Who: Oskar Von Essen
With: James, Malia, Francesca, Sarnai, and guards
Where: A meeting room, the King's Castle
When: Friday, March 7th, 872 RoK -- Evening
The Green Duke's answer was less than forthcoming, although it did provide a little bit more context as to the severity of the accusations. Oskar kept his expression as smooth and neutral as he could. Showing weakness to a hunter was rarely a good idea.
Sarnai, though, he graced with a grateful smile and a deferential bow of his head. She looked so young, but she chose to stay when the Duke had dismissed her. He knew she was a contender to the throne, just as much as Castile, but she so much less advantage, political outsider that she was. A common woman, but she held herself nobly. He had to wonder how much she was performing. He empathized.
"Thank you, Lady Sarnai," he said aloud.
And then there was the Duchess of the North, speaking before he could offer more than that quick thanks. Technically she was the duchess his family owed fealty to, with her sickly sweet smile that was more like a a cat showing her sharp teeth than any sort of kindness. She, too, gave him substantially more to work with than the Duke of the Eastern Forest.
"Hardly corrupting, if you'll excuse my bluntness," he said. "A well-designed thought experiment challenges students to consider new perspectives that they might not have otherwise. And that's all my lecture tonight was, I assure you. Part of a series of thought experiments exploring the fiscal advantages of decentralized power. Each of you dukes and duchesses, and even you, Lady Sarnai, understand the assets and the liabilities of your areas of authority. What does it benefit your duchies to offer welfare to the South from among your riches, for example? How much do you lose in taxes to the Royal City that you could instead use to repair roads or fend off enchanted threats in your own lands?"
He shook his head and gave a sigh, eyebrows gathering with what at least seemed like sincere concern."I would expect my students to understand the difference between a thought experiment and an actionable plan. And especially to understand the wrongness of attempting to murder a child, let alone the Crown Prince. Even if he is not crowned as the next king, and the honor instead goes to another selected by the Royal Scholar and General, his blood grants him status and influence that could be a source of stability in our fine city. I'm an academic and a merchant, no fighter. I never advocate for violence. Violence is bad for business."