True Rebellion - Part 1

Fiction By Timothy // 3/23/2006

Alicia Townsend lay in her bed and stared at the rough wooden ceiling above her. Snippets of the night’s conversation floated through her mind. As usual on Friday nights, her dad and his friends had gathered in the main room of their small house to discuss the local politics. Naturally, their conversation had focused primarily on the recent rebellion that had split the country in two.

“We’ve tolerated the corruption in the government long enough,” her dad had declared. “If the king wants our money so he can build a bigger castle for himself, then let him come and get it.”

The local men had agreed wholeheartedly. King Henry’s corruption was well known and displayed in many ways. The latest uproar was over the increase in taxes that he had instituted. It was widely suspected that the king merely wanted the money for his own personal use.

“Duke Irvin has the right idea,” stated Jack Winthrop, the local banker. “We’ve tried to be reasonable about this for too long. The only solution now is to forcibly remove the king from power.”

Alicia remembered that it had only been two months since the day that Duke Irvin had attacked and captured a government fort that had been built on his land holdings. It was a symbolic move that forcefully demonstrated the widespread discontent with the actions of the king and his advisors. Not long after, Count Brockton, one of Henry’s closest aides, had been stabbed through the heart as he lay sleeping. The perpetrator was never caught, but Duke Irvin had later admitted to sponsoring the enterprise and dared the king to do anything about it. Henry had half-heartedly dispatched some cavalry to take Irvin into custody, but they had been slaughtered by a band of Irvin’s raiders not long into their journey.

It had been a full month since that incident, and Irvin and the king had settled into a tense peace. Irvin refused to take any other action before the king, and the king seemed to be waiting until he could build up a large enough army to squash Irvin once and for all.

Unfortunately for the rebels, Irvin was a relatively poor Duke, and did not have the means to support a large army for a long period of time. He had asked for support from some of the other Dukes and Lords, but most were unwilling to take sides so early in the conflict. Finally, however, the Duke found a supporter willing to finance his cause.

Lord Wallace of Baybrook was one of the wealthiest nobles in the kingdom, and his decision to support Irvin was a surprise to no one. He had been an outspoken critic of the king from the very beginning, loudly protesting the king’s abuses and misdeeds. He would be more than happy to contribute to the king’s dethroning.

The news of Lord Wallace’s support had been especially exciting to Alicia and her family, for they lived in Baybrook and Wallace was their local lord. He lived in a castle a few miles outside of the town and was very popular among his subjects. Now that he was supporting the rebel cause, the people of Baybrook anticipated a break of the tense peace between Duke Irvin and the king.

“If Wallace comes through on his promise, we could lay siege to the capital within the month,” Alicia’s dad had excitedly predicted.

“We must be careful, though,” another man had warned. “King Henry is anxious to get his hands on Lord Wallace. Certainly he knows that Irvin can do nothing without Wallace, and I would bet that he’s itching at the chance to take Wallace into custody. As soon as his friends in the nobility promise their support, he’ll be beating down our door and demanding that we hand over Lord Wallace.”

“Yes,” Jack Winthrop had agreed, “not only that, but Wallace has next to no army to protect himself with. We must be on the alert for any sign of action from the king so we can give Wallace fair warning and time to leave the area and go into hiding.”

Alicia had heard all of this from one of the side rooms. Her dad did not like involving her or her mother in their discussions, but she enjoyed listening in. Although some of the men in the discussions were still uncertain about the rebellion, Alicia had decided her position long before. Whenever all-out war broke loose, Alicia vowed that she would do whatever she could to help the rebel cause.

Alicia’s thoughts were broken by her mother’s voice. “Good night, Alicia,” she said as she bent down and kissed Alicia on the forehead. The lamp next to her bed was blown out, and then Mrs. Townsend left the room, closing the door behind her and leaving Alicia in darkness. Slowly, fatigue enveloped Alicia and she finally slipped into a deep sleep, shutting out the voices of her dad and his friends as they continued on in her mind.