The talk had been brief and unanimous. The people of Fort Drelev did not want to be associated with that name anymore. Cowardice was a thing shunned on the frontier. After several ideas were submitted and thrown out by general consensus, the town’s name was changed to Seldon’s Hope, for the name of the hero that fell while trying to free them from the barbarian king’s influence.
When asked for a replacement to lead several men stepped forward. All were strong and capable. The most likely candidate, Terrion Numesti, refused. “I will help the leaders here,” he said, “but I cannot be a mayor. You’ll need someone much more capable than I.”
After a briefly interviewing the candidates King Montgomery was troubled. They were all capable warriors, but their motives and loyalty seemed a bit murky. He was about to dismiss them all when a surprisingly strong tenor of a voice spoke up from the back of the group.
The crowd parted to reveal a Halfling standing there, with a small rapier hanging by a jeweled baldric around his shoulders. Sitting at a jaunty angle upon his head was a rakish hat with some manner of plumed feather sticking out of it. “I think you found your new mayor, your lordship,” he said in melodious tones and taking a deep bow. “Stanley Treeroot is the name.”
Monty’s eyes widened and he looked from companion to companion, seeing their expression of surprise too. This tiny person had the voice of a giant.
“I can see now that you doubt my ability, yes?” Stanley said with a chuckle. “Well, then, let any here stand a duel against me and find that I will prevail.” He pulled his rapier and swished it through the air.
The martial members of the entourage nodded in appreciation. One expected a certain amount of clumsiness, perhaps due to the child-like look of the race, but Stanley’s flourish cut a fine arc through the air that the most skilled swordmaster would be hard-pressed to match.
“Additionally,” Stanley was continuing as he put up his rapier again, “I am well versed in both statecraft and,” he winked at Monty, “economics of trade.” He leapt nimbly up to the top of the barrel which the king was standing beside and whispered, “And I am no stranger to espionage either, m’lord. I will keep these hooligans in line and present you with a proper tribute in taxes.”
“What say you, people of Seldon’s Hope?” he boomed again. Before any could respond he broke into a folk song that was wildly popular in the region. It spoke of building a place in the wilds and creating something greater than the lords of the north. The crowd cheered and Monty noted many wiping tears from their eyes unashamedly.
An hour later the king and his companions were riding away from the town on the road to Tatzylford. “Well,” Marcus said to no one in particular, “that was different.”