Noble, 41

Once You Realize What Kind of Person You’re Dealing with, Dealing with Them Becomes Much Easier

This is chapter 1100 of the overall series!

Ao3 Link

Geoffrey had a stack of letters in front of him that he’d promised to answer, but he didn’t know what to say in them. They were from nobility around Kyaine, and they were all a weird combination of wanting nothing to do with him but also wanting to be close to him because his brother was the king, and most of them also wanted to know how their sons were doing even though, as far as Geoffrey knew, most of the boys wrote home regularly.

What the fuck was he supposed to say? How was he supposed to tell people that he wasn’t a traitor, keep them at arm’s length, make them think they could use him to get to Giacomo while keeping them at more than arm’s length from Giacomo, while also telling them that their boys were fine and fucking each other every night?

At some point in his life Geoffrey had known how to be subtle, to communicate things without saying them, to speak in platitudes that felt meaningful. But he’d lost that. All he could think to write to any of these people were platitudes that were obviously meaningless. Maybe it was because the veneer of politeness had been stripped away from Geoffrey’s face. Or maybe he just didn’t have anything meaningful to say anymore.

It didn’t really matter. Javier was going to be back soon and then he was going to see that Geoffrey hadn’t written anything and he wasn’t going to be disappointed, which was going to make Geoffrey even more upset than if he’d just get mad.

The door opened and Geoffrey braced himself, but Javier didn’t walk in.

“Oh,” said Cliff the western wizard, looking nervous. “I, uh. I’m sorry, I didn’t realize you were in here, Lord Geoffrey.”

“It’s okay,” said Geoffrey, throat clenching. “I didn’t realize you were coming. Is the king with you?” He started to stand up, taking his stack of letters so Giacomo could use the desk.

“Uh, no. It’s just me. I was dropping off the new boys and the king asked me to stop in and get the figures on last year’s grain harvest.”

“New boys?” Geoffrey asked, frowning. “What new boys?” Everyone who Giacomo wanted here was already here, weren’t they? Except for Tobias Fellendart, whom he’d had taken to the castle a few days ago and who hadn’t come back.

But Cliff nodded. “Hansl Fyrhawk and his companion Eike. They’re with your companion and Lord Janus now.”

“House Fyrhawk sent a hostage?” Geoffrey’s mind filled with family trees. Hansl Fyrhawk was Sophia and Stephan’s second cousin, a descendant of Stephan’s grandfather’s brother, he thought. Or maybe he was Horace Fyrhawk’s brother, he couldn’t remember. Janus would know; Geoffrey would ask him later.

“Yeah. Well, I don’t think the king gave them much choice,” said Cliff, shrugging. “For a little guy, he’s surprisingly good at strongarming people.”

Geoffrey nodded, opening the bottom drawer of his desk to look for the grain report. “Yeah, he always gets what he wants.”

“I’ve noticed,” Cliff muttered.

Geoffrey glanced at him briefly. He was wearing one of those impassive faces that people who weren’t very good at hiding their emotions thought were as good as a mask. He also had House DiGorre’s crest on his shirt. When had a Circle wizard ever worn that? “So you’re the wizard the Circle sent to replace Jorge Spectrestar?”

Cliff shook his head, predictably. “Sort of? My master is. Gaston Soularcher.”

Geoffrey didn’t know the name, but it didn’t matter. The fact that Gaston Soularcher was the court wizard but Geoffrey had never seen him, but seen his apprentices multiple times, spoke volumes. “I bet you never thought that him being the court wizard meant you’d end up running errands for the king.”

“No,” Cliff said with a snort. “Feels like I spend more of my time working for the king than studying lately.”

Geoffrey found the report, finding two white balls lodged beside it. He remembered those. He’d meant to have someone look at them. Hm. He pulled the report out. “Just make sure you don’t let him take over your life, okay? Because he will if you let him.” He handed Cliff the report. “Here.”

“Thanks,” said Cliff. “Hey, uh. The night that we arrested you. I’m sorry about that. I’d never done that spell before; it wasn’t supposed to hurt.”

“It’s okay,” Geoffrey told him. “It didn’t hurt for long.” He barely even remembered it.

“It shouldn’t have hurt at all,” Cliff sighed. “Anyway, I guess I’ll see you next time the king needs an errand run. I’ll knock next time.”

“I’ll be here,” Geoffrey said, letting Cliff back out of the room. He left, shutting the door with a quiet thud.

Geoffrey reached back into the drawer and pulled out the two balls. Eggs, he’d thought they were at the time. Henry had sent them for Hans. Something magical, to control him with. Maybe some sort of weird sorcerous parasite or something. He’d kept these two behind to ask someone to look at them, but the only magical person he’d known for a long time had been Jorge.

As much as Cliff seemed friendly, Geoffrey sure didn’t trust him to look at them. He already belonged to Giacomo, because Giacomo didn’t need people to let him take over their lives for him to do just that. He’d already taken over Cliff’s life, just like he’d taken over the lives of everyone he knew.

Just like he’d taken over everything he touched. Because that was what Giacomo did. He took over every single thing he came into contact with. Made it his own. Made it an extension of him.

Geoffrey span one of the eggs on the desk, wondering what kind of parasite hatched out of it. It didn’t really matter, did it? Parasites were all the same.

The egg span over to his pile of letters and bounced off, and Geoffrey barely caught it before it hit the floor. He put both eggs back in the desk drawer.

And took the top letter, reading it over again.

He picked up a clean sheet of paper and wetted his quill, and he started writing. Suddenly Geoffrey had remembered how to say something meaningful.

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6 thoughts on “Noble, 41

  1. Is Scott capable of controlling its eggs even before they hatch? Because if so, it looks like Geoffrey was just manipulated into…something. Presumably something bad for everyone but Scott.


    1. Scott has very limited control over the eggs before they hatch; he is aware of them and can move them small amounts, but they can’t possess or control people at this stage. But it certainly does seem like whatever Geoffrey thinks he’s planning here will be good for Scott and therefore not good for anyone else. 😀



      1. Yeah, I wasn’t thinking that Scott was directly influencing Geoffrey’s thinking. Just that the egg moved in just the right way to redirect his attention to the letters at a moment of Scott’s choosing.


        1. Yes, that for sure would have been within Scott’s power. He can move the eggs enough that if he wanted to use one to direct someone’s attention, it would be very easy for him to do that. Whether his level of situational awareness is enough that he’d know to do that is unknown, but it’s always best not to underestimate Scott…



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