Words of Honor

The locale was the same and so were the faces. As far as Sonny could tell, allegiances hadn't shifted much from the last session of the Council.; there were several matters to be dealt with at the meeting, which were being held in the same secluded lodge in the mountains. But if he had thought it as going to be business as usual, it seemed that many things had changed since their last convocation. There was also a new and possibly ominous twist. Anton Mason was rumored to be present. If there was any such thing as a boss of bosses, he was it. Supposedly retired, but still very much aware on the operations on the East Coast, and, it was rumored, with strong allegiances owed him from coast to coast and in international circles as well, it was rare for him to leave his own base of operations. Out of the reach of any jurisdiction, he lived on one of a series of islands in the Caribbean, with rare visits to the mainland.

And it seemed as if everything and anything had to be dealt with before his own case was brought to the table. Sonny wondered if it was a deliberate tactic. Tempers became quickly set on edge from the beginning. Instead of a smooth transition of power, Sorel's situation had instead transformed itself into the fuse that had apparently lit the entire eastern seaboard organizations. The young bloods were volatile; the elder heads very much concerned. Wars were threatening what once had been stable business agreements as Sorel's fall from power left a vacuum to be filled.

It was four days after his arrival, that the matter that had brought him was even brought to the table. Sonny was first forced to sit through long argumentative sessions of the council as the division of Sorel's territories were discussed. And discussed. Endlessly. There were claimants to the throne, of course; and those claims had to be addressed. And beyond that, they needed assurances that he would not interfere. Every one of them wanted Sonny's reassurance that no further retaliatory actions would come from him.

For the twentieth time, it seemed, Sonny replied that it had been Sorel that had made there differences into open conflict. Sonny had always tried to keep it at a business level. But he felt himself being slowly pushed to the edge of his patience. For what felt like the hundredth time, he reiterated his position. "Sorel broke his word numerous times to me…at no time did I retaliate as I could have. I made every attempt to keep the peace. But Sorel insisted on making this personal."

"Personal." stated Alberto Mason. "That brings up the matter of Eliana Salazar."

"What is there to bring up?" Sonny says. "It was an unusual set of unfortunate circumstances, but it was all very coincidental." Sorel had been one of Mason's lieutenants before choosing to go solo. Sonny had to wonder where Mason's allegiance would place him.

"How can we be sure that this situation was as coincidental as you purport it to be? There are some of us who think that perhaps we should question this woman for ourselves, so that we may be assured of her continued cooperation… and silence."

"So now you question her honor? Eliana Salazar…"

A new voice interrupted. "Eliana Salazar Corinthos, " a former lieutenant of Sorel's said from his place at the far end of the table. Now he stood and casually walked to a side table, pouring himself a glass of wine. The motion served its purpose, all eyes came to rest on him; he had the room's undivided attention. "If the story is to be believed, she is your sister. But perhaps that's fabricated…that's as much a possibility as it is the supposition that neither you and she claimed to have no knowledge of this little fact before she joined the organization."

Sonny stared at the younger man for a moment, as though suddenly discovering a bug crawling into his sight. Then he continued as though the other had never spoken. He wouldn't allow some hot head provoke him into reacting. "….Eliana Salazar gave her word and she kept it. Even in the face of physical danger to herself brought on by Sorel, she kept faith and divulged nothing."

"Proving her loyalty to you…not to the Council."

Sonny seethed inside with rage. After all she had been put through at the hands of that animal, they dared question her? All that would do was bring the memory of her attack back to the forefront of her mind. Sonny had watched as she had struggled to put those events behind her, had watched the old spark come back to life as she had moved ahead with her life, regaining most, if not all, of what he had feared she'd lost at Sorel's hands, and then watched with unexpected pleasure as she and Jason had drawn close to one another.

There was no way in hell he was going to allow anyone to take that away from her. That determination turned his dark eyes hard and put a challenging tone in his voice that he wouldn't even attempt to disguise or control. "She's kept her word. Her honor should not be compromised any further than it has already been."

The questions came, as he'd expected. To each that asked from around the table, his answers were ready.

"We know that the PCPD has shown an inordinate amount of interest in Ms. Salazar. If at any time in the future they should manage to get to her in any way, the results could be very -- unpleasant."

"What happened to her because she kept faith with the Council, was more than unpleasant. The supposition that she should be made to answer here is an insult to her honor. An insult to mine."

"So , this is a matter you feel very strongly about?"

"Very strongly." Threat and counter threat, all given in calm and steady tones.

Another spoke. "How much of this is emotional -- personal -- and not a rational business decision?"

"Every decision I make has always been in the best interest of business." Sonny said. "If you mean to insinuate -"

"I insinuate nothing…I say that emotions can not be allowed to rule here."

"And they don't. Have I ever been known to allow emotions to rule me or any of my decisions?" Sonny demanded of the Council. "But Eliana is my sister. She is of my blood. That makes it personal. Sorel attacked her because she is my sister. He made it personal. What is mine, I protect. Even if she weren't, I would protect her. At your own direction, she came to work in the territories I hold. She performed her duties and kept faith with the agreement she made. She still does. But she is my sister, and as such, I take her word is as good as my own. Or will you question that as well?" The open defiance in his eyes touched on each and every member at the table and came to rest on his adversary for a second longer than the rest. "If any here care to doubt my word, let them do it ….now."

He knew that there were those who were taking his measure and weighing his words, friend, foe and neutral. This was the world he lived in. The weak were prey for the strong, the strong, prey for the very strong. Weakness and indecision were not options here. Only strength - and power - were accepted and respected.

Finally Mason nodded. "Very well,, Mr. Corinthos. Your word is accepted, as always. After today, the matter will be laid to rest."

Sonny's eyes flicked around the room. There were few outward reactions, except from among the younger set. His challenger made an aborted reaction of disgust, but someone near him placed a restraining hand on his arm before he could speak. Sonny marked him…he was trouble for the future. But today…today he had won.

The rest of the day's business passed by almost in a blur. He had no great interests in the ending procedures but was relived when the last of them were over and the Council officially disbanded. Sonny didn't linger, but ordered his driver and car to take him to the private airfield. Falconi rode with him. When they were both comfortably seated, Sonny raised the partition between the driver and themselves. He reached into the small bar and poured them both a drink. Silently they touched glasses and drank deep.

"I'll keep an eye on Sorel's boy. He's ambitious." Falconi said. "And not quite as stupid as his former employer."

"I'd noticed." Sonny replied "I suspect there will be more than a few that plan to keep their eye on him."

"No doubt. But he's no fool. From what I've been able to find out, he's made some very powerful friends in the last few years. I think he's planning on establishing his own power base. And Port Charles may be where he plan to base his operations. It's nice and quiet there, a perfect place to start up"

"I'll accord him the same respect as I offered Sorel in the beginning. As long as he keeps to his own concerns and doesn't interfere with me and mine, we can peacefully coexist. Of course, if he chooses to follow the path of his former employee, he may just meet the same fate." Sonny permitted himself a wolfish smile.

"And that would be a shame." Falconi shared his grim humor with a feral grin of his own. "You know you have my support, as always."

"And if I haven't shown my appreciation, next time you find yourself in my neck of the woods, be sure to let me know. We'll do something." He offered his hand to his friend.

Falconi took it. "It will be my pleasure."

They arrived at the private airfield a short time later. The two men said their goodbyes quickly. As the sun began to set, Sonny stood on the tarmac, watching as the limo pulled away and headed back towards the main highway. He boarded and the plane quickly took off into the evening sky.

Only after they'd reached cruising altitude, did Sonny allow himself to relax. He had won - with his and his sister's honor intact. Somehow, for once, another's honor had been more important than his own. He allowed his thoughts to take him away as he stared out in the darkening skies. The gathering clouds darkened as the sunset and then the moon rose, pale against the darkening skies. Then even its light was swallowed by the thickening mists and clouds.

The intercom crackled. "Mr. Corinthos, we appear to running into some unexpected turbulence." The pilots voice filled the cabin. "I'd advise you fasten your seat belts and ..well, we'll deal with it the best we can and get you back to Port Charles as soon as possible."

As if in answer to his words, the Lear jet bucked and swayed in the suddenly turbulent skies.


"Too bad your plan didn't work."

"I never expected it to." The answer came smoothly. "At least not the way you think. I achieved my objective and that was to plant a seed. This was always a long term plan. I told Sorel not to rush into anything, not to come at Corinthos with a frontal attack, but he never was one to listen to good advice."

"And look where it got him."

"Exactly. And I don't intend to make the same mistake. Sorel left himself with no line of retreat. Along with coming at his enemy with a brutal frontal attack, to have no alternatives in place was a bad tactical decision. Subtlety has its place, Jonesy…take notes." He laughed and his companion joined him. The other man's voice was filled with admiration.

"I intend to do just that, Mr. Roscoe."