The Counsel Gathers

As the sun rose and exposed Saltmarsh to warm sunlight, it was a very different city. Fires smoldered on one side where siege weapons were attacked and destroyed. Slain guards were lined up and accounted for so they could be buried properly; casualties of the civil struggle between the king and the traditionalists of the city. Much blood has been spilt in the conflict. Will there be more? 

Galen stepped into the common room of the Mariners guild house dressed in a clean bright tunic and black pants with boots shined brightly. His personal guard, Buckminster was by his side and held Galen’s arm to steady him. Galen’s face was drawn in and bruised, signs of the torture he endured in the jail of the kingsmen. He stepped to a chair in the center of the room and gingerly sat then folded his hands in his lap. Buckminster stood behind him and looked about the room with eyes narrowed as brow tight searching for any potential enemies and even when he found nothing but friendly faces he maintained his scowl. 

Next Eda, the old burly fisherwoman entered. She was wearing a long coat, common for fishermen, and heavy boots. Her face too was bruised, the work of the torturer, and she walked carefully. A pair of strong young men helped her to her seat next to Galen. She sat and he reached out a hand to her, she took it and gently squeezed. They enjoyed a moment of solidarity as survivors then sat forward and waited for the final counsel man. 

Murmurs that he would not show began to circulate but at last Anders entered with bright clothes and his head held high as if this were some basic meeting of the counsel. He greeted many personally and took time to shake hands with a number of people whose faces brightened when they saw the young man. He smiled and chatting briefly with a few folks before finally taking his seat. 

The room fell silent. Galen cleared his throat with a croak like a frog then asked in a slow and deep voice, “How can we resolve this conflict and if possible, gain control of our precious city once more?” 

The question was one on the minds of every person there. It was a question of the fate of an entire city. The answer would affect generations to come.

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