But What’s Puzzlin’ You is the Nature of My Game

Darid 11, 1015

“And even Sir William says you have to go along with it? My Lord, Aglovale. What’s he going to say next — that perhaps Dindrane should have inherited the estate and everything, simply because she’s older?” asked Elyan.

Aglovale had was about to stab that stupid dummy to the heart, but he had to pause. The idea of Dindrane having the estate … well, it meant it wouldn’t be his problem anymore, and best of all, he wouldn’t have to deal with Garnet on a weekly basis. Was he a horrible person to find the idea strangely attractive?

Not that it mattered. Aglovale stabbed at the dummy like — like it was the person who had murdered Lamorak. The robbers or what-have-you. If he ever got that bastard or bastards on the business end of his blade —

But Elyan needed an answer, so he gave it. “Sir William only interpreted the contract. I don’t think he’s about to advocate for revolution.”

“Sometimes I wonder,” Elyan sniffed. “You heard what he insisted on for his sister’s marriage portion, didn’t you? Her dower is all coin, but it’s in trust, and her husband can’t touch the principle without her permission!”

Aglovale amused himself by wondering how it was that Elyan managed to come to know the details of Leona’s financial arrangements. He supposed the loose lips of Sir Lancelot might be to blame here — he would mention something to Sir Bors, and once Sir Bors knew it … well, so would anybody to whom Sir Bors opened his mouth. There was a reason why Aglovale preferred to report potentially sensitive information directly to the King, despite Sir Bors being his commander.

“Except, of course, for that part of the dowry that will be the house that Sir Lancelot is building for them,” Elyan went on, as if any of this mattered to Aglovale, “which will be in Leona’s name. He has no rights to it except those she grants him! What a disgrace!”

“Hardly,” Aglovale snapped. “My sister has availed herself of similar protections.”

That shut Elyan up. For about a second. “Well, that’s different,” he replied. “You–well–the law ought to offer women some protection. But that … but what Garnet is suggesting, what Sir William says you must do — what next? Dogs biting their masters if the masters aren’t forthcoming with the meat fast enough?”

“I doubt it’ll come to anarchy as fast as that.” Aglovale slashed at the dummy and was barely able to duck as the wicked curved hook came careening toward him.

“Maybe. But still …” Elyan stroked the few short hairs that grew upon his chin. Aglovale could never quite determine if Elyan kept his beard that way as a deliberate style, or if that was all he had ever managed to grow. “Whatever the short-term profits might be of having a tavern on your estate, I think you’ve every reason to be concerned about the long-term risks.”

“Hear, hear,” Aglovale agreed, lunging for the dummy.

“To say nothing for the precedent it sets.”

“Again — I couldn’t agree more.” Aglovale was still trying to determine how it was that his father had permitted Grady Brogan to buy his freedom, and seemed to have deliberately set up circumstances that would allow Berach Brogan to do the same.

“I mean, imagine that! One of the original indentured families of Albion, brought over from Glasonland — the parents staying in their station as they ought, but the children, all three of them, managing to attain the status of freemen!”

Aglovale blinked. “All three of them?”

“Of course — surely you know that better than I do!”

“I stopped keeping tabs on Ailรญs Porter when my father transferred her and her husband’s indentures to Baron Ferreira,” Aglovale shrugged.

“Well, I’ve had it from Clarice that Goodwife Porter’s husband has started his own shop, and her father-in-law — er, Clarice’s father-in-law — has every intention of helping him along until he buys out his indenture. Helping him! Have you ever heard the like?”

Aglovale had to fight back a shiver. No–no, he hadn’t. And that meant that, for once in his life, Elyan was right. All of the Brogan children becoming free in a single generation? It was a terrifying precedent. There was nothing special about the Brogans — indeed, just the opposite, if their father had given Pellinore half the trouble Aglovale remembered him giving. What one family could achieve, others would attempt.

Aglovale did not like that thought. At all.

And that — he stabbed the dummy — was why he could not countenance Sir William’s reasoning. For the Lord’s sake, the man was a lawyer! Weren’t they paid to map out the future in each of the varying paths it could take? Couldn’t Sir William see the potential consequences of this? And if he could, then why did he not, as a nobleman, help Aglovale avert that path? Even his father couldn’t have buttoned up the deed that tightly …

“I just wish I could get Garnet to see this,” Aglovale admitted. “But between her and Sir William — I’m hamstrung. If at least I could get Garnet on my side …”

“With all due respect to your sister-in-law, Aglovale, women are only somewhat reasonable at the best of times — certainly when it comes to matters of business and practical management — and Lady Garnet … well … it is only rarely the best of times when it comes to her.”

“While I wouldn’t disparage all women as you do, Sir Elyan,” said a slow, icy drawl from behind Aglovale, “I unfortunately must accede to the charge you lay at my poor sister’s doorstep.”

Aglovale froze. SIR MORDRED! Just hearing that voice was enough to help him understand how the rabbit felt when one minute it was innocently hopping along and the next staring into the depthless black eyes of a snake. He could almost see the forked tongue flickering between the lipless jaws …

Slowly, Aglovale sheathed his sword, and just as slowly, he turned around.

“Sir–Sir Mordred …”

Sir Mordred bowed to him. “I am sorry to interrupt your conversation so rudely,” he said, “but the fact remains … well. I could hardly help overhearing, and it seems to me … unless I am very much mistaken … that you have a dilemma, Sir Aglovale, a dilemma I could help you to solve.”

Aglovale glanced at Elyan — but Elyan was gaping like a fish. He’d be no help. “I–I thank you for your concern, Sir Mordred, but –”

“Don’t be too hasty!” Sir Mordred was still tapping his fingers against his chin. “I know that our houses have not always been as close as they ought to be, but Sir Aglovale, if you would only hear me out, I think a conversation between us could be of benefit to us both. I know …” He sighed deeply. “You have little reason to listen to me, but if you just put your prejudices aside for a brief interview –”

Aglovale took a deep breath, preparatory to declining —

But why should I? came the sudden and somehow not unwelcome thought.

After all, what he needed help with, at the end of the day, was dealing with Garnet, wasn’t it? If he and Garnet could form a united front, why, Berach Brogan’s tavern would be no issue at all. There was no law that set the price for buying out an indenture, only custom. And there was no law that set the rate of rents and taxes on each estate. Even if they had to allow the tavern … well, if Aglovale knew how to properly manage Garnet, they could manage to enjoy all the profits of it without the drawbacks.

And was there a living man who better knew how to manage Garnet than her own brother?

Sir Mordred smirked, a smile there and gone so quickly that Aglovale was unsure if he really saw it. But why shouldn’t Sir Mordred smirk? Why wouldn’t he want to see the Gwynedd estate in good hands? Percival was just as much his nephew as he was Aglovale’s. And the reason for the marriage between Sir Mordred and Dindrane, and later Lamorak and Garnet, still held first: somebody needed to counterbalance the closeness of the du Lacs and the de Ganises on the great scales of the kingdom.

“Come,” said Sir Mordred, gesturing. “Let’s fetch a bite to eat. It would be best to discuss this in privacy, don’t you think?”

Aglovale nodded, and without bidding farewell to Elyan, he meandered to the gate, stepped through it, and followed Sir Mordred to the rooftop canteen.

He was not halfway up the stairs before misgivings started to set in. He was about to discuss his family’s private affairs with Sir Mordred of all people? Elyan made a better confidant, and some days Aglovale wondered if Elyan kept his brain a jar beside the bed! If things between Sir Mordred and Dindrane had been as they should — if Sir Mordred hadn’t treated her so abominably — that would be one thing. He would have already gone to him for advice. But as things were …

As things are, Aglovale, the last thing you want is to get one of the two dukes of the kingdom, who happens to be the brother of Garnet, annoyed with you. Because it is just your luck that they would patch up their differences to join forces against you. So you might as well hear him out.

Besides, you’ve earned your breakfast, haven’t you?

Aglovale wasn’t sure which it was that won the argument — the appeal to fear, or the appeal to his hungry stomach — but whichever it was, he managed to get into the canteen, grab a plate of piping-hot pancakes, and take a seat across from Sir Mordred without a word of protest.

For the first few moments, they were both too occupied with their food to attempt conversation. At least, Aglovale was. Directing his attention to his plate meant he didn’t have to look at Sir Mordred. But the soft, periodic clink of fork against plate assured Aglovale that Sir Mordred was doing the same. So he wasn’t being too rude. Hopefully.

“Well, Sir Aglovale, I don’t see any use in pretending that this interview is a welcome thing to you,” opened Sir Mordred. “So shall we get down to brass tacks? Might I ask precisely what it is that my sister has done, or means to do, with the estate?”

Aglovale didn’t particularly want to say; however … was there any getting out of it? He’d come this far, hadn’t he? “I suppose that the short answer is that — my father, before his death, made arrangements with one of our serfs that said serf could open up a tavern on a separate, commercial plot of land. It’s a bit more complicated than just that, but that’s the long and the short of it,” said Aglovale.

Sir Mordred’s eyebrows rose. “And how does my sister come into this?”

“Er …” Aglovale swallowed. “Well, she proposes to honor the agreement …”

Sir Mordred’s eyebrows rose even higher, which told Aglovale exactly what the duke thought of that. “And–and she doesn’t even see the danger. She thinks that the tavern will be nothing good for the estate.”

Sir Mordred blinked. “My Lord, I wonder what’s making her think that. I didn’t think her opinion of serfs’ proclivities, if left to their own devices, was much more positive than mine.” He shrugged and addressed himself to his food. “But I suppose that shows that you never know another person as well as you think you do. Even your own kin.”

Aglovale’s jaw fell. The serfs’ activities if there were a tavern directly on the estate … Aglovale hadn’t even thought of that. “I–I do not think she has considered the matter in that light. She seems to see all benefit from the scheme. And,” Aglovale added, “I think she is of the opinion that most of the patrons of the tavern will be visitors to the estate. Traders passing through to Reme or Glasonland, or perhaps on their way to Port Finessa.”

“Hmm. Well, those have their drawbacks too. But make no mistake, Sir Aglovale: the majority of the customers at that tavern will be men from your own — or should I say, Percival’s — lands. She ought to have a care for that before she allows a tavern to be opened on her son’s property with nary a protest.”

Aglovale swallowed. “You–you haven’t anything of the kind on your estate, have you, Sir Mordred?”

“Certainly not,” Sir Mordred agreed. “The woodsmen’s lodge in the King’s forest is plenty by my measure. At least those men are often dealing with dangerous implements — axes and arrows and the like — directly after drinking, so they know not to over-indulge. If my serfs had a tavern in easy reach … why, I could easily see them, or at least some of them, getting drunks as a lord (to borrow their parlance) every night, blindly trusting that they would be sober in the morning! And of course they would not, and would report to work with a fierce headache and all of the other ‘rewards’ of heavy drink, and as a result …” Sir Mordred shook his head, clicking his tongue. “It should very shortly become — there is no other way to say this — a mess.”

“Yes. I can see that.” Aglovale sighed. The knowledge that he would be a shire away, and thus not have to deal with the worst of the problems, was somehow not very comforting. “But I don’t know what to do. Sir William says that the way the deed is worded is watertight. We can’t get out of it.”

“Then you must seek to limit the damage,” Sir Mordred shrugged.

“But how?” Aglovale asked — he was very much afraid it came out sounding like a wail. “I–Garnet barely listens to me at the best of times. I’ve already made my opposition clear. Now she’ll doubly suspect everything that I have to say.”

“So don’t you say anything.”

Aglovale blinked. “I–I beg your pardon?”

“Listen, Sir Aglovale — I do not claim to have the key to unlock the secrets of a woman’s psyche. Heavens, I doubt any many could be entrusted with such a key. However, that being said, I do know a few things about Garnet. If she has decided that your hand is against her — for whatever reason — then she will not listen to anything you say, no matter how well-reasoned and well-intentioned. Therefore, you must not be the person to lay out these objections and ideas for limiting the damage to her. Or if you do, the advice must not appear to come from you, but from a wholly neutral party.”

A neutral party … But who could that be? Was there any man in the kingdom who both had the necessary expertise and would not take a side between him and Garnet? Sir William tended to have far too much sympathy for Garnet; Elyan was equally firmly on his side; Sir Milo was too unknown a quantity to trust; and Frederick Ferreira and that Twikkii native Leona had brought home had not an ounce of estate knowledge between them. Besides, they would both, in all probability, side with Garnet out of either soft-heartedness or solidarity with his wife. And Sir Mordred? The idea of Garnet listening to him was laughable.

“Your brother-in-law the banker would do admirably, I expect,” Sir Mordred added, almost offhandedly.

Aglovale blinked. “Josh–Joshua Wesleyan?”

“Ah yes! That would be his name,” Sir Mordred nodded. “Don’t you think he would be perfect?”

“Garnet would assume any advice he gave came from me,” Aglovale sighed.

Truly? Do you get on with your brother-in-law as well as that?” Sir Mordred blinked. “I mean … I do not wish to pry into affairs that are none of my concern … but I cannot help but notice that relations between you and the Wesleyan brothers –”

“They never forgave me for–” Aglovale paused. “For … moving things along more quickly than perhaps strictly necessary, when it came to me marrying their sister.”

Sir Mordred smirked. “I could not have said it better myself. And if Garnet knows this –”

“How would she know it?” Aglovale interrupted.

Sir Mordred rolled his eyes. “My dear fellow. I will be the first to agree that Garnet is the last person who has the business sense necessary to oversee half an estate, but the woman can count. And if there is any one thing that women the world over can compute with astounding accuracy, it is the months that elapse between a joyous wedding and that next most joyous of occasions, the birth of the happy couple’s first child.”

“… I see,” Aglovale muttered.

“There’s nothing to be ashamed of, you know,” Sir Mordred added. “As to what happened between you and your wife. There is no shame in loving a woman as well as you are able, and, well, taking the consequences as they come.”

Aglovale’s hand tightened reflexively on his fork.

“In fact, I envy you,” Sir Mordred went on blithely, as if he didn’t even see Aglovale’s growing scowl. “You–you were able to follow your head and your heart. Have you no idea how many men would kill for that opportunity?”

Aglovale dropped his fork.

“And–if only they were allowed to,” Sir Mordred sighed. “It would save so much heartache … for so many people …”

Aye, thought Aglovale, like my sister, you–

“Like your sister,” Sir Mordred sighed.

Now Aglovale’s jaw dropped. “I–I’m sorry? I didn’t quite catch that …”

“I have no problem repeating it,” Sir Mordred shrugged. “I treated your sister horribly, Sir Aglovale, to my eternal shame. I wish I was a better man, and that I had been able to make her happy. Alas, it was not to be. But all the same … if I can somehow repair the damage I did to your sister’s heart by assisting her family, then believe me, that is what I shall do.”

“Have–have you said that to Dindrane?” Aglovale asked. “She–an apology from you would mean a great deal to her, I’m sure–”

“That is not possible at this juncture. She would not accept it, and as conscious of my wrongdoing as I am, I still do have some pride.” Sir Mordred wiped his mouth with a handkerchief and sighed again. “And I would ask you not share this with her, either. Or anyone.”

There was something glittering and hard in his eyes, something that would not brook arguments. Aglovale felt himself begin to nod.

“Excellent.” Sir Mordred then looked out the window, charting the progress of the sun. “Well, I must apologize for cutting this interview short, Sir Aglovale, but I very much fear that I have another appointment for this morning. Still,” he rose in a perfectly fluid motion, “I hope that some of what I said was helpful?”

“Oh, yes–you have no idea!” And in the moment, Aglovale meant every word of. Later he would wonder why he was so effusive. Not that it mattered. He extended his hand, and when Sir Mordred met it, gave it a hearty shake. “I have no doubt that I will soon have Garnet seeing reason!”

“Excellent,” Sir Mordred smirked. “And remember, whenever you have need of aid or advice in dealing with my sister … I am always, always, here to help.”


18 thoughts on “But What’s Puzzlin’ You is the Nature of My Game

  1. Oh, Aglovale. You just keep getting dumber and dumber. Do. Not. Listen. To. Mordred! He’s doing the exact same thing he did to you with Morgause’s trial. Throwing a bunch of things that seem logical at you to snow up what he’s really saying.

    For goodness sake, think! Lamorak listened to the jackass and ended up dead (unfortunately.) Do not trust the man. If he says it’s raining outside, stick your hand out the door and check first.

    Ugh. And if you want people who know Garnet well enough to talk her around, don’t go to Mordred. Go visit Accolon or her Uncle Arthur. They’re pretty much the best they’ve got. Or try going and talking to Morgan. She is not nearly as unreasonable as she’s made out to be and she’d be able to see how Mordred’s twisting you.

    Argh! I may have to ask for Aglovale to come visit River Sulis and give him some sort of shitty cameo… He deserves to come back and see life from the bottom. ๐Ÿ˜›

      • Well, it’s possible, but I kinda like “Loki’s new plaything” better! Although it is tempting to make Aglovale a woman… I’m not sure that River Sulis could handle Caroline, Katherine, Tawny in pretend mode, and Aglovalette. That might be a few too many bitches around the bitch table for me…

    • Well, at least Aglovale is being consistent? He very nearly fell for Mordred’s blandishments at Morgause’s trial. The reason why he didn’t was because he had at least three, possibly four or even five, other people around that jury table who didn’t, and who were able to help him see sense.

      And Aglovale is trying to think. But … Mordred is telling him what he wants to hear above all. Aglovale wants to hear that he’s right, and he wants to hear it from someone other than Elyan. (As he mentioned, he sometimes wonders if Elyan keeps his brain in a jar beside the bed.) I also think that there’s a part of Aglovale which, as angry as he is about the way Mordred treated Dindrane, admires Mordred. With the exception of the way he treats his wife and legitimate children, Mordred is everything Aglovale wants to be. And he’s agreeing with Aglovale and helping him. I think that would go to a lot of people’s heads, not just Aglovale’s.

      Plus, there are other reasons why Aglovale might be listening, which you got into below …

      As for people who can talk Garnet around, I agree that Accolon and Arthur would both be better choices than Mordred. However, Aglovale was looking for living men, and Accolon isn’t living, he’s undead. ๐Ÿ˜‰ As for Arthur, going to Arthur would mean to Aglovale that he’s given up. Arthur wouldn’t talk Garnet around, he’d get the two of them in a room together and make them talk EVERYTHING out until they each understood where the other was coming from and could govern the estate effectively. That would probably be the best thing for the estate, though.

      Loki’s new plaything? Miguel’s Wife #4? *shudders* I’m not sure Aglovale deserves either of those fates. But the garbage collector sounds like a fine, fine occupation for him.

      Thanks, Van & Andavri!

  2. …hooooo boy. Just when I was thinking “Hmm, at least Aglovale can acknowledge that he’s not lord material”, Mordred shows up and doesn’t get hacked to pieces upon sneaking up on people with drawn swords.

    Aglovale is not a stupid man. He’s not lord material, but he’s not a stupid man. But if we needed any proof that his intelligence does not extend to reading people, there it is, the way Mordred bullshitted on and on about his marriage to Dindrane. Yes, Mordred, it WAS all your fault… but you don’t know that, you deluded old bastard. And Dindrane isn’t so much “broken-hearted” as she is a complex mixture of A) relieved to at least not be living with him any more, B) resentful of his refusal to take responsibility, C) probably still sad about the church’s decision not to grant them an annulment and D) furious about Mordred’s continued poor treatment of their children, when the only thing she EVER asked of him was to treat them well. Hell, if Aglovale had much going for him in terms of interpersonal intelligence, all he’d have to do is think back to Mordred’s interactions with Dindrane’s children–and while I don’t think he was present for Nimue’s birthday fiasco, surely he heard about it from at least one if not ALL of his siblings, parents, in-laws, and nieces and nephews who were present, minus Mordred himself–to realize that Mordred is full of it, never actually changes, and should not ever be trusted, ever.

    You know, I figured that if there was one positive point to giving Aglovale some power, it would be that he wouldn’t be taken in by Mordred like Lamorak was, but apparently not. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    Also… why are they still going on about the counterbalance? The du Lacs and the de Ganises aren’t actually that close any more, at least not beyond the Lance/Bors connection that Lance for some reason hasn’t dropped like a rock. Leona and Elyan’s engagement fell through on bad terms, and Bors is probably still pissed about that. If Galahad and Angelique end up running off together, that would probably just make things worse, because barring some deathbed-like epiphany, I can’t see Bors reacting to that in any way but to disown Angelique–and then the du Lacs would be outraged on her and Galahad’s behalf. If Lance dies first, I’m sure Guinevere will still talk to Claire and Tamsin, but I doubt she’d continue to give Bors the time of day without Lance there to keep the peace. And if Claire goes before Bors, then there’s even less reason for connection there. I guess there’s always the chance of one of the de Ganis twins marrying one of Will and Jess’s kids, but that day is a long time coming and may not even be coming besides. Aglovale, I don’t think you need to worry about the du Lacs and de Ganises all that much–certainly not to the point where you should feel obligated to put up with Mordred.

    • Lancelot and Bors are still allies on the Council, at least when Bors’s head isn’t completely up his ass. So Aglovale worries about that. But really, he ought to be worrying more about a Ferreira/du Lac alliance. Will and Freddy like each other a lot, and they’re in agreement about a lot of major issues. Aglovale could seek to counter this by edging closer to the de Ganises, but he doesn’t trust Bors’s or Elyan’s brains. That does tend to leave the Orkneys as the most sensible allies.

      Unfortunately Garnet would seek to move the Gwynedds closer to the Ferreira/du Lac alliance (and I can’t see Will or Freddy ever objecting to that), so Aglovale might have his work cut out for him if he doesn’t want to take that path. Oy. Aglovale’s in for a lot of headaches for a long, long time.

      And like you pointed out, Aglovale not always being able to read people is not going to be able to help him. Aglovale isn’t good at telling when people are BSing him, at least not when they’re doing it as skillfully as Mordred was. Mordred was telling Aglovale literally everything he’s wanted to hear from Mordred, including an apology for the way he treats Dindrane. Even Pellinore came close to being snowed when Mordred pulled that stunt on him, and Pellinore is a lot better at this sort of thing than Aglovale is. Pellinore also “needed” Mordred a lot less than Aglovale feels he needs Mordred.

      So yeah. Not a good day for Aglovale. Or the Gwynedd estate at all.

      Thanks, Van!

  3. Aglovale. Aglovale, Aglovale, Aglovale. If your gut reaction is “rabbit faced with viper”, then trust your gut and run. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I agree with Van that Aglovale isn’t stupid (and I also agree wholeheartedly that he isn’t lord material in any way, shape or form), but he doesn’t hold a candle to Mordred – and Mordred, of course, knows it. He (Mordred) probably had to change his braises when he got home for laughing so hard at how easy it was to play him (Aglovale). “I am always, always here to help” – that literally gave me chills.

    (…and now I want to know who put the word “Mordred” in my Firefox dictionary, because it doesn’t get a red squiggly line under it. But “Firefox” does. I don’t think that’s right. :P)

    • Okay, so I went back and re-read the “Never Think of the Future…” chapter, to see what exactly it was that Mordred said to Lamorak about the estate and how he said it. This is what Mordred has been working on setting up all along, isn’t it? I mean, he knew that Aglovale and Garnet being named co-guardians would a disaster, like Lamorak feared, so he convinced Lamorak to do just that to make sure that Aglovale, too, would come to him for advice when Lamorak was gone. And then he could continue wreaking havoc on the Gwynedds, Garnet and everybody else who’s ever looked at him cross-eyed. (Or is related to anybody who’s looked at him cross-eyed. Or has thought about looking at him cross-eyed. Or just happens to cross his path on a bad day. ๐Ÿ™„ ) I’m quite sure he knew that Aglovale, lacking people skills as he is, would take it at face value if Mordred told him he wanted to help – and like I said before, Mordred knows that he can run rings around Aglovale intelligence-wise without even breaking a sweat. So yeah. I’d say the rabbit and the viper is a much more apt comparison than Aglovale knew. ๐Ÿ‘ฟ

    • *snickers* Good question about Mordred being in your dictionary and Firefox not being! You’d think that Firefox’s dictionary would come packed with its own name included, but I guess not!

      “I am always, always here to help” was meant to give chills, so I’m a little pleased that it was so effective. And yes, Aglovale ought to have listened to his gut. But … that might not have been possible for him. Lamorak’s gut always told him to stay far, far away from Morgause, but there are some things that will overrule gut instincts … and at least in this case, I’m not talking about latent sexual attraction.

      And yup! This was exactly what Mordred was trying to set up. Aglovale and Garnet always being at loggerheads will do enough damage to the estate on its own. But Mordred being able to manipulate Aglovale just as he manipulated Lamorak? That’s the icing on the cake.

      Rabbit and viper indeed. Aglovale’s the main course on the menu and he doesn’t even know it …

      Thanks, Nix!

  4. All three of them in one place? Where, oh where, is that anvil-delivery-dragon when you need him???
    Except I would feel sorry for Tamsin to be made a widow before she’s even really a wife. She does deserve better than Elyan (and Bors!), but I would not like for her to have to go back to Glasonland and I can’t think of an Albionese prospect in the case of Elyan’s (un)timely demise.
    Though (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) right now he’s the very least of these 3 evils up there. Mordred’s a given, but in a choice between Aglovale and Elyan I would flatten the former and leave the latter alive, for the moment. I’m that angry at Aglovale. And you know, I’m not really surprised he let himself be taken in by Mordred. I expected this as soon as the snake appeared.
    Oh, if only Garnet and Dindrane could have heard this little interview!!

    • LOL! Yeah, if only there was a dragon with an anvil around when you needed it! It would solve a lot of problems … though like you said, that would be rough on poor Tamsin, and Tamsin’s done nothing to deserve that.

      Plus, let’s think how annoying Babette would become as a widow. I don’t think Aglovale’s got that much cash to leave her. So Babette would be thrown on the charity of relatives … which would mean she’d probably have to live with Mark and Josh, or Rob, or (god forbid) GARNET …

      I think that Aglovale is worth keeping around just to ensure that that doesn’t come to pass unless absolutely necessary.

      And yeah, if Garnet and Dindrane could have heard this … they would have started by going ballistic for one. And maybe they could have, together, knocked some sense into Aglovale’s head.

      Thanks, Ann!

  5. Though (and I canโ€™t believe Iโ€™m saying this) right now heโ€™s the very least of these 3 evils up there. Mordredโ€™s a given, but in a choice between Aglovale and Elyan I would flatten the former and leave the latter alive, for the moment.

    Agreed! At least Elyan is just an ass of his own accord/as a result of his upbringing, not an ass who actually had two good parents and is now being manipulated by an even bigger ass who he has no excuse for not realizing is the bigger ass (awkwardly worded sentence is awkward). Plus Elyan doesn’t have partial control over anyone’s estate right now, so he’s doling out minimal damage to others now that he and Leona are beyond over (and while he may not be in the running for Husband of the Year any time soon, he does seem to like Tamsin enough that he may gradually change for her; actually, I’m kind of hoping that their first baby is a girl, because I think Elyan may care enough about Tamsin and any children she has to tell his father off if he starts giving her grief about sons sons sons, and that would of course be a HUGE step for him, both in his marriage and personally).

    That and if Aglovale’s gone too, then Mordred can’t sit back in the afterlife knowing that his plans to stir up shit between Aglovale and Garnet could still reach what he’d consider a satisfactory end. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Aaaaand I definitely thought I’d clicked “Reply” on Ann’s comment instead of just typing it into the default box. Oh well–good for the comment count, right?

    • Very good for the comment count. ๐Ÿ˜‰ And I agree that Elyan is the least of the three evils (or, really, two annoyances and one evil) up there. He’s got some potential to change, and he’s not annoying Leona at the moment.

      Plus, like you said, things could get very interesting between him and Tamsin, especially if Tamsin’s first baby is a girl. That’s probably something that’s more likely to happen next round than this round, though, if only because, while Tamsin is pregnant in-game, she’s not yet pregnant in the story and the baby won’t come until the tail end of the year.

      And I’m not planning on rigging this birth, so I’m kind of at the mercy of the game here.

      Thanks, Van! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. You know, I got the impression and doubly so on a second read-through that we may be, at least in part, barking up the wrong tree. I don’t think Aglovale really did want to listen to Mordred or play into his game. He does have enough natural suspicion of people in general and Mordred in particular, because of Dindrane, that this is sorta out of character for him.

    Sure, he wants a work around for Garnet. He wants his way. You can see that in how he was whining at Elyan. But Aglovale followed Mordred away from the practice ground like a puppy, without even saying goodbye to Elyan, who while a jerk and not alway Aglovale’s favorite person, is still one of his best friends (And the only best friend he’ll have while Kay is away.) And Aglovale seems like the sort of guy who needs a posse. I don’t think he’d be rude to the only social equal he’s got who’ll hang out with him to go have pancakes with the guy who humiliated his sister for no good reason. And having someone else solve his problems for him might have been good enough reason for Lamorak, but it’s not Aglovale. He wants to solve his problems on his own because it proves he’s the most clever.

    And every time that he starts looking away from Mordred, doubts start coming back in, but when he looks at Mordred, poof! All the cards start falling to Mordred’s advantage. Given half a minute longer there at the end, Aglovale probably would have fallen down and licked Mordred’s boots, and Aglovale is a lot of things but a boot licker isn’t one of them…

    This may be a case of history repeating itself. Certainly the Orkneys are not above using magic on people they are trying to sway to their cause. And because it’s certainly in Mordred’s best interests if Garnet and Aglovale are at each other’s throats, I could see him doing it.

    Not to say that Aglovale isn’t capable of doing a lot of this stuff all on his own. He’s a jerk and he and his wife totally deserve each other. So, I’m not letting him off the hook that far, but this puppy-dog level of attentiveness is just plain off. I call magic here somewhere.

    • You know, much as I like to dislike Aglovale, I think you’re onto something here. Mordred is his mother’s son – and when I re-read this, one line jumped out at me: “Later he would wonder why he was so effusive.”

      Yeah, Mordred is doing something. I don’t know what, but he’s doing something.

      • Hmm, that is an interesting point…

        Now that the idea of Mordred hypnosis has been brought up, I’m worried about Josh. When he first came up, I kind of had to raise my eyebrow. Mordred went to Camford with Josh, but if they ever hung out at all while they were there (which I kind of doubt), we certainly haven’t had any hint of them doing so since. When Mordred suggested him, I figured he was either in the straw-grasping territory of someone speculating about people they don’t know that well, or he’d outright misread Josh. Given the Wesleyans’ closeness to the Ferreiras, plus Josh’s mother-in-law being almost as much of a symbol of a cruel status quo as Bors himself, plus Aglovale’s own marriage to Babette, I could not imagine Josh taking any issue with the idea of a peasant family owning a tavern and potentially buying out their indentures while continuing with the business afterwards, and definitely not if the deed specifies that this is okay in the clear, airtight manner we can expect from Pellinore. But if Mordred can control Aglovale’s mind, then who’s to say Josh is safe?

        But at least Josh is surrounded by ambitious, business-minded people who can get him thinking again if he tells them anything when Mordred is out of the room. Indeed, I wouldn’t put it past Dannie or Rob to suspect something. I certainly wouldn’t put it past Heloise if she happened to visit at the right time, since she lived with Garnet for several years and would have at least some idea of what Garnet suffered at the hands of her mother and brother.

    • You all may be on to something here. :mrgreen: If Morgause used a love potion to get Lamorak to sex her up … well, who’s to say that there isn’t a weaker “like” potion that Mordred can use to get Aglovale to hear him out?

      And that’s all I’m saying about that.

      As for Josh … well, his POV is up next, so we’ll see how far Mordred has (or hasn’t) gotten his hooks into Josh. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thanks, guys!

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