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The news reaches Nataliem's estate within a week. Her majesty, Queen Alinaret Cartalian, is dead, of an unknown illness. Her husband, now a widower, has little to no political power, and even less desire to use it. Nataliem sends his condolences immediately, after adding the correct date to the letter. They've already been written up for several weeks, now. Safely hidden away, of course, he wouldn't like any sort of spies to know he's had these condolences written up early. It would cast an unflattering light on the situation. Such as, that he knew she was going to die. Which, of course, he did.

Because he was the one to poison her.

He's not about to mourn her. He's never been the sentimental type. She was never a fantastic pawn, too unpredictable, but he'd had such high hopes for her, once. It's not like the woman was stupid, quite the opposite, but she always failed to have any sort of vision. No forethought and no discipline makes for a very nasty combination when left unchecked, and despite his best efforts as an adviser (and he does mean his best efforts, the bastard twins are his) he'd never managed to have her under any semblance of control. Too bad, it might have been fun to have a puppet monarch.

But he has high hopes for his children. Well, one of his children. The other one probably has a bright future ahead of him as a military leader or clergyman something, but that's not what Nataliem's after. No, he wants his children to take the throne. As the only legitimate heirs to it are his children - well, the odds are looking pretty good.

Now to make sure that there is indeed a country for them. Lots of work to be done there, he'd perhaps left Alinaret to her own devices for too long. Perhaps the only sentimentality he has, mourning a lost potential resource.

"Goodbye, Alina," he says as he tosses the letter of news into the fire. There, sentimentality gone, the resource is quite gone, time for some new ones.

He goes to his desk and starts composing letters. Some to help keep the country stable, some to start playing matchmaker. After all, no one can take the throne until they're married. Neither of his sons have shown interest in anyone they've met, so perhaps it's time to expand his horizons. Look for someone foreign to fix up public relations.

Letters are addressed, and then sent.

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Aestrix

June 2015

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