- "La vida en la frontera es en verdad difícil. Lo bueno es que estoy aquí para mirar hacia fuera para sus intereses."
- —Cortesano fronterizo anónimo
La vida en las cortes de los Reinos Fronterizos tiende a ser un poco más cruda que en muchas tierras civilizadas. Untar a un oponente significa silenciarlo físicamente, conspirar contra alguien a su espalda es apuñalarlo y los perdedores en las elecciones políticas acaban siendo destripados. Por todo ello, los cortesanos de la zona tienden a ser más físicos que los de otras regiones.
El cortesano fronterizo anhela la morada de un príncipe fronterizo, esperanzado con vivir lo suficiente como para tomar para sí esa posición. Urdir, asesinar y traicionar son sus modos normales de operar. La paranoia es un riesgo laboral, y la hipocresía es un requisito para el trabajo.
Over the course of his thirty year imprisonment in the Border Principality of Matorea, the Tilean philosopher, Imaschiavelli Venedetto penned his infamous treatise “The Border Prince.” Venedetto’s manuscript functions as a kind of guidebook for young border courtiers to the proper application of power (and guile) over a Border Principality. Venedetto concisely laid out the steps for seizing a Border Principality, and then how a prince should go about maintaining that power once it is seized.
Unlike the many existing treatises on statecraft, Venedetto rejected the Imperial inclination to decide patronage and succession through the bartering of influence and flattery. Smooth talk and deep pockets might well succeed in the perfumed courts of the Empire, but the acquisition of land and title in the volatile Border Kingdoms would require sterner methods.
Assassination, treachery and any kind of scheme to damage the reputation of one’s competitors were all permissible and indeed recommended if they advanced the border courtier’s agenda. Venedetto went on to write that the primary concern of every border courtier should be the preparation for war—war against his competitors, and war against those in his way. Even though an aggressive courtier is likely to gain many enemies on his ruthless ascent, Venedetto argued that it is better to be feared than loved…
The first printing of “The Border Prince” was an immediate sell-out in Remas, where the merchant and patrician classes have always shared an insatiable appetite for any salacious material concerning their spirited eastern neighbours. Before long, subsequent printings of “The Border Prince” were translated and distributed throughout the Old World.
Predictably, the ideas contained within Vendetto’s manual were shocking to the cultivated Imperial reader, and “The Border Prince” was quickly banned across the Empire.
Whether it is kept as names on parchment, or notches on a dagger hilt, every border courtier has his own version of “the list”. The list is an inventory of the future victims who stand between the courtier and the position he covets. As new competitors emerge and old enemies are wiped away, the list expands and narrows until there is but one name standing between the courtier and his goal. Of course, the larger and more established Border Principalities tend to have longer lines of succession and more pretenders to the throne to deal with.
As a result of this deadly gamesmanship, one of the favoured pastimes throughout the Border Kingdoms is to make wagers on the survivability of an ascending prince’s projected targets. Bettors can increase their payout significantly by correctly predicting the method of assassination, as well as the order of victim removal. Death by poisoning generally pays even money since anyone can taint a bowl of soup. The highest payouts are reserved for the more baroque methods of execution, such as death by the hand of a family member. Nothing pleases the crowd more than to count the heads rolling as a newly emerging Border Prince carves a bloody path to the throne.
- Warhammer Fantasy JdR: Renegade Crowns (2ª Ed. Rol).
- Warhammer Fantasy JdR: Career Compendium (2ª Ed. Rol).