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A Herald's Work is Never Done

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Louis Montjoy, chief French herald, poured his fifth cup of coffee of the night. He was up, yet again, in an all-nighter to prevent a war, this time with the low countries. What brought him to this was convoluted and quite frankly ridiculous-- but international diplomacy was always a powder keg.

He'd made a sort of graph on his wall of notes, photos, and flags, all connected by red ribbon. It quite frankly looked like the work of a serial killer. He just had to figure out where everything connected. There had to be some common denominator. He also had to make several calls.

"Come on, pick up..." Montjoy begged to no one in particular as the phone on the other end rang. After three rings, the other side answered.

-----

The Constable's phone was ringing. At 3 am, which was never a good sign. He groaned but picked it up, blearily trying to read the caller ID and hit accept. Orléans shifted beside him but didn't wake up.

"D' Albret," the Constable mumbled.

"Charles. Oh good, you picked up. There's a situation needs addressing." It was Montjoy on the other end.

"Can it wait?"

"No. Sorry to wake you up but this is urgent. It has to do with last night." Somehow Montjoy sounded perfectly coherent and awake.

"I've been trying to forget last night, thank you very much," the Constable said.

"Do you still have him?"

"Have who?"

"You know who I mean."

"Yeah. Unfortunately." Orléans, on the verge of waking up, kicked the Constable, who was still in bed. He took that as a cue to get up and take the conversation elsewhere. He stumbled to the living room. "Yeah. He's on my couch, passed out."

"What happened after I left?" Montjoy asked.

"Charles and I got him into the back of the car and left," the Constable replied. "He was still awake then. Passed out when we got back, not sure if it was the drink or the fight." He sat down at his desk.

Montjoy sighed. "He's the reason this whole thing is happening. He punched the ambassador from the Netherlands."

"I seem to remember that guy from Belgium being involved too," the Constable said. "Or was that wishful thinking."

"I don't know what that means," Montjoy said.

"He was drunk," the Constable continued, ignoring Montjoy.

"That's even worse," Montjoy said. "It reflects beyond poorly on the royal house if the prince gets smashed in the first place, and then gets into a fight with an ambassador." He sounded increasingly agitated.

"So what's the damage?" The Constable asked, failing to suppress a yawn.

"I got a very angry call from the Dutch consulate," Montjoy said. "And, the public relations man from England, Exeter, is on my back because England wants part of the deal that we're probably going to lose now."

"Of course they do," the Constable mumbled. "So am I damage control? You realize that I'm not Louis's father, right?"

"Yes I realize that. However, you are his father’s second in command, and... it hasn't been a good couple of weeks."

"Yes, I know. " The Constable didn't want to talk about it any more than Montjoy did. "Alright, you want me to call the shots."

"Don't let it go to your head, Charles."

"Of course not. Who else did you say is involved in this mess?"

"England isn't fully involved yet," Montjoy said, "but judging by what Exeter said in our last meeting, they want to be, so we have to keep King Henry on our good side. And of course the Netherlands. And I got an email from the Bosnian consulate, so I suspect they're not too happy with the Prince and the Dutch ambassador getting into a fight during a party they were holding."

"Sounds reasonable," the Constable replied.

"One more problem. If the deal doesn't go through properly, we may have damaged our relationship with the Netherlands beyond repair, which according to my projections will result in the entire Benelux hating us, which we can't afford at this point."

"Okay, just get England on our side. Call Exeter and get him online in a call with us."

"I can do one better, if I have to," Montjoy said.

"Okay, whatever. Gimme like five hours more sleep, I'll call you back."

"Alright, I'll talk-"

But the other end had already ended the call. Montjoy suspected the Constable had fallen asleep.

He wished he could too.