IT’S TOUR DAY at the palace and, as usual, the lines of people stretch a long way back from the gate.
A big man, dressed in antique garb, walks up and glances at the lines of people waiting to sign up for a chance at a palace tour. Instead of taking his place at the back of the line, he instead strides arrogantly to the front where the clerks are accepting the applications. A security officer rushes forward to the screen that separates the public from the approaches to the palace.
The big man snaps at the security officer, in command voice, “I am Jav t’Regor, Duke of Narissa. You may announce me to His Majesty.”
The security guard briefly sizes up the big man and presses the trouble button on his com. Then he unwisely confronts the big man. “Look buddy, costume or no, you get back in line or we’ll throw you out!”
The big man is obviously not used to being addressed in such a fashion. Rage flares in his face and, after a quick glance at the security man, the big man leaps to grasp the top of the eight-foot high screen between himself and the security officer. With no apparent strain, he vaults over the barrier, lands on the ground, and then grabs the security officer by the throat.
The big man snarls, “Knave, I am Jav t’Regor, Duke of Narissa! You may announce me to His Majesty NOW!” As he speaks, he shakes the security man as a terrier might shake a rat. The big man also seems to use about as much effort as a terrier would use to shake a rat.
Security reinforcements quickly arrive on the scene. The big man calmly unsheathes a long, very slightly curved sword. He holds the unfortunate security man as a shield. With a sneer of contempt, the big man’s eyes rake the security forces who have paused a short distance away. He calmly challenges, “Come and die at the hand of your better!”
There are screams from the crowd and violence is imminent. The security men edge forward and continue to tell the big man to drop the guard and to surrender. However, they’re obviously not too anxious to come within reach of the big man’s sword.
The big man continues to hold the guard, perhaps as a shield. He clearly prepares to deal with the approaching security forces.
A loud, but cultured female voice cuts through the scene. “What is it we have here?”
A lady, in a very elaborate gown, strides forward with the sort of confidence one gains as a part of a family that has been ruling a kingdom for more than a thousand years. She does prudently halt just behind the line of security officers.
The big man, in ancient garb, turns his gaze to the lady. He slightly inclines his head. He says, with politeness that seems out of place considering the circumstances, “Ah, My Lady! And, whom do I have the pleasure of addressing?”
The lady eyes the big man without any show of emotion. She then says, in a calm and polite voice, “I am the Princess Carilya. And, who might you be, my good man?”
Again, the big man inclines his head. He says formally, “My Lady, I am Jav t’Regor, Duke of Narissa. I am, as always, at the service of the daughter of my Liege Lord. I seek the audience of His Majesty on a matter of grave importance to the throne. These base-born knaves sought to intervene in Noble affairs. I humbly beg your pardon if their unwarranted interference disturbed My Lady.”
The lady, clearly taken somewhat aback, takes a breath and then says, in the fashion of a school girl reciting a history lesson, “Jav t’Regor, the Duke of Narissa and sometimes called Jav the Tiger, died some five centuries ago at the battle of Ofone Chapel, defending His Majesty Olav The Second.”
Now it’s the turn of the big man to be shocked. “Then, as now, I defend my Liege Lord. However, I did not die, but was rendered unconscious by the foul magic of Penforon, the mage. When I awoke from the foul treachery, I found myself in a prison. I was then forced to stand trial by combat. My foes were strong and savage fighters, but none stands before Jav t’Regor with only a sword. None!” The last word is emphasized as a sort of challenge. The big man glances about and, seeing no response to his challenge, he then continues to lecture calmly, “But surely it cannot be five centuries. I fought many times, but not five centuries worth. Then again, it may be more of Penforon’s magic.” The big man looks as thoughtful as can a man who is holding up a two-hundred-pound guard, with one hand.
The Princess nods to one of the security guards who uses a stun dart gun on the man who claims to be the Duke of Narissa. It takes three darts, but the big man finally goes down.
The guards secure the big man. By then, the Captain of the Guard has arrived.
“My Lady, I’ll have this insane man taken to the hospital, under guard.”
The Princess appears to think for a few seconds. She then says thoughtfully, “No, have him taken to the holding room, next to the chapel. Keep him bound, but under no condition are you to mistreat him. Who knows, as unlikely as it might seem, he just might be Jav t’Regor, the Duke of Narissa.”