Grayson Fealty Meeting 1019
May 5, 2023, 8 p.m.
Sira Kael Keely Agric Ian Cufre
Ashford Bisland Byrne Deepwood Laveer Leary Riven Seliki Shepherd Stonewood Whitehawk
Arx - Ward of House Grayson - Grayson Mansion - Great Gray Hall
Comments and Log
Lou is settled at the large table within the Gray Gray Hall. There's a map sitting upon the table that's been unfurled and properly weighted down. There's drinks and other refreshments and snacks made available for those who've come. She's scribbling in a notebook, jotting down a few notes, as she waits for people to arrive.
Sira arrived a few minutes early and moved directly to greet Lou. "Pathfinder," She says with a curtsy, "A pleasure to see you again so soon." Once the greeting is out of the way, she moves to find a drink and then claim a seat not terribly far from Lou - within easy sight of the map, suggesting she might have business to bring up at the meeting.
Kael is undoubtedly serving under the descriptor of ally for this particular meeting, and moreso he is serving under the classification of escort. He arrives with Keely, the Grayson on his arm and undoubtedly subtly guiding him in the proper direction of the Gray Hall. His attendant, Vern, is on his heels and rather apologetically passes a few pieces of folded parchment to Kael before drawing back. It's an almost perfect handoff, done before the Keaton is dipping in greeting to their Grayson host.
6 Grayson House Guards have been dismissed.
Wyla, a small wisp of an assistant have been dismissed.
Keely buzzes in at Kael's side, her impenetrable delight over the previous weeks continuing on through this moment. She is chattering at him softly at about a mile a minute, and disengages from him only long enough to bend and kiss Lou upon the cheek in greeting, prior to allowing her escort to help her into a seat at the map table.
Agric arrives to the Gray Hall at the appointed time, glancing around with some lack of familiarity. This isn't someplace he's been in quite some time. Crossing the room to the map table, he offers a quick bow to those gathered. "Thank you for the invitation, your grace," he says to Lou, before searching for a drink and a seat.
Ian is an understated presence as he comes into the hall, giving off a definite sense of someone who is here only to be an observer. He takes a seat at the map table, far enough out of the way as to not take up a place near the map that might be occupied by someone more involved in the proceedings.
Cufre enters the hall dressed not unlike some nobleperson's capable assistant, so it's really only when she puts some distance between herself and the flow of arrivals that someone unfamiliar with her might have reason to think otherwise. She chooses a seat in a less-occupied area of the hall.
Lou glances up from her scribblings as people begin approaching. A warm, but tired, smile greets those who arrive. "Sira," the Pathfinder greets the tailor. The smile is larger for Keely, of course as she returns her cousin's kiss on the cheek quickly before she leaves for a seat. "Marquis Kael, Keely," she adds with warmth. She pauses a moment in greetings to send off a messenger she forgot to do the other night; Sen'azala distracted her with whiskey and a long conversation deep into the night. . . or wee hours of the morning, however you look at it. Seeing Keely and Kael reminded her the message needed to be sent. The others coming in get a nod from Lou too. She motions for everyone to get comfortable, however them wish, and then begins. "This meeting tonight is to discuss any new developments or reports regarding the threat that we all face in House Grayson, the return of the Traitor and his avenging reign of terror across the Crownlands and other territories, and that of his allies. I have some things to report myself, which many of you already heard in a separate meeting last evening, but I will gladly repeat them here for you in the interests of transparency and preparation. Perhaps, also, discussing and collaborating different remedies to the problems we face. Before I do so, I'd like for you to introduce yourselves, who you represent, and let us know what news, if any, that you might have to share."
"I am Princess Keely Grayson," Keely chimes softly with a glance aside to Kael, after which she adds, "Soon to be Marquessa-Consort Keely Keaton. But presently I represent Grayson's Ministry of Loyalty. And this is Marquis Kael Keaton, my betrothed." There is every sense in the world that she took on this introduction specifically to say that line. "I do not personally have any new information to share other than that Grayson has been hard at work rallying some yet-tenuous allies with the aid of experts, and that there is every reason to believe that the Traitor is attempting to free the Enemy in the North. Something that isn't news is that the peerage is still largely opposed to, seemingly, anything that would logically work toward saving humanity, so we will need to work on that and, either way, brace ourselves for some impossible decisions in the near future."
Lou gives Keely an encouraging look when she speaks. When she's finished, she says, "Princess Keely, there are several enemies in the north. For those who might not be aware of any of them, would you please elaborate on which one you're speaking about?" She looks around the room and notes, "And once Princess Keely elaborates, if you're still not certain and would like to know more, I'd be happy to pass along some information that I have to get you started."
Kael dips his head when his name is mentioned and once Keely is settled he eases down into his own seat. The Oathlander's posture is impeccable, as near always. He listens without any interruption and from his posture it seems unlikely that he will be the first to speak up. That being said, he does have those pieces of parchment in hand, and they are discreetly slid in Lou's direction. Except the motion isn't as discreet as anticipated given Keely's introduction. Thus, of course, he is clearing his throat. "A few historical notes on Calyana," he offers quietly as an aside to Lou. Then, since he has been called out, he squares up his shoulders and says, "From the Oathlands, there have been minimal skirmishes with... abominations, as though our defenses are being tested. The last major assault that I am aware of was Artshall." Which, the mere reminder, has his jaw flexing but he says no more. Instead he focuses on Keely when Lou requests further information.
Agric taps a finger against the side of his glass and eyes the map for a moment. "I am Lord Agric Leary," he tells the others at the table. "Unfortunately, I believe you will find me without much of the knowledge all of you have, as I only recently arrived from Leaholdt. I am here to support, however, in any way that I can." He lifts that glass to take a sip, eyeing each person at the table briefly, and falls back into listening intently to what they share.
"I'm Cufre Harrow," says the not-assistant after rising to her feet. She looks around to those gathered in that way that doesn't quite connect to anyone in particular's eyes. "I represent the Harrow family." She pauses. "I have an interest in my sister, Dame Felicia's, killer. I'm told her name is Calyana Vinekeep, and that she has ties to the Traitor." Another pause, then she admits, "I don't come with information; I come asking for it." She quickly sits down.
Sira waits until most of the nobles present have had the chance to introduce themselves and then rises from her seat to address the gathering. She begins with a deferential bow of her head before lifting it high and proud. "I am Master Sira Illuso. Tonight, I represent myself, though some of you may know me as the Voice of the Silver Consortium or the Minister of Coin for House DiFidante or the seamstress-proprietor of Gilded Dreams. And, certainly," She looks around from Lou to the others as she speaks, "Should the Silver Consortium be able to assist any of you, I am willing to speak on that." The woman takes a breath and lifts a hand to push back some of her thick, auburn curls. "Others may know that I am a refugee from Bastion. It was my home, where I was born, where my mother's family lived for generations. I lost everything - including my memories, for a time - in the attack..." Sira's words trail off, there. Anyone familiar with her would know she doesn't normally get emotional or sentimental; in fact, she's delivered all of what she's had to say to this point with a stoic, business-first expression. However, at the moment, her eyes look a little wet and lips are pressed thin. There's more she has to say, and so she pushes through. "Having had the oportunity to discuss the potentiality of reopening my mother's tailoring shop as a place for my apprentices to gain experience with you," She means Lou, "And Princess Lark, and more recently finding a patron in Archduke-Consort Noah Velenosa nee Grayson, I am finding myself called back... Home. I wish to swear once again to Grayson and lend my resources to her success." Since memories and records were lost, and she's been sworn to the Crown for a while, you know, just refugee things.
Ian looks like he's about to say something, probably give some kind of short introduction, but he falls silent when Sira starts to speak, and listens, instead.
Lou inclines her head deeply to Sira in a sign of appreciation and recognition for her words and the solemnity of them. "House Grayson expresses condolences for the loss of your home and your family. I was there the night of the attack. I, too, know the horrors that were endured. We are happy to welcome you home and do so with open arms once more as a citizen of House Grayson." Look at that?! Lou knows how to be officious and formal when the time comes for it. Sober even. Her own expression is solemn and contemplative. "We welcome also whatever aid you may lend in either of your roles." That moment taken, Lou looks to Kael then and nods appreciation for whatever it is he passes along to her. She sets it aside for the moment. "Lord Agric, House Grayson also welcomes whatever aid you can give as well, after hearing any reports given this evening. I, especially, am always looking for clear heads and minds to help braintstorm ideas on ways to keep our people as safe as we possibly can." Lou nods an acknowledgement at Cufre; her news is not new news to Lou. She gives the woman an especially supportive look, adding, "If you are still digging into the archives about her, I have assistants available."
Once Kael is settled and Keely's hand has been collected in his, her dark eyes drift around the table with gentle dips of her chin to those who introduce themselves. "The Enemy in the North I refer to is also referred to as the Enemy of Civilization," she offers with an apologetic smile aside to Lou, evidently unwilling to name the being outright. "He is currently held in a prison of vows and oaths, and there is a theory that the... Eater," she whispers this, "Is trying to erase important vows and oaths that have happened in the past, to weaken this prison. Pathfinder Lou and Marquis Keaton both know quite a lot about him, I didn't... bring my notes..." And here she looks between cousin and betrothed, hoping one of them might have.
Having stayed on her feet until Lou had a chance to respond to her, Sira gives a deep curtsy when the welcome back to Grayson is given. "My deepest thanks, Your Highness." When the seamstress retakes her seat, her gaze settles on the map, but her attention is likely focused internally as she doesn't seem to be actually /seeing/ the map. After a moment, she shakes her head gently and looks around again. To Cufre, she notes, "I may have some time, or an assistant to lend, as well."
Kael's attention is captured by Cufre, and certainly it might be explained due to the request of information that she is seeking, but no, it was actually her saying that she is Felicia's sister that garners most of his focus. He appraises the young woman in brief before dipping his head politely to her. His eyes flick to the parchment supplied to Lou but he's thereafter focusing on Sira as she speaks before Keely. When the latter is mentioning his name he dips his head again, agreeably.
"I am Princess Lou Grayson, Voice of House Grayson and also Pathfinder to the Society of Explorers," Lou states the obvious that most people here know, but also makes others know who she is who might not know. "What I have to offer tonight is both a report on House Grayson's findings and also the findings of the Society of Explorers. I'll start with Grayson first. Liara called the banners to gather them together should the Crownlands show any signs of threat from the Traitor or his allies. They were were assembled on the western bank of the Gray River, northeast of Pridehall and Cedar Vale in preparation to respond to any potential attack that Helena Thornweave might launch on the Crownlands. No large scale attacks came, but grim news kept filtering in about destroyed villages and holdings. Liara tried to send units out to stop places from being destroyed before they happened, but they were too late in each instance. There were few survivors from those excursions." This is, perhaps, a bit more news than what she'd reported the last evening. "A small barony, House Gilthorn, was also destroyed in that particular area. It was located in the lonely stretch of forest between Pridehall and Bastion, which was rather alarming. When forces were sent out to investigate it, the people were gone from the village that surrounded it and the stone house they lived in was covered in thick thorny vines that even the strongest of steel could not cut."
Ian finally stirs out of his silence to ask Lou a question: "Did you get the sense they were moving towards Pridehall?"
Cufre dipped her head in gratitude to Lou and Sira. She caught Kael's gesture and returned a slightly puzzled expression and a shallower dip in acknowledgement.
Lou furrows her brow a bit. "It's hard to say. I know that Pridehall had one of those strange sinkholes that had yet to be investigated, as did House Shepherd. But, Pridehall is the home of Bisland and one of our oldest Houses so it would not surprise me if they attempted an attack there, eventually. It's possible they were also just taunting Liara while also reaping people to use to make their collection of amalgamated monsters." Lou frowns a bit and shrugs. "The people who would know his actions best are not here to discuss them tonight, though, so I'm making a best guess effort here."
Lou continues on from there since no one has anything to add. "The other report is from the Society of Explorers." Lou makes use of the map that's already on the table, pointing things out as she goes along. "Some time ago, House Grayson received word that people were disappearing from this particular area," Lou points out the large yellow circle on the map. "Villages, towns, and baronies had gone without paying their taxes for months on end. And then in this lower quadrant," Lou points to the red circle on the map, "we were told that a whole tribe of Abandoned had gone missing. They were known as the Arbres and were quite a large tribe. A city's worth of people," she lets that sink in for folk. "The Society of Explorers went exploring in that direction, to see if we could find any survivors. We went from village to village, town to town, holding to holding. In all of that time, each place was deserted." She glances around the room to gauge the reactions of the others. "None of the buildings were harmed. They were just emptied of all people." Another pause. "In the last village, we came upon a very bloodied scene. Recently bloodied. We found a single person living, if it can be called as such, for she was wrapped in those bitevines the Thornweave are so fond of using, being slowly devoured by them. She was alive enough to hold a conversation, some of which was private for a member of the Grayson family, but her final words were to give us a warning. We had just missed Helena Thornweave. She had used the contents of the village to create another amalgamation, the likes of which we do not know. And she was headed east. It is my supposition that she's created a great many of these amalgamations with the sum total of the people who have just. . . disappeared." This is also all stuff that some people have already heard.
"It is my summation, in terms of Helena Thornweave, given the she was last headed. she was going either toward House Deepwood or House Riven, given the list of bloody names that was found several years ago. Both Marquessa Samatha Deepwood and Marquessa Mia Riven are considered some of the Most Wanted by the Traitor," Lou adds.
"Why Deepwood and Riven?" Ian asks. "Baston is east of that area, as well. Or Arx, if she gets to the river and goes south."
"Marquessa Mia Deepwood has been rather prolific in freeing people who were once held captive by the Traitor. She has caused him a great amount of setback and misery both in the Crownlands and across the Oathlands and Northlands I believe." Lou says in her very best, very much not like Lou diplomatic voice. "I believe many of those people have sworn to her personally, even from those regions. So, I imagine he has an axe to grind."
"Marquessa Mia /Riven/ has been rather prolific in freeing people who were once held captive by the Traitor. She has caused him a great amount of setback and misery both in the Crownlands and across the Oathlands and Northlands I believe." Lou says in her very best, very much not like Lou diplomatic voice. "I believe many of those people have sworn to her personally, even from those regions. So, I imagine he has an axe to grind." (repose with correct names!)
Lou adds, "Deepwood and Riven are allies as well."
Ian raises his eyebrows. "He's got an ax to grind with a lot of people," he points out. "I doubt he's forgiven House Grayson for existing, either. I'm curious if there's a reason other places are being ruled out as targets."
When spots on the map are indicated, Sira pays attention, studying them as all the information is shared. "Would you allow me, later, to make a copy of this? I need to ensure the Consortium's maps for trade routes are updated..." She clears her throat. "Not that trade routes are the most important. Pathfinder, if our information about known routes or lost contacts is useful, you will have it."
Kael's listening attentively, his somber expression going more grim the longer that Lou speaks. At the mention of Riven, he shifts uncomfortably in his chair and looks across the gathered individuals. Not easily finding any of the House present his attention shifts back to Lou. In the wake of Ian's words, he asks, "Has anyone heard from her brother as of late?" Pause. "Helena's, not Mia's."
"Bastion still remains a concern, of course, as we are still rebuilding. Lady Eirene Riven has also told me that House Riven has discovered an attack is imminent at Twainfort, which coincides with the information we received from the woman the Explorers found." She nods in Sira's direction. "Of course." She glances to Kael, furrowing her brow. "I'm not aware of his whereabouts but I can ask around through my contacts."
Agric listens quietly as one of the people in the room to whom this is all new news. And it's a lot of news. He glances to the map when locations are shared and discussed, shaking his head at some of what he hears. "Amalgamation?" he mutters thoughtfully, to himself, before finally looking up to Lou as shares a bit more.
Ian gives Agric a quick, humorless smile. "You ever seen a kid smash up a bunch of pieces of clay and make something? It's like that, but with people instead of clay."
Lou answers each question as they come along. "Amalgamations are monsters, literal monsters /not/ figurative ones, of creatures created through magic made of human bodies, plants, and a mix of animal bodies. Some such are known as Gargantuan. Those are made up of over 100 corpses. Gargantuan are giants that smash things and stomp on them. They're horrible to see," Lou continues for Agric, swallowing a bit as she adds, "I threw up the first and only time I saw them personally because there were made up of the corpses citizens of Bastion and members of House Grayson's royal lines. Many people died that day, taking back the city of Bastion."
"It has been some while since I heard from him, but when last we did exchange words, he was adamant about staying near Arx." Kael chins toward Ian. "Which means that here - or the outskirts - shouldn't necessarily be dismissed as a potential either."
Focusing still on the map, Sira pales when Agric asks about the almagamation. And then she kind of... dry heaves... When Ian explains. She'd been doing so well! Attending to business! "Forgive me," She murmurs as she abruptly stands and begins to withdraw from the table. "I'll be in touch," She promises Lous as she makes a very hasty exit.
Lou notes for Kael's sake, "Arx is south of where Helena Thornweave was last working, which is this area," Lou notes the yellow circled bits once more.
4 Silvershields, Elexa the reliable apprentice dressmaker, Buxby the mediocre apprentice dressmaker leave, following Sira.
Kael dips his head when the map is pointed out. "Ah, I see," he remarks gracefully. He shifts slightly and _does_ wrap a supportive arm around Keely when the almagamations are detailed.
Agric looks to Ian as he explains. He was that kid messing around with clay, so the description hits home with him. When Lou explains more and Sira reacts the way she does, he has to push aside his wine and take a breath. "This all...I did not realize all the threats we face."
"He's also been experimenting. We encountered magicked zombified plant people family members too. And, Artshall was filled with rapidly multiplying half people-mantid creatures," Lou also details those. She's not apologetic about it either. They are horrors that people need to understand exist. "Artshall was only saved because the Laurents are friends with one of the Skylords, a dragon that is. That dragon had a friend. They rained fire down on Arthsall, burning they city to the ground and wiping out the mantid-people things before they could multiply enough to get away from the city. Any time it attacked and ate a new corpse of a person, more sprang up. We couldn't cut them down fast enough and they'd just eat their own and create more." Her expression is grim and solemn, without any look of jest or humor. She's entirely serious.
"How?" Cufre shakes her head, "Pardon me, Pathfinder, but how? How did Marquessa Mia Riven free the traitor's captives? With amalgamations and gargantuans and vines that cannot be cut... ? Or were they not yet...bound...when she freed them?"
Ian looks between Cufre and Lou. There's a slight furrowing of his brow, a vague concern about the turn of the conversation.
"I do not know that she encountered all of those threats when she worked with others," Lou responds to Cufre. "I don't think they were all bound at the time. She aided other people who had allies of their own working with them. It's been a culmination of years of work. Everything we're facing now? That's new to us, even those of us who have been fighting him for years. The vines? The new creatures? They came when the Thornweave awoke."
Lou lets out a breath, and looks around, asking, "Has anyone anything else to share? If not, this might be a good place to end the meeting."
Kael's answering Lou with a shake of his head. Nothing more from the Keaton. He casts a stray look to Keely, but it is brief, and quite likely the Grayson looks as though she too is ready to depart.
Lou seems to take Kael's answer as one for the whole group. "I want to thank you all for coming out this evening. If you want to discuss more or learn more about the types of things we might be fighting, I'm more than happy to sit down and give you some of the history of the Sylv'alfar War, as that's very pertinent to what we'll be facing once more as a whole, among other things."
Lou adds, "But that will be for another day. There are some other matters I need to attend."
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