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Rope and Iron
Fleet captains; Ambassadors and Diplomats; Abolitionists; Titles with connections to foreign nations
The Empire has decided to host a summit at Anvil at the Winter Solstice, with a view to seeing if those nations who oppose slavery - or who might be convinced to do so - can agree to work together. The Commonwealth, Sumaah, the Sarcophan Delves, and Axos have all been invited to send one or two representatives to attend the summit to negotiate on behalf of their nation. At the request of representatives of the Imperial Offices, the civil service have prepared a limited briefing on Imperial tariffs to help the Imperial negotiators assess what changes if any they wish to make to their trading arrangements as part of their negotiations.
“So the Ilotari sent this band over to the Empire - to try and get their foot in the door. They wanted a piece of the profits that Heraclien and Ragnabe have been making I assume… Anyway it turns out they arrived at exactly the wrong time.” Mirael leaned back on the chaise-longue, and beckoned for the house slave to fill his goblet. He didn’t want the wine, it was some cheap red from Keksis, but he needed the pause for dramatic impact. His companion urged him to go on, clearly desperate to find out what happened next. Perfect.
“So apparently” he resumed his narrative, but slowly " this group arrived just as the Empire was looking to host a summit with - and you’ll never guess this - the Commonwealth and… Sumaah! To talk about banning slavery or something - some sort of" he paused this time to allow him enough draw breath so he could spell out “Grand… Alliance…”
Mirael enjoyed watching the shocked look on his host’s face. He enjoyed even more the way his hand dropped to his chest causing the material of the toga to part slightly. He’d been away from the capital too long, he’d really missed this.
“The plenum must have exploded!” his host stated the utterly obvious like it was some deep insight. “They would have had to scrape Albini off the ceiling. She’s been calling for Sumash blood, ever since they sunk the Windrails. I wish I had your connections Mirael - I would do anything to have been there to see that.”
“Quite.” Mirael had been a hundred miles away at the time, but his host was too young to know that every single Plenum session was exactly the same - so he didn’t feel guilty about a little lie. He’d sat through enough of the bloody things - so he had been there in a manner of speaking. “That wasn’t the worst of it. One of the Coriolani got the hairbrained idea that somehow the Ilotari group were mixed up in it all. Apparently they tried to get an invitation for the family to the summit… if they pulled it off - what a coup! But they didn’t… so of course they were the perfect people to blame for it all going wrong. Everyone turned on them! It was like a feeding frenzy.”
Mirael stopped, stood up and stretched his limbs. He beckoned the slave over and deposited the barely touched goblet back on the platter. He crossed the room and sat down conspiratorially next to his enchanting host, ostensibly so he could whisper without being overhead. “So the Ilotari promise a full investigation - if there is the slightest hint that one of theirs has been consorting with the enemy, he’ll hang the very next day they promise.”
He rolled his eyes to indicate how ridiculous that was but then leaned in a little closer. “Of course the next day - word comes down that Gastone - that’s the fellow that was leading the Ilotari delegation - has fled to the Empire and taken his entire crew with him. The Ilotari are publicly outraged - shocked to the core by this betrayal. Apparently he might have been some kind of Sumaah sympathiser. Or at least one of those emancipation zealots or something. Everyone who has fled is exiled by the family and that - officially - is the end of the matter.”
“So the Ilotari were betrayed then?” his host looked shocked. Mirael stared at him for a moment, wondering if it was naivety or stupidity. Why were the beautiful ones always just a bit slow? Julius had razor-sharp wits but a face that looked like one of his parents was an onager. Sometimes he thought the gods were playing tricks on him.
Mirael host took his astonishment for agreement and smiled in a way that reminded him that there was more to life than intelligent conversation. “Mirael, I am just dying to get to my first session, you simply have to introduce me to the right people. I’m missing all the excitement.”
He smiled at his companion and moved a little closer “Almost nothing would give me greater pleasure…”
This is a Wind of Fortune representing a light briefing prepared by the Civil Service for the delegates attending the Trade Summit at the WInter Solstice to talk about slavery. You can read it here -> http://bit.ly/WoF_Rope
It includes details of when meetings will take place, who can attend, the role of the right of witness, and some information about the potential impacts of the negotiations. It ends with a discussion of the position taken by the Fellowship of the Purple Sails - remember them?
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