Mon cher Leon,
His Lordship is attempting to use guild law to put pressure on me to make my home in Mont-Havre. It was delicately done, by a brief word from Jack—while I am sure he would like to have Tuppenny Wagons based in Mont-Havre our mutual venture was nowhere mentioned, but only the legal status of the Armorican Former’s Guild. I have put him off for the time being, but we must get our ducks in a row, as they say in Cumbria.
I enclose a copy of my letter to Jack, so that you know the full position; you are free to discuss it with him, if you think necessary; but I am concerned that he is in a delicate position himself, and I would not wish to put a strain on his loyalty to His Lordship. That would not be fair to him as a loyal and trusted aide, nor as my cousin and friend. But you will know best, I am sure.
I suppose I didn’t need to say any of that; and naturally you drew certain conclusions from having received this by arrow.
You had best read the letter to Jack before continuing.
What I chiefly need to know is the state of Armorican law (and of the city of Mont-Havre’s law, if there can be said to be such a thing, apart from Armorican law) regarding the establishment and maintenance of guilds. This must be kept quiet; I am sure you know someone who can help.
But second, as I most definitely did not discuss with Jack: I should like to know the laws regarding the establishment of new city charters. I have no wish to formally move the guild house to Bois-de-Bas; but at present I cannot even threaten to do so, as Bois-de-Bas is nothing more than a rather large village at present. That must change when our business grows larger and so I would have asked this question eventually in any event. I have discussed the possibility with a few of the folk here, with positive results (the idea of Bois-de-Bas being the second city of Armorica piques their vanity if nothing else) but of course we should have to have a town meeting to settle it. Before that, I should need to know precise details.
This question, you will understand, must be kept deadly quiet. I am sure that Armorica’s charter as a colony has rules for the chartering of new cities, rules that quite possibly no one has looked at in decades; we have been a backwater here, and our towns and villages haven’t needed the protection a city charter provides. As soon as the question is raised, however, there will be those who wish to change the rules to their advantage—and, possibly, to our disadvantage—and should we choose to pursue the matter I should like to have it a fait accompli under the law before any such legislation can be suggested.
I do not think we are in great danger, Leon; His Lordship is a reasonable man, and if necessary I will journey to Mont-Havre to speak to him myself. But my father taught me never to show my cards, and always to bargain from a position of strength. I find it distressing how useful his advice is becoming.