...Keep Your Enemies Closer
OOC: This is a GM'd event based around political intrigue and is rife with all the perils that comes with engaging a battle of the wits in the city-state of Tremorus. Looking for collaboratively minded players who feel up to the challenge and are interested in potentially gaining political favor from Leporidae.
Jan. 30, 2021, 6 p.m.
Outside Arx - Saffron Chain near Tremorus - Tremorus - Palace District - Tower of Adrastaea
Comments and Log
The Tower of Adrastaea is a marvel of architecture with many features and a scale that simply does not exist on Arvum. Easily the tallest and most grand structure in all of the Palace district, aside from the Sky Palace itself, which is sitting high on the mountain and looming over the rest of the city-state. The journey from Pieros is a long one and so when they finally pull into the cavernous port of Blackwater Bay the travelers, diplomats, and adventurers might be at ease to see dry land even if it is inside a massive cavern. From here there is a road carved through the mountain above to reach roads of dizzying heights, all the while the accompaniment of Myrmidons offer peace of mind that they will be safe while traveling from Blackwater Bay to the actual mountaintop city-state of Tremorus.
Praetorians lead the diplomatic envoys and native Tremorus, in Giorgio's case, up the stairs of the tower unto the tallest chamber which serves as the seat of Tremorus' government. Here there is a forty foot long stone table with comfortable half moon chairs, food and drink has been set out and the large floor to ceiling windows let in plenty of light. "You will wait here until the representative of the Makheda-Amkhet arrive," says one of the Praetorians in the Arakkoan tongue, which is promptly translated by a young, female advisor with beautiful green eyes and nut brown skin. Her hair is braided in a thick plait and she wears an airy, loose dress in the styles popular here in the city. "Enjoy the views while you wait and feel free to speak among yourselves."
Emberly looks to the female translator, and she smiles softly "it is a beautiful language, would you be willing to send me some samples of your writting so I might learn it?" she asks - her own eyes bright and blue shining in question
Tyche is one of many drawn to the mysterious Tremorus - made so by its location deep in the Saffron Chain. She's not without her guards, but it is clear she has come in peace, more ready to woo than to war in her steelsilk crafted for the social scene. Still, a wise choice when venturing to any foreign land to meet with a House one does not know well. Just in case! She sweeps into the waiting room, the chamber far dwarfing her petite size, but there's no sign that she's intimidated by any of this. In fact, a flicker of amusement dances in her eyes, and that amusement spreads to her lips when they are given permission to speak among themselves. "Thank goodness," she exhales to the one standing nearest her, which just so happens to be Emberly. "If they hadn't given permission, I would have harpooned the diplomatic efforts before they even began." She steps to the table, leaning over to examine the array of food thoughtfully.
Zakhar, a tall old man with snow-white hair and a strinkingly deep, long healed scar running the middle of his face, smiles as the diplomats and nobles gather into the hall. He follows along, hands tucked into the upper sides of his chest armor. Wearing dark leather armor, with an additional pelt hanging over his waist, belts criss cross over his chest with various pouches hanging from them. As he walks there's the occassional glipse of a unique axe head strapped to his back sitting underneath his cloak. For the moment he is quiet, and is roaming the table of foods laid out.
Emberly nods her head to Tyche and she moves beside the other, "Well, hopefully this wont end like most Diplomatic adventures go." she says bemused "though I have my handy battle flute ready." she grims a little at that. She looks over to Zakhar as she gets herself some food and she samples it
For the majority of the journey from Pieros to Tremorus, Giorgio had been squirreled away in one of the cabins poring over past trade agreements between the Makheda-Amkhet and Leporidae families. It was a thought of the Minister of Income that perhaps a situation may arise where trade might be used as leverage to further the aims of Tremorus in the negotiations to come.
Upon arriving, Giorgio had rejoined the rest of the group of diplomats and representatives of the Compact who have come to offer aide, and along the journey from the Bay up the mountain, Giorgio had played quite the tour guide. Pointing out various areas of interest and beautiful vistas to those newcomers to the island, Giorgio had then fallen silent as they were shown into the seat of Tremorus' government. Offering a bow to their translator as she mentions they might speak among themselves, Giorgio lowers his voice and turns to those with him, "The Makheda-Amkhet are a particularly... dangerous sort of house. They would be quite the ally to our cause, but as we enter negotiations, be sure to weigh every word carefully."
Back to Tremorus. Orland while not native with the place, had spent a good fair share of time here, after his initial stint in Pieros. He'd go back to Pieros most likely, after this mission. Balnam was there with him, an Ivory Shield that Prince Sebastian had ensured would be tied to the young Amadeo for the duration of the Pieros conflict. Orland was chatting to him quietly but had spent a fair amount of time on the ride over reviewing the political situation within Termorus, likely in Giorgio's cabin or somewhere near by to run ideas off of. The young man nodded to the Praetorians as they were excused to settle in and talk among themselves. Orland regards Emberly with a faint smirk, "It's highly doubtful that you'll get any scrap of their language, my Lady. They're not very open to foreigners. Or as they call them, Outlanders. I'd advise against pushing your luck there, for now."
He waits to consider Giorgio for a moment, providing some insight to the rest of the group. He seems quite assured at Giorgio's words to the others, "The Makheda-Amkhet will not love the fact that we speak as well for the Compact, but they're of course, naturally, intrigued to gain things from House Leporidae for their help. Messere Giorgio of course is looking out for the interests of House Leporidae, to ensure there are no promises made here that is beyond making." He shrugs his shoulders, "We're here to ensure these people are secured as allies, otherwise Tremorus may be facing war on two fronts. We can rely on your talents in negotiations, my Ladies." A bow of his head to Tyche, Sorrel, and Emberly.
Looking around with great fascination, Sorrel seems duly impressed by the art and architecture, and she studies it all as if she intends to commit it to memory. She is, naturally, well-dressed, and she has a friendly sort of smile on her lips. "They do seem quite like they might be quite formidable as allies, and it is always beneficial to have more allies. Particularly in situations where war is on your doorstep," she says, and she eyes Emberly for her comment. "Most diplomatic 'adventures' end in some sort of compromise. What remains to be seen is if we like this particular compromise or not. I shall trust that no one will do anything to upset either our guests or our hosts. This is too important." She glances around the foreign building for a moment. "They may build differently than we do, and they may speak differently than we do, but they belong to the Compact, and seeing to the best interests of Tremorus is seeing to the best interests of the Compact. And the Compact's war effort, as well."
The Lady Emberly's question makes the young woman's smile falter for a moment but she seems intently focused on being polite and cordial. Her brow furrows as she searches for the words but Orland speaks up on the matter and she simply nods. "We find it somewhat insulting that the Compact calls us...barbarians?" She looks confused, as if perhaps that is not the right translation for Shav. "They look down upon us as if we are uncultured or uncivilized and yet they wish to learn our tongue. It is a strange circumstance. The Praefecta has forbidden it on grounds of mutual respect. My apologies, Lady Emberly."
As they converse among themselves the primary translator seems content to listen, although she speaks up once more in reference to Giorgio's statements.
"Ah, yes, they are a syndicate with quite a reputation." As she says this the double doors leading to the corridor they came from are opened and a very handsome man with swarthy skin, golden eyes and the giant's height of the Tremorus strides within with hands clasped behind his back. Black cloth-like armor is wound around him ornately like bandages woven in a criss-cross pattern throughout, with crimson leather skirt on his waist and matching vambraces. A cloak is clasped around his neck, hanging over one shoulder and obscuring that side of his body to the ankle. His hair is an auburn color and braided flat against his skull before being pulled back into a bun of braids at his nape.
When his gaze flits from one person to the next there comes a sensation of being undressed with those hawkish irises, as if the secrets of Sorrel, Orland, Giorgio, Emberly, Zakhar and Tyche are laid bare. "So we meet again, Lord Pontelaeus. You are looking well. Give my regards to your father. Will you not?" Giorgio would not recognize his face but it is known that the Makheda-Amkhet have many talents, many abilities that go beyond the natural. A new face would probably seem as protocol. "Hello one, hello all. We are gathered here today for a matter of business. Let us convene on the subject then hm?" His smoky, baritone reverberates throughout the room and his confidence is supreme. One can tell a lot about the worth of an assassin from how well rested they seem and this man looks like he has the sweetest of dreams with not a care in the world.
If Giorgio is surprised by the fact that this man knows him, the Merchant Prince does not show it. A cheerful smile comes to his features, his own eyes meeting those of the ebon clothed man as he steps forward to offer a regal bow to him. "Thank you, I will be sure to do so. He is very ill, and regrettably has not been able to sit in on the meetings he is typically called to. I am sure you know how much this troubles him," Giorgio says in fluent Arrakoan, which may be translated by the translator to the others, but it is clear that Giorgio intends to remind this man that he is still a Tremorus native.
Stepping toward the table and the chairs arranged around it, Giorgio says, "Please allow me to introduce the delegation that have come to meet and discuss business." Offering a smile to each and a gesture of his hand as he names them, Giorgio says, "Lady Emberly Crovane, Princess Sorrel Thrax, Marquessa Tyche Inverno of Caina, Lord Orland Amadeo of Bravura, and Master Zakhar, I believe?" Giorgio's brow lifts somewhat curiously to Zakhar, though he seems fairly confident he got the name correctly.
Emberly nods her head, her red hair shifts over her shoulders. She smiles to the Transulator and she nods her head to the reasons that they choose not to share the language, "it is beautiful." she comments softly, her eyes move onto the man as she is introduced and she gives a low respectful bow. "Greetings." she says quietly but for now she just leaves it at that. Her attention moves to the other ladies with her and she smiles then to Tyche, offering her a little nod of her head as she looks for the moment relaxed and reverent of the grounds they stand within.
"Is it really a strange circumstance?" Tyche wonders of the translator, a smile to her lips. "Whatever our two cultures think of the other, you have learned our language. Perhaps the same reason you did so is what drives the Lady Emberly to ask?" Her words are soft, the friendly smile ever present. She offers a possibility, not a firm answer, and when the woman gives her answer she adds with a quick laugh, "Or she simply finds the sound beautiful." Her gaze drifts to Sorrel as the princess speaks of how they might all behave. "You need not worry after me, Your Highness. I know very well the importance of being here, and what we risk should we push the boundaries too much. But neither should we be tentative in our negotiations. Strength respects strength, I have found."
And as if on cue, the 'strength' of the Makheda-Amkhet appears and begins to figuratively undress them all. Thankfully, the Marquessa Inverno enjoys being undressed, so the intense gaze that falls on her for the time that it does is welcomed - challenged even as her dark eyes return the gesture. Whatever she imagines beneath that exotic attire seems to please her, if the curve of her lips is any indication. When Giorgio makes introductions, she watches, listens, the exchange about his father, the 'amiable' exchange filed away as possible ammunition for later. Her name is spoken, and she dips her auburn head in respect. "And what shall we call you, for the purposes of this meeting?" She notably does not ask for his name - simply how he wishes to be addressed.
Zakhar takes A fat rolled cigar that emits a blue haze when lit from Cross belt.
Zakhar looks from the table to food laid out to the exchange between Emberly, translator, and Tyche. The man has a stoic stare that could bore a hole into the weak, then a small grin under his beard. He removes one hand from his makeshift pocket behind his armor and causually runs the hand through his hair leading back to his neck, revealing some of his marks to the translator. "Dese one call an'ones dey donna mets atta de tebs, barbarians." His grin fades away as quickly as it had formed and he's crossing the room to get a better view of the room itself. He looks out the windows for a brief moment, though appears to be more interested in the portions of the room itself.
As their host enters the room and tries to stare into him, Zakhar nods with a very faint wave of his hand. The wave is an open palm, as if showing that there are no weapons immediately in his hands. Then he's digging into one of the belts and produces a cigar. Waving the cigar to their host, "Minds fer a smoke?"
Orland had turned upon the polite rebuff of the knowledge of their language as the doors opened to admit the ambassador of the Makheda-Amkhet in. While the beautiful handsome man with the swarthy skin and golden eyes may find relief in being the center of attention, Orland with his unruly normal-esque and certainly boring features is glad he's not completely front and center with Lord Pontelaeus there to take the brunt of it, since he might very well be caught staring far too long. It was fairly hard to keep his intrigue masked. The rest of his party might very well not exist. Thankfully they do. So he can study the black cloth-like armor and the way it ornately is bound, and matched with the style of that skirt and vambraces. In the same way that that hawkish look is drawn upon him, Orland had been doing the same in return, the moment the man had stepped a single inch into the chambers.
Orland squints a little bit, not speaking until the other's by introduction get to do the same. He minds his manners and does a polite bow that has that wonderful Bravura hat raked from his hair and flicked around so the feathers catch the Makheda-Amkhet delegates attention. It's on point to share a moment, to catch those golden eyes. There's a flicker of lip, a slight tug to the side. "I'm very pleased to have the opportunity to speak in turn, to support Lord Pontelaeus." There's a slight and most purposeful pause, "Should our negotiations be balanced," here he pauses again, "your sight might be found less wanting, and your company better kept." There's a point of making such a direct eye contact with the mysterious but handsome man, that his words speak beyond politeness, a knowing lingering. Orland stands with a sort of poised grace, surprising perhaps those who thought lower of him. Duarte has taught his ward well, he gets to show that now. Although he does seem amused by Zakhar's smoke being brought out, a brow arching to see how the assassin delegate would take to it. No doubt he himself is grinning a bit inside for the move.
As the man looks over her, Sorrel looks over the man, and she offers him a shallow bow with flourish, just the sort of thing one might expect from a bard with her reputation. It is a bow of greeting, but it is perhaps more accurately the sort of bow that one might do before dancing, as if the Makheda-Amkhet man has asked the princess to dance. She moves like she is dancing, too, as she surveys him with curiosity and a pretty smile, her steps graceful and well chosen. "Hello to you as well," she offers in perfect tones, being possessed of one of the sweetest sopranos on the continent of Arvum. "Yes, let us get to business."
The compliment from Lady Emberly is returned in kind as the Translator looks upon her comely personage. "As are you my Lady. Your small stature is so exotic and it suits you perfectly." Even this girl who was hardly more than a teen was already six and a half feet in height. The people of Tremorus were the tallest of the known races of men, standing six feet on the short end and sometimes as tall as eight feet on the higher end. Marquessa Tyche's response makes her blush profusely, maybe with shame, maybe with embarrassment but she nods to her as well.
"The onus usually lies on the conquered to do the learning, Marquessa. We are the subjugated after all." After that she seems to slip back into relative silence, only translating when the Arakkoan language is spoken. Once more the Inverno captures the attention of the representative, who walks to her side and looks at her with an appreciation evident in those eyes.
"You, my Lady, may call me Majai. It is my title as the leader of the Makheda-Amkhet and the only name you shall need for now." Standing now by her side he towers above her before leaning against the table and facing her with his back turned to everyone else. He gently reaches out to run a lock of her auburn hair through his fingers. "Perhaps the color of our hair is not the only thing we share in common, skyfall knows I'd take my time finding out." With this he lingers for a moment before pushing off the table to face the assembled, giving the -eyes- to Orland as well as his wets his lips.
"You are perceptive but...promises, promises." He tuts and waggles his finger at the Amadeo before adopting a smirk and continuing to circle the table. "The princess wants to get down to business, I like her." A pause as he scans her person appraisingly before continuing while staring her in the eyes and waving the smoke of Zakhar from his face. "I will tell you what I know. The queen of the mountain has, what, two hundred ships to her name? It would not matter if she had three hundred ships in the Migrant Fleet as the fortress-city of Scythia will need to be assailed on land and thus the burden would fall on the Grand Tribunal's myrmidons and dragoons to set seige and they would be ground to dust against the walls of the castle and the Blackreave-Potitus coalition would ultimately carve their way through the forces at sea and set siege to Tremorus. Your walls of fused stone can withstand a great deal but...with the Queen of the Heavens leading she would tear down your walls with a wave of her hand." The Majai laughs amusedly at the mere ridiculousness of how it sounds being spoken but he lets that settle in.
"Or, the Makheda-Amhket could get inside the walls of Scythia and open the gates so your forces could assail the castle without setting siege almost guaranteeing a victory and forcing the Queen of the Heavens to flee, one would hope. As you know...Pontelaeus," the man pauses near Giorgio and sets his hands upon his shoulders,"your father is an old friend of mine, if only he had joined us so long ago perhaps we might be able to save him, but that aside...you are aware of our unique ability to gain access to places that no one else can."
Another long pause is granted as he lets these facts settle in, but then he closes his statement with hope and an ask. "Now ask me what I want in return for the price is so very small."
All through this, Giorgio seems neither surprised by what Majai says, nor does he seem doubtful. If the others look to Giorgio as some sign of the validity of the Makheda-Amhket's claims, they would see that the Pontelaeus seems to believe every word regarding their abilities and how useful they might be to the cause. "The Blackreave-Potitus coalition certainly have a grand fortress, and you speak the truth regarding a need to assail the the Scythian fortress by land," he consents, looking toward the others and meeting their eyes.
As Majai comes to clap his hands to Giorgio's shoulders, the merchant prince dips his head and says, "It is a friendship that my father values, nonetheless. And one that I hope you will take into consideration. You know that my father is not an unwise man, and yet he supports the Praefecta in this struggle. In her choice to join with the Compact. If there is anything you might know for certain, it is that my father never makes a business decision that is against his own best interest. And you know of my own success in following in his footsteps."
Giorgio does not press for Majai's price, knowing that the man will tell them anyways.
Emberly follows Giorgio's lead and she adds to the merchant prince's words "Indeed a friendship". The little redhaired diplomat says gently her eyes shift to Majai and she considers, though she also dose not press for the price. She looks attentive and eager to do her best here, her eyes flicker to the others she stands with, the blue orbs pass over the Princess whom the man was already engaged in talking with. Sometimes the best choice is to be quiet.
Tyche smiles to the translator, dipping her head in submission to the point made. "True. Usually that is the case." Words meant to assuage any blush that painted her cheeks, but the girl is mostly forgotten in favor of the man stalking ever closer. She does not back away, but the difference in height makes it so she must tilt her head back to maintain eye contact. "Majai," she echoes the title he gives her, testing it on her tongue and seeming to like the sound. Briefly her lashes drop when he draws a strand of hair between fingers, her lips curving in amusement at his words. "I imagine that a thorough understanding of our similarities might take longer than my friends are willing to wait." Her gaze returns to meet his for that lingering moment he stays, a challenge to the set of her brow. But he turns away to address the group, and she cuts her eyes to Giorgio as the man begins to speak of the business at hand. She draws a hand to the table, pale fingers tracing the lines in the furniture as she listens to the realities of the war. Unsurmountable walls. Forces able to sneak in. Her index finger tap-tap-taps thoughtfully. When Giorgio speaks, she grins at him, musing, "Like father, like son." She's never met the elder, but it seems she imagines the younger to be just as wise. But where he does not ask, she does. "What's the price?" The game is afoot, and she plays into the auburn-haired assassin's hand. For now. "What do you want for your help?"
Zakhar takes tinderbox and fire steel from Sling Satchel with bleached thumb bones.
Zakhar takes Small round Dust bin puzzle box from Cross belt.
Zakhar seems to be differential to the direction that the nobles are seeking, and has tucked the smoke into his lip, patting down his belts in search of something as the others speak, or keep their tongues. In the process of digging through his patting of the belts he comes across a small round bin which he flashes a grin at, then is holding the grin as he finds what was being sought: a small flint and steel fire box the with what appears to be a thimble at the end. And it is with this that the old man lights the smoke. A wisp of blue smoke rolling off of his lips as he speaks. "Dere's always a price, eh? Well, t'iff ya wants a smoke, or a bump. I'm t'ver here." He then leans against the table and continues to puff on the cigar.
Orland is not surprised nor dismissive of the Majai licking his lips in his way. It seems he's either used to that behavior or encouraged it. Either way, the young Amadeo takes the waggling of a finger in stride, continuing to watch the prowling of the Majai as he makes his steps around the table they're gathered around. For the immediate, he remains respectful and quiet, allowing the Majai to outline the possibility of what could happen. Though he does eventually, when he has the floor to speak, finds himself wondering, "The talents of the Makheda-Amhket, while unknown to me, may not be unique. There are individuals of the Compact that are uniquely skilled with finding ways in, when there shouldn't be." He steadies his gaze on the Majai before he looks for the approval with the others, "I recognize that Tremorus and it's peoples, and surrounding tribes and clans, haven't stood long with the Compact, but that does not limit us from finding capable resources to breech the walls, in different ways, but with similar results, as your organization might. That is to say, in humble respect, Majai, the singular method of winning, never is quite so singular." He shifts on his feet, "What unique ability are your claiming? As that is something which is upon the table by your word, which is to be used in the terms of agreement here. I believe if we are to justify the price, a little further clarity, some... " a heady pause as he drags his fingertips across a chair, he can be sultry too damnit! "...personal educational understanding, may be required, so we know the finer points of why we should undoubtedly use your particular war stratagem?" His interest is clearly festooned upon his expression, a thirst of knowledge underneath, the slight shift in his position which shows the restraint on his excitement.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Giorgio before departing.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Giorgio before departing.
"It is a matter of logistics, then, Majai, as Lord Orland says," Sorrel muses as she watches the Makheda-Amhket move, her evergreen gaze studying him as she listens to his words, and she uses his title as a title. "We foreign allies to these shores do not have the sort intrinsic overview of what might be required for a proper assault as we might on the lands of our births. And an assault is generally far less costly than a siege. One wastes far fewer arrows firing them through an open door than through a closed one, after all." She considers the man continually, though her gaze occasionally flicks to whomever happens to be speaking.
"You are offering us a battle plan, and one that you say is quite sound. You are offering us a convenient resource, so that we do not have to seek out our own. You are offering us the value of being a local authority, with the caveat that your tactics require us to supply our own army. And some of us are in an excellent position to provide ships. Or knights. Or marine knights. Infantry. Cavalry. Archers. Materials to build siege weaponry," Sorrel continues thoughtfully, licking her own lips and smiling easily. If she is sultry, it is her natural state, but she is really less sultry and more charming and bright. "Your tactics could save many lives. Reduce casualties. Drastically reduce the amount of supplies required. I would like to acknowledge that this has the potential to be quite valuable. But as Lord Orland also notes, part of the great value is the convenience.
Sorrel spreads her arms to the Majai in a sweeping gesture, for she is the sort to speak with her hands in her lilting accent. "So you come to offer tactics and local knowledge? What do you feel these are worth? What is it that you desire that we can provide?" she wonders.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Giorgio before departing.
The massive wooden doors leading in to the chamber open loudly and the clinking of heels against the marble floors can be heard as the figure of Cassiopeia saunters in to view, "My apologies... it appears I'm late. Stairs." before offering a respectful nod to those present and taking her seat.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Giorgio before departing.
When the Pontelaeus speaks on the matter of friendship, surprisingly there is a lot of sympathy from Majai who gives him a nod of understanding. "Very well my friend. You know that I will do whatever I can for your father. Free of charge," he says with a wink and a smirk before turning to hear Tyche's question. "My price is fair I feel. I am but a seventh son, my father was a minor noble and our House has long since fallen to dust. I seek a noble marriage not for the title or the status but because of the matter of obligation. I know the Pontelaeus can pay me the coin, they have afforded our price many times in the past but I need not coin but seven sons."
At this point and time the double doors open again and admit in Cassiopeia who seems to have -quite- the affect. It is not unusual for her presence to cause hearts to flutter and the giddiness of a budding love to spring forth from even the darkest hearts. The Majai gestures to her from across the room then.
"She would be the one to provide my price. I have never seen such a beauty as hers, never beheld such a wonder as the shape of her lips or the curve of her a-" The translator coughs into her hand and blushes profusely while giving a /look/ to the Majai which reigns him in with a chuckle.
"You of Tremorus know of the burden that fate has laid before you. Allow me to marry your Cassiopeia and I would give to you the Makheda-Amkhet to aid you in your sacred duty." His eyes bore into Giorgio and Cassiopeia, knowing they would understand to which he refers. To the princess and Orland he looks between, then cast a glance to the native Tremorus as if to say 'what gall' but the words never pass his lips.
"The castle of Scythia has withstood the assault of the first dragonlords of Tremorus more than once, it has ancient spells woven into the stone and the might of a powerful sorceress bolstering the enemy. You could have ten thousand men and three dragons as the Praeconicus did and still be left wanting such as they but we have infiltrated the castle before and can do so again." With a sharp whistle from the Majai there begins to appear under the doors, through the walls, windows and ceiling above red mists that float down through the air, each cloud moving intelligently as they swirl and coalesce into five masked assassins.
"The Makheda-Amkhet have -never- failed to deliver. If you do not believe us then perhaps I can offer you further demonstration." Majai gestures to Orland,"That one is a spy for the self-professed queen of the heavens. Allow me to kill him for you as a show of good faith." The leader of the syndicate of assassins stops near Zakhar and smiles down to the man,"I'll take that bump first."
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Giorgio before departing.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Giorgio before departing.
Giorgio exhales slowly, though if it is thankfulness for the willingness of Makheda-Amkhet to help his father or not is unclear. Giorgio makes a gesture toward the table and to the rest of those present before the Merchant Prince moves to the table and pulls out a chair to sit down. Listening to each of those from the compact, Giorgio nods his head with some agreement before Majai whistles and the other assassins make their appearance. Looking toward the display of eerie power, Giorgio offers a nod of appreciation for the display, however that bit regarding Orland draws a very severe look from the Merchant Prince. "Majai, I can assure you that if you were to kill Lord Orland you will earn yourself a very serious enemy this day. However, if your people possess some ability to sever this tie with the Queen of Heaven without ending his life, perhaps we can talk."
There is a beat then as Giorgio takes a breath to ease the tension from his shoulders and then says, "If we were to agree to these terms with Lady Cassiopeia, you will uphold your end of the bargain in assisting with the infiltration of the Scythian castle. What will become of the rest of your men once you marry into the Leporidae family?"
When Cassiopeia joins them and Majai names his price, Tyche is quick to point out, "What you ask is far more valuable than any amount of silver." Her assessment of the woman seems to match his own, her dark eyes sweeping over her friend for any sign of a flaw and finding none. "If this is agreed to, I would say you are coming out ahead." The if is key, but it seems the Marquessa understands her place in this. She is not Tremorus, she is not Cassiopeia. She /is/, however, Orland's liege lord, and the news that he might be a spy for one side or the other, and the offer to kill him to prove some sort of loyalty, has her stand. "His death is not part of the negotiations. No matter his crime," she smiles to Majai, and then to Orland. "Although I am certain there are those who would love to hear the story behind that accusation, his life is off the table."
Tyche checks charm and diplomacy at normal. Tyche is successful.
Zakhar doesn't budge from his position leaning on the table as the red mist forms into the masked assassins. A little grin is starting to become plastered to his face, "Neat trick. Ay prefer shadows." There's a nod to the masked individuals and more inspection given to the direction that they came from before he shrugs and turns towards their host, the Majai. The old man then spins a couple of pieces of the round jar, then clicks the top open, holding it up for Majai as he comes over to him. A little nod, "Aye. sp'ns inside, er just taps it. though, we shudda talk 'bout de kid. As Gio'gio says canna hava yae 'nd yer misty f'iends killing him." Zakhar then taps a small amount of the contents onto the back of his hand without the bandage and sniffs, rubbing his nose a little. "See? Gud stuff. Now, let's speaks as we really are, eh? Majai?" (Zakhar's accent drops to near perfect and clear to understand.) He has a little grin just for the Majai.
Good thing Orland wasn't drinking anything. He hadn't had a drink or anything to eat that entire time, for reasons. Instead when Majai points him out, leveling a look at him, declaring him a spy for the self-professed queen of the heavens, he meets that gaze with a steady composure. The threat of being killed there on the spot seems to hit him with an indifference that also carried toward the assassins appearing out of misty air. He regards Giorgio, "Guess you were right about that." He looks to Majai, "Your point has been made, for your skills."
Orland looks down to his right arm and starts to take off his glove and gauntlet, throwing it with a thunk onto the table. He rolls the sleeve up to show everyone present the savage bite mark on his wrist. There is at this point, no fear in doing so, since Majai just called him a dirty spy!!! On his wrist is a mark, something abyssal about it, it looked caused by an animal but in the shape of a human bite. "Though he is wrong about being a spy for the queen of the heavens. On my first trip to Greypeak, I suffered at the hands of what I've come to understand is a Familiar, who bit me, during conflict, and that entity is ultimately attached to the Queen of the Heavens, yes. She calls to me, but I have thus resisted. I am looking instead, for a way to remove the mark. It is not a writ. I can tell you that now, because it is not a writ, and have validated this through informed individuals, that it is not a writ." He is obviously addressing his Arvani counterparts, rather than the Majai and those assassins.
Then Orland goes on, "I am not compelled to do anything for her. She pisses me off, repeatedly, when I try to sleep, giving me nightmares and calling to me when my eyes are closed. She also causes me great pain when I tell her to get out of my head. However, I have spent many months trying to find a way to break this from my skin. It remains, since I do not yet know the ritual that created it. I have obtained, for now, a sigil upon a parchment that keeps her at bay, lessens her voice. Prior to that, to get sleep, I used whatever means was at my service, such as haze and liquor..." Hence the tired eyed look. He spreads his hands to the Majai, agreeing with Giorgio, "I should think, the better way you can prove your service is to tell me how to remove the mark." He exhales a breath, "At the very least, it may help get me through those barriers, you speak of Majai. It's a theory I had brought up to the esteemed Lady Adromenda Leporidae."
More too, Orland notes, "My allegiance is with the real true Queen of the Mountain."
"Ew, abyssal infections can be so very nasty," Sorrel says with a look of disgust and sympathy to Orland's arm, wrinkling her nose for a moment and reaching a hand up to touch her throat almost absently, hiding for a moment the pinkish scar against her lovely white skin. She sniffs for a moment, as if trying to smell for signs of evil, and she gives a wary look to the additional assassins. Then she turns her attention back to the Majai.
"You are quite skillful, Majai," Sorrel agrees with a serious nod. "But in the Compact, to which Tremorus now belongs, marriage between nobility is an alliance. A treaty between houses. But it also must be entered into with the free will of both parties, meaning that the Lady Cassiopeia has every right to decline, even if her House might initially agree. If you are of noble blood, it may be that another of the Compact's noble houses may be willing to agree to an alliance with your House. You are a handsome man. It is possible that we could arrange for a different alliance for you. Marquessa Tyche is ...how was it put? exotically small in stature? And she's also got curves. But again, that would be up to her. You just happened to have already flirted with her."
Sorrel smiles wryly. "I'm just saying, insofar as Compact marriage alliances go, you might well have some interesting options," she notes. "Beyond that, I suggest you consider other, less personal payment. Ships. Silver. Siege engines. A treaty, even."
The Enchantress of Tremorus; albeit not a self proclaimed title, shifts in her seat somewhat uncomfortably when the Majai directs his attention to her and utters the word marriage although her facial expression does not tweak even once, it's almost as if she expected it. Lady Cassiopeia simply listens to Giorgio speak before focusing her lingering gaze to the Majai curiously and perhaps for a while longer than would be comfortable. "The prospect of my hand in marriage is not off the table, Majai, not yet. Although I will add I have had more romantic proposals in the past to which I still declined; most at least say hello first." Lady Cassiopeia offers a smirk at that before standing up from her seat and steps closer to the Majai party quite confidently, "In any event... if Orland is hurt this day or any day after this day by your assassins or your own hand; I promise I will spend the entire duration of our yet-to-be-agreed marriage, and after any agreements have been made, with far less enthusiasm than I certainly had when I walked in this room and set eyes on you."
The Majai takes a large snort from the mercenary's personal stash and winks at him afterwards. "You're a good man with the cut of someone I could see doing well in the Southeastern Saffron." There is no small amount of respect exchanged in the few moments he lingers near the man before he is promptly warned off from ending Orland's life. He places his hands up harmlessly and laughs. "Ah, ah. Calm down my friends. It was just an offer, nothing personal."
In a retort to the Amadeo's explanation he sucks through his teeth and shrugs,"The best spy is often the kind that never know they are spies but I won't belabor a point. Instead let me sweeten the deal. You want to be rid of this mark, the assembled care a great deal for you, the swiftest way to remove the false queen's mark is to end her life."
The rest is left open ended because those present are not stupid, he simply shrugs and leaves it up to them before he passes by Tyche once more and crouches down so he can look her in the eyes and exchange a polite word softly spoken for her ears only before he rises once more. "The Marquessa is a beautiful woman with a gifted tongue but as I said it is not -a- marriage I am seeking. The heart of the mountain is unique and my talents could help stave off calamity," a pause as he gestures to Giorgio and Cassiopeia,"much like your friends." Now his pace has him stopping before the Lady in question, bending down next to her and taking her hand so he can kiss her knuckles.
"Forgive my uncouth nature, I spend a lot of time around rougher types, might you be willing to help smooth my edges Lady? I seek you because we share a common nature, I could help you understand why you have suffered so in a way that only you know. My love for you would only grow by the day and the bards of Tremorus would sing tales of my legendary pursuit of romance with their beloved Cassiopeia the Peerless."
With this he relinquishes her grip and looks back to the princess who spoke of ships and silver. "The Makheda-Amkhet does not want for any of these things that serve no purpose to us. We are ancient and our riches, knowledge and power would surprise you if you think that such paltry /things/ would sate us. So I will reiterate, Lady Cassiopeia if you say yes to my proposal, I will give you a love of the ages and the Makheda-Amkhet would serve at the leisure of the true Queen of the Mountain and the people of Tremorus in this war and those to come. Beyond that I would free this Orland from his curse before it consumes him and rid you of the Dark Queen once and for all. One life to save thousands my Lady and the power to accept lies with none but yourself."
One of the assassins near Lady Emberly removes her mask, revealing features and coloring of the North. She leans in to whisper something to her before extending a deep bow of respect and stepping back, a quirk of the Majai's brow the only response from that.
Giorgio checks charm and diplomacy at hard. Giorgio is successful.
Listening to the deal that the Majai proposes, Giorgio offers a discrete glance toward Cassiopeia before he clears his throat and says, "Please allow me to cut in here before Lady Cassiopeia makes her decision." His voice is smooth and practiced, clearly a trait that has served him well in his negotiations as a merchant, and House Leporidae with Giorgio serving as the Minister of Economic Development for Tremorus.
"Your offer is generous, no doubt, and you have our gratitude for that, Majai," Giorgio says with a respectful bow of his head toward the man before Cassiopeia. "But as Marquessa Tyche said, Lady Cassiopeia is quite the prize herself. You offer to infiltrate the keep of Scythia to save us the costs of a siege, you offer to eliminate the Queen of Heavens for us to break this hold she has on Lord Orland. You offer the service of your brethren in the future pursuits of Leporidae, and all of this is pleasing, but I must request one more very important point."
"Elsewhere, my brother and others are negotiating with House Theotokis as well, that they might bend the knee to Leporidae and join us in our efforts. I know that there is bad blood between your two houses, but in the interest of your future children, I must add a stipulation that if we agree to this deal for the hand of Lady Cassiopeia, that you will personally do everything in your power to insure the peace between our people and the success of this relationship with House Theotokis. Can you agree to this as well?"
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Giorgio before departing.
A piece falls into place as Orland begins to speak, some mystery solved for the Marquessa as he reveals the tale. Sorrel's words of disgust for the Abyssal mark have her look to the princess briefly, to the mark she touches on her own skin, and then back to the Amadeo. "There are ways," she tells him, no disgust, no fear to her tone. She doesn't explain those ways, as perhaps understanding this is not the time to solve all of Orland's problems.
When Sorrel speaks of options and suggests the 'exotically small in stature' redhead as a substitute, she shakes her head in amusement, "No. If the fate of Tremorus depends on my marriage, we may all be doomed." There's a humorous selfishness to her words, and perhaps only because she recognizes she is not the target even before Majai confirms her suspicions. Still, her sense of pride has her tell him, "You would not be able to handle me." When he dips to murmur something to her, she tilts her head to listen. Whatever is spoken in secret has her arching a brow slowly, the tip of her tongue drawn over bottom lip. "Perhaps," she gives a noncommittal answer, but there's something peaked in her eyes, her fingers curling almost possessively against the table.
Giorgio has a hold of the negotiations, and a better grasp of what Tremorus needs, so she simply backs him up with, "It is important that the Lady Cassiopeia agrees willingly."
Emberly checks charm and diplomacy at daunting. Emberly marginally fails.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Giorgio before departing.
Emberly looks to the man who simply asked if he could wed one and pointed out the Lady amongst them she listens to the Ladies response before she tries to offer another thing. "Your people have a great leader in you, perhaps something else to secure your willingness to work with us instead of against us?" Asks the quiet red-haired little diplomat. "Perhaps a Ship? Or A Alchemy mixture, or perhaps you desire something more lucrative like a trade route to bring in more income into your lands?" she asks "Surely there are other things we can consider?" she looks to Cassiopeia as she says Marriage is not being denied, she smiles a bit as she watches the man attempt to romance his chosen bride. The declaration of the mans love dose cause her to pause, the Devout of Limerence had a soft spot for love. She sighs a bit, "would the Lady want to live here with you? But eitherway she deserves to be courted, and that dose not simply last a forthnight" she asks before she turns to look to the Assassin "your offer truly is to be respected" she says before whispering to the woman that adressed her
Zakhar smirks a little in a nod to the Mijai, as they are walking away to discuss the concepts of their marriage and need of seven children the old man has a small shudder. Then is looking over at the masked assassins, he has a little nod to them. He turns to watch them instead of the Mijai.
Orland gains a certain measure of respect for all parties that were present. He rolls down his sleeve with a solid temper about him for having been forced to show his hand. He's a card player, he doesn't like having his hand forced into the open. The annoyance of that is temporary, however, as he slides his gauntlet and glove back on, buckling in the straps and tightening the fit. His brown eyes meet the other's explanation about being a spy. It was possible. Entirely possible that Majai was speaking true. So too, is the conclusion which has him nod, "As I suspected, but I doubt it would be so easy."
Orland does fall quiet afterward. He's watching the assassins, then the Majai. Intrigued. Even the assassin standing by Emberly has him considering, then interjecting when there's a chance in Giorgio's diplomacy, "Freedom of the mark, as well as perhaps some education on a few of your methods? Or perhaps that could be something solely between us, Majai." He might get shot down there, entirely expected it, but it was worth a try, regardless of how the others in the room may judge him for wanting to know HOW the assassins do that stuff, a shrug, aloof, but complimenting the Majai, "I like your style." The rest, was apparently up to Lady Cassiopeia, which he offers, sympathetically, "I am still hopeful that there are other methods to removing the mark, as the Marquessa Tyche expressed. I've not yet approached some enduring minds who reside in Arx." As in, he has back up plans. Always. Orland decides to sit down on one of those half moon cresent chairs, and pull a cigarillo split with haze from his belt. He needed a smoke. Did his hand just shake there? It might've. His leg was definitely bouncing, as he leaned forward on the table with his elbows and took a drag of the cigarillo. He looks over toward Emberly as she clearly has a passion for love, "Have you met Bard Braxas? He came down, with the other group."
Zakhar checks perception and occult at normal. Zakhar is successful.
"I just murmured to you that killing the source was how I dealt with my own abyssal infection, back when I had that problem," Sorrel says to Orland with a little shrug. "I didn't say it was an easy or fun way to deal with it. It's very uncomfortable situation to be in." She looks to the Majai again and nods seriously. "So it is up to Lady Cassiopeia to decide if she desires this alliance. I apologize if I underestimated your strength and wealth. I can only offer you what I have in my power to control. But... why limit it to the bards of Tremorus? I will write you a love song that the whole Compact will sing. I will have Arvani's bards spread it. We'll spin your sweet love story from coast to coast, from sea to sea, making Tremorus all the more accepted by the Compact peerage -- who admittedly can be a little snooty at times -- thus to buy you stronger ties with your allies."
"My song is my gift: I'll write one for you," the princess sings impromptu, off-the-cuff. "Tell her... you'll love her like an albatross: forever true and never dross. For her, you'll mate just once for life. You'll hold true 'gainst coming strife. Romantic words your sweet sweet song -- a love so true is never wrong. With passion fierce you'll open doors; together you'll be something more." She sings as if she's trying to convince the Majai to woo Cassiopeia properly, and her voice is lovely, even if the song is a very very rough draft.
Cassiopeia inclines her head curiously as the Majai finishes his words, she takes a few steps back and lowers herself back in to her seated position and regains her well trained and immaculately regal posture. Cassiopeia listens intently to the others speak (and sing) a smile given to the Princess. Cass is obviously absorbing the various opinions and negotiations while mulling over the proposal with deep contemplation. After a minute of suspense, she nods her head twice in slow succession, "If you are prepared to accept and agree to the terms offered; I will accept."
"I know what you are asking me Pontelaeus but do you? Theotokis holds onto a longstanding grudge because one of mine killed his lover so long ago. You would be asking me to end a life to satisfy our arrangement and keep the peace between us. Normally, I would never compromise on this but we have morals, principles, and rules which we swear our oaths by. One must only kill when one is bid to do it by the taking of sacred contract. This, he did not and for that..."
The handsome man does not look pleased about it as the other assassins present all look to one of them. Before he can escape they rush forward at blinding speeds and engage him in hand to hand combat that is stylish and yet deadly. The Northlands girl lands a series of strikes to various points on his body and blood spurts through his mask before he removes it to reveal crimson liquid pouring from his eyes, his ears, and his mouth as his face turns blue and he collapses. Afterwards the Majai moves to take the mask and set it on the table while looking positively dour.
"The price has been paid." With this, the other assassins disperse, leaving the room, all save for the Northlands girl who utters a message to Emberly and then departs. There is silence from the Majai as he slumps into the seat at the head of the table, smiling wanly to Sorrel's singing. At the conclusion he is himself again, rising and clapping his hands with that devilish smirk. "Beautiful. Like my soon to be bride."
To Cassiopeia he gives a charming smile filled with the warmth of promises come due before he turns to go, stopping only to look at Tyche, Zakhar, and Orland. "Education you seek, hm. Perhaps. The Makheda-Amkhet will be in touch." To Emberly he winks and to the Princess he leaves a blood rose, produced from seemingly nowhere. "Your offer is very generous princess, it would make quite the wedding gift for my Lady. We hope to see more of you."
Giorgio is embraced on the way out, spoken to about his father presumably and then the meeting has concluded. Today has been a momentous day for Tremorus and a turning point reached in the War of Two Queens.
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