Explorer's Offense Meeting
Dec. 1, 2023, 8 p.m.
Arx - Ward of the Compact - Society of Explorers - Charter Hall
Comments and Log
Lucita has arrived early, settled into place at one of the tables and arranged some notes in front of her. She is neatly groomed as is usual and has a somber expression that segues into a warm smile as she observes those who are arriving. A hand is lifted in greeting and empty seats near her gestured to in an inviting manner.
Ian sits slouched in the back of the room, a silent presence.
Raymesin arrives, and finds himself somewhere at the back of the room to lean. The walls need propping up occasionally, after all.
Kastelon has arrived presently for the meeting, lurking to one side of the room, the gentle now-and-again draw of his hand against Resolute's head.
Jan files in quietly, with less swagger and generally more subdued mien though her slate eyes are bright ant alert. Those she recognizes get fingerwaves or respectful dips of her chin.
The tables in the room are arranged in a neat semi-circle, allowing folk plenty of choices for seating. Each table has a variety of snacks and beverages, including those of an alcoholic nature. Lou is standing at a podium set up at the back of the room where she watches folk coming in. Once people get settled she pulls herself to her full height and allows looks around the room for a moment to take in those who've settled. "Thank you for coming today. As you know, we Explorers always do what we can to help support the efforts of others. However, with Liara moving the Grayson army in toward the hedges, and presumably all of the other armies doing the same thing, I felt that the Explorers should likely brainstorm other ways that we might be of use to aid with the wall of thorns." There's a pause as she notes. "We will not be able to attack the thorns head on, at all. Not unless we want to be eaten. So, we need to think of crafty, cunning ways to bring down that wall. If there are any leads on places to explore, or if you have suggestions on things that you'd like to try, I'm open to any and all possibilities. I'd like this to be a group effort to discuss and brainstorm how we can be an effective team."
Adalyn slips in as the meeting is started and moves to find a seat quickly, her eyes roaming to find a seat.
Adalyn has joined the Table 3.
"Some of us would rather not be eaten." Kastelon's voice comes dryly in answer to Lou's comment, before he looks about the room. He might be serious this time.
Libera, a quiet hawk arrives, following Skaldia.
Theo has quietly walked into the hall and attempts to find a seat without disturbing anyone as he listens to Lou and her little speech of what her goal is for this meeting.
Wearing a bright and warm smile on her face, Cassiopeia is seated somewhere with a tasty treat she got from one of the tables about. The young woman came early, no doubt volunteering to assist with any of the set-up. Looking both relaxed and alert, she is here to listen, learn and contribute. "Once folks have had a chance to talk through the matter of the thorns, I am hoping to speak about a matter close to my home, that I'm looking for assistance with." Cassiopeia says politely, returning to her snack.
"Presumably we can't recreate that plant-killing serum they were developing before I left the city in sufficient quantities." Insaya says, rather than asking. More of a rhetorical. "We know that evil twat... excuse me" she says in deference to the gently reared, "-evil twat-cake doesn't do well with light or fire. Fire I don't think we have a grip on, so what about light?"
"I would also prefer not to be eaten," Lou remarks in Kastelon's direction. "100% do not recommend." She looks to Cassipeia and nods. "Anyone that has anything they'd like to request of the Explorers may do so after we discuss the main topic."
A gradually growing louder sound of running footfalls can be heard, until eventually a young woman arrives, her auburn hair in a disarrayed bundle of braids, wisps and tendrils floating about her head haphazardly. Breathless, she glances around to see the meeting has already started. Cheeks a little flushed from running, she hurries to a seat and plops down, resting her hands on her knees and taking a moment to bow her head and catch her breath. There's an annoyed 'scree' sound from outside.
Skaldia has joined the marin'alfar wooden bench.
Lucita says, "nor strangled nor impaled by those wicked thorn hedge vines." She gives Lou a little grin. "The alchemists are planning to gather samples and experiment with them to see if any chemical or chemical combinations can be used. I am hoping to use some of those samples to see if what I can do will assist the alchemists, boost their efforts and try to use it. I'm not sure what the earlier post I saw on the Classified ads was about.. something about kites?"
"Has anyone scouted all the way around the wall yet?" Ian asks. "Might be worth doing, just to get the lay of the land. Maybe find good places for people to try and break through, whenever they do that."
Quiet for long moments after Lou's quip back to him, Kastelon's single eye turns this way and that as he's listening to the other voices. A nod in Insaya's direction at the mention of light, and a more-than-few-moment contemplation of Ian's suggestion of some recon, before his voice finds him again. "If only we could hit it with cold. Since plants hate cold." A beat. "Most of them, at least, in my experience. I'd be game to help with the reconnaissance."
Jan grins a bit wryly "Those of us that survive the initial Thornweave collection for the Alchemists will be happy to share what we learn from our foray but I don't know if there are separate efforts to scout."
There was some scouting, but not all the way around the wall to look for weaknesses, that I'm aware," Lou notes in Ian's direction. "But looking for weaknesses is definitely something that would be useful," she adds. She glances first to Insaya then to Lucita as they talk about the weed killing serum. "I believe Lady Medeia is working on some kind of chemical compound that can be used to increase effectiveness. She and Lady Eirene would be the best people to talk about it that specific project, but there is definitely something in the works with the alchemists." She seems to give Lucita a look of thanks. She lets out a soft breath. "I had hoped that somewhere, someone might have had a snippet of something that would be useful in their research for something we could find as well, but I've scoured all of my own notes and I couldn't find anything that might be useful."
Lucita says, "Did Harrow Hall ever have a secret escape tunnel leading out .. maybe under the thorns? Scouting might locate something like that, too. Remembering the tunnels under Arx made me wonder that."
After she mostly catches her breath, Skaldia looks up and says, "I... can... help scout," still somewhat breathlessly. "Harrow Hall... is a place... I know well, at least in research and theory, though not with the recent development." She straightens in her seat. "That is, if you'll have me as an Explorer," she adds, lifting her chin a bit defiantly as she glances around. "Skaldia Harrow, of the Harrow family."
Raymesin looks to Lucita. "I'm not sure as I'd want ter go in a secret tunnel as was claimin' ter be a way out," he says. "I mean, if it looks like a trap an' sounds like a trap, it prolly ain't a year-turn present from th'Dominus."
Lou inclines her head deeply over in Skaldia's direction, giving her a look of thanks at her introduction. "All are welcome in the Explorers and we'd be happy to have you. Welcome, Skaldia Harrow. I was very good friends with Dame Felicia." There's a pause, then she looks from Lucita to Skaldia and back again. "I imagine if there are tunnels leading out of Harrow Hall, that they would be well guarded by the monsters of the Traitor, or covered over by the vines. The hedges are miles out." Lou walks over to the LARGE map on the floor and points to where Harrow Hall should be, then she draws a large swath of a circle around the miles and miles of hedge that goes around Harrow Hall. It's pretty big. "I can't really imagine someone dug a tunnel that far out."
Insaya says, "Seems to me-- Insaya Bergere, hi! -- that even if this wall of topiary nope is hundreds of feet high, its going to be growing outward from a center... and so the shortest distance IN, if we only get one stab at it would be straight DOWN. So, is there anything, gravity not withstanding, to keep us from coming at it from overhead?"
Jan nods, "Those would be the alchemists We are collecting for. I had a thought though. I am sure it sounds asinine but I had wondered what methods effectively cleaved. How effective would..say..sharpened plow propelled at speed do to these things?" she doesn't point at Ian but says in general "Don't laugh it's just a question."
At least from Kastelon's corner, there's no laughing at Jan's question. Or any flicker on that face of his, while he's leaning forward to spy the map, intently looking at it as if weighing a few things.
Raymesin blinks at Jan, then murmurs something to Ian.
"I can help with the administrative and logistical side of any missions. Making sure everyone has the equipment they need, arrange for travel and supplies, and the like. Making sure folks are taken care of and you all have everything you need, so better to focus on the task at hand," Cassiopeia offers what assistance she can provide when it comes to the thorns and Harrow Hall. "If additional funds are needed, I can raise those."
Ian shrugs to Ray. His answer is delivered in a flat, neutral tone.
Cassiopeia wiggles her fingers warmly at Skaldia, to welcome her.
Is that a flask that Theo takes out of his pocket? Yep, it sure seems to be. He's listening to all as they speak. Lots of conversation to be had and he is definitely looking at the map when Lou brings it out. He also offers his name when others do, "Prince Theo Velenosa, newly recruited." He's still figuring his way, here.
Lucita respectfully listens to the ideas of others, her gaze roving to each person speaking as she falls solemnly quiet.
Lady Ilmia has been here, honest! She's just standing and making sure that she is paying attention to what needs to be written down. She likes to take notes to go over things later! The redhead does give nods of acknowledgement to those that she knows when she's not got her quill going though.
Skaldia gives Lou a bright smile, and inclines her head in turn. She shifts her quiver and bow on her back, and rests her hands on the seat of the bench. "My older sister is very much missed," she says, then continues, "I do not recall if there are tunnels. Even if getting through the thorns wasn't enough of a problem, the place is filled with monsters and ghosts of the dead. I just need a moment to think though, if there are any tunnels that lead under it." She lifts her hands, and tries her best to tame the stray auburn locks. There is another annoyed 'scree' from outside. Skaldia glances in that direction a moment, then bites her lip, looking thoughtful.
Lou inclines her head to Cassiopeia. "Thank you. Your efforts at organizing all of that would be appreciated," she tells her sincerely. "So, while scouting around the area, the biggest thing to watch out for are the two gargantuan that are guarding the hall. Sure, they'll be miles away, but I for one do not know what spies he has surrounding the hedge to alert the gargantuan, so we'll need some fighter types in on the scouting, just in case we run into trouble. We'll want to keep several hundred feet back from the vines themselves if we're looking for weak points." There's a pause as she asks, "Has anyone fought Sylv'alfar vines before? If so, can someone please explain what that was like and what dangers we need to watch out for so we all know just how far away to say away from them?" Because Lou wants her people well prepared for both the horrors and dangers so they can stay alive!
"Fighter types are probably a good idea anyway, since we don't know what other surprises there are. Even a distance out from the thorns. And a medic." Kastelon's speaking up again when he's agreeing clearly, but a shake of his head to the latter question about the vines.
Ian offers: "Don't get too close, don't bleed, be careful about magic use. Once they get ahold of someone, getting them back is just about impossible. There's not a lot of margin for error."
Jan lapses into a grim silence. She listens to Ian's warning though she asks "Do we know how it responds to fire?"
Insaya bites her lower lip with her teeth and holds it just like that as the gallery of horrors is laid out for them.
Again, Theo is drinking. Maybe playing his own drinking game whenever the word horror comes up. Nodding to show he's listening to everyone and not ignoring even if he's not choosing words right now.
Caspian looks up from where he had been sitting and listening to chime in. "the garangtuans will need be dealt with eventually, but I suspect there will be a lot more than that on the perimeter. so when we go, need to be on the lookout for all manner of corrupted things that could be spies..even normalish looking plants" he seemed to think it assumed he would volunteer.
Ian 4adds after a minute, maybe prompted by Caspian, or maybe just dredging more of that time in his life from the recesses of his memory: "They're not ordinary plants. That probably should go without saying, but I'm saying it anyway. They're fast, and they're clever. I was in a group that just about got surrounded because we didn't realize they were capable of those kinds of tactics and we almost didn't notice the tendrils snaking out on either side of us."
"Right." Lou says in reply to Ian. "So the take away from that is stay /the fuck/ away from the vines when scouting. Got it?" She can't emphasize that more. "So we'll scout all the way around the hedges, and mark places that are trouble spots and weak spots on the map and pass that off to the military or anyone else to use. And by danger spots, I mean places to particularly avoid even with the military because it might be too damned dangerous to spread too damned thin." She tries her best not to look too troubled about the military, but she doesn't quite accomplish that task. "The gargantuans might be a problem more for when we get closer to the Hall, since they're guarding it from the roof." She lets out a long breath, rocking on her heels. "Is everyone good with this plan or are there any other suggestions?" She grows quiet when Ian explains more about the plants, her face paling a bit. She might be Tenacious, but that doesn't mean she doesn't have a healthy amount of fear about things.
Skaldia's dark red brows are drawn together as she thinks, and her brown gaze is fierce and intense with recollection. "I can't recall anything about tunnels," she says, "but I do know that the great hall was built to defend and shelter within, lest anyone try to chain my ancestors again. One would think they might have some way to leave it in secret, if needed," she says with a lift of her shoulders in a little shrug. "I guess all we can do is scout around, specifically looking for that. But I do know that it was built among the hills, so perhaps if the hills surrounding it are not covered with thorns, we can start there?" She widens her eyes then. "Also... maybe don't go there during the new moon," she adds helpfully.
Not that Skaldia said anything funny. Especially when she mentions the new moon but there's a chortle that comes out of the prince anyways.
Skaldia narrows her eyes at Theo.
Not hearing any objections to the plan or any additional suggestions, Lou looks around the room and says, "I'll open the room to requests from other organizations and individuals then, for help with various projects." She looks to Cassipeia to go first, since she announced she had something.
Skaldia settles back on her bench, resting her back against the wall, and folds her arms in front of her as she glances around. She nods to Lou, but now she's just listening. The red-haired Harrow bobs her foot absently, as if she's full of restless energy, eager to do something at all times. She lifts a hand, and absently bites a nail as she glances around, finally taking a good look at the others.
Lucita has left the Table 3.
2 Saik Guard have been dismissed.
Micana, an efficient assistant have been dismissed.
Cassiopeia stands up and begins in a warm tone, "my name is Cassiopeia Proscipi, I'm the Marquessa of Tremorus in the Saffron Chain. We've heard rumours that Marach the Second who is a known heretic, has escaped to the Saffron Wilds. My House is organizing some scouting in these areas to see if we can find out more information and talk to the people there. There's a risk and we will need to plot this through carefully, but we hope to find information and bring that to the appropriate places. If there's anyone with more information about this, or who would like to come to the Saffron and assist, we would appreciate it. I'm happy to cover what costs are needed, but please reach out to me if you are interested. Thank you," she says gently.
Caspian looks to skaldia and offers a reassuring smile to the woman, moving over to whisper in a hushed tone to the woman.
Theo is totally behaving. He saw that look from Skaldia and she gets a winning smile. Shifting some when it seems there will be a subject change as deep blue eyes track Cassiopeia and where she would be so he can listen to her properly. So many choices to get involved in but this prince doesn't seem to waver just yet.
Raymesin, for his part, just keeps propping up the wall.
Lou inclines her head to Cassiopeia. "You are, of course, welcome to raid the Explorer's store of maps. We recently updated them with some of the Saffron Chain stuff we were exploring to help with the Great Serpent issues." She looks around the room, offering all a warm smile. "Anyone else need help with anything?" she asks.
Caspian looks round and then raises his hand.
Lou nods to Caspian. "Please let us know what you need help with."
Skaldia rolls her eyes at Theo, but then she gives him a little smirk, before she turns her attention to Caspian, bending her ear to listen. She nods to him, and whispers something back, inviting him to join her on the bench if he likes. She does glance toward Cassiopeia as she makes her plea for help, and gives her a regretful look. "Alas, I'm afraid I shall be focused entirely on what goes on at my family's ancestral home, and scouring it of its evil. Wish I could help!"
Caspian wets his lips and then smiles, "in truth.. this is a bit of a strange ask but.. The Metallic, Brass. He is alive, of that im certain.. or he was at least, not that long ago. he has been seen in Arvum, doing.. well i have no idea what a genius like that would do with his spare time." he chuckles, "I am looking for him though, and need to get in touch for a plethora of reasons, not the least of which would be working on a weapon to help with this situation. if you or your holdings hear rumor of such a man roaming round, please let me know and let him know i would like to speak again." ((personal action to find Brass..again))
Kastelon aches a brow at Caspian, but says nothing.
Caspian has joined the marin'alfar wooden bench.
Caspian moves and sits down on the benches after speaking, freeing the floor
"You tried writing to him?" Ian asks Caspian, apparently totally serious about this question.
Caspian looks to Ian then and nods, "the first time yes.. took a long time to get ahold of him, and a great deal of searching. This time.. i don't have so long to wait so i need to move a bit faster."
Insaya flashes back, "Does he read the personals in the city circulars??" Brazenly seeking brassy badass...
Jan says, "Where would one even send the mesenger?"
Ian gives Jan a vague shrug. "The one time I had a question for it, I just sent a messenger to Brass. He got back to me eventually."
Lou inclines her head to Caspian, then looks around the room again. "If anyone has any current information on Brass, please let Caspian know. OR, think they can him." She rocks back and forth on her feet again and asks, "Does anyone else need help with anything?" She tilts her head at Jan. "Probably to the Faith where he was staying? I figure he may keep in touch with them."
Skaldia clears her throat after whispering with Caspian, and raises her hand.
Lou inclines her head to Skaldia. "Please let us know what your request is."
Jan is overheard praising Lou.
"It's not a request," she says, meeting Lou's eyes. "Um, I just forgot to mention. My sister attempted to scout Harrow Hall at one time, and she had a terrible sense of foreboding anywhere near it. So... anyone who goes near it, should be prepared for that." She seems to be finished now.
Theo is overheard praising Lou.
Ilmia is overheard praising Lou.
"We will not be close enough to Harrow Hall, I don't think, with the hedges to feel that foreboding. The hedges are miles and miles out from the Hall itself. But, if we do manage to get the hedges down, that is a good warning for anyone that might need to go inside. Because I'm fairly sure we're not drawing him out to us until or unless he does his ritual." Lou says in reply to Skaldia, her brow furrowing. "He's not even sending minions out to get anything for him anymore."
Insaya says, "If he doesn't NEED anything, though, what's stopping him? Just time? The right set of circumstances?"
Skaldia frowns at Lou's words, her pale features paling futher. "He better not finish it," she growls, and rises to her feet.
"I'd assume it's some grand ritual, and those are a process. The details matter. Perhaps the moment isn't right yet," Mirk says with a shrug of a shoulder. "In the end, only the Traitor himself knows, I suspect."
Raymesin nods agreement with Mirk. "Might need a hunter's moon, or somethin'," he says. "Or th'starts lookin' right, or a certain shape'a cloud. Dunno. But we're gonna need ter go in ter stop 'im."
"Harrow Hall is the very first shardhaven of the world. I'm very certain he has everything he needs right inside the Hall itself," Lou says matter of factly in Insaya's direction, frowning a bit as she does. "He just needs more magic, since he depleted it creating the Blood Moon ritual. Likely, he'll be draining the demons and destroying whatever magical items that are in the Hall itself to gain the power he seeks." Lou gives a shudder at the very thought of such things. "Demons are stuff of magic, after all."
Lou nods in agreement with both Mirk and Raymesin too, her expression grave.
"Least that'll mean fewer demons to deal with," Ian remarks, forever a ray of sunshine.
Ian shrugs when Insaya asks him something, and leans towards her to murmur a reply.
"Alright. Since it seems we've neared the end of what everyone wants to discuss, I'm going to go ahead and adjourn this meeting. Thank you all for coming out, and I'll get things organized and sent out to you soon." Lou steps out from behind the podium, looking tired and worn.
Skaldia says, "Scree!' comes from outside again. Skaldia sighs, and looks to Caspian. "It was nice to meet you." She glances around. "All of you. I will be at the Lodge of Petrichor." With that, she turns to leave. As she opens the door, a large hawk flaps toward her, and lands on her upraised and gloved arm. Then she's off to whatever she's doing next."
'Scree!' comes from outside again. Skaldia sighs, and looks to Caspian. "It was nice to meet you." She glances around. "All of you. I will be at the Lodge of Petrichor." With that, she turns to leave. As she opens the door, a large hawk flaps toward her, and lands on her upraised and gloved arm. Then she's off to whatever she's doing next.
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