The king is alive. Long live the king?

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The king is alive. Long live the king?

Postby Goreg » Mon Jun 13, 2016 1:44 pm

So it appears, verified by Meden Curo, that the king is recovering to some extent. The effect that has on our party is an interesting illustration of the bifold nature of Sir Ewen's purposes.

From the point of view that the outside world would assume, that the goal of Sir Ewen is the lengthening of his belt (and the proportionate distribution of rewards to his household), this is not necessarily bad news. Unlike Harabor, the Firith/Curo/Ravinargh conspiracy engaged in no open treason. While the king is unlikely to be pleased with them, neither is he likely to try to purge them provided the restoration of good order continues apace. The king may be unamused by Ewen's extending his assigned task in Ternua into a claim to the barony, but still, he might be impressed by the vigorous suppression of the Verdreths. Perhaps he might even see that deed as worthy of the title, provided he can continue to depend on Ewen's support going forward.

From the internal point of view that the goal of Sir Ewen is to disrupt the political order of Kaldor, this is bad news indeed. Generally speaking, people don't like chaos. That very fact means the established government of any state has an advantage, a gravity that it can leverage to maintain itself in some very tenuous situations indeed. Future historians might look back and say that the episode worked to the long-term advantage of the Elendsas, forcing disloyal nobles into the open where they could be eliminated and allowing the king to appoint new, more loyal claimants to certain of the great titles. We will want to disrupt that storyline.

As always, we must remember that Vemion lies glowering on our flank, and will make an attack at some point.
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Re: The king is alive. Long live the king?

Postby Lord Ewen » Mon Jun 13, 2016 4:00 pm

I agree with your points regarding the "outside" view, and would add a few more mitigating factors in Ewen's favor should a recovered king be inclined to wax wroth. Ewen clearly acted to undermine the kidnappings perpetrated by the traitor Harabor, rescuing two scions of loyal households from his clutches. While Ewen was certainly not the Baron of Ternua when last the king attended to governing, Ewen has used the opportunity to vote in favor of the queen's bid for regency. Also, truth be told,the last instruction Ewen had from the king was to find some reason not to give Ternua to Harabor. Of course, the ultimate solution was the height of presumption...

If these points, as well as the reasoning Goreg outlined above, seem solid, then Ewen probably has relatively little to worry about from a recovering king, who is likely to have other concerns to attend to. If the reasoning seems threadbare, however, then let's poke some holes in it here, because that probably means Ewen needs to invest some significant effort in shoring up his position with the Queen and Balim.

As for the "internal" view, I suppose we should remind ourselves that chaos is not our end goal, but only one of many possible means to our end. The crown has taken a number of recent severe hits to its perceived legitimacy: the king unable to govern, the heir guilty of flagrant fratricide, etc. To my mind, the Queen's coup risks worsening this if she has miscalculated when, in the expedient of eliminating Harabor and preempting others who might entertain rebellion, she has upset the balance between crown and the peers to such an extent that the earls and barons collectively feel the need to take dramatic steps to protect their estate in a manner that threatens the crown more than Harabor ever did. After all, while Harabor was certainly out of line on any number of things, what with kidnapping folks and all, I doubt anybody at that council table think he poisoned the king at Ovendell field, and the Queen using that as a pretext to execute an earl without any due process has a certain odor of desperation and illegitimacy to it. Harabor was bundled out and executed just as he appears to have beeen expressing skepticism regarding the writ of protectorship, which likely will lead others to shrink from asking to see the document. It thus adds to the cumulative issues impairing the legitimacy of the crown faction, leading the peers to wonder if they, too, might be a step or two away from Harabor's fate.

Which perhaps suggests where we need to apply our efforts next: enhancing the anxiety of the peerage in the wake of the beheading of Maldan Harabor.
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Re: The king is alive. Long live the king?

Postby Matt » Mon Jun 13, 2016 4:43 pm

Lord Ewen wrote:Of course, the ultimate solution was the height of presumption...

And no one could ever accuse Ewen of this! :lol:

It also goes without saying that Balim and the Queen now have every incentive to keep Haldan in his present condition, whatever it might be ...
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Re: The king is alive. Long live the king?

Postby Goreg » Mon Jun 13, 2016 5:46 pm

Lord Ewen wrote:Which perhaps suggests where we need to apply our efforts next: enhancing the anxiety of the peerage in the wake of the beheading of Maldan Harabor.


As we discussed on Saturday, there is always a tension between a monarchy and its supporting nobility, and the actions of the queen hit that at the root. But: who will lead such a effort? No one--not Firith, not Curo, not you--said anything as the execution took place. Now, with fait accompli, I think it's going to be difficult to raise a lot of concern about the fate of Maldan Harabor, who was something of a boor and a poseur. Harabor had the wonderful effect of making the struggle for power in Kaldor a three-body problem. I don't see anybody who could do similar*. Now, theoretically, it would be an even civil war, with a Firith-led coalition vs the crown.

Which might serve Ewen's purposes, but would also probably require him to declare an allegiance to one side or the other, and lose some freedom of agency.

As always, Ewen has the sword, which can serve as a trump card.


*Maybe Vemion? That would be tricky for us.
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Re: The king is alive. Long live the king?

Postby Lord Ewen » Mon Jun 13, 2016 7:45 pm

I don't believe there is anything in Vemion's history to suggest that he would be inclined to intrigue against the crown. What we do know suggests that he would be a supporter of the crown in any conflict, albeit probably using his distance from Tashal to avoid getting unduly embroiled. Add to that the probability that his wife, working to counter Tharda's interference in Kaldor (i.e. us),would likely wish to prevent a Thardan-involved overthrow of the dynasty, and you get little reason to think Vemion would play the role of a Maldan Harabor.

I also don't see Mirald Harabor or his brother risking the Earldom by pursuing an overtly mutinous policy, however disgruntled they may be in the wake of their father's murder. They may be open, however, to persuasion to join sides against the crown in a two-party civil war.

I don't think our silence in council precludes stoking lots and lots of concern about the method by which the Queen and Balim eliminated Harabor. While nobody jumped to the aid of the loathsome man, the action itself was a grave affront to the balance between the peers and the crown. There is also a history in Kaldor of a Baronial Revolt some time back, the collective memory of which might be leveraged to our advantage.

Question: Does the action of the Queen shed any light on whether she and Balim are aware of the Firith/Curo/Ravinargh conspiracy? I wonder if the price the Queen paid (i.e. risk of upsetting the balance between crown and peerage) was worthwhile only if it was to eliminate the sole serious threat to her rule? If I was the Queen (or Balim), I might have gambled and done what she did if I thought the payoff was eliminating my primary threat. If, on the other hand, I thought I had two factions against me (much more dangerous, as Goreg points out), I think I would have refrained, and endeavored instead to pit the two factions against the other, so the surviving faction would be weakened. In other words, in a three faction scenario, I think her move might have been a blunder. Reasoning backward (Balim is unlikely to make blunders?), perhaps they are unaware of Firith/Curo/Ravingargh, or have underestimated the threat from that quarter?
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Re: The king is alive. Long live the king?

Postby Goreg » Tue Jun 14, 2016 7:39 am

Lord Ewen wrote:Question: Does the action of the Queen shed any light on whether she and Balim are aware of the Firith/Curo/Ravinargh conspiracy? I wonder if the price the Queen paid (i.e. risk of upsetting the balance between crown and peerage) was worthwhile only if it was to eliminate the sole serious threat to her rule? If I was the Queen (or Balim), I might have gambled and done what she did if I thought the payoff was eliminating my primary threat. If, on the other hand, I thought I had two factions against me (much more dangerous, as Goreg points out), I think I would have refrained, and endeavored instead to pit the two factions against the other, so the surviving faction would be weakened. In other words, in a three faction scenario, I think her move might have been a blunder. Reasoning backward (Balim is unlikely to make blunders?), perhaps they are unaware of Firith/Curo/Ravingargh, or have underestimated the threat from that quarter?



I don't think we have any evidence at this point that Balim or the Queen suspects the conspiracy is going on. Balim asked Ewen to rescue his son, a very delicate and important task, and it seems less likely he would have done so had he thought Ewen was a traitor. If Balim, the spider, does not suspect, then it would be even less probable that the Queen would do so, unless it were out of mere free-ranging paranoia (Which is entirely possible. She may now be of the opinion that everyone is disloyal except Balim and maybe not even him). Balim doesn't like Curo, and may have dubious feelings about Ewen, but Lord Firith has a long history as one of the king's most trusted men, and I think it would take some doing to dislodge that.

A check-in with Balim might be a good idea, just to test the waters.
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Re: The king is alive. Long live the king?

Postby Goreg » Tue Jun 14, 2016 1:52 pm

Also I don't think that if Balim had even the least hint of the conspiracy, he would have let Ewen get anywhere near the council or the Barony.
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Re: The king is alive. Long live the king?

Postby Lord Ewen » Tue Jun 14, 2016 8:09 pm

I agree. It is interesting, in light of that reasoning, to note that Meden Curo was pretty spooked by his brother's warning that someone was about to be offed. Does his reaction tell us anything useful about his personality?

I had taken Meden to be a cold-eyed psychopath like his father, albeit without the voracious hedonism of the old man. A haughty narcissist, certainly, calculating and constipated and fortified with sufficient ice in his veins to keep his nerve in a pinch. Misreading himself as the possible target, given that Maldan Harabor was kidnapping heirs and marching troops across the kingdom, is an interesting revelation. Does it betray a guilty conscience in someone who heretofore has shown little evidence of possessing one? Does it stem from the aforementioned narcissism, as in the belief that everything must be about him at all times? He has, thus far, acted as senior leader of our conspiracy, but does his reaction here suggest that he is getting wobbly, somehow, leaving an opening for Ewen to quietly take more of a lead? (Initiating the meeting and signing the note "Ternua" was a way Ewen gently pushed this envelope, certainly. Meden took note, and was peeved.)

On the other hand, he seemed to show a surprising, likable stoicism in confiding to Ewen his thought that he might be killed in the council and that the other conspirators must preserve themselves and maintain the plot in that event. At the very least, he values his family's future beyond his own fate.

Or, are we in danger of allowing him to fool us, and that scene was all an act? Perhaps he knew from Sir Kytem that Harabor was the target, but was play acting and posturing with Ewen to some end, perhaps playing the brave martyr in order to lull us into overlooking some coming betrayal?
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Re: The king is alive. Long live the king?

Postby Goreg » Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:36 pm

Meden had not the list of misdeeds of Harabor, but he had repeatedly ticked Balim off in the specific context of the council. He stymied Balim several times, and was pushing hard for the triumvirate, with him on it. So I don't think it was unreasonable of him to worry he was the one who was about to get purged.
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