Bustier Cassanova d'Attentourt
"Why is it that personal freedom leads to a careless society, mylady? I have never witnessed a more democratic state than Cordor, but I never witnessed this ...neglect either. I have grown up in a state that gives Absolutism a bad name, but people DID care when somebody was killed, even if it was a nameless peasant.... shall I tell you about that land?"
Didi patted his hand and asked him to tell her all that bothered him.
"There once was an ambitious tailor in the faraway lands of Termes. He lived in Metropolis, the capital of the empire forged by the Dictator. This Dictator established a most brutal totalitarian regime, but also brought peace and welfare to Termes. Our tailor started as a lowly tanner's apprentice but quickly gained prestige with his lavish garments. The happy few in Metropolis became his customers, and he mingled with the rich and famous."
"That tailor... that's you, isn't it?"
"Yes, mylady. I sold my wares to the rich and looked down on the poor. I did very well, I must say. Until the day the Dictator decided to wage a war against the barbarian tribes of Walkovia, a backward region north of Termes. I had to go there. Not because I was a soldier, I'd bribed myself out of service years before, but because of my employer that time: General Tartalius. The General had an exquisite and utterly expensive taste, and didn't think of going on campaign without his personal stylist. Unfortunately his sense of style was only matched by his incompetence on the battlefield."
"That sounds bad!"
"Quite, mylady. The natives, although lacking finesse, were formidable warriors. They massacred us completely. Only the vanity of the General saved a few of us: we were watching the decisive battle from a nearby hill because he wanted me to make a tapestry of his victory. Well, a victory it was, but not for us. We had to flee... and within a few days the General and I were the only survivors of the glorious campaign against Walkovia. That's where I learned to fight, mylady. It was killing or be killed, and killing I did. We stayed in the wilderness for about two months, hiding at day, traveling at night. The nights were freezing, it rained all day, and the General proved to be a useless coward, but we did reach the Termian border in the end."
"You must have been starving, Bustier!"
"Not really. We fed on our enemies. I slayed them at night, and took enough meat from them to keep us alive. I had become most primitive when we entered Metropolis, however, and slightly mental."
"Yukkeeh! I guess they weren't too happy with you two in Metropolis?"
"Indeed, mylady. The General was tried and executed within a day and I had to go through a most unpleasant series of interviews with the Torturer. You see these scars in my side, here? That brute hang me on a big meathook for 2 days. He said that my craving for meat had to be 'cured'. A most humorous man, that Torturer, I suppose the General had told him of my canibalistic excursions. Anyway, he left me there for dead and some of his imbecilic apprentices threw me on a bodycard without checking my actual state of living. I managed to sneak out of the card before they emptied it into the burning pits and pulled my broken body towards the house of an old friend. He cared for me while I grew a beard and moustache. Two weeks later I cashed all my money and left Metropolis for good..."