At least he had gotten a meeting. That was the only thing going through Mike O’Hara’s head as he followed some underling deeper into the court where he would meet with not Grigore, but with the Principessa. Well, with a principessa. The other had nothing to do with the court from what he heard, and had been left on her own to fend for herself. It wasn’t a good position to be in, but the court had made clear they didn’t care what happened to her, so she was safer than she would be otherwise.
There would be no holding her hostage. She wasn’t worth it.
For that reason, she had largely been left alone. Or at least, he had given orders to leave her alone. Given his weakening grasp on the pack, having orders didn’t necessarily mean they were listening. When he found out about it, he punished severely, but that was all he could really do.
The vampire led the way to a set of doors and knocked on them. “Principessa Catarina will call for you when she is ready, wolf. Wait here.” The man didn’t remain, leaving Mike on his own. He sighed and closed his eyes, then waited, patiently. He was supposed to be meeting with Grigore. Meeting with Catherine was not ideal. Would she even be able to help him deal with this? He doubted it. It was more likely that they’d get into another argument and this would end with threats of fire. Again.
He believed her too. One of these days, she probably would gladly set him aflame. She was crazy enough to do it, the mad woman. It was just damned impossible to hold his temper when she managed to hit every single one of his buttons.
Catherine had very reluctantly agreed to meeting with Micheal or "Mike" O'Hara, alpha wolf of the Cedar Ridge pack. The two tended to get along explosively, and that didn't mean that either particularly enjoyed the other's company either. But Catherine also knew that something had to be done to keep a lid on whatever insanity was starting to spread through his pack like wild fire. The attacks on anyone even loosely associated with the court had been on the rise; even with as low a profile as she tried to keep, despite being Dallas's acting Warden, didn't necessarily mean she herself was immune.
The affairs of the court, her personal life, and career were not supposed to ever meet like this. But it seemed destined to be as such, much to her eternal consternation. All she had ever asked for was a quiet life, but instead had been thrust into what currently seemed to be passing itself off as excitement.
Looking at her watch, Catherine supposed she had made O'Hara wait long enough, to perhaps at least cool his heels and get his head screwed on straight about the situation. He was the one who had hounded her for a meeting after all, and when she wouldn't provide one had gone over her head to Grigore. That had not been a pleasant discussion, sire or not, Grigore had explained in no uncertain terms that for the good of the court this must be done. Their status with the mother court was already tenuous, and Brandon had further jeopardized things by his own actions.
"Enter." She said, knowing full well that any longer would test the wolf's patience like none other.
His patience was already tested. But that was almost to be expected when dealing with Catherine, wasn't it. He opened the door and managed a smile for her. "La Principessa. Thank you for seeing me." Though he would have much preferred her seeing him in a neutral, public, place. This made him more tense than he would like to admit. Still, he had managed to get a meeting and frankly that was better than he had been expecting. The closest he had anticipated getting to her was by talking to one of her specialists.
"I know we are often not at ease with each other." That was putting it mildly. "So I'm glad we could manage this meeting." Though he really didn't want to bother with her or anything about her, not when it came down to it. He wanted this all to be over with yesterday. The tensions between his pack and the court were serious enough that he had needed the meeting, he reminded himself.
Catherine didn't smile back, but then again that was her nature; to be reserved and closed off from most except those who were close to her, of which O'Hara was not one. "Of course Alpha O'Hara, please have a seat." She gestured towards a chair richly upholstered in a dark tobacco colored leather. Xiaolian had given her a brief summary of her own meeting with Mike O'Hara, but it had mostly pertained to the case and tea leaves. Catherine had been surprised that Xiaolian had even offered such a thing to the Cedar Ridge Alpha, but it was explained as a gesture of good will; something that was often forgotten about.
"I cannot say that I am not aware of the issues at stake between our two.. groups. I have told many of my courtiers and their fledglings to do everything they can to avoid provoking your wolves." And she had too, it had put a painful pinch on many of them for finding adequate areas to hunt, but it had been done. "But please, I wish you to tell me in your own words what is it you wished to discuss?"
He took the seat and nodded. "I'm here to discuss the tensions between our groups. I'm afraid they've been growing somewhat worse than usual." That was a polite way of saying that it hadn't been this bad in some time. "I had instructed my people to leave yours be, as I'm sure you have with yours, but that doesn't appear to be working." There were hot headed people in both groups and they both knew it. It wasn't the wolves alone who were doing this. "I have pin pointed the tipping point however. Tell me, what was the court thinking, turning Tyrus Rahal?"
He had been loyal yes, but could at least pretend neutrality and at least wouldn't live forever as a human. In some ways, dealing with the court was playing the long game, and that had been the plan with Rahal. Wait for him to die off. He was too powerful to go up against, and frankly it would be suicide to stand against him. The man breathed magic and it was disturbing. No one should have that much magic. It was unnatural. He was even-tempered and had largely been neutral. That had been his saving grace.
Catherine frowned and considered the question she had just been asked. There was no good way of phrasing it, or explaining it in a way that would even begin to cover what precisely had happened. "Principe Eliodoro was raised to eventually have the fate of being turned." She began choosing her words carefully. While in no mood to deal with O'Hara's nonsense, she was in even less to deal with Grigore should she send him away. "If your concern was that he was unwilling, then rest assured that is not the case." It wasn't entirely the truth, but Catherine couldn't even begin to know what lurked in the deepest recesses of her fledgling's mind. While it might have been possible to, she preferred to give him privacy; something that she often hadn't and still wasn't afforded.
Principe Eliodoro. He had never bothered remembering the man's court name before, and didn't plan on remembering it now. "My concern is the amount of power the court currently hold. Turning Tyrus managed to thoroughly upset the pack as a whole." Himself included. It had been political suicide. "You had to know that would happen. And the pack isn't the only entity upset by the sudden shift of power. Before, we could at least pretend that the man could pretend neutrality." He had been human after all, even if he had been a vampire prince. He had some loyalty to humanity, and at least didn't treat others as lesser, despite his upbringing.
"I am currently dealing with serious tensions in my pack and his turning played into that."
Catherine sighed, finding herself as annoyed as ever by this man's inane babbling about politics he didn't take time to understand or remember. While she couldn't fault him for not being a good leader for his pack's day to day problems, when it came to the bigger things Mike O'Hara was out of his league. He often choose to act based upon fear and aggression, instead of anything else. "I am not precognitive Alpha O'Hara, and neither did I choose to turn Eliodoro. At the time your pack was stable, and our choices were not based upon what your pack wanted or did not want." She explained patiently, wishing to be anywhere but where she was right then and there. Court maneuvering and politics had never been something she enjoyed, unlike the fae of courts where she had been raised.
"I understand that you are concerned about the balance of power within the unseen, but rest assured that Eliodoro still maintains the same position as before the turning. He participates seldom, unless required, and currently over sees the reform of Broadmoore in addition to his students." It was largely maintaining the status quo for Tyrus, and it was much the same for Catherine. "Eliodoro's turning would have happened regardless of whom the court was comprised of." That she could stand firm on. Tyrus's parents would have done anything not to loose their trump card and continued hold over the Dragon Court. But the Dragons of the Sun were no longer in power, and the only one left of their so called lineage was Tyrus, who had been quickly brought into the folds of the Constantin family.
"The former court would never have chanced losing him. Not given the unnatural power he wields." And had they turned him, there would have been a chance he had been knocked down to the abilities of a normal vampire and not whatever he was now. Still unnatural. "Do I have your word that he will maintain his position? That he will not decide to change his positions despite this new complication, principessa?" She would enforce it at least. He had no doubt she was considered the one in charge between the two of them.
This was important enough to demand her word though. The idea of having to deal with Tyrus working actively with the court and not passively with them more as a favored patron than anything else was abhorrent. It was also incredibly dangerous to any balance of power and without her word, he'd have to find a way to bring the mage down to his knees.
"I cannot and will not enter into a contract by my word with you Alpha O'Hara. Nor will I broker any transaction with you." Catherine stated bluntly. Despite her status as a fully fledged vampire, she still had some of the manners of a fae about her. That included promising anything to anyone, to her this was a contract that served to benefit no one but O'Hara and risked the life of her fledgling; something she would never do. "I make no bargain or oath to you Alpha, as to do so would not benefit me nor Eliodoro."
While Tyrus very well may have continued to maintain his current position and status with the court, Catherine wasn't going to stop him should he decide otherwise. Mike O'Hara could demand all he wanted, but she had yet to see the benefit of doing so. "But I will offer you this of my own free will... within your pack is a mask and no doubt Boyuan has informed you that your time runs to a close." Catherine added. The Ba-Shu specialist whose loyalty as a patron to the court had proved beneficial so far. "This mask is the root of your problem, not a fledgling of the court."
"I see." And he did. "I am aware of the mask. I've informed Lieutenant Boyuan of all I know of where it may be. I will speak to my pack later tonight." The court was going to cause more trouble, wasn't it. If she wouldn't give her word, then that meant they had a plan to actually use the mage. He'd have to ensure that wasn't possible. What a situation to be in. Still, It was a situation he had no choice in. If Tyrus could not be ensured to be held away from the court, then he'd have to take action to ensure that he couldn't.
It would be a shame. Tyrus was a good man, if thoroughly unnatural. He'd be missed in the community.
"Of course and Lt. Boyuan has also informed me about this as well. I am admittedly concerned for you and your pack Alpha, it would be unfortunate if this were to become much more than it already has." Catherine couldn't help the thinly veiled threat, there was something about how O'Hara had responded to her refusal that concerned her. If he wanted to play this game, then he was going to regret it, she would make sure of it. Given that, it would even allow her to act on a long held grudge against the pack.
"Is there anything else? You requested this meeting and I did after all agree to it."
His eyes narrowed. She'd probably stick her nose in and make it worse than it already was. That was great. Just what he needed. "I have nothing else. I had intended it to be a brief meeting regardless. We don't do well when together too long, principessa. I am aware of this." There was a reason they didn't get along after all. "Is there anything you have for me?" He might as well get it out of the way now. After all, they so rarely actually spoke to each other. Though he was expecting her to say nothing.
Catherine met O'Hara's gaze head on with a nasty smile, and this time did not bother to hide her nature beneath the smoke and mirrors of magic. This was a mortal meddling in the affairs of an immortal and she had so far been kind enough to not remind him. "There is the matter of a girl... turned not less than 3 years ago by your pack, unwillingly I might add." She knew he wouldn't know anything about it, as his influence had not been far or widely enough reaching to reign in those of his pack who saw werewolves as the apex of man and beast.
If he was so arrogant as to believe that his grip had only recently been slipping, then Catherine was all too willing to prove otherwise.
"That girl died and adds a body count to what your pack already has."
"Three years ago a girl came to be turned." He said simply. "She didn't make the transition, but she was willing. All my wolves are willing." He was firm on that one. "Her name was...Emily, yes? She was sweet. she had been dating one of mine for some time. Once she transitioned, they planned on marriage." It was best if both were wolves for that, after all. "And our body count is certainly less than your own, and less than the count of the butchers you keep in the royal family. People talk, principessa. And having a prince commit a trial by fire because of his own gluttony certainly made the news." Emily had died, but his body count was still significantly less than what hers was.
But if she was going to bring up a dead wolf-to-be then he would bring up the murders committed by her own nephew.