Nova Arpad, what a more foolish Ventrue I have not met. Her attempt at being discrete, to not expose her weakness, may have given a window she would not want others to view in.
Stolen jewelry, and who does she turn to? Neighboring princes, specifically those of a particular coterie, who have fewer allies in the area. Using princes as common sheriffs.
She did not pursue the thieves herself. She was afraid to leave her domain. She has at least two havens. She is showing a fear, a weakness of position. Perhaps, just perhaps, it would be to our advantage to exploit this position.
She used some very rough tactics on a mere peasant rabble. On a spy, I could see them. But on someone unable to even read? What useful information could she gain from him? She turned to torture not out of spite or anger, but out of fear. Does she see daggers in every shadow?
Why did she not let the thief go? Aside from the idea of sentimentality, she cannot expose weakness. If she let the robbery pass, the fear that the thieves would talk will stay in the back of her mind. The same form of fear as drove the use of the rack on an ignorant fool.
She is alone, cut off from aid. She had noone else to turn to. She did not turn to us out of loyalty, or a boon, but because we were the only choice she had. Mercenaries talk of their jobs. Princes know discretion. But Radu, Dragomir and Otto have no love of Nova, after her attempt to seize control over multiple cities at once during the formation of the Council of Ashes. We came after, so we were isolated from her past sins.
Weak, clearly weak. And unlike Radu, she clearly has no strong allies to rely upon. She must stay put, or else she will lose her domain. Yes, a very easy target indeed, and too tempting not to pursue.
I shall continue my correspondence with Etrius, suggesting that the Tremere look into using Nova as a gateway for access to the Ventrue of the Holy Roman Empire. Placing a similar bug in Prince Hardestadt, may be able to work on this from both sides at once.
Then, we just need to increase the pressure on Nova. A dead inquisitor, in her domain? A lot of questions will be raised, a lot of answers will be found. Add in that fear to her existing, and giving a door out to the Tremere, I believe she will willingly flee her own domain.
But what then? A city needs a prince, and a power vacuum will appear. As Elvira has run into walls with Radu, she seems the ideal candidate to move into an open and empty city, freshly cleared out of the Ventrue currently in control. And she would be near by to two allies, a good strategic retreat. Yes, Elvira in Mediasch, leaving Radu open to all sorts of options without the need for getting our own hands dirty.
I will need to bring this up with Elvira when we next meet. Switching from a tougher target to a softer one is perfectly valid when an opportunity presents itself. And present it has.
Nova, we could have been allies. But your arrogance just could not deign yourself to admit that you need them. Such a pity.