Merchant Wars Volume 3, Winter 2 SC
“The evidence of wrong-doing was plentiful. Many smuggle goods and slaves about the realm from port to port, disallowing customs officials from doing a full inventory. We have found more than enough to put lesser men in the noose. Now it is just a matter of how you would like to conduct this, milord.” Voice Caspien states placidly. “Merchant Lord Uriel seems to be mostly above board, his only infractions being those forced upon him by other families to show his allegiance. The rest vary, with Sewel White being the worst of them, then Ajaxin, and finally Farel Lond.”
“Do you believe that Uriel still has use to us on the Merchant Council? If we can turn the man, reinstate Lady Evaline, we would just need one more man on the council to have control. Even as it is, we only need to make an example of one of them before reinstating Evaline to force a stalemate.” Hawkson states.
“That is indeed true, my lord. I worry that the burden of what Lady Evaline will want might be a tad much. I do commend her for being so bold as to ask for your hand in marriage, but it seems a bit preposterous, and there will be many other circumstances where a political marriage would be more effective than just trying to get this merchant council in line. If I may speak freely-” Caspien continues before being interrupted by his lord.
“You may not at this time. What Lady Evaline and I do is not of concern at this particular point in time. I had planned to see if she would be interested in courtship, but she beat me to the punch. Gave me a good laugh too seeing your face when that particular letter was read aloud.”
“My lord, I hardly think that this is a good idea, and I would suggest that you listen to me and your other advisors before you go through with this plan!”
“I think that seeing you all squirm a bit at seeing me marry someone of non-noble birth quite funny. The nobility has been silent for long enough, its time to rouse them and reshape them as I see fit.”
“Statements like those are what is going to get you killed, my lord. Even with the strikers, we cannot protect you from everything, especially when you are sending them off on missions all across the throne’s domain. We need to deal with these things as they come up, not go looking for more trouble. You are only just two years into your hopefully long rule, but all those in the past that have stirred this much shit die long before they even see ten.”
“Concern is not becoming of you Caspien, but I shall note it. Test the apprentices by seeing if they can get a message to Uriel unseen. We shall see if we can turn him by giving him some of the dirt on the others. Internal conflict is the current goal at least. Now, before you object any more, I need you to ready a ship heading to Holden, Lady Evaline is expecting me.”
With a sigh, and a muttered “As you wish, my lord,” Caspien moves to comply, even if he doesn’t agree with what his lord has planned.