Rilora frowned over the dispatches from Igen. An invitation she couldn't accept, terms that were tempting to consider in the face of conflict. Yet she knew this one would be like all the others. The lives threatened, the egg stolen. It wasn't so simple as wishing these things resolved. If the world could only find out what had become of that lost dragonet. Rilora held back a sigh in front of the stationed Igenese diplomat. She had only vaguely known him from before the war, like all those in the political game. Enough to offer pleasantries and carry a shallow conversation, their motives and their interests, but nothing about them as people. Just pieces in these schemes.
"I see you haven't gotten them to budge," Rilora stated flatly. The guards leaning against the door frame shuffled. The one at her back averted his eyes from the information. "Your Weyr already knows our terms. We require restorations. Simply offering regrets is insufficient."
His gaze didn’t waver, though perhaps he adjusted slightly to keep his weight on his right leg. It was not for him to speak over or interrupt the Weyrwoman, so he listened, waited and responded in a calm tone.
“I understand that. The offenses are not ones that should be glossed over. I would not expect so from reasonable people.” The problem with V’lan was he was entirely reasonable. The good thing about him was that he was entirely reasonable. “If I may though, what one does not have it is impossible to give. No matter how much it might be wished otherwise.” V’lan’s voice kept gravity to it without sounding either accusing or too soothing. It was not easy to tell what his own feelings on the matter were, except that he could easily understand both sides. He was a diplomat after all.
"Though dues for the family of the dead, an investigation regarding the attacks, the stolen egg. Assistance recovering that information. All I've seen so far is empty regrets and delays, raids on our holds to steal even though the crops this Turn were better. You can see how it doesn't make our Weyr sympathetic to believing the information we're given, let alone making concessions." Rilora frowned. Around and around the political wheel turned. "Perhaps we can focus on one step of progress at a time. Do you think they'd be most open to one of those? The rider that was killed before all this started is indisputable. We have witnesses."
V’lan inclined his head ever so slightly. “A suitable place to begin.” He weighted the event and began to speak.
“The condition stated is that you require those riders that participated in the events that lead to the death of two riders to be severely punished. Your rider M’lak of Midnight Baneroth and our B’telli of Bronze Hireth both perished in those proceedings.” So far what he said was more a preamble than anything else. Though he had switched to ‘our’ which meant he was starting to speak for Igen Weyr. “We are willing to strip all riders involved of their wing ranks, minimum ten turns before consideration of possible reinstatement. Likewise they will be unable to represent Igen Weyr in any capacity.” He took a moment to gauge response but pressed on. “However we require a consideration for our rider. A statement of regret from the rider involved or from the weyr on behalf of the rider would be sufficient.”
He didn’t say it, but he thought it. ‘It’s not who he was, it’s who he was related to’. Then again, same could be said for a lot of people in Igen. V’lan was no exception.
"It is the position of our Weyr that all the events that transpired that day were regrettable. I would be willing to draft a statement, and we may see if that is sufficient," Rilora replied, words trim. She had heard no end of the deeper implications. She wore those feelings on her face for a month and a half. She didn't press for recourse, the bruises healed. Perhaps that stymied coolness would lend her some small bargaining power here if needed.
As for the attempts on her Weyrwomen, their best lead had been disappeared doing one of the large raids on the main Weyr. Probably the doing of the Igenese, but as this point was the one with the least proof it seemed moot to bring it up. Besides, they still had his dragon, sickly as he was and unwilling to talk despite the worst glowering from the Queens. An aberrant mind if ever there was one, that dragon. The worst problem in similar kind was that their missing egg had similarly cold leads. Gone during the day of the assassination attempt. Somehow it was all connected. And the trail cold.
"What of an investigation regarding our missing egg?"
V’lan gave a nod of his head. Good. Finally. Any progress was something. He could call that settled, and move on. Hopefully to something else that they could work on. Next subject.
What she asked next made him want to sigh, but he would never do so while he had any self-control left. The missing egg was not his favorite of the subjects they had to deal with. Mostly because he didn’t know anything about it. Even bring it up to the Igen leaders was a chore. It was so despicable to think of stealing a Queen’s egg. More so because who knew what cursed creature it held. Not his words, and not theirs, but he read between the lines expertly. However, he had slightly more than nothing. Practically nothing. It was unsatisfying.
“We have looked for a dragon pair of the correct age at Igen and we do not have a dragon that fits. Our Queens have not had a clutch for the correct timeframe and transfers do not come to Igen so young.” Feh, wholly unsatisfactory. But politics were politics. Igen was prepared to release hatching records for the last two clutches of their queens if RMW called for it, but they preferred not too.
"You'll comply with our independent verification of the reports?" Rilora said, only the faintest addition of a question. How could she accept anything less for her people? It was a sorry answer to so delicate a question as a missing egg. A treacherous practice best left in the old history texts from a long passed era. Yet here it was. She wished for a sigh she wasn't permitted to breathe. Though it could hardly be stated, the warring could not go on forever. Even in Kaya's day the Weyrs found peace. How did they end up back here, and with such less rally-some villains to boot?
"Then when that turns up nothing - as you claim - that leaves only the rather economical issue of returning value to our Weyr and the Holds of our jurisdiction for goods procured without payment nor proper cause. I am sure your leaders will have all sorts of things to say on the matter, but my Holdsfolk are hardworking people and I cannot simply wave away their need to make an honest living and their respect that the Weyr will protect that."
V’lan let only a moment past before responding with a nod. “Yes.” Well, even if they didn’t want to, it would be fairly easy to verify. Only Queens clutched at Igen. He’d explain if easily as a requirement to smooth things over however for the last issue…
“As this is a matter that both your Weyr and Igen must be perfectly in agreement on, I propose that for this matter written requests be issued to Igen and vice versa.” It wasn’t that V’lan was bad with numbers. It was that compensation issues often didn’t have a one for one perfect standard. Mark value was one thing, but would there be requests that had other goods employed and what Igen could practically and theoretically provide was another issue altogether. He knew ahead of time that this would be like pulling teeth. So while he could continue being the mediation, he practically speaking, couldn’t just say things simply. “Though it may take longer I believe this will lead to a more concrete agreement.”
Translation, once it was done, there would be a paper trail. It did mean that Igen would pour over every word. Time and care. But they had started the movement, so it was not nothing so far.