Leafiara (prime)/Tales/Time and Opportunity

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Original Story: Koaratos 8, 5120

[Mayor Leafiara's Office]

Silk-cushioned chairs surround a circular cherry red table toward the back of the room. Plush carpets of fake fur blanket the polished oak floor while myriad painted treats span the office's walls, interrupted by an oversized placard. In a back corner, above a brick fireplace, a mounted stag's head watches vigilantly from a distance over a hazelwood dart board near the entryway. A leaf-shaped window invites outside light toward a drink bar that stands beneath a painting. You also see a tiny two-tiered bookshelf and a basket of sticks.
>l plac
Musical note-shaped pins keep various Towncrier articles and sketches of notable Landing figures posted to this sizable board occupying almost half the width of the wall. A veritable spiderweb of red strings connects many of the pins, physically and metaphorically linking events with intricate, if only questionably plausible, implications about correlation and causation. Most of the parchments are marked with at least one of four symbols: a check mark, an X, an N, or a tilde.

Leafiara scribbled over the X next to Malluch's sketch and drew a ~, then attached a string between the Malluch pin and the Grishom pin. She withdrew a sketch of Jastev and newly pinned it to the board, connecting it to Malluch and Stormyrain.

Most of what goes on in the Landing is beneath Grishom's attention. The only reason Malluch would have been worth his notice is what I said to Chandrellia: because he alerted us to Grishom's golems a couple years ago. The attack happened shortly after, but if the idea was to tear him down and then build him up, why is that happening only now? He could have had a disciple all this time.

Leafi glanced at the sketch of Thadston.

Or is Malluch acting as a rogue agent? Grishom said he didn't want to offer Thadston healing because it would be a shame for people to switch from reliance on the Arkati to reliance on him, but now Malluch is here to bring healing?

She glanced at the sketch of the other militia marshal.

...but there are contradictions in Grishom alone, because he offered to heal Thrayzar. Was he only being coy toward Thadston, then? There was never any chance Thadston would accept aid from Grishom anyway, so don't make the earnest offer and just throw in an offhand jab--

"Err, mayor? You awake in there?"

The half-sylvan briefly shook her head, then turned to the elven lady now standing before her. "Sorry, sometimes I get caught up in thoughts. You know how it is around here!" She flashed a quick grin. "What can I do for you?"

"My name's Arliane," she said, dipping briefly into a curtsy, "and I was wondering what you think of the Blood Son."

Leafiara tilted her head. "That's a broad topic... what about him in particular?"

"My husband and our children are buying in to the Blood Son and think he's here to aid, but--well, we're from different worlds. He was raised in Mestanir and our children have only known Wehnimer's, but I have a traditional elven perspective on the Arkati, you might say. Here in the west I often hear people asking why the Arkati don't intervene to solve this problem or that problem, but I like that they leave us alone. Beings with that much power shouldn't be very interested in us, you know?"

Like she read my mind earlier... "So you're skeptical of evil motives? Because the Blood Son is claiming great power but takes interest in regular people anyway?"

"That sums it up, yes..."

Leafi nodded. "I suspect that you and your family are both right."

Arliane raised an eyebrow.

"I think your family's right because I expect the Blood Son's visit is a peaceful one with genuine healing--but I think you're right because it's a precursor to something else later. This is just groundwork for something bigger."

"Then you can stop it now, right?" Arliane urged. "If it's going to turn out badly, cut it off while you still can."

"I..." Leafiara trailed off.

Arliane peered quizzically at her.

"I already gave my word we wouldn't attack unless they attacked first."


Leafi furrowed her brow.

"They gave their word they'd arrive days before they did. Sometimes things change. Situations change."

The mayor offered no interjection, no response.

"And who cares about honor anyway when our lives are on the line?"

"We don't know that yet."

Arliane muttered under her breath. "Someone has to protect my children if you won't. I swear, between you and Cruxophim, you mayors are never as chaotic as you campaign on or as some of us hope you'll be." She sighed and shook her head. "I'm going to find someone in the militia to speak to. Maybe they'll take the problem more seriously... if they do, maybe I'll look into joining. And if they don't, then maybe the Brotherhood could use my services. At least they get things accomplished." She turned to leave without another word.

Leafi frowned. Crazy, I recruit them even when I don't mean to... but I guess this happens to most mayors. Puptilian wound up putting a Rook on the town council. Lylia probably accidentally did more to add to the Rooks' numbers than anyone because of that whole Ta'Vaalor situation. As for Crux... well, it's true he seemed to care way more about law and procedure than I thought he would. Am I falling into the same trap? I told him he should have assassins ready to fire on Stephos, and I'd be willing to do the same if this were anyone but Malluch.

She glanced briefly over several of the sketches pinned to her placard, but just before her thoughts could fully shift direction, an epiphany staggered her.

...wait, that's my answer from earlier. 'Anyone but Malluch.' That's why this is only happening now. Grishom is trying to demonstrate healing in the Landing, but sending any other disciple could have turned ugly. This was his best possible option as long as I'm in office.

But I'm not the entire Landing. What's your move to account for the rest of the chaotic elements in town...