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Bastion Planning: Cathedral District

The Princess of Bastion invites those involved in efforts to reclaim Bastion to attend to discuss issues relating to the city's cathedral district. The agenda shall include: ways to remove the plants from the area; the issue of the creatures roaming the district; and any immediate undertakings required to ensure the security of a seat of the Faith. Those who cannot attend in person are invited to make written submissions.

(OOC: all PCs can assume they are invited! I don't anticipate the event being very long. One of a series to determine courses of action relating to Bastion. Will run follow-up events as necessary.)


Nov. 13, 2021, 1 p.m.

Hosted By



Haakon Ian Oswyn Dante Jamie Preston Cesare Ivy Pasquale Tikva Saccharin Raymesin Lou



Arx - Ward of House Grayson - Grayson Mansion - Great Gray Hall

Largesse Level


Comments and Log

Andre, the messenger who can't even arrives, following Dante.

Situated at the head of the large map table is Liara Grayson. When the time to open the meeting comes, she rises to her feet, having been considering some parchment, and greets those about with a light smile. "Thank you for attending. This second to last in our series of meetings is to address matters relating to the cathedral district. It poses a passingly similar problem to those seen at Grayhold, in that we face the leavings of the Traitor and his pawns. In this case, it takes the form of a vast number of dangerous plants, if they are indeed plants, and, per reports received, potentially a number of creatures."

She takes a beat of pause, "Before we commence, is there any fresh information to be presented?"

Balian, a Templar squire, 1 Templar Knight guards arrive, following Preston.

Haakon shakes his head to the query. Those nearest the reaver might hear him mutter something akin to, "Fucking flowers."

Ian basically lives here now, apparently, because here he is again, sitting in a couch with flask in hand; his physical bearing suggests inattentiveness, but the way he's watching everyone makes it clear that no, he's definitely paying attention.

Oswyn has settled somewhere near Ian; he has some papers out and is looking about as studious as he usually does, which is very studious.

Liara ventures a question to Haakon, "Lord Haakon, might you have a description of the more mobile of the dangers sighted in the district? Their presence may change matters from being an issue primarily for alchemists to one involving military deployment. I note that by the time we make to deal with this, soldiers will be available in the city either way."

Ian has joined the silver seasilk sofa of superb repose.

Oswyn has joined the silver seasilk sofa of superb repose.

Wandering in with an agile, feline gait, Dante runs fingers through his already mussed up hair and lets out a yawn, leaning against a wall with Andre. "So. This is about flowers of doom? That sounds rather curious! I would not mind cutting some down. Can they be cut down? I have never fought a carnivorous flower," he admits in a smooth, if thick, Lycene accent to Liara. "Your Highness," he remembers with a very proper bow afterwards.

Oswyn removes a folio from his ever-present satchel and opens it up to start rifling through papers. "Podlings?" he suggest. "I've learned a little about those. I can share notes if required."

Arriving just moments before the meeting officially commences Jamie makes his way inside the grand hall. A polite bow of the head given to the other patrons though no verbal greetings are shared as the princess begins. The big Greenmarcher moves to settle down next to Lord Ian, a brief smile before giving his attention fully to the discussions at hand.

Jamie has joined the silver seasilk sofa of superb repose.

Haakon nods once with a wordless rumble to Liara's request. "Two were seen, mayhap there are more. Big lads, walked on two feet, shape of men wrought from vines and such, but bigger than a tall man by a full head. Broad and strong, as well. Smashed through barricaded doors in a few minute. Slow though, pass no swifter than a steady walk. Flowering and blooming, beside, so I'd not like breathing the air bear them." Whether for a dislike of flowers or a more practical toxic dread is not clarified.

Oswyn murmurs, "They walk around? That sounds... worse than podlings? They're both bad, mind."

Preston tucks his helmet under his arm as he enters the Gray Hall, stopping for a moment to the side of the door to take in the room. He moves closer to the group and listens for a few moments before, as Haakon finishes, he coughs gently "If I might ask, Lord Haakon, these creatures? Did they enter the Cathedral? My understanding is the vines grew /around/ it, rather than in it?"

Liara offers a brief smile to Dante and Jamie each, then at Oswyn's question, she replies, "I do not have a name to attach to them, archscholar, but any information is certainly welcome." She turns her attention to Haakon, listening quietly, then gives a small nod. "Then we will assume a need for soldiers."

Haakon asides dryly to Oswyn, "Aye, they walk." To Preston, he nods. "You heard aright. The vines grew over the door, but nay within. Still, these walkers stove in the cathedral doors and pursued us within. We were nay there to hunt, so we took a passage out through the vestry, as they walked in the main passage."

"How similar are the vines to the ones that are currently subsuming the Shrine of Lagoma? Or...what used to be the Shrine of Lagoma?" Cesare asks from where he's seated attentively taking notes in his little notebook. "I ask for the purpose that we may avoid repeating anything which did /not/ work on those vines."

"You said they were taller than tall men... would you say, eight feet? Nine? Broad? Were you able to notice if they were -made- from the vines, or if they were perhaps covered with them?" Ivy pushes away from her favorite leaning wall, straightening up with a tense expression.

Jamie gives a few quiet nods of contemplation, primarily to himself, before inquiring, "If I may, has anyone engaged these creatures in melee? I fear the thought they may regrow as swiftly as the vines along the cathedral itself." He adds a quiet nod of agreement to Cesare's concerns.

Oswyn nods to Liara; he pulls out some more papers and starts writing in a quick, sure hand. "Are they vines or bugs pretending to be vines or... does that even matter, I wonder." He blows on a freshly-inked paper and begins to pass it around for those who'd like to look over the notes on podlings. It finds its way to Jamie first, since the man's by Oswyn at the couch, and wends its way through the room.

Haakon sniffs dryly to Cesare, "They sought life, chewed flesh and drank blood. Bound for wrists and knees, sought out armor gaps, and needed be cut up by blade. In that they're much the same." Of the vine men, "Nay, we didn't combat them. As I said, our task was not to hunt, and they moved slow enough that we weren't forced to fight. I know not of their guts, whether solid vine or overgrown men. Can't guess."

"From what I understand, the vines at the shrine aren't actually vines," Ian replies to Cesare from the couch. "I don't really get how vines can actually be bugs pretending to be vines, but that's what people who know this stuff better than I do are saying."

"It definitely mattes. Actual plants, living plants... twisted or corrupted.. those are the purview of Blight. These... bugs masquerading as plants.. they are Legion." Ivy glances to Oswyn, dipping a nod to him.

Liara quiets for the moment, apparently content to let conversation go back and forth, her hands laid to rest against the edge of the table.

Oswyn reaches up and pinches the bridge of his nose, nodding to Ivy. "Yes. Yes, that definitely matters. Thank you."

"Considering /whose/ forces attacked Bastion," Cesare murmurs, "I would say it's probably safe conjecture that the vines and the ... flower people? near the Cathedral are also under the Slaver's purview. We know they're susceptible to fire, yes? And theoretically there /should/ be some kind of weakness to those who are blessed by Skald."

Moonsilver, the pale-feathered raven arrives, delivering a message to Ian before departing.

"Then the vines are twisted by Abyssal magic, which is why they could not enter but merely cover the shrine, and these podlongs, though twisted by the Abyss, are not reliant on it for their continued existance. Those things that have become fully immersed in the Abyss have a far more interesting reaction on sanctified ground - unless they have the strength and ability to taint that sanctification. Thank you, Lord Haakon." Preston offers with a bow of his towards the Thrax nobleman. He shakes his head a little as he considers what the others say "It is the work not directly of legion, but of his mages. Elves. Drawing on the magic of the Abyss. Led by a woman, who works directly for Orichalcum."

Moonsilver, the pale-feathered raven arrives, delivering a message to Ian before departing.

"Which reminds me," Oswyn says, looking up and squinting again. "Are the elves also occupying the city? Should we be making use of Elfblight Orchids in some way?"

Ian becomes briefly distracted from the discussion by a small flurry of messages and a very persistent raven.

Liara supplies for Oswyn, "We are operating under the assumption that an elf mage is in Grayhold. We have no specific evidence pointing to same, but it is safer that we prepare for the eventuality than not."

Cesare looks a bit uncomfortable about the idea of using elfblight. "Does that affect all types of elves? Because if so, it would be a terrible risk to our allies, and I think that's unacceptable. My question is, do a mage's weaves - castings, whatever - collapse when that mage dies? And if so, how does one kill a mage? Do we need a mage of similar strength, or do we just need a massive group prepared to overwhelm her?"

Moonsilver, the pale-feathered raven arrives, delivering a message to Ian before departing.

"We won't have elven allies going into Bastion, Softest. And the Nox'alfar are the ones that gave us the Elfblight and showed us how to use it... I don't think they're terribly worried about us turning it on them..." Ivy offers from her resumed wall-holding position.

Ian clears his throat while he puts another message into his pocket. "My understanding about the flowers is that they only work on sylv'alfar. Is that not the case?"

Cesare glances to Ivy, and nods. "I've little knowledge of it, so wasn't certain how it worked - if one might become accidentally contaminated and bring it back, or something of the sort. To hear that's not a possibility is a relief, and if what you say is the case, it seems we /should/ be using it."

Dante reads over the notes quickly and makes a sound of surprise in the back of his throat. "I've fought these things before! These man-flower-vegetables! I do recall these nasty rascals now." Chuckling, he leans against the wall and shakes his head. "Nasty."

"I have found that all that lives may die. These mages have lived long, but I would not think them impervious. As you suggest, the question is how you get close enough. And also where you fight. Though desecrated, the Cathedral is still sanctified ground of the Faith." Twisting his lips, Preston closes his eyes for a moment "I would presume that if they are able to move in the Cathedral, these podlings are not sustained by the magic. Created by it, but now real. I suspect it is wiser to assume killing the mage will not end their threat."

Ivy turns towards Dante at his statement, edging around until she can speak with him quietly.

"What troubles me is that mages are known to have a sort of inherent defense mechanism - bladeturning. So I think it would behoove any who go to fight her to carry blessed or magical weapons of some kind," Cesare suggests. "The - flower people, I don't know. Perhaps those can be slain by ordinary means, or weakened by ...weed killer?" He chews the inside of his cheek.

Ian shakes his head to Cesare. "I wouldn't count on blessed or magic weapons getting through that."

Ian has left the silver seasilk sofa of superb repose.

Moonsilver, the pale-feathered raven arrives, delivering a message to Oswyn before departing.

Moonsilver, the pale-feathered raven arrives, delivering a message to Oswyn before departing.

Ian has joined the silver seasilk sofa of superb repose.

Liara's uncharacteristically quiet for the course of the meeting so far, apparently amply happy to simply let the conversation flow. A curious look is turned towards Dante, eyebrows arching a touch. She gives a small nod to Preston. "I had wondered about whether killing any mage involved might end the other threat. That rather clarifies it. Thank you." She mentions on the matter of weapons, "I have wondered at whether Elvesbane's name signifies anything specific. Still, no plan should be made around any one weapon, even if it does."

Alberico, the Malespero aide, Louis, a Malespero Armsman, Mar, the Magpie arrive, following Pasquale.

Pasquale has joined the silver seasilk sofa of superb repose.

Moonsilver, the pale-feathered raven arrives, delivering a message to Ian before departing.

Moonsilver, the pale-feathered raven arrives, delivering a message to Oswyn before departing.

Dante pulls out a small, battered journal and starts to leaf through it, muttering to himself. "Yes. These pod people things. We fought them in the Roseward. They died to alaricite and diamondplate well enough. As far as the vines themselves, we came up with a concoction with Marquessa Quenia at the Tor Apothecary College. It works great against the Thornweaver's vines, although I can't say this is the same since different Thornweaver, right? Might work with what you have here, though. Worth a try?"

Oswyn has his turn exchanging messengers with the pale-feathered raven, which he does quietly and as unobtrusively as possible. Which is pretty inobtrusive, really. He's sort of made for that. Looking toward Liara, he notes, "In my opinion, killing mages - particularly that one mage - is a priority. It will undo at least some of what they've made. Mages would require great skill to kill. A proper hero would be needed; the better the story, the more potential to harm the mage."

Moonsilver, the pale-feathered raven arrives, delivering a message to Oswyn before departing.

"I don't believe these are blood magic," Cesare murmurs. "Therefore not Thornweave. They're Abyssal magic." He sighs. "Which compliments things. However: alaricite, being noted to work against Abyssal beings, ought to work well enough."

Ian shakes his head. "I wouldn't want to go up against a sylv'alfar mage, story or no story. Not one on one, at least. That sounds like a great way to have your story end."

Quickly, Dante copies two pages out of his journal and hands them to Liara. "May want to see with Marquessa Quenia or one of the other alchemists if this might help. I'm not one of them, I just swing a sword and yell at peope," he remarks with a lazy grin.

"Thornweavers were Sylv'alfar. The same as the Su'Tavi who serve under Lady Calyana and Orichalcum." Preston offers, though his tone seems more musing than certain "So while not the same, perhaps also not wholly different. And yes, I suspect magical blades may help we are not exactly burdened with an excess of them. You cannot always rely on the wieler being alive or there at the point of the matter. As the Eurusi proved, the most devout can still have their armour fail. Did the Seraph or the Templars of Bastion survive to give some account of possible entry ways into the Cathedral? I am aware of tombs below."

Ivy glances up, frowning, "It was my understanding that the Su'Tavi are not elves, they are shav'arvani. They are a clan of shav'arvani that worship Legion and perform hunts in his name, strange blood rituals... but they are human, which is how they were able to sneak into the city. By pretending to be prodigals."

"They are, as I understand it, halfbloods," Cesare says. "Ironically enough."

Oswyn rubs his chin and murmurs to Ian, "Storied archers? No one wants to, and it's very likely to end said story, yes."

Oswyn shakes his head, looking up again. "No, not all halfbloods. They are taken from a variety of places."

Pasquale asks Oswyn "The most relevant question is - Is taking out just one of His mages worth losing a half dozen of our strongest?"

Confessor Imori, 5 Armed Confessors, Confessor Warren arrive, following Tikva.

Confessor Imori, 5 Armed Confessors, Confessor Warren leave, following Tikva.

Confessor Imori, 5 Armed Confessors, Confessor Warren arrive, following Tikva.

Pasquale adds "Thats what we need to be convinced of if we are to tackle them head on."

"Can we afford /not/ to?" Cesare counters. "She's already done incredible damage. How many deaths in Bastion do you think she's responsible for? She might have torn down the facade of Whisper House itself, had we not had protections in place. We must certainly be prepared, but we need to be rid of her."

Oswyn holds his hands up. "I can't answer that; my experience in battle is very, very limited, and I am by no means qualified to make such judgements or order any soldiers about anywhere."

Preston lifts an eyebrow "Truly? Useful to know. Though elves can also sneak in, they are not entirely different. But, I have not encountered them directly so am glad to be corrected. Their leader, Lady Calyana, is certainly Sylv'alfar. She was there when all this began, Legion and Orichalcum and the fall." At Pasquale's comment, preston smiles a small amount "Mm. I am not sure I agree with the concern - if it is right then whatever the cost is, you pay it. If that price is defeat, you pay this as well. But. If the mage is not there, then no-one will be happier."

Preston adds "Thaan I. Happier than I."

Ian sounds a little bit weary when he speaks up and says: "There was a sylv'alfar mage in Bastion when it fell. She was on the shoulders of the gargantuan in the harbor, directing its movements. She wasn't the same person as the one who attacked Whisper House."

Abstracted by expression, Tikva posts up near the back of the Hall, her bright eyes flicking saccadically between speakers as she listens without offering immediate commentary.

"Lady Saccharin, the acting ambassador, is a blood mage of some ability." Cesare closes his journal, running a hand through his hair and sitting up slightly. "And she has the typical sort of - cavalier fearlessness that many of the Nox have. Perhaps she can be convinced to assist in this battle, given that the Traitor seeks to destroy her people entirely. I wouldn't count on it, but it's also not beyond possibility." He raises his eyebrows to Ian. "So there are /two/ mages we're dealing with."

"If I am there, I shall be more than happy to try to make the mage eat alaricite. That gargantuan is dead, yes? Perfect! Ah, there we go, we even have a mage on our side! Maybe," Dante says enthusiastically to Cesare, hand clasping the hilt of the Rosethorn. "It must die, it is that simple. I have never slew a mage, I think that would be an experience."

Dante ponders for a bit before shaking his head slowly at Ivy, "Noooooo. But there were Abandoned tangled up in the general foliage, so. Maybe someone -could- get stuck in one?"

Ian gives Dante a dry look. "The gargantuan's dead because we shot it several times in the face with ballistae.

Ivy gives a small shake of her head to Dante, "If they were not people within then it was not what I was concerned about. Thank you, my lord."

"Blood magic comes at a cost, and the Faith cannot ever countenance it. If that was the path taken, that is a choice that the nobles are free to take but it is one that will mean the Faith will withdraw and seek recovery of our Cathedral in our own way." Preston warns, though his voice is warm and he smiles across at Cesare "There are ways enough within the bounties of the Gods to survive what comes."

Pasquale nods when Preston answers and gives Oswyn a hint of a smile. "I'm afraid it is not me you need to convince. I am neither a famous warrior nor do I have the honor of being able to command one to act on my behalf. I am not saying it is not worth the cost. I am saying that if you want" he looks to Dante and nods. "More volunteers to go out and take on such a deadly foe you need to present them with a better argument. Remember that you are asking them to do something they probably wont survive."

"When we found them, the living were tangled up and being sucked dry by the vines in little thorny cages, although most of the people had already been torn apart and impaled," Dante relates to Ivy while leaning against the wall, fingers sweeping through his hair. A delighted laugh follows Ian's words, "Really? I wish I had seen that! I miss all of the fun," he sighs out, hand pressed to his chest dramatically - but he gets a lot more serious and nods in agreement with Preston. "No blood magic."

"Lady Saccharin is a Nox'alfar," Cesare replies to Preston.

After a time, which is spent listening intently to all that is said, Liara ventures, "Thank you all for the insights. We might operate under the assumption that one is present, and be happy if one is not." Then a beat of pause and she adds, "It is important that all that we do here is conducted in the proper way. I will not countenance anything contrary to the proper order of things being done within the city."

"Really? My impression of Beloved Orazio's reworking of the Laws of Limerance was a little different, Carnifex." Tikva drifts forward from her post to spread her hands over the surface of one of the tables, leaning on her palms with a little scrunch of her nose. "Surely we must countenance the Nox to use blood magic. They already do and it is far from the abyssal consort the Inquisition hunts. It is only we, who have no idea what we are doing, that must eschew it. Unless of course we want the aid of the spirits, who cannot abide it even a little bit."

Tikva pinches her finger and thumb together. Itsy bitsy. Even an eensy weeny.

Oswyn clears his throat gently. "Ah. Given the Queen of Endings' stance on blood magic, that has been relaxed slightly. I wouldn't go about trying it if you're human mind you. Abyssal, right out though."

MAYBE it is a listening device. Either way, it's not long after that Saccharin herself slips into the hall, holding a box with her as she slinks in glancing warily around her. She doesn't say anything as she makes her way beside Cesare, taking a seat, hand still gripping the box. Her eyes land on the Carnifex and she looks almost horrified for a second, staring at him intently. More than is perhaps polite or normal. Her lips part before she glances back at the front, paling a little.

Liara gives a small duck of her chin to each of Tikva and Oswyn as she listens, lips pursed, then she suggests to the hall as a whole, "I much appreciate all the insights. Might we turn thoughts more fully towards the plants, such as they are, currently within the cathedral district, and means to destroy those? Alchemical solutions are a possibility, but by no means whatsoever a guarantee."

Cesare is /totally/ happy to see Saccharin, and doesn't even bother trying to hide it. Although when she stares at Preston, his delight fades, and his expression turns to a frown instead. He stares at Preston for a while too, before turning back to the ambassador and murmuring something to her.

Ian studies Saccharin across the room with rather more forthrightness than is probably polite, but hopefully he falls far enough below being worthy of notice to get caught and called out on that. He follows the direction of her gaze to Preston.

Ivy lets out a breath and rubs at the back of her neck, "There is always the possibility, IF these are actually magically corrupted plants, that the proper ritual done, with enough people of the appropriate nature... could 'reclaim' the area from Abyssal taint or magics." She loosk to Liara with a helpless shrug, "But given that we don't even have confirmation is the vegetation in and around the Cathedral is truly comprised of plants, or if its bugs masquerading as plants, then I am hesitant to suggest such a risky undertaking. Legate Bianca and Master Aleksei are still inr ecovery from the backlash of that attempt at the shrine."

A shocked expression crosses Dante's face when Saccharin enters, the Marquis squeezing himself into a corner while trying to feign a neutral look afterwards. Andre, loyal servant that he is, makes sure to stand in front of him as best as he can.

Ivy also offer sa small smile and wave to Saccharin as she joins the proceedings.

"Most Holy Orazio's reworking removed the proscription. That the proscription is removed means we do not punish those that undertake it, as we had to do with the High Lords. It remains dangerous and inadvisable. It is not a risk that needs taking, nor is it a fight that should require going to outsiders - and yes, I am aware that the Nox are the Nox. I do not pass judgement or commentary on what they do, only on us relying on such endeavours. Equally I don't condemn if that is the choice taken, it is just one I will not place our people alongside." Preston bows his head a little, acknowledging the dissent. "There is no need to linger in twilight when one can stand in the brightest light. And we must always set an example for others who look to us." As Saccharin arrives, and looks horrified, Preston nonetheless smiles warmly to the Nox and bows his head towards her "And always an interesting visit from the Twilight Court."

Tikva folds down onto the bench with a gloomy look. "Singing at them would probably not be that useful," she says. "Lucita did suggest it and I mean we can. I just ... don't really feel it's very applicable. Still... the idea exists, and I will of course sing for any audience, herbaceous or not." Tikva gives Saccharin a friendly smile of greeting that becomes quizzical quickly. She tilts her head, sideglancing Preston to see if there is something in his teeth maybe. "The Fa

Liara gives a little nod as she listens to Ivy, then remarks, "It is not an option which should be overly relied upon, my lady. Just as I have sought options other than sending hundreds, or thousands, of soldiers to resolve matters by brute force, so I am reluctant to put at undue risk those who are able to undertake what you are describing. I dare say that the Compact will require them elsewhere before this is done."

Then, much less pragmatically, she observes, "/How/ we go about these undertakings matters. It is a powerful symbol. Considering the nature of the conflict that we now face, that is of utmost importance. I appreciate that saying as much aloud may sound strange, since perhaps this should simply be inherent to my thoughts rather than something considered."

She gives a small duck of her chin to each of Preston and Tikva, absorbing what they say.

Oswyn gathers his things, rising up from his seat on the couch and shouldering his satchel. He makes his way toward the exit, pausing on the threshold to turn and squint in Preston's direction.

Oswyn has left the silver seasilk sofa of superb repose.

The color returns to Saccharin's cheeks at something Cesare whispers to her and she gives an exhale, a nod given around the room. Then she's rapidly beaming at Tikva and very unsubtly mouthing, "THANK YOU." While twirling the ends of her hair, looking as happy as ever. She almost seems to forget where she is, her features dreamy.

Tikva beams back, mood obviously lightened for all that she was making gloomface about half a second ago.

"For those of you who have not had the pleasure of meeting her," Cesare says, his voice projecting with no obvious effort to carry throughout the room, "we are honored by the presence of Lady Saccharin Maudlin, acting ambassador of the Twilight Court, Blooddancer of the Moonlight." He makes an elegant gesture to Saccharin, sitting next to him with her mysterious little box. Subtly prompting.

Right about now Dante seems to remember he has someplace to be - and in a hurry at that. Andre is elbowed out of the way as the Marquis steps quickly towards the exit, mumbling a farewell with his eyes fixed straight ahead.

Andre, the messenger who can't even leaves, following Dante.

Pasquale watches Dante hurry out and moves to his feet a few moments later. "If you will excuse me." he says to the pair at the sofa. Then he follows the Marquis out.

Pasquale has left the silver seasilk sofa of superb repose.

Alberico, the Malespero aide, Louis, a Malespero Armsman, Mar, the Magpie leave, following Pasquale.

Jamie scratches his chin briefly before speaking up, "Just to clarify. These plant creatures, are they all held up within the Cathedral itself, or do they roam outside it's grounds?"

There's a flash of a faintly bothered expression across Liara's features, gaze dipping and lips pursed, and then she goes on to address the hall again as it clears, "Much as I express my reluctance to Lady Ivy, I am conscious, having said as much at the meeting on matters pertaining to Grayhold, that the tasks ahead of us will require risk and sacrifice. There is no perfect solution on the table. We have rituals, we have alchemical solutions, we have songs, we have simple force: none of these are ideal, but that is the situation that we must accept."

She clarifies for Jamie, "The cathedral itself is devoid of this presence. It cannot survive inside."

"We are honored and delighted to welcome Lady Saccharin Maudlin to our hall, of course, and House Grayson should be delighted to accept the aid of the Nox against the Sylv'alfar, as we have since the days of Queen Alarice with only some unfortunate memory hiccups that I hope none of us here will dwell on," her smile is terribly sunny, lalala what memory hiccups, "--and as the Elfbone Throne is but one monument to reflect," Tikva says, and she stands again so that she can execute a little bow. Her eyebrows go quizzical again a beat later and she sways into a hip-lead lean into the table's surface. "Of course, Her Grace is correct that the way we go forward should be as we mean to go on, within the bounds of reason and ethics, but I can't imagine that the Faith should take any offense from asking or accepting the aid of our allies, who host among their number the very best blood mages."

"Except the podlings.. they apparently were able to chase Lord Haakon's group through the cathedral. The exterior vines and such did not enter, but the... mobile plant-people did." Ivy offers the one bit of clarification as well. She nods to Liara, "And perhaps.. we'll need all of them. Given what's been said at the meetings I've attended, and the minutes read from the ones I missed... none of this will be solved by any one thing. So, perhaps we'll need all of it. Rituals of Faith, singing, alchemy, fighters... everything. Anything we can muster."

Oswyn squints a while longer, then eases back toward his seat at the seasilk sofa. Maybe he decided against leaving.

Oswyn has joined the silver seasilk sofa of superb repose.

If she notices the room clearing, Saccharin's expression gives nothing away. Her eyes linger on Tikva for a moment before she says in a strangely perky voice. "So Queen Symonesse has advised us to not take to the field for as long as this sunny scythe remain in our enemies hands. She asked me to tell King Calithex of this and I did." She furrows her brows. "Oooh I should probably tell Tyrval too. Umm I'll get to that." She starts singing quietly to the box, easily ignored.

Ivy has joined the silver seasilk sofa of superb repose.

Edging around, Ivy makes her way over to takes a seat near Oswyn, leaning in to murmur to him softly.

Saccharin has joined the Couch of Majestic Gryphons.

Saccharin has left the Couch of Majestic Gryphons.

Saccharin has joined the silver seasilk sofa of superb repose.

"Her Majesty is wise to aid the Twilight Court in the protection of your people. Thank you for clarifying that, though, my lady," Tikva says, and she kind of droops back down into her seat again, the lure of magical protection other than that which may come from her own larynx being beyond reach. She props her cheek on her palm. "Okay. Okay. Lady Ivy is right, though." She rubs her nose. "Crap," is much less the kind of thing people who are professionally trained in diplomacy are supposed to say. It's possible that it's been too long since that refresher course Lumen made her take.

Cesare looks at the box, nodding to himself as if he now has some idea what is /in/ the box. He reaches over and gives it a friendly little pet-pet, and hums along with Saccharin for a few moments. "So we have little idea overall of what harms the plant-people," he speaks up finally. "Other than, possibly, fire - Mother Bianca having noted to me in a prior conversation that the insects of the Traitor were vulnerable to fire. She meant flame in general, but I wonder if, in having seen Mistress Nina Autumndale perform a fire-breathing trick last night, it might be possible to weaponize flame, and particularly, to weaponize Lagoma's flame, in some way." He clears his throat. "If that's not blasphemous."

Liara looks up with a mild, agreeable sort of nod to Tikva's first words. No comment is passed on blood mages one way or another, and then her attention turns to Saccharin, to whom she gives another nod in understanding. To Ivy, she says, "Thank you for the clarification."

A faint purse of her lips, then she goes on to state to the hall: "Besides the more mundane matters involved, primarily that of military deployment, and likely forming a cordon around the entire district in a move to prevent the plants from spreading, this is a field which is well beyond my own understanding. Therefore, acknowledging that plans rarely stay intact, I would welcome input on what those present would do about our current problem, as an overall picture."

To Cesare, she suggests, "As symbols go, the destruction of the city is not a good one. As a pragmatic matter, my people shall require buildings to live in. Fire is a last resort."

Scarf, the violet serpent arrives, following Raymesin.

"Anything may be a step too far - victory is an admirable thing, to defeat the darkness. Always be wary of assuming defeat is the biggest enemy however. Defeat is merely an outcome. The end of a path, or perhaps a step along the way. What matters is the path you walk, and your intended destination. There are powers and weapons and tools we could lean on that could easily win us over, blades your own family are most familiar with that I could take and I could alone strike down so many of our foes. But yes. Perhaps we will need a great many solutions. But we do have them." Preston observes, though he does take a deep breath and he shakes his head as his eyes seem to focus on some point beyond the walls and he withdraws into himself "Wanting safety, wanting victory, and ignoring the path, it is how we got here. The Sylv'alfar lost their minds for victory." Cesare's comment brings Preston out of his reverie and he lets out a small chuckle "There is no purpose more divine than to stand against the light. Though..." and he trails off as Liara makes his point and he bows towards the Grayson high lord "...Yes. That. Though it brings an important query. Are all the people free of the city? Or were some trapped and remain there under these new, ah, temporary landlords?"

Willen arrives, following Lou.

Willen leaves, following Lou.

Willen arrives, following Lou.

Jamie quickly gives a brief nod, moving to speak before giving another nod to Ivy's addendum, "Thank you for the clarification. If I may, our knowledge on these creatures is... well, lacking to say the least. Although it poses some risk, it may be within our interest to send a smaller advance party to try and briefly engage with these creatures. As of now, we're not even certain the effect normal weaponry has on them. We can spin in circles forever speculating and formulating plan upon plan, but I fear with how little we know even the greatest plan may fall through if we try to enact it as a single solution. I would like to propose we send ahead a few capable folk, draw the attention of one of these creatures along the outskirts and learn what they can from it. Test out our theories, be it blade, fire or what have you. We've been informed they're quite slow and lumbering, so it should be possible to keep risk to a minimum, though as with anything unknown there is indeed always still a risk. Even simply seeing the effects an arrow has would put us far above where we are now." With that he gives a humble bow of his head, awaiting the response of others.

"The wasps he used at the battle of Farhaven were certainly vulnerable to spellsinging," Tikva says. She rubs her throat. "If having the Metallic Traitor look directly _at you_ and go 'look what you can do' remains a memory that will live in my nightmares," she adds. "The trouble is mainly that there are only few of us, we are vulnerable to arrows and other damage, and sometimes it can take a very unexpected toll. The last time Lucita and I sang together on the field, she collapsed. I think Legate Bianca was reluctant to rely on us for that reason. Whenever we use those gifts we essentially rely on a divine grace that we lack true understanding on, no matter how we try to study and learn from the works of our ancestors."

Raymesin arrives quietly and without fanfare, slipping in through the door and taking up a spot against the wall nearby to listen.

Lou has joined the silver seasilk sofa of superb repose.

Late yet again, with more explorer stuff keeping her busy, Lou finally makes it to the last of the meetings before the wrap up. She meanders over toward the seasilk sofa and settles down, wiggling fingers at Oswyn and Ian as she does. She also flashes Tikva a large smile. She flops into the sofa rather than settles, but is careful not to jostle folk too much. She then works on listening attentively.

Tikva beams and waves back at Lou, once more casting off the temporary shadow of gloomface.

Ian scoots a little bit to make more room on the couch.

Oswyn squints over at Lou as she approaches; when she gets closer, he offers her a quick wave as well and shifts to make some more room.

"Herd them into an area - the living ones, create a firebreak, and light them aflame with fire arrows," Cesare suggests, leaning back in his seat a bit, his expression neutral almost to the point of flatness, lips and brows all three straight lines. "All we have at this point are last resorts when it comes to dealing with the Traitor and his magics, from what I'm hearing; the Shrine of Lagoma in our /own city/ remains subsumed by his monstrosities. We risk burning some of the city, certainly; but if we do not take calculated risk, there will be no city and no people to inhabit it."

It is at this moment that scowling pubescent storms into the room. "MOM," he declaims, with his mother's lung capacity, and without heed or care to what or whom he might be interrupting, "did you FORGET AGAIN?"
To which Tikva, sterling example of parenthood that she is, goes, "Oh shit," and hastens away from the table. "I'm sorry all, I did promise. I look forward to finding out where I am to be pointed." She flaps her hands through the air and then hastens to Lord Tiber, who herds her out the door with stormy grumbling at her all the way.

Liara supplies to Preston, "We are aware of some held by House Blacktree. Plans have been made to secure their release. I do not know if any may have been taken by the Traitor or his pawns."

She gives a little nod to Jamie, considering this. "The army shall be under way presently. Advance parties will be committed firstly to the matter of House Blacktree, then to securing the harbour, then Grayhold, and it will not be until the castle and so a secure place from which to operate is taken that we can commit entirely to the cathedral. The opportunity does therefore exist, at least in some limited capacity. I cannot speak as to whether there would be time to devise substantial new plans before our full attention turns to the cathedral; that will depend on the resolution of matters at Grayhold."

Liara inclines her head to Tikva, though doesn't quite get a reply in before Tiber comes to have words with her, then she gives a little nod to Cesare. "That sounds plausible. We might consider how their attention can be drawn."

"Thinking Arx is a safehold rather than a battleground is an understandable view, but not one history seems to support. Gloria's shrine was tainted by the Abyss for some time a while back, I could not even step foot in the place. So. I do not know that we need to overly worry about the loss of Lagoma's shrine." Preston observes, that same calm tone as he considers things "If there are people still in the city, as well as the other parts of the army, a conflageration is best avoided. Especially with the Cathedral, if we can. It was a place of hope, where people were saved. That is not a symbol I would give up so easily. Perhaps the podlings simply need to be faced and we ensure we have as many of our different tools within us when we do. At some point one of our ancestors was the first to stop wondering how to approach a furry mix of teeth and sharp claws and just walked up to poke a bear with a stick, and from that point we learnt how to fight them."

"Might I suggest," Lou remarks from the sidelines, "that perhaps Petal Penrose and Lady Olivia Ashford be involved in any planning for the Cathedral area?" This is directed more at Liara than any of the others. "Both have shown a remarkable knowledge regarding plants, and may have some ideas. They were both responsible for seeing the Shield of Morien powered during the Lodge of Petrichor crisis, with Petal Penrose developing a flower that was key to seeing it powered without as much risk involved for any person that might have been able to do so themselves." She folds her hands in her lap and looks around the room a moment before turning her attention back to her cousin. "Assuming, of course, they are available. I think their knowledge, at the very least, might be helpful."

"But you've forgotten everything." Saccharin can't help but say aloud as she looks at Preston. "Riiight?" She's idly stroking the box. "How can you learn if you've forgotten everything? Not just in past lifetimes but in human lifetimes too?"

Cesare has assumed an expression of perfect blankness, and pet-pets Saccharin's little box lovingly with one hand, like a very good friend.

"Oh, it's very frustrating," Oswyn tells the nearby Saccharin, earnestly. "We wind up re-learning things and then kicking ourselves for the forgetting."

"Memories return, slowly but they do. Skills return. Old methods recovered, Lady Saccharin." Preston answers with a deferential bow of his head to the Nox "We may have lost much. And yet. We remember more than perhaps we knew before in places. Even Crusader finds its way home, I think your people cared for it for a time possibly, from the Nox on its blade?" His shoulders lift though, and Preston's attention drifts down to the box "No people are infallible, my lady. Even the Sylv'Alfar king could not see how his son and his lady friend used him, and unleashed all this so long ago."

Liara ventures to Preston and Cesare, "There are ways in which we might employ flame without risking the city. It occurs that a tunnel near the district was left by a gargantuan." The rest of her thought there is presumably implicit.

She gives a small incline of her head to Lou. "Absolutely. Availing of their knowledge would be most helpful. If we can rid the area of the more actively violent entities currently within, they could conceivably act directly, too." A musing addition, "If we view it in that way, it gives us a clear course of initial action."

"The..." Saccharin just -stares- at Preston for a long time now before rising from her seat and steadily inching toward him, box still in hand. She then takes a seat behind him, holding the box up and says something quietly.

Raymesin continues to prop up the wall near the door, watching and listening quietly.

Saccharin lowers the box and rests it on her lap, seeming in deep discussion with the Templar. Or rather, she appears to be rambling quietly.

Preston murmers something back to the Nox before he looks across to L iara and returns to the wider conversation "I had wondered, your grace, if there were tunnels that led into the Cathedral - given that I think that was how some escaped? You could then deliver a small team into the heart of where those vines were but a place they cannot grow in, unless they have tainted the cathedral by now. It seems then that those who go that way could..." Then something murmered to him makes him turn his head and then his shoulders ever so slowly back to look at Saccharin like she just declared Gloria has tentacles and sings in a small tavern in the lowers. Things that are so out there he has no words.

Hmmming to herself as she rises from the seat, Saccharin doesn't even bid him goodbye before she settles back on the couch, returning to silence as she whisper sings at her box.

Liara turns her attention over to Preston at the suggestion, then her gaze flits between the templar and Saccharin, quietly curious. She doesn't quite pre-empt the end of Preston's thought, though, and just gives a small duck of her chin, apparently content to wait.

Preston clears his throat to recover from the odd experience and looks back to Liara "Ah. Uhm. Yes. That those then could get close to the podlings and try out these methods. Try to make a diverse group, those who sing spells, those who can invoke the divine, if we had powered Paladins those would be useful, and relic weaponry. And if all else fails, people with pointy sticks. We can try to second guess ourselves and what they might be, or do, forever. Ultimately we have to take a risk. And if the Mage has set themselves up in the Cathedral, you can end them before fighting the podlings."

Liara upturns a hand in a small indication of assent to Preston. "Very good. I shall take it as being implicit in the suggestion that the Faith would have no difficulty of the use of the cathedral for such purposes."

Liara takes a moment, considering, then goes on, "Yes, I like that. There are several sound suggestions now on the table, and while we cannot yet know the specifics of what ritual or what alchemical solution might be found, there is enough to put together an overall plan around, I feel. Would anyone else like to venture particular ideas?"

Raymesin clears his throat. "Sounds like Paladins'd be a great idea," the overtall man with the Lowers accent says. "This ain't the first time I've 'eard 'em mentioned."

Cesare just shakes his head, looking at Saccharin's little box and humming along softly to the melody she's whisper-singing.

Jamie gives a slight shake of his head to that as he speaks, "For now, with how little we know, I agree it may be the best plan. Infiltrate, try and deal with the pods, then escorting researchers and scholars in to deal with the vines themselves once it's safer. My only fear is the passageway leading out of the tunnels. Under the assumption that the tunnels are only wide enough to walk single file, if the pods are immediately present it may be difficult to get any quantities of forces out and able to fight. And if the pods possess the ability to create vines themselves, or simply block the way physically, we may find our only escape route blocked. It may be safer to try and deal with the pods outside of the Cathedral in a more open space, only going in after when we believe we've cleared as many as we can. Though that's just my personal opinion."

Archimedes, the Grim Face of Owlish Judgement arrives, delivering a message to Ivy before departing.

"The Cathedral is a place of sanctuary, it seems fitting for it to be a place to allow for the retaking of the city from the Abyss. And the only way fighting would occur within it is if the Abyss already occupies it, in which case it is a righteous cleansing." Preston reasons to Liara's assumption "Hopefully we will find it clear and can then move beyond the Cathedral. And if our enemy flees, they will then flee away from the Cathedral and into the arms of the other Grayson forces? The Faith, of course, can provide troops and supplies to help in cordoning off and securing the city. I am sure Blessed Porter can also help with movement of the refugees with the Knights of Solace?" Raymesin's comment gets an amused grin from Preston "They are a historic interest. Alas, true Paladins? We have not seen in some time. But. Sometimes what is past may be again."

Liara gives a small nod to Raymesin. "Indeed. Perhaps for Grayhold even moreso than here, considering the entities discovered within. If it can be accomplished at all, we would all be most grateful to see it done."

To Jamie's words, another nod follows. "If battle is to be given, an open space would be greatly preferable."

An inclination of her head is given to Preston. She then lays out her thoughts, seemingly drawing in various elements of what has been discussed: "The first move against our foe shall involve elements of the army that can be spared from the action at Grayhold. The effort shall be focused on drawing out anything which can move, notably these podlings. That force can use such means as are appropriate, and I will sanction the digging of pits and the setting of traps involving fire where they do not present a threat to the rest of the city."

A beat of pause, and she continues, "The second move will be Grandmaster Preston's suggestion. People shall enter the city via the tunnel, and thence directly to the cathedral, very probably by the same route that the scouts used to escape. Other undertakings may then happen. I leave the details of rituals or otherwise to be worked out by those knowledgeable."

And finally, "Once the cathedral is deemed secure, we might indeed invite in people such as Lady Olivia or Petal Penrose, there to do their work. I cannot presuppose its outcome."

She then says, "Having said all that, people shall be needed for all of this and for organising matters. If people wish to make themselves known now, please do so."

Dolente, a mourning dove, Dolce, a collared dove leave, following Cesare.

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