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The Rat's Love Letter

The year 202 RE was a tumultuous one in the city of Namor. A member of the revered Octarchy, the Upper Chamber of the Republic's government, found himself embroiled in a scandal that rocked the political landscape, tugged at the intricate webs of the city's subcultures, and gave rise to a notorious anecdote that still echoes in the city's back alleys and busy streets.

Contents

A Political Blunder

The Octarch, named Halden Bevrin, hailed from the distant province of Western Namoria, a fact that made him an anomaly in the Namorian political sphere. Known for his strict demeanour and lack of familiarity with Namor's more obscure customs, Bevrin's innocence was put to the test in a mishap involving a love letter, a rat handler, and a city bulletin board.   The scandal began when Bevrin, in a moment of sentiment, penned a love letter to his secret lover, a renowned opera singer, Isolde Veranni. However, skimping on the rat handler's fee, he opted for a cheap rat and an easily decipherable Rat Cant. The letter, carried by an innocent rat, was intercepted by a city guard and promptly posted on the public notice board - a common practice with intercepted encrypted messages, intended to encourage public code-breaking for rewards.

A City's Pastime Turns into a Political Nightmare

A local pastime, the decoding of messages became a race against time and each other. Within days, multiple denizens of Namor had deciphered the letter's contents. Expecting a standard reward for their efforts, they were shocked to unearth a love affair of one of the city's top political figures. The combination of Bevrin's fawning, desperate love pleas, abysmal attempts at poetry, and the revelation of an affair with the famous Isolde Veranni, set the city ablaze with gossip and scorn.

The Backlash

The fallout was swift and relentless. Halden Bevrin, embarrassed and under scrutiny, tried to shift the blame onto the city guard for posting the letter. He used his political influence to impose more regulations on both rat handlers and rat catchers, even personally funding the latter to catch more rats. This move, however, was not well-received. It only served to escalate tensions between the rat handlers and catchers, threatening to ignite a second Rat War.

The Resolution

The situation was only defused when the Namor City Council and the Voicebearer, the elected leaders of the Lower Chamber, intervened. Keen to avoid complicity in a scandalous cover-up, and perhaps as an act of defiance against a non-native Octarch who lacked understanding of the city's customs, they rejected Bevrin's changes.   However, the incident did leave a lasting impact. The city guard became more discreet about posting intercepted messages, even if the occasional eager guard still sometimes forgets. Whenever such a message does get posted, the public's fervor to decode it now carries with it the thrill of potential scandal, a legacy of Halden Bevrin's infamous love letter.

Political and Personal Consequences

Octarch Bevrin faced a political maelstrom in the aftermath of the publication of his embarrassingly sentimental love letter to his mistress, Isolde. Even in the traditionally forgiving Republic of Namor, Bevrin's blatant indiscretion was considered a scandalous affront. Not only did it reveal his extra-marital affair, but it also laid bare his naivety and lack of understanding about the cultural nuances of Namor City, particularly the usage of Rat Cant and the rat handlers.   As a result, the Octarchy was thrown into chaos. Bevrin's political rivals seized the opportunity to undermine his authority, using his affair and the letter as proof of his incompetence and ill-judgment. The public outcry was intense, with many citizens demanding Bevrin's immediate removal from the Octarchy.   In a desperate attempt to salvage his political career and personal reputation, Bevrin made a public apology to his wife, Eridessa Bevrin. The sniveling, tear-filled apology, however, did little to placate the public's outrage. If anything, it further served to cement Bevrin's image as a pathetic figure of ridicule.   Eridessa, a highly respected and formidable woman in her own right, accepted her husband's public apology with an icy grace. In a twist of events, her stoicism and dignified handling of the scandalous affair gained her an outpouring of public sympathy and support.   However, the personal consequence for Bevrin was far more severe. Eridessa, deeply humiliated and hurt, chose to sever their marital ties. The separation was amicable in public, but insiders spoke of Eridessa's wrath and the severe penalty Bevrin paid in terms of their shared wealth and properties.   On the political front, while Bevrin managed to hold onto his seat for the remainder of his 8 year term, his influence was significantly diminished and he never stood again. His political career never fully recovered from the scandal, and his name would forever be associated with the incident now popularly known as "The Rat's Love Letter."

The Opera

Isolde, the gifted opera singer and Bevrin's ex-mistress, found her career taking an unexpected turn in the wake of the scandal. Prior to the incident, she was known for her remarkable performances in tragic operas. Her emotive voice and stunning stage presence were known to move audiences to tears. However, after the very public revelation of her affair with Octarch Bevrin, she found herself in the middle of a scandal that was more comic than tragic. Her relationship with Bevrin, coupled with the ludicrous content of his love letter, had become the talk of the town.   Recognizing the situation for what it was, Isolde decided to adapt rather than resist. Leveraging her newfound notoriety, she started taking roles in comedic operas. She particularly excelled in playing characters who were involved in ludicrous love affairs, often drawing from her real-life experiences. The audiences adored her performances, and she soon developed a reputation as a gifted comedic actress.   Isolde also used her experience to introduce a new opera to the Namor repertoire, titled "The Rat's Serenade". It was a comedic opera that cleverly parodied the incident, with a thinly veiled representation of Bevrin as a bumbling, love-struck noble who gets embroiled in a ridiculous love affair. The opera was a resounding success, further cementing Isolde's reputation as a talented and versatile performer.   Despite the personal turmoil the scandal caused, Isolde managed to turn it into an opportunity. Her career, once defined by tragic roles, now thrived in the realm of comedy. While she never publicly spoke about her affair with Bevrin, her clever parodies and sardonic performances told their own story, making her a beloved figure in Namor's cultural scene.
Type
Text, Letter
Medium
Paper
Location

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Cover image: by tarkinlarson using MidJourney

Comments

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Jul 27, 2023 08:21

I clicked to see rats, and stayed for the interesting and captivating story! I especially love how Isolde turned the incident to her favour. The whole rat post system is super cool too.

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