It is not easy, being the First Peer of one of the five leading Families on the planet of First Home. Not easy at all, although some don’t appreciate the fact.
Why, only the other day, the idiotic Press linked me yet again with Adélaïde of Guignonne. I usually read “The Planet Voice”—it’s not stupid, like some of the other dailies—but Adélaïde… again? I’ll have to send my friend Vaire to speak to the editor and tell him to kill that particular story—or himself, if he prefers. It should never have appeared. As I say, it’s not easy being First Peer of Courvenier.
I do hope the Guignonnes are not feeling serious about getting me into a genetic partnership with their heiress. If they are, they’re going to be disappointed. They may need contracts with Courvenier, but Courvenier doesn’t need contracts with Guignonne. No, I can certainly pass on Adélaïde, but I’ll dance with her—very closely—at the next First Families ball and leave her hoping. That will be funny.
What I can’t ignore is Lewis Brock d’Haute-Forêt. If it wasn’t for him, I’d be the top First Peer, and one day, Courvenier would rule the whole of First Home. I’d see to that, and I’d do whatever might be needed to make it happen—and I mean, whatever.
I can’t do anything about it yet, because Lewis of the High Forest is always in my way. Lewis is too nice. He’s honourable, and I’m not. Scruples make for stupid moves, and you wouldn’t call me a stupid man.
The trouble is, the other Families like Lewis too much. He’s trustworthy, they say. Trustworthy? The man’s an idiot! Look at the opportunities for his own Family he misses.
He was sent to that funny little planet, Circe, to make contact with it again after hundreds of years, and he did nothing to get High Forest established as the main line of negotiation. Once he got back to First Home, he turned the whole thing over to the General Conclave and the Peoples’ Council, without keeping anything for himself.
But he did seem to make himself very popular while he was there, and he picked up a Circean woman, who’s a bit out of the ordinary, and I’ve got to admit, she’s taken my fancy. Vaire tells me to stop thinking about her, but that’s a bit difficult.
I made a bad mistake in following Lewis to Circe. How was I to know the place was so weird? It seemed to take a dislike to me—why, I can’t imagine. I’m a very reasonable fellow.
I was more than reasonable when we found that other planet Lantora, and I had to deal with their Primary Space Ops Director. He thought he could trap us. He suspected we have developed our time drive far beyond what they have, and naturally enough, he wanted it. But he made a mistake too. He thought force would do, when subtlety would have been far better. I am always subtle.
As it was, he lost out completely. I got the upper hand, and we left, but not before I had collected an intriguing fact which I think I will be able to use against Lewis.
Haute-Forêt is always on my mind. If it wasn’t for him I would be completely happy. But I’ve got time on my side, and I’ll keep on with my plans. I’ll have the Circean woman, and I’ll have Lewis d’Haute-Forêt, then the whole of First Home, as well. Just keep checking in with me. You should see some very interesting things happening.
Learn if Darland Courvenier’s plans come to fruition in Man of Two Planets by Judith Rook