Grigori the Dwarf returned to Count Viktor’s private apartments at Castle Buda from the adjoining parlor. “The meeting seemed to go rather well, Your Excellency.”, he said as he entered the large sitting room.
Viktor snorted. “That’s because your intellect matches your stature. Throw a log on the fire.”
Ignoring the insult, Grigori went to the fireplace and added another log to the fire. “Baron Lázár said he would speak to his daughter on your behalf and present your offer. What more could you expect from him?”
Viktor paused to take a sip of brandy from a small crystal goblet, then continued. “It isn’t what the Baron said, Grigori, but rather that he hesitated in his answer.”
“I don’t understand, Your Excellency.”
“Of course, you don’t. I’ll explain so that even you can understand it.”, Viktor answered in a weary tone. “Lázár has one daughter and no sons. Why he failed to see to her prospects years ago is a mystery I intend to unravel. Was the Baron negligent? Nothing else about him suggests a propensity for negligence, so I doubt it. That means he must have been either unwilling or unable to provide for his daughter’s future. By making an offer of betrothal I am forcing the answer to that mystery to the surface. Had he been unable to find a husband for his daughter, he would have accepted my offer immediately rather than make me wait. That means the Baron is unwilling, which could be for one of two reasons. Either he does not trust me or the decision was somehow not his to make. Either answer makes Baron Lázár an unreliable ally, and I have no use for those.”
“So, you still mean to go forward with your plan, then?”, the dwarf inquired.
“”Yes, I do. Once the queen gives birth and you have seen to King Matthias’ scion I want you to leave immediately afterward for Torda. I’ll make arrangements for the Baron and his family to be engaged here socially for several days afterward. That will give you plenty of time to set things in motion.”
“Yes, Your Excellency.”