Standing before the crowd around the newly opened castle, Sasha gives the following speech.
Citizens of Ursundova, I thank you humbly for this opportunity to speak to you on this most remarkable day. It is strange to be standing here. Only a year ago, this was the site of a ruined fort, held by bandits who threw all the countryside into panic and prevented men and women of good conscience from exploring these lands and making lives here. In the last year, I have been privileged to meet with many of you and you have certainly humbled me with your industry and courage. I thank you for that confidence and hope that I will, some day, be worthy of the trust you have shown.
In accepting the charter from the Swordlords of Restov, my friends and I asked you to put your trust in us – that we would lead you into the wilderness, but that we would lead to you a place where you could build better lives for yourselves and your children. While I am certainly a believer in the power of fresh starts, I have not yet properly earned your trust. This is because, with the best of intentions, I have not been honest with you. The lady Iomedae cares not, however, for my intentions, only for my actions. With that in mind, and in the hope that I can eventually be worthy of your trust, I come before you today to tell you that I am not the man you think I am.
I was not born Aleksandr Rastilov. I am not so blessed as to count Boris and Elena Rastilov as my parents by blood. I was born in Korvosa, which is in southern Varisia, and my birth name is Rhaegar Stormcrow. I am the son of Aegar Stormcrow and Katrina Rogarvia. When I was a boy, I was apprenticed to the Hellknight Order of the Nail, which is sworn to bring civilization to wild places. In this order, I joined a battalion of Hellknights bound for Mendev in order to take part in the Second Mendevian Crusade. Our force suffered terrible losses and I was eventually captured and enslaved by the barbarians of Numeria. On Lake Encarthan, while serving as a galley slave, our ship was overturned by a tremendous storm and I found myself free, but penniless and starving. I lived very much like an animal, stealing and poaching, for many months. It was while in this subsistence that one could not even call a life that I found the Rastilovs. Bandits, of the sort that we are all too familiar with had set upon their wagon. On that day, I was charged by the goddess Iomedae to take up a sword and defend people from predators and thugs. The sword she gave me was, like me, broken and at the end of its useful life. By wielding it in service to others, it has grown stronger and purer, much as, I hope, its wielder has.
I tell you these truths for two reasons. One is to do away with secrets about who I am or where I come from. Let there never be doubt on what sort of man you see before you. The second is a somewhat brighter thought – that we are in the hands of divine providence. If the goddess of duty and justice can raise up such an unworthy instrument as me into her service, and the gods have directed my sister, myself, and all of you to this place, I cannot but believe that we may be uniquely blessed if we but seize the opportunity to reach out to the better part of our nature. The crucible that fate put me through has made me a thoroughly changed man, so much so that I could not imagine returning to my old life or even the name of a foolish boy who knew nothing of what the responsibilities of a knight might be. There are trials ahead, and many of them will be daunting, no doubt. I remain steadfast in the belief that we may realize our dreams for ourselves and our posterity by working with one another to create a nation where every person of good conscience is free to pursue whatever endeavor he or she thinks themselves best suited for.
To that end, today this address is being carried to the not-so-distant corners of our small nation, along with a proposed constitution. This constitution, I believe, strikes the right balance between the familiar and the new, so that we will neither fall into the destructive anarchy that plagues the so-called kingdoms to our south, nor shall we bend the knee to a tyrant, who rattles his icy sword and demands that we call him a king, even as, in so doing, he shows how dearly he lacks those qualities that befit a leader of men.
Having said that, I am also issuing an order today – that all citizens of Ursundova shall have five months from today to read and discuss this Constitution. At the end of those five months, each riding of our nation shall send to the capitol a representative for the first convening of the Baronial Council. The Council shall then deliberate and determine whether they shall ratify this Constitution to make it the Supreme Law of the Land, over which even a Baron may not go. I encourage everyone who hears or reads this address to read this document and to talk to your friends and neighbors about it. Whatever the Council decides will be the expressed will of the people and we shall abide by it. If you decide not to accept this Constitution, life shall continue as it has, though with, I would imagine, some changes in leadership. If, however, you direct your councilors to vote with us and ratify this Constitution, then we shall step forward into a new era, in which you are not subjects, but citizens of a free nation, independent and with limitless potential.
In closing, I give you my solemn word that, so long as you will have me as Baron, my sword, Lawgiver, shall be pledged to the defense and service of this nation, as shall I be dedicated to keeping her best interests foremost in my mind. Thank you one and all.