Jenner scanned through the papers that the Scribe had just given him. "Very good, very good." He muttered, riffling through the pages. "Seventeen hundred bushels of turnips from Sussexshire? That's more than any other two Shires combined." He commented with obvious delight. A moment later, one of the reports caught his eye. "What's this?" He asked, shoving the paper down in front of the hedgehog who was waddling to keep in step with his King.
The hedgehog grabbed at the paper and fumbled with it for a moment. Jenner put on an air of irritated disdain. But secretly, the fat little creature amused him to no end with his unintentional antics. "Just a moment! Just a moment!" The hedgehog squeaked. "Uh...Ah, yes! It says: 'Nottinghamshire, no report', your Majesty."
Jenner snatched the paper from the hedgehog's paws. "I know WHAT it says you spineless dolt!" Jenner said sternly. "What I want to know is WHY it says that!"
The hedgehog cowered in fear, his quills rattling as he shook. "I, uh, I'm not sure, your Majesty! The courier reported that the Sheriff has been away for the past couple of days and left no orders for his Deputy-in-Charge!" He blurted.
Jenner frowned and stopped, the platoon of guards that surrounded him doing the same. "Odd." He said. "I wonder if it has anything to do with that letter he sent me a few days ago."
The hedgehog was about to answer, but a warning glance from the Troop-Captain made him think better of his words and he remained silent. The letter from the Sheriff had sent Jenner into a rage the likes of which had never been seen before. For over an hour, the King had raged through the castle breaking any object and tearing down any tapestry which even remotely reminded him of his adopted brother's rule. His temper had then cooled enough that he'd gone to his quarters, threatening a horrible death to anyone who disturbed him for any reason. The next day he had ordered that all objects bearing the crest of the House PenWallace, Nicodemus's family, be either destroyed or have the crest removed and replaced with that of the House Argellaeus, the family of which Jenner had been the only survivor.
Jenner shrugged. "I'll give the good Sheriff a few more days. Perhaps he's just busy supervising his charges and motivating them to work harder for the Glory of their King." He said distantly. He then shoved the sheaf of papers at the hedgehog and dropped them before the nervous creature had the chance to get a paw under them, the growing early Autumn wind scattering them in the Castle courtyard.
The hedgehog darted after the reports as quickly as his short legs would carry him. The Troop-captain stayed behind and helped him. "He's gone mad!" The Hedgehog said dispairingly when he was sure that no one was around to overhear them.
"That may be, Iggy." Giles Gisbourne said quietly. "But he's still your King and I think that you would be wise to remember that fact." Gisbourne handed the hedgehog the papers that he'd collected.
Iggy narrowed his already tiny black eyes and adjusted the wire-rimmed spectacles that were perched on his snout. "Do you want to be ruled by a nutcase for the rest of your life?" He asked accusingly. "I have a
wife and kids! I want my children to have a future other than being subject to the whims of that looney for the rest of their lives!"
Giles thoughtfully stroked the fur of his chin. As a soldier he was trained to obey the orders given to him by a lawful authority, whether it be Captain Sullivan or King Jenner himself. Butas a son, his own father was suffering under the rule of the very personage that he was sworn to protect. "Listen. I can imagine how you must feel. Do you think that you and your family are the only ones affected by Jenner's decrees?" He asked.
Iggy bowed his head and closed his eyes, a tear falling from the corner of one eye. "No." He whimpered in his small voice.
Giles knelt and gently and carefully laid a paw on the hedgehog's spiney shoulder. "My own father is in the same situation that you seem to be facing. Let me talk to him and see if I can get you two together to talk things out. Okay?"
Iggy nodded sadly and began shuffling toward the entrance to the castle.
Giles watched sympathetically as the scribe disappeared into the castle. Ignatz wasn't a bad sort, Gisbourne knew, but Jenner's erratic behavior over the past several weeks was causing many of the household staff to fear not only for their jobs, but their very lives and those of their families. Most had left, deciding to take lower paying jobs outside the castle walls. But Iggy's wife had just given birth to another child and; other than a few secretarial or transcriptional occupations, none of which paid as much in the private sector as they did in the bureaucracy; he'd had little choice except to stay and accept whatever abuse Jenner meted out to him as the designated bearer of bad news. But Giles was also worried. If even a timid soul like Iggy was desperate enough to voice his concerns about the state of the Royal mind, what must the rest of Britain be thinking?