Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Day Four-Seventy-Eight: Political reshuffling

I made a decision last night. After the trial. For once, I don't think it will blow up in my face. On the contrary - it's probably going to make everything much, much easier for me.

I hope.

While I was watching the trial I tried my best to focus on the lawyers, bickering back and forth. Though his cause is hopeless Jeffrey's lawyer has a silver tongue, and he's good at twisting even the strangest facts into oddly-plausible scenarios. They never seem to work for the judge or the jury, but they don't necessarily blow up in his face, either.

I couldn't concentrate on what the snake was saying too much, though, because at times I was fixated on the jury box. It's strange to know that those twelve people are in charge of deciding whether or not Jeffrey is guilty, and that they're either sentencing him to life or death. I figured they would remain impassive while listening, all twelve concentrating too intently to make signs of their emotions.

The reality was far from it. The jurors whispered to one another, passing incredulous glances, and even standing up in shock a few times when Jeffrey's crimes were mentioned in their entirety. There's no proof beyond heresay that most of Jeffrey's charges actually took place, but that seemed to be enough to emotionally sway the jury.

It wasn't their emotional reactions that struck me, though. It's the fact that they worked as a team.

I have no doubt the jurors will argue over Jeffrey's fate behind closed doors. That's probably what they're doing right now, locked up in Pagan's manor where no one can reach them. Consensus is a difficult thing to reach in twelve vastly different people… but I sense they will reach consensus. Having spent so much time together already, I think they're largely of one mind about many things.

Twelve minds working equally on the same problem are far better than one. So, too, are three minds.

I invited Harold and Evangelina out for a tour of the wall. Harold was already out there, so getting him was easy. Evangelina was attending to complaints about the guard recruits and their lazy taskmaster, so she was a bit tougher to call. Nevertheless, by noon, all three of us were walking along a mostly-finished rock and mortar bridge, stretched high over the Potos River. We stopped by several barrels full of arrows.

Evangelina had complaints. "The recruits are terrible. I'm no military expert, but I know poor fighters when I see them. These guys are bottom of the barrel. They barely know the pointy end of their spears from the blunt. Where the hell did you get them, Harold?"

He shrugged, fumbling with his hat. "I, um, sent out a general inquiry to a few towns and farming communities. We got who we got, and, um, I… think we'll have to make do?"

Evangelina hissed. "The animals I used to wage war on you lot were better at their jobs. Gods, if only I could get at my magic, we wouldn't need these fops…"

"Why don't you go ask your mom for it back," I murmured under my breath. Yes, I caught that little tidbit in Julius' notes. What a freak show of a family. I'll have to ask about it some day.

"What was that?" Evangelina asked, though not as sharply as I’d anticipated. She hadn't heard me.

"Nothing, nothing."

Suspicious, cock-eyed glance. She's good at them.

"At any rate," Evangelina continued, still glaring, "I was wondering if I could get permission to hire a new trainer. The current guy isn't working out, obviously. He's a slob who sits in the Beefiary all day. Completely neglects his job, and he doesn't seem quite as good a fighter as he says. Lacking in discipline."

"So fire him and get a new one," I said. "You don't have to ask me."

Evangelina sighed heavily. "No, no, I really do. You're the mayor. You need to sign off on the big decisions. And given what you've told us about an impending attack…"

"Agreed," said Harold. "It's important for the mayor to have a hand in important matters. Even if it's just to say 'yes' or 'no'."

"But what if I'm killed?" I stared down at the river, biting back the word 'again'. "Or captured? Kidnapped? What if I'm put in a coma? Who takes my place?"

"Well," began Harold, "we'd convene a town meeting to discuss the matter, and temporary control would fall to the reeve -"

"My dad?" I laughed and shook my head. "Hell no. We already dodged that arrow, 'n it was shot at us thanks t'me. I was also the nimrod who ignored his duties for more than a month, leavin' you to do everything. Remember that, Harold?"

He nodded reluctantly, eyes on his shoes.

"If I'm put outta commission, or I go nuts, or… something… we need a clear line of succession. Somebody has to be able to fill my shoes immediately. And I do NOT mean my dad."

Evangelina and Harold waited, silent.

"You two." I pointed at both of them. "You guys keep this town runnin' more smoothly than I do. You manage all the day-to-day stuff while I'm off fighting monsters and arguing with nobles and getting tied up and so forth. You're the ones who should control Pubton, not me."

"But you're the mayor -"

"I'm not the only mayor." I cut Harold off before his eyes could bug out of his skull. "Not anymore. I checked with Pagan 'bout township laws in the Indy Plains this morning. He had a crapload of material in his library, 'n Robert steered me where I needed to go. The laws are a jumbled mess out here, but there is precedent for more than one mayor in a town. 'specially under 'unique' circumstances. I think an impending siege counts."

Harold's jaw fell slack. Evangelina scratched her chin, impassive.

I'd planned the moment. Cracking open one of the nearby barrels, I pulled out presents for Evangelina and Harold: a pair of floppy hats. They stared.

"If you're gonna walk the walk," I said, offering them the hats, "you gotta talk the talk."

"I don't think you said that right," offered Evangelina.

"Just shut up 'n put the damn hat on."

It's not permanent, and yes, it may cause some problems in the long run. For now, though, I'm pretty damned sure I can trust these two to make the right decisions for Pubton without needing my authorization. Aside from a certain fuzzy rebellion that ended well enough, they have so far.


Dragomir the Co-Mayor


  1. This was either a really smart decision or a really dumb one. Only time will tell.

    Also, the spam was too much, eh?

    1. It was. It totally was.

      SZ: If he has to wear a crappy hat, everybody has to wear a crappy hat.


  3. Btw, I just had the strangest thought...I didn't even think of it until today for some reason...If Evangelina and Driscol are June's children, who is their father? I know its not too much of a stretch within this story for more immaculate conceptions (Kowd Konceptions) via Eve and Grayson. But in the case of Dragomir's children, their Kowd Konceptions bred super beings. Driscol and Evangelina seem rather ordinary in comparison. So that would lead me to believe that they actually DO have a father and I kinda wanna know who that is...could it be Iko? Or more likely another super figure that will (or never) be mentioned who was in the same "school/class" with The Baron, Kierkegaard, Iko and Plato...

    1. Their heritage will come up. Eventually. There has been the slightest, teensy-weensiest hint as to the other side of their family.

    2. It must be Santa...for he is the only unnamed magical old person who hasn't appeared yet...

    3. Fucking great, now I have to reread fucking everything again to catch it. You must think you're so damn slick Bird...I'll catch you eventually and when I do...its odd that the theme song for Lupin the Third just popped into my head...