Part 113: Evil Elodie Moments - Part 3
Before you can react, she barrels into you, sending you and the sheets flying.
Oh, my lady! I'm so sorry!
How dare you! What do you think you're doing? I'll have you flogged for this!
... Yes, my lady...
Your Highness! This slattern dares to beg pardon, when she admits that she tried to poison my sister under her own roof!
Corisande, the Duchess of Mead.
Is she all right?
She is unharmed. We caught the culprit in the kitchens before anyone could eat her foul spew.
Well, what do you have to say for yourself?
Condemned Woman: It's justice, it is! Them devils killed me brother, and broke me mam's heart. Lied to her, they did, when she went to see why he'd not come back. Said he'd gone for a soldier, when he never would! He weren't the only one neither. I waited ten years for my chance to get my own back. That's justice!
You see? She's completely unrepentant! Hang her and be done with it.
(I don't know what this is all about. Either way, murder is a serious crime, but...)
As she is clearly guilty, her life is forfeit. She will be hanged in public as a deterrent to other criminals.
Condemned Woman: Ye'll not have me!
All of a sudden, she breaks loose from her guards and rushes at you! In your Court dress, you are unarmed - you grope for a weapon and find only a heavy golden ornament which you hurl in her direction.
Your missile flies wide of its mark. Before you have a chance to do anything else, your personal guards step into action, cutting the woman down before she can endanger you. Her lifeless body lies bleeding on your carpet.
Get that out of here. Put it on display, so that everyone sees what happens to criminals.
If you have any concerns about your safety, please, stay here. The people will recover from disappointment; if we lose you, there is no recovery.
No... I guess I'd rather stay here.
You watch the procession from your tower window, feeling safe but lonely. Suddenly, you hear someone moving around inside your room. You turn in surprise, but it's only a maid.
My lady? What are you - Should you not be in the procession?
(Skipping a major festival... Is everyone wondering about me?)
It's none of your business! Why are you in here, anyway? Were you trying to steal something from my room?
No, my lady!
Then get out!
Yes, my lady!
At this time, I would like to take a moment to address how Elodie is spending her weekends.
You take out some of your frustrations on helpless prey animals. You now feel somewhat happier and less angry.
It looks like she's having fun at least.
The majority of the money we receive is already spoken for, but there is always some room for discretion.
Based on the records and notes of current expenditures, if you maintain the current rate of tax, you will still have five thousand, nine hundred and ninety-six gold lassi and thirteen silver tilassi available for special projects. If you lower taxes, you will lose some of that money because it will go to pay your existing costs; if you raise taxes, you should have more.
We need more money. Raise the taxes.
If we adjust this and this here, most people won't even notice the difference. Only the ones who can afford it will pay more.
As you wish.
He does not deny the act, but requests a pardon that he might be set free.
If you admit you killed your wife, why do you think I'm going to set you free?
Condemned Man: Save me, Your Majesty! Wasn't my fault. Demons made me do it. Everyone knows the power of magical beasties! They used me, they twisted my fingers into chains... My wife found me screaming, she tried to shake me, and the chains wrapped around her... I need the priestesses to bless me and make me clean again!
(Demons? This man is a Lumen! Where did he get a crystal?)
On one hand, we know he's going to escape if we decide to execute him and we could easily survive questioning him. On the other hand, Evil Elodie likes killing peasants and starting rumors about evil lumen cabals.
I don't care whether there were demons or not, you're still a murderer and your life is forfeit.
You will be hanged in public as a deterrent to future criminals.
He opens his mouth to argue with you further, but then his shoulders slump.
Condemned Man: Yes, Your Majesty.
Talarist, the Duke of Sedna, has instituted high tariffs and trade restrictions at the Elath border. Business is disrupted, and there are growing shortages of supplies.
Well, this is obviously revenge for Elodie's harsh rejection of his proposal, so it is her fault...
But why should she take responsibility for her actions when she has peasants to do that for her?
So business got harder. Doesn't that happen all the time?
It's not my fault they didn't plan ahead.
In putting all of her efforts toward tormenting peasants, Elodie neglected to appease the nobles enough to stop Arisse from declaring civil war. Oops.
As defending Queen, you are required to take personal control of your forces. Your control of magic enhances your claim to divine right of rulership.
Your Lumen powers cause chaos among your enemies with explosive displays and waves of terror. You lack the strength to take on a whole army by yourself, of course, but they don't need to know that.
Battles are won and lost, fallen soldiers decorating the landscape. The final outcome...
... is a victory for your side.
Your forces sweep through the rebellious duchies and are met with cheers by the local population. Arisse, the ringleader, is executed, and the other rebels forced to pay tribute to keep their holdings.
Of course, there is also a cost paid in lives.
Led by your example, your soldiers killed many wounded enemies who might otherwise have been saved.
Your medical training helped you to preserve the lives of some of your wounded soldiers.
Total casualties were almost one and three quarters of a battalion on your side and two and nine tenths battalions among the rebels. Of course, there are no more rebel soldiers now - they are once more your loyal subjects.
And the fallen soldiers are once more your slaughtered peasants.
The people will be pleased if you participate in their games. However, it would expose you to danger.
What event do you wish to take part in?
As much fun as it would be to incinerate Kevan again, we have peasants to disappoint!
I guess I'll just watch from my tower.
The tournament goes on without you.
After the tournament, a minor tragedy is revealed. One of the stewards apparently had an incredible sweet tooth and dared to steal a piece of your recently-received chocolates. He had a sweet tooth... the chocolates were poisoned.
(Good thing I didn't eat them!)
Yet as far as you can tell, your territory is secure. No more attacks are underway. So what could be wrong?
You lie awake in bed at night, worrying that perhaps all of your choices have been the wrong ones.
Time has slipped by you so quickly. Only two weeks remain before your birthday celebration, and your official coronation as Queen. Have you done enough to build a stable Nova?
It is traditional for the palace to provide entertainment and refreshment for the common people when a new monarch is crowned. It is a rare opportunity for the poor of the land to dine like nobles. The size and scope of any such feast depends on what expense the royal treasury is willing to bear.
There are more practical uses for Nova's coin, after all.
We have now come to the week of the peasant revolt. Elodie is dressed for the occassion.
The peasants are rebelling!
Hundreds, maybe thousands, of them, with spears and pitchforks and torches, all screaming for your removal. And here you are in your tower, with your armies depleted from the recent war.
Of course, you do have an advantage over the mob - You are a Lumen. Do you dare turn your powers on your own people?
You refuse to cower like a frightened rabbit. You will march out to them openly and show them that you have the power of the gods behind you.
What would be difficult against soldiers in armor is instead ridiculously easy against untrained peasants. You barely have to wave your hand and people fall away, screaming and covered in burns. After only a few minutes, the crowd breaks and flees in panic, leaving behind only the wounded too slow to get out of the way of the stampede.