James the Bastard, released by Admiral Gryll made the long row to La longi a few pounds lighter, disheveled and slightly dehydrated.
His armor fit a little loosely and he found a local blacksmith to make a few adjustments.
“Bring your hammer and chisel, smith, I have a few jobs for you today.”
The smith knew of the Rainport family and hesitated.
James was short. “You are going with me one way or the other. Get moving. I will pay you well.”
James found other smiths and recruited them in similar fashion. Several wheeled carts were hired to hold the heavy tools of the trade.
Upon his approach, the gates of Castle Rainport were secure.
The guard was smug. ” Sorry, my Lord, the steward will not allow anyone in or out of the castle.”
James convinced the guard with violent logic to stand aside. His crew of craftsmen proceeded.
They were met by heavily armed soldiers led by the steward. “Ah, James, the Bastard. What brings you here today?”
“I have come to claim my rightful place as lord of this manor, steward.”
The steward smiled condescendingly.
“Unfortunately James, you forfeit your rights as an heir when you rejected your father. It is upon the king to decide who has rightful ownership here.”
James assessed the steward and his men. “My sword will determine who resides here. This is not a king’s business, but a family matter.”
The steward was resolved. “James, I remember you as a boy. You were a sickly young man despised by your father. He would not have wanted you to be the heir.”
The steward’s men were stunned. They wanted no part of James. He was renowned for his reputation with a greatsword.
James was thoughtful. “The last time I looked in a glass, I saw a man that could cleave a man in two with his greatsword. Perhaps you have me confused, steward. Listen, I will forgive you this slight, but you and your men will stand aside.”
“You see, I have a vision for this manor. My vision is that all impressed to labor here against their will be free. Every shackle and every evil will be destroyed.”
The steward crossed his arms. “I dont see….”
“Steward, cower behind your men as I cause them to bleed. My will will be imposed at any cost.”
Armed as they were, the steward’s men stepped aside. They had no will to fight.
James led the blacksmiths into the dungeon. All confined were released. Paying them handsomely, he bid the blacksmiths farewell.
James drove small and great from the keep and great hall.
Mounting a horse, James rode to father’s fields and drove away the taskmasters.
It was time for change in the Rainport household.