24 Arodus, 4718 (cont)

I must admit that I was quite pleased with myself for learning what I had about Vernisant as Oliver and I made our way back into the Arcade of Triumphs. Over the years I had learned that there was always something oddly satisfying when a noble who thought oh so highly of themselves and felt like everyone else was beneath them received their comeuppance. Vernisant had been exhausting to deal with, and I had not failed to notice the look of disgust on his face when Princess Eutropia had allowed Kalbio of Breezy Creek to kiss her hand. Perhaps it is rather petty of me, but I shall enjoy watching him scramble to keep his reputation.

I stopped near the display case with General Arnisant’s armor, and let slip to a few of the gala attendees there that there was a rumor that the very tome that Earl Vanisant was so eager to reveal tonight in fact had proof that the founder of the Taldane Vernisant line had been court martialed by the Knights of Ozem and disowned. I couldn’t keep the smirk off my face at their excited whispering as I made my way towards the Senate Floor. I stopped here and there, spreading the information I had discovered to anyone who would listen as I walked through the courtyard. 

I had hoped to speak with my brother, and find out if he knew of any senators that were in strong opposition to the Princess, but he was having a rather animated conversation with Kalbio. I did stop and say hello. The double take Remilliard did made me giggle, though he didn’t press me for too much information in front of Kalbio. I asked about Cynefrith. Remilliard assured me that he was doing well. Hopefully I can see him before I depart Oppara. 

After my brief conversation with my brother, I made my way up to the Senate Gallery. Cornelius had begun speaking with Senator Pace, and I was hoping to help him get an edge in the conversation. Unfortunately, the younger children running rampant around the gallery floor were not at all interested when I attempted to sing them some of the songs that had been my own son’s favorites growing up. One of them asked me if I could do a flip, and pointed at a halfling clown who was doing cartwheels along the bannister overlooking the main senate floor. I think my annoyance and a bit of my temper was beginning to show through, and this gave the children even more reason to avoid me. 

I was about to depart the Gallery entirely when Martella’s voice chimed in my head. She wished for us to meet with an update about our progress. Soon all of my friends were gathered in a small corner that had been curtained off from the rest of the Gallery. Martella made use of her magical cricket again, and we all sipped on mugs of much needed coffee as we talked. I told them of my success with getting the information we needed on Vernisant. Cornelius was making good progress speaking with Senator Pace. Apparently the woman was not held in very high regard by her fellow senators. Cornelius said that she was exhausting to speak with. She would ask question after question and agree with everything he told her, while not revealing any of her true motivations. However, he did think he was beginning to wear her down. 

Verity had secured Baron Okerra’s support for revoking primogeniture. She said he is an excellent conversationalist. She seems to have struck up a friendship with him. Oliver had begun to get in the High Strageos’ good graces, but he didn’t feel that he could be subtle enough to spy on him. Felyx had tried to make inroads with Senator Centimus, and while they had a rather pleasant conversation, she hadn’t gotten anywhere with finding his standing on tonight’s vote. She had delivered the letter to her uncle, and he told her to return to him in a few minutes. He would give her a letter to take to young Senator Dou.

Martella seemed pleased with our progress, and it did feel like we were getting closer to achieving all of the “missions” she had set before us. It was then that Martella told us that Dame Trant had arrived at the Gala. She is the daughter of a senator that Martella described as particularly vile and was against the revoking of primogeniture. His daughter is a bully who also happens to be a very good duelist. She tended to challenge anyone she thought she could defeat for even the slightest offense. Martella asked us to keep an eye on the Dame. She is most likely here to throw her weight around and attempt to sway the more impressionable senators to her father’s side.

We held a quick discussion and revised our plan. I decided to remain in the Gallery, and see if I could assist Cornelius. As much as he seemed to detest the idea, would continue speaking with Senator Pace. Felyx believed she was up for the task of spying on the High Strategos. Verity took up the task of keeping an eye on Dame Trant, who was currently skulking about the Arcade. She would accompany Felyx, and help her with the Strategos while observing the Dame. Oliver would also accompany them and introduce them to the High Strategos before returning to Felyx’s uncle and delivering the letter to Senator Dou. 

With our new plans in place, we split off from each other once again. It seems as soon as we have accomplished one task, another has come to replace it. 

As Cornelius resumed his conversation with Senator Pace, I found a group of older children and was making a bit of headway with them in conversation before their parents came up and pulled them away. I heard them whispering that I was a Kastner, and that our family was dangerous and to be avoided. I felt my face set into a stoney expression. One of the mothers had glanced back at me, and she took one look at my face and began to walk away at a much more brisk pace. 

At this point I gave up on the gallery. Cornelius seemed to be making headway without my assistance.  I decided that I would attempt to talk to Senator Centimus. He is in a wheelchair of his own design, and my family is known for our crafting. It would give me something to talk to him about while trying to discover his opinion on the vote.

Felyx had been correct when she said that Duke Centimus was a kind man. We did have a rather good talk about his chair, and the features he had built into. I believe that I had begun to make some progress in discovering his position on the vote when I noticed Verity standing in the entryway to the Archives. When I made eye contact with her, she motioned for me to come over. I politely excused myself from the Duke. Verity has always been headstrong. I can only hope in the thirty minutes or so that she’s been following Dame Trant she hasn’t been challenged to a duel and needs a second. Though with some of the recent frustrations of the evening getting into a good fight might actually make me feel better.