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Musings from the Office of Public Harmony

Posted: Thu Dec 07, 2023 8:36 am
by Insterda
Insterda Jarlvasdaughter settled back comfortably into the upholstered chair and ran her fingers lightly over the polished surface of her desk, admiring its clean lines and the way the light shone on its gleaming surface. Cleanliness and order were so important. Clearing up the little messes so King Argrath wasn't troubled by them. Clearing them up before even the slightest whiff of something unpleasant troubled the royal nostrils. It brought her such satisfaction.

It had taken a little stern reminding that the monetary outlay she provided wasn't a gift but an expectation of earnest work, diligently done. A sharp word that had a salutary effect on her recalcitrant employees. Packet after packet of little notes of sightings, long spidery screeds of overheard conversations, dutiful reports of comings and goings and hastily scribbled lists of goods bought and sold were dropping onto the doormat nightly under cover of dark.

As expected, there were extensive reports of sloppily performed military activities. Weak leadership. Inadequate displays of initiative. Whispered hints of cowardice and stupidity. Officers leading their troops off to the front not for sound military reasons but in search of personal aggrandisement or to evade their creditors. Unfortunately it wasn't possible to put on trial anyone that had shown the poor judgement not only to let their troops get slaughtered, but had the poor taste to throw their own lives away as well. Posthumous convictions could be bad for morale and King Argrath did so like to hear tales of his heroic officers nobly dying impaled on an enemy spear provided some shred of military accomplishment could be spun from the tattered tale of lost lives. Not a safe avenue to explore unless one was very sure of the evidence.

Choosing who to arrest and when to hold a public trial was such a finely judged art. A regular hint of impending judgement lent a spring in everyone's step, lest they be the one deemed too laggardly, corrupt or self-serving. Too many heads impaled over the city gates and the citizenry became too scared to be seen doing anything.

Insterda unfurled another scroll and tapped her teeth with one immaculately manicured fingernail while considering its contents. Now these were more interesting, rife with potential. Not to act upon during Sacred Time, of course. The priests did take such a dim view of anyone detracting from their biggest display of pomp and splendour. Even if they were only too happy to whisper maliciously against one another during the rest of the year as they sought a way to wriggle upward though the ranks of the religious.

Here was one. A merchant doing so well that in a single year they had stepped up from owning a single market stall in the lower quarter to a plush boutique in the affluent quarter. It seemed too good to be true that such wealth could have come from simple trade. Even Goldgotti himself hadn't risen to prominence this quickly. Still, it would be best to go carefully when treading in financial matters. Goldgotti considered such matters to be his bailiwick. She would need his full approval before taking a judicial axe to a successful trader. Perhaps a swingeing fine, to be paid into the treasury coffers, would please him?

Another. A possibly deranged resident, veering erratically from military service in the Tribal Levy to service to the divine Chalana Arroy, while issuing boasts, threats, dubious financial schemes and ramblings of divinity. Possibly even the battlefield murder of a Lt Warlord? Some sources did say that Heort's wounds looked mortal before the healer got there, but nobody was in any doubt about the abrupt outcome once he began his ungentle ministrations. Tricky. Clearly, claiming divinity was an affront to the gods and almost too easy an excuse for indictment, but the trial could become a dull farce. All the Chief Priests and High Priests would queue up to outdo each other in the length and tedium of their speeches at the outrage of their respective cults at his absurd claims. The crowds would be sunk in a bored stupour rather than baying for his blood unless she could find the right angle. Perhaps that by claiming divinity he was declaring superiority over the King, right in his own city? Hmm, now that presented possibilities. Maybe a word was needed in the ear of the aide to the City Lawspeaker? There was a man that could be eager to work up a decent case for prosecution.

Yet it was important to choose carefully. To not get sucked into seeking the obvious targets and overlook the insidious serpents slithering subtly through the city streets. More tantalising rumours were coming in of a hotbed of sedition. Little more than hints and whispers, but they carried the tantalising hint of truth. Regular meetings in cafés that were more than they seemed. A far-reaching plan to slowly infiltrate the highest echelons of power until none but they had the ear of the King. The ear of the King and then finally the head.

Her finger stopped tapping. Her gaze tightened. Yes, this bore serious investigation. A group known as Les Légumières, with a shadowy ringleader orchestrating the plot known only as Le Grand Pois. Her nose twitched. The whiff of treachery was faint, but it was there.

Insterda reached for her quill, dipped ink, tapped the excess carefully against the side of the inkpot and began to write.

Re: Musings from the Office of Public Harmony

Posted: Thu Dec 07, 2023 12:52 pm
by Broar
My dear Deputy for Public harmony,

I see that you are currently without a Aide, a terrible situation to be in what with all of your busy schedule and so many rogues out there deserving of arrest and suitable is at hand, in the person of yours truly, Broar the Divine!

Yes, Deputy, I can be there, at your side, serving those vital arrest warrants and bringing the miscreants back to face punishment. Think of the benefits, less stress, more time to concentrate on writing those warrants, an able Aide with 100% loyalty, no risks when undertaking the actual arrests as I'll do all that for you. I hear that you have already been made of aware of a insidious little group of subversives operating from a low key establishment within the City, a well known den of vice for some of the most hardened villains in Boldhome. I must tell you that I've also long had my suspicions about this lot, indeed I have eavesdropped upon some of their clandestine meetings, keeping a discrete presence outside of the venue and listening in through the window! I have to tell you that your suspicions are well founded and this group needs rounding up as soon as possible, before their sedition spreads like a plague amongst others who are more susceptible to their weasly words of treason!

Let me be your weapon good Deputy, appoint me as your Aide and let me have the warrants and I'll have the 3 of them banged up in the city jail before you can say Evil Erik Starkraving is pyscho! Actually, talking of Evil Erik may I suggest you include an arrest warrant for him too, I mean I know he's one of my regimental comrades but that's simply because he managed to dupe the late Lt Warlord Heort to letting him into the regiment before then manipulating her to going to the Front where she promptly got killed, despite my best administrations. A truly tragic affair that has left me scarred by the whole business, left me weeping for a whole week...I can still picture her face now....laying amongst the carnage of battle....imploring me to save her but sadly the work of the enemy had done it's deadly task and nothing could prevent her sad demise. Before she died she did manage to whisper to me that she suspected the hand of Evil Erik behind it all, saying how he had forced out one of the Hundred-Thanes in his greed to assume control of the regiment and that he had now removed her too! Fortunately she saw in me someone she could trust and impart her concerns too with the request I bring them to your attention......praise the blessed Goddess that I've managed to honour her wish, but that's what you get with me, a man who is true, loyal and keeps his word to his friends AND his employer! So, as you can see, 4 arrest warrants are urgently required but you just write them up and leave the rest to good old Broar, job done!

I look forward to hearing from you.

Re: Musings from the Office of Public Harmony

Posted: Thu Dec 07, 2023 7:31 pm
by Broar
My dear Deputy for Public Harmony,

Silly me, I forgot to add with my last message that position as an Aide, it comes with a salary right, you know, a few lunars for services rendered etc. Can you just remind me of the actual amount as I haven't seen that anywhere but the current rate for the job would be around 20 lunars a month by my reckoning?