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    The Silver Wolf-The Honor Of The Crown: The Divine Right Of Kings
    Posted on Fri, April 16, 2021 by LordCeb
    CruelSummerLord writes "Factions supporting Wilhelm and Moswen openly and loudly argued in the streets, nearly coming to blows more than once before city watchmen broke them up. Similar unrest was occurring in Flinthold’s smaller towns, and a palpable sense of tension was rife throughout the kingdom.

    Chapter Eleven

    The Divine Right Of Kings

    Coldeven 22 was Airk’s birthday, but he was not in a festive mood. It had been a week since the companions arrived in Flinthold, and the Regency Council was deadlocked both on which of the councillors should be king and how Flinthold should respond to Garnetholme. Factions supporting Wilhelm and Moswen openly and loudly argued in the streets, nearly coming to blows more than once before city watchmen broke them up. Similar unrest was occurring in Flinthold’s smaller towns, and a palpable sense of tension was rife throughout the kingdom.

    At the suggestion of Arthur Cyruson, the one Regency Council member who refused to take sides in Wilhelm and Moswen’s feud, the Council finally agreed to cast a divination asking Garl Glittergold for guidance. Once again, many of Flinthold’s leading citizens gathered, only this time they went to Flinthold’s large temple to Garl Glittergold instead of the Council’s manor.

    “I doubt this is the birthday gift you were expecting, was it?” Weimar asked Airk as he prepared to leave for the temple. Airk politely declined his friends’ offers of gifts and celebration, not wanting to focus on anything besides Flinthold’s succession.

    Airk shook his head at Weimar, not sure whether to feel disgust or despair. He didn’t know what he could do about the disputes over Flinthold’s throne, and a part of him felt like the tensions were all his fault for bringing the Crown of Arumdina back.

    Rationally, he knew it wasn’t his fault.

    Despite that, the same voice that spoke to him when he was conversing with the Raballah youth came back to him. It told him that this was all his fault, and if any blood was spilled over the Crown it would be on his hands.

    Those thoughts remained with Airk as he joined the crowd of gnomes filing into Garl Glittergold’s temple. The temple walls were richly decorated with murals and inlays of gold and mithril, representing the metals Garl and Arumdina were made of. Large gem-studded crystal orbs enchanted with permanent light spells hung from the ceiling, bathing the room in faintly multicolored hues. Finely crafted bronzewood and oak benches served as pews. A large podium stood at the far end of the main hall, flanked by an altar for offerings and personal prayers on one side and a golden holy water font on the other. In the center of the podium there was a raised lectern, where Flinthold’s chief cleric of Garl Glittergold would soon stand.

    Everyone in the temple watched silently as the elderly gnome cleric placed the Crown of Arumdina on the altar and put a diamond in front of it. He placed and lit two incense candles, one on each side of the Crown, before he climbed to the lectern and began to cast a divination spell. He chanted for several long minutes, and the diamond in front of the Crown shattered, consumed by the spell’s power. His eyes glowed a bright gold, and everyone present knew that Garl Glittergold spoke through him.

    “The Crown’s power will come to life…” the cleric said, speaking out loud the message Garl placed in his thoughts.

    “When borne upon a worthy brow…”

    “Of the champion who faces the crisis…”

    “And who may choose to found a king’s line,” the cleric said, giving the final words of the divination. He closed his eyes again, and they returned to normal when he opened them.

    The gnomes all murmured to themselves as Airk looked around. He held his breath, wondering how Wilhelm or Moswen would react.

    Airk wasn’t surprised when Wilhelm and several of his supporters stood up.

    “The spell’s clearly referring to me,” he said, beaming proudly. “My ceremony should be-“

    “You’re tricked by your own illusions, Wilhelm!” Moswen shouted as he and his own supporters stood up. “I’m clearly the one Garl Glittergold is referring to!”

    The temple suddenly burst into an uproar as gnomes argued and shouted at one another. Accusations and insults flew wildly, but the temple fell silent when Arthur Cyruson spoke up.

    “A communing spell!” he shouted so that everyone could hear him. “Garl’s guidance will come through a communing!”

    Airk frowned as he tried to remember what Luna once told him and the rest of their friends about divination spells. Divinations were often cryptic and difficult to interpret, but they were easier to cast than communing spells. Communing spells allowed the caster to ask their deity direct questions, but those questions could only provide ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers. They also couldn’t be cast as frequently, as they put a greater strain on the cleric than divinations.  

    The temple quieted and the gnomes sat down, several of them muttering under their breaths. The cleric climbed down from the lectern and anointed the Crown with holy water, a necessary part of the communing, before he started casting the spell itself. After several minutes, the cleric closed his eyes once more. They glowed gold again when he reopened them, signifying that Garl could speak through him.

    Airk felt his heart race as the cleric asked his first question.

    “Are either of the leaders who’ve put themselves forward as king worthy to wear the Crown?” the cleric asked.

    The cleric opened his mouth again almost immediately. This time, he spoke with an entirely different voice, that of Garl Glittergold.

    “No,” the cleric said, as Garl’s voice spoke through him.

    The temple nearly burst into another uproar, but everyone fell silent when the cleric asked another question.

    “Could either of our leaders grow into becoming worthy?” the cleric asked.

    “Yes,” Garl said through the cleric.

    “Are there any others worthy of growing into the role of king?” the cleric asked.

    “Yes,” Garl Glittergold said through him.

    The temple suddenly erupted again, but this time in quiet murmuring rather than angry shouting. No one else had put themselves forward as fit to wear the Crown, so the gnomes had no idea who Garl Glittergold might be referring to.

    Again, Arthur’s voice rose above the murmuring.

    “Is the crisis the divination mentioned one we’re currently facing?” he asked.

    “No,” Garl said through the cleric.

    Airk saw a puzzled expression cross Arthur’s face, and he felt the same confusion. What menace could Flinthold be facing besides the dispute with Garnetholme?

    “Could the dispute with Garnetholme grow into that crisis?” Moswen asked, suddenly realizing the gnomes didn’t need the cleric to ask the questions for them.

    “Yes,” Garl said through the cleric.

    “Is there another danger coming, one outside our knowledge?” Arthur asked.

    “Yes,” Garl said through the cleric.

    “Could a gnome prove his worthiness to wear the Crown through this new danger?” Wilhelm asked, not wanting to cede an advantage to Moswen.

    “Yes,” Garl said through the cleric.

    Airk stood up to ask a question. He wanted to know if the unknown danger had to do with the mysterious jewelry the monsters he and his friends fought on the way to Flinthold carried, but Moswen beat him to it.

    “Will Flinthold need to act decisively to address this crisis?” he asked.

    “Yes,” Garl said through the cleric.

    Airk scowled as Moswen for asking such an obvious question. He opened his mouth again, but this time Wilhelm beat him to it.

    “Do we need unity to address this crisis?” he asked.

    “Yes,” Garl said through the cleric. The cleric suddenly began to tremble, and he grasped tightly to the lectern. He closed his eyes, and when he opened them again they were back to their normal color.

    Airk shook his head at both of the would-be kings for wasting the communing spell on obvious matters. As if Flinthold wouldn’t need decisive action and unity to address the issue!

    Pompous idiots, the both of them, Airk thought as he left the temple. Trying to make themselves look decisive instead of actually learning information they’d need!

    Airk made straight for the Sign Of The Wolverine, the inn where he and his friends were staying.

    He needed a damn drink.

    “Moswen and Wilhelm both think that the crisis is the coming war with Garnetholme, and that they can gain the throne by looking strong and decisive,” Airk said as he finished his explanation. As the debates and questions in the temple were all done in the gnomish language, Airk’s friends didn’t go with him and he had to summarize it for them.

    The companions were eating supper in the Sign Of The Wolverine’s common room, surrounded by Flinthold residents chattering in the gnomish tongue. As Airk explained to his friends, the Flintholders were animatedly discussing who should be king and if they should go to war with Garnetholme.  

    I don’t understand, though, Ma’non’go said with a frown. Why would Garl Glittergold encourage his creations to go to war against each other?

    “Most Flintholders would claim that Garnetholme’s lost the gods’ favor, and that Urdlen’s granting any divine favors they receive,” Airk said. “War hawks like Wilhelm are convinced Garl’s on their side.”

    “You’d think Garl could have been clearer in his spells,” Amyalla said. “Why didn’t he just come out and say who should be king, and what this crisis is?”

    “Clerical spells don’t work that way,” Luna said, leaning forward and clasping her hands on the table. “The goodly gods want their creations to make their own way in the world, instead of relying on the gods to solve every problem and question for them.”

    “With the way things are going, maybe Garl should intervene directly,” Airk said. “Wilhelm and Moswen are both so determined to become king I doubt they care about the cost. Blood might be spilled over this.”

    “Even when there’s already the risk of war with Garnetholme?” Luna said.

    “That’s what makes them both fools,” Airk said, before he took a long drink of ale. “I wonder whether the crisis Garl’s divination mentioned didn’t have more to do with those bejewelled monsters we fought on the way here. Every single one of the gems they wore had the exact same cut.”

    “Can the priest cast another spell?” Weimar asked.

    “Not for another week,” Luna said. “Those spells put a strain on the caster and can’t be used more often than that. It might not matter though.”

    Airk looked at Luna hopefully, as a slight smile crossed her face.

    "If Garl Glittergold can't help us anymore, maybe Pelor can," she said.

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