Another short story from FfhNES. Politics I Lord Agron smiled slyly, showing his pointed teeth in all their glory. Although he was now a Vampire, he had stayed on at Internal Affairs and immediately rose to the top, displacing his human predecessor. Rank truly had its privileges in Calabim society. Internal Affairs had previously been concerned only with the chasing of criminals and the general burocracy that resulted from running such a rigid and well-ordered society. But Agron had plans. After numerous ''meetings'' he had become Queen Alexis's clear favourite, and in the Empire the Queen's favour was everything. Internal Affairs was now practically the ruling party, and Agron was practically in charge. Of course, this caused some tension with the Nobleman's Council, who had traditionally been the ruling body, but his favour allowed him to brush them aside on many issues concerning the Empire. One thing that Agron didn't control, however, was the problems and situations that arose on a local level, these were decided either by the Nobles involved or by the Council, and as a consequence he was now seated at his place in the Council, with all the Noblemen and women, in the midst of a long-extended feud. Agron had been carefully playing both sides of the feud for many months prior to the Council meeting, working on a divide and conquer strategy aiming to gain even greater power on the Council. He now sat silently at the Queen's right, overseeing the events and barely hiding his amusement. The Council Chamber was a large room, rectangular but rounded at the far end. It was separated into many different levels, with higher ranking Nobles and Government Bodies traditionally occupying the highest levels, or ''seats'' as they were called in the government. Both the men and women of the noble families sat in the Council, in their family's seat, and families traditionally acted as the ''parties'' of the government. These parties did not vie for leadership of the Calabim, that was the Queen's job alone, but instead for local control of their territories, as well as influence over foreign relations, and in the past, Internal Affairs. Lord Agron was not particularly popular in the Council, as he had been quick to gain power over the past years and was expected to start shaking things up a little, however he was a dangerous enemy to make. In the low centre of the Chamber, a young Lord was speaking. He was the new head, or Uhro as it was known in the Calabim tongue, of the Daternii Family, following the suspicious death of their previous Uhro, the young man's Grandfather. ''...As such, the Daternii Family demand the rightful return of the village of Gheiraen to our control!'' he now finished his speech. Another Vampire stood up, he was old beyond imagination, although naturally he didn't really show it. Some Vampires never left politics, and these were always amongst the best in the business, leaders of the most influential Noble Houses. It was utter madness for this upstart to take him on, but under advice from Internal Affairs, he had, and it was looking like he might just win. ''The Rhorntii family are the rightful owners of Gheiraen! The village has always been a core part of our territory.'' The Council stirred uncomfortably. Haeron, the younger Vampire, had presented a pretty convincing argument as well as some fairly conclusive documents that clearly showed that the village was originally owned by the Daternii, and that it was usurped the Rhorntii in past years. A second man stood up, also from the Rhorntii seat. The Governor of Gheiraen. ''This argument is irrelevant. I will not leave!'' All around the Council, quiet murmurings confirmed what Agron had been hoping for. Although young, Haeron was the Daternii's Uhro, the man who opposed him now was a mere Village Governor, and despite his family's greater influence, it was still no way to behave in civilized society. The Council was filled with hushed talk as the argument reached some kind of mutual ceasefire. Above the noise, Agron heard the ancient Rhorntii Uhro addressing the Governor of Gheiraen. ''I told you to leave it to me!'' He hissed, ''Do you have any idea what you have done?''. Lord Agron sat back in his chair, relaxed. Today he would destroy one of his primary opponents, and tomorrow a precedent would have been set. The Records controlled by Internal Affairs were full of situations like the Leadership of Gheiraen, and with a few more confidence boosts like this one to the weaker Noble Houses, more and more people would be prepared to challenge them. The council's best politicians would soon be overthrown. The outcome would, of course, be a weak and disorganised Nobleman's Council, which would bow to Agron's every word. Lord Agron leaned towards the Queen to ask her who she supported in the matter. ''I think it's time we got rid of that old dog.'' She replied, spitefully. Influential politicians were the Queen's greatest danger, Agron knew from the beginning that she would take any chance she could get to remove a few of them. ''I couldn't agree more, your majesty.'' The next stage in proceedings was the vote. This was a chance for any other nobles with an opinion on the situation to try to sway the Queen's opinion. Technically, she didn't have to listen to them, but it was important that she remained on good terms with the Council. The argument bounced back and forth, a lot of the more influential Houses supported the Rhorntii, but many others came to the agreed that the village should be transferred to the Daternii. Some seats were divided, where Vampires in the House supported different parties. For Agron, it was always good to see seats split. A House had far less influence when it was divided. The governor of Gheiraen remained silent, he noticed. Eventually, Alexis raised her hand and the conversation quickly died down. ''The village of Gheiraen will go to the Daternii.'' she said, decisively. She then left her throne, walked down the stairs to the Chamber floor, and out of the back door. As soon as she left, the Chamber erupted with the sounds of a freshly opened argument.