Arvani League Meeting
Oct. 29, 2020, 8:30 p.m.
Braelynn Calla Drake Ember Gaspar Ian Kaia Kiera Lucita Magaen Magnus Marina Monique Neilda Nurie Pasquale Quenia Sabine Volcica Zoey Valencia Alaric Matteo Aine Korka Hamish Thea Valerius(RIP) Medeia
Arx - Ward of House Grayson - Seliki Manor - Whitereef Hall
Comments and Log
Octavian, a silken spaniel, Ruslana, an aide in Kennex livery, 2 Kennex corsairs arrive, following Zoey.
Azzurra, a proper personal assistant, Zoey arrive, following Valerius.
As the afternoon sun begins to set and the heat of the lovely spring day begins to fade, many of the windows within the great hall are open to allow the breeze to drift gently through. Small tables are arranged around the hall, pairs and trios of chairs at each one, forming conversation arrangements. The tables themselves are dressed with linens in the hues of spring, each table set with a bouquet of flowers in a slender vase. Food and drink is arranged on a long table near one of the whitewashed walls. Seliki household staff are busy uncovering dishes, setting everything to order. Kalani is near the entrance to the hall, looking over a list and consulting with Scythia over the last of the details, a worried look on her face as she glances around again, trying not to let nerves make her run around like a chicken that's been recently separated from it's head! <r>
[Scythia] Scythia is standing near Kalani, her head slightly bowed over the list. She nods once or twice, then lifts a hand to signal one of the household staff. When the woman arrives, she curtsies to the lady of the house, then to Kalani. Scythia smiles at the woman and gives her instructions on a few details to be taken care of. The woman nods and hurries off to take care of it. Scythia smiles at Kalani then, one hand lifting to touch her on the shoulder. "Breath, my dear. It will be fine."
Ian comes into the room pretty much precisely on time. He moves with a reasonable amount of familiarity through the space, for all that he's focused on his own footsteps, and some of the servants seem to know him. He used to be a pretty common sight here, after all.
Thea is rarely late. Ever. And this is no different, no. She is right on time! Stridding in with a calm ease, she bows her head, a slight smile on her face. "Good evening,"Thea greets, making her way to the table.
Kiera walks looking a bit hurried, but tries to dso with some measure of grace smiling to ian as and thea as she does
Ember Redreef is present, and much like at the first meeting of the Arvani League, she stands out for her... Ember-ness. The so-called Bloody Baroness curtsies to greet her hosts, but her stare is never anything short of baleful, in a weird, unfocused way. "Cousin," she says, paying particular attention to Scythia in her greeting, and... well. Scythia would know that Ember is being almost personable, by Ember standards. To those who don't know Ember so well, it must seem like she hates her cousin.
Valerius enters the hall with a bit of false start, in other words, Azzurra has dragged him here and pushed him into the Hall under threat that if he is to attempt to leave the meeting early that she will make his life miserable. As he gains a proper composure, he steps into the hall with Zoey while having a light chat to draw any attention away from the angry assistant. He sees Kalani and greets her with a smile, "Is there a Just Valerius on your list there? I also have Lady Zoey Kennex along." Noting that Ian, Thea, and Kiera are entering just before them, he might be a little loud in greeting each of them.
With winter summarily dismissed and the warmth of spring settling over Arx, Gaspar found himself once more dressed in comfortable silks that breathed, more than those damnable heat-sealing wools. Free from any entourage, he looked comfortable in this space as any and smiled to those that met his gaze. Gaspar found a spot along the way and settled comfortably against it.
Gunther, a Rottweiler have been dismissed.
Golden, an Oakhaven bloodhound have been dismissed.
Kalani smooths away the worried frown that kept trying to form, grateful for the steadying presence of Scythia as she nods and people begin to arrive. Ian first and then Thea, followed by Kiera and Ember, all of whom are greeted with a smile that is just a bit - just a touch! - relieved. And then there's Just-Valerius! "You made, my lord, and Lady zoey," another warm smile and then Gaspar is arriving as well and he too is brightly greeted.
Lucita comes into the meeting area, a bright smile on her lips as she greets people one by one as she passes near them. She removes her shawl, carefully folding it into a smaller triangle to drape over her arm. "A good day to you all. What a good turnout this looks to be."
"Just Valerius?" Zoey chuckles, then she dips her head to the hostess. "Good to see you again, Lady Kalani. I look forward to seeing what you have planned." She adds something quietly to Valerius, then leaves him to go to Ian's side.
Scythia smiles for each of the people as they arrive. She murmers quietly in greeting to each as they enter. When Ember offers such a nice greeting, Scythia's expression warms, "Welcome, cousin. I am so glad that you could make it." She inclines her head graciously, her eyes bright. With welcome, certainly. How could it be otherwise? "I made certain that our cook made a few of those lovely fruit pastries that you showed a preference for when you were here last." She gestures with a graceful arch of her hand toward the table. For her part, she must at least like her cousin.
"Zoey." Ian speaks his wife's name with a hint of surprise, but not unpleasant surprise. Or pleasant. Really he just doesn't sound like he expected to see her. He nods to Kalani, then notices Lucita. "Baroness Saik."
Thea blinks at Valerius, lifting her eyebrow. "Marquis Valerius, hello,"giving a wave to Zoey and Kiara as well. "Lady Kiara, your brother told me tell you hello." She smiles at Ian and Ember as well. And good Gods. "I wasn't expecting so many people,"nodding to Lady Kalani. "It's been a really long time since I've seen you. I hope you're well."
Zoey smiles at Thea and gives her a fluttering wave before saying something softly to Ian.
Ian gives Zoey a briefly confused look and then speaks softly to her.
Ember's expression doesn't soften toward Scythia, but her tone does warm a bit. "Excellent," she says, and gives her cousin a respectful nod. Then, the Baroness moves to collect a drink and, yes, a fruit pastry. As she does so, she casts a glance over to Zoey and gives another quiet nod.
Whether it was company or the intended topic at hand that kept Gaspar mostly quiet, but he just watched the pleasantries and returned Kalani's greeting once it'd been given. Shrewd was his gaze in contrast to his usual light-hearted way of looking about, but not this evening.
1 Saik Guard, Fortescue, a snooty and disinterested Lycene coxcomb, Fluffy, the wary wildcat arrive, following Medeia.
Scythia's smile follows Ember when her cousin moves toward the table. Then she turns to the rest of their guests, "Welcome. Welcome. Please take your ease before we begin. Refreshments have been set out on the table. Please help yourselves. We will begin shortly."
"Baroness Lucita, it's a pleasure to see you again," Kalani replies with a curtsy of greeting, and then aims a quick grin toward Zoey, "Indeed. Just-Valerius," putting light - and threaded with humor - inflection into the two words paired with a nod toward Valerius as Zoey moves toward Ian. Scythia and Ember are exchanging greetings as Kalani looks to Thea next and exhales a quiet, somewhat relieved and equally rueful laugh, "I was worried no one would come, as it wasn't being hosted at the Golden Hart this time around. I'm so relieved to see so many people and it's absolutely wonderful to see you again." She makes a light gesture with one hand, indicating the tables and chairs arranged, the food prepared, "Marquis Gaspar, it's wonderful to see you as well and thank you for attending," her words following Scythia's as more people are arriving and being greeted in turn.
Zoey glances toward Ember and returns the nod.
Lucita moves over toward Ian and Zoey after exchanging amicable greetings with others, not a single person ignored in her warm smiles and generalized greeting comments. To Ian and Zoey she murmurs. "We'll have to enjoy this calm before ... what seems to be upcoming. How have you all been?" She manages go get a drink at some point in her meandering before winding up near the Kennex's.
Medeia moves quickly, realizing she is just - a little - late to the meeting and looking sheepish. She spots Lucita with Kalani and slides up just as Kalani greets the baroness. Medeia smiles brightly as she greets them both, "Luc," she says as she kisses her sister-in-law's cheek, "Lady Kalani, thank you so much for having us all here. It's good to see you, as always." Once that's done she'll look around for who else is present.
Kiera smiles to Thea and replies "well be sure to tell him hello back should you should you see him before i do. i regret that i can only stay for short time as valardin is also hosting an event this evening but i wanted to reiterate wyvernhearts continued interest in the lague" She says the latter more loudly for the benefit of the room and turns toward kalani as she speaks
"We are as well as ever," Zoey replies to Lucita, smiling warmly to her. "And you?"
"Getting back into shape, now that the snow is gone," Ian answers Lucita. He forgets to ask her how she is, because of course he does. Fortunately, Zoey didn't.
"Baroness Lucita,"Thea greets the Saik with a smile. "Lady Medeia,"she greets her as well, making her way to her as well, as she answers Kiera,"He mentioned to me as much. And invited me, but I'm here. I dont think the city could handle two of me,"Thea jokes.
"Of course, Lady Kalani. Our House has been looking forward to this for some time. Lady Piccola sends her regrets for not being able to be here and I will do my best to see her vision come to fruition." With the arrival of food and drinks, Gaspar made his way to a table and settled in, fetching a bit of red wine for himself.
The mention of Lady Piccola makes Ember actually lift her gaze and look over from whatever corner of the room she's haunting, and eagle-eyed observers may well spot a brief frown flickering across the Redreef Baroness's face at the news that Piccola won't be attending. Oh, well -- there are always fruit pastries.
Lucita returns Medeia's kiss, and gives her a hug, then acknowledges amicably Kalani's greeting. "Indeed, I am glad to get to be here this time. I missed the last meeting much to my regret. " Zoey and Thea are both greeted. "I'm doing well enough, enjoying the warmer weather. I got to speak with Jhond a little while and he recommended some exercises to help me tone up after the winter. I may not be a warrior but should get ready for more active times ahead. He did the most amazing fall and flip, landing on his feet and then rolling, coming to his feet again right when I walked over to examine that statue he has in the training room.
Scythia nods encouragingly to Kalani, "Now id good, yes." Her tone is low, though not quite a whisper. It is probably lost in the general hubub of greetings and so on. She winks, then steps to one side, remaining close to give the young woman encouragement and support without taking any of the spotlight. This is Kalani's moment. She does, however, quietly ask one of the staff to bring over a pair of glasses of liquid courage. One for herself and one, likely, for Kalani. Red wine. Then she turns to scan the room, the welcome in her gaze, in her smile, possibly palpable.
Sharing a quiet word with Scythia first, and extracting a single page of notes from one pocket to work forward from, Kalani walks to the center of the room and unfolds the page, glances at it once more then looks up with a smile. "Forgive me if this sounds rehearsed, but it is a bit. I don't normally talk in front of groups this large, unless it's a room full of wounded who are in various stages of convalescence and recovery and aren't able to get out of the way fast enough," she exhales a breath that's sort of a laugh before she smooths the bit of paper again.
"Thank you all, for attending, and allow me to say in advance that the goal of this evening is not to hold court or in general talk -at- all of you, but to provide a place and opportunity for each of you to speak to the group at large. The General," speaking of Lady Piccola of course, "said it best herself, at the first meeting. That the invitation came with the promise that would be no agreements implied simply by attending, and no hidden agenda to try to coax or coerce everyone into signing on to or supporting. This meeting was calculated to provide all of you with the opportunity to make connections and there is always the potential for new friends, new trade partners, or new military allies.
"She also said that our Houses may sometimes be overlooked. The Wars that have struck us in the past decade may make it seem as if we are not as important as the Great Houses whose banners form the Compact, yet we know this is not the case. We know this because no great citadel was built without a strong foundation, and such foundations are created by many small blocks, each as important as its neighbors. So it is with our nation, one that prides itself on its faith and freedom.
"It is her hope, and mine, that tonight that we find and forge new bonds among ourselves in the hope that we can strengthen our nation through the same. That as we may forge new agreements and plans, our people benefit from an increase in trade, security, and prosperity, even as we plan for another threat to the Kingdom. I hope to have the pleasure of speaking to every one of you again when this is over, so we may harness our momentum and push the Compact towards a new, brighter future for all." Kalani pauses and glances up from the paper she's been glancing at, notes such as they are, and offers a smile to the room at large. "All of that, and I know it's long winded, is simply to say that I believe that there are many things that can be accomplished with something as small as a conversation as it's starting point. I invite any and all of you to speak on any topic that is important or merely of interest to your respective houses."
With a playfully whispered exchange, Medeia falls in beside Thea while giving a polite wave of greeting to Kiera, Zoey, and Ian before listening to Kalani. She's smiling at her Seliki friend encouragingly, attention focused.
Ember lifts her drink toward the end of Kalani's speech. "Hear hear," she says, and then looks around at those assembled. "I'll speak." She seems to be feeling out the group for a challenge to her request to speak first.
Scythia nods to Kalani, then stands where she is to listen, to watch and assess. She nods every now and then when a point is made and allows a faint smile for the General though Piccola is not here to see it. No matter. It is the thought that counts. Her clasped hands ease as her attention turns to each of the others to nod greetings or encouragement as seems appropriate from where she is. When Kalani comes to a close, Scythia's smile returns, though the warmth is underscored by concern when the war is mentioned. The smile sobers and her gaze moves around the room again. "If the concerns you wish to discuss include how we can all contribute to the security of all, that is as valid and relevant as House concerns."
Kalani is happy to yield the floor, so to speak, to Ember and does so with a smile. "By all means, please do," and moves to stand alongside Scythia after speaking.
Ian falls silent as the meeting is brought to order. He's attentive, though his expression remains pretty flat.
Thea had been murmuring to Medeia, a grin on her lips. But when the meeting is called to order, she straightens, gaze falling about the room.
Valerius finds a drink and immediately makes sure there is more available nearby. Then turns his attention to those speaking.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Zoey before departing.
Ember nods to Kalani, and steps to a position toward the front, so that she can face those gathered. "War looms in the Mourning Isles," Ember says, cutting right to the point. Her clipped, blunt manner of speaking makes the subject matter come across even more stark. "At present, perhaps one-fifth of the Houses of the Isles support their Highlord. One-third or so, for one reason or another, either support Ivan Helianthus, the apostate, or simply oppose Prince Victus. The remainder are fence-sitters who will be forced to choose, eventually. Presently, all eyes are on the Skal'dajan war fleet. But make no mistake: war will come to the Isles."
Ember looks around at the room. "It is a war that I intend to win -- for my Highlord, and to crush the apostate. However, winning a war is not the end of things. Supply routes will be disrupted. Piracy will blossom in waters left unpatrolled. Minor Houses may not survive at all. It is my hope that the Arvani League will prove useful in re-establishing normalcy within the post-war Isles -- to not only restore normalcy, but to midwife a stronger, better Isles."
Ember then seems to decide that her speech is over, and without waiting for feedback, walks back to the corner where she was standing before.
"Establishing supply lines is something that is a major focus for many of us, Seliki included," Kalani chimes in from where she's standing. "Not just because of this current threat, but because establishing supply lines allows us to move information as well as a way to secure wounded and move them away from the front lines of any fighting to be had. Whether the fighting is somehow contained in the Mourning Isles or the Saffron Chain, as some are hoping that it will, or if another point - or other various and diverse points - are selected as landing sites, the war that is or may be coming will not be contained in one small point."
Ian has acquired a drink somewhere, and now settles back with it. "It'll probably come to Stormward first," he remarks. "A good chunk of the Isles never forgave us for not rolling over and dying after Marquis Ford abolished thralldom. We're assigned a lot of the blame for the direction things have taken. There should be time for the other Isles houses to prepare for whatever Helianthus has up his sleeve, while they try to wipe us out."
Lucita listens to Ember and then says to her."It would be a good idea to start stockpiling supplies, too, something the smaller houses can help with in trade before war-time prices rise as they usually do. For instance things like bottles and jars from Saikland to store medicinal potions, or dried fruits stored in containers to keep vermin out."
Zoey checks composure at normal. Zoey is successful.
Gaspar's gaze was firmly on Ember while she spoke and he nodded slowly, listening in comfortable silence. "Most of the fleet of Iriscal is..spoken for, in the foreseeable future. But what we can do is provide financial assistance for those in true need, Baroness Ember." At Kalani's addition, he nodded yet again and listened to Ian before turning to Lucita. "A wise idea, Baroness Lucita. The port here has never been busier and I'm told delays for shipping can be an issue some days. If anything is of urgent need, preemptive thought can save lives and time."
"I cannot help but wonder what prevents those fence-sitters from declaring where their loyalties lie, and what will become of them when it is all over," says Zoey. "But yes, stockpiles are good, as long as they can be secured."
Aiming a nod first to Ian and then to Lucita, Gaspar and Zoey in turn, "This conflict will provide opportunity and reason for any number of long held grudges to come to light and those who feel the cause is just to take up arms and be ready to spend and spill blood to make certain goals come to pass." Kalani pauses as she considers her next few words before continuing, "Stockpiling supplies, food, blankets, provisions and so on will be vital, along with medicines and other things that will be needed to support fleeing non-combatants away from the fight. Seliki was built specifically, for example, to accept refugees. Be those refugees from combat or ex-thralls. To spread the weight around, what of the notion of agreeing to accept refugees to support the houses that are already under siege or in the thick of combat, to reduce the burden of caring for those who cannot fight?" She shares a sort of wry smile with Zoey, "There will always be those who are willing to wait for any fight to play out before casting their lot and suddenly arriving to support the side that they pick to be most advantageous to assist to win the day."
Ian leans towards Zoey and speaks softly to her for a moment.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Medeia before departing.
Stepping over to a corner somewhere, Thea stands and listens quietly. Per the usual you know.
Finn the large Northern hunting dog with icy blue eyes, Rocco, the rascally assistant leave, following Thea.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Medeia before departing.
Scythia steps forward a bit, her attention focusing on Ember, then drifting around to the others. "In addition, I would like to suggest setting up storage depots containing medicines, bandages, food, water and extra weapons. I do not think that they should be on well traveled byways, but along the paths that each House knows best. Game trails used by hunters, for instance. Ways that our people will know but outsiders will not. That way, our people can care for each other and resupply."
Kiera stands to address the group "Wyvernheart's hope and goal is always for the peace and stability of the compact. unfortunately that means we must fight. Though we might apprciate the fear and challenge that change bring with it and the temptations that fear might bring, we stand with those who stand with the compact who stand for honor and truth. we take issue with anyone who would harass or attack any loyal oatbound citizen of the compact without provocation. on a practical and more hopeful note wyvernheart has very real intent of reopening highills port as avenues for both defense support and trade. we are still rebuilding but will aid where we can. drake is accomplished fighter whle i'm interested in both diplomacy and investigation and may be able assist in a variety of ways
Medeia watches Ember with interest and when the baroness retreats from the front of the room, she quietly slips over to make an introduction, while listening to the others.
Valerius is a couple of glasses in, though is looking his usual self now, smiling. "Nilaza has both decent ports and an amazing ability to keep things hidden. I would be happy to offer aide in setting up supply zones."
Ember is in her corner, listening, nodding, watching the interplay of ideas being bandied around. For whatever reason, she's not speaking up herself -- then again, she rarely comes across as the most... sociable Baroness. Case in point: as Medeia approaches, Ember looks at her with a stony expression like she expects the greeting to escalate to physical combat.
Alberico, the Malespero aide arrives, following Pasquale.
"Many hands make light work," Kalani shares a quote that she has uttered countless times. "That's part of the goal of the league. To find ways, big and small, to help each other out and, in doing so, support the compact and the people sheltered therein. A way to safely build, conceal and mark supply caches that people can be guided to. A way to guide people to places of safety. To places where their loved ones, the old and the young, can safely shelter while the able bodied can fight and defend. Any conflict of this size can not, and will not, be reserved specifically to clearly marked lines on a map. It may come to a point where as many who are able to fight must stand and do so. Knowing that our loved ones are as safe as is possible, realistically possible, lifts the burden of worry for many others who are willing do to the fighting. And not all of this coming conflict will boil down to just a matter of fighting. Food, Supplies, knowledge, information shared and gleaned and carried on. I think that knowledge is something that all of us gather in a variety of ways. Without sharing secrets, without giving away tactical positions and so on, if we learn something that others will need to know, or may find useful, sharing information does not indebt each other in some manner. What helps one may help all."
Zoey has a quiet exchange with Ian that results in a frown, crossing her arms over her middle, and casting her gaze downward for a moment before going back to paying attention to conversation.
Scythia keeps an eye on those present. Every now and then she signals one of the staff to provide a refill or a plate of some tempting nibblette as seems appropriate. She is listening, yes, but her primary 'job' seems to be to make sure that everyone can pay attention to the discussion because all else is taken care of.
The exchange between Medeia and Ember was noted with masked amusement and Gaspar wet his lips as he straightened a bit again. "Beyond the prospect of war and while it is both a dreadful thing and one that drives the economy, if drains a house's coffers, House Tessere will have great need for each and every one of you and your houses in the coming months. Nurie, my wife's sister, has a great project nearly ready to be shown to the world and it will lift the spirits of all interested in textiles and commerce." He met each gaze once more, a little more scrutinizing this time. "And for those that choose risk over safety, come talk to me in a few days." Cryptic, perhaps a bit, but there was a strange seriousness to the usually light-hearted nobleman. A smile was given after Kalani finished and he nodded with a measure of impression in the look he gave her.
Crow - Thraxian Steward arrives, delivering a message to Ian before departing.
Ian's part in this conversation seems to be more pragmatic. Or maybe that's just his face. Either way, he doesn't change expression much. He scans a note that's brought to him.
Pasquale is, without a doubt, extremely late, but he offers little more than a nod or two in recognition of that fact before moving to join the other House Malespero representative. A lowered word or two is shared with Valerius and then he lifts his head to observe.
After a few moments, Medeia drifts away from Ember, looking for a drink, as she hasn't had one yet and quite frankly that needs to be remedied. Gaspar's words catch her attention and she raises an eyebrow at him as she finds herself suitably supplied with wine.
Ian folds the note up and slips it into an inner pocket of his jacket, then motions the messenger back. "Tell him I'll be along shortly," he murmurs. Then, after saying a few last words to Zoey, he excuses himself and, bracing against his cane, pushes to his feet and makes his way out.
Lucita says, "Those here seem to be High Lord supportive, not fence sitters or opposed to him. One will have to be careful to choose who and how they aid also." She speaks in a neutral fashion though she exchanges a few quietly spoken comments with Ian. Her attention goes to Gaspar for a moment, her glance considering. Aid from us?"
Kiera nods "Am afraid i must be going. if anyone has need of us, do reach out."
Kalani moves through the room as the conversation continues, stopping beside Pasquale as he arrives, and then Ian before he departs, Lucita as she speaks and then Kiera as she does as well. "It was wonderful having you here, Lady Kiera, and thank you - and Wyvernheart - for your part in this."
When Ember and Medeia drift apart, the Redreef woman quietly steps over toward Zoey, perhaps to engage in another discreet conversation.
While circulating, Medeia stops to exchange a few words with Lucita before mkaing her way toward Gaspar to speak in more low tones. It's a low tones kind of night.
Valerius nods to a quiet word with Pasquale, then takes another drink. "Does anyone have a method in which they would seek to check who among us might be sitting on the fence, or with against our dear Cousin Victus?"
"During the last Skal'dajan encounter, Houses without... conviction in their loyalty to their Highlord showed it in their deployments," Ember speaks up, toward Valerius. "Some Houses sent as little as one ship to satisfy the calling of banners in the most disrespectful way possible. How a House prepares for the coming crisis speaks much as to what mindset they carry while preparing."
A nod was given to Lucita, "In a way, my lady. What that way may be? What even the /need/ might be? Of that I'm not wholly certain yet, but yes. Tessere has plans and ambition that will require friends and companions. Exactly what this gathering is meant for, in my eyes." His gaze swept across the gathered and settled on Scythia for a long, lingering moment before Medeia approached and he leaned a little closer with a smile.
"House Kennex has fortified our holdings and filled our war chest in preparation for what is coming," says Zoey. "I have no doubt that even if we come out of this victorious, there is much rebuilding that will need to be done."
Kalani remembers to pick up the wine glass that she'd set aside, before she'd started speaking in the first place, and holds in her hands as she nods toward Lucita, then Valerius, Ember and Gaspar - each in turn. "It has been my experience, any time there's a fight to be had, whether it's between houses or between two ships at sea, there are a select handful that are in charge of the decisions that are being made. Whether that's to fire or sail in any given direction, whether it's to charge across a field or race at each other while brandishing any and all manner of weaponry. Decisions are made in countless rooms over cups of tea or wine, decisions that change, alter and end the lives of countless others whose name those in charge may never actually learn. I'm more worried about the people who can't, and won't be able, to fight or defend themselves. Seliki will do everything we can to weather this coming storm, to keep a wary and watchful eye on the horizon and along the seacoast. To share what we learn, to raise the cry of alarm if and as it's needed. What we choose to do, what any house chooses to do, is by and of necessity a decision internal. It doesn't change that there will be people in need, many who will need a safe haven. As long as the choices of each house is respected, then lets agree to help those in need." She sips from the glass she's holding, having forgotten - again - that she has it in the first place. "We'll defend against any invasion from the Skal'dajan - Eurusi - Dune Emperor - and by any other name foreign invader - that has their collective sights set upon these lands and, equally, the people within. Falling to the invading forces, no matter what banner they're currently sailing under, will see a nightmare sweeping inward from the coast and I don't imagine it'll be a lovely happily ever after ending for anyone who isn't willing to take a knee to the invader. Who ever is at the head of it."
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Medeia before departing.
Ember grunts quietly at the talk of taking knees, and visibly frowns for a moment. "It won't come to that," she says, darkly and with no shortage of conviction. "I would advise those seeking aid in ferrying troops to the front lines of this conflict to speak with House Blackshore -- they are making great strides in building up their naval power."
Valerius raises his voice from his seat, not getting up to speak to those assembled, "Are we seeking loyalty to one, or are we seeking how to keep our isles alive through these conflicts? Some of us don't have a navy or armies to spare. We'll be busy keeping our island safe from burning to the ground as the slavers have taken to doing. If you're seeking a location to resupply, or keep safe port - Let's talk about this."
Lucita listens closely to what is being said. "We also have to find out what Velenosa wants of its houses. It will be hard to commit to anything till we know that. The heart is willing but the military and resources are limited. With luck, we shall be able to be a strong support as needed.
Medeia looks up from her exchange with Gaspar, hearing Valerius and Lucita speak. She clear her throat softly. "It is as Lucita says, we will - of course - be somewhat bound by what is best for the Lyceum, however Saikland is in a position to be beyond beneficial in the coming months." She looks at Lucita, then, a nod of support. "I promise to do what I can - personally, and as a part of House Saik - to support those who stand for the Compact."
Scythia drifts from discussion to discussion. She listens where she can, where conversations are not private at least and takes in the offers, the questions and some stated or implied answers. Turning to Valerius, she nods thoughtfully, looking to Lucita as she speaks, "Indeed. Help is offered, but directed help is effective, I have found." Turning to Valerius, she inclines her head, "Please let us know what is needed now to prepare. We may have to wait to discuss what is needed to repair and rebuild after we know what the damages are." Practical. Sympathetic, but practical.
"Indeed." Pasquale says after Valerius speaks. "I thought the league was intended to help small houses to support each other and not another way to further the war. We need to focus on ways to improve our situation and help deal with the expected problems of refugees, hunger and wounded veterens, rather than our places in this coming conflict."
"In this room alone are represented many houses, but I think it's more than that. I'm a Seliki, and I speak as a Seliki. We," and Kalani again is speaking as a Seliki, sharing another solemn look with Scythia as she continues, "also pledge and promise to do what we can. Whether that's on the house level or on a personal level. I'm a physician. I'll be coordinating the treatment of any casualties that may arise from the coming conflict. I'm happy to liaise with the physicians or representative of any other house that has need for help in any manner. And exactly as Pasquale has just said, the league is intended to further the bonds of friendship, to provide a way to network with each other, and have conversations." She tips her head slightly, "And those conversations do not have to be confined to this room, for that matter. I encourage all of you to make room and time for additional conversations. Seek answers, insight and solutions that are a way to continue the sharing of ideas forward."
Gaspar nodded along with Medeia and Lucita as well. "Indeed so, Lady Lucita. My family and the Archduchess-Regent are finalizing their intentions and we will soon know what lies in store for House Tessere. Beyond that? So long as it does not conflict with the mandate of our liegelords, we will aid for the benefit of the Compact. Of that, I'm certain." With Ember's mentioning of House Blackshore, Gaspar seemed to smile a bit, openly and surprised, and he gave the baroness a long, singular nod.
With Pasquale's interjection, a brow arched just slightly. "The League is indeed intended for that, my lord. But as I stated shortly before you arrived, the war is a means of further the economy, as dreadful of a means of doing so as it is. Smaller Houses' banners will be called just as the great ones and perhaps they need aid--" He looked around. "--as Baroness Ember mentioned with Blackshore, to ferry troops about. That is a fine purpose for this League."
Spirit, the Sleepy Brown Fox arrives, delivering a message to Valerius before departing.
Pasquale simply replies to Gaspar with "That is not what we were told the league would be. You are getting very close to suggesting the league should take the form of a wide military alliance. Helping with food, supplies and injured people, even when the cause is not something we would support, is one thing. Helping military actions that may or may not suit our direct needs? That is quite another."
"There is no requirement as part of the league to support or participate in any such thing," Medeia notes to Pasquale. "This is, unless I am miunderstanding both General Piccola and Lady Kalani," she looks to Kalani for a moment, "A forum in which we can voice the things we need help with or can help with, and let the pieces be picked up as possible. If, for example, Saik and Redreef find common ground that does not suit Seliki? There is no obligation to Seliki to become involved."
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Medeia before departing.
Kalani speaks up again, "The purpose of the league is not to advance any one goal. But to provide a place and opportunity for each of us to speak, the league at large. Speaking to is not speaking for or on behalf of the league at large. Creating the place to start a conversation is the goal tonight," she closely echoes the words that medeia speaks and shares another of those serious nods but this time it's with Medeia. "Each of us have our own goals, or own needs, we think of and speak to and of the needs of our houses. As I said, conversations may start here but do not need to remain here."
That smile only grew, "My lord, ships would not be provided free of charge. Ships cost money, sailors have salaries. Money flows from the top, to the bottom and back up to the top again. If you don't want to aid with the transportation of troops when there is a few for your services, you're under no obligation to do so. No one is suggesting an alliance but a sort of 'lend-lease' of goods needed, should your House be required to act. But beyond that, with men at war, fields will not be worked to the same level and stores will need to be accessed. I suspect that the crops and harvest of Nilanza differs from Iriscal and we would be more keen to share and barter when the need is greater." He leaned against one of the pillars and wore a comfortable smile, "And most here have mentioned plans for those within the League that extends far beyond the reach of war. They were simply mentioned before you arrived, I'm afraid."
At the arrival of an urgent missive, Medeia exchanges a few last words with Kalania, Lucita, and Gaspar before departing.
"It shouldn't even be discussed here." Pasquale says to Medeia. "That is my point. In the same way that discussing a military action, in your highlords court, would give that action the implied approval of your highlord, doing so here will make it seem as if the league supports and /encourages/ it." He looks to Gaspar and asks. "What does that have to do with my statement that military actions and alliances should not be handled here? Food, money, trade goods - those are all what I have been told the league is about."
His head angled to the side and the corner of his lips still held that smile, "Lord Pasquale, what do you think is needed in times of war? I suspect each of those and with it impending, I find it nothing short of imperative to ensure that each of those reach the places it needs to be, whether that be in the hands of your troops, the mouths of your serfs or the closets of your nobles." A gentle shake of his head was given. "With the Great Houses calling their banners, it's only natural that provisions for war be discussed and how those might reach the ones that need it. And the league can see it to their destination, either as transport or the source of each."
1 Saik Guard, Fortescue, a snooty and disinterested Lycene coxcomb, Fluffy, the wary wildcat leave, following Medeia.
Lucita continues to listen then says. "I best be going along also. Thank you for hosting this. It was lively and interesting."
Micana, an efficient assistant, 1 Saik Guard leave, following Lucita.
"If, and only, as any house sees fit to do such a thing," Kalani points out, looking from Pasquale to Gaspar and back, mindful of this particular thread of conversation. "Again, the goal of the league is to have the conversation. Not to sponsor the over all goals of all. If Tessere, for example, choose to ferry good, supplies or people? That's a decision they make. If Saikland has a conversation with another house that supports each other in some way, that helps foster a way to keep people safe, then that's also another conversation. The needs of the many, ladies and gentlemen, are often addressed by the decisions of the few."
"I am saying." Pasquale says to Gaspar with irritation starting to thread through his words "That offering safe harbor to a beleagered compact house is one thing but actively assisting them in their military actions is something else entirely. We have offered safe harbour already and I stand by this. You don't need to persuade me, or Malespero, that helping with rations and medicine is a good thing." he looks to Kalani "Then you believe that a house can, and should, under the auspices of the league, directly assist another house in a military action?"
"Not at all. I'm saying the league only provides a place where people can meet and make connections. The decisions that each of you make, outside of these conversations, is for you alone to decide. It's not my place to speak for the league," she looks to Pasquale as she replies, "no more than I can speak for anything beyond Seliki, or my own actions. I don't believe it's the place or purpose of the League to make decisions, as a body united. Merely, as I've said, to provide a space for those of us to come together and converse. As we have been."
Putting his hand on Pasquale's shoulder, "The action that we of Nilanza are seeking is why has the discussion been moved from helping the isles to specifically putting ourselves, ships, and people in harms way to help the great houses?"
Pasquale murmurs a few soft words to Valerius.
Scythia steps closer to Pasquale and Gaspar. She holds a tray with a few pastries selected for their delicate, flakey crusts, the sugar sprinkled atop them and the first, spring fruit highlighted within. She offers the tray to Gaspar and Pasquale first, but there is enough for Kalani and Valerius as well. "Please try these? Our cook spent a while working them up. I promise that they are lovely." Food helps calm most situations, right?
Zoey's aide, Ruslana, leans in to whisper something to her. After polite but hushed goodbyes to those around her, she quietly slips out with her entourage.
Octavian, a silken spaniel, Ruslana, an aide in Kennex livery, 2 Kennex corsairs leave, following Zoey.
"Well--" He remained wholly calm and lifted a shoulder. "--I know that Houses Grayson, Valardin and Redrain have called their banners. Velenosa is not far behind. This war is for the benefit of the Compact." He looked over to Valerius and seemed to settle just slightly, despite his current posture. "There is absolutely no obligation to do so, Marquis Valerius. It seems that we will all be in the war whether we wish to be or not. And there is no reason in not trying to pull financial benefit from time of obligation of our lieges. If you do not wish to become involved with transportation or supplies during the war, then I urge you to let another other house in the League know, as there is great profit to be earned from it. No one is asking you to put your people or soldiers in harms way when there is no need for it. But if Velenosa calls for Malespero--" He looked between Valerius and Malespero with a bit more sternness. "-- you will answer. Just as House Tessere and House Saik...The war, and the needs it will require, is but a fraction of the purpose of the League, not the whole. But it would be foolish not to see it as imminent."
Oh, and he absolutely took a flaky bit of cherry tart and dipped his head thankfully to Scythia before taking a bit. "Delicious, my lady. My sincerest compliments." This was, of course, spoken while still munching.
"Thank you, Aunt Scy, I'd forgotten these were prepared," she murmurs as she selects one of the fresh berry pastries, grateful again for Scythia's presence and calming influence, as grateful as Kalani is for the bite from the pastry and the time it provides to allow her to think. How ever briefly to think, while following the conversation.
Scythia is overheard praising Kiera.
Pasquale takes one of the offered pastries with a nod and a thank you for Scythia as he listens to both Gaspar and Kalani's responses. He takes several long moments to compose his answer before simply saying "Since it is obvious that you don't understand the point I am trying to make I will leave the floor." A symbolic half step is taken back and he finally takes a moment to contemplate the pastry he ended up with.
Scythia is overheard praising Orrin.
Scythia is overheard praising Kalani.
Scythia is overheard praising Ember.
Valerius looks over the tray that has been offered and takes a small almond and olive combination. Nodding to Scyhia, then taking a larger drink of his wine. "Thank you Gaspar, You have given me the answer that I was seeking. We may discuss this further at a later time." He then retakes his seat, and leans to have a quiet conversation with Pasquale.
Scythia makes sure that they each have a pastry if they want one. Then she turns to Gaspar and studies the man for a silent half-second or so before offering, "In my experience there are many types of advantage and the acquisition of money is only one of them. Is that, truly, what you seek? Monetary advantage?" Her smile is gentle, eyes warm and kind, holding curiosity without guile or artifice. While she studies him, she notes Valerius speaking with Pasquale as well as the disposition of the other guests. Staff are passing out similar pastries to those who remain.
There was a true, deep nod to Pasquale and the matter was effectively dropped as far as Gaspar was concerned as well. And then, the very same to Valerius. "I'm certain I would enjoy that, Marquis Valerius, and I'm also sorry that the rift between our ideologies in this would be mended from such a talk." Eyes were felt, from Scythia and Gaspar returned the favor having never earnestly met the woman before. "For myself? Hardly, my lady. It's not a need or a desire, but--" He looked to Pasquale, "--as my colleagues from Malespero have stated, the formation of the League was for the intent of trade and connections; to benefit smaller houses in whatever ways they may need. It's my experience that those with needs, such as marches, counties and baronies, offer fair prices compared to their larger counterparts. Innately, and even if that were the sole purpose of founding this organization, the money saved among these members would make this whole venture worth it. But these connections?" He pointed to himself, and then to each of the others that remained. A smile, charming and handsome flourished. "I would likely never have met some of you and I value those more than silver." Gaspar rolled his eyes a bit and almost laughed. "As...cliche and gauche as that may sound."
"And I, equally, would not have met some of you, nor put proper face to proper name to further recognize more of you, in turn," Kalani picks up Gaspar's thread and runs with it. "The league is young, and this is only the second of such meetings," is added as she brushes the crumbs and sugar into a napkin, "and I know that each of us has specific things that we hope to speak of, things that we can't speak of, and topics that the league isn't ideally designed for. Money and profit are merely one aspect of what each house must, of necessity, take into account. War chests, as Lady Zoey has mentioned, were built up to support the needs of their houses in advance of coming conflict. Some of us can't speak directly to that conflict, the shape it may take, and speak only of how to help each other deal with the side affects. Or not speak on such manners at all. My hope is that each of you have found room and space to speak, and equal facility to listen and possibly arrange for other conversations to be had. And also I hope that the next of these League meetings can be hosted by another member of the league, and so on and around, taking turns, as it is."
Kalani is overheard praising Pasquale.
Kalani is overheard praising Valerius.
Kalani is overheard praising Gaspar.
Kalani is overheard praising Scythia.
Kalani is overheard praising Ember.
Kalani is overheard praising Medeia.
Kalani is overheard praising Lucita.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Pasquale before departing.
Valerius looks up from his private aside with Pasquale, smiling. "And I also feel that the individuals in this room, and league will make a larger difference that they might see at the moment. Having a heated discussion is all part of the game that is politics."
"Debate Valerius." Pasquale says "Debate. There was no argument."
Scythia studies Gaspar while he replies. She nods, her expression interested and understanding. "Ah," she offeres, "In that case, Lord, we are in agreement." Smiling anew, she steps back and turns to shadow a glance to the others. Focusing on Kalani, then Valerius, then Pasquale, she stifles a bit of a grin, then nods to each again, "Thank you for the clarification, each of you. It is good to know where everyone is in this. I happen to agree."
"Lady Kalani, I feel this has been extremely productive. Passion is infectious, if intense. I come from one of the great houses and I've dealt with many of those beneath the umbrella of Velenosa for many years. Were this a meeting of silence and passivity? That would be cause for concern, but it clearly wasn't." A smile and a wink was given to Pasquale and Valerius. With Scythia's addition, the marquis nodded once, deeply. "Indeed, my lady. House Tessere would be honored to host the next meeting, speaking of which, Lady Kalani. I will reach out to you once Lady Piccola has the time to meet with me, and we'll find a suitable date. Hopefully all of war hasn't utterly consumed us by then."
"Any meeting that results in stony silence from the room at large is a meeting that did NOT go well. In light of that, lets call this meeting officially adjourned, and hope for equally spirited dialog, debate, discussion and conversation with the next meeting," Kalani says this with a smile and a, very quiet, sigh of relief to have the conversation point moved slightly with that clarification. "And, equally, I want to thank all of you for coming," and this time it's a grin aimed at Gaspar. "I'd be glad to speak with you again once she has the time to read the summary of the notes from tonight's conversations. Plus, by House Tessere hosting the next meeting it means you won't have to hear me speaking as much again, next time," this last bit said with a pretend and slightly comic drooping of posture.
A quiet bit of laughter and shake of his head. "In that case, I rescind the offer, my lady."
"To late. It was offered, witnessed and politely accepted," Kalani points out with a wink. "no take backs."
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