on the other side, and every common man knows this.”
“No your Majesty. Your daughter was being held captive on the other side of the great rift. I tracked them into the caves of Altrion, deep within these caves they converged at a single point in the middle that connected to the other side of the rift. It was on the other side that I did battle to recue your daughter, it was there that I saw a vast unclaimed land, your land, your Majesty, that I will rule and protect in your name. I swear it to be true, I dare not play games with a King as you put it.”
The King took a moment to process what he had heard. He seemed both surprised and pleased by the news and his disappointment for his daughters wishes quickly changed to a hope for a new future for his Kingdom. “Granted. When you rise from your chair you will henceforth and forever after be known as Baron Jonathan Travance, of the barony of Travance, of the Kingdom of Kormyre. I will send with you scores of caravans to settle and tame this land in my name.” The King waved his hand behind him, as if asking the man behind him to step forward, in which he did. “My families most loyal retainer, Klarington Everest will accompany you and be my eyes and ears in this new land. He will advise you on how to rule and will teach you how to act as a noble befitting such title and station.”
Klarington walked around the table towards Jonathan addressing him. “Your Excellency, I will not fail you, nor my King.” Klarington turned to address the King, “With your majesty’s blessings, The Baron and I will leave now and make the necessary preparations for our journey.”
“Go.” Stated the King. “My family will stay here a bit. Have some food and wine sent up.”
“As your Majesty commands.” Klarington motioned towards the door and addressed Jonathan Travance with a gleem in his eye and a half hidden smile. “Come your Excellancy! Let us go and claim your lands....”