Part 2: The Saint
"Countess Christina was my greatest failure.
"My name is Gunnar, Spymaster of Skane. I perform my role with skill and discretion. I understand underhanded tactics and the necessity of cruelty. I have cut a man down in the duelling ring and watched the way his blood hardened into the sand. I have gutted a man from behind as he tumbled with a whore. I have strangled a bastard child of my liege, lest it shame him. I am good at my job.
"I took your commission to train young Christina in the ways of subtlety and shadows, as was demanded of me. I understood her need for vengeance better than most; orphaned as she was."
"And it was a cruel fate that had orphaned her; her father had been cut down as a bandit, and her mother was cut down by a mysterious illness at the age of nineteen on the very same day. Either fate was particularly cruel or there was some dark link between the deaths. I admit, I am a cynic, and I am open to the idea that she tried to poison her husband but amateurishly slew herself."
"I believe this was the moment in my training of young Christina where I went wrong. A group of wandering Hedge Knights came by our castle, and the Countess welcomed them enthusiastically. I should have kept the corrupting taint of these rogue do-gooders away from the impressionable young Christina, but alas; alas.
"One of them sat by her side for many hours while he recovered from a tournament wound. He told her many stories of distant lands and honourable kings and other such nonsense. It quite ruined her development as a schemer."
"When I berated her about it, all she would do was smile. It was like she did not even want vengeance for her murdered father!"
"And this was frustrating because the child clearly had potential. When I truly pressed her she could spin a lie to rival the best of them! She could combine just enough excitement to hook the imagination, but not enough to become implausible."
"But just when she seemed like she was getting the hang of it, she stopped telling lies all together!"
"She even voiced her support for the king who's hands were stained with her father's blood. It was madness!"
"Soon after, I found that she had even been practising with a sword! I confronted her, aghast, and she told me it was necessary if she was to be a great knight like in the stories.
"I naturally forbade her from ever displaying such mannish behaviour again, and she just nodded and said she understood my point. And then, if you can believe it, she said to me:"
"You're right. I don't want to be a great knight, I want to be a great king, who rules wisely and fairly."
"What demon child have you saddled me with! All my lessons on scheming and intrigue have fallen on deaf ears! This is a disaster!"
"There were some small mercies for her quest for vengeance, though. At least she wanted to be a King, which would mean deposing the old king. I tried to encourage her in those terms."
"But honestly, some days I just stopped caring. Whenever she did anything which wasn't sickeningly pious and honourable, including overeating, I cheered her on in the hopes that it would make her at least a little better at the ways of intrigue."
"I even took some more drastic measures. I murdered her court chaplain and replaced him with a man who couldn't even pronounce 'Jesus'."
"However, that didn't work - he was struck by a bolt of lightning from a clear sky less than three months after I appointed him. A weaker man might have taken that as a sign of something."
"I was not such a man, though. I knew that to turn this girl's life around and make her into the schemer she was destined to be I'd need to call in one of my oldest contacts. I called in Rune, the Sorcerer of Gotland - a known infernalist, demon-summoner and torturer, a barely-catholic worshipper of the Old Gods. I had Rune instruct the girl on the proper persecution of witches, how to run an inquisition, and the secret signs to command demons. All the black lore that he possessed was poured upon the girl - the sixty-six names of Satan, the hidden rites of blood sacrifice, the depravity of the Old Ways. All this witchcraft and heresy was sure to corrupt her fragile mind and arm her for the fight against the Yngling Dynasty."
"I was so sure it would..."
(NB: I had no idea this was possible, and I have no idea how it happened. Christina was apprenticed to a Intrigue-educated character so she should have picked up an intrigue trait even if she was terrible at it. She... didn't. She got Mastermind Theologian, the level-4 Learning education trait instead.)
"She took all that blackness and filth and spat it back up. She learned the pagan rites only to demonstrate how the power of Christ had mastery over them."
"And the very first thing she did upon coming of age was to order Rune imprisoned for his heresy and locked him away.
"I have failed you. You demanded a schemer, and I have delivered you a saint. I foresee a life that begins and ends at the county walls of Fyn, and a father's ghost who will haunt these halls for eternity.
"And that damn girl keeps smiling about it!"