Command and Conquer!
Oct. 21, 2020, 8:30 p.m.
Arx - Ward of House Valardin - Valardin Manor - The Vow
Comments and Log
With all due ceremony as one might expect from Valardin, a pair of guards flanking Alis walk towards the front of the room, with one of them trumpeting out of a brass instrument to gain everyone's attention. She's been known to shout or whistle sharply instead, but today there is apparently pomp and circumstance involved.
"Thank you all for coming. The purpose of today's gathering is primarily to inform every vassal and their military leaders that House Valardin is honoring our committment to support House Pravus naval actions against the hostile Skal'dajan fleet that sails towards the Compact. Should that hostile fleet succeed in its mission, there are none of us who will be safe from the loss of freedom they represent. And so it is up to all of us, every Great House, to do whatever we can to not just prevent Eurus from taking over the Saffron Chain. But, to so soundly beat them that they turn back and decide we're not worth the trouble." Gesturing towards their Eurusi guest, and the Pravosi attending, she continues, making sure her voice projects to everyone there.
"We have guests who will be afforded all due courtesy and guest right. My hope is that at the end of the meeting, you will all be ready to offer your assistance as well, and agree to send as much of your own naval forces as possible. House Valardin is willing to help supplement any naval forces with the resources we've been gathering. We are not known for our prowess in sea based combat, but I feel certain that what we set our mind to we will acheive with honor and glory. To help us acheive that, we are appointing Princess Katarina as Valardin's liason to Pravus and the Eurus leadership that has pledged to help the Compact. As she is originally from Eurus, we feel her uniquely positioned to take on this responsibility. And she has the full trust and support of Valardin behind her. Those of you who agree to join the Oathlands fleet will coordinate through her. Princess Caelis will of course continue to be the Admiral in charge of our House Navy."
"I open the floor first to my Voices, and then to our guests if they wish to make any comments or requests. And then, we will take any questions you have."
When Katarina is spotlighted in Alis's comments, the youngest of the active-duty Princesses favors her sister, and then the room at large, with a gentle nod. Katarina is wearing one of her Sanctum-meets-Suj'abbat gowns, looking every bit the part of 'originally from Eurus,' and it seems as though her decision to wear the traditional royal veils of her home Kingdom was no fleeting fancy. The veil covers Katarina's face from the bridge of her nose down, and puts all of the focus on her golden eyes, which -- as usual -- sparkle with some kind of wry knowingness.
Enter the Pravadin. Princess Adrienne chats, hushed, with Sirius as they arrive together and what a incongruous pair they make. For the moment Adrienne is the token Pravosi in the room and dressed to suit in a steelsilk gown, slit daringly high while an accomodating tailor has added a pauldron and bracer befitting a scion of Valardin. Taking a cup of tea and nudging a plate of treats between herself and Sirius, Adrienne takes a seat for herself to listen to Alis's introduction. Her gaze flits to Damik and Katarina in turn, pale eyes narrowing in thanks, before she looks to the Valardin Voices.
Seated comfortably at one of the tables nearer to the front, Zara is dressed elegantly in the house heirloom gown, displaying pride in Valardin. She sits straight, holding a cup and saucer, attention on her cousin as she speaks. There's a firm nod at the mention of 'guest right' and she glances toward the Eurusi among them, giving others in the room a sharp look to ensure it's been absorbed.
Ian comes into the hall with his head down, arriving a little bit early, and quickly takes a place out of the way. It's pretty clear, as he eases into a seat, that his intent is to be here as an observer. As the Sword of Stormward, he represents the honor of his House, but is neither Voice nor military commander.
Adrienne has joined the Honor Table.
Lady Monique Greenmarch arrives alongside Prince Damik'uhl'daja, both looking resplendent in their own ways. Just in time to hear Alis' opening words, the Minx of the Marches guides them to claim a place to sit, to listen to the others who speak next.
Kael, at this point, is pulling off from the spot that he had taken post at near the guards. "I am Marquis Kael Keaton for those that I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting. Some of you - hopefully most of you," and yes, Kael's lips move into a wry manner there, "are familiar with me. You have dined at my family's dinners or been familiar with round table events either hosted at the Hall or even at the Academy of War. I will take this moment for a small announcement. In the coming weeks expect to have similar round table events hosted by myself announced in my capacity of Voice of House Valardin. The purpose of these roundtables are to look at the threats that we have in the Oathlands. While I recognize that the bulk of our focus is on the upcoming naval conflict with the Skal'dajin fleet, let us not discount that which still threatens our lands." Kael pauses a moment to take a deep breath. He gestures broadly, a large motion to the audience as a whole in indication. "I welcome my fellow Oathlanders to attend. At the round table we will be focusing on the upcoming threats from an academic level - preparations, my friends - and also have it as a safe place to offer and request aid from our fellow peers. Think about your skills, your talents, and how you wish to assist the Oathlands in the coming days. If you wish a seat at the table to be heard, you will have it, but I hope that there will be those assisting the Oathlands once they rise from the table as well." Yes, this is Kael being subtle. With that he inclines his head in a low, humble manner and draws back three steps.
Finn the large Northern hunting dog with icy blue eyes arrives, delivering a message to Drake before departing.
Katarina has joined the Honor Table.
Drake has joined the Honor Table.
Zara has joined the Honor Table.
After Kael has introduced himself and made his announcements, Cristoph, who was here early, stands briefly from where he had been sitting. "While the threat of a Eurusi invasion weighs heavily in the minds of most of the Compact, as it should, we recognize there are still concerns in the Oathlands. They haven't been forgotten and we'll continue to assess those threats and how to better prepare for them as time goes on." A gesture is given to Zara, seated near the front. "There's been an influx of refugees over this last year, some have seen fit to settle at Sanctum. I'm sure you can all understand there are some potentially troubling ramifications there in terms of social tension. With that in mind, Princess Zara will be leading the forefront in seeing to those issues being smoothed out. As she's a master diplomat and one of the finest minds that the Oathlands has to offer, I'd direct anyone with an inclination to help in those sorts of manners to her very capable hands."
Beside Adrienne is a mongrel in human vesture; a man of supposedly noble heritage, wearing a coat faded with an inlaid of torn fabrics and cloth sheared by humidity. The buckle of every fastening belt is rusted into a bronzed and sheenless hue, with a filter of white covering the surface of its fabric from the moist of outside Winter starting at the neck and ending at each flank of the bottom hem. It's Sirius- beneath the junction of one arm he cradles a book, and in the other's hand he guides Adrienne to their eventual seating at a slow, unhurried pace. Unlike the Pravosi Princess, he doesn't take cursory addressing of the room, remaining relatively centered on Alis while sharing hushed conversation with she beside him.
2 Rivenshari Clansman, Timbo, agile and cheeky rivenshari youth, Apria, Starling of the jeweled wings arrive, following Eshra.
Drake is here, though there's not much fanfare when he arrives, being a Voice from a lower house and just someone who happens to be in the fealty. As he slides in, he's quiet about it, pulling out a chair and slipping into it at the side of the table. He's dressed plainly enough, in wool and leathers, though he does have his house sword at his side. Alis immediately talks about a naval battle, and already his interest seems to be elsewhere... his eyes wandering, as they do, among the figures of the many ladies present here.
1 Clement trained guards, Alphonse arrive, following Adalyn.
Eshra is late, but hey at least you can hear her coming. It's not long before the heralding bells produce the Rivenshari Voice. Which a nod to those up front as an appology, she slides into the back, resting against a wall to watch, wait and catch up.
Adrienne has joined the line.
Kiera walks in directly behind Drake, nodding as Kael speak of other issues and looks to zara as Christoph mentions diplomatic efforts apparently making a mental to do list as she waits for things to continue
Alis remains standing while the others are seated, near the front but off to the side so that she can see who is speaking and also who would like to. And since Adrienne is the first to signal, she is the first to be given the floor. "Princess Adrienne. I'm glad you could make it; please." She gestures for the Pravadin to speak.
Turn in line: Adrienne
Zara has joined the line.
Adrienne squeezes Sirius's shoulder before she stands to address the company - Alis, Damik and Monique, Voices, family, allies. She offers a half-bow, armor creaking and her tiara shimmering in the light. It wouldn't do to arrive without her tiara. "Is it certain the Skal'dajan fleet heads to the Saffron? There have been sightings in the Mourning Isles. If it is true, what do we know about the waters in which we would fight and the islands surrounding them? We're heading soon to summer." Brow knit, she adds while addressing Prince Damik. "I would add. The Skal'dajan fleet has been long at sea and away from home. How would you judge their readiness for such a voyage?"
Adalyn is among those gathered. The Clement Voice lacks her usual exuberance, having traded it for a more fitting solemn and focused demeanor. Settling into a seat, she remains quiet and devotes full attention to those addressing the group.
Eshra has joined the line.
Katarina's hands remain folded on the table in front of her, ready to listen and, if need be, to speak. And then a member of the House staff sets down a tray of traditional Eurusi pastries, meant for the entire table. Fried, small pancakes, basically, wrapped around generous servings of cream and nuts, drizzled with the finest of Artshall honey. Katarina's golden eyes flicker toward the plate of cream-filled pancake treats -- they're just far away enough that it would be /very noticeable/ if she reached her small, slender arm out to tug the plate closer. And yet...
Katarina checks willpower at daunting. Katarina fails.
Sirius rises up and off of his seat once Adrienne herself stands. In spite of his unkempt ensemble, he presumes decorum with an arm as crest across his midriff and the other bent to usher his cousin off with fortune abreast. He doesn't say it, but his expression conveys an important, smiling feeling gone as quick as its ephemeral arrival. After that, Sirius settles back down and lays his long tome across his lap, where his palms there overlap atop.
Damik smiles at Adrienne, taking a step forward to address the princess, though he still remains near Lady Monique Greenmarch. The Eurusi prince clears his throat, and speaks in extremely heavily accented Arvani. His words come haltingly, as he has to consider each one and be certain he gets them right, "They were supplied for an extended campaign, and can certainly spend at least another year here. They would not return home to Skal'daja without a decisive campaign. Doing otherwise would be regarded as cowardice, and both my brothers would be executed by my father." He then pauses and shrugs one shoulder, "Their interest in the Mourning Isles would be limited. They are instructed to recover our slaving strongholds in the Saffron, and punish the Compact. The latter matters less than the former."
Drake looks up at Katarina, notices her reaching... leans in, and pushes the platter just a bit closer to her, since his reach is quite a bit longer. He briefly makes eye contact... but doesn't interrupt any conversations, just shooting the small Princess a little smile.
Damik's answer is punctuated by the dull scrapey-groany noise of Katarina pulling the plate of Eurusi pastries across the table toward herself. To something resembling her credit, she acts as though the noise never happened, and gives Drake a benevolent nod before she busies herself sneaking a pastry up under her veil.
Ian has settled into a comfortable, vaguely disreputable-looking slouch, but the constant movement of his intense blue eyes makes it clear that he's paying attention.
Kiera has joined the Honor Table.
Tiara's for life! Alis takes a moment to admire the shiny, because surely some veneration of design is due. And with the question asked, her gaze turns towards Prince Damik and Lady Monique. "Thank you, Your Highness. And Lady Monique, for the thoughtful invitation to you. Princess Adrienne, do you have a follow-up question?"
With Cristoph's announcement, Kael's attention is moving toward Zara and he dips his head low toward the Valardin princess. His attention lingers just long enough to make it clear that the wheels in his head are turning. Mental notes. Soon enough though his focus shifts back to Damik and his Greenmarch escort, not to mention those asking questions.
Adrienne's slender brows shoot up at part of Damik's answer to her question. "Pardon me, did I understand that correctly? If your brothers return home, they die. If they lose, they die." Honor and discipline are certainly not foreign concepts to the Valardin, but Adrienne's gaze still sweeps the room for understanding. "That is a committed enemy," she concedes dumbly at last. "Thank you for your answers."
Damik seems surprised by Adrienne's comment, "Well I mean, quite assuredly. It is just the way of families. If a son fails his royal family, you know what to do."
Sirius, much like Ian, pays a measure of attention. Unlike the Kennex Lord, these eyes are so dour and disenchanting in their bleached hue one could seldom wean emotion off of them in their vague back-and-forth flit between the many gesticulating faces in the room. As a prophylactic measure after Adrienne's concession, he ungloves a hand and whacks with its liner at her former seat beside him to rid if of what little dust there-stacked after her brief absence.
At Damik's assessment of the situation of the m Mourning isles, kiera , sitting next next to her brother drake, turns her gaze to ian as if trying to gauge his reaction to the words
"I'm not sure they see us as a dangerous target," Ian adds in his flat, accented voice.
"It is not the same here," Adrienne clarifies to Damik as she sits, only doing so once absolutely assured that her chair is tidy and with a veiled glance to Monique, brow quirking. "At least often it is not. Desperation is a dangerous foe."
While there's speaking between the various members of the Valardin family and Prince Damik, Cristoph remains respectfully quiet with his hands folded across the table. His eyes are jumping from speaker to speaker, though occasionally the rest on other guests. Watchful and weighted, assessing.
"Those with the most to lose are often the most committed." Alis murmurs, only partly for Adrienne's benefit. "I commend your courage, knowing what the response of your family will be." she says simply to Damik and the nods towards Ian. "It's my understanding that they do not see us as a threat at all. Should we win this engagement, they will still see us as merely an annoyance. But, one they would rather not deal with at the moment. If I recall correctly, that is." The last is added drily, as she inclines her head towards Adrienne and then gestures towards Zara. "Princess Zara, you're up. Now that Duke Laurent has put you on the spot this part should be easy." Teasing, in her own special way.
"No doubt because we are fighting on to many fronts." Eshra's low tones answers Ian's.
Turn in line: Zara
Zara studies the speakers with attentive eyes, before nodding at Adrienne's comment. For just a moment she seems perturbed, but she allows it to pass. She sets her cup aside when it is her turn before rising from her seat. "Thank you, Duke Cristoph." She says, of his earlier words. A nod is offered to Marquis Keaton too. "I'll make an announcement to the fealty when my efforts are to commence." Then her gaze shifts to Damik and Monique. "Thank you, greatly, for taking the time, your highness, Lady Monique. I'm curious about fleet size - as well as the approximate number of men and woman under your brothers' command. I know a portion went with you."
Katarina has joined the line.
Monique inclines her flame-bright head to Alis' and Zara's acknowledgement, pairing it with a smile. She doesn't speak, content to leave such to Damik, only turns her focus back to the Skal'dajan Prince supportively.
Damik crosses his wrists over his chest, then raises them towards Zara, as if pulling manacles taut in a Skal'dajan greeting. "We each had ten caravels, and several hundred smaller classes of ships, a third of the total force. They took some losses at Sungreet, so perhaps... eighteen caravels or so, maybe fifty drommonds, and two hundred longships and galleys or so?"
Zara checks composure at normal. Zara is marginally successful.
Ian cants his head to a slight angle as Damik reels off these ships, like a man making a mental note. Which is almost certainly what he's doing.
The Gilded Dragon's eyes drift to the greeting, perplexed at first, until something seems to dawn on her. There's a strain in her expression, though she gathers herself swiftly enough to pay attention to the prince's words. "Do you imagine more will be sent over to them?" She asks, the warmth still in her tone.
Damik s purses his lips at Zara's question and considers it, "Not if they fail, no. If they fail, the other Dune Kingdoms will likely try to exploit an opening and harry the Dune Emperor's forces, and the war will preocuppy them. If they succeed, Arvum becomes a lucrative opportunity for others to exploit, and my father to try to claim the lion share."
Briar, a quiet young woman, 6 First Legion Centurions arrive, following Sebastian.
That is very specific; Alis nods towards her adjutant to have her write down those numbers before she gauges the reactions in the room to it. "You see why we are offering to help bolster any of our vassals naval numbers. We will almost assuredly need to commission some more ships to be able to meet this threat. So please, do not hesitate to ask us for that assistance if you want ships built in time." Alas, Damik's response to Zara prompts her own expression to take a more stoic downturn than it even had before. But, she nods to Zara in thanks and then gestures towards Eshra.
Turn in line: Eshra
Monique has joined the line.
Satisfied with the response, Zara nods before settling back down. "Thank you, your highness. This will be of much help to us." She nods to her cousin, who is already making ship-plans.
Damik bows to Zara, his hands clasped over his chest.
Drake speaks out, since Alis mentioned it. He may as well say something. "High Hill has a port, but it's in a bit of disrepair, and no standing navy. But we'd assist if we could, with a little help perhaps getting off the ground. There was some sound about transfering Wyrmguard's navy to our domain as we have better sea access."
Eshra leans forward off the wall she is leaning against. Eyes shifting from Damik to Alis and Cristoph. "Not that I don't think we should help House Pravus, Honor is of course important however. What plans have been made or are being made to address how this will effect the fronts we are already preparing for? Most of Telmar's navy is Rivenshari. At the moment those boats are being prepared for the threats moving towards Riva."
"We are only asking for assistance from those who can afford to do so." Alis assures Eshra, inclining her head in acknowledgement of the question. "And in return for our naval assistance, House Pravus has committed to providing ground forces to help us against the Legion and Horned God threats. We hope to forge a continued mutual military assistance. Riva /will/ remain protected, Lady Eshra. We know how important it is. You have my word on that."
Having been largely quiet while he takes notes (and watches the crowd), Cristoph's attention swings promptly to Eshra when she speaks. "Lady Rivenshari, it's good to see you again." His hands fold the stylus down while she speaks and he turns his head just so, cocked to hear Alis' response. He nods once and turns to Eshra again.
Sebastian turns up late to a meeting, winter is a thing of the Abyss, and wine beats all other drinks: these things are known. The Pravus prince is making disgruntled noises but has already handed off his snow-dusted cloak, hands rubbing together in an attempt to warm his fingers. His gaze casts about for the nearest source of warmth and is instead distracted by familiar figures. The mention of Pravus pulls his gaze to the Rivenshari speaker, but it is towards Alis that he inclines his head, moving near to her and bending to murmur a greeting. Aloud, he adds to Alis' words: "We support our Valardin allies, and look forward to ongoing military assistance as needed," he says. There's a nod for Prince Damik, and Monique near him, before he sinks into a chair near Adrienne.
Sebastian has joined the Honor Table.
Sirius leans and peels back, deepening into the sheltering embrace of his chair as though he's caught a whiff of something malodorous and discomfiting now clogged in his olfactory bulb. His eyes narrow a tad towards Eshra, expression twisted into a dark knot, and he folds his journaling tome shut with a palm that remains flattened over the cover with a strange convention of finality. The burdensome weight on his face is lifted some by Alis' ensuing word, and after her, he more demurely adds for Eshra, "We gave our word to help you rebuild your land," his head inclines a fraction. "I hope I can be of personal assistance on that front soon enough, lady Eshra."
A bit of a late arrival, Reigna is not far behind the Pravus Prince, moving through the snow swiftly. She pauses only long enough to locate Kael and move towards his side, spending the next bit of time getting her bearings and listening as the others speak.
Eshra pauses and nods then looks to Sirius. "It is not the rebuilding that is the problem. But thank you." looking back to Cris and Alis nods once accepting their assurances at knowing what the problem is and sets back against the wall.
Ian lifts a hand to Sebastian in a silent greeting.
Alis seems to find some amusement in both Sebastian's late arrival, his grumbling, and whatever it is that he says to her before moving to claim is spot beside Adrienne. She inclines her head towards him with a bit of a smile. "Thank you, Prince Sebastian." She does have Laurene walk over to the Pravus voice with some information. But, otherwise she nods to Eshra and then motions towards Katarina. "Sister. The floor is yours."
Turn in line: Katarina
A slender, dignified servant makes a BEEline toward Sebastian with his arrival. With a respectful bow to Adrienne, the servant uncorks and pours a fresh glass of red wine for their Pravus dignitary. "A Setarcan Red, your Highness," he announces in voice oozing of Oathlands ceremony.
Eshra eyes the Pravus Prince with a blank stare.. can't fault him for tardiness she was but still.
"You are heard, Lord Drake Wyvernheart," says Kael, after listening with a keen amount of interest regarding Rivenshari. "Bring a reasonable estimate of the requirements of your House." His eyes flick from the young Sword of Highhill to Alis momentarily before his head tips and he moves to cross the massive chamber to find a seat at the cavalier table. It is there that he gestures his assistant away so that he can acquire parchment and quill. A few notes are scripted that undoubtedly are regarding Wyvernheart's request. When his wife arrives, Kael offers her a slight smile and rises temporarily to pull a chair for her.
Kael has joined the Cavalier Table.
Reigna has joined the Cavalier Table.
Sirius is briefly pressed into silence by Eshra's answer, it which earns an awkward 'Oh' that snoots as airflow past his briefly flaring nostrils. His hands flex in a quiet reel, and Sirius finds himself sitting down back beside Adrienne with a look whose focus is bereft of a center, remaining more dubious than anything.
Katarina exchanges a brief look with Prince Damik before her turn is called. She then spares a glance toward pastries that must go uneaten while she addresses the room.
The diminutive Princess stands and speaks from behind a blue and gold veil that masks her nose and lips and chin and neck and so on. "Prince Damik'uhl'daja, though we share a common language, and both are born of the Dune Kingdoms... I suspect that those born of the Compact may not realize how different Skal'daja and Suj'abbat truly are." Golden eyes scan the room. "Imagine in your mind the difference between Sanctum and Setarco. That difference is a drop of water. The differences between each of the Dune Kingdoms is, by comparison, an ocean."
Katarina's eyes turn back toward Damik. "So I must ask you, as I am of the City of Veils, not the City of Chains... the Skal'dajan fleet are enslaved, correct? You know your brothers well, I hope, or at least well enough such to answer: if your brothers fall, will those enslaved remain so loyal even after their death? Is every man and woman in this fleet a fanatic, or simply scrabbling to stay alive? What chance might we have of using the arts of my home -- of deceit, trickery, lies -- to create such as a slave revolt and weaken their fleet from within...?"
6 Black Fleet Reavers arrives, following Viviana.
"Thank you," Drake says to Kael, feeling a little humbled to be acknowledged as such. But his eagerness to contribute is clear. He looks at his sister, the other Voice of the house. "... I don't really have a head for numbers, but we'll put our minds together, and come up with what we need to get it accomplished."
Alis is absolutely mentally plugging her ears right now; she did not hear a thing about using deceit or lies or trickery. Nope, not a word of it.
Damik seems encouraged by Katarina's question, nodding enthusiastically, and at first starts to answer in Eurusi before immediately realizing and changing back to heavily accented and halting Arvani. "So many differences. The Veiled City is confusion made manifest, but ah, about slaves..." He thinks of how to answer, "The toiling soldiers of the Annointed Masters are bound by Holy Word, and sanctified. Their righteous chains cannot be broken, and they have no choice. Others, however..." He pauses, "Rebellion does not come easily, to those gifted with chains in Skal'daja. Those who go under the whip rarely think of little else but to obey."
Alis checks composure at normal. Alis is marginally successful.
The Sword of Setarco slinks into the great hall, with a grin ready upon her lips for anyone looking at the rather late arriving Sin. Viviana offers one little helpless shrug of a slender shoulder to those gathered and moves to steal a chair near her fellow Voice of Pravus, ducking her head to murmur quietly to the artist and the others nearby.
Viviana has joined the Honor Table.
Katarina breathes out gently. It might go unnoticed but for the fact that it makes her veil flutter a tiny bit. "I see. So this will not be a matter of... cutting off the head, as a matter of efficiency, I take it."
Sebastian takes the time to settle in at his table, though he's listening keenly to the questions being voiced by the various people of the Valardin fealty. There's a nod for Laurene and a murmured thanks as he peruses the message. The blank stare he receives from the Rivenshari earns a brief tip of head and the artist's careful study in turn, a faint flicker of a smile at whatever he sees there. The Pravosi looks pleased to spot his fellow voice, lifting a hand to welcome Viviana towards their table. It's to Damik though that his gaze goes as the prince answers Katarina's questions. "It is the Annointed Masters which have troubled us both in the Saffron Chain and at Sungreet. They can be slain, but not easily. Can it be assumed that ending their life breaks these chains, Your Highness, allowing us such an opportunity as Princess Katarina mentioned?" /He/ has no problems with Katarina's suggestion of such un-Oathlands tools.
There is a marked discomfort at the notion of the chains of slavery being a gift of any kind. But Alis simply ducks her head a moment and casts a glance towards the Voices of her house a moment. And in that moment, Viviana arrives! The Setarcan Sword is offered a respectful nod, with no censure visible for the late arrival. "Lady Monique; once Prince Sebastian's question has been answered you have the floor."
Turn in line: Monique
Reigna watches whose speaking, the interplay between Katarina and Damik, a little frown of distate at the mention of lying. When the Eurusi Prince mentions the Holy Word, her brow ticks up. "Pardon my interruption your highness -- do you mean that they are placed under magical writ? Bound in service to these Annointed Masters?"
"Can't..." Ian half-raises a hand, and then lowers it again, as though thinking twice about speaking. Then he clears his throat and tries again. "Can't someone related to the person who holds a writ break it?"
Damik bows towards Katarina, Ian and Sebastian with his wrists crossed, inclining his head, "The oath of service is typically to the held whip and chains, and the fetters are held by a team of Masters. So slaying one will not break their bindings, slaying all would. Or breaking the fetters themselves, but they are not..." He pauses, trying to think of an Arvani word for it, "Boring? No, it's more..." He snaps his fingers, "Mundane?"
Katarina says in Eurusi, "...enchantment?"
Sirius says, "Do you mean to say they're as if 'enchanted' in some way beyond our humdrum understanding of iron manacles, Prince Damik'uhl'daja?"
Kael pauses in his greeting of his wife to incline his head to Drake. His attention shifts toward Kiera when she is mentioned and, she too, is acknowledged with that tip of his head. Any words that he might speak are lost however, for the main exchange has him grimacing in short order. The Marquis Keaton does not even attempt to hide it.
Damik says in Eurusi, "Exactly! The fetters are enchanted with the power of their Holy Writ, and the terms of their service. The metal is ensorcered, and not easily broken."
"They are magic," Sebastian says -- guesses? -- at Damik's words, giving a thankful nod for the answer, even if he looks troubled by it. "Unfortunate. I was hoping perhaps some targeted attacks might help, but a... team... makes that more difficult. Thank you."
The Lady Greenmarch nods her titian head to Alis, content to wait her turn, it seems, as she leans in to murmur something softly to Damik.
Katarina listens to Damik's answer in their birth-tongue, and then gestures toward Sebastian and nods, as though to say to the room that the Setarcan Prince has the right of it.
Damik says in Eurusi, "It should be noted some of the binding is ritually scarred into their flesh, and the limbs would have to be removed."
Viviana has joined the line.
Damik gestures towards Sebastian, nodding before continuing to speak in Eurusi, finding it easier to get across more complicated concepts and leaving others to translate.
Katarina checks composure at hard. Katarina is successful.
Damik says in Eurusi, "Most of the slaves of the Masters are trained adepts and mages themselves, having been kept in toil since childhood upon learning of their apptitude. They are bound many times over, and there's been scant examples of any ever being freed."
Sirius's expression visibly suffers under a skeptical bout, and he digs deeper yet into his chair, his arms coming around and before him in a tight cross just above his beltline. "Magical fetters," he speaks indistinctly and quiet to himself, chewing on his bottom lip with an anxious kind of apprehension. The young Prince could be inclined to comment, but as foreign words fly across the room he's lulled into an awkward, alluding silence.
Katarina raises her eyebrows gently but is otherwise skillful in keeping from going pale or anything as she adds: "There is enchantment in the physical chains themselves, but that enchantment is also in some cases scarred into flesh, thus to remove the writ requires... the removal of the limb. Or limbs." Katarina doesn't sound especially thrilled about that. "Prince Damik'uhl'daja goes on to note that many of these slaves possess... sorcerous ability in their own right, of some form. That they have been made into these things since childhood, like swords sharpened ever more deadly... and there is very little evidence of their freedom ever being successful."
Reigna has joined the line.
Ian exhales slowly and rubs his forehead, shaking his head as he does so.
"I see." Drake pauses. He looks around at the table. And then he scratches at the back of his head, his messy hair getting a bit tossed by it. "May I ask... perhaps a stupid question." Well. He'll wait his turn. "...When it comes around."
Drake has joined the line.
Alis can be patient; watching the discussion going on even if she can't understand it. Patience turns to something darker when Katarina gives them all the explanation of what's been said, a deep breath being taken in and released slowly at the news. "Is this wh..., no I will not ask." She composes herself with a clearing of her throat. "Thank you for that explanation. Lady Monique..." A small smile is offered.
"Thank you, High Lord." There's a glance aside to Damik, a deeply fond look, before Monique offers her questions in Arvani first, and then in fluent Eurusi for the benefit of the Skal'dajan prince at her side. "In terms of strategy, Your Highness, what do you advise? What are your brothers' weaknesses? How would you attack them? And a final question, and I do hope you'll forgive me it for you know how dear you are to me," she reaches out to touch his hand lightly before withdrawing, "but do you think using you as bait might draw your brothers out, the better to ascertain their location among the Isles?"
Katarina gives the assembled room a very gentle nod before settling back into her chair and immediately putting the plate of pastries in front of herself for what is some particularly unabashed stress-eating.
Adrienne checks composure at normal. Adrienne is successful.
Kiera checks compusure at normal. Kiera is marginally successful.
Damik says in Eurusi, "I would advise scouting missions. In truth, I do not believe they would come for me personally, but send numerous Obsidian Huntsmen if they were certain they had a reasonable chance at assassination. Killing me would be a nice trophy for father, who I would imagine is quite vexed at present, but decidedly secondary to the Saffron Chain and recapturing the slave camps. If I was inside the Saffron accompanying the battleflets, and they saw a chance for personal glory by destroying my flagship, they would likely take it, but that might not quite imperil them personally."
There's a moment as Monique digests the response from Damik, ruby lips curving, and she asks only one more thing, "And should Valardin ask it of you, will you pledge yourself, your mages and crew, your ships to the cause of destroying your brothers, Your Highness?" she asks, once more in both fluid Eurusi and Arvani.
Damik folds his hands and bows towards Monique, nodding his head once in the affirmative.
Damik says in Eurusi, "Without hesitation."
Katarina steps in again to translate, without standing up, directing toward the rest of the room quietly: "Prince Damik'uhl'daja believes that using his own person as a decoy would not necessarily draw out the targets that we wish to strike at, and that if his assassination was truly a priority, other agents would be employed." At the last exchange between Monique and Damik, Katarina says to the room, "Prince Damik'uhl'daja pledges himself and all in his purview to fighting against the forces of his brothers."
The best response Alis feels she can offer after the exchange between Damik and Monique is to bow in a similar, but not quite the same manner, as the Eurus Prince has been offering to the Arvani this evening. When she bows, it's with a hand to her heart, but not with her arms crossed. "You honor us all with your candid assessment and your pledge, Your Highness. Have you any further questions, Lady Monique?"
"Prince Damik advises scouting missions, as well, and warns that his brothers flaws are cruelty, arrogance, recklessness and overconfidence," Monique murmurs as she settles back into her chair, addressing the room after a deep bow of her own head to Damik in return. To Alis, she shakes her head. "No, thank you, High Lord."
Alis glances towards the Pravosi when Damik's suggestions are offered; so they can all remember it for later. "Thank you then, my lady. Princess Viviana, you have the floor."
Sirius plucks some cologned and folded white handkerchief free from one of his backpockets, using it to dab at little beads of anxiety budding all thorough the a'wrinkled lane of skin that makes his forehead. "Overconfidence?" He repeats after Monique, seeing through the world a bead of light in what once was a narrow tunnel. "The first good news of the evening, that. Perhaps our foe isn't so irrefragable after all."
Turn in line: Viviana
Zara has left the Honor Table.
Alette, a discreet lady's maid, Isabel, a calm diplomatic aide, Elena, a solemn knight attache, 4 Valardin Knights leave, following Zara.
Sebastian, interestingly, doesn't seem to have touched the Setarcan Red despite it supposedly being his favored wine. Maybe it's the quiet exchange at the table that's distracted him from it. He does turn his head when Monique addresses her questions publicaly towards Damik, nodding first towards her, then the Skal'dajan Prince, before briefly meeting Alis' gaze.
Turning her attention from the quiet murmuring at her table, Viviana inclines her head to Alis and then turns her grin towards the room at large. Her lonely emerald eye alights upon the Skal'dajan man. "Prince Damik, to quote Lady Monique herself not a moment ago, you still have mages amongst your fleet, apparently? Are these of the Anointed Master variety, or some other, less slaver-y variation of magic user?" Pausing there briefly, the Sword of Setarco lifts a hand with one finger out, "First, why have you not offered these mages of yours, or you yourself, to teach any of our people magic? We are effectively going to be fighting a war against Skal'daja wherein the enemy has swords and we are armed with rocks." Extending a second finger, the duelist muses, "Secondly, surely there must be some insight you can offer us into how to battle these Anointed Masters. A secret word? A fancy hand gesture? What is their weakness? What keeps them in line? Just the writs?"
Damik says in Eurusi, "I'm uncertain we can teach you, most Arvani bleed out in spectacularly fatal ways here, it's something with this continent. It is as if this entire place is poisoned specifically to kill the untrained, and we would likely have to travel outside of Arvum to effectively have you start to call upon yourself. But even an apprenticeship is quite time consuming, those slaves were trained from childhood. The earliest they are enlisted in arms is after thirteen years of toil, weeding out the poor studies. There are short cuts of course, pacts with the Abyss that we do not dabble with, but outside of that? It is a matter of time, and that is scant. As for the Masters, they are bound in turn to Skal'daja, as their slaves are bound to them. Perhaps... Arvum's poison could be used against them? They are likely not expecting it, and some of mine grew quite ill after Sungreet, and one died."
2 Valardin Knights have been dismissed.
Eshra arches a brow from where she has been standing and listening. "I was under the belief that Magic is still poisoned, no?" her dark voice softly cutting through the room and falling silent again.
"There was an Anointed Master at Sungreet, wasn't there?" Viviana wonders after Eshra's comment, before looking around and awaiting somebody to translate the Skal'dajan's words.
Drake, who is still sitting back, snaps his finger and points it at Eshra. It's a slightly rude gesture perhaps, but it's done in acknowledgement. "That was it. That was my question."
Drake looks at the head of the table. "How is it that we're up against the list of adepts and sorcerers? I thought that was not a possible thing to do, due to the taint of the primum. And if it IS a possible thing to do, then we do we not train adepts and sorcerers? Help me to understand."
Katarina glances from Viviana, to Damik, and back. "...there is something about Arvum that complicates such an idea. Arvum is... in the Prince's exact words, poisoned specifically to kill the untrained. Besides which, the mages such as the Masters have been trained since childhood; there is no time to reach their level, without shortcuts involving the Abyss. However," Katarina says, reaching for another pastry in preparation for more stress-eating in a moment, "it is possible that this poison of Arvum could be used against the Masters while they are here. Prince Damik says that some of his mages grew quite ill after Sungreet."
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Viviana before departing.
Ian leans over and mutters something to Drake in a low voice.
"It is," Sebastian agrees with Eshra's words, but he sounds surprised and thoughtful, "But I didn't realize that it could affect the Skal'dajans, too." He looks thoughtful.
"Is it the closer we bring them to Arvum land, the more likely they will be affected by the poison? Or, is it more the number of people who they face who have been exposed to the poison from birth? Or a combination or both?" Alis directs the question towards Damik, looking to Katarina afterwards so that she might once again play translator.
"Poison does not always kill instantly. Sometimes it merely weakens, sometimes it requires multiple doses to kill." Reigna pipes up, her voice soft, aggrieved. "If we could learn outside of Arvum and had years to train we could come back and perform here as well, I imagine. The more powerful the being, the less impacted they are by the poison."
Drake mutters something back to Ian, but he looks a little frustrated by the answer. It may be that he's just not quite getting it. But when Reigna says what she does, he nods. "So it's a function of the land. We lure them here and then they'd be weakened just like the rest, but in their territory they'd be stronger."
Ian finishes the short (apprently frustrating) conversation with Drake with a slight shrug and an apologetic expression.
"Weakened but not impotent." Eshra injects softly.
Damik waves a hand as if he is gesturing to the breadth of Arvum, "It caught us... not with preparation? Unprepared. There was no telling us of this, so I know not what it really is. I am uncertain if more powerful acts are more likely to be fatal. I do not believe any of the Masters under my brother are of the strength to create one Born of Mirrors, as way of example?"
"I don't really waste my time keeping up with every tidbit of magic-related news in the Compact, as it seems to, well...never go anywhere. But I'm sure there are people here who surely do. I thought there was a fad about 'primum cleansing' years ago? Did that not accomplish anything? How is that the Prince of Maelstrom can have a flying ship that runs off of magic, but we can't teach our people magic because of this poison?" Viviana wonders aloud after Katarina's translation, the one-eyed woman glances around the room before reclining back in her chair and holding up her hand, "I've no further questions for Prince Damik."
Drake nods and gestures openly in an agreement with Viviana. Not that he knew about the flying ship but obviously if there is a flying ship then that's definitely an issue to be addressed.
after a moment, Eshra adds. "I man with a sword wound, can still kill another before surcoming to his own wound. One must remember, bringing them here does not make them not deadly to a people that has no magic at all."
"We need mages, which Prince Damik has, we need Mangata, which I feel certain there are a few who might implore on our behalf, and we need all the magical weapons we can find," Monique offers up to the room at large, paired with a soft, wry smile. "Simple, no?" she says, as if she realizes exactly how simple it is not.
Kiera has left the Honor Table.
Damik tries to think of how to explain in Arvani to Viviana, "Your prince did not make it."
Now it's Damik to whom Ian gives the slight shrug and vaguely apologetic expression.
Eyeing Viviana, Reigna shakes her head. "I do not think that is..." She frowns and shakes her head, clearly stifling herself and just looks a bit frustrated.
"We have fought things that are not mundane before. And we can do so again." Alis agrees, firmly. "We will be at a disadvantage, yes. But weapons such as those Lady Monique suggest will help. We know it will not be easy, but when has that ever stopped us?" Not quite chiding, but an attempt to be uplifting. The primum cleansing requires so many people to do it, that we have so far only made a small dent in the amount of poisoning there is
Drake looks around the room. He looks, particularly, at Viviana, for a moment, who has an unusual sword of which make he's never seen before. He pieces it together after a second, but it's clear he's looking carefully at it. Then he looks around again, at the rest. "Does anyone else have a magic weapon for the cause?" A pause. "The Knights of Solace were seeking another, but that's been stalled. And I know there is at least one more that I'm on the look out for."
"I believe that we have taken all of the questions we are able to, for now. May we send correspondence to Prince Damik'uhl'daja if there is more we believe he can help with? Such should probably go through Lady Monique or Princess Katarina I think, for translation purposes." Alis adds, glancing between the Prince and then the two women.
"There's always the cobalt weapons," Ian remarks in a neutral tone.
Monique agrees with Alis. "The primum cleansing did help, from what I have heard. It feels easier to say certain things now, doesn't feel as if you are watched at every moment. It just hasn't brought the safe use of magic back. And the ship, from what I have heard, was made by Copper. I don't think he's on the same level as your average adept," the Minx adds wryly, and then nods to Alis. "I'm happy to pass along correspondence to His Highness, though his Arvani is markedly wonderful, wouldn't you agree?" There's an encouraging smile to the Eurusi Prince.
Katarina is eating her, like, sixth pancake pastry thing. She does pause in the middle of it, to look around and see what answers might arise to Drake's question, and to nod toward Alis in confirmation of her role.
Alis snort at the question of magic weapons though. "I know there are several who have such weapons. But, there are not many of them that I'm aware of. I still have a Cobalt weapon, but I'm given to believe that isn't meant to work against anything but the Gyre." she notes helpfully for Drake. And towards Ian a questioning gaze. "Oh, of course. His Arvani is excellent and I would never imply otherwise. I've just noted that the explanations seem easier when he can answer in Eurusi. Please accept my apology if offense was taken."
Ian gives a slight shake of his head to Alis. "I used one against a, uh... other stuff. Worked like it's supposed to."
Eshra gets Siren's Song from A wide leather belt with sheath.
Speaking up, Adrienne address Alis as she says, "This was an informative evening, High Lord. Thank you."
The Sword of Setarco mmm's as she listens to the comments from the others present, Damik's remark getting a nod. Drake's look is met with an easy grin, before Viviana looks back to the room at large and muses, "Well, it seems we are simply fated to be at an impossible disadvantage then, barring divine intervention, or the Metallics showing up to save the day. I suppose we're going to have to depend upon blood, sweat, and tears." The duelist inclines her head to Alis as things draw towards a close.
"If there is anyone who might wish to spearhead an alliance with the Faith, looking into Mangata's possible blessing?" Monique wonders aloud, glancing around the room.
Alis double-brow raises at that. "Well, in that case. I have a Cobalt Bow that someone can use." One more cobalt weapon available! "You are all free to stay and socialize; enjoy the refreshments. But I believe we should draw the formal part of meeting to a close now. Discussion of course can continue." She does, however, listen for any volunteers to coordinate with the Faith.
Adrienne lets her gaze travel over those in attendance before she focuses on Monique. "I could speak with Legate Bianca Wyrmguard. Would you help me better understand the request, Lady Monique?" Her head tilts deferentially toward Alis. "At a convenient time, of course."
"I was bequeathed a Cobalt scimitar." Reigna says quietly, "I would like it back, but I am no warrior nor the skill to use it."
Damik shakes his head at Viviana, "The Annointed Masters are potent, but not..." He pauses, trying to be sure he has his Arvani correct, "... without fatigue? We rarely used in sieges against other Dune Kingdoms, due to too many losses. Open field is their strength."
Finally, Sebastian takes a sip of his wine, though it's minimal enough. Viviana's conclusion earns a faint smile. "It would not be the first time nor, I suspect, the last." The tip of his glass seems to be an odd kind of toast -- or commiseration? -- as he drinks. "The problem with weapons is getting close the Annointed Masters. They will be safely on their ships. Idenitfying where they might be and targeting them would help, though."
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