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Shade and Splendour


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Silently, Liselotte looked over the cityscape of Ottawa through the windows of Rideau Hall. Once again, she was in this building, this palace that has for so long constituted the heart of Faraway politics and which she now inhabited once again. But not as the court chaplain. This time, it was her palace, her crown. Below, at the foot of the estate sprawled the town, former centre of the Realm, now a sad shadow of its former glory. Just like the Realm itself, Liselotte thought. In the far west, the ruins of the bombardements still were very visible, showing the destruction that had been brought upon the town by the war. But who was she to condemn the action?

 

Suddenly, behind Liselotte the door opened and a head peeked into the darkened room. Despite the lack of light, the curtains of almost all windows closed, two clear Vermilion eyes could be made out, gazing into the room for a short while, before the silence was broken. "Quite shady, this room..." With a few quick steps, the young Lady Hazelwood entered the room, closing the door behind her. "I actually had to wait a moment to get used to it.", she remarked in a carefree tone.

 

Liselotte turned around, facing the guest. "So, how did it go?" Her own amber eyes pierced lighted up, before she drew back the curtains, restoring daylight to the room.

 

"Quite well. No problems were encountered and our forces now are patrolling the streets of St. John. As you see, I already returned.", Hazelwood reported proudly. "So, anything new?"

 

Liselotte would take a seat, sighing. Despite her rank, her appearance still was the same as before, black and white, rather than the colours of Faraway nobility. Her complexion that could compete in paleness with the paper she wrote on and hair that had lost all colour, she truely was Madame monochrome, the sole spots of colour being her golden eyes.

 

Hazelwood snickered for a moment. "I really can't decide whether you were a Queen all along or never at all." But her insolence would immediatly be answered by a stern glance by Liselotte, which caused the noblewoman to quiten down. Lowering her head, she stood there in front of Liselotte, awaiting a response.

 

"I would hope you do not forget the respect you owe me, Madame Hazelwood.", Liselotte said with clear and determined voice, and for now, she could be sure the message came across to her vassal, as Hazelwood merely nodded, not even daring to lift her voice. "I'd be more than willing to remind you of the sacrifices that were necessary to achieve our current state."

 

If Hazelwood normally already had a small build, she seemed to shrink even more now, as she was lectured by Liselotte. "I understand, your Majesty. It was inappropriate to show such disrespect. I shall not trouble you any further." With small careful steps, she slowly backed away towards the door, but stopped abruptly, as Liselotte waved her to stop. Surprised, the Lady would raise her head again, wondering what it could be.

 

"Please take care of yourself. Even though I bet Grenville would have little issue with it, it'd be a pain to have to replace you. Also, please visit Florence on your way out."

 

Hazelwood's face lightened up a bit as she heard the words of the Queen. "I will see to it, your Majesty." Respectfully, she courtseyed and left the room, closing the door behind her once again. Liselotte meanwhile just sighed. "Hopefully she won't cause any issues."

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Nathan Star Blanket had retired to his private life since the annexation of Manitoba into the Faraway Union. Altough he participated still in his local community to preserve the Cree heritage, he had had enough of politics and it was also unlikely that with the change in leadership he'd get anywhere. Rather, Nathan enjoyed his days working as a lawyer for a living, while using his sparetime to look after his family and going hunting in the woods. If he had learned something from the short stint as executive, then that it was more of a pain than it was worth and he rather not make any more enemies.

 

For the most part, the new authorities did not cause the Cree any harm, acknowledged rights of First Nations and upheld them. The local authorities would give him a strange look whenever he visited, due to his prominent past, but overall, that was hardly anything significant. In essence, everything seemed to work out. Until that day...

 

As he went into the woods to hunt, he would feel a sudden sting in his right tigh. Looking down, he quickly found the source of the pain, a small blowdart that had lodged itself there for whatever reason. Quickly, Nathan pulled it out, realising that this was not a good sign, but just as he managed to remove the dart, he suddenly lost all strength and sacked to the ground. His senses slowly dimmed and he felt a striking pain in his chest. The last Nathan would hear was a cackling laughter, as a small silhouette drew closer, pulling out some strange thing from a bag. "And another one bites the dust. Now, where to place the bitemarks?"

 

One day later, Nathan Star Blanket would be found by the local police, as his family had called for help. By the time he was found the rigor mortis had already reached its height and was beginning to fade. At his ankle, the investigators would find clear marks of snakebite, while the autopsy decided heart failure had been the immediate cause of death. A brief investigation of the bitemarks and would show traces of poison of the western rattlesnake (crotalus viridis), which made the case quite clear.

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