VII

Ally and a Liar

 

Fensham stood looking o’er the land,

knowing all too well of the ugly plan.

For ‘twas he who set its heart a-beat

and called the archer to the crimson seat.

 

Yet all was not to stay aright,

for the archer had found grave error in flight;

and Fensham would not have a chance to kill,

and set the archer blameful still.

 

Fensham was a handsome man,

if handsome be thy talisman.

But evil spied its way right through

those handsome eyes of steely blue.

 

His broadened burden had been reaped

from waking up when others sleep,

and toiling long unto the dawn

on this land he sought to make his pawn.

 

A farmer’s boy, he, a working man,

who never thought that his blood ran

as blue and cold as kingly gain.

But the time had come for a colder reign.

 

Waiting impatiently for the news,

he childishly wondered and playfully mused

‘pon the possibilities inherent in taking the throne.

For the extent of his rebellion would soon be known.

 

A door near removed shook him rudely from dreams,

and a young man stumbled in, bursting at the seams:

‘There are soldiers rode in upon Baronstown,

and fingers are wagging and waving us down.

It shall not be long ‘fore they come through this door.

Thou must depart, and prepare us for war.’

 

Fensham acknowledged and readied his flight,

but shouts from the courtyard below gave him fright.

Already The Wise King’s spies had descended for kill,

and Fensham was hurried greatly ‘gainst his will.

 

‘How can they be ‘pon us?’ he roared on the stairs,

as they descended the tower into day’s glare.

‘They were here all along,’ the man shouted back.

‘They were waiting for orders to mount an attack.

It seemeth me there has been a disaster.

The boy has been killed instead of the master.’

 

Fensham stopped sudden, chilled to the core,

for the terrible news was much to abhor.

‘The child is murdered?’ he asked frightfully.

‘How did the man miss? How could this be?’

 

Fighting was underway in the yard,

and Fensham saw faces embittered and hard.

Yet the men in the courtyard who fought ‘gainst his own

had served him long dearly. To him they were known.

 

Surely none knew his name, and none of his scheme;

but that was a certainty falling apart at the seams.

What did he really know about those who declared

their loyalty to him for the goals he had dared?

 

In frustration and anger, he drew out his gun

and took off the head of the closest one.

A stable hand brought out his panicking mare,

and Fensham set foot to the stirrup with care.

 

Yet just as he mounted and made for the gates,

a troop of horse-soldiers bore down on his mates.

Within minutes, the ferocious fighting was passed,

and Fensham sat his mount with an expression of glass.

 

‘Ah, Lord Fensham,’ a familiar voice exclaimed.

‘So good to see that thou art not maimed.’

The man who had spoken was dressed like a hen,

in a manner unbefitting of warmong’ring men.

 

‘I see thou hast fallen foul of my spies,

and I can see thy confusion in thy power-starved eyes.

It is I who shall take the crimson seat,

though thou art being blamed as we surely speak.’

 

The man was Lord Turlough, a vicious cur

whose ambitions matched Fensham’s for measures impure.

 

‘Thou didst vow that thy men would be loyal to my cause,’

Fensham remarked calmly in the midst of his loss.

 

‘The time has come for a new king to reign,

and thou, Lord Fensham, hast nothing to gain

by silently plotting behind all of our backs.

A strong, ruthless leader is what this plan lacks.’

 

‘And thou art that man?’ Fensham replied.

‘Thou who appears like a peacock has died?

Thou art no leader, nor military man.

Tell me here now whoso follows thy plan.’

 

Turlough grinned and said surely, ‘Enough.

I have plenty of men to call The Good King’s bluff.

And while he is focused ‘pon taking your head,

it will be my army who dost see you dead.’

 

The thunder of horsemen was heard in the distance,

and Turlough was sure not to sit there and listen.

He ordered his men to turn tail and run,

leaving one man alive in his army of one.

 

Fensham watched The Peaceful King’s men ride right in

to the country estate, bought with blood and with sin.

He threw down his weapons and cried ‘Treachery!’

But he amongst dead men was all they could see.

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