“The Council will now proceed to vote the motion of no confidence submitted by Lord Fairbrandt” a clerk cried out.
The 10 persons sitting at the Council table rose up from their seats. At the other side of the table Lord Fairbrandt remained silent, his vote already been counted since he has been the one that presented the motion like he regularly does every few months.
“Aye” Lord Sylren said dismissively. A slender High Elf who viewed even non-Elf nobles with contempt.
“Aye” Lady Runeshield said with a raspy voice, the old matriarch face did not show a flicker of emotion
“Aye, it is high time we got rid of him” Lord Sherington said with a charismatic smile on his face and a wave of his hand which exposed his expensive rings.
“Nay, Mayor Milanovic is a pious man” said the Archbishop.
“The Craftsman’s Guild votes Nay, the mayor has done much for all craftsman’s” said Osila Goldstone an expert jeweler and guildmaster.
“The Town Watch votes nay, the mayor has maintained peace and order in Caer Cyflen” Said Captain Steelscribe. Mayor Milanovic thanked the gods for being blessed with a Watch Captain not controlled by the nobles.
“For the 14th time, the Historians Guild votes Nay” said Flardryn Miraberos. Tomislav could always count in his old mentor to back him up.
Lysanthir Ersalor, the guildmaster of the Consortium, turned to face Tomislav and took a moment to grin at him and simply said “Nay”.
“Nay, of course” said Tomislav Milanovic, he was not going to vote against himself. 6 Nays vs 4 Ayes, he did not even need to use his casting vote this time; It seems the Consortium resumed their mind games with him.
“The motion is dismissed, as always. Thank you for your time sires, see you again next week. Long live Princess Silverflower”
“Long live Princess Silverflower” answered the council.
Lord Fairbrandt stopped to glare at Tomislav and uttered “Common-born” before storming out of the council room like he usually does.
While Father was alive nobody called him Common-born, few dared to insult the Hero of Masgarath or the Orcsbane as the common people liked to call him. He was made a small noble after defeating the Orcs Warchief in combat ending the Orcs Raid and driving them back to the Badlands. For this great service to his nation the late Prince of Masgarath made him a noble and granted him a small state. Tomislav was born during the Raids while father was away and as such, they were both common-born. The great nobles liked to point this out all the time before Tomislav won his election. Now only Fairbrandt is insolent enough to say it to his face, but the it is common knowledge the nobles still like to refer him as such when he is not there to hear it.
Since he was a small child Father sent him to study under his long-life friend, the Loremaster Flardryn Miraberos. Father worked with him many times during their younger days doing expeditions to the badlands in search for lost knowledge and artifacts and this convenient relationship quickly evolved into a friendship. Almost everything Tomislav knows was taught to him by Flardryn: letters, history, philosophy, mathematics and more. This great education combined with the rejections of “trueborn” nobles made him escape the decadence that plagued most of the nobles.
Someone needed control them and stop their depredations on the common people, Tomislav did everything in his power be a fair and just mayor but there was not much he could do against all the institutions and rules the nobles created over the centuries while they ruled Caer Cyflen unchecked. A simple majority in the City Council sufficed for most things which Tomislav had. The Craftsman’s Guild had always been abused by the nobles that were their main source of high paying jobs and were grateful to find a shield under Tomislav. Captain Steelscribe was tired of the nobles interfering in Watch business all the time and young nobles, being extra immature, cause problems constantly. His mentor would support him in almost everything and half of the motions proposed by Tomislav were being suggested by him anyway, the Elf was very wise and ancient no wonder he was the head of the Historians; he might as well be history himself. The Church also disapproved of the nobles decadence and are easy to compel with a few measures and rights every now and then, the fact that Tomislav reinstated their tax exemption status lost a 100 years ago by the nobles also helped. With his own vote this brought him up to 5 votes and his casting vote assured him a victory for almost everything.
The real changes Tomislav wanted to make required a qualified majority, seven votes. With just two more votes Tomislav could institute a jury system, he could change sitting judges (almost all of them nobles), reform the electoral system and remove many of the privileges the nobles have. Just two more votes and Fairbrandt will be shaking in his boots.
During the night Tomislav was back at his office and decided to catch up with the ever-ending pile of paperwork he needed to do while he waited for the representative of the Consortium to arrive. After a while he heard someone knock at his door, his secretary surely.
“Mister Milanovic, the representative of the Consortium is ready to meet with you” said Shaerra Elayra, the eternal elven secretary of Caer Cyflen. She was so familiarized with every aspect of the Mayors office that no mayor for the last two centuries ever dared to replace her for fear of losing access to her bureaucratic wizardry.
Tomislav looked around his antechamber and found it empty except for Shaerra, a clear indication that this was going to be one of those meetings with the Consortium.
“I am going to take a small break before my meeting with mister Miraberos, send anyone else away please”
“Of course, Mister Milanovic” Said Shaerra before closing the doors to his office.
Tomislav knew what to do. He went to one of the in the office, opened it and went back to his desk.
“Please come in”
A moment later a cloaked figure entered room using the open window and sat in one of the visitor’s chairs, revealing a young elf in dark clothing and a confident demeanor.
“Mister Ersalor and the Consortium would like to extend our sincere gratitude to our Mayor for having granted us this meeting at this hour and in such a short notice”
“You are welcome mister…?”
“Blake” An obviously fake name, given that Blake is a human name and the person sitting next to him was clearly an Elf.
“Right. I am always happy to help any of the Guilds Mister Blake”
“We appreciate that, truly Mister Milanovic. The Consortium has found himself in possession of a very expensive item and would like request your help in setting up a meeting with the Rubypike Clan of Snow Alliance as soon as possible”
The Rubypike clan was one of the few unscrupulous clans in the Snow Alliance or as unscrupulous as one of those clans gets, they don’t ask too many questions which is exactly why they are loved by the Consortium. Still they have no official reason to meet with someone of the Consortium so far away which is why they need to be provided one where they will arrange some phony trade between themselves to justify a sudden change of gold between the parts.
“Surely this has nothing to do with the emerald bracelet Lord Sherington claims was stolen from his vault, it was an antique predating the Cataclysm that belonged to his late grandmother and he always said he would pass it along to his daughter when she came of age”
“We are very sorry for Lord Sherington loss, but the Consortium has no idea who could have done such a terrible thing” Not that Tomislav cared about Lord Sherington and his thousand gems, he wondered how he even noticed one of them missing in that vault of his.
The Consortium is just a front organization for the thief’s guild and other shady businessman’s, one very smart mayor ages ago proposed to them the creation of the Consortium to them to launder their money and getting a cut to look the other way, this also had the effect of them being more exposed. They had to cut back their more radical stunts if they wanted to enjoy their now clean wealth. In order to survive they bribed regularly and liberally to everyone they needed to bribe, and they have certain uses when the Principality needs discreet operators, even some Princes were known to pay for their ‘consulting’.
“The Craftsman’s Guild will be meeting with some clans of the Snow Alliance very soon to discuss trade, I will make sure to invite the Rubypike clan to said meeting and proposed that it takes place in the Snow Alliance territory, away from prying eyes”
“Excellent, surely an observer from the Consortium will be invited to said meeting, seeing that they conduct many deals with the Craftsmen’s and the clans” Sometimes not even Tomislav treasurer could detect exactly where the Consortium made their shady deals and what transaction was faked and which one real.
“Of course, mister Blake. I take it I can count on the Consortium support for the upcoming resolutions I will be presenting”
“As long as they do not go against the Consortium interests you may have our support mister Milanovic” said ‘Blake’ with a smile.
Just one more vote was all Tomislav needed now.
Then there was a knock at his door, and he could hear Shaerra saying “Mister Milanovic, mister Miraberos has arrived”
Tomislav walked to the door to receive his mentor and ushered him quickly inside to hug him, there was now no sign of ‘Blake’, all the windows were closed, and he had not heard a thing, one of these days he will figure out how they do it.
“Tommy! good to see you, I hope the meeting with the consortium went well” The Elf have called him Tommy since he was a baby and will probably continue to do it while he dies of old age.
“As good as it could have been”
“Great, now we just need one more vote”
“I swear that old Runeshield must be doing some black magic to keep herself alive, I know that dwarfs are sturdy, but that old hag is ancient by their standards. Eivar Runeshield is a far more reasonable noble than her or at least as reasonable as nobles get”
“I am sorry Tommy, that amulet the Matriarch wears is an amulet of health she bought in one of our auctions after an expedition, that is probably going to buy her at least 10 years of life” Tomislav was dumbfounded, he could not believe he now had to put up with her for ten more years.
“Why did you even let her buy that amulet then?”
“What was I supposed to say? ‘I am sorry Lady Runeshield, I would prefer if you died sooner’? The auction was public, and she had the gold; even I was impressed. But do not despair my student I may have a trick up my sleeve yet. While checking my guilds old files I stumbled upon correspondence of Lord Sylren of the imperial times to one of his historian friends. If you remember my lectures you will remember that the current Lord Sylren descends from the second cousin of the main branch of Sylrens that was lost during the Cataclysm, one of the few noble houses that survived it”
“Yes, I remember. Now does this letter have some dirty secret to black mail Sylren with?”
“Even better. The letter was penned by a personal friend of Sylern that was asking him about the name, description and mother of his newborn son, he was writing a book about his family and he wanted an up to date genealogy. But conventional history says he had no son and he never married that is why his line ended. It seemed like child was born out of wedlock and in secret that is why he does not appear on the records. Not many generations of Elfs have passed since then, the city orphanages maintain clear records of the Elf orphans after the cataclysm, he might have been registered under her mother’s name, nobody would have believed her without Lord Sylern”
Just one more vote was all he needed, just one more.
“Are you telling me that the righteous Lord Sylern now is probably out there tilting some fields or chopping some wood? The Sylerns will have the fits, they will never accept it quietly”
“Now now, one problem at a time. We just need to recover those records and replace Lord Sylern, he might hate the nobles as much as you do”
“Now where did this magic letter come from?” with his luck it will in the worst place possible.
“In a ruined castle, deep in the badlands. Our records show that it has not been explored yet”
“Wonderful, we just might have to kill Remorhaz nest to get it. No group is crazy enough to go that deep into the badlands”
“Now I may have heard about a group mad enough of try…”
Tomislav walked quickly to his door and opened
"Shaerra, cancel all my morning meetings please. I will be busy"
Just one more vote