1867-01-12: Across the Edge, Part One
Across the Edge, Part One
Summary: Various memoirs from various players on the Edge
Date: 1867-01-12
Related: None Directly
James  Bartolo  Alfonso  Paege  Lorenzo  Eleanor  Rodrigo  

James l’Saigner

The Grand Study, Highwater Castle, Lonnaire

Ivan dry washes his hands as he speaks to the Duke. Force of habit— even though he’d washed himself well before coming into the Duke’s presence, he could still feel the blood on his hands from earlier in the day. “Fourth one in three months,” he says with a cool tone. “I knew your house tends to attract assassination attempts, but this is a bit much, Your Grace.”

The Hawk of Lonnaire paces. “And no information from him?”

“Nothing of substance, Your Grace. I know he’s not one of ours,” meaning the t’Corbeau. “Accent on this one is— was— Rivanan. If I were to place coin on it, I’d say the Abara picked up the contract on your head.”

“Mine.” James frowns. “”Hopefully just mine. My daughter—”

“Pardon me, Your Grace,” Ivan interrupts, “but Lady Alina is as safe as she can be. Surrounded by Blue Cavaliers at court, and guarded by the Commander and the Lord Gabriel.” He shrugs languidly. “I’d almost say she’s safer there than here.”

“Almost,” James replies dryly. “Still, I’ll need to send Corvin a message letting him know of these recent events. Better to be overly vigilant and no need for it than not enough and pay for it.” He settles into his chair, pulling out a piece of parchment and beginning to write in cipher. “Whomever it is, they are certainly desirous of seeing me dead,” he notes. “Four in three months. That’s desperation.”

“Sloppy,” Ivan says. “Or wanting you to think they are sloppy so you let your guard down.”

James nods. “Either way. I will look into it as best I can, but there is little of use coming from the Abara in the past couple of years. If I didn’t know better I would think the old man had died.”

Ivan snorts. “Want me to alert the t’Corbeau? I’m sure they wouldn’t mind murdering some of the Abara.”

“That will not be necessary. Politics, sadly, prevent me from doing just that.” James continues writing. “If that is all?”

Ivan knows when he’s been dismissed. He sketches a quick bow and departs the study.

And mentally goes over his plans to prevent the next attempt, when it comes.

Bartolo Mancini

The Office of the Chancellor, Pacitta

Chancellor Bartolo Mancini drummed his fingers on the table of the polished mahogany desk that dominated his office, those drumbeats for the moment the only sound in the room…at least, save for Mancini, who could hear his own blood pumping as he tried to calm himself. With t’Rannis back home in Couviere, Mancini had been sure that he could have passed a few of his initiatives, if only by the narrowest margin, but then Tarin Marchette had actually bothered to show up, and by and large that had rendered any attempts moot.

Damn the Marchettes, Bartolo thought to himself, unable to keep his face from twisting into a snarl, Of all of us, they have the least to lose with this damn treaty, and they know it.

Bartolo paused a moment in his ruminations, realizing that tact may be exactly what he might need to swing a few votes his way. To win a few allies against Tarin’s seemingly-unassailable positions. He would have to be careful, though….

Even though the negotiations had not yet begun in earnest, matters between Couviere and Rivana were far too smooth for his liking. That treaty could damage the city’s profits immensely. What could they do to complicate matters? Again, it would require caution and finesse…elements that Bartolo was just self-aware enough to realize he did not possess in abundance. Push the Kingdoms too hard and they would cut Pacitta out of the proceedings entirely. Sanctum would no doubt gladly play host, and with less in the way of demands, just to win back some of the good graces it had lost in the preceding years.

Perhaps…perhaps it was time to consider the unthinkable. An alliance with the t’Rannis against the Marchettes? Would Alfonso even consider it? Alfonso stood to lose far more than Tarin if the Treaty were concluded. Perhaps he could be swayed…the question would be whether the price would be worth the assistance. Few ever came out ahead in a deal with the Viscount Alfonso t’Rannis.

But for the sake of Pacitta…for all they had built…he would have to try.

Alfonso t’Rannis

Rannis Keep, Savora

Alfonso t’Rannis studied the parchment in silence, mentally deciphering it though he already had a good guess as to its’ contents. Passed through no less than three different holding companies (one of which would cease to exist by week’s end), before finally landing in the hands of his eldest son, and then his own.

“The Abara made another attempt.” Alfonso did not betray any particular emotion as he handed the parchment back to Lorenzo, who promptly fed it to the fire burning in the hearth. “Normally I would be pleased that they’ve made such efforts to fulfill the contract, but I believe we will have to request that they cease their efforts.”

“We’ve covered our tracks, but they’re pushing too hard.” Lorenzo noted, “We’ve rounded up enough of the old Cardinal’s Men…we’ll plant a false trail to point towards them.”

Page t’Rannis looked up from the chaise she was lounging upon, “The Hawk will know a ragtag bunch of common scum wouldn’t be able to afford the Abara.”

Alfonso considered, “I would not be so sure. The Abara have been known to charge considerably less for their services in recent years than one might expect. Or not at all…though that business with the Tracano represents a more personal vendetta, I think.”

“There may not be any Abara left to charge anything at all if they keep up. I hate to use the term “waking a sleeping Dragon” but…” Lorenzo shrugged, smirking just a touch and sipping from the winecup he held in his hand.

“All the better for us. Another loose end tied up.” Alfonso smiled, though it did not touch his eyes, “It appears we will simply need to be more patient. If the rumors of the Duke’s alchemical habits are true, he can’t possibly last that much longer. The daughter will be biddable.”

“We’ve certainly spent enough time and money helping make her so.” Paege commented drily.

“Her own proclivities helped us in that regard. Her distaste for the t’Corbeau Whore’s habits were just as valuable as any gifts we could have given.” Alfonso noted to his daughter without looking up from the new parchment he studied. He made a dismissive gesture, waving his two oldest and best-trusted children away, “Go. I have other matters to attend to, and you’ve a journey to Rovilon to make.” That last directed towards Paege. “And make certain the arrangement with the t’Tremaine comes to fruition.” He didn’t bother adding the “by any means necessary.” Paege always operated with that assumption.

“Yes Father,” Paege inclined her head, and both she and Lorenzo made their way out of the room.

Alfonso finished reading the next missive, then took a moment to lean back in his chair, considering the situation as it currently lay. Alina trusted his family. That would be the flaw in the armor they would exploit to maneuver themselves into the Ducal seat. It would require time and patience until the strike could be made…but it was inevitable. The Knight would be simple enough to deal with. The Queen’s Champion in Rivana once killed seven at a go…Alfonso would send fourteen for Couviere’s Red Knight. The brother would likely not be among the House by the time things came to fruition, but that would leave the Bastard…he would perhaps be the most dangerous. Pity he was so loyal to his family…he would’ve paid a considerable fortune to buy him if he were able, but even his daughter’s considerable charms had not proven enough to sway him. Still, rumor held he was quite taken with the Mercenary girl. Perhaps that could be leveraged somehow. Or perhaps simple brute-force would have to be the method, as with the Knight, the difficulty would be in finding a corner to back him into..

The Duchess and the Children would be easy enough to kill. It was just a matter of dealing with the Wraiths that would surround them, and he had already accounted for that. No plan was completely invincible, but there was still time to consider further contingencies. He would be ready.

And once the Duchy was theirs? Well, it would not be his own lifetime that would see it, but in Lorenzo’s, or perhaps his grandchildren’s, a royal marriage would not be out of reach. It would never be the name of t’Rannis that sat upon the Throne of Couviere…but their blood would flow in the l’Valdan veins…and that would be enough….for now..

Eleanor Greycen

Greycen Manse, Sunsreach

“—I don’t believe we’ll be able to swing either Viscount Carling or Viscount Bayard,” Duke Rodrigo Greycen finishes, idly swirling wine in his glass. He has an irritating habit of lounging wherever he sits and now is no exception as his lanky form drapes across the chair he has acquired for himself.

Duchess Eleanor shrugs. “It is of no consequence,” she notes. “We have Duke Symon’s vote.”

Rodrigo snorts. “He was easy to buy off,” he drawls. “A few engineers, our support for him having the Circuit hosted in his lands?”

Eleanor nods. “I am glad the boy was so easily turned to our cause. And our engineers are doing their jobs well enough,” high praise from the duchess as it were, “I understand the faegate should be unearthed entirely by the end of next month,”

“His people have to be furious,” Rodrigo comments. “They have all those silly superstitions about the gates.”

“That is his problem to deal with,” Eleanor says icily. “I would have pushed for Normont to be dragged away from their hill people superstitions and brought back into the fold of Rivana as a whole anyway when I am Archduchess… that the boy is amenable and working to those ends makes my job easier.”

“Now for Eastfield,” she lifts a brow to Rodrigo.

The Duke sighs. “I’ll try and speak with the Viscountess Sybilla as soon as possible,” he says, “but I don’t expect much to come of it.”

And Eleanor just smiles… a rare sight from the Stone Lioness.

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