The next day, Milo visits Gerald to consult about Rasputin. This becomes a bit of a moral guidance conversation. They agree there are a lot of “ifs” to consider. Ultimately, Gerald decides to consult with others and get back to Milo.
Mery visits Sebastian and informs him they should get married immediately. After a moment of stunned amazement, then some quick negotiations about arrangements and secrecy, Sebastian agrees. Mery heads off to finish the arrangements.
I visit Porter. He has two topics for me. First, nothing in Montenegro military regulations prohibit an officer from having rank in another court. However, the officer would have to go on a leave of absence from the military. On a potential return to military service, the Warmark would have to appoint three officers to verify that officer is still prepared to properly serve again in the military. Second is that Milo has arranged for the Letters of Privilege from various churches in exchange for returning some artifacts of significance to their church.
I tell Porter about the plan to go through Poland on the way to Russia. He immediately offers some advice and assistance, and starts helping make the arrangements. He’ll help me get my social secretary prepared, including heading ahead to Poland. Porter also suggests that I engage a valet to help in matters of attire, perhaps one of military background.
Mery visits Porter to gain his assistance in scheduling the wedding. After another stunned moment, he asks the pertinent questions and begins work. Mery ensures that he will keep this discrete, and Porter starts considering arranging being out of the country. He tells Mery that he is a poor liar, and as long as a direct question from someone like the Queen is avoided, the topic need not be raised.
That afternoon, I head to Sebastian’s office. Vyse tells me he had to attend to some matters at a nearby magistrate’s office. I head over, and notice Porter, then Mery and Sebastian. Wondering who’s event they were attending, I wander in, only to realize that Mery and Sebastian are the ones getting married! In astonishment, I call Milo on our magic rods and tell him that one of his future services will no longer be needed. Then I call Tomas to ask what an appropriate emergency and very last minute wedding present. He suggests offering one later. As I get the stink eye from the magistrate, I abruptly stop the call.
December 18, 1912, Mery and Sebastian get secretly married by a magistrate. The ceremony lasts just long enough that Milo has time to track me down and catch the very tail end. In the aftermath of the ceremony, I learn that the wedding was supposed to be a secret, Cate will likely be immensely upset that she was involved (and take it out on Milo and I), and that Milo found me by asking Garrick where I was (Garrick once again following me around). After congratulations, Sebastian and Mery make an impromptu plan to meet at his lakehouse for a few days. Sebastian promises to invite his friend to town, likely to arrive in a few days.
After the wedding, I chase down Tomas to get advice on a valet. While there, I clarify that my wedding present needs to be appropriate for a secret wedding for un-specified celebrants. He gives me a few ideas.
In the interests of trying to avoid a potential beheading, I send Cate a quick note: “Thinking of you. Wish you were here today. Will tell you about it later. Much later.” Written on the appropriate stationary, with the appropriate token of esteem. My version of a hail mary.
Gerald gets back to Milo after a few days. In effect, Milo gets permission to investigate and take action, even fatal action. However, if caught and tried, his action would be fully disavowed by the Church. The Church has come up dry in trying to determine if anyone knows of Rasputin, or his church affiliation if any. Gerald gives Milo a special parchment that when used with a [Know Alignment] spell will show a picture of the holy symbol of deity being worshipped.
Sebastian’s friend, Duke Luke Zaranova (and his wife), arrives in town and we have dinner on the 20th. He has rented a nice house and hosts the dinner. Zaranova is in the Polish military uniform, with Royal Hussar emblem, one of the Eagles. His wife Cait is pale and has a very strong Irish accent. Charming, really. Sebastian and Mery are already there. Zaranova reviews the Polish government structure, with the three branches of Legislative, Judicial, and Executive (the King). The King is elected by the nobility, including Knights (including all of us). Ultimately, some number of votes will need to be outright bought. Many nobles are coin-poor.
Zaranova wants to be part of the delegation to craft the Guild of Nations. And then, when I leave the Polish Kingship, Zaranova wants to become King. If all this goes through, likely the Guild of Nations will become reality. This in turn will help ensure that Poland remains a sovereign nation — the Guild currently appears to be the only long-term guarantee for this to happen. Other paths likely result in war, such as with Prussia or Russia. Russia has land and a lot of troops. Prussia has a lot of innovation and a strong military. I challenge him a bit to understand his motivations. He appears to feel very strongly in the Guild and has a rather exhaustive set of ideas and concepts to use. Being successful with the Guild would give Zaranova the experience and credentials to run favorably for Polish King.
King Leopold would normally leave office next Summer, at the end of his term. Elections would follow, with a new term starting January of 1914.
Zaranova has identified at least one other serious candidate for the election. Possibly, if both Zaranova and I offered him a deal, he might not be serious about running. And old soldier. I plan to meet him while in Poland, just to get to know him, not to make any offers as yet.
The Zaranovas ask about my preparations to set up in Poland, and I end up receiving Lady Zaranova’s and Mery’s promise of assistance. Mery’s will apparently be delegated to her Mother’s.
Mery visits her Mother to gain her help in setting up my house in Poland. She demurs, citing too many things to get done in Montenegro. Her Mother provides some name of good designers to consider.