Rafael: "We'll do what we can to help," "I'd like to see our Western refugees prosper, of course, but I understand the drain on your resources."
Kyky smiled warmly at the servant girls, clad in a unique uniform of violet and black that seemed to blend the flags of both the East and the North. The girl's brows rose in surprise at the diplomat's direct attention, just a moment before she lowered her head and hurried on to fill General Gonzalo's plate…
As soon as she moved on, Kyky plucked up the fat bone-in chop of meat on her plate and rose to offer it to Manny behind her. She rarely ate meat - even more unsettled by the idea of eating animals since she had become so close to a friend who was arguably half of one - but Manny needed all the food he could get…
On a normal night, she would also have made him eat some vegetables. But they were here on a mission.
James: "Yes, many come to the North and East. They are welcomed so long as they obey the laws of our land, and are willing to participate in maintaining the realms".
Kyky returned to her seat and felt her head lilting skeptically to the side. While the king's words were technically true, the Peacekeepers had found enough evidence to believe that welcome was hollow. But before she had time to carefully craft a response, the king was looking at her companion instead...
James: "We would like to see them returned to their land and homes, which are rightfully theirs"
Kyky felt her jaw clench in annoyance, even as she worked to keep her lips neutral or sporting an amicable smile. The dynamic was so complicated - she knew Rafael had more respect among the higher classes, but she also knew he didn't want to lead...
James: "You wish to talk at this summit, but I tell you now... Peacekeepers... that you fear a war, but it is already here. You must cut out Francesca's reign of madness and perhaps Eventyr will again find balance. And what of the city, your own resources must be limited?"
And so Kyky made it a point to cut in and reclaim the floor. Start by acknowledging common understanding: "Queen Rossi's reign is a problem, and the Peacekeepers do not deny that." Expound: "Granting citizenship to creatures presents an unprecedented threat to the safety of all Eventyrians."
Kyky went on, "However, Queen Rossi's claim to rule cannot be disputed - not even in light of its problematic nature. Keeping peace requires the acknowledgement of legitimate rule..."
In even the brief pause as Kyky considered her words, Queen Malia set down her glass and finally decided to speak.
"You mean to say, young lady, that we - King and Queen of the NorthEast - ought not wish to see rightful rulers displaced, lest such sentiment end up on our own doorsteps sooner or later," Malia surmised. Neither she nor James were naive on this issue: rumors, mainly from the West, circulated that the King himself was a Changeling, and not unsubstantiated rumors swirled that Malia had wed and murdered the prior Duke of the North… Malia inclined her head toward James. "On this, they are right, my lord. Eventyr risks anarchy without clearly-defined lines of succession."
This strategy, the queen knew well. They could not focus on just removing one enemy - it was about establishing precedent that would be advantageous for herself, later on. She knew, though, this would be harder for her husband to see, given his history and grievances with the corrupt Queen Rossi.
"Yes, Queen Von Oehsen," Kyky affirmed, although with perhaps a bit of humility - a glance downward, an uncomfortable, breathy chuckle - that her intent had been so plain. In no way, though, did she want to let the king's point go, though. "We… do find ourselves with the unique benefit of having not one, but two of the Western Queen's once-bethrothed. This may be an opportunity to gather any insights we may use to address the obvious problems with her reign..?"
God, Kyky thought as soon as the words left her lips. Rafael will never forgive me… but what if they could leverage this conversation to find a solution?