Captain’s Order

There was an itch, right in the middle of Drummond’s back.

It wasn’t an uncommon trouble when wearing armor, but one that could be maddening when you were left alone with naught but your thoughts. Which, of course, was the point of making him wait for nearly an hour outside of the council chambers. Letting him sweat it out, and worry about what awaited him.

The mostly-silent hallway was barren, quiet. There were no chairs, and few decorations, other than the ancient statues of the keep’s past at either end, looming tall over Drummond’s minor suffering.

But Marcus Drummond was not some newly-appointed Exarch. He had carried his brand for nearly six years, and the seal before that for another nine. To believe that these delayed tactics would put him off-guard was to drastically misunderstand the fears and horrors that were faced outside of the walls of Daemcor.

Standing to await your summons in armor and uniform was tradition, of course. The Exarchs were an order borne of violence and defense, and it was customary to require those who would face the council to face their danger fully equipped in their standard attire.

Drummond casually wondered if he should have been a ranger. They wore leather and cloth.

“Captain Drummond?” A staff Exarch had opened the chamber door, and stood resolute to hold it open. Drummond recognized the half-elf as the one who had brought him to the chambers at the council’s request. The young man was a bastard, having been offered to the Exarchs by the Eldarin elves to avoid embarrassment.

Drummond turned to the young man, and nodded.

“The council is ready to see you now,” said the half-elf, simply.

“Thank you, Nesterin,” Drummond replied, and he walked through the open door.

The chamber was large, but not overly ornate. As was customary in many of the eastern keeps, Daemcor’s design had incorporated a forum for military debates, and over the years, the Protectorate had taken to using this space for moderate gatherings, and sometimes even celebrations.

But Drummond saw no smiles on the faces before him. He approached with a sturdy march, stopped himself in the center of the chamber, at a provided podium. Standing straight, he faced forward.

A small chorus sat before him, the gold and black robes of the Exarch hierarchy on their shoulders. Such formal vestments didn’t bode well for the outcome of this council.

A stout dwarf named Bosam Hornbelly, the Coadjutor of the Eastern Lands, seated front and center, spoke first. He sat at the center of the council, spectacles on his face, with a large tome opened on the table before him.

“Ex-Captain Drummond,” began Hornbelly, gazing over the book. Drummond bristled slightly.

“You requested a reconvening of this disciplinary council on this, the thirty-third day of Forsake in the year of Kopul-Vul’s fall, 938, to protest this council’s edict of two years previous. Is this correct?”

Drummond was unable to keep a small smile from his face. “That is correct, Coadjutor.”

The dwarf paused for a moment, seemingly having lost his place. The other members of the council looked attentive, though Drummond noticed that on the far left end, the Commander of the Southern Lands Murowen Bravis, a human, seemed annoyed by the proceedings. Drummond wondered if her annoyance was a good sign, or bad.

“And,” the dwarf continued, eyes on the book. “You claim to have new information into your case, which would inform a decision by this council. Is this correct?”

“Yes, that is correct, Coadjutor.”