The man held the document in front of him, hoping it would shield him from the approach of the King’s Guard. “You cannot do this!” He howled, brandishing the paper in sweeping arcs in front of him. “The Tractate of the Eastern Kingdoms forbids you to detain merchants in times of war!”

“After what your country has done, I think you will find that is not the case.” The guard captain grunted, slapping the man’s hands away with a swing of his chain-clad fist. “Seize him, and requisition his property and cargo for the treasury. The clerk will be arriving soon to catalog it.” The issued orders drove the guardsmen into a frenzy of activity as they marched through the house, ferreting out the staff who had hidden on their approach.

“And what of me? What of my rights?!” The merchant yelled, writhing as he was cuffed by the ankles in long chains, and shorter chains for his wrists.

“You’re to be taken to the dungeon for the mean time. We may deport you. Or execute you. It is up to His Majesty.” Came the grim reply from the captain.

“Barbarians! Have you no regard for the laws and treaties, for diplomacy?!”

“The King has plenty of regard for such things. But you should pay more attention to domestic affairs. Haven’t you heard?” The captain looked at the merchant’s clueless expression. “Your royal family has been cast aside and slain, your home nation’s armies swarmed over our border and raided one of our most sacred sites. I think you will find exactly what that means in the laws you were trying to save your own hide with. Think on that on your trip to the castle.” The guard made a curt hand gesture to his fellows.

“Take him away.”


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