Leafiara (prime)/Tales/To the Marshal
Original Story: Phoenatos 6, 5120
Marshal Thadston, You might already know part of this, but the situation with Malluch has changed. While I have yet to receive your bounty letter, I won't approve it regardless--at least not at this time. I assume that Alendrial would approve while Cordarius would side with me, just considering their personalities, so I'll explain my reasons now before we end up contesting a deadlocked vote. The Ivasians, Silver Gryphons, and I have managed to maneuver Malluch to the point of giving him enough rope to hang himself. This is partly inadvertent and partly intentional on my part, but I can't speak for the others. Regardless, whatever benefit of the doubt he had when you met with the town last week is quickly unraveling, as he's tried to dance around several options presented to him by people offering aid to the Landing citizens he claims to have in his camp. Unleashing the militia or bounty hunters is likely to reverse the situation back in his favor with public opinion, giving him the opportunity of a successful repeat of the smear campaign he already tried two weeks ago. I won't lie and call our current maneuvers a flawless plan, nor do I think we'll avoid all losses. However, there's no such thing as getting away unscathed and this plan seems better than the alternative of a direct attack. Even putting aside Malluch's propaganda tactics, recent findings have given us reason to believe that his guards are Stone's golems; this is currently under further investigation by a small team led by Magister Raelee. We're going to need as unified a front as possible if or when this comes to an outright battle with the golems, but in order to achieve that, we need Malluch to slip, which is on the verge of happening. Malluch's been trying for weeks to goad me into heavy-handed leadership, probably because a more controlled situation would benefit him, but the chaotic nature of the Landing is our advantage here just like it was during his Rone escapades. He's falling apart over too many possibilities to account for--too many groups or entities who each have their own plans and ways of executing them, to say nothing of individual, unaffiliated town defenders. If at all possible, my ultimate goal in this is taking him in alive. Please meet with me if you'd like further details, and of course the captains are welcome too. I've included copies of this letter for them as well. -Mayor Leafiara
With the three copies of her letter dropped off to a militia messenger, Leafi began to hum a hurried spell as she left the barracks--and no sooner were both feet back on North Ring Road than she summoned herself into a major sanctuary. She stepped heavily toward her writing desk and practically fell into her chair, staggered by what she'd just written, and propped one elbow up and sunk one side of her face into her palm.
Faerinn and a few others think Thadston's not the same person Lylia appointed, but I can't shake the question of whether I'm the same person the town elected. Fahlo and Chandrellia said so, but Crux has known me longer and he's the one joking that I've grown up... Maybe I need to consult with--
She faintly shook her head.
One thing at a time. Town crises now, existential crises later. Now we find out if Thadston's any more willing to listen to reason than Malluch.
Followup from Thadston
"To Mayor Leafiara, The Town Council of Wehnimer's Landing, and the people who call the town their home, I do not need mayoral authority or approval to issue a town bounty. The council has already expressed a favorable desire to hear me out. But at this time, per the Mayor's request, I will not put forth a bounty. I feel at this time it is we, the leaders, people, and shadows of Wehnimer's Landing who should ensure justice is done before seeking the involvement of countless others from all over wanting to make good on a bounty. Additionally, a frontier bounty might put innocent people at risk. Malluch and his message are the enemy. However, I will wield the power that I can solely. After this, I will be sending instructions to the Militia Captains and all of the active Militia Members that Malluch Burdos is to be apprehended and taken into our custody. He is considered a fugitive and despite the circumstance of his release, he is still a tried and convicted criminal. Any militia members or Captains who are insubordinate and disobey my direct command at the apprehension of Malluch will face charges, trial and potential expulsion and imprisonment. I would also remind the Mayor that while your status in the militia is inactive due to the role you serve currently, that any contrary actions set forth by the Marshal will be heavily considered upon review of any request to return when you are out of office. I will also take this moment to acknowledge that the town and its leaders are aware of the existence of another masked vigilante posing as the third incarnation of Rone. While the militia, nor the town council do not approve of such tactics outside of our own laws, we are willing to not pursue action against Rone in the event he or she aids in the successful capture of Malluch." Signed, Thadston Andrews, Marshal of the Wehnimer's Landing and Member of the Town Council
Further Followup from Leafiara
Leafiara puzzled over the letter now on the table in her office, eyes scanning it several times.
"The leaders, people, and shadows of the Landing who should ensure justice"... The shadows? He explicitly said they're willing to overlook Rone if she aids, but is he implying the Rooks too after attacking them just two weeks ago?
Hm. Either way, so much for reason, but considering each of his points...
She set the letter to one side, laid out another parchment, and began to make notes.
1 - No bounty on Malluch 2 - Ambiguous potential alliance with "the shadows" (Rooks?) 3 - Apprehending Malluch into militia custody 4 - Militia members disobeying Thadston will face charges 5 - Actions of mine against Thadston will be considered if I seek to rejoin 6 - Willingness to turn a blind eye to Rone in exchange for cooperation
Most of these are wins or neutral, and one is a laughable threat that I have no reason to give in to. That leaves only the question of what exactly these orders he'll give to the militia will be and why he's so insistent. It's fine if he moves against the camp, but if he moves against the escort while the Gryphons--
Her eyes scanned the letter several times again, then she jotted down another note.
7 - Does Thadston even know what's going on?
Nowhere in this did he mention the escort. I didn't mention it either, but thinking it over, he must be aware, right? The Gryphons haven't tried to keep it a secret, and among any of the possible traps Malluch's laying, there isn't one of them where the militia standing down suits his purposes. He'd tip them off himself if he really had to.
I didn't try to force Thadston's hand or even bring up the options I could use, so the best way I can make sense of his preemptive threat is if it wasn't actually preemptive. So, then, he's heard of the escort but still wants to make his move?
She set aside Thadston's letter and her own notes, then laid out a map of the Landing environs and placed a dozen wooden figures at the location of the barracks, gates, camps, and Ivas' temple. She shifted them around the board for the next several minutes, anticipating possible movements of every entity involved in the escort, but no matter how they maneuvered, one thing seemed certain:
Polishing her armor and sharpening her blades was a better use of her time than anything she could put to paper now.
What a surprise.