Date: August 13, 2010. Time: 0900. Location: Castle Destro, Scotland.
"Laird. They have arrived."
"Very good. Give me a moment."
The black clad Iron Grenadier snaps off an unseen salute. Standing at the open balcony, back to the now shut door, stands a man who for years played both sides of the field of battle. For decades his family made millions on the blood of others. "Good" or "bad" mattered not to the Laird. All that mattered was green. That was before THEM. Looking out from the balcony he takes in all, acre upon acre of well manicured gardens. Hedges older than he, hide the thick grey stone walls. Walls that have stood silent sentry to his family's estate for generations. A team of specialists toil at the labors of growing plants in the rocky soil. From the distance can be heard the bells of the church. A wedding?
Destro shakes his head. His vision clears. The squalid conditions of the refugee camp spread before him. Gone are the hedges, burned months ago. Gone are the gardens, trampled as the masses of the village sought safety within the walls. All that is left is mud and stone. From opposite the walls he can hear THEM. Their always present moans filling the air. And the stench. Human feces and decaying flesh.
"To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow"
At that thought he abruptly shuts the tall glass doors and turns. As he approaches the door to the hall they open as if by magic. No. Not magic. Just well trained guards hearing their grand leader's approach. As he steps into the hall several Iron Grenadiers step up to take their places.
"Step aside. I have nothing to fear within the walls of my ancestral home."
Without a word they fall in behind the iron masked man. He takes it all in. The communication terminals erected under hundred year old portraits of Lairds past. The flurry of activity as his men coordinate with troopers in the field. He takes it all in. He knows he must do what comes next. It should be no different than any other business deal. Yet he is uneasy.
He steps into the large receiving chamber. The room he reserved only for the most respectable of guests. Needless to say Cobra Commander had never seen this room. There seated at the right of his minor throne. They rise as he enters out of respect. They're coming to him. To him. Oh how the tides of turned. There. That's what he needed. They need HIM. They came to HIM. More importantly SHE came to HIM. His smile does not show. The iron a welcome compatriot at this moment.
"Laird Destro. I present Her Majesty The Queen."
With a deep bow he takes her hand.
"Your Majesty welcome to Castle Destro. It is an honor…"
"Let's cut the pleasantries and get to business."
That one words cuts off the Prince.
"Laird Destro please accept my apologies on behalf of my son. He means no disrespect. It appears the stress of our current predicament has caused him to forget himself."
"I of course accept. How can I, a poor Laird, be of assistance to Her Majesty?"
"Shall we start with tea?"
"Of course." With a look a butler appears tea at hand. "Your Majesty. Earl Grey. Cream two lumps."
"My you are quite prepared."
Destro bows at the shoulder. Her Majesty sits, as do her entourage, the single exception being a man in long grey trench coat, fedora pulled low over eyes. Eyes that seem to glow red. As Destro sits he discretly taps a small hidden button upon his throne. Several more Iron Grenadiers enter the room and take positions.
"The tea is excellent Laird Destro."
"Thank you your Majesty. Again I must ask how a simple Laird can be of assistance to Her Majesty."
"Very well. As you know the last year has not been a good one for our great islands. Our people are suffering. Our forces are doing the best they can. Nigel has been leading the Night Men but we are only able to secure small areas and then only for a short period of time."
"I am very aware of the issues plaguing our fair lands your Majesty. As you see I have offered refuge to any who can make it my walls. As of late few make it to the walls of Castle Destro alive."
"Yes we saw the horde as we flew in. We also know that your Iron Grenadiers have suffered no losses. In fact our information states that your army is growing. That's why we have come. That's why I have come. Laird Destro, the Kingdom of Great Britain needs your Iron Grenadiers to assist in the protection of her people."