Part 102: Disney/Game of Thrones Elodie - Part 2
My lady, there is a letter for you.
(Who sent this? It isn't signed...)
It appears to be a poem, describing you in a manner that is entirely inappropriate for a Queen.
(I *what*? With a *squid*?)
(That's actually pretty funny!)
Just then, an incredibly unlucky breeze swirls between the windows of your tower bedroom, tugging the paper out of your hands and off into the sky. You stick your head out the window to discover the 'poem' caught and fluttering on the roof nearby. You can almost reach it.
What's the worst that can happen? It blows off and someone reads it and laughs at you? That's better than breaking your neck. Besides, if you're lucky it will rain and wash the words away.
I regret to inform you that Fabian, the Earl of Titan and Duke-Regent of Elath, has passed away.
This isn't really a surprise; he was pretty old. The problem is the political implications.
With the control of Elath in doubt, it falls to the crown to make decisions. Young Lord Adair will not reach his fifteenth birthday for over two years. He requires a regent. His stepmother, Arisse, the Duchess of Lillah, has petitioned that the boy be left in her care. This would, however, leave her in personal control of two neighboring duchies, which is generally forbidden.
(Not to mention that she's closely related to the Duchess of Mead and the Duke of Kigal!) (She could control almost the entire eastern half of Nova. People already call her Nova's other queen!)
(Duchess Arisse almost certainly killed her second husband after she divorced him. Her son, the Earl of Io, apparently hates and fears her.)
(And the last Duke of Mead died in mysterious circumstances while she was around. Which meant the title of Mead passed to Arisse's daughter. But without proof, she couldn't be punished.)
The boy does have a living grandfather, the Earl of Ishtar. Or you might appoint an unrelated noble to act in his stead. The Earl of Ishtar has suggested another possibility. You and Adair are both young, not too far apart in age. He requests that we accept the boy as your future husband and keep him here at the castle.
What about your brother Armand? He would be a safe pair of hands to watch over Adair.
As you wish.
There is a woman here to see you. She is a musician and wishes Crown patronage.
(Which means money.)
Musician: Your Royal Highness! If you accept me as a member of your court I will immortalise you in word and song. I have dabbled in musical styles from many countries, and can entertain your guests and lighten your evenings.
(I wonder if she also writes naughty poetry?)
(Musicians are often used as secret agents and messengers. They can be useful - and dangerous.)
The musician sings a little ditty to demonstrate her skills with the lute.
(It's okay, but nothing special.)
(That might mean she has 'other' talents.)
You are familiar with the traditions of many locations, yes? Can you also perform accents?
Musician: Aye, mum. That I can.
What about juggling?
Musician: I can keep a set of dangers in the air.
Interesting. I look forward to all you have to tell me. (We'll have to talk privately to see how much she knows, but I think she might be useful.)
I don't know why the game doesn't have a scene to make this clear, but she officially became a spy for us.
You have unlocked a new outfit!
You receive a letter from Young Lord Adair. So far, he's enjoying himself with your uncle Armand in Mazomba. He says the trees look different, and there are a lot more frogs. He looks forward to visiting the lookout fort at Shepherd's Point. You also receive an update from your agents. It would seem that the Duchess of Lillah is not pleased with your actions and is putting out feelers amongst the other nobles for support. If she means to rebel against you, that is treason. Unfortunately, she's a long way away, in her own power base. Calling her to order may not be easy. Still, the longer you wait, the more dangerous she may become.
You give orders for assassins to arrange for a quiet and natural-looking demise. She is not a young woman, and she's just lost her husband... it shouldn't be suspicious.
(A falling star... Pretty!)
You receive word that the Duchess of Lillah has passed away quietly in her sleep.
(At least, that's what everyone thinks!)
She left her title not to the Earl of Io, but to Kiran, one of her younger sons. He's 19, and rather handsome as you recall. Everything has turned out for the best.
What a beautiful day!
It's nice to stop and breathe sometimes.
Elodie is now cheerful, for the first time. Cheerful has the following effects:
You have unlocked a new outfit!
My lady, there are letters for you.
(Another letter from Briony. Why does she keep writing me? We were never even friends.)
(She says she's bored and lonely and she's looking forward to seeing me at Gwenelle's birthday party.)
(That's right! Gwenelle is about to turn fifteen! She'll be Duchess of Sudbury for real now.)
(This other letter must be my invitation to her birthday celebration next week. Gwenelle and I were friends at school, and this will be a big event, but it's also a long way to travel. A lot of things can happen on the road.)
(It'll be good to see my friends!)
We now have the nurse's gown.
You have nothing more to learn about Novan History.
On your journey to Sudbury, your carriage is attacked by bandits!
You look down in shock at the arrow which has buried itself in your side. Outside, you can hear screams and curses, but it feels unreal. Your world is centered around pain.
You know that trying to push the arrow through will only make matters worse, so you have to bear the pain and wait patiently until someone can help you.
Calling on your mental discipline, you remain calm and keep a steady pressure on the wound. Your escort chases off the bandits, and an experienced sergeant cuts out the arrowhead and bandages your wound. It's actually not as bad as it looked, but it still hurts. The rest of your trip goes smoothly.
Gwenelle's party is lovely - not nearly as glamourous as your own upcoming birthday will be, of course, but it's still a major event on the noble social calendar. Everyone who is anyone is present. Uncle Laurent and your younger cousins are here, but Charlotte and her mother are not. Apparently Charlotte was ill. There are refreshments and dancers and musicians and polite conversations... and one or two not-so-polite.
... will not be shoved aside.
Mother, it's my domain now. I need space for myself. You have your own lands to manage.
Just because you're of age doesn't mean you know everything, young lady. You need my advice.
This is my home. It has never been yours.
Before you can back away, their gazes fall on you. They wait expectantly for you as near-queen to settle the dispute.
You should listen to your mother. She loves you, and she deserves your respect.
Thank you, Your Highness.
I am the Duchess of Sudbury, and I must command respect of my own. We're not children anymore, Elodie. If you let people treat you like that, you can't rule them.
A bit later, Briony catches up with you.
Hello, Elodie. It's so wonderful that you're going to be Queen now. I mean, I am sorry about your mother...
... but think of the opportunities you're going to have! You're so lucky.
That's an odd way of putting it.
Anyway, I was wondering, now that you're almost Queen and everything... have they told you all the secrets?
Like, how to get into the old palace! I've heard it's packed full of treasure.
You mean the Old Capital by Kathre Lake? The abandoned one?
Exactly! They had to leave in a hurry, so they left all kinds of treasure behind. And nobody ever goes there because the forest is supposed to be haunted, so the treasure's probably still there!
(The forest isn't just haunted, it's full of monsters like the keythong!)
(But what if she's right and it is full of ancient treasure?)
I don't know any secrets about getting into the old palace - yet. But if you come back to the castle with me, we can check the archives.
Great! I knew you could help. I'm supposed to go back to school, but I was already planning to sneak off. I'll ditch my escort, sneak ahead, and meet you at the castle!
(This could be fun.)
At the end, you all share a pleasant meal and prepare to return to your various lands.
You have nothing more to learn about Foreign Intelligence.
I found a bunch of maps of the area around Kathre Lake.
I also found reports on all sorts of really nasty monsters down there.
That was hundreds of years ago!
The palace was abandoned hundreds of years ago. The reports never stopped. I can't find anyone who's gone into the Old Forest and come back.
Well, if it is full of treasure, would you want to tell anyone how you got in and stole some? Look, I know it's dangerous. I'm not stupid. But you and I are educated noblewomen, not peasants. I'm good with a sword and a bow. And you - don't you have magic powers now that you're Queen?
So come with me! It'll be an awesome adventure. Our parents are going to be so impressed.
(I'm really not supposed to run off on my own.)
Briony... What is going on with you and your family?
Nothing. Really, nothing. Ever since Uncle Kevan moved in my parents don't want anything to do with me. I'm an adult now, you know!
(Technically. She's sixteen.)
And they still say I have to be at school all the time. I'm the heir, I should be spending time in Mead!
When did your uncle move in?
I don't know, a few years ago. After Gran's divorce.
(The Duchess of Lillah divorced her second husband Jael, and he 'died' right afterwards. She probably had him killed. Most people think that was no great loss, because there were all sorts of horrible rumors about Jael. But the Earl of Io, Briony's uncle Kevan, was quite upset about it. I guess he liked his stepfather.)
That must have been a stressful time for your family.
Yeah, I'm sure, but so what? That was years ago! They've had plenty of time to get over it! I just want them to pay attention to me. If I find the lost treasures of Nova, they have to notice.
You've already run away from school. If they don't notice that, they won't notice anything.
You mean... it's hopeless???
No, I mean, all you need to do is stay here and wait. Getting into more trouble won't make a difference.
Oh. I guess maybe you're right. Thanks, Elodie! You're smarter than I remembered.
The Duchess of Mead is here to see you, my lady.
Elodie! Where is my daughter?
You know very well that I only have one.
Really, mother? Because sometimes I think you don't have one at all!
Briony! Thank goodness you're all right.
Oh, now you care? You certainly didn't want to see me before! You haven't let me come home in ages!
Briony, darling, there are things you don't understand...
I don't understand because you never tell me anything!
The Duchess sighs and embraces her daughter.
Very well. If that's what it will take. Come home with me, and I will explain everything.
(Looks like everything worked out for the best!
The final part will be up tomorrow.