Soft Diplomacy

by Bastinator

Bad End

The guards heft you by the arm through the courtyard and inside the keep. This isn’t exactly what you had in mind when you walked into Aviaris, but the guards were certainly anxious to give you the grand tour. “I think we got off on the wrong foot here. You see I’m a tourist and-“

”Shut up before we find a use for that mouth that isn’t talking.”

“You have a way with words my friend.”

The city looked about as shit as you remember if not worse, though Rinn was true to his word to a degree. The banners of war hang from the city walls like he promised. The war horns sound off in rhythm while the troops march in morning formation, this is true. Gryphonnia is on the verge of war and Rinn is all too happy to give it that last little push. “So how’re your love lives going?”

”I haven’t seen a female in months. Shut up before I make due.” Point taken.

You reach a familiar wing of the keep, the guards pushing you into Rinn’s old office. Rinn looms over some documents without raising his head, “What did I say about being interrupted?”

”Sorry sire, but we-“

”Cut half his rations for the next month,” he orders to his partner, “A gryphon should know better than to be disrespectful to his superiors.”

“Pretty sure that’s a universal lesson.”

The guard rails you in the stomach, “I said shut up!”

Rinn raises his head up to you reeling over in pain, “Anon. What a pleasant surprise.”

“The feeling’s mutual,” you wheeze out, your stomach going to have a permanent talon imprint now.

Rinn grins at your obvious predicament with the guards, “I think we can be alone. Dismissed guards.”

”Sire…” the guards hesitate lingering behind you.

Rinn is without remorse and glares at the two of them, “If you are not out of my sight in the next ten seconds you’re spending the next two months satisfying the carnal pleasures of your kin. Five, four…” That does the trick and sends them nearly running into the wall in fear.

“A little harsh but it does the trick.”

”They know I’m good on my threats after the last incident. These low lives have to learn who’s wields the whip and who is to yield to it.” Nothing’s changed with him, only his openness to his true self. “So… What brought you here? Skulking about looking to get a little revenge? Choose carefully where to place your dagger, because I’ve already chosen mine.”

Ah Rinn always the kidder. You make yourself comfortable and sit yourself in front of his desk, resting your feet up on his desk. ”By all means, make yourself at home.”

“Appreciated sir. Do you mind?” you ask reaching for his decanter.

”Not at all, if you don’t mind the taste of poison.”

“Don’t mind it? Rinn my dear friend, it adds half the flavor.”

He chuckles and sits back down, allowing you to give a quick glance over his documents. ”So what do I have the pleasure-“

“Your siege is going to fail that way, just saying…”

”Excuse me?”

Does he not know what you’re talking about? “The siege. You know, that thing you do to at fortified settlements and-“

”I know what a siege is. What is your interest in it?”

“Oh it’s no concern of mine. I’m just saying that you’re wasting a good deal of resources on a plan that isn’t going to work.” You take a sip from your glass and sigh happily. This really is the stuff of kings.


“Explain what?” you ask about to take another sip.

”Explain why the siege will fail.”

“Forget about it, I’m sure you have your ways.”

Rinn looks at you much the same way he did the guards, “It wasn’t a request.”

No need to get antsy mister. “Well first of all the western wall isn’t a good point geographically since it rests well above ground level. Your weapons would have the low ground reducing their range and effectiveness while they have the opposite.”

”Our fliers will have neutralized their own weapons by the time we start the bombardment.”

“I know you pride yourself on being good fliers, but the Equestrian Royal Guard is the one of the highest renowned militaries in the world. Plus, have you fought a foe that can use magic? You probably don’t get out much…”

”We already have agents ready to raise the main gate if our plan goes south.”

“Ah your changeling agents. Shining Armor’s been doing his fair bit of research into spells to detect their kind. I wouldn’t think your agent’s in a good spot right now.” Rinn grows irritable as you pick apart his battle plan which only brings a smile to your face. “Didn’t your Vice General go over these plans? Oh wait, you got rid of the most experienced war veteran in existence and replaced him with his blue balls son. Not a good move if you plan on waging war.”

Rinn finally breaks into laughter, a sarcastic laughter used to mask his insecurity maybe, but laughter nonetheless. ”Why are you here Anon?”

“I was just in the neighborhood and was wondering if you had that slot still open.”

His anger is replaced with curiosity, “You- You want to join me?”

“Why not? Even if this fails you’re going to win the long term campaign. I might as well side myself with the victor, am I right?”

”I honestly had lost hope you’d see the light,” he extends his talon, “Welcome to the winning team.” You stand and shake his talon, accidently stumbling and swiping the letter opener from his desk, “Easy there, we don’t want my new Senate Overseer breaking his leg.”

“Thanks. Now, let’s get down to business. How’re the reserves doing? Before you hit Canterlot we need to have a good grain reserve, otherwise we’ll be caught with our dicks in our hands.”

Rinn works his way around, “I might need to make you Vice General instead.”

“Wherever I can help,” you smile, your hand clutching the letter opener in anticipation.

”Come on, I’ve been having some problems with the local…” his voice fades off as he walks away from you, back turned, your heart pounding in your head. You walk silently behind him and cup his beak, using your superior height and position to your advantage. He struggles but a politician doesn’t have the same strength as a soldier, and you learned a few things thanks to your time in prison.

You push the letter opener against the flesh of his neck, his skin giving way as you slit his throat. His gargles catch the attention of the guards outside, but it’s too late as his body already lies twitching on the floor. You stand there in blissful peace even as the guards draw their weapons. All for your friends…