The warm glow of the vast throne room did little to melt away his skepticism. With his large frame perched at the edge of his elaborately decorated chair, he ceased his foot from stamping in impatience. His glaring gaze was fixed on the young slender woman standing before the Ruling Council. Her golden hair was pulled back away from her stern fair skinned face. Her eyes, were pale and sharp with conviction behind her words. She truly believed in all that she said and it made Minister Gosha sick. He couldn't help his gaze from bouncing from the woman to the others of the Ruling council. Their own expressions varied greatly from each other. But of the other five Ministers and Mistresses attending in session, it was the stout, unwavering neutrality of Duke Ahmarov. Seated on the throne situated on the steps before them he seemed relaxed but attentive. At his right stood Prime Minister Ulthare. Finally, she stopped talking. Her eyes searched the council as she drifted back to stand out in front of her vacant chair. The chair encircling the throne lend their focus back to the Duke in wait. Ulthare was silent his solid gaze gave nothing away. Gosha knew he and the Duke wouldn't say anything, so he would speak, he would stand for the people of Mandalore. Gosha rose to his feet, standing tall above the rest.
"Mistress Kryze, I've sat here now as you've presented your intentions and frankly, I am appalled." All eyes were on him now, especially Jorhee Kryze's strong gaze. "What possible good do you actually think would come about by handing Mandalore to the Republic?"
"You fail to understand, Minister," she said. "This is not submission, but an outreach. Our people are strong but we have reached the limit of growth from keeping within our system. Why not extend a hand of friendship to the Republic and watch our people thrive through expanded commerce?"
"Our history, Mistress," Gosha retorted sharply. He stood rigid and dignified with his glare sharper than his tongue. "I find it impossible to believe that the Republic will so easily forgive and forget the atrocities of our ancestors."
"It could be argued, Minister Gosha that they already have," another voice said from within the semi-circle of chairs. Minister L'rustan, was the oldest of the council, older even than the Duke of Mandalore. "The day of 'Buurenaar be Tracyn' nearly decimated us. And since, we have repented and evolved from our barbaric ways."
"Minister L'rustan, you and I both know all too well how rooted in tradition our people are. And they will be none too pleased to hear that we are considering crawling to the Republic," said another. Minister Gosha stood more upright and proud. Having the support of Mistress Tryss brought a smirk to his thin, crisp lips.
"The Republic itself has its own issues that I personally would prefer Mandalore not be involved in," added Minister Knolls. "Mistress Kryze," he said looking now to Jorhee. "You argue that our economy would be boosted by opening trade with the Republic. However, a grand majority of the Republic's commerce is tied in with the Trade Federation, and it is no secret the bouts of corruption and conspiracy that plague that guild.
"All that is needed is the right people to act and all they need, is for someone to start," Jorhee stated. Minister Knolls did not look convinced, nor any of the other faces that didn't shy away from their disapproval. At the front of the chamber, Duke Ahmarov stood from his throne. Voices went silent and all eyes fell on him.
"It is apparent nothing more can be decided about this matter in the last few minutes of this session. We are adjourned." All six of the Ruling Council stood from their chairs and bowed to the throne before filing away. Few of them mingled with hushed voices as they walked down the length of the hall to double doors ahead. Watching them go, Duke Ahmarov sighed. The Prime Minister inched closer to the Duke's ear.
"Mistress Kryze is going to bring a lot of trouble," he said.
"Perhaps," the Duke said. "Only time will tell."