The County of Avenshire has long been known as a haven for foresters and lumberjacks. It was also a Sanctuary for Mages when Magic was prominent. Our largest forest, The Ravens Forest, is rumored to have the essence of magic flowing through its roots. Today I continue through the lands of Arthos to search for King Miles. My fears that something terrible has happened to him increase each day, the rumors along the path of those who have spoken to him recently have been silent.

The path is lonely today, quiet compared to how the previous days have been. The sunlight glimmers through the leaves high above me, casting the most beautiful rays of light on the path. Judging by the thick trunks, I believe I am in the County of Avenshire. As a part of the Kingdom of Arthos, this place has been rumored for it’s siege Masters for decades. I can see why you could craft an entire siege tower out of just one of these trees.

However, I am not familiar with war. I knew it only as a distant beast that demanded many young souls from our village growing up. Some returned silent, while others simply never returned at all. As I pondered this thought, I noticed a group of soldiers approaching on horseback. I stepped off the road to make way for them to continue on what seemed like a daily patrol when one of them introduced himself to me as Count Raithe Belfort. I could tell he must be an engineer with the tools he carried. Apparently he had heard of my recent endeavors to speak with the Kings and Queens of Elyria and offered to walk with me if I was interested in hearing of the legendary siege masters of the House of Belfort. I welcomed the invitation, and he joined me, walking through the dancing light, the trees of Avenshire towering above us.

Bradford J Wilshire: “I hear you are a self-proclaimed siege master, is that true?”

Count Raithe Belfort: “Thank you, Master Wilshire. Self-proclaimed is a bit underwhelming… for decades, my House has worked hard to maintain the title of Siege Master. We are considered experts of our trade.”

BJW: “My apologies, not being familiar with weapons of war, this is new to me. Has your House always been loyal to the Kingdom of Arthos?”

RB: “That’s quite alright, Siege Weaponry tends to be overlooked for the illusions of grandeur the foot soldier brings forth. As for House Belfort? Yes, we have always been loyal to the Kingdom of Arthos. My father, Veron Belfort, was a Knight in the Kingdom employed before elevating to the nobility.”

BJW: “In times of peace, how does your house serve the kingdom? I assume business is better when there is a war on the horizon?”

RB: “Absolutely, we thrive on war and we live in it. There is nothing more exhilarating than seeing the rows of catapults let loose our most destructive weapon, “Hellfire”, and watching enemy fortifications tumble like a child’s log set. But in times of peace, we rotate our foundries and siege works over to more civilized pursuits. Carpentry, Bulk orders of Housing materials and Fortifications, and my favorite, Alchemy. Our Combat Engineers also go from an Elite unit specialized in destruction to paving infrastructure and maintaining the land for our citizens.”

BJW: “How big is the House of Belfort? Do you have many citizens pledged to you?”

RB: “Our House is selective. My two sons, Viktor, and William are landed Knights within our County and we also have a handful of experts working with us on the recipe for ‘boompowder’. As for the County? We currently have two guilds pledged to us and two Barons. That brings our tally up to thirty individuals. As for our common folk? Thousands. The County of Avenshire has long been known as a haven for foresters and lumberjacks. It was also a Sanctuary for Mages when Magical Talents were prominent. Our largest forest, The Ravens Forest, is rumored to have the essence of magic flowing through its roots.”

BJW: Ah, yes the rumors of magic are heard all over these days. If you were to leave a legacy to your sons, what would you want to improve from your father’s legacy?”

RB: “Rumors may not be far from the truth… [giving me a sly grin] As for a legacy to leave for my sons? Easily enough… my father lacked the commitment to strike out and show the realm what House Belfort is capable of. Under our King, His Majesty Cidolfus Orlandeau, we will show the world what “Hellfire” will do to your flimsy forts and strongholds if you ever dare cross the Raven and the Lion. My sons will inherit the glory behind our Siege Engines, a glory and fame I will bring to them through my tireless efforts to modernize and revolutionize the field of Siege Warfare. They will, in essence, inherit the battering ram to the world’s largest doors. No stone will be left unturned, all will fear the might of Belfort’s thunderous barrages from our catapults…”

A large crash echoed in the distance, and Raithe quickly & politely excused himself to continue his work. As he rode away, I wondered to myself if even the horses here had some special connection to the forests. Even as they trotted away their massive hooves sounded like the stampede of Trison. Their legs almost blended in with the trunks around them. I leave you with a final thought, does the “beast” of war seek to taint our legacy, or can we define ourselves without it?

Until next time,

Be Bold, Be Known
Bradford J. Wilshire