By Douglas E. Gogerty
Prince William spent several weeks exploring the capitol city of the Pirate Peninsula. He frequented the bar he found on the first day. He became friendly with the bartender, and she became friendly with him. It seemed that all of the strife raging around the world and the city avoided him.
The hotel seemed abandoned. He stayed at the same room every night. At no time was their anyone at the desk. In fact, he never ran into another person at the hotel. He felt that it was an odd situation, but these were odd times. For the first time in a long time, he enjoy himself. However, he knew that would not last forever.
He was enjoying some time with his favorite bartender when a familiar face walked into the bar. One of the men that accompanied King Thorbjorn in prison entered the establishment. An eerie quiet spread through the room. Several people ran out the back door. The bartender froze. She stared at the man in fear.
His father's man scanned the place for threats. He looked around but did not pause on any one person. He did not appear to see the Prince, or at least recognize him. The tension did not leave the room as he walked out. A few moments later, he returned with a group of six men. The man at the center was another one of his father's men. They sat at a table in the corner, but every person faced outward.
One of the men waved at the bartender and she warily walked over to the table. Someone made a joke, probably at her expense, and they all laughed. The bartender did not even smirk. They each placed their orders and she rushed back to fill them. The men sat and talked as their orders were filled.
A small amount of calm re-emerged in the place. The bartender did not relax, but the patrons began to return to normal. However, without being able to converse with the bartender, the Prince decided to leave. Before he left, he heard, "Prince William!"
He thought about ignoring it. He thought he would just walk out as if he did not hear. However, as he opened the door he saw another familiar face guarding a fleet of vehicles. Hence, he decided to look at who called him.
"Oh!" the Prince said with a bit of mock surprise. "It's you!"
"You are alive! What do you know!" shouted one of the men.
"Come join us," insisted another.
"Well, I..." began the Prince.
"I insist," stated the leader of the group.
With that, the Prince sat with the men. The bartender gasped in horror when she noticed her friend sitting with these men. The Prince knew that he and the bartender could never return to the way it was. His time enjoying her company was over. With the friendly talk and the smiles, she would never trust him again. The Prince felt a little sad about that.
The men detailed the events of the weeks after he left. They talked about the riots and the fighting. They told the stories of a large force that came to the prison to break their comrades out. This is how they got out and the prison was destroyed. There were stories of fights and the grab for power.
While the assassination of the governor was well planned, the succession was not. The man who planned the thing assumed that he would be instilled in power. That assumption cost him his life. This resulted in near complete chaos. Many people wanted to have the power of the state. Each faction faced off against each other. There were regular battles. The civil war had begun.
The men stated that they had allied with Scott Richards. He was one of the local aristocrats and had gathered a formidable army. They believed that he had the best chance at coalescing power. That is why they joined him. They told stories of their battles. They bragged of their glorious victories. They came back to the capitol to relax for a while. That is what they were doing there at the bar.
Just like that, Prince William was caught up in the activities of the peninsula. He talked about his adventures. He spoke of the wars raging on in and around Lakeland. He talked about the treachery of Prince Bjorn and the assassination of the King. He talked about how Princess Angelina had been swept into power over all of Lakeland after the civil war and death of Bjorn.
After all that his people had gone through, he felt it better to leave than to make a claim to the throne. After all, he was in the wilderness making his way back when the war ended. No one knew he was alive. He made it sound like he entered the peninsula for exile rather than facing off with the people of Lakeland. The men seemed to buy it.
The men drank a few more drinks and laughed heartily. The bartender was haggard by the time they left. They did not pay for a single thing. They just enjoyed themselves and walked out. She worked hard, but got nothing in return except harassment.
They all walked over to the hotel where the Prince had been staying. They opened a locked drawer and each got a room key. The Prince asked for the key to his room. He now understood things better. These men took whatever they wanted. Who knows what happened to those who disobeyed. They likely died. It was also most probably a terrible death. He was mostly sure that is what happened innkeeper.
These men were much more dangerous than they were under King Thorbjorn. They had become ruthless and cruel. Nevertheless, he was now a part of their group. They had an allegiance to him, and they would likely treat him with respect. However, that did not make them any less dangerous. He did not know if they would turn on him. He hoped he would live long enough to find out how loyal they were to the family.