June 9, 2016 by Lyn Thorne-Alder
“Don’t you ‘cousin’ me, you ridiculous girl. You have no more right to call me cousin than a weasel does to a goat.”
Enrie kept a pleasant smile on her face. “Lady Ilonilarrona, yes? How might we help you?”
“Associate Governor. And you are Nerenarie, yes? The daughter of… oh, someone unimportant, I’m sure?”
There were worse insults, but not many. It was an effort to keep from shouting, and Enrie’s smile had faded. “I’m Enerenarie, daughter of Diplomats Arezhlyiarezha-Utezh and Utezhyutezen-Arezh, yes. Is there something we can help you with?”
The woman leaned down until she was barely a thumb’s width from Enrie’s face and hissed. “You can give me the damn treaty.”
Her parents would have been proud of her. Enrie kept her expression calm and her voice level. “I’m sorry, Associate Governor. What treaty is that? I have some notes on historically important treaties from our Introduction to History class, but those are just notes. And my parents certainly didn’t entrust me with any treaties when I came to school…”
“I know you’re not all that bright, and you clearly have no sense of self-preservation, but don’t try to lie to me, girl. Where did you put the treaty?”
Well, at least now Lovdyo’s cryptic remarks made more sense. “I don’t have any treaties, cousin,” Enrie answered levelly. “I’m sorry if that’s not helpful.”
“Do you have any idea what I could do to you?” The woman’s hiss was low and barbed. Enrie ignored it and hoped that Taikie and Saydrie could do the same.
“I do not,” Enrie admitted quietly. “It’s said I’m not very bright, after all. But I can make a few guesses.” She looked Lady Ilonilarrona in the eye. “But it doesn’t matter. I can’t produce a treaty I don’t have and, if I did, the law and school regulations say that I would go through the House Monitor and the Head of School first.”
“Regulations,” the woman sneered. “This from the girl who put a pissing goat atop a dormitory tower.”
“It was quite a nice goat, wasn’t it? But it wasn’t my doing. I’m in Diplomacy house, not engineering.” How long could she keep this up? What would the woman do to her? More importantly, exactly how powerful was she… or, if not her, how powerful were her connections?
“Don’t you dare play the innocent with me, you little brat. I know you’ve been jockeying for position here — Ulani told me that much — and I know you’ve got the staff wrapped around your little finger. But that won’t help you when the Governors get involved.”
When. “I’m sorry, Associate Governor,” Enrie’s voice was beginning to get brittle, but it ought to be. The woman had insulted her over and over again. “But if you’ve misplaced a treaty, shouldn’t the Governors already be involved? This doesn’t really seem like a matter for an associate governor to the Bitrani enclaves. The treaty regarding that is on display in the palace in Lannamer, isn’t it?”
The woman lifted her hand to slap Enrie. The table moved as all five of her friends stood up.