24 Arodus, 4718 (cont)
I tried to shake the feelings of disquiet from the Grand Prince’s arrival and return my focus to the tasks at hand. We had little more than an hour before the vote would take place, and now that the Grand Prince was here, who knows what other mishaps could occur before then. Thank Ragathiel that Felyx had been able to discern the High Strageos motivations before he disappeared into the Emperor’s Hall. Though what she had learned continued to add credence to the idea that Grand Prince Stavian intended to adopt him. I gritted my teeth, and set myself to the task of finding someone who would tell me something about Senator Pace.
My new resolve paid off, and I finally found someone willing to gossip about the Senator. Perhaps the dinner had loosened a few tongues. It seems when she told Cornelius that investing in weapons might be a wise decision, it was advice she’d already followed. Pace has purchased a vast amount of weapons from Almas in Andoran. Her plan is to sell them when the High Strategos is made Grand Prince to turn a rather substantial profit. After all I had heard about the woman, I wasn’t surprised that she had her hand in something degenerate, but I was shocked it was something as vile as war profiteering.
Verity remained with me in the gallery as I investigated Senator Pace. I found her quickly and told her what I had discovered, and we made our way to the Senate floor to spread the word on the Senator’s despicable plan. It was rather sad that many of the senator’s reactions were similar to mine: unsurprised the Senator Pace was up to something nefarious, but shocked at the depth she has sunk.
Verity noticed Martella returning to the gallery from wherever she and Princess Eutropia had retreated to after the Grand Prince’s arrival. She split off from me, following our friend to give her a folio. How one letter to Count Zespire had gone from distressing Senator Dou, to a cryptic message from Lady Morilla, to a folio from Duke Centimus was a rather intriguing series of note passing.
I made my way back into the courtyard. It seemed as though my friends and I had left rather good impressions on the various gatherings around the building. Again, I found myself singing, though this time I settled on a more rambunctious folk song. I was pleasantly surprised when a rather large group joined in with the song, singing the chorus and shouting “for Taldor!” It was a pity we didn’t have the mugs of ale that were generally chugged down at the end of the song. Decorum and all of that nonsense I suppose.
I made my way back to the Senate floor, and finally found my brother mostly on his own. For the first time this evening, I was able to have a longer conversation with him, and to say I was a bit shocked by some of his comments is a bit of an understatement. I already knew that Remilliard was going to vote to recall primogeniture. What I didn’t know was how much he had struggled with the idea. Remilliard is a paladin of Lord Ragathiel. There are tenets that he cannot allow himself to falter in following. They are also the code by which I attempt to live my life. All that is good, and the law, are things he must uphold.
Remilliard usually doesn’t speak overly much with me about his opinions on Taldane politics, or his duties as a senator. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that at times he finds those duties clashing with his devotion to Lord Ragathiel. Voting on morals versus the letter of the law versus his code. It seems he is quite worried about what will happen if Eutropia becomes Grand Princess. It, of course, has nothing to do with her gender. He finds all of that to be nonsense as much as I do, but her policies towards Cheliax give him pause. It seems the Princess has made several comments that imply that she would push for peace with Cheliax, perhaps open more communication and trade. This is something Remilliard cannot abide, and I must say that I agree wholeheartedly. Though I did feel my anger flash when he said nothing that comes from Cheliax can be trusted. When I told them there was one thing that came from Cheliax that could be trusted his face did soften for a moment. I know he loves Cynefrith as much as I do, and cares naught that he is a tiefling, but at times words can wound as deeply as any blade.
I cannot lie. If Taldor were to declare war on Cheliax I would be at the head of the army at Remilliard’s side. Despite how much I loathe that nation, despite how much the bile rises in my throat when I think of the church of Asmodeus, I still cannot condone the High Strategos becoming the next Grand Prince. It will not just be Cheliax. First it will be Qadira, and then Galt, Andoran, and Isger. Taldor does not have the army, or, as I have learned this evening, the infrastructure to wage such wars. So many would perish. So much would be lost. As much as I want to reap my own vengeance on that hellish nation, the cost to Taldor would be too much.
I understand Remilliard’s frustrations. I understand that to him this vote is asking him to choose between what he considers two evils. I have made my decision, and I will hold fast to it. I pray that my brother can find peace in his.