The Madness of Gods and Kings: Book V of the Northern Crusade
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“I don’t expect many of you to understand why we make this agreement,” Ingrid told her assembled rebels. “Bahr’s name alone will change the course of our struggle, but he cannot, nor will I expect him to, stay for longer than his will. We both are sworn to sacred oaths. Today I have sent riders out to the other companies. We will consolidate and engage Lord Jarrik and his Wolfsreik murderers on our terms. Today we begin the quest to reclaim Delranan for ourselves. No longer will the tyranny of a few dominate the lives of all! We were born free and, by the gods, I will see to it that we all meet our ends as free men and women. Today we take the first steps in toppling Harnin One Eye!”
Cheers erupted. The rebellion had suffered many and varying shames over the course of the war. It was past time for that course to reverse. Even if it meant burning Chadra Keep to the ground around Harnin’s head.
Ingrid reveled in their support. For a time, a much longer time than she’d anticipated, she felt lost, felt the rebellion was on its last legs and about to die. The passion of her assembled fighters changed all that. Holding up her hands for silence, she continued, “I do not command you to follow me. No, for I am no tyrant. Those of you who wish to return to your families may do so at any time. No one person has the right to expect others to lay down their lives for a cause they aren’t committed to. Go now without shame or the burden of failure. You have served your kingdom and your people honorably and will be treated so.”
She paused, nervous about the results. Long moments stretched on yet no one moved. Her heart relaxed. Slightly. They were all with her. Only to what end I cannot promise. I fear I may be leading you all to slaughter. “Through your actions will our lands be free again! From your courage and sacrifice will Delranan rise from the ashes of this nightmare Harnin One Eye has created. You are the future and it fills my heart with great joy to see that each and every one of you is as committed to the cause as I am. Thank you, my friends. Thank you all.”
She stepped away as the crowd roared their approval.