“There is only one way to resolve this situation, my esteemed fellows.” Lord Hartshawn declared to his compatriots at the sturdy oak table they surrounded. “We must divvy up our conquest, into four equal pieces.”

“Surely you jest, Hartshawn?!” Count Richmond protested, slamming his hand on the table. “It was I who did the legwork, I who did the due diligence that allowed us to secure this, surely I deserve some larger slice of the prize as compared to Baron Elmsdale there, whose sole contribution to this endeavour has been to tag along and provide commentary that he, and he alone, considers to be full of wit!”

“Richmond, you blithering buffoon, do you forget the substantial gift of gold I made to your coffers, nary a week ago?” Elmsdale bristled, his beard jutting out in a threatening manner across the table at his detractor. “One that I hasten to add you have not sought to repay! To lambaste me with that tongue of yours when you have not made good on your earlier promise boils my blood!”

“Richmond, Elmsdale, please do settle down.” Marquis Teverford sighed. “The simple fact is, it is a somewhat easy matter for us to distribute this a quarter a piece. To squabble over details argue on who is due more or less of the prize of conquest is to diminish us all. Hartshawn is correct. Our tranche shall be a quarter each, and a quarter each our tranche shall be.”

“Well said, my dear Marquis.” Hartshawn praised his fellow’s eloquence, before gesturing to the middle of the table. “Will there be any more objections from you two? Or can we get to the crux of the matter and settle this with division?”

“Agreed.” Elmsdale harrumphed.

“Fine!” Richmond snapped, gesturing with a hand. “Go ahead and do the deed, Hartshawn.”

With a thankful sigh coming from the Lord and the Marquis, Hartshawn took the slender knife and began to divide the rich, brown fruit cake into four quarters. It was just in time for their pot of tea to arrive at the table.


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