There is not much that can be said of Tokavsk’s king. Stergye is a hard man, perhaps harder than he need be, but the same can be said for nearly all monarchs. He is the second member of his noble house to be raised to the throne, and he carries that fact with him wherever he goes. House Tallat is one of the smaller Houses in the kingdom, and his ascension fifteen years ago was a surprise to say the least. I noticed that some of his contemporaries in the more powerful houses—Shanay, Helkat, and Jondrav—bore resentment toward him.
Much of what I gathered of his character was through rumors. As such, I am not certain as to their veracity. Some said his hardness makes him cruel, others said it is a front and that he is more emotional than he lets on. Those of his age and older who competed for the crown say he is willing to leave the fat on if it means he stays ahead. He is both ambitious and meandering, angry and carved of ice, personal and distant. He did take my interests into my consideration, so I can testify that the rumors of his stubborn refusal to listen are false. When I did interact with him, I tried to assign the traits I had heard to the man standing before me and found little success. He is as elusive as he is public, methinks. He said little about Your Majesty beyond what he thought of Your policy toward the Hentars, but beyond that he took care not to let me observe his character.
You wanted me to study him for violent tendencies, and I am afraid I have failed this part of Your request. I spent little time around him, instead conducting most of my affairs with administrators toward our Empire. He remained a figure lurking on the fringes, never quite emerging from his hiding space.
There was one rumor that warmed my brain the most. I heard it but once, but it has stayed with me since. The young Lord Mortshana said in idle conversation that the time would soon come for Stergye to select his heir, as he is nearing fifty. I asked him what this would mean for diplomatic affairs. He did not answer me, just returned to his frivolous chatter. I took his evasion to mean the tensions in the Tokavskan court would reach a breaking point, but I could not be certain.
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