Episode 2 — The Politics of Byzantium Secundus

At the tea party, Sir Reginald Cameton approaches Aquilegia for a chat. Once they are alone, Sir Reginald gives a wink that looks exactly like Duchess Salandra Decados’. He talks about the five missing scepters made under Vladimir’s reign, and the Minor Houses’ interest in locating them. He says he is asking select people in all the Minor Houses to help locate the legendary missing scepters; Aquilegia is very non-committal.

Sir Reginal departs. A few minutes later, Lady Janice Cameton seeks out discreet conversation with Aquilegia, and gives about exactly the same spiel…

Finally, Marquessa Lekoya Scareenon Astanyani is ready to greet Aquilegia. She hints at the unrest on Byzantium Secundus and the dangers of allowing newcomer factions wedge their way into the power structure.

Meanwhile, at the Agora, the Port Authority forces are muscling in to intimidate the patients and urchins at the mission; Deacon Mokira is roughed up when he tells them to get off the Church’s property. NeVaga hides on one of the trucks and see the men pick up Deacon Mokira and the clinic equipment, then leave. After a short while, they dump the Deacon and the equipment by the side of the road, then return to their base.

Unseen, NeVaga sneaks into the Port Authority compound and eavesdrops on Boss Dano Mortensen, who talks unconvincingly about having sent a message to those who would move into Port Authority territory. He sends some of his men back to make sure that the Deacon is not killed, as he doesn’t want “another screw-up”. NeVaga discreetly hitches up another ride with them. When they reach the place where they left the unconscious deacon, they find a small guard of peasants there, organized by the resourceful Hiram and protecting the deacon.

Soon after, Aquilegia returns to find the mission barricaded, and the Deacon trying to figure out where to take his people next. About half a dozen patients were in too poor shape to move from where they were dumped, and 14 or so urchins are around. Aquilegia has the urchins find a hostel which she rents for the next two weeks for the clinic; Deacon Mokira will get things organized then plans on going to the Amalthean temple in the Cathedral of St. Maya at the Imperial City.

Aquilegia, flanked by her bodyguard, goes to pay a visit to Boss Mortensen. The upshot is that the Church reportedly came in on the Scraver side in the conflict with the Port Authority and so the smallest, most harmless church faction was used in order to send a message. He implies that the Amaltheans will continue to be pawns in the game until the Church backs off from its involvement.

Aquilegia returns to the displaced mission and speaks to the Deacon. He knows nothing about the conflict; he begged for two years for the permission to create a mission here. Aquilegia offers to take back a message for his superior while he tends to the sick and injured here. Bishop Dana Demijanik, the bishop of the Amalthean monastery at the Cathedral of St. Maya is Deacon Mokira's superior.

Bishop Demijanik is sympathetic and concerned about Deacon Mokira’s fate, but she knows nothing of any Church involvement in the guild disputes; she says everyone knows the Amaltheans don’t involve themselves in such matters.

NeVaga goes to visit her uncle Volkoln on Cumulus Station and asks what he knows of the Church involvement. It turns out the Scravers were approached by the Church (presumably the Orthodox Church) wit an offer: just like the Church already has an agreement with the Scravers on Cumulus for the Great Library of Horus to get first pick of all books coming through the station, they would supply considerable funding to the Scravers in exchange for extending the agreement to the entire planet once the Scravers Guild controlled all commerce.

This left Aquilegia and NeVaga unsure of where to go next.

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