Episode 14 - And It's All Becoming Clear

Back in Isfahan, the League, as represented by the Fishermen's Guild and enforced by the Muster Guild, has cracked down on all independent and yeomen fishermen, impounding their vessels. Confrontations have become brutal and the streets are not safe.

Convinced that she is not going to get a straight answer from the Scravers Guild, NeVaga decides to break into Boss Raul Fissik's office in Acheon to investigate. She sneaks into his headquarters, located above a skeezy strip club and gambling den, and uncovers an interesting fact: the mines and Second Republic technology were purchased from the Guild by none other than Emir Shereen Gull al-Malik!

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In Isfahan, the situation has so degenerated that the Satrapy has had to step in and call for al-Malik forces to come in and take over, since "obviously" the League is unable to hold up its end of the contract and keep the peace in the city.

Aquilegia makes an appointment to meet with the Emir again. She carefully implies rather than states her knowledge, and suggests that she will have no problem with the Emir renegotiating a more advantageous treaty with the Merchant League nor with helping her find patrons for her university project, as long as the additional monies the Emir is looking for don't come out of the common folk and slavery is eradicated from Isfahan.

They reach a cautious agreement: first, the Emir will renegotiate and make sure the League does not simply add the new cut of the taxes to what it gets from the people. Second, if Aquilegia can manage to arrange for smart, educated, cosmopolitan nobles and trend-setters from all over the Known Worlds to be posted regularly in Isfahan and rotated regularly, essentially spreading word of mouth of the city and its intellectual life, then the Emir will see to it that slavery disappears.

With the al-Malik intervention and the knowledge that they were led on a false trail with the undersea artefacts, the Muster and the Fishermen lose interest in controlling the Tabaristan Sea and diving; and the independent and yeomen fishermen regain their boats and their fishing rights. Lina Masseri is nowhere to be found. Aquilegia and her entourage return to Acheon, where Governor Yusif abn Rahim is unhappy that she didn't bring Lina in but willing to let her go. However, he warns her that if Lina is not in fact gone, things will not go well for Aquilegia when she returns to Criticorum — and everyone always returns to Criticorum.

The night before they are to leave Criticorum, NeVaga is visited by a dream of the Leviathans.


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