Cynis Chand et al,
By the authority of the Scarlet Empress, and her powers delegated in this matter to the Dynasty in person of House Tepet, I have been charged to take control of these lands and end all dispute. The writ of ownership is attached. My proxies shall arrive within the month.
(The letter is addressed to the previous owners of one of the plantations in Amber River, a Cynis patrician couple, with copies sent to several others including house Ferem. The style is correct, but a bit old fashioned, the sort of thing you'd expect to see from 80 years ago rather than the modern day. Aisa may have copied it from a book with only minimal alteration. Members of the conspiracy will see the following.)
Ledal Catala Akashan, whatever you paid for that information about Mnemon's forces, it was worth it. I do not exaggerate when I say you have saved my reputation and advanced our cause considerably. I am in your debt. While I am of course interested in powerful sorcerous artifacts, it is unlikely Mnemon would take kindly to me asking questions about the Thurible.
Cathak Titus, I need not feign piety to satisfy your grandfather. Though the temple is without a monk, I have been attending weekly ever since I arrived six months ago – initially alone to read from the Texts myself, but recently several students have taken to showing up, and I have been reading aloud for their benefits. I will do as you suggest and ask your grandfather. The temple is in need of a good deal of cleaning, and I am no monk.
Nellens Ryo, please delay your reworking of the appointment laws. While I am not opposed in principle, I used the possibility (and the fact that I could prevent it from occurring) to help capture Mnemon's good graces. Perhaps in a few months when I break with her openly. Also, I will have to be more careful when asking your assistance in the future. Cynis Belar was entirely too accurate with her suspicions that I was behind the Cynis legion's slow deployment.
Zara has been a life saver. It has only been a few months, but already I cannot imagine now I got by without her presence. I almost suspect she is learning to read my mind – I have but to think of a desire and she is already knocking politely to deliver. She has not been present in any of my important meetings however, not because I lack faith in her discretion, but because too much knowledge can put her in danger. One who seems to know my secrets may become a target.
This month has been our first test. Many of you know parts of what has been happening and can provide more detail in specific areas, but allow me to sketch an outline of what has been happening on the Isle and in the North this past month.
House Tepet's position is weaker than they like to let on, and they are more desperate. When word of the northern rebellion reached them, a known and weak enemy within easy striking distance of their remaining legion, they immediately reached out to House Cynis for permission to help. Cynis declined, refusing them access. Tepet, growing more shrill, insisted, until finally Cynis shut them out entirely.
This is where I entered the picture, with my proposal to trade regions. Tepet, initially uncertain, eventually decided that they needed to look to the present rather than the future, and agreed to make me their agent. I approached house Cynis.
As it turns out, Mnemon was there ahead of me, seeking to take advantage of the situation in her own way. She has been attempting to draw the Roseblack into a vulnerable position for some time, and Tepet's intentions in the North had provided the perfect opportunity. I shall spare you a detailed account ((page 22-25 of the OOC thread)) of several sleepless nights and tense exchanges between Cynis, Mnemon and myself, but the eventual result was Mnemon's agreement to allow my plan to proceed while she took credit for it. Then word came (thank you Akashan) that Mnemon had no intention of honoring the spirit of the deal. She is preparing a fleet to sail north and crush the Roseblack while my reputation provided the bait to keep her in place.
Left with little other choice, I summoned Cynis Belar to another meeting. How times change! I remember only a season ago when attracting the attention of a single elder from anthor house required careful planning. Under a sorcerous vow to keep the news secret, I revealed myself to her.
"I intend to be Empress."
"More than one Great House has aligned itself with me. More than one legion moves as I direct. I have power bases both on the Blessed Isle and in the Threshold, inside the Dynasty and out. I have good reason to believe Cathak Cainan will back me once I ask. The Sidereals are watching me carefully, and some of them are being swayed to my side."
"I tell you all this not to boast, but merely so you understand that my claim is more than empty dreams. The Roseblack is my piece, and I will not sacrifice her just yet. While I would prefer to avoid violence, I am perfectly capable of responding to Mnemon with force of arms if I cannot resolve things here and now."
We negotiated briefly. Though house Cynis Belar bears little love for Mnemon, they will not let personal feelings rule the day. Cynis is willing to back us in exchange for economic concessions to come later. We also negotiated an immediate solution to the problem – she will keep her forces in the north, threatening Mnemon's legions if they are weakened fighting house Tepet. Ryo, please whatever magic you placed on the Cynis forces. They are needed northward immediately and in good order.
Though forced to reveal myself sooner than intended, I am willing to count this as a success entire. Mnemon's fleet is still sailing, there is ongoing violence and I may be forced to kill my future husband in his sleep (do not ask), but we have a new ally. Things are moving quickly.
Even so, I fear I must take some time away. Ai'Zul has offered me a chance to spend time in her home city, and I will be taking her up on that. Time away from things will leave me better prepared for what must be done when I return. Those possessed of Wind Carried Words should aware that I will be some 3 miles upwards and 50 miles north-east of the Heptagram. Post will continue to reach me as normal (I am a sorcerer, after all).
Yours in triumph and in fatigue,
— Mnemon Aisa
P.S. Ryo, attached is a list of what Mnemon offered House Cynis in return for their support. We will need to match her offer. I would greatly appreciate it if you could draft a proposal for me to return with. Concessions at the expense of the Guild are the order of the day, as well as tax breaks for treating satrapies as imperial subjects rather than conquered enemies.
Also, with the addition of land to my other business holdings, I have neither the aptitude nor the time to manage everything. I will need someone on-site in Amber River to oversee the plantation Tepet has promised me. Does your wife have any lieutenants in need of promotion? Or perhaps House Ferem could recommend someone?
P.P.S. The dominie of the Heptagram is being most uncooperative. Does anyone have information on Ragara Bhagwei, or suggestions on what pressure might be brought to bear? He seems in no hurry to retire gracefully.