Augfi Jerllamo slammed his fist on the table again. “We must use this leverage now!” he bellowed. “We cannot sit by and let opportunity pass without even blinking! Can you not see what we have staring us in the face? All these generations gone, and now! Now we can act with impunity!”
The Council stared back at Augfi, some taken aback, others unimpressed at his show of intensity. One gentleman blinked and ventured to reply. “My lord, what exactly is it you are hoping to accomplish with your foreign contacts and Esclace’s most heavily-trained and well-equipped Rangers? You speak of opportunity, but you have yet to disclose what that opportunity is. Why would it involve the Rangers, not some of our successful merchants?”
“You’re so concerned with commerce,” Augfi spat the last word accusatorily. “Do you never think of our small nation itself?”
“That is what we are thinking of,” another replied. “The well-being of this people depends heavily on economic resources. Since we made contact with foreign lands, commerce has picked up significantly. Where does this commerce go? Somebody is buying and selling these goods. This is good for our people.”
Augfi huffed. “Fine. I see where this is going. You worry so much about commerce,” he nearly choked on the word, “that you fail to understand basic politics. Do not worry, illustrious Council. I, Augfi Haltrin Jerllamo, will take it upon myself to ensure Esclace’s future. I, Keeper of the Hidden Gate, Heir of the Dissident, will solve this invisible problem for you.”
“You are not getting full commitment—”
“I do not need full commitment of the Rangers! Don’t you worry, little Council. Go to sleep. I will act independently!”
Augfi turned from the table and stormed out of the chamber. A few Council members shook their heads at his sarcasm. As he passed through the grand doors to exit, two Rangers pivoted and left their post at the exit to follow him.
“Gather my Ranger Guard in my chambers immediately,” Augfi said to them.
“Sir, do you want—”
“Now! I do not require anyone’s approval or consensus for this! We act tomorrow morning as the sun begins to climb high. We must make final plans. Go.”
One of the two Rangers peeled off down a different corridor at a fast walk, the other continuing to follow Augfi.
They found Mynda coming the other way. “Father,” she began, “has something happened? You’re red in the face.”
Augfi stopped walking. “Am I, now? Well, let’s just say the Council is stacked with dimwits who cannot understand the simplest things. I hope you are able, because they will affect you directly.”
“What are you referring to, Father?”
He sighed and chewed his tongue. “Foreign policy.”
“…Foreign policy?” She asked, confused.
“Yes. Foreign policy. Sometimes it is all trade, like with Yallanpo, but other times, like with Indraenea, it is much more. Indraenea sees things more my way. Smart leaders there. But sometimes it must become more than only foreign policy.”
“Father, I don’t see what you’re getting at,” Mynda replied flatly. “Would you like to explain with some specific details?”
“No,” he said. “But you’ll see soon enough. And tell your mother to keep out of my affairs for the time being.”
Augfi turned and continued walking without waiting for a reply. Mynda gave one anyway, calling after him.
“You do not have me in your pocket like the Ranger Guard. I think for myself!”