Oathlands Roundtable III
June 18, 2021, 9 p.m.
Arx - Ward of House Valardin - Valardin Manor - War Room
Comments and Log
Reigna has joined the a majestic brown oak table with a map of Arvum carved into the surface.
Sis, a redheaded morning person, Good Intentions, an adorably nefarious pony, 1 Keaton Huntsmen arrive, following Natalia.
Good Intentions, an adorably nefarious pony have been dismissed.
Reigna has left the a majestic brown oak table with a map of Arvum carved into the surface.
Though it is indeed a summer day, there is mercy, for the actual event that is held in the war room is done in the evening hours. The sun has set and thus a reprieve of the full heat of the day is had.
In order to ensure that everyone is hydrated sufficiently, large tables have been set up with all manner of beverages. Pitchers of water are filled with assorted fruits and herbs to infuse it, though those that favor plain choices are also available. Numerous teas are prepared and ready for those that prefer that route. Now, ciders, meads, they too are present and accounted for.
So too are there other refreshments present and accounted for, take for example those little finger sandwiches that the Keaton Hall chef is known for. These are artfully displayed along with a platter of sliced fruit, another of cheeses and cold meats, and of course small dishes of cold sandwiches. For those with a sweet tooth, an assortment of pastries are accounted for with buttery goodness.
A large round table is set up at the center for those that arrive to take a seat at. Smaller tables are set up around it, for those that are not comfortable sitting at the main table, or if there happens to be spillover.
Florian arrives, following Derovai.
It would be rather odd for Alis /not/ to attend a roundtable meeting held in her own war room, so here she is dutifully showing up to participate in the discussion! There's already a stack of things to look at or sign under her arm, and a wax seal in the other hand so that when she sits she can keep .. working while she's working. Sort of like a working inception. It looks like great fun, honestly. "Thank you, Kael, for leading the meeting today." she's sure to say, after he's done the round of welcomes.
Natalia has joined the a majestic brown oak table with a map of Arvum carved into the surface.
Cahal helps himself to some of that cider and that mead and that fruit and that cheese and that meat and those sandwiches.. and when he's finally collected enough he goes and sits himself down to devour the lot and possibly listen too.
Mabelle arrives into the war room with minimal entourage, a vision of teal and rose gold, honey diamonds, aquamarine and one feathery straw hat. She offers quiet greets and a smile to hosts and attendants, "Good evening", before collecting a cup of chilled cider and a stray cookie and heading to find a place in one of the back tables.
Ryhalt takes a seat at the round table after helping himself to a drink. He smiles and exchanges greetings as they wait for the meeting to begin.
Drake arrives in the hall along with a few of his family. He's glad there's refreshments on the table, particulary the water, which he goes for immediately... even before sitting himself down at the tableside with the glass. He sits back in a slouching posture, rolling his sleeves up given the heat.
For his part, Kael is greeting those that arrive with an amiable nod of his head and a flash of a wry smile. The Keaton Marquis is likely how he always is before a large event - slightly nervous. This is apparent with that slight amount of fidgeting that he does, which is abnormal for the typically steady man. A side effect of being in the spotlight. Nevertheless, when he actually does find his voice, it is a steady thing, and it naturally carries: "Welcome and good evening, everyone. Thank you for joining us. Please, do help yourself to the refreshments at hand and take a seat." He pauses momentarily, scanning those assembled. "I do believe that everyone present knows me. If not, I am Marquis Kael Keaton, honored to serve in my capacity of Voice to the Highlord. With me is Duke Cristoph Laurent, Princess Zara Valardin, and of course," he bows quite purposely - low and deep, "Her Grace, Highlord Alis Valardin." Is he smiling a little bit when he looks her way? Perhaps. It could be due to her gratitude. It could be due to the fact that she called him out with praise first. So there!
Jamie filters into the War Room of the Valardin Estate and helps himself to something to drink, offering greetings and bows and all the formalities before finding a seat at the table.
Katarina, adopted Eurusi, veiled Princess, diminutive tart, et cetera, is seated off to one side, drinking tea. She's here to listen more than talk, and so she does just that.
Cristoph sits alone! By himself! In a corner! Okay, not exactly. He is off to the side, dealing with something at one of the extraneous tables. He seems to be going through a list, checking it twice. Eyeballing each of the nice people as they walk through the door and find somewhere to sit down. Then he's sorting out piles of blue and white fabric on the table. When he hears his name being mentioned, he straightens up a bit and offers the room a polite if distracted wave while he goes back to the task at hand.
She's found herself a cold drink to sip on, and once she was certain she wasn't stealing someone's seat, she settled on in at the main table. Natalia has warm (and quiet) smiles of greeting for the faces she recognizes, tipping her head here and there enough that she could be a bobble. Nod, nod. When introductions are made she lifts her glass in turn, staying where she has started to get comfortable.
Tesha gives a nod to people that she knows as she enters, but there's a moment taken to find a seat off to the side where she's out of the way. She's hear to mainly listen and see what's been going on with things.
Thea slips in with Drake, quietly for once. But not before finding herself a glass of water of some kind. There's a slight smile and polite nod to everyone as she makes her way to sit next to her new family. NOT slouching. Nope. No slouching here.
Zara has been here the whoooole time, sipping on her jasmine tea despite the warm weather, with a bunch of paid fanners near her to keep her cool. "Welcome everybody." She says with an elevated voice, full of warmth, despite her features remaining as placid as ever. She takes a sip from her cup quietly as her sloe dark eyes flicker around.
Sorrel may be a Thrax princess, but she was born in the Oathlands, and at present, she is lurking nearby Alis with the patience of someone who doesn't intend to talk but merely serve as a lady-in-waiting to the High Lady. A most martial lady-in-waiting, but that's appropriate, given the women in question. She is listening, though, and her face is neutral to almost smiling.
Derovai is late, but not quite enough to draw attention. He simply scoots in behind the person immediately in front of him and puts on a face that basically says 'I meant to show up at this time'. Then he tucks himself at the nearest vacant seat.
Kiera quietly claims ice ta and a piece of fruit and takes it along with note book and ink and claims a seat next to her brother
Derovai has joined the a majestic brown oak table with a map of Arvum carved into the surface.
Isabeau is in pink and purple, a shawl laced about her elbows as she settles down, soon having a plate of snacks delivered and set down as she takes a few pieces of parchment from her secretary, ready to take notes as she listens.
Once people seem to have settled a bit, Kael is once more finding his voice. "Once again, thank you for joining us. In the coming weeks there might be some announcements from House Valardin regarding some small changes. Nothing too severe, but," his throat clears, "things that are to be given their due. For now, however, let us look to tonight. Tonight, let us begin by offering our gratitude to those that assisted in holding back the invading forces in our recent crisis. To those," and Kael is snaring a passing cup of cider from an attendant to lift it on high, "that participated by lending support, no matter if it was coin, resources, tears, blood, sweat, life - all of you. Thank you. We recognize the battle was won by the combined efforts. Not just those that mended our fallen, those that raised their blades or wielded their weapons, sailed the ships, nor just those that took their position in the commander's tents." He lifts his cider on high and drinks deeply. "Allow us to provide, however, a small token of appreciation to those that stood at the forefront of battle, that are recognized for exceptional deeds in the time of war." Note the way that he is casting a sidelong look to Cristoph there and his assembled fabric. He chins toward his liege and starts to move over there to help him sort fabric. Or carry fabric.
Drake has water, but, when a toast is called, gets cider, to make it proper. He raises it up, in recognition of those who fought in the recent battles.
Jamie lifts his mug of cider, offering, "Here, here. To the fighters of every stripe, not just those with sword in-hand, and the fallen, who will be missed. We remember." He falls silent quickly as the fabric is doled out, sipping from his mug of cider and remaining quiet.
After scratching something off of his paper, Cristoph holds up a hand of sashes. He actually ends up handing /two/ of them to Kael before he starts speaking. "For both yourself and Reigna," he says quietly. Then he clears his throat, "There's an old Valardin tale that speaks of the first General of Valar's army. He was gifted a platinum sash, and on this sash he would add embellishments of friends who fell in battle. He was known for his honor and it's said that by this man, all Valardin, and from there all knights, grew to measure themselves. Today we would like to give sashes of valor, to honor you and acknowledge your courage in the field of battle." From there, with Kael's help, sashes are passed out among the veterans of the Battle of Pieros.
Katarina sets aside her tea to accept her sash. And then, for a long moment, she sits there with her hands folded in her lap, posture upright, positively beaming with pride while she wears her fancy new sash. It's a good day to be a fleet admiral!
Ryhalt nods his approval of implementation of a familiar story and applauds the veterans in turn.
Alis has a wry smile for Sorrel when the other martial princess joins her in seating nearby; and though she's prepared for this ritual with fabric -- she's obviously not prepared to be one of those on the receiving end of it, and just looks confused. Like, 'I have the circlet, why are you giving me this sash?' sort of quizzical expression. But, her lips quirk upwards anyhow; and especially when Katarina looks so very excited.
Mabelle collects the sash from Cristoph and her eyes sparkle as emotion washes her, "Thank you cousin, High Lady, everyone", she almost tears but instead cheers, "Oh it matches my outfit!", and just puts it on, raises her glass in cheer to others.
Cristoph mutters, "Alis, ... take ... sash. Don't ... me ... ... ... you."
Thea accepts the sash with an embarrassed smile. "Oh um. Well thank you,"she says with sincerity. She slips it on before lifting her glass of--yes--still water, cheering for all those that were so brave.
As the sashes are handed out, Natalia lifts her glass to those receiving them.
Drake puts his glass down to applaud, looking at Belle, and then at Thea, giving the latter a nod. "Well earned," he says.
When Kael is handed the two sashes, right off, Cristoph is earning himself a Look <tm>. Kael coughs, and maybe he turns a touch red, but he's swift to jog those over to his wife and drape them over her lap with a kiss to her cheek. That done, he returns to the forefront so that his voice can carry when he speaks. "Thank you," he says, to each recipient of a sash.
Kiera raises her tea in a toast to all those who fought "indeed"
Tesha wasn't expecting to be receiving anything this evening but she gives a smile to those that pass them out and a bow, "Thank you, your excellency, lords, ladies and those that were here at home and on the field as well." she states in a quiet tone. She then lets her eyes go to the sash and she smiles at the dragon motif on it.
Once that's all taken care of, Cristoph moves what's left over into a separate pile and moves back to the table with the rest of the Valardin leadership. Once he's there, he leans against the table and says something to Kael and Alis that involves an uplifted eyebrow.
Kael looks as though he might say something back to Cris, but no, he ends up bowing his head in that humble way he has. He's turning back, serious-faced to begin speaking once more. SOMETHING though, that has him snort quietly and he sends a look over his shoulder to the others. Shaking his head, and actually appearing quite grim, he starts anew when he faces those gathered: "Though this battle was a victory, we know that more threats loom. We know that there are wars on the horizon. May I highlight, for example, a piece of fine art that was given to us by an ally of the House. It is entitled Old Battles Begin Anew. I would have every one of you study it and think about what it means to you. Perhaps discuss with your neighbor what it means to them." Indeed, Kael is moving toward a staff member from House Valardin who reveals the painting. To be fair, this painting was just covered for a dramatic reveal here and now. It had actually been on display for quite a while. After a moment of silence, Kael's voice is once more carrying across the large chamber. "For these threats, and more, House Valardin is looking specifically for those that have suggestions, tactics, for reinforcing our lands. I mean evacuation routes for our people, strongholds for those to fall back to, communication networks. Other suggestions, if you have them. So too are we looking to expand our naval capacity - House Valardin, along with the vassal houses. Feel free to speak up with any ideas of general defense across our lands, or our seas. Or feel free, if you are more comfortable, approaching us in quiet." Kael pauses there, just in case someone wants to speak up.
Drake looks at the painting, but then lets out a small sigh. "I've never been all that good at riddles," he says. Though, given that what the painting depicts seems obvious enough, this might be dry wit. Then he clears his throat. "Highhill has been building up as best we can. We're creating a training academy, and, we have a military port to assist in the fight in the waters, when it comes to that."
Ryhalt frowns as he sees the painting, clenching his jaw. He glances between Alis and the Valardin voices. "We are going to need far more than wooden ships and swords to fight *that* enemy." The usually sunny Duke both looks and sounds grim.
Turning her attention to the painting when it is unveiled, Natalia frowns after just a moment. She huffs out a sigh and turns back to the table, shaking her head.
Mabelle scans the painting for a while, pursing her lips, "I cannot offer tactics, its a bit out of my realm. As for evacuation and strongholds, the Domestique Bell outside Artshall is guarded by both Knights of Solace and the Gold Order. Its a waystation that's built as a fort and has rooms to sleep in, medical services, religious services and a lot of food stored in it for time of need". Further, Mabelle offers, "On my part I can tour the Oathlands to build medical stations for emergencies, but I need to think this thoroughly for practicallity".
Tesha frowns at the shadows of the dragons that loom in the back of the painting. Not prominent...but ominous none the less if they looked hard enough. She didn't really have a good plan against dragons. But she did make a mental note that she needed to talk to the dragon expert. "I will need to go over maps and other things to see where best to offer tactics advice." she states.
Alis inclines her head in a quick nod towards Ryhalt. "That is true. We've been trying to find any information on dragons in general, if we can. But it's hard to discover a weakness to exploit when you're hoping to take down an ancient gigantic winged creature who breathes acid fire and is tied to the abyss because he's just that evil." she quips, sounding far too serious for it to be a joke. "That's a good idea, Lady Mabelle. We should also look to siege style fortifications and defense tactics."
Kael nods when Drake speaks. "I remember your mentioning your interest in pursuit of that during our last meeting. I am glad that your House," and he dips his head to those Wyvernheart present, "...was able to establish a naval presence since our last meeting. Since you are forming a training Academy - and I am biased here with that recommendation - but might I suggest having it associated with the Academy of War? Lord Jamie Greenmarch is an instructor there, but there is Natalia Whisper," and he chins toward her there, "who is the head of the Academy, and might discuss the matter. She is very good at what she does." Ah, and when Ryhalt speaks up he is turning to hone in on the Duke. Kael sets his cider down so that he can execute a bow toward him. "Duke Farshaw. Indeed. When last we gathered and spoke about the dark one, I believe that you were going to follow up with us at this round table. I would be honored if you would do so, once we go through the room." He's turning, bowing his head to Mabelle and nodding to Alis. He nods toward Tesha, remarking, "You and I perhaps can review maps together. Invite others, if they care to."
Derovai offers nothing verbally. He leans forward, elbows on the table, to get as good a look at the painting as he can from his vantage point. There's a thin frown on his face now, and it deepens just a little when he finishes his scrutiny and leans back in his seat.
"I have made it a point to speak to as many of the settlers from my birthland as I can, to learn things that have been hidden in the margins," Katarina offers. "I will begin to bring up dragons much more frequently in these information-gathering sessions~."
"I would be happy to assist as I might be able to," Natalia agrees when she is called upon, offering a tilt of her head in Drake's direction. "We should speak soon."
Speaking up briefly, "As for Telmarch, I can speak to Duke Ansel's recent work in attaining some longships and galleys as the start of our personal navy and his desire to increase our military and that of our vassals. To that matter, I am going to be touring our duchy and the vassals as soon as I can begin to encourage a boost in our recruitment endeavors and to do a survey of any suitable holdings, outside the Telmarch keep." Isabeau offers this in her warm, contralto voice, before returning to her own note-taking.
Since someone finally said the 'd' word, Drake feels a little more open about saying it in return. "Where it comes to dragons, diplomacy should always be the first and second resort," he says, almost incredulous that it's at least being discussed openly. He then nods to Kael again. "And the launch is open for all in the Oathlands who need it." He gives a nod to Jamie when he's indicated, then to Natalia when she speaks up. He drinks a bit more from the water glass. "We have a lot to do - we should talk. Though we also have the support from the Malvicis as well- the idea is to share training skills, so it's a good match and we're definitely seeking qualified instructors."
Thea skims the painting, her lips thin. "There are not only plans of training academy, but a medical facility as well,"she pipes off. Something for Maebelle's benefit as well. "It will be hopefully one learning as well." She looks around, taking in everyone's thoughts and ideas. Heaing Kael, Thea tilts her head in thought.
"Admiral Eshra is a good person to speak to on the Telmarch Navy as well, Duchess." Tesha nods to that. "Our Navy is indeed small, but has a good set of hands that will see it flourish." she smiles.
Jamie looks at the painting for some time, seemingly at a loss for either what to say, or how to say what he's thinking. Instead, he takes Drake's tack and offers, "Greenmarch is likewise making preparations. As we are through the Academy." He glances to Natalia and offers a dip of his head to her. His eyes crinkle a little at the edges as he winces. "Enough ballista bolts to darken the sky might come in handy, and ballistae to fire them." He glances to Mabelle and Tesha, and then says, "I might also recommend scouting caves and other places where we might take refuge to fight from beneath the ground to base out of. To fight, we must consider not giving the enemy the advantage of striking when and where they please. The Greenwood has many such features - I'm sure the rest of the Oathlands do as well. But either way, whatever owns the air will have a distinct advantage. Methods to negate that advantage must be discovered."
Sorrel seems almost hesitant to speak up, but she does volunteer after a moment, "I have some experience cleaning up after dragons in Saikland, and Blackshore also had some issues with dragonfire. It may be worthwhile to quietly reach out regarding how those situations were handled." She looks a bit pensive for a moment. "Blancbier has long trained Mercies, and there are places of refuge there. Do not forget Blancbier."
Cahal studies the painting for a bit before suggesting "If we are worried about saving civilians from dragonfire might I suggest building some underground refuges."
Ryhalt smirks lightly at Alis' attempt to joke at the situation. He nods to Kael, waiting for now, but listening to each in turn as they offer suggestions.
Cristoph has returned to his table again and he once more is sorting through what's left of the piles of cloth. This doesn't mean that he's not paying attention at all, merely he's found something occupy his hands. His eyes lift up from his work, settling on each speaker. There's the occasional glimpse something bordering on 'more than neutral' but he generally schools it back until it's politely blank again, just a small furrow of concentration.
Mabelle concurs with Jamie and Cahal, "Underground refuge near large sources of water. In case of a prolonged stay. It would also help with growing crops. We should also ready supplies for quick evacuation to be carried to said locations".
Natalia offers a smile Jamie's way and nods her agreement, then looks to Drake again. "I will reach out this week," she assures him. No comment is made about the dragons, no. She does send a bit of a dirty look at the painting when she doesn't think anyone is looking her way. It's probably not the artistic quality she's making faces at.
Jamie shakes his head, "Crops won't grow without light. What you're looking for is large cave networks - things that let you move enough armed forces between point A and point B. Dragons will attack from the air, while the army is in column formation - if I have even the slightest understanding of their capabilities from the stories. It will be during movement that we are most vulnerable. Point defenses and fortifications can help, but it's moving between them that will be the biggest problem. Otherwise they will simply be where a lot of good people die, trapped." He lifts his mug to his lips. "An army without mobility is an army that is doomed to be picked apart at the enemy's leisure."
With a nod to Drake, Kael is turning toward Thea when she speaks and listening to her words. "Biased again," he says with a flash of a rueful smile. "But perhaps speak to my wife if you would like insight for medicinal training - she has some book that I understand is quite good." Did his expression just momentarily soften and look rueful? Sure. This is Kael. That said, his focus moves about the room, nodding to Tesha when she indicates that Eshra is a good to speak with. Another nod, this time for Isabeau so it is a bit deeper. "Excellent, your hi-- ah, my lady." Old habits and all. When Jamie speaks, Kael is maneuvering to him so that he can tap him at the upper shoulder. "Caves and other natural areas. I like that," he tells the man. Sorrel's addition? That has him bow his head deeply.
Elena, a solemn knight attache, Alette, a discreet lady's maid, Isabel, a calm diplomatic aide, 4 Valardin Knights, Gracious, a hospitable turtle leave, following Zara.
"I wouldn't plan on any underground refuges being good for more than just the occasional attack." Cahal says after Mabelle speaks. "Its putting all our eggs in one basket - a basket that any normal soldier can get into at that - and people just don't do so well underground for long." he nods at what Jamie says "But a few feet of earth is the best thing you're going to find, cheaply, to protect against fire."
Jamie nods to Cahal's words, in turn. "Agreed, my Lord Blackram."
Mabelle nods to Cahal, "I was hoping for several.. baskets, but you are right, they dont work for long", she purses her lips while thinking, assuring Thea, "I'd be happy to help with the medical effort".
Cristoph scrawls something out on a page, sending it off with Rupert. Then he folds his hands atop the table that he's claimed. "If we're attacked by a dragon flight contingent, I find it unlikely that they'll just send those. They surely have the resources to field some kind of ground force that could follow our people into the caves. Not that I'm dismissing the idea entirely, just that we'd need to expect something like that."
Tesha belatedly gives a nod to Kael, "I'd be happy to go over maps and planning of things." she tells him. She then settles back into being quiet and observing what is going on.
Derovai's still sporting that thin frown when he momentarily pipes up. "Caves with more than one entrance," is the suggestion. "Preferably more than two. And...deep ones. We don't know how deep dragon fire reaches, do we?" He certainly doesn't, that's plain, the question sounds entirely genuine.
"Respectfully, a few feet of earth is just a mass grave that the occupants walk into when we're talking about dragonfire. It's toxic. If they survive the heat of the fire, the fumes will kill them. It will poison plants and crops. It will ruin waterways. It will taint wildlife. And it will last a very long time," Sorrel says quietly, tucking her hands behind her back.
Mabelle looks between Cristoph and Sorrel with a grimace, lowering her quill to draw a line over the word UNDERGROUND. "Do we have enough time to build stone forts?"
"Are we... that is, do we have a reason to... anticipate a lot of dragons?" Drake asks. Feeling a bit as if he's missing something perhaps, as he looks for a moment at Sorrel. "Or is this a hypothetical."
"Still seems like more of the noncombatants will survive if they go and hide in a cellar somewhere." Cahal says to Sorrel. "Than if they run around like a thousand scared lambs."
Jamie looks to Cristoph and, very respectfully, concurs, but also adds, "That is very true, my Lord. Part of the reason for scouting beforehand - map the cave networks. An army that knows where it is going moves faster than one that does not, and deadfalls and traps are especially effective inside caves to prevent pursuit of superior forces. If they... care about such things." Jamie doesn't give voice to that. There are many stories. "But I do agree. I think the caves will be a temporary thing - it will be something that keeps us alive for a few days, perhaps a few weeks, longer, and allows us to strike from unexpected directions. It won't allow us to survive, long term. Eventually, they''ll put enough infantry in the tunnels that we'll either be forced into pitched battle, or they'll flush us out into the open."
Ryhalt looks about the room. "We won't be fighting *just* dragons in this. He has servants that aren't dragons amongst the Abandoned and in all our cities. I concur that gathering together is a bad idea and will be a dire situation for those who do it, especially the more with Valar's blood in their veins that do it. To do so is giving them the easy target they want." He nods in agreement to Sorrel's statement of the blackness afflicting the land in the painting. "We will need the help of other dragons, other First Children. Be suspect of the Cardia embassy and any overly friendly with it. Their leader is our enemy, after all."
"So it might be prudent to have up to date surveys done of our lands. To look for these areas that might be ideal for evacuation, and consider what threats are pertinent to it. Even if it might not be ideal for some," Kael nods to Sorrel's point there, "it very well may be for others. I would recommend someone like Lord Jamie Greenmarch for conversation regarding--" Ah, but Jamie is speaking up, and so he just gestures to the man as though saying that his words are fair and fine. His focus pivots cleanly to Ryhalt when he speaks however. He has Kael's full focus.
Tesha looks around and there's a bit of a sigh, "Princess Sorrel is right, I know those that went to Saikland and other places and the dragonfire ruins things for a long time. So having a myriad of ways to protect would be beneficial." she states quietly. "If I could find a dragon to help I would gladly offer that." she adds. Then there's a thoughtful look to something as she settles back into her seat. "If you manage to find one of the First Children, just don't speak to them in Draconic if you know it. They do not like it." she states simply.
Drake looks at Tesha, and raises both brows. "So I've heard."
Natalia also looks in Ryhalt's direction, her expression curious. After only a moment she is frowning again, and while she mostly manages to avoid it there is a _little bit_ of under her breath grumbling. She keeps it incomprehensible, at least. Grr. It is all aimed at her glass.
Kiera hms "Is there any use for diplomacy here at all. Do we have allies among the Cardians to work with here?Informants?"
Jamie inclines his head respectfully in Kael's direction as he's mentioned holding the pose for a moment, but lapses into silence at Ryhalt's words, settling back into his seat. It seems, he, too, is interested in this topic particularly.
"It only takes one, really." Alis asides to Drake on his question of whether they expect a lot of dragons. "Lady Petrae Livy represents a faction that opposes the one Malar leads, though obviously they aren't the faction in power. She is of the Scales faction and Malar of the Talons. The Scales, presumably, believe he's gone too far. She herself fought at Pieros, so I think we could consider her somewhat of an ally. But, diplomacy is not going to stop the absolute crazy that is Malar."
"I had an ally in the Scales, whom I trusted -- and whom I believed, when they explained that they did not serve Malar." Katarina shifts in her seat, fussing with her sash. "I am working to re-open this connection, as my previous ally is no longer available to me. I will keep the High Lord and her Voices appraised as needed."
Kael glances to Tesha, tilts his head, and then nods before flicking another look to Drake before turning back to Ryhalt. Kiera's query however has him remark, "I admit that I have kept my distance, but my understanding is that there are those out there and, ah," he searches for the words, "factions?" Alis, however, is on it and so he bows his head deeply, respectfully, to her.
Drake gestures openly. "I'm aware of the politic, more or less... but do we have reason to expect a hot war with Cardia - or Malar - any time soon? Did something change to provoke the possibility?"
Ryhalt meets Natalia's gaze a moment, smiling grimly, before looking on around the room once more. "There is no diplomacy with a force that has a personal hatred and jealousy of Valar's children. The stories of those that try?" He looks at Kiera. "They are not good endings. Those that know, that dig too deep. They are destroyed." He doesn't sound as if he means 'death'. He also nods agreement to Alis. "While divided, it is like us... it will mean yet another civil war for them if they stand against him. It will probably go the same as the last one if they do not have help once more."
"Cardian politics are complicated," Cristoph says as the conversation turns that way. His tips his head in Ryhalt's direction, "It really would be best to interact with them as carefully and with as much caution as possible. They're capable of playing a very long game in terms of that sort of thing. I believe Duke Farshaw to be correct in his advice there."
"No," Kael answers Drake. "I, however, would vastly prefer to be prepared, even if is my son that has the horror of dealing with that and not I. This is something that conceivably take years, but do we not owe it our attention?" These words are punctuated with a slight smile before his focus moves back to Ryhalt, and others, that speak.
Mabelle listens avidly to the room while murmuring back to her girl, "I need something stronger than cider", and then keeps her eyes wide open and her ears. Well those arent wide. But they are open.
"We're discussing threats in general, to the Oathlands. Is there some other threat you'd like to add?" Alis wonders of Drake, head tilted to the side slightly in curiousity.
Tesha gives a nod to Drake and then there's a look to Kael and she gives a little bit of a sheepish look, she'd heard it! She looks between those that are speaking on being prepared and she nods, "Yes, being prepared for it whether it might be in a month or five years is what matters." she nods to this.
"They can take years, generations even, to hatch their plans to fruition. If we're smart, we'll start planning now. Even with that, we may be decades behind in preparation." Cristoph's fingers drum lightly on the paper, following up on Kael's words.
"I was merely surprised that the topic seemed so urgent. Since it doesn't seem to be, then the academy is a good bet, for preparation's sake. Which is a relief to me. We'd be talking differently if the war seemed to be one approaching on the dawn. But... admittedly, the threat of the Mor'ral wasn't over either, was it?" Drake asks Alis.
"As for how long do we have? How long ago was the Tragedy at Sanctum? If your forces had been decimated in that time, ask yourself...how much could I have built up in that time?" Ryhalt meets eyes as he looks about the room once more. "Prepare for it to be at your doorstep already and pray you are already ready. They will come again as at that time first, I bet. Why waste dragon blood when humans can fight your war for you first?" He shrugs. "But, I am sure many of you are aware... it might be best to assume one will follow the other more swiftly this time. Embassies are nests for spies as well as friends." He falls silent to let topic change to other threats.
Kiera nods to this "of course it is important, which is why I was trying to figure out what I and others who are not militarily inclined might bring to bear on this matter
"Does the topic seem urgent? I feel as though it's merely being discussed with the full gravity it merits." Alis counters. "In the hierarchy of things that could easily wipe us off the face of Arvum, an abyssally tied Dragon ranks about number one in my opinion. If it's immediate threat you'd like to focus on, perhaps you can tell us of any information you have about Legion or the Metallic Traitor's forces in your lands at the moment." Of course, the mention of Sanctum and the Tragedy drains any of the animation from her expression. And, then gives Kael a slight nod. As if agreeing with something he might have said quietly.
The hand not holding her glass lifts so Natalia can pinch the bridge of her nose, and she leans back in her chair and closes her eyes for a moment. There's a quiet sigh, and then she lowers her hand, putting on a smile and resuming the general attentiveness.
Mabelle looks between Kael and Cristoph, "So we do have time to build actual forts? I dont mind creating smaller models of what we built and going through the Oathlands, it was my plan all along, but it fell to the side. Also, while many mention putting everyone together, the Oathlands are huge, I did not intend to hide everyone in one cave or one fort". Her lips purse in consideration, toying with one of the rings over her finger. When Alis brings up Legion, Mabelle mention, "An initiative I had has a group of people working to find some sort of non martial solution for the centipede problem. Some measure to recognize them before they lead us to ambushes or kill them without losing life or being hurt. Its a work in progress with alchemists, herbalists and smiths in combined effort. It wont solve the problem, but maybe help with one of the symptoms".
An eye is kept on Ryhalt from Kael and, after a moment of conversing with the Highlord and his fellow Voice, there is a nod and he is rising up from his spot to stand anew. This time however he is grabbing the cider near him. "We would actually like to have Duke Ryhalt Farshaw, if he is amiable, take point on the matter of the dark one. If he could be included in thoughts, in considerations, or information and he check in with us - that would be appreciated." There, Kael is dipping his head toward his Duke. To Drake, he says, "That is still a threat. Mor'rel are suspected to have slain the blood of Moore in Acorn Hill. Which - if there is pertinent information there - please pass it on to Natalia Whisper and Lord Jamie Greenmarch. I am sending them to survey Acorn Hill and surrounding lands." That said, he turns to regard Mabelle and nods. "There is time - hopefully. I would like to see your models." The words that follow? That has him nod his head.
Drake tilts his head downward. Alis knows him as one who can be sharp, but is sometimes impatient, so maybe this is no different. "I did not mean to question your leadership. Only to understand. I have no new intel about their movements in the Oathlands, unfortunately. It was top of mind to me because one of Legion's agents showed up in my back garden." He looks over at Kael again, and then at Jamie. "I'd help with that survey. The thing hurt me; it was personal."
Jamie just inclines his head to Drake. "Of course, my Lord." His rough baritone and soldier's manner carries his words easily to the other man.
"Yes; I would certainly appreciate it, if anyone had anything to relate," Natalia speaks up when she's mentioned, nodding to go along with the words. "We are planning on heading out quite shortly, but any information is valuable."
Tesha gives a look to Kael, Drake and Jamie, making mental notes on who she needs to see about planning or giving suggestions on tactics. She then gives a look down to the sash that she was gifted from the High Lady and her voices.
Alis quickly picks up a glass to try and take a drink and cover a quick garble of noise. Choked laughter? Frustration? She gives a quick glance across the room, downs half the glass before clunking it on the table firmly. "Yes, having one of Legion's agents show up in your back garden would definitely be disconcerting." she agrees. "I suspect we will be seeing more activity from Legion soon, and the Metallic traitor. Soooo, even any scouting to be done should include a few plate wearing people who can stab things for you." she murmurs.
Ryhalt inclines his head to Kael. "Yes, it would be my honor to continue to be point on information concerning Malar." He looks about the room. "Those interested in helping or knowing more, please speak to me at some point."
On the topic of Legion, Ryhalt adds softly, "We should, perhaps, not use that name to draw undesired attention. Horny or something."
"One of...that one's... agents showed up in your back garden." This statement from Drake is absolutely repeated by Kael. He frowns, to himself, and alas it might be that he is taking this quite literally. Still, his brows arch in unison and he gestures toward Drake. "This is likely a good time to open the floor to threats that our lands, themselves, suffer from." That little outburst from Alis has him cast a sympathetic look her way before he shifts his focus to Ryhalt and bows his head deeply to him.
Mabelle almost chokes on her drink with Ryhalt's suggestion of a name, "I was told we cannot use that name".
"Legion and the Metallic Traitor or Horned God as he sometimes goes by, are not the exact same entity," Cristoph offers quietly from where he's taking notes and.... staring at Alis as she seems to be experiencing a moment.
"Damn thing nearly took off my good hand," Drake says, and then takes a long drink of cider. He HAD been delicate with that hand for a while. It looks better now, but he has some of his usual fingerless gloves on so it's hard to totally inspect.
Derovai coughs a little, and thumps his chest once, despite not actually having taken a drink since the toast. "...Horny?" he says, a little hoarsely. There's a less than reverent twitch to his features.
Ryhalt chuckles at Mabelle, a hint of his typical playful demeanor curving at the edge of his lips. "Anything not his name and not the titles to which he aspires or titles claimed."
Thea clears her throat now. "I know that I'm the new one here. But anyone needs anything from me, please don't hesitate to ask. Whether it for scouting or anything else." As Drake mentions the Legion's visit, her eyes drift briefly to his hand. "I can tell you what my aunt Eirene calls it, but it's not even slightly appropriate."
Alis pipes up immediately of course. "Please, share!" she encourages Thea.
Mabelle squints at Cristoph for a moment, looking confused, "They are not? Not sure about Metallic traitor but I thought the Horned God and Legion are the same", she apologizes aside to Ryhalt, "I will think of a more Oathlandish name".
"Whether you call him Ol' Horny, the Horned One, the Metallic Traitor, or Orichalcum, the Herald of Legion knows of whom you speak. As a name or nickname comes into the common parlance, they hear it just as well as their preferred names," Sorrel explains quietly, wrinkling her nose. "But that one is no god, and we must keep him from doing so." She looks to Thea, echoing Alis. "Is it Fuckface? That's one of my favorites."
Kiera has left the a majestic brown oak table with a map of Arvum carved into the surface.
Winter, A Highhill Puppy leaves, following Kiera.
"I decided on 'The Horned Guy.' Gets the point across without any undue valor added," Drake says casually.
Alis makes a quiet 'psshhhht' sound. "Fuckface would cover all of them." she mutters, with a quick glance around to make sure Norwood isn't around to hear that.
Mabelle teases Alis, "What if he's handsome?", her mind went elsewhere but clearly she's joking.
Sorrel is speaking and Cristoph waits for her to finish before he offers Mabelle a further explanation, "The one that Princess Sorrel speaks of is the Herald of Legion. So like... the bearer of their will. What I am to Alis. Does that help?"
Natalia presses her lips together with displeasure, nodding agreement with Sorrel's words. She finally takes an actual drink (instead of a sip) from her glass, looking Kael's way and shaking her head at him. Shake shake shake shake.
"The nickname isn't 'fuck his face'" Alis stage whispers back to Mabelle. Cristoph's comment makes her pause, and look like she's about to say something.... and then does not."
"Fuckface is one,"Thea tells Sorrel with a grin,"obliging Alis as well. "In fact, every name she has has Fuck. But he's the Horned Fuck." Looking around, Thea remembers where she is and drinks her water. "Maybe I shouldn't be naming anything around here.."
Kael continues to steadfastly drink his cider and keep a very solemn face. However, during this moment, he is moving around to Natalia and murmuring a few words quietly to her.
Mabelle murmurs aside to Alis, "Oh I thought it looks like his face has been fu..", she punches her palm theatrically before straightening quickly and smiling to Cristoph, "Yes cousin, Thank you. I knew that, its hard to sort it all in my mind"
Ryhalt laughs quietly at Alis's suggestion. He shrugs to Mabelle as it seems that names have gone way past Oathlands standards already!
Derovai picks up his water glass and attempts to hide the snort-snicker noise that forces its way out anyway. This is largely a failure. "...Please don't use those names in the Murder," he says, as much suggestion as request.
Drake laughs a bit. The levity is actually a little welcome, to him. Maybe because the topics at hand - dragon fire and other things - are so terribly dire to discuss otherwise. But he nods at the explanations, as well.
When Kael speaks to her, Natalia turns her head to eye him sidelong. After a moment, she laughs, leaning over his way and offering a few quiet words. There's a dismissive sort of gesture with her glass, a reassuring smile, and she nods in Jamie's direction in indication.
To Kael's question of threats to their lands, Ryhalt simply says, "When dragons return, I assume that they will return to Westrock, perhaps first. Other than than the usual Abandoned, pirates, and such... we're mostly peaceful in Westrock Reach."
And then a chalkboard is rolled out and they all spend twenty minutes drawing diagrams with labels that are definitely not the names of things and are totally clever until it all makes sense.
Drake makes a gesture drawing a circle with his fingers in the air, a few times. "If anyone needs to be brought up to speed on the Horned Person situation, we can have another meeting at a later time - I've used up air for that previously and no need to repeat. I have written reports, but worried they may be out of date by this time." Another drink, just water. "We will circle back on the academy too. Same meeting perhaps," he says with another look at Natalia.
"We'll make a day of it sometime soon," Natalia agrees with Drake with a dip of her head before she's eying Kael sidelong again. Also, laughing. Mostly quietly.
Tesha sits back into her seat and goes back to being quiet as the meeting continues.
Kael spends a brief time conversing with Natalia, and she even gets a brief grin before he is setting a hand on her shoulder and squeezing. He moves on however, expression serious, with a nod to Ryhalt. "Good... ah, mostly." He smiles there to the man. Ah, chalkboard interlude! You better believe Kael is helping assist with that. The rolling of it, not the explaining. He does not assist in the confusion of people, you see. When Drake speaks, the man is regarded curiously a moment. "Huh," he says. Then, to the group as a whole: "It is worth mentioning that banditry is on the uprise across the Oathlands. Those that are interested in a bit of adventure, please do see us. Does anyone else have any additions to make before we call the meetin to a close?"
Jamie listens to the list of Heralds and Seraphs, quietly. At the end of it his eyes flick upwards, and he asks, "What of the One Who Sleeps?" It sounds as that that's not their /actual/ title.
Mabelle looks at Jamie for a moment with a questioning gaze, "What of it?"
Atramentous, The Highhill War Hound leaves, following Tesha.
"Bandits?" Ryhalt lifts his eyebrows lightly towards Kael. "I am always for stopping threats to trade." Money's important!
Jamie nods to Mabelle, "I am a soldier - and this is far beyond my area of expertise. But I have heard rumors that the One who Sleeps is, or perhaps, was, one of those we are speaking of. I did not, however, hear its name on the list."
As Rocco quietly slips something into her hand, Thea looks around. "I'm sorry, but I'm afraid I'm being called away." She bows her head, genuinely speaking,"I know that I'm the--new one here, but if anyone needs me for anything, scouting or a need for a battlefield medic, please don't ever hesitate to reach out."
Mabelle responds to Jamie, "The Sleeper is a whole other threat. Global, not only to the Oathlands . He is not the one we are engaging with today, but we can disucss it at a later date if you like"
Drake looks at Thea, fondly, and touches her hand as she gets up. "Will be at home shortly," he says. "It's not far."
Jamie inclines his head to Mabelle in a nod, "I would appreciate that. I have heard only fragments and whispers, my Lady. Thank you."
Mabelle flashes Jamie an easy smile, "Of course"
"Thank you, Duke Farshaw. I will make certain that your name is on the rosters in case there are any reports when you are in the vicinity," murmurs Kael with a dip of his head toward the man. When Mabelle speaks up to assist Jamie, Kael flashes a smile of gratitude that way. "Then I do believe that this meeting is concluded. Again, thank you all for your participation, your insight, and your time."
Cahal has left the a comfortable blue sofa with ivory pillows.
Kiko, a Kite of the Cloudspine, Hickory, the Deerhound, Russel, a Blackram Retainer, 1 House Lyonesse Adept Guards leave, following Cahal.
Cristoph takes his chalkboard back.
Mabelle rises slowly, offering a sashy curtsy to Kael, Zara, Cristoph and Alis, "Thank you for holding this, it is appreciated"
There is a grateful look sent ceiling-wards when the meeting is concluded, and Natalia swallows one more time from her glass before setting it down and rising. "It was enlightening," she says in Kael's direction. "Thank you for facilitating." That said, she turns to dip her head to Alis, then Cristoph.
Ryhalt smiles to Kael, Alis, and the other Valardin voices at the conclusion of the meeting. "Thank you for calling us to meet to get informed once more."
"Yes, it's much appreciated. Good to know what everyone is working on this year," Drake says. He nods his head to Kael, and to Alis a bit more deeply before standing up to go.
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