We should try to clear these guys as suspects first since it would be nice to have some allies. This might be a show of force to keep the empress in line, or an effort to install a more agreeable ruler. Since their political power is largely an extension of the power of the empress, they would be unhappy with an empress who isn’t doing a good job.
Populist Party or Establishment Party
Even though these guys are technically different political organizations, I can’t help but lump them together. These are the primary suspects. They both benefit from a stronger congress with respect to the empress. They might resent the Empress’s rising power, but they would probably be better served by keeping the empress busy and ignorant rather than replacing her. Seeding rumors so she spends her time and resources chasing false assassins might be exactly what they need.
Another group who should be loyal to the empress, but might expect the empress to be loyal to them.
It sure seems like he’s just an agent of some other force, but The Game is all about making things seem like they are not.
The Empress herself
This is the least likely, but also the most dangerous. Despite her professed disdain for The Game, the empress has been playing it with at least a little success. Maybe she is not as oblivious as she seems. This may be a plot to have the Black Foxes poke around and expose the secrets of her rivals. Or to get us to frame someone. Or to set us up as scapegoats for something. We will surely make a spectacle of ourselves, running around questioning people, standing guard in court. This would almost surely result in our arrest.
Other things to look into
- What happens on the Empress’s death? Is there a successor? How is a successor chosen?
- What if it’s just an empty threat and the underhand hasn’t been contracted at all? Who benefits from that?
- What political actions has the empress taken recently? What enemies might she have angered?