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Hard Priorities

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The place of meeting was flying three banners. The Towers of Katolis, the Dragonfly of Evenere and Duren’s flower.

 

Within the hall of meeting, Ezran paced, Corvus standing by his throne.

 

“Corvus, I really don’t know if I can do this. Both these people are older than I am.”

 

“Your Majesty. It was your idea to call this meeting. The fact that Aanya decided to join us more or less unannounced is interesting, but she likely just wants to examine you a bit.”

 

“Examine me?”, the boy stopped, looking even more worried, “How?”

 

“You have never met in person. I will make an assumption here; I believe Aanya is your natural ally. She is a child ruler, and a good one at that. Depending on her entrance, I would be willing to bet on her support. We’ll see, though.”

 

Ezran continued pacing. Evenere was in absolute uproar after the elven attack. Del Bar had averted the attack and had re-committed to standing by until further notice. Duren had submitted no reports of moon elven activity. Neolandia… was being neolandian. Ezran did not know how to gauge them. They had made no commitments, nor movements.

 

“Your Honor.”, a clear, bright voice rang out.

 

Ezran stopped his nervous tracking and beheld Aanya, Lady of the Bloom.

 

“Majesty”, he greeted, extending his hand. She shook it.

 

“It is… an odd moment for me, forgive me.”, she apologized, “For the first time, I will not be the youngest among the Pentarchy’s rulers.”

 

“I’m glad to meet you, Madame”, he offered and she gave him a tepid smirk.

 

“Please, call me Aanya. I despise keeping up adult appearances. Right now, we are amongst ourselves… mostly.”, she nodded at Corvus, who bowed, “I wanted to see you for myself. Another child ruler. In some ways, I hope to… teach you some things I’ve learned, if you’re interested. I’ve had no-one to guide me but my regent, and he, like everyone else, has his own motives.”

 

“I’d like that, Aanya. I feel pretty much the same about my advisers, safe for Corvus here.”

 

The queen turned to the tracker. “I don’t mean to show you disrespect, Corvus, but I do not trust people who do not seem to have ambitions. Everyone does, the question is; why are you hiding yours?”

 

Corvus chuckled. “Milady, you could not offend me, even if you cursed like my mother. I am a Katolin soldier, nothing more, nothing less. I am not nearly bored enough to play the hurtful games people at court seem to love so much.”

 

She gave him a measuring smirk, then shrugged. “I appreciate your quip, but will reserve judgement on your character until I’ve seen more of your actions. Ezran. I understand you are here to attempt to convince Jorge de Peverell to stay his restless hand? May I ask why?”

 

She walked to her throne and sat, her hands clasping together.

 

“I’ve been doing everything I can think of to keep this war from getting worse. It’s bad enough that there are some fights at the breach already. We need to stop this from spreading. My Aunt is trying to convince the Moon Elves at Bastion Korhal to stand down. It looks like we’ve lost the diplomatic battle in the other border regions, but I don’t think Xadia will do anything if they can’t do it together.”

 

Aanya nodded. “My generals agree. Splitting the front at Korhal would be a surefire way to have their line buckle in no time. Regardless, I do not see the benefit in prodding an already angry owl bear. Assassination or not, we cannot let Evenere decide our joint fate on their own. If they keep pressing the elves, there will be blood on our lands. Tsk. Even if we can dissuade de Peverell, the elves might still attack.”

 

“It’s possible”, Ezran said, now sitting down himself, “But we can’t act as though we know what’s going to happen. As long as they are talking at Korhal, we’re not really at war.”

 

They waited in silence for a while.

 

“Interesting”, Aanya noted with a thorough look at his face, “Your hair seems to hold your circlet rather than your head.”

 

They shared a chuckle. “It’s too big for me right now.  Kind of like how I feel, too.”

 

“Oh, that feeling of being overwhelmed will not change, even once the crown starts to fit. More often than not, my own feels like it’s tightening down on me a little too much. Be confident in yourself. You are already extremely well spoken and are not any less capable than the adults who normally sit in these halls. Oh, and, remember, we outnumber them now!”

 

Finally, they heard light steps on Evenere’s staircase.