Society Name: Cedonia
Action 1: Establish the new government.
Description: The convention in Thalcedon in 1439 managed to hammer out a new governmental structure that everyone could live with, in the short- to mid-term. The city councils that were created in the power vacuum of the Sinari War will continue to operate, but they will elect two representatives each to the new Regency Council, serving five-year terms. The rural areas of Selaria and western Cedonia will be represented on the council by representatives elected from the local nobility. Duke Yarrow of Caladyn, as the senior (known) surviving member of the imperial family, will be the only hereditary Council member, with the title of Lord President of the Regency Council. The Lord President's role is to be largely ceremonial, with the real power lying in the office of First Councillor. Dr. Arden Vellin is named First Councillor by acclamation. As far as day-to-day administration goes, the Regency Council simply coopts the existing bureaucratic structures of the old empire, a structure which lacked only a head to control it. On a final note, the name of Cedonia is changed. No longer the "Cedonian Empire", it is now the "United Provinces of Cedonia".
Factors: Last year's actions paved the way for this year's changes.
Action 2&3: Eliminate Zenos.
Description: The only thing that holds Zenos' army together is the General himself, but Zenos is only one man. Cut off the head, etc. The Duke of Caladyn knows that as things stand, facing Zenos in the field is too risky. So, the Duke has a quiet word with Dr. Vellin. Dr. Vellin has a quiet word with Raden Ghere, the former Imperial Chamberlain. And Ghere, who has quite enough stress already, thankyouverymuch, goes to a quiet Taltherani restaurant in the Harbour Quarter of Thalcedon, and has a quiet word with the owner, who used to "fix" things for the Empress Yzara. The plan is to plant an agent in Zenos' army as the General's personal cook. Zenos gained his promotions from military ability, not through politicking, and the General does not employ a food taster. When the time seems best to the agent, a simple substitution in the variety of mushroom selected for dinner should result in a dead general. With luck, Zenos will be dead by Year's End.
Factors: Double Action . . . the people who used to "fix" the problems Yzara didn't want publicized are professional . . . no time pressure . . . simple plan.
Fudge Points: +2
Action 4: Continue the metals project.
Description: With metal ores coming in from the Kasovian mines in quantity, the new bottleneck in the research is refining. A new smelter had been built in 1438-39, but it collapsed due to shoddy construction. Hopefully, the new design and the new contractors will improve matters this year, and the project can start moving to applications.
Factors: Ore availablity improved in 1439
Action 1: Establish the new government
Resolution: Diff = Normal (0) + Dice (++-0) + Extras () = +1 Success
Results: No major difficulities. The change of government is suprisingly easy.
Action 2-3: Eliminate Zenos
Resolution: Diff = Hard (-1) + Dice (+0,fp=4: ++) + Extras (+1) = +3 Great success
Results: Within 1 month of the order, Zenos is dead. The army is left without a working head, and desertations soon begin. The core of the troops remain loyal to their general, though. They retreat to Zenos' home areas and refuse to make a piece with the United Provinces.
The restaurant was small and non-descript, a typical Harbour District eatery, with nothing to set it apart from its neighboring buildings besides a discreet sign, "A Taste of Taltheran". With a nervous glance over his shoulder, Raden Ghere pushed his way through the swinging doors.
Inside, the restaurant was cool, dimly-lit, and quiet. There were only a few customers; Taltherani-style cooking was not popular in Thalcedon. However, too many customers would interfere with the owner's other business.
Raden sat down in a booth in the corner farthest from the door, and waited. After about five minutes of waiting, the owner of the restaurant slid into the seat across from Raden.
Raden looked at the man. "Hello, Cassat."
The restauranteur inclined his head. "My Lord Chamberlain. It's been a few years. Why are you here?"
Raden sighed. "I need your help."
"What makes you think I would give you any help, my lord? I am . . . retired from that line of work."
Raden laughed. "Nonsense, Cassat. You could no more give up the Great Game than you could give up breathing. Besides, I know something you don't know."
Cassat cocked an eyebrow. "Really?"
Raden leaned forward. "Yzara's alive, Cassat. You swore the same oath of fealty and service that the rest of the Inner Circle did when she ascended the throne. While she lives, we are bound to her service until and unless she releases us."
"You have proof."
Raden nodded, and passed over the Empress' letter. "I received this at my office at the metallurgy project two days ago. No one seems to know who delivered it or where it came from. But, if we accept everything she says in the letter, that's not so mysterious." Cassat quickly read through the letter, then looked up. "The Vra'al have had her all this time?"
"And she has borne their High Lord's children."
"It would seem so."
"And the Burcancy found out, and decided to 'rescue' her and her children."
"And she wants us to do something about this?"
"Preferably terminating the responsible parties with extreme prejudice, yes." Cassat sighed. "She hasn't changed a bit."
Raden chuckled. "No, she hasn't." Then, more soberly, "Will you honor your oath to the Empress, Spymaster Cassat?"
"Do I have a choice?" said Cassat. He looked around the restaurant, and shook his head. "And I was so looking forward to my retirement. Now, what would you have of me?"
"Do you still have your network?"
Cassat shook his head. "Not for the sort of thing Yzara wants. I still maintain a network in Thalcedon and the other League Cities, but I only have occasional, informal contacts in Mir and Taltheran. I've been cut off from the south Mid-Sea since General Zenos raised up his banner in rebellion. I certainly don't have the resources for a rescue mission and multiple assassinations in Burcancy. I'd need some support. Official support, Raden." Raden nodded. "I see. Could you handle one assassination, a little closer to home?"
"I might . . . Zenos?"
"Yes. The Duke and Dr. Vellin are concerned. The Duke knew that I 'arranged' things like that for the Empress in the past. If you can arrange for General Zenos' death, they're willing to bring you and your agents back in from the cold."
"Do they know that Yzara is alive?"
"No, I haven't told them. She was quite clear in her letter that I was to inform only those who absolutely needed to know. They don't need to know. Besides, it would only complicate things."
"Truly. The last thing our poor nation needs is more complications." Cassat slid out of the booth and stood. "I will make the arrangements, Raden. With luck, Zenos will be dead by Year's End."
Raden also got up from the booth. "And with that out of the way, we can work on the Empress' problems." He walked to the door, then paused. "If I need to talk to you again, how should I contact you?"
Cassat said, "Make a chalk mark on the base of the equestrian statue in the central plaza. You know, the hideously ugly one of Yzara's father. If you do that, I'll be in touch within a day, two at most. And, Raden?" The spymaster's gaze became deadly. "Don't come back here again. I value my privacy . . . and my anonymity." With that, the spymaster turned and vanished into the restaurant's kitchen. Raden shuddered, and left the restaurant.
* * *
Two days later, Raden received an anonymous note at his office. It said, simply, "They're on their way."
Action 4: Continue the metals project
Resolution: Diff = Hard (-1) + Dice (---+) + Extras () = -3 Severe failure
Results: One more setback like this, and it's back to square one (diff=-2). Success pool so far: (0,x,x)
Interpretation: The mines, while looking good, fail to produce sufficiently pure ore.