Dubhaine Family/Moira/Speeches/2008/August

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5th August - Public Address

Will I apologise for the treatment of Sir Jens? No.

Sir Jens was a recent arrival in our realm, purportedly visiting from the lawless Barony of Makar on Atamara, and from his first arrival in our lands he showed a complete disregard for our law and customs. He deliberately set out to bait Lord Tal into an illegal duel - something which is punishable because we as a realm have agreed it is punishable - and concluded this sordid business within seven days of setting foot on our soil.

He was repeatedly warned beforehand that to take such action would be to break the law, and yet he continued on his course clearly believing that nothing would or could be done to punish him.

Was his crime the lifting of the blade? No.

Was his crime the repeated pathetic blows he struck at Lord Tal? No.

Was his crime to lie in his own blood soiling the streets of the capital? No.

His crime was to deny the will of the realm as expressed in the existing law and place his own gross pleasures and highly questionable nobility above and beyond all other considerations.

When he was called to account for his actions he was given an opportunity to admit his guilt and take his punishment with the nobility which is our duty as leaders of men and upholders of Fontan's virtue. Instead he acted like the bandit chieftain he clearly was and disparaged both court and law.

All evidence, including his own testimony proved his guilt on the primary charge.

Had he displayed the nobility he claimed and accepted that the law is something which by our common consent binds us his case would have been handled no differently than Lord Tal's. His punishment would have been identical, the equivalent of a slap on the wrist and being allowed to go about his business without further comment.

However Jens did not choose to do that, and I made an example of him for his low-born impudence. It certainly wasn't very kind of me to do this, and it probably wasn't fair of me, but it most definitely was just - and justice alone is the consideration of a court. Had he been tried under military conditions he would have been lucky to escape with his life, instead he received a fine which would doubtless have kept him kicking his heels for a week but which beyond that would have left him little inconvenienced.

My justification for acting with such force is a simple one. In the battle of wills between noble and law, the law must always win or the realm will dissolve into anarchy. Such a realm would become rudderless, easy pickings for the sharks who even now circle our borders, and this whole continent would be pitched into the black pits of tyranny which Handow and Doombringer and Gregor crave.

Would any of you hesitate to lay your blade to these enemies in battle? Would you sit in An Najaf and share a bottle of Alowcan Brandy with Lords Johnnn and Hamilton, agreeing that all this fighting was a nonsense and we should all just settle back into our estates, happy to be ruled by despots who would dispossess us of our right to speak our mind?

I very much doubt it.

And yet the actions of Jens were no different in kind to that swaggering traitor Gregor's decision to secede from this realm. Both denied that the writ of our law ran within the reach of their steel, it is merely that Gregor has more steel at his command than a rootless Makarian barbarian could ever hope to get his hands on.

Fontan is a democracy. She is founded on the traditions of noble conduct and service, not on the will of the individual to do as he or she should please by reason of title, station, familial relationship, privy influence or general maliciousness. So long as something is not explicitly banned, any noble of this realm is free to do it with recourse to ask permission. That is freedom. That is the essential quality that our peers in other realms lack, and which ours will lose if the rule of law is not defended robustly.

Any who disagree with my handling of this matter are free to protest me out of office and either run for Supreme Justice themselves or else find a candidate for the job who will make of the law that which they wish: no impediment to whatever petty whim drives them.

Until then, I will dispense justice in my court according to the merit of the case before me and within the boundaries placed upon me by the law.

That is my final word on the matter.