AoW: Communication Lines
The event is ICly open to all AoW members and associate members (Whispers, Iron Guard, Solace, Inquisition), and those who have been invited; if you would like to come but aren't invited, one can presume OOCly an invitation was possible where reasonable. If you're not sure, please ask!
June 19, 2021, 5 p.m.
Arx - Ward of the Crown - Academy of War - Headquarters
Comments and Log
Plenty of food and light drinks, though there's a bottle or three of the harder stuff on a table here or there. The seating has been arranged in a circle, arranged tightly enough that conversation amongst the tables is reasonably comfortable. It means it doesn't end up fitting as many people as it could, but these particular gatherings are aimed to a smaller audience anyway. Natalia is settled on a couch and generally looking quite comfortable, watching as people arrive, nodding her head and lifting her glass in greeting here and there. It's not very formal, but it does look comfortable.
As the time comes, the guards stop holding the doors open, and instead stand guard -- when people arrive from now forward, they take a moment to pound on the doors before holding them open to let someone in. It's just safer, and all.
Kenjay is here early, settled in a seat with a glass in his hand - and without Bahiya. Clad in his usual scarlet and orange silks, with the few pieces of armour never designed by an Arvani smith, he's looking serene. Even the heat of the Arxian summer doesn't seem to be bothering him.
Evaristo is here right on time, nodding at the guards, smiling his mischievous, charming smile at Natalia as he walks over to find a seat. "Natalia Whisper, a name I keep hearing - I am honored to finally meet. I am Mockingbird Evaristo Arterius, representing the Bard's College at this meeting," he explains, nodding respectfully. He bows to Kenjay, and then he gets himself a cool drink before he sits down, sprawling comfortably.
Cesare is overtly curious as he steps into the war room, although if he feels out of place you'd never know it. He's clad in rather subdued tones today, mostly grey and black with splashes of scarlet here and there, which have the slightly unfortunate effect of matching with the fabulous bruise he's sporting around one eye. He hasn't made any effort to conceal that, though, with the aid of either hairstyle or cosmetics, and is treating it rather matter-of-factly. Or maybe he's forgotten it exists. "Natalia, what a pleasure to finally be able to attend one of your events," he says, sweeping over to her and dashing a bow. "I imagine it behooves me to expand my skillset a bit, and what better way?" A bow to Kenyay as well, and a salute to Evaristo, before he retrieves a drink of his own and settles into one of the circled chairs.
Not the first to arrive, and perhaps among the last, is a tall man dressed in grey silks, a monochromatic fixture who possesses both a stately grace and an ageless look, if dispassionate. The heat, likewise, does not seem to touch this man overly much, or at least the grey waistcoat he wears hides it well, if it does. He, likewise, fixes himself a drink but it seems a perfunctory measure, taken more from politeness than actual need. He offers a deep bow to Kenjay as he nears the table, his voice a quite tenor, smooth as the silk he wears.
To Natalia, their host, he offers both a bow and introductions. "Messere Whisper, your reputation precedes you." Whatever that means. "I doubt, however, that mine does - I am Messere Vulpiano Rossetti, Steward of House Fidante, Minister of Production for House DiFidante, and it is a pleasure."Your Highness, a pleasure to see you again. Will Ambassador Bahiya be joining us today?" To the others, he, likewise, glances with more familiar nods, "Captain Arterius, good to see you again. Messere Whisper, you as well." For a moment, the expressionlessness of the man's face changes into something resembling a smile. "Would it disturb you if I called you by your first name, Messere Whisper? I would accord the title of due respect to our host. You know I mean no assumption of informality behind it."
Jasper, an unflappable scoundrel, 2 Redrain Guards arrive, following Deva.
"Welcome; everyone. It is wonderful to meet those of you who I am doing so for the first time. I cannot overstate how pleased I am to know that more voices are joining us for these discussions, especially with as important as the topic is," Natalia offers to the room at large, bowing her head deeply to all introductions offered to her. She gestures for the seats as people settle in, then is shaking her head to Vulpiano. "I do not believe that she is able to join us today, unfortunately. I assure you she will be advised of everything we discuss today. For those who need an introduction to it, we are talking about establishing a line of communication with Eurus. There are a number of reasons it is important to do so, but the prospect of reliable communication does not, at this very moment, exist. We have two routes; one of which is maybe successful and very, very long -- the other of which involves sacrificing actual human lives to humanity's enemies. Neither of these are good solutions. As it stands, we have a number of people seeking more information on the routes currently in use by those that go back and forth, to find out if there are stories or tricks we might learn about."
Kenjay inclines his head to each of the attendees as they arrive - except for Evaristo, who just gets a nod - and greets Vulpiano's arrival with a warm smile. "Master Rossetti, thank you for joining us," he says, then nods to Natalia's words. "Such is the nature of the problem we face, whatever our reasons for wishing faster word to and from the Dune Kingdoms."
Deva is late. Of course. She breezes in, messy ponytail flapping behind her, and skids to a halt only when she's near an empty seat. Phew. Pausing a moment to catch her breath, with fingertips pressed against the edge of the table, she casts an apologetic smile for the hostess Natalia and then the other faces already settled. Slooooowly, carefully, she pulls a chair out as noiselessly as possible to avoid uncomfortable squeaking across the floor, and eventually sinks down. Only then does she relax, casual as can be, like she was there all along.
Cesare chuckles warmly in response to Vulpiano's question, a rich sound full of good humor. "I don't mind at all, and please, make any assumption of informality you like, I prefer that others feel comfortable around me, and I'm certainly no highborn deserving of a title."
The question of the day brings a thoughtful expression to his face, brows furrowing slightly, and he leans his elbow on the arm of his chair, tapping his fingers against his lips for a moment. "I was in Tremorus recently and during the diplomatic mission we had undertaken, we learned that one of the street gangs in the Cimmerian District had been smuggling people and goods out of Eurus."
Evaristo grins cheerfully at both Cesare and Vulpiano, and greets them with a 'a pleasure to meet again!'. The smaller nod to him from Kenjay is noticed, and behind his glass of wine he grins merrily, eyes glittering with mischief. He perks up even more seeing Deva and finger-wiggles at her, but remains seated - he gives her a deap bow of his head though. "Right right. Long sail, nearly impossible if going the regular route, and very very very long if going via Brightshore, which nobody has done in what, centuries? anyway," Evaristo says. "But - let's think about it. Are there more islands beyond Brightshore? What if we can set up a link of ships, the speediest ships we have, that go back and forth in a chain? At least then we would have - if not speedy - but regular communication..." he muses thoughtfull. He pauses, staring at Cesare in fascination.
Oh, Natalia's attention swings over and locks on Cesare. Blink. Blink. Blink. She stares at him for just a moment, then asks curiously, "Do you think you could follow up with them, somehow? Are they the sort of street gang we could -- rely on, if they were approached correctly?" She does nod along for Evairsto's suggestion, her expression agreeable. "Speedy isn't the most important -- the faster we can make the better, but it's not the most important -- reliable is. And we can't waste lives on it." She smiles reassuringly for Deva, gives a little shake of her head to indicate it isn't a concern. And then she goes back to staring at Cesare. Stare stare stare.
Vulpiano smooths the silk of his waistcoat fastidiously as he glances to Kenjay, tipping his head in another respectful nod. "Thank you, your Highness. I would not miss it." He listens, quietly, as both Cesare and Evaristo speak, then glances to Natalia, and offers, "I concur with Captain Arterius - my intention is to renew trade with Eurus as quickly as possible, and begin supplying food in light of the situation there. Trading on the return route will be secondary, but will likely occur; my thought was to plot a channel and fill the sea with ships in two routes. The first, trade ships, will sail more slowly, laden with goods. The second, based out of islands that we will have to find and develop, will be relay ships, communicating with the trade ships and then racing ahead to bring news. Additionally, ships sailing in one direction can communicate with ships sailing in the other by lantern-light if the shipping channel is narrow enough. We would have to have much more accurate charts for that, however. While this has the capability to speed news, however, there /is/ an ocean between us." The platinum-haired man sits quite straight in his seat. "As well, there's the possibility of developing another ship's hull. Longer than a caravel, rigged for speed and less for cargo. That, also would speed up news."
Kenjay eyes Evaristo of the glittering eyes, then pointedly turns his attention away and back to the discussion. He listens, for the most part, rather than contributing to the discussion - but his eyes are ever so slightly narrowed, his brow furrowed in thought.
Deva flashes a smile at Natalia and then Evaristo, a flicker of warmth in her eyes. Quiet initially, she shifts around in her chair, squirming as if unable to find a comfortable position. She tilts her head curious at Kenjay, watching him for a beat before her attention drifts back to Vulpiano. A quill in hand, she wiggles it around between her fingers and fidgets much more than she writes.
Cesare's thoughtful look remains. "We ended up negotiating with the leader of an opposing faction to secure the return of aid supplies. But if that faction - the one smuggling goods from Eurus - was eliminated, as he suggested it might be, then the Eurusi traders they were in contact with will be looking for a new inroad, if he hasn't already secured it." He nods. "We'll want to follow up with Marquis Giorgio, but the note we left it on was that we were more or less semi-legitimizing and empowering the more, shall we say, erudite of the two factions, in order to improve conditions and create a contact within that district who could be relied upon. So yes, it's certainly a strong possibility we could reach those Eurusi again."
Setting her glass aside, Natalia picks up a small chalkboard and some chalk, settling it in her lap. There's not much writing done, but she does scrawl a few notes, only barely looking at them to make sure her handwriting is legible. There is a little self-satisfied smile on her face right now, like she's a cat that not only ate the canary, but was praised for it. It's brief, but oh somebody is clearly pleased with herself. "Perfect," she says, looking to Evaristo first. "Would the bard's college mind following up with Master Cesare and his lead? Meet with the Marquis, work on securing that connection? We can provide whatever funding is needed for it." And she looks to Vulpiano, then. "Would you prefer to partner with one of the naval houses, or did you have something else in mind, for the development of such a ship?"
Evaristo looks more and more excited. "Minister Vulpiano - I assume this is part of why you wished to see me? I regret we have not had the opportunity until now, but I am VERY interested in partnering with you on this trade route. I can provide two caravels immediately, in a partnership, though I'd be reluctant to send both on a first journey... Anyway, details," he says, waving a hand. He turns to Natalia and nods slowly, rubbing his jaw thoughtfully. "I believe Cesare knows the Marquis better than I do, and there is also Gianna whom I believe has said she would aid on this endeavour? Perhaps she wants to team up with Cesare? I am more interested in working with Vulpiano on this trade route. I /have/ been starting plans on going to Brightshore, already. So... this would likely fit well in with that. As for a new kind of ship... I know house Champagne developed some new designs based off the Eurusi and Cardian styled caravels, sometime last year or so? I have no idea if they are faster though."
"I am close with the Proscipi," Cesare acknowledges with a nod and a small smile to Evaristo. "I'm happy to take the lead on this, and I can contact Gianna as well. I've got a few contacts who have expressed interest in aiding the Proscipi in future endeavors, so perhaps if they're interested I can extend a hand to them as well, and see if this project is a fit. That'll leave Evaristo free to pursue his maritime endeavors."
Vulpiano glances to Natalia, answering only, "I have three potential partnerships that are already in process, Messere Whisper, and I have informed the Ambassador that I am willing to support the effort with a substantial sum of several million silver from my own accounts to begin the process - though I am hoping for partners in this effort, as well. Development of new hulls is both costly, and time-consuming." He takes a moment to pause and collect his thoughts, "My main concern, for the moment though, is the caravel fleet. My base assumption is twelve caravel to start regular trade. Launching once per month - even without the faster ship's hull - gives you an approximate lead-time of one year and some weeks, given the need to offload cargo and make sales. After that, communication should occur on the regular, every three to six weeks, depending on wind and tide. Is this communication regular enough? Expanding the caravel fleet is... a significant undertaking in its own right. It's current expansion to twelve ships will not be completed for several months, already."
He glances to Evaristo and nods, "Indeed, Captain, this is the reason exactly. I would like to follow-up with you afterwards, if that is possible. And I agree - caravels are too costly to risk without accurate charting of both wind, current, and land. Some exploratory expeditions would need to be made." He turns back to Natalia. "I do also hate to... shift the topic of conversation, Messere Whisper, so if I speak out of turn, I apologize. You mentioned reliable communication - some ships could also bring back refugees, if you are concerned about news out of Eurus, proper." He glances to Kenjay and nods, "I understand that is a concern of yours as well, your Highness. I am willing to take the loss in trade on the return route, but I would ask for support, in-turn. Strictly to cover costs, of course." He offers a smile at that. It doesn't look like he smiles often.
Turning her head, Natalia looks over towards Deva. She picks her glass up, wiggling it a little as if to get the Princess's attention. If she manages, she just smiles that way, a quiet sort of 'isn't this great?' smile. Her glass is lifted in a tiny toast, and then she's looking back to the rest of the room and makes a few more notes. "I think that's about as good as we can hope for right now," she tells Vulpiano. "And I'm quite certain we can find funding somewhere to support what you need us to, for bringing back refugees. There's no question there. And -- perfect. If you need further partnership for funding purposes or just docking space, let me know and I'll reach out to my own contacts. Otherwise, keep us in the loop about what you might need." She turns then, to Cesare. "I appreciate you volunteering; thank you. Yes, please, loop Gianna in. Thank you." Pause. "Well. Today seems to be working out nicely for all of us."
Kenjay inclines his head to Vulpiano. "I would be willing to provide support for such," he says quietly. "And I will find more support, if needs be." He gives Deva a sidelong smile, then nods to Natalia. "I think such support will not be too hard to find."
"Yes, please - I have many ideas about trading routes - and communication comes along with it. Perhaps we must simply accept that it will take months to send messages back and forth..." Evaristo says, smiling lopsidedly at Natalia. "Though, I mean - there is perhaps another way. In old stories and songs, there were those that were, ah, able to communicate through... gates. And there's always a kernel of truth in such old myths and legends."
For once, the dispassionate face of the Steward cracks a bit. He glances to Natalia, then Kenjay, and finally Deva. "I am... honored. By your willingness to help the plight of a people who have lost everything." His grey-hued eyes rove to each of them again. "Thank you. Truly."
Cesare lifts his own glass in a small return toast, quietly alight with the pleasure of being able to provide the right information at the right time. Not precisely a smile, but some glint in the eyes which only grows as he glances at those assembled. "If you're unable to reach Natalia for some reason and need assistance at Whisper House, please do reach out to me as well." His brows rise slightly at Evaristo's addendum, and his gaze lands on his fellow bard consideringly. "Another option to consider if perhaps our more practical options come to no good end, hmm?"
Distracted. That's Deva. Lost in some far-off thought, gaze only vaguely focused on the wall across from her. She nods here and there, like she's half-listening but mostly focused on working something through her head. It's only until Natalia glass-wiggles her way that she blinks a few times and shakes off her reverie and lightly clears her throat. A beat later, she lifts her glass in turn and smiles once again in an apologetic fashion. Although seated a distance away, she leans and mouths something to the Whisper hostess. "I agree, uncle," she slides a look to Kenjay and nods in a crisp, business-like fashion. "If we do not help those in need, shame on us," she says most seriously to Vulpiano with a very sudden and strangely serious expression crinkling her gaunt features.
Another reassuring smile is offered Deva's way, and Natalia shakes her head lightly. "Well said," she does say, for the other woman's serious words. She finally sets her slate aside again, relaxing into the couch's corner and taking a swallow from her own glass of cold delight. "What can we do to support you looking into that?" She asks Evaristo. "I wouldn't have the first idea, but I'd like to -- do whatever I can to enable you to...at least learn something about it? I don't know."
Vulpiano inclines his head again respectfully, but as the discussion turns to less mundane methods, the platinum-haired man leans back in his seat and lapses into silence.
Kenjay nods to Deva, then gives Evaristo an odd look at his words.
"The lifting of the ban of trade with Eurus is going to help people so very much," Evaristo says and he sounds honestly relieved and joyful about this step. "I find it imperative we support the resistance in the Dune Kingdoms. We all know the Dune EMperor tries to put all the Kingdoms under his heel, and once he has, he will return here in full force. The Dune Kingdoms' freedom, is ours. And we can not influence and aid a people to freedom, by refusing to deal with them. If we wish things to change there, we must show them the alternative," he says, speaking with passion. He takes a deep breath. "I am not sure where to begin," he admits to Natalia. "Searching for lore and stories, of such items? Perhaps asking the Eurusi that have come here; the Dune Kingdoms have much more experience with the mystical arts than we do over here. Or, find those that know of it, here in the Compact."
With a thoughtful hum, Cesare tilts his head in Evaristo's direction. "I can at least help with the latter part of that. I have some contacts who are well-versed in the occult arts." He dips his chin in agreement to the rest, as well. "My experience has been that refusing to deal with a problem seldom results in that problem going away. If the Compact wishes to expand into the Saffron further, we need to strengthen our holdings already there. If we do end up working with the Proscipi in this regard, it would give Tremorus an excellent opportunity to become a bastion of strength for the Compact. A leader within the Saffron. Set an example of what a Prodigal house can become for the benefit of all. And that would help everyone."
Kenjay grimaces. "Most of those with experience with the mystical arts in the Dune Kingdoms are not the friends of any but the Prophet of the Sands," he says, then shudders. "And it is not wise to speak of them openly."
"Cooperation in this matter helps all of us," Natalia says, again sounding thoroughly pleased. "Regardless of the goals we work towards, the end result benefits us all. The Compact survived once upon a time because we stood together, but too many were left outside of our walls." She turns to Kenjay, offers him a reassuring smile. "It is not generally wise to speak of such things openly here, either -- but this meeting is safe for such discussions. We're only speaking to theory, anyway. Still, we won't linger on the topic." That said, she does note to Evaristo and Cesare, "Perhaps we could reconvene with a slightly different group at a later date regarding more unusual solutions? I think it might be better with a smaller group."
Shaken from his stillness, Vulpiano only glances to Kenjay and nods in agreement, but does not give voice to his thoughts.
Cesare nods respectfully to Kenyay, and then to Natalia as well. "I certainly mean no disrespect or indiscretion. I believe what Evaristo and I are indirectly hinting at is simply that our enemies will most definitely consider all paths available to them in their goal to bring the Compact to heel, and it therefore behooves us to consider what is available to us, within reason, as well."
Deva slides a look toward Evaristo, seeming amused by... something. Her lips press together in a thin line and she straightens suddenly, rather than her distracted slouching as usual. There's a gleam of curiosity in her eyes as she focuses on Cesare, and she looks as if she's about to say something but decides against it at the last minute. Ultimately, she nods in his direction, some wordless sentiment expressed. The fingers on her right hand curl around the tattoo around her left wrist, twisting slowly. "We should expect a firmer use of force in the future, considering our success in Pieros," she indicates after Cesare speaks. "And just as we are trying to make inroads there, we must take care with the understanding they will be doing the same here."
"Magic in itself is neither good nor evil. It may be that most of those that know of the arts in Dune Kingdoms are followers of the Prophet, since most Kingdoms are led by tyrants, who in turn are being controlled by the Prophet - at least until recently. But that does not mean they are ALL doing that. Besides, we are looking for knowledge, and Eurusi that ahve come here, might /know/ something," Evaristo says, nodding at to what Cesare is saying.
"Alright; we are just about out of time. I want to thank everyone here for participating -- we'll meet again in a few weeks for updates on any progress and further brainstorming. Not that I expect anyone to make too much headway between now and then, but I'd like to ensure we all remain on the same page as much as possible, and so that we are able to swiftly allocate the extensive resources we have for the projects. Besides, I enjoy seeing all of your faces," Natalia tells them all quite cheerfully, waving her glass around. "Did anyone have any final questions or need anything more today?"
The movement of Deva's hand around her wrist catch Cesare's attention, and he glances down at it, before raising his eyebrows slightly, meeting her eyes for a moment. Natalia's words catch his focus next, though, and he nods. "Thank you, Natalia. I'm certainly glad I chose this particular meeting to drop into. I'll be in contact."
Vulpiano gives a slow shake of his head, but adds, "And thank you, Messere Whisper, for hosting. Your reputation for coordinating people does not do you justice." He inclines his head to her, politely, his words equally polite. "I look forward to more conversations in the future."
Deva is overheard praising Natalia: An excellent hostess, as always.
Evaristo is overheard praising Natalia: A most excellent gathering, led by a great hostess.
Kenjay is overheard praising Natalia.
Back to list