May 2, 2019 by Lyn Thorne-Alder
Bureaucrat Tolekora was not pacing, because she was far too well-bred to pace, but she was watching a specific spot in the room with all of her attention while, in the back of her mind, she ran through her checklists one on top of another, over and over again.
Moving up the Treaty Meet had been a power play by someone with far more power than she had, and that annoyed her. Not just the fact that there was a power play at all – those irritated her on principle – but that they were making power plays on top of her event.
It meant that there was no possible way, short of divine intervention by all three of the Three themselves, direct physical intervention of the Three coming down into this meeting hall, that everything was going to go according to plan. Tolekora found things that did not go according to plan personally offensive as well as stressful, and when her event, the meeting she had been planning, involved the Emperor, something not going according to plan could be fatal.
Her eye twitched and she allowed herself to take one step forward and then back to her original waiting place. There should be someone coming in any moment now with the finalized agenda and program. And if everything was right, all of the items the Emperor and the Emperor’s Voice wanted on the program would be there, and nothing that either of them didn’t want on there would be. But the way Tolekora’s day was going, it would all be topsy-turvy and she would find herself up before dawn hand-calligraphing a new program.
All because someone was playing power games.
With her Meet.
The printer’s assistant ducked in. The girl was wearing a clean apron and had cleaned her hands and arms up to the elbows, making an odd contrast against her ink-splattered tunic, face, and braids. She bowed in Tolekora’s direction and, very carefully, set her stack of precious paper on the lectern.
Tolekora stalked up to the paper and scanned over the program and agenda. With a moment of unrestrained relief, she smiled.
At least one thing was going right with this meet.
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