Lord Jorval smiled tightly. Since slightly more than half of the Council members now came from Little Terreille, he could agree that the Territory that had always felt wary of the rest of the Shadow Realm was, at last, 'justly' represented. "With all the injuries and illnesses that have caused members to resign in the past two years, the Blood in Little Terreille were the only ones willing to accept such a heavy burden for the good of the Realm." He sighed, but his eyes glittered with malicious approval.
"She has not," Joval said. "We sent a courier to invite her to do so, but Lord Friall was greeted most discourteously and was invited to leave at his earliest convenience. I don't understand; ee've been accused of favoritism since so many voices come from the same Territory, but when the other men and women who were judged worthy of the task refused to accept, what were we to do? The Council seats must be filled."
"And that is?"
"To broaden Little Terreille's influence in the Shadow Realm. You're going to have to convince the Council to be more lenient in their immigration requirements. There are plenty of Blood aristos here already. You need to let in the lesser Blood--workers, craftsmen, farmers, hearth-witches, servants, lighter-Jeweled warriors. Stop deciding who can come in by whether or not they can pay the bribes."
"Landens are demon fodder!" Hekatah snapped. "Landens have no magic. Landens have no Craft. Landens are about as useful a Jhin--" She paused. Even now, many years later, it was not wise to mention the Jhinka where other people could hear. The High Lord had a distressing way of finding things out and she was certain he had not forgotten the attack on the Eyrien half-breed and that pale bitch he was so fond of. And she had not forgotten how...unstable...he could be when someone threatened his children. "Accept Terreillean landens for immigration, too. Promise them privileges and settlement after service. But bring in the Terreillean Blood as well."
"They will have land to rule. They'll establish small, new territories on behalf of the Queens they're serving. That will increase the influence the Queens in Little Terreille have in Kaeleer as well as providing them with an additional source of income. Some of that land is obscenely rich in precious metals and precious gems. In a few years, Little Terreille's Queens will be the strongest force in the Realm and the other Territories will have to submit to their dominance."
"The unclaimed land, of course," Hekatah said sharply. She called in a map of Kaeleer, unrolled it, and used Craft to keep it flat. One bony finger brushed against large areas of the map.
"That's not unclaimed land," Jorval protested. "Those are closed Territories, the so-called kindred Territories."
"Exactly, Lord Jorval," Hekatah said, tapping the map. "The so-called kindred Territories."
Jorval looked at the map and sat up straighter. "But the kindred are supposed to be Blood. Aren't they?"
"Are they?" Hekatah countered with venomous sweetness.
"They can't. Their lands aren't being interfered with. By Blood Law, Territory Queens can't interfere outside their own borders."
"The High Lord..."
Hekatah waved a hand dismissively. "He has always lived by a strict code of honor. He'll viciously defend his own Territory, but he won't step one toe outside of it. If anything, he'll stand against those other Territories if they step outside the Law."
Jorval rubbed his lower lip. "So the Queens of Little Terreille would eventually rule all of Kaeleer. I like it. Where do we begin?"
Hekatah tapped the map again and the two men bent their heads to look at the Territory she indicated. Sceval.
[NFI, NFB, just setting up some things. *Innocent whistling* This all taken (with a few minor alterations and the addition of our pal, Unky Hobart) from Anne Bishop's Heir to the Shadows, Chapter 15, part 1. OOC is always love.]