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Another Baron and Baroness installed. One can hope that these new vassals will prove more tractable than the last. Oh, they said all the right words and made all the proper deferences. But an insightful listener could detect the undertone of resentment and disapproval. His former excellency made some babble of a quest after knightly virtue. I'm sure he thinks himself subtle, but the veiled sarcasm of his words was not lost on me. The fool. As if virtue had some intrinsic value that could be sought and captured and measured. What use virtue when the world bends only to power? If strength is a virtue, how to demonstrate it without wielding it? My youth's insipid tutors were never able to answer that to my satisfaction. "To defend the weak?" Bah.

If strength is a virtue, then is not weakness a vice? And if so, should it not be purged from the body politic, as one strives to purge it from oneself? Circular arguments and platitudes will not serve me as I forge a new future for this kingdom. The people of this kingdom will soon see the strength, the virtue, of the Crown. And will they call it virtuous when one kingdom grows richer and stronger at the expense of another's weakness? I say this: they had better.