This interview was conducted this morning at
Nujel'm Palace. I asked permission for, and was granted, an audience with Prince
Rowan of House Westmark, the heir apparent to Bermayne Altair Westmark's wealth
and estate. We met in his study for about an hour. I found him most congenial,
cooperative, and polite. I could see, however, the strain of the previous
night's events on his face, and in his voice.
Jurel: "Prince Rowan, word has it that the Crystal Ball did not go well.
>From your vantage point, please clarify things for those of us not privileged to
be invited. What is going on in the ruling House of our fair city?
Rowan: "You cut to the chase, Jurel, and so will I. Well, to facilitate
better working relationships with certain large and notable factions within
Britannia, we decided to begin the year with a Ball. I personally asked my
Heralds, Criers, and Bards, to send word of it. We have limited space at the
Palace to accommodate large numbers, so we decided to send out
Jurel: "I see. Well, who sent invitation to extreme and subversive groups
such as the Order of the Ebon Skull, and the Cult of Infernal Necromancy, among
others, who were seen in attendance? Or did they come uninvited?"
Rowan: "I am a man of diversification. I am hesitant to label anyone or any
group until I have had the opportunity to hear and consider their philosophies.
I also hope to be a catalyst for unity in the land, and bringing diverse groups
into contact with one another permits dialogue that might be conducive to mutual
understanding and, hopefully, some degree of acceptance. You call those groups
"extremists" and "subversive." Have you taken time to
examine their beliefs for yourself? Or is all your knowledge of them
Jurel: "You have me there. I hear things about them, though, and they are,
shall I say, not good. In fact, it is common knowledge that they harbor enmity
to those who espouse the virtues. This they freely admit and publicize."
(Rowan smiled at this point.)
Rowan: "Shame on you. You speak without true knowledge, sir, when you label
folk without seeking a better understanding of their ways. But, to continue, we
did have two unfortunate incidents to transpire."
Jurel: "Aye, the death of your House Magi, Adrick Moonstar, long time
friend of your father, and the family."
Rowan: "Indeed. Adrick's presence will be greatly missed." (I could
see much sadness in the young Prince's eyes when he spoke of this - Jurel)
Jurel: "What happened exactly? Please share the details."
Rowan: "As you may know, we recently sent a caravan from Yew to Minoc.
Along the way it was accosted by bands of brigands and outlaws, who stole much
of the treasure. I sent word around asking for the recovery of the stolen items,
some of which were extremely valuable. In reply, several groups reported that
they had killed thieves who had the artifacts I described in their possession,
and would return them to me. General Navrip and Smogg Azalin sent word they
would meet with me at the Ball and deliver them if they could be identified. As
they were quite valuable, and they have such rabid enemies, they preferred I
send someone to identify them rather than bring them on their persons to the
Ball. I asked Adrick to do this. He knew what to look for, and could easily note
anything not ours, or fake."
Jurel: "Navrip and Smogg? Are not these two leaders of the groups I spoke
Rowan: "Correct. I met with them in my chambers, and, despite attempts to
thwart his exit, Adrick accompanied them to their Church at Caina. It was there
he met his death."
Jurel: "Then they killed him?"
Rowan: "I am commissioning an inquiry into it exactly, but General Navrip
made a statement at the Ball which insists it was a matter of self-defense on
their part. I cannot say for sure what happened at this point. One thing is
certain. Adrick is dead."
Jurel: "It is a simple matter to resurrect him. Why was this not
Rowan: "That, too, is a mystery. He has not returned, nor hath his ghost. I
am baffled by it."
Jurel: "What is this news of your sister, Shalina? Word has it you had her
arrested shortly thereafter. Is this true?"
Rowan: "Yes it is. My sister is very outspoken. After word of Adrick's
demise, she became beside herself and began raving. Some of it I could ignore
and forgive, but not when it became treasonous accusations. She tried to
implicate me in some plot to kill my beloved mentor Adrick. Actually, as you may
recall, she herself was implicated in a theft of jewelry at the Palace shortly
after her arrival some months ago. She has been under suspicion for some time in
various attempts to undermine my authority. After me, she is next in line to be
considered for the rule of House Westmark, now that Adrick is gone."
Jurel: "Are you insinuating that she had some involvement with the death of
Rowan: "She and Adrick had many conversations, in private, but the Palace
has ears. Some of these indicate she was priming Adrick for some outlandish
behavior toward certain individuals, including myself. General Navrip commented
on this in his speech, and I remembered those reports. So, yes, she may have
driven beloved Adrick to his premature and violent death."
Jurel: "Where is she now, and what are your plans with her?"
Rowan: "She is incommunicado now, but, to be fair to the citizens of
Nujel'm, she may eventually be incarcerated in the Town Jail. Nobility does not
confer special status where criminal action is involved. I feel very strongly
Jurel: "If convicted, what will be the sentence of the court for her?"
Rowan: "I hate to think of it, but once again, justice is blind, as it
should be. To be guilty of high treason in Nujel'm carries the death
Jurel: "You mean beheading, specifically?"
Rowan: "Yes, sadly, that is what our famous guillotine is for. It is quite
humane. I pray my sister will recant. Perhaps she, and all of House Westmark,
can avoid another tragedy, or else the law may have to be altered. I could not
bear such loss."
Jurel: "One last question, Prince Rowan.. something many would like to know
for certain.. are you in any way in league with, or have some kind of business
dealings with, the Shadow Conclave .. those groups, and others, we discussed
Rowan: "I am a fair man. To be fair, one must be willing to give ear to all
sides of a story. Tis true, I occasionally visit those whom others consider
"undesirable" to gain understanding of their ways and philosophies. I
make no apology for it. One cannot govern without possessing, as much as is
possible, knowledge and truth. And one cannot know the truth apart from knowing
as much that can be known. I want to make this very clear.. I am in league with
no one, nor any group above another! I guide the interests of my father's House
and holdings as seems best to me, and if I am accused of evil-doing by
"consorting with undesirables" to achieve the best possible results
and dividends for my family, then so be it. I have nothing to apologize for, as
I have no secret agenda, and nothing to hide. I hope this statement will be
accepted by my numerous detractors. If not, then it is a free land.. and
ignorance or prejudice is not a criminal offense."
Jurel: " My thanks, sire. Perhaps it will. Any plans for memorializing
Rowan: "Aye, indeed. We will be holding a Wake for Adrick in the Nujel'm
cemetery at the Westmark family Crypt on the Thursday following. We will begin
at 9 in the evening by the Eastern sky. I extend invitation to all those wishing
to pay their respects."
Jurel: "Thank you for this enlightening discussion."
Thus ended the dialogue. Rowan had business to attend, and I rushed out to make
this report. I will say that, right or wrong, I do believe Rowan to be sincere
in his quest for knowledge, but, in the back of my mind, I wonder how far it
will take him, and what possible good can come from a relationship with those of
evil and anarchic mind? We shall see.
From the Town Cryer - The Journal of Ultima Online,