Blackshore Island - After Action Report
(There will be another of these later)
Dec. 30, 2017, 5 p.m.
Arx - Ward of the Compact - Society of Explorers - Charter Hall
Comments and Log
white-tailed eagle, other white-tailed eagle, 4 House Riven Soldiers, 1 Greenwood Tribe Blood Warriors arrive, following Mia.
The society of explorers has just finished restocking and returning equipment used on the most recent expedition, to the island of Blackshore. Sparte is standing center stage without his nervousness some know him for. His expression is depressingly serious, his backdrop a table with some broken pieces of rocks and glass.
At Sparte's side is Lou, who he says something quietly to before addressing the room. "Alright everyone. Thank you for your interest in this expedition. To those who participated, funded, or attended... Your help made this a quick and successful venture. We reached the island and did everything we set out to do, learned what we went to learn, and have established that Lady Skye Blackshore may yet be able to breath life back into her island home."
Ian might not really understand how these things work, because he raises a hand like a student and waits to be called on.
Wynna pales, staring into space.
Wynna opens her mouth and shuts it a few times, but she doesn't seem to actually have anything to ask.
Sparte gestures for Ian to go ahead. Since they want permission and all.
Lou nods solemnly to whatever Sparte says to her, and gives him a look of encouragement. She remains by his side as a continued show of support for one of the Explorers.
Archeron gently coughs, lifting a hand "I will dispatch orders out to the ships that escorted us from the Tyde Navy, Master Sparte. I doubt the Duchess will complain if they are kept a while longer to hunt for Lady Aislin, given her importance to the Compact and to us on a personal level. I doubt though that we will find much - the storm was unnerving in its apperance and I suspect we can all begin to suspect who has dominion over the sea and an interest in depleting us of our best." Archeron seems quite calm, despite it all.
Ian clears his throat. "Has anyone asked the marin'alfar" (the spelling of which the player is probably badly mangling) "if they have her?"
Bianca slipped into the hall quietly, taking a place near the rear and the door for the time being.
Shard stalks in--quietly--and circles around near the back of the gathering. Her expression is guarded, which is about usual for her, her eyes faintly narrowed.
Wynna absently stands and paces away from the fireplace, looking neatly shocked - more likely she just wanted to get away from everyone's eyesight for a bit while she works through the learning of that news.
3 Laurent Guards arrives, following Nicia.
Painbow, a militant pygmy goat, Rupert, the Laurent Archivist, Nicia arrive, following Cristoph.
When Mia arrived, it was surrounded by what was quickly becoming quite the entourage of Riven soldiers and one very tattooed Prodigal who, in his leathers and furs, looked the part all too well. She dismissed the bulk of them to stand near the door but, grim-faced, kept the tattooed man at her side as she sought out a seat and sank into it.
Reese looks toward Sparte. "I will do what I can to help search for her. I can speak to the Grayson Voices about allowing a ship of ours join the search."
Sparte nods to Archeron. "Thank you. I'll direct any other ships that volunteer to work with your own." He looks to Ian. "The ambassador left Arx and, to my knowledge, has not returned. If anyone knows how to reach the Marin'alfar I urge them to do so immediately and sort this if their help can do so." He considers the room. "This meeting is me taking action to help Aislin. It is dangerous, the seas will only grow more unpredictable. If one of our number were lost, anyone who goes back out may be next. So by all means, I accept your help. Just know this may be a fool's errand."
"Will you donate a piece of your scratch paper to the cause?" Ian asks Sparte.
When Sparte starts to give that speech, Fairen peers at the man and listens carefully to the details being presented. Then, as Archeron begins to speak, Fairen shifts and listens to him as well, the determination on his expression breaking with mild frustration. "You do not speak erroneously, except in your lack of resolve to find our Lady Aislin, my Lord. We have to try. We have to look for her." Then he shifts to address look at Reese. "Your highness, House Leary does not have many ships, but you may count them and my scouts at your disposal." He's already made a similar offer, but this one is intentionally publically said.
Aiden adds behind Reese, "I will aid on the search as well. There are friends I can see about asking." He looks down at the dog face in his lap and takes comfort from petting the beastie.
Cristoph arrives into the Society of Explorers with Nicia and takes up a seat towards the back. His expression is tense and he's quiet, seeming intent to listen at the moment.
Lou inclines her head to Archeron and Reese. "The Explorers thank you for your offers of help. We certainly do want to get our Pathfinder back, as I am also certain that House Grayson wants their Lady back as well." She offers each a smile, and nods in Aiden's direction as well.
Bianca granted a nod toward the entering Cristoph, remaining near the door though attention otherwise was turned towards those gathered and discussing plans of action.
Delilah chimes in, "I believe that speaking to the Marin'alfar will be our best bet -- Assuming nothing turns up on the shores, there's not too many other options." She paused for a moment before pointing out, "I fear that sending others out by boat /will/ be a fool's errand. There's no way you're going to find her like that. It's... It's improbable and needlessly dangerous."
Captain, the Small Dark Brown Fox Kit arrives, following Valerius.
12 Thrax Elite Guards, Crow - Thraxian Steward, Lilybelle - Fluffy Maine Coon arrive, following Victus.
Dame Marra, a limping fennec fox, Valerius, Victus arrive, following Ailith.
Ailith finds a seat nearest where Bianca resides and leans close to the Archlector to murmur.
Reese turns her attention in Fairen's direction, giving him a nod. "thank you." She says toward him. She then turns to Aiden. "Okay, Aiden, that would be good to have you with me. Although.." She says, sounding like she is about to say more. The more empathic might realize she is worried for his safety. She never finishes thought, but just looks pale. She then turns to Lou, giving her a sister a somber smile. She then turns to Delilah, looking thoughtful. "You might be right and yet, I don't know how to find the sea elves. I think we should prayer to the gods for advice."
Shard crosses her arms over her chest. One eye narrows, but for the moment she's staying entirely silent.
Victus enters alongside Ailith and at the side of his cousin Valerius. He's brought rum from the sounds of clinking bottles under his arm and he does not look very happy. But then again, when does he ever? He tilts his head to Valerius and then to a pair of empty seats, filtering in with this cavalcade of guards and setting into a seat.
Ailith has joined the Table 2.
Victus has joined the Table 2.
Carissa, a Malvici bodyguard arrives, following Eirene.
Ian takes note of Victus's coming, and seems to lose interest in the scratch paper, in favor of moving to join him at his table. Hopefully that's okay. He doesn't ask this time.
Ian has joined the Table 2.
Valerius has joined the Table 2.
Sparte takes out a journal and tosses it to Ian. It is mostly empty. "Try your directions. The sea elves, the gods, a true sailing vessel and fair winds. Ask allies, ask enemies." He swallows. "We will be delivering Lady Aislin's weapons and her travel packs, which were left within her cabin, to the Ashford family. Until such time as the lady is recovered... Or instructions are found on how to distribute her personal effects. Should she have left any."
Bianca leaned into the offered whisper from Ailith inclining a small nod.
Lou glances over at Sparte, asking, "If you were given maps or charts, would you be able to pinpoint the location where the storms started? And where you think it tossed you? If there were any bits of land nearby those areas, it's possible ships could search any land masses in those areas, atolls or islands, to see if she was washed ashore." She glances to Delilah, "Not to discount the Marin'alfar connection, but with Prince Venteri gone, I'm not sure there is a way to contact them again. Unless members of House Thrax know of a way," her eyes alight on Victus, with perhaps a small touch of hope - but not so large as to be expectant.
Eirene leans against the doorframe and listens, a perpetual scowl in place.
Wynna paces around by the door, expression distant and lost in her own thoughts - not as though she has much of bombastic import to add here, though.
Ailith touches the moon pendant at her throat and glances to Victus and Valerius before turning to answer Reese. "Prince Venteri returned to his Queen's side because the Abyss grows in strength. The Marin'alfar's numbers are not what they used to be and the battle is grave. The timing occurred when the eastern threat's chains weakened. They will contact us when they can assist. It was that way before when we returned to Arx the first time. I know of a few ways to try to reach them but they may not have the numbers to spare to conduct a search -- not when," she takes in a breath, "not when a trickle of the darkwater, the darkness which the Goddess Mangata fights, has slipped by and is coming."
Pausing for a moment, Fairen quiets and peers out towards the collection of people here in defense of the lose of his liege's Voice. For those who know the Marquis, Lady Aislin was a friend of Fairen's. His eyes are searching, as if something or someone in the room might betray some clues as to how to proceed. Even, he mutters something under his breath, seemingly to no one in particular.
Caspian has joined the Table 3.
Bianca has joined the Table 2.
Archeron lifts an eyebrow as his head turns back to regard Fairen. The clear blue eyes narrow a little "I grew up with Aislin, Marquis - when I call her Cousin that means something to us. I served as a ranger of Ashford. I have no better desire than to see her safely returned. But, I do not give myself to enthusiastic overexertions of hope. It is needless. You work a problem, and you get a result. But, never underestimate a Tyde's commitment to family, Marquis. You'll end up poorer for it." The suggestion of Delilah does make Archeron nods "It is dangerous, my lady, but our sailors are robust. And somethings you have to do regardless of danger. Aislin is worth the effort, worth the ships, worth the lives. And we need to know what it is we face."
Victus opens his mouth to speak, though Ailith provides the answer. In turn he just jabs a thumb at her and nods, lifting the rum to his lips and taking a deep drink.
"Was she actually out on deck during the storm?" Shard finally asks. "Do you even know? Without any of her things, not even her weapons?"
"She wasn't on deck during the storm and that was no natural storm." Reese says says in this grave sounding voice.
Lou's face darkens. "Then something took her." Lou concludes.
"So you were boarded?" Shard says.
"Gods," Wynna mutters to herself.
Eirene mutters, "She'd Be embarrassed at this fuss y'all are making," as she snorts dryly. "So she got grabbed by something equally unnatural then." She nods with Lou as they reach the same conclusion. Her earlier nonchalant air changes.
Reese looks over to Shard. "We were not boarded. Not by anything we saw anyways."
Sparte nods to Lou. "We can try." He then glances over to Shard. "If she was, none have reported seeing her. I concur with Princess Reese's feelings. The news of a trickle from the darkwater... Doesn't do anything to alleviate my concerns." He clears his throat. "As no one saw anything besides the storm, we can't say how or why she was lost. We can only endeavor to find her."
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Reese before departing.
When Archeron speaks up to him, Fairen shifts in his demeanor and peers at him, biting his lower lip as if chiding himself for his albeit harsh words. "My apologies." He offers, then looks out towards everyone again. "We have to have more options. I'm nearing a good stopping point in another research project, but I need to know where to where to start my next project."
Thesarin keeps quiet, listening to the proceeding. His expression is even graver than usual.
Lou considers this practically, removing herself from the current scenario and asking. "Is it possible that she's gotten someone's attention on a current project that hit quite close to home? Does anyone know what Aislin was currently working on?" Her eyes look out across the room. "That could, perhaps, give us a basis for a starting point. And, also, an explanation as to why they would want her."
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Reese before departing.
"If she wasn't on deck," Shard says, her tone flat and simple, "and nothing boarded, then how did she get snatched? Did something just appear on the ship? Did she vanish from her cabin? Did a hole appear below decks that she jumped through?" She squints a little. "You're talking about searching the surrounding area, but that assumes she was washed or knocked overboard. If she wasn't on deck, that seems unlikely. If something carried her away--in a boat, in a claw, by magic--they might not stay nearby. If she vanished...she could be anywhere or nowhere. If she left herself...?"
Aiden is caught muttering loud enough in his own thoughts, "In another time, we all would have moved mountains to find her."
Ian is having a low conversation with Victus, his expression and his eyes calm. He does seem to be pretty insistent on something, though.
"That, I think," Mia said quietly, her dark eyes shifting towards Lou. "Is a question that would be best answered by her fellow Explorers."
Sparte thinks for a little while. He lifts his voice. "That concludes the public after action report for this voyage. Trip was a success, unexpected loss of Lady Aislin during the return voyage. Thank you for coming. If you have interest in being a part of finding Lady Aislin, then please remain. If you'd like to see records of Blackshore's status, we will be making those public soon. For any other business, please come back tomorrow."
Something in this conversation prompted Delilah to lean over onto the table and begin scribbling away on some parchment, which was then passed over to a messenger before she raised her head and said, "It sounds to me like there was no evidence left on the ship. Otherwise someone would've mentioned it by now." Delilah paused for a short moment before concluding, "And she definitely didn't leave of her own free will. We should likely conduct a more thorough search of the cabin and look into why she was specifically targetted."
Reese looks over to Shard and sucks in a sharp breath. "I think Mistress Shard is correct. I think we need to find a lead before we go searching for her." Reese then turns to Ailith. "I think we need to ask the gods for guidance. Maybe the Seraph could help?"
Cristoph glances quickly to Aiden before returning his attention to the front and Sparte. "Can you tell us what about this storm made it not a normal storm? Any details? I'm sorry if I may have missed that in the discussion." He folds his arms over his chest. "Is there a thread to start searching from there?"
Victus raises his hand slowly. "Consider the following, before we all make moves with coin and manpower to start stifling through things." And with that, he stands. "If everyone in this room understands that Aislin was lost at sea, then so does the Darkwater Deeps and their forces. If any of you seek to journey into the unknown, understand that your presence will likely be expected. Since a lot of you in here are significant pieces of Arvum, that does make all of you prime targets." With that, he sits again. "Make your moves carefully is all I'll say."
Wynna rubs her forehead, staring at the Shield of Whitehaven silently as the discussion proceeds behind her.
"Aislin did not always share all of her research and work with the Explorers. A great deal, yes, but not all." Lou responds to Mia. "Which is why I posed the question," she smiles at the Countess of Riven.
Reese turns her attention to Cristoph. "It started suddenly. Storms normally build up. It was like a nightmare and we thought the ship would be destroyed. It ended just as suddenly and storms don't normally suddenly stop, they fade. The water and the breeze was gentle right after it stopped. The water went from the beat to the goddess in a flicker, it seemed."
Archeron gestures across towards Prince Victus "The ship that she was on was the Prince's ship, arranged by his beautiful Princess consort. I would suggest if you wish to explore the ship and check it, you need only ask the man for his permission." Archeron shifts again, leaning back in his seat "We should search because that is what is expected. And it is what the public will expect. Even if the truth is not something they are ready for."
Aiden looks up and over to Cristoph, shaking his head, "I was below deck as well." He pauses and then considers, "I've reason to believe the Eater... Nibbler... or however you have named him, had taken interest in those of us who have.. gotten too close to the First Children." He rises up from his chair, "I can only hope it was one of the First that found her, before they did. Excuse me..." He starts to head out, unable to contribute much more.
Lou remarks as an aside to what Aiden says, "And, more importantly, we can all remember who she is."
Shard goes quiet again. Her narrow eyes settle on Sparte for a long moment, as he calls for an end to the meeting that--proceeds to not end, at least not yet--then they move briefly to Delilah, and then to others as they continue to speak up.
Delilah gives Sparte one of those "I'm sorry!" looks before she sinks back into her seat.
Aiden nods to Lou, "Yes. That's true... and I'm glad for it." He bobs his head and turns to go.
Sparte nods to Cristoph. "The sailors have a sense for weather usually. They were upset, a bit of a panic really. This one came out of nowhere. It was sudden, without any of the usual signs." He coughs into his hand. "I guess... Everyone wants to help. Or at least wants to say so loudly, so we'll just keep going. I, uh, checked her room for mirrors after we realized. There were none. Call me paranoid."
"Were her recent journals still there?," Mia asked, inclining her head. A thoughtful look had come over her face. "Or were they absent, too?"
Cristoph listens to both Reese and Aiden with a pained expression on his face. Then his attention switches to Sparte again and he doesn't make another comment just yet, instead he leans back in his seat and says something quietly to Nicia.
Aiden has left the Table 1.
1 Grayson Guardsmen, Severa, the Guard Shepherd, Dame Evie, Master Jacob leave, following Aiden.
Wynna turns slightly at Mia's question, looking around the room.
Nicia raises a brow very faintly at Sparte, then lifts a hand very faintly, "Although it likely goes without saying, I second my husbands sentiment that we shall offer whatever help we may. However, Your Grace..." She glances towards Victus, "Might I see your ship, the one she was on? I do not offer any promise of anything, but I am curious about it, and wish to help."
Something that Sparte says catches Ian's attention, and for a moment, there's a wavering in the ever-present serenity of his eyes. But just for a moment. Then he's back to talking at their table.
Eirene dryly adds, "Eater would have taken her gear and all her journals if THAT was the case."
Bianca nodded in agreement with Eirene.
"The guidance we have is to prepare for the darkness to come. We may during this battle find Lady Aislin as we venture to the east. What I suggest is what Princess Tikva started -- light your lanterns, say your prayers the Gild's light may guide her home. Speak your praise and gratitude to the gods," says Ailith calmly. "Be cautious. And Lady Eirene has a point as always to notice the obvious." She grins a little, a tad sad.
Alis joins her fellow Oathlanders in speaking up, at least for a moment. "House Valardin will of course offer whatever support we are able. I would choose to accompany you as well, Duchess Nicia, if you wish to investigate the ship. For security, of course." The offer is quietly made, but firm. "And if there is an expedition mounted, I am certain there will be Oathlands volunteers. Myself included."
Fairen shifts his attention to Christoph and then to Nicia as they speak, considering their words for a moment though mostly remaining silent as he looks towards Ailith. Then he continues to look around the room, searching the faces of those gathered, muttering quietly, likely to himself before giving out a soft sigh.
Oh, that's right. It -was- Victus' ship that made the journey. That fact puts a fresh grimace on the High Lord's face, a hand coming to cover up his features. "Anyone that wants to get on board the Red Serpent for clues or the like, can ask for my supervision because I would very much like to be there." He's silent for a moment, glancing at Nicia during her request. "We'll keep her docked. Security will be increased. But anyone wants to get on it, they'll need a sanction from me. I don't want people willy-nilly disturbing evidence if there is any to be had."
Inquisitor Jonathen, a fire salamander arrive, following Laric.
"Of course, Your Grace. I'll draft up the appropriate requests and have them sent over as soon as I depart." Nicia replies, inclining her head towards Victus before glances at Alis. There's a quick smile for her before she leans towards Cristoph, murmuring something quietly to him.
Reese looks rather exhausted and overwhelmed. She glances over the room with expression of one who is hanging on by a thread. Not wanting to break down in front of everyone, she rises to her booted feet. "Sparte, I will talk to you later about this. I want to help." She says, but Reese sounds a bit lost. She likely doesn't know how to find Aislin. She then has a somber lingering look for her sister and a sad smile for both Delilah and Ailth. She then leaves a bit too quickly, like she is trying to get out before she cries or something.
Eirene says, ""So then, is this a case of someone summoned the storm to kidnap her, or was the storm a lucky chance they exploited? Was she working towards the Darkwater investigations? Magic swords and shit?"
Reese has left the Table 1.
Sparte nervously scratches at the left side of his head. "That, uh... You all know what I know now. I know I organized this expedition. I did everything I could to prepare for facing the unknown, for facing the enemies that might come for us. We all knew there were risks to a voyage right now, but what came was nothing like we expected. A thief in the night, for one of our best. I am no great explorer, I have no secrets that might help me recover Aislin. What I have is the full responsibility for failing her." He gives a weak smile that quickly cracks. "I will do whatever I can to try all avenues available to us, but I have to entrust the leadership in those efforts to others. Not because I am unwilling... But because I know you will do better than I could... And this isn't something that can suffer my failure."
Decidedly very uncomfortable where he sits, Valerius has spent the majority of the meeting drinking heavily from a bottle of rum. Eventually, however, he leans aside to speak quietly to Victus.
Wynna frowns, staring towards Sparte silently, her head canted to the side very slightly.
"Not to my knowledge," Ian tells Eirene.
"He would have, yes, my lady," Mia replied to Eirene, with a sharp nod. "But as it was said, we all remember her. So it may not be the case. And if her belongings are still present, it seems the most obvious place to start would be a search among them, to see what she may've written recently, before sending it off to the archives. It may give us some idea of what she was working on -- why she may've been targeted, and thus who may've taken her, and where.
Eirene rolls her eyes at Sparte. "Don't be a Fucking martyr," she says with her usual sharpness. "You can't stop supernatural bullshittery from targeting her any more than any of us can, and we all knew Aislin knows more secrets than any of us put together. So don't get all guilt struck- get angry it happened and find a way to solve it."
Laric paces into the hall with a placid expression, tall mug of coffee in hand, his retinue of Confessors and sole Inquisitor staying outside. He is, however, accompanied by a salamander comfortably perched on his right shoulder. His eyes are a bit heavy - lack of rest, seemingly, though they take in the crowd and ongoing conversation with his usual perceptiveness. The Master of Questions, his little lizard and the former's lifeblood (aka coffee) step a bit further inside, voice lifting a hair. "I understand there have been some concerns that whatever Lady Inquisitor Aislin was working on may be linked to her disappearance. For the past six months, she has been working very closely with me on a very particular subject. We have no reason to believe it is connected to whatever happened to her."
Alis may or may not have been on the receiving end of similar chastisement from Eirene in the past. So, she gestures towards the Doctor. "What she said. There's just no way to account for things we don't even fully understand."
Sparte's eyes zero in on Laric when he talks. Then he spies the lizard. He blinks a few times, starting to point before stopping himself and shaking his head. "I... Look, I'm not cut out for being in charge of this stuff. I know maps, so I'm going to work on the maps of where we were when this happened. I can do that much." He says something to Lou, eying the lizard with Laric once more before turning to go into the Map Room.
Shard's expression does a funny thing. First, when Laric walks in, she rather slowly stands up straighter, then very straight, then stiffens noticeably. And then, when she spies the salamander, her narrowed eyes distinctly.../un/-narrow. In fact, they widen, then blink, then stare, and then she looks very unguarded indeed. Rather, she looks rather openly startled.
Ian tears a page out of Sparte's notebook, finally, and goes about writing that letter that he was going to write before. It takes a while. Ian is clearly not someone who does a lot of writing.
"Unless you had some magical way of stopping a magical storm from tossing the ship about that I don't know about, this is not on you, Sparte." Lou says to her fellow Explorer. "Your mission, as you stated, was a success. You cannot take the blame for unforeseen circumstances. Nor will I let you." Lou glances up at Laric, and inclines her head at him. She bites her lip at his words, then narrows her eyes at something perched on his shoulders a moment. "The Explorers will take charge in mounting an investigation and rescue attempts, unless House Grayson wishes to lead the charge. For now, if you wish to be involved in helping with these matters, please make sure to let me know."
Ailith bows her head a little to the salamander and Laric or was it just Laric. Hard to tell and she's distracted by those at the table, listening and responding.
"It may be wise for the Explorers first to speak to House Ashford? Lady Olivia may have views. And Aislin was a great many things to a great many people, but she was first and foremost an Ashford." Archeron suggests across to Lou "They at least may want to be involved closely from the start. Though the Rangers are now without Killian and Aislin, which is...a loss."
Eirene says, ""As far as I know, she wasn't working with us towards the issues with Southport. I would offer our help but House Malvici must take care of its own affairs first." She says it distastefully. An ugly truth. "I... will offer to send any medical personnel on any rescue missions once we get some Fucking bearing on it."
Ian sends off the message and then gets a reply... sometime... in the future... (really)
Olenna arrives, delivering a message to Ian before departing.
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