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By mid-3019, Coordinator Takashi Kurita, eager for his son to be married and produce heirs, has arranged a political marriage to Anastasi Sjovold, daughter of Jarl Ottar Sjovold, the governor of the Rasalhague Military District. Notably, the wedding will take place on Rasalhague, not on Luthien. On 22 September 3019, Coordinator Takashi Kurita is inbound to Rasalhague aboard Tai-sho Ivan Sorenson's Leopard-class DropShip Startreader, but the vessel has been sabotaged by a sleeper agent and rigged to explode just above the starport's command center to cause maximum damage.
A message from Warlord Marcus Kurita calls Theodore Kurita and Duke Hassid Ricol to the starport's command center as the DropShip approaches. They are confused when the Warlord is not actually present there to meet them. Jarl Ottar Sjovold manages to extract Theodore (and Ricol, who senses that something is amiss and invites himself) with an implausible explanation just before the ship crashes, causing widespread death and destruction at the command center. Sjovold brags that saved Theodore from Warlord Marcus Kurita's double-cross to ingratiate himself with his prospective son-in-law and future Coordinator, admitting his complicity. When Theodore rebuffs Sjovold, Ricol assaults and kills Sjovold, then claims that Sjovold had tried to stab Theodore with a blade lying near Sjovold's body, putting himself in Theodore's good graces.
Unexpectedly, Takashi Kurita has survived the plot: Ivan Sorenson took him on a passenger seat in his Grasshopper and they escaped by jumping the BattleMech from the stricken DropShip's 'Mech bay after shooting their way through the hull. In the aftermath, Sorenson is made Warlord of the Rasalhague Military District and Takashi orders the conspirators and their entire families executed, including Anastasi Sjovold. Marcus Kurita is "promoted" to Chief of Strategies for the DCMS and recalled to Luthien where Takashi can keep him on a short leash. Defiant after his pleas to spare the naive and innocent Anastasi fell on deaf ears with his father, Theodore makes a spur-of-the-moment decision to secretly marry Tomoe Sakade.
- Heir to the Dragon