December 23, 2016 by Lyn Thorne-Alder
“Reading the situation?” Lirnilalie raised her eyebrows incredulously. “You think that’s what you’re doing here?”
The door behind them opened. Tevordor stood there with four armed guards. Elelakorra waved them in and gestured them to stay where they were.
She nodded almost imperceptibly to Enrie. A cue to continue? If not, she was sure she’d find out soon enough.
“Well, as you said, I’m still a student, and a first-year student at that. I imagine my technique needs a little work. But I do understand lying.” She found she was irritated, and it was coloring her voice, which was rising. “ I understand, for instance, rhetorical tactics made to make your opponent look weak, or small, or unimportant. Nobody wants to listen to the arguments of a child, so if your opponent is a child, then your opinions must hold more validity than theirs, correct? And if your opponent is a liar, then you obviously must be more trustworthy.”
“But what if my opponent truly is a lying child?”
“Well, when your playing field is two people known to lie, the validity of each truth must be examined on its own merit.” Enrie smiled, not because she thought she was winning — she had no idea if she was or not, and Elelakorra was very hard to read — but because it was fun. This must be why her parents had gotten into Diplomacy.
“You are saying I am known to lie?”
“I have heard several lies from your mouth. What is more, someone is not stripped of their vowel for no reason, I’m afraid. It must have been quite unpleasant,” she added sympathetically, although she thought that might be a little over the top.
She turned to Elelakorra before Lirnilalie could say anything more. “What I can present you is the paper in front of you. My reasons for bringing it here are secondary to the fact that it is here, but they are exactly as stated.”
“You brought the treaty? You foolish…” Lirnilalie lurched forward, her arms seeming to glow red through her silks. “If they are here, then they can be dealt with immediately. Cousin, Elora, they must be destroyed. If they are not…”
The guards took a step forward, all of them in unison. Elelakorra held up a hand again, stopping them. “If they are not, then there will be rioting in the streets. Yes, you said. And there will be trouble, of course, and the poor stupid citizenry will cause quite a fuss. Correct?”
Lirnilalie frowned. “You’re taking this far too lightly.” It looked as if sparks were bouncing from her arms, landing on the carpet and on those people closest to her harmlessly.
Elelakorra seemed to ignore this completely. “I am taking this exactly as seriously as my job dictates I take it and not one bit more seriously. Considering that my job does not dictate that I listen to criminals or the insane – there are priests for the latter, and there are solicitors for the former – then I think I am done.”
Lirnilalie stepped forward until she was at the desk, her whole torso glowing now. Enrie noted Gianci and Saydrie backing up and decided that was a good idea. “Elora, we had this discussion many years ago. I warned you what would happen if you ignored me.”