Forgive Your Enemies, but Never Forget Their NamesJohn Fitzgerald Kennedy
“We have identified a few possibly sources of dissent.”
“Dissent?” The prince looked at Elllis. “We have dissent?”
“Yes. Violent takeover is being planned by at least one of the noble houses.”
“At least? As in, there are more?”
Chloe noticed for the first time that this throne room did not have a throne. In fact, it was quite empty. Unlike the larger hall behind it, it also had no skylights, only a giant multi-flamed lamp. Prince Ryann was standing in the centre, with his two guards on either side. Elllis seemed to be an advisor of some sort.
“Who is it then?” the prince continued.
Elllis took out a scroll, something Chloe had not seen in a very long time. Since she had read from the Solune archives, really. He read, “Rather, your highness, the proper question is who isn’t trying to overthrow you. None of your secret servicemen were trustworthy. Each one who usually does this work either died with the missing heir, or was obviously compromised”
Chloe was expecting an emotional reaction, but the Lussa prince remained stony.
“Who did you send, then? Who collected that information in your hands?” He asked.
“Amateurs. My brother and his crew.”
“Crew? I did not know you had a brother.”
“I have three, sir.”
“And what did they find?”
“Well, the Polits are entirely open about the force they are exerting. They will likely take the City by force in time if left unchecked. We have one year before we can vote without a new heir, so expect something around the end of that timeclock. But you already know all that. We will instead focus on the aristocracy and what they may or may not be doing. There are, as you know, seven major dynastic houses in the Lussa City.”
Chloe could tell that Elllis was being verbose for her sake more than for Ryann’s. Alexandre sat down on the floor and took it all in. More, in fact, than Chloe did.
“First, there is the Lussa house. That is you as the second eldest, your younger sister Rottts, the two young twins, and of course your older bastard sister who has taken on the title of queen,” Elllis began. Ryann nodded. “Then, there is the Goldbaum family. They appear to be either neutral, or entirely uninterested in the conflict. They have historically been loyal, despite having usurped the crown around the time of the Confederation Act.”
“The Antemiles are forging weapons. I don’t know what they are planning, but it is certainly violent. This is in keeping with their general temperament, but even so.”
“I knew it!” Ryann called out. He leapt forward, but was caught by his concubines.
Alexandre, having assumed that the prince was just another calm, sedate noble, made a deep mental note of this outburst. Perhaps the Lussa kingdom will not fall through complacency after all.
Elllis paused for a moment, and then, “Next is the ancillary Lussa noble house—”
“Not them too!”
“Yes them too. My brother has heard only rumours, but they are tightly controlled. Only those within the family know about these…ideas. I don’t think they are plans yet, but they may become so sooner than you think. Next is the Rezan family. They are already deep in study. They will try to oust you legally, is Elliott’s guess.”
“None. They are tight-lipped even among their own, let alone outsiders. It is a hunch of my youngest brother.”
“The Rhye are, of course, sitting this one out.”
“As with everything else,” the prince nodded.
“Rhye?” Chloe said, bewildered. “That’s my name.”
Elllis turned to her and stared, studying. “So it is. Perhaps you should meet your long lost…distant cousins. Now, finally…”
“There is more? Oh, of course.”
Alexandre noticed the sharp change in Ryann’s tone. Chloe did too, but didn’t realize the gravity in it.
“The Galuth.” Elllis eyed Chloe again. She watched him. “The Priestly Poets who wrote the founding document of this City State, the Lussa Confederation. They remain unmoved. They are wide open to questioning so one of the twins spent a long time over there. They say things like, ‘The Creator’s ways are higher than our ways. We have no reason to worry.’ Odd bunch, but you already know that.”
Prince Ryann nodded. “What, then, must we do?”
“That is for you to decide.”
The prince sighed. “I will continue my meditation then. You can all leave, we will speak tomorrow.”
“I will summon you. Even you Elllis.”