Blade Maidens: What Fools These Mortals Be – 20

“Historians do so love a rebellion. Whether against an unjust ruler or in some attempted power grab, there’s something just so compelling about a tale of standing against power itself.

I wonder if there will be any accounts of The Verdannian Rebellion that Never Was.

If you asked me three weeks ago, I’d have told you that we’d likely be marshaling forces against the Root-Tenders before the end of Ofeld. The farmers had been straining under the thrones’ taxes for years now. I can’t blame them, personally. I know the Kingdom takes its due and Verdanna spends its coin wiser than most, but that doesn’t mean much when you’re barely keeping your hearth warm come Rimehold.

The talks were Queen Gwyndolin’s idea. The King thought it a terrible idea, but she got her way in the end, but with me and my boys at her side all the while. Didn’t say much for the first hour, just a few questions, and mostly let the Tenders work themselves up. Honestly, I thought she was going to cause things to crumble before the day’s end.

Then I was reminded why she’s Queen.

She started by identifying the farmers by name. Didn’t have to ask for them. She knew every damn person in that room, somehow. Started bringing up histories. Whose family held what claim some generations ago, or whether someone’s youngest was going to take over the ranch next season. Abyss knows how she learned all this but she never hesitated once.

Then she took them apart. Bringing to light some of the senior most member’s prior inquiries into taking a chunk of their neighbor’s lands. Neighbors had no idea, of course. Cut the legs out from under them in minutes. Whole thing was poised to make a handful of them richer and the rest worse-off, with the throne to blame. By the time she offered a new, more flexible, taxing system based on crop yield, the fires were well and truly snuffed.

A bloody, dangerous uprising, wiped off the board with a conversation over tea. Best royal I’ve ever known.

Scariest, too.”

– An excerpt from Guard Captain Kaywen Evers’ personal journal.