Alasdair and Corthos Scene
The two men stood opposite each other in one of the lower courts, Corthos looking slightly taken aback. He regained his composure as he spoke softly. “Are you certain that you are in the correct building, Alasdair? I had never thought I would see you pretending to know the law.” Alasdair simply smiled back. “I know what I know, Corthos. And that is enough to represent the Tanessens in this argument.” Corthos nodded slowly, then met the man’s eyes with his own. “Tell me, before we get to the debating – how is Guinevere?” Alasdair returned the gaze, reaching out to shake Corthos’ hand as he answered. “She hurts, Corthos. But you and I both know that she is stronger than this. She is distraught, and she hopes – as we all do – that you can come to your senses. She wants you to come back to your home.” Corthos shook his hand slowly, chuckling. “Alasdair, I have never been more in tune with my senses. But please, pass my love back to her.” Alasdair nodded solemnly, intending to carry out the promise even as the two men separated to prepare their debates. The courts moderator sat impassively between them, reading from a docket. Corthos fell back amongst the other members of House Jarvis, aides quickly passing him a series of papers and scribbled notes. On the other side, Alasdair was quietly helped by both Melodia’s aide Eagon and a handful of Tanessen delegates. The two men met eyes again, and Corthos did a slightly exaggerated bow. Alasdair just turned back to the papers he had been looking at.
The mediator spoke solemnly. “Today’s docket. To be heard before the courts – the matter of Jackson Hendrick, a House Jarvis blacksmith who has not been properly submitting a proper portion of his products and financial gains to House Tanessen as per the agreements which granted him his forge. The delegate for House Tanessen is Lord Alasdair Thrune, and the delegate for House Jarvis is Corthos Mondragon. At this time, the blacksmith’s forge has been shut down pending the results of this delegation. House Tanessen will open this discussion.” Alasdair smiled, stepping down into the central rotunda with a pile of papers. “I believe that the basic tenets of life in Kintargo are that one should feel free to the sweat of their own brow, and to the success of their own work. House Tanessen was so kind as to provide Master Hendrick with a forge of his own – an uncommon commodity wherein he could ply his trade, with a minimal cost initially. The only request that was made was that he saw fit to donate a portion of his goods back into the Tanessen military interests – after all, isn’t safety one of the requirements of these basic tenets? As I am certain it’s well known, the Tanessen family helps to supply the Dottari with the armor and blades that they use to keep Kintargo safe. We didn’t ask for much, barely ten percent of his overall product. I find it hard to believe that the cost of our safety was too much to allow this man to flourish. It is his patriotic duty to assist his city, particularly when it has treated him so kindly. We do not want to ruin his livelihood, we only want what is rightfully ours. Why should we sacrifice safety so that one man can make more profit?" Alasdair stepped away from his podium, arms outstretched and his point made.
Corthos shook his head. Someone had spent the time coaching him, that much was obvious. He could see Eagon over there, but the man was no great orator. With a grumble, Corthos took his own papers to his podium, clearing his throat. “Alasdair, I appreciate the time and effort you’ve put in to this so far. It’s clear that you see this more as a matter of business and property than you do as a mans dignity. To the courts, while it is true that the Tanessen family asked for a sum of around ten percent of his goods, let us not forget that it is common for the Tanessens to request a baseline amount – due to their obligations to Kintargo. Meaning that even when his ten percent was not meeting the requested amount, they would simply take their baseline. What we have here is a young man who opened his forge with big dreams, but was curtailed by harsh reality and then forced to pay more out of his baseline than he could afford. These types of predatory tactics…” Alasdair rose, speaking softly. “The Kensington Accord.” Corthos stopped, turning to face him, looking somewhat surprised. Alasdair smiled back at him before speaking again. “What dear Master Mondragon forgets is that the Kensington Accord exists. Established over a hundred years, the accord states that a failure to complete one’s contract with regards to the military obligations of securing the city could be prosecuted as high treason. This was upheld before the Court of Coin multiple times, and an established rule. Perhaps Master Mondragon would prefer that we have this discussion in a different court, and not a civil disagreement?”
Corthos looked back at his consultants for a moment, slightly stunned. He ran a hand through his hair before turning to the moderator. “With all respect, permission to meet with the Tanessen delegate to negotiate?” The moderator nodded, waving them away to do so. Corthos rapidly cornered Alasdair, speaking in tense whispers. “Alasdair….are you really threatening to use the Kensington on this man? You and I both know that would turn him over to the Dottari, and for what? The crime of keeping enough to continue living comfortably?” Alasdair spoke with a calm and confident tone. Alphonse had prepared him for this. “Mondragon, the papers were signed. The man knew the contracts he took. I understand your concerns, but if he failed to provide for the militia he faces the Kensington. This has been since well before your issue with the Thrune. But -” He held up a finger as Corthos began to argue. " – for your sisters sake and yours, I am willing to negotiate. The man faces jail time under the Accord. I understand that Belcara has asked you to handle this. Please….let me help you. I get no pleasure out of this, I am only taking the role that was offered to me. I am willing to settle this for a mere fifty platinum from House to House – a show of good faith even in a troubled time. Otherwise, your blacksmith faces the Accord. And that takes place in the next courts, where you and I aren’t able to go to our defenses." Corthos seethed with frustration as he replied back. “Alasdair, this is not right…” Alasdair handed Corthos the contracts, letting the man skim over it briefly.
Corthos was still a bit in shock – he had heard of the accord, but hadn’t put the two together. And the fact that he was facing Alasdair had made him feel overconfident, and he had stepped directly into the trap that Alasdair’s handlers had built. Corthos handed them back and spoke, clearly aggravated. For once, he didn’t see a way out of this one. “Fifty platinum. Agreed. But the man is released from the prisons today, and given a one month reprieve from his payments to re-establish himself. The money will cover any product loss for your house.” Alasdair nodded. “It’s still your house as well, Cor-” Corthos shook his head, laughing. “No. No it’s not, Alasdair. And I don’t know that it ever was.” The two men stepped away from each other, no more words said as they returned to their podiums to settle.