1/19/1272 13:00 The Arghentian Royal Palace, Eoisle, Arghentia
Princess Tselenah Cytheria Tsiarkeh’s take-over of the day-to-day government, piggy-backing on her younger sister’s efforts to assassinate their mother Queen Deirdre’s key advisors, is accomplished with a whimper rather than a bang.
In the throne room of the Arghentian palace, Tselenah settles into the old, uncomfortable throne. It’s not hers. Queen Deirdre refused to yield the throne but gave away the authority, the control of vital industries, schools, and the Pan-Imperial Mercantile Organization to her twenty-two-year-old daughter.
Prince Talon enters the throne room. “Your Regency,” he smirks.
“Report!” Tselenah barks.
“We failed,” Talon says, crossing his arms. “She destroyed a half city block of Queen’s Convent, blew up five ferry boats, and killed one hundred and eight of my men. She and a bunch of her vassals got to the Fold Point. She could be anywhere.”
“What?” Tselenah says, leaning forward. “I told you I wanted her dead!”
“As you know, our sister is a meticulous planner,” Talon says, tapping his right toe on the floor and creating a sound that draws a snarling glance from his elder sister. “She planned her escape better than she planned the series of assassinations that paved your way to that chair.”
“Tell me something I don’t know,” Tselenah sneers.
“She anticipated failure and set herself up for a soft fall,” Talon says. “She emptied all her accounts, liquidated all her assets, and if they’re in the Pan-Imperial ledgers, we haven’t found them. Her estate in Etobu and her townhouse in Eoisle are empty of the priceless antiques she was so fond of collecting. She seems to have escaped with her entire fortune, minus an apartment complex in Queen’s Convent, intact. It seems the only reason she’s not sitting where you’re sitting, and wearing a crown, is that Mother’s spies broke her network before she could get rid of us.”
“She set things up very nicely for me, knocking mother’s legs out from under her,” Tselenah says, settling back into the throne with an imperious smile. “If she’d have lived in her townhouse in Eoisle instead of in Queen’s Convent, she might have pulled it off.”
“But now her faction is making political hay, calling you ‘The Usurper.’ They’re bitching about your new commoner husband, and they want to know what you’ve done with Princess Tania,” Talon says. “Welcome to the crap that Mom always loved. I hope you enjoy yourself.”
“Maybe you shouldn’t have told the press you were moving to apprehend her before she was apprehended,” Tseleneh sneers.
“I was trying to enlist the help of the citizenry in tracking her should she escape,” Talon says.
“You’re an idiot, Bedalm,” Tselenah snarls, referring to her brother by his title as her inferior. “You need to find that bitch and bring me her head! If you don’t, sooner or later she’ll come back for this chair. And it won’t end well for either of us if that happens.”
“That’s going to be difficult,” Talon says. “She’s taken the entire Fold Point network down. Among the targets of her assassins was anyone in the country who knew anything about it.”
Tselenah’s neck muscles tighten. She grinds her teeth. Her eyes widen. She slams her pale fist down repeatedly on the arm of the throne. “I… Get on a fucking boat! Dead! She needs to be dead!”