EAST FENS, BRITANNIA—Visitors and residents remarked this week that the severed, pike-mounted head of Duke Robert de L’Alsace, which was installed overlooking the moat outside the western portcullis of Castle Colgrave “doth quite pull together the castle’s look.” “Any fortified residence may sport pennants, crenelated battlements, arrow-slits, and murder-holes, yet a head on a pike is no mere ornament, but bespeaks a greater purpose, instills a sense as it were of willingness to take action, and furthermore really draws the eye,” the castle’s master chamberlain was heard to tell M’selle Dauphine de L’Alsace, who recently took residence in the castle tower in anticipation of her marriage to Lord Colgrave this coming autumntide. “Without that rotting skull, the vaulted ceilings and stained glass window are mere frippery, boasts without true commitment, without dedication, would you not agree? Certainly, a severed head taketh some upkeep, and oft needeth replacing, due to the effects of weather and worms; but Heaven has seen to provide us with slanderers aplenty and no end of pikes. And, lo! What a conversation piece! Should a visiting duke notice yon head, you merely have to ask him ‘Oh! Did you know Lord so-and-so?’ and you are off, don’t you see.” The peasantry, when asked, were almost unanimous in their agreement that the current head-on-a-pike was a great improvement over the last one, that of known blasphemer Lady Suzanne Colgrave.
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