It would seem I spoke too soon regarding the idea that the cold of winter brings peace and quiet to the community. Apparently it just ensures that people keep their mischief behind closed doors – and near a warm fire. My prediction that Lily was trouble would seem to have been borne out, though it did not help me to uncover her mischief before it became a public scandal.
Falayna considers femininity to be the most sacred of things. Rings too, as the imprints of my daily devotional bear out. But she does not consider matrimony to be an essential part of that femininity – even for those who do not serve as sisters in our monastic order. A good thing, but not an essential one. We who are her sworn sisters do not swear to chastity. We do not swear to celibacy. And I am not so naïve as to believe that people will not find their sexual pleasures outside the bounds of a socially sanctioned construct like matrimony. So I am not the type to be easily shocked by news that consenting adults are sleeping together. But when such sexual liaisons result in a political scandal, or even threaten a blood feud? A line must be drawn somewhere.
The problem is not that Lily was sleeping with Kesten Garess. Nor is it a problem that she was sleeping with Rabbi Lyon. I for one find it easier to trust religious figures who have their sexual drive sated in the context of a relationship between consenting adults – the ones who claim to be “beyond” desire tend to have… “darker” outlets, which is a problem all its own.
But the real problem here is that she was carrying on with both the Marshal and the Warden of the Duchy of Rivara at the same time, and that the public became painfully aware of that fact. It makes those of us in leadership positions look like fools. Me perhaps most of all, as they are the two other public officials that I work most closely with. All three of us are supposed to be about the business of justice, not just enforcing it, but setting an example with our conduct. And I am supposed to mete out punishment over this entire affair?
In the end the direction we received was to try and make the situation blow over, and to withhold actual punishment for a later time. While apparently no one will be punished over the incident now, it will be keenly remembered should there be more problems in the future. Through a regimen of no-nonsense posturing on the Rabbi’s part, an unceasingly pleasant charm offensive from Svetlana, and silent stonewalling on my part (I seem to have a gift for it), the public outcry is starting to calm down, and I am hopeful there will be no lasting effect on that front. Still, this abuse of the public’s trust is exceedingly distasteful to me.
Were it entirely up to me, I would see to it that Lily, Kesten and Rabbi Lyon are kept well away from each other. Things between Kesten and Rabbi Lyon in particular are somewhat… “strained” over the affair. As Kesten and the Rabbi must each travel about both the settled and unsettled areas of the Duchy in order to do their jobs, the simplest option might be to banish Lily from the Greenbelt. Failing that, it might be possible to put her “beyond” reproach. If she were married off say. Preferably to someone besides one of my colleagues. Though it feels like a slight upon the institution of marriage to do such a thing merely to sweep away the public memory of a scandal. But these are the gentlest consequences I can think of. In all of this, I will defer to the Duchess of course, as I am her Enforcer, and her Justice.
Part of the reason that the scandal may be dying down could have to do with the fact that the people are always hungry for the next fantastic and intrigue filled tale, and we have seized upon the first one that came along. In this case, a well-known local lumberjack named Stoss claims he and his prized magic spear (I’m assured that is not a euphemism) had an encounter with a Hodag. Such creatures are said to be highly ferocious, and Stoss claims he stabbed the creature with his spear and then abandoned the weapon in order to escape with his life. His friends claim it’s likely an empty tale he’s telling in order to cover up for the fact that he got drunk and lost the spear somewhere. Stoss is promising the spear itself as a reward for anyone who tracks down the creature and kills it in order to prove the truth of what he’s saying. There is something refreshingly simple and diverting about a good old-fashioned monster hunt, and we have promised to see to it once the weather is warm enough for us to travel once more. With any luck, we’ll run into some troll blood donors either on the way there or the way back!
On the more mundane side, we had a good month financially. We constructed a cistern to ensure a supply of fresh water for the public. It cost a scant three thousand gold crowns, barely half of what we received in proceeds from the magical craftsmen after they forged a Druidic ring of sacred mistletoe and sold it off. Between that and our more conventional incomes, we brought in fifteen thousand crowns for the month. As a result, we are now back above the total value of our initial seed money, with fifty-seven thousand gold crowns in the treasury. Here’s to hoping that that part of the month will be borne forward, while the scandal will a one-time aberration.