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Originally written November 26, 2012.

"Lady Dawnfield, a pleasure to more properly meet you in person, and thank you for accepting my invitation."

 

"Afternoon. Your letter stated that you wished to speak of finances."

 

"Of course. But you neglected the rest of my letter regarding your health and your extended stay in Stormwind. I trust you are well?"

 

"I am well."

 

"And your stay in Stormwind, I imagine it will be two months more at the least, if you will pardon me judging you by your current size."

 

"At least."

 

"Ah. Well, then. Would you like to sit, have some tea, perhaps?"

 

"I wish to stand."

 

"Tea?"

 

"No, no thank you."

 

"Pardon my frankness, Lady Dawnfield, but your reputation for being rather direct proceeds itself."

 

"I prefer direct above all else, time is wasted on not saying what you precisely mean. Please be frank with me about the intent of this meeting."

 

"I can see then that frankness is the only language that you respond to. I can also see now why so many have called you barbaric in the same breath, you are near uncouth for a woman of your stature."

 

"Your letter wrote of finances."

 

"Why, yes. Indeed. Then perhaps I should remain frank: I uncovered quite the curiosity and I thought it my most important duty to raise my concern to you. After all, I am trusted among many to look over noble fortunes and am quite talented at noticing inaccuracies."

 

"I did not authorize such a study."

 

"I took the liberty, it is my duty to do so. After all, what is civilization without third-party checks and balances, yes?"

 

"Such as?"

 

"I peered into the finances of your order – the Rose, was it? – aye, a curious thing. Since taking up residence in Westguard, the cost of maintaining the outpost has gone up considerably. It has nearly tripled. Quite unfortunate, given the tightening belt of the Grand Alliance coffers. War after war is costly on us all."

 

"The Rose stores and uses its own supplies at Westguard and pays generous rent. No cost should be shouldered by the Alliance."

 

"Very odd, my Lady, it does not appear that way in the books. Perhaps your accountant is mistaken, or even embezzling their own funds? It is so difficult to trust people these days."

 

"The accountant is trusted."

 

"Pity, that would have been simpler. Of course, to be thorough, I recovered former bookings from your previous place of residence – may it be blessed – and noticed a similar phenomenon. Increased food costs, training facility wear and tear, even the cost of coal and oil to warm the keep. Of course, being as large as it was, such discrepancies in Theramore were likely easily unnoticed, would you say? Westguard is so much smaller and harder to hide."

 

"Each debt was paid in full at Theramore. Such costs were closely monitored and maintained by our accountants."

 

"Ah, but there is no such record in the Stormwind books, my Lady Dawnfield, and those are the books that the collectors keep tabs. I am quite familiar with the system and I can assure you: the books of others are quite prone to lie. We prefer tried and true methods."

 

"We can isolate the exact discrepancies when the Stormwind and Rose books are directly compared."

 

"You do not seem to catch my meaning, Lady Dawnfield. What the Rose books state is inconsequential. The books that matter show that there is a debt owed, and one that will be collected."

 

"I follow your meaning and detect a threat."

 

"My dear Lady, not by me. My intent is to inform you of this discrepancy."

 

"And nothing more?"

 

"Of course, not today, at the least."

 

"You are the messenger."

 

"Always the soldier. Yes, yes, to put in a way you may understand: do not shoot the messenger. Aye, I suppose that would be the correct term, but do not misunderstand my meaning. All I wish is for a peaceful outcome, and you appear to be a logical woman and therefore must desire such things."

 

"What is your meaning?"

 

"If you were to more blithely tend to court and be amicable with those who are friendly, I am certain that this debt could easily be paid of simply waived. It is certainly a misunderstanding and all that it needs is a bit of tending to by the eyes of the more gentile."

 

"No."

 

"My Lady, If I could recommend – "

 

"No."

 

"My Lady Dawnfield, you are being most unreasonable and pose a danger to – "

 

"Good afternoon and good bye."

Author Ari
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