January 9, 2017 by Lyn Thorne-Alder
Enrie cleared her throat to give herself a moment to think. Elelakorra had changed directions, tone of voice, and expression in a heartbeat. Now she was gentle-older-cousin again.
“I believe, cousin, ah, Elora, you were just finishing up reading the treaty – the copy of the treaty, of course.” Enrie smiled a little, hoping Elelakorra would share the joke there.
The Voice smiled back gently. “Ah, yes. And the concern is whether we bury this, publicize it, or show it to the Emperor and let him decide, yes?”
“Yes, cousin.” Enrie bowed, because she didn’t know what else to do. She hoped that somewhere in a later Diplomacy class they would cover situations like this. Then again, how often did situations like this come up?
“There is, of course, the urge to say ‘if Lyirnilalie wants it covered up or destroyed, then there must be very good reason to make sure it is publicized.’ Which, I believe, is what you told Lyirnilalie was your logic for bringing it here?”
“For digging up the parts, at least,” Enrie admitted. Liar. “She had truths that she wanted, and it was easy enough to fill in the blanks.”
“Lyirnilalie has always been interested in the truth only inasmuch as it suited her and her causes. If she calls you a liar, cousin Enrie, it is because she is concerned that your truths will damage her in some way. And if you were particularly Diplomatic in your handling of her, well, she can be quite intimidating.”
“It’s not the intimidation,” Enrie countered, “so much as the armed people she sent after us – she or Governor Ilonilarrona – who seemed willing to defy and attack the constabulary in their attempts to stop us from getting to you. I am not worried that she glares at me, although my friends tell me she has ruined people for far less defiance than this. I’m worried that she might have someone I care about killed.”
“But right now, she seems to believe that you caused all this fuss over a copy of a treaty.” Elelakorra looked down at the papers. “You are shaping up to be a very clever young lady, cousin.”
“Thank you.” Enrie bowed deeply. It was a high compliment from someone so exalted in the government. “The question is-“
“What if the treaty gets out?” Kekla, who had been sitting quietly all this time, leaned forward. “She knows everyone who was here.”
“I know she can be quite intimidating.” Elelakorra smiled sympathetically at Kekla. “But I do have a bit more power than she thinks I do, and, what’s more – she has less power than she thinks she does. I can’t do what I’d like to quite yet, which is put her under an armed guard in an aether-locked estate, but an attack on my person is considered an attack on the Emperor, by some lights.” Elelakorra’s smile told Enrie it probably wasn’t the first time she’d used that train of thought. Had she ever abused it? What was wrong with Enrie that her mind went there so quickly? “I can make certain all of you are protected from anything Lyirnilalie can dish out.”