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The Reckoning: Cardia

It's a dangerous and extraordinarily difficult diplomatic mission, as Arvani of the Compact attempt to sway dragons of the Sky Kingdom of Cardia into once more coming to the Compact's aid, as they did a thousand years ago.


Jan. 25, 2024, 6 p.m.

Hosted By

Apostate Alarissa

GM'd By



Atria Dominique Duarte Marli Isabeau Galatea Insaya Medeia Tesha Madeleine Ian Sydney Ferrando Adalyn Lucita Kima


Cardia Wyrmguard


Apostate's Dynamic GMing Room <OOC Room>

Largesse Level


Comments and Log

Just why are they here? For some, it was a mysterious message, part of the order they are in. For others, it was a vision, that -something- was going to happen. For a handful, it's clear cut. But it's a small crowd in Cairn Valardin, outside the sealed tomb with a brass box on the ground, when the sky goes dark, and the wind picks up. There wasn't clouds before, but there's a sudden one, only it becomes clear after the moment it's not a cloud. There's a gigantic, circling shape overhead that blots out the sky, slowly and gracefully drifting downward towards the Cairn Valardin. A handful of strangers move up to greet the massive white shape as it comes to land, all going to a knee out of respect, their heads low. There's a rumbled chorus of, "My king."

And with a thunderous boom, Valar, the King of the Sky, First of All Dragons, settles on the ground near them, his eyes closed. Valar does not speak above what for him would be a whisper, but it still booms, "The mortals are here." The giant dragon turns its head, its eyes closed and sightless roughly in their direction, "We will fly to my home from long ago. We will fly and treat with my kin, to remind them of their oaths. We no longer rule, there. We hope the words of mortals may carry some weight. If none are swayed, we return alone, and pray the world is not lost. What say you all?"

((And one round of entry poses, but yeah due to numbers I'll probably have around a 10-15 minute cut off here, so don't wait for any kind of order.))

There's a general panic throughout Arx, as a massive, massive draconic shape flies overhead, and then lands somewhere in the northwestern part of the city. But there's flames, and it seems no attack is underway.

Among those who kneel and take a knee is Atria. She bows her head and says the customary, "My king," even though a black dragon has been Skyking for as long as she's been alive. "I will go with you to try to sway the opinions of your kin, to at least speak to my dragon and sway her." She rises slowly and makes her preparations to go with the absolutely massive white dragon. She finds it difficult not to stare with awe at the legendary creature.

Dominique and a few other Valardin Knights and others have been here all this time, standing guard over the mysterious brass box. They deemed it important enough to do so. When Valar appears above, the Marquessa of Wyrmguard is not surprised. She gazes up, her dark hair ruffled in the winds that pick up. When the great Sky King lands, she kneels with all the others, head bowed, forearm resting on her knee. "House Wyrmguard stands with you, your Majesty," she says. "The Sky Lords will not stand alone." She rises then, looking at the great dragon fearlessly. This is the moment she was born for. To see Valar in all his glory, returned to the skies, and the defense of that which must be defended.

Duarte has a little bucket and boat shoes ready. "Why are we in the Valardin ward?" he asks Medeia. "The docks are way on the other side of t...." his eyes go wide at the sky and he drops the bucket. From then forward he will just follow Medeia around all-stunned like, which probably means bording this unexpected conveyance.

Marli had been standing next to Atria. She does not kneel as many others do, but she does bow deeply to the white dragon. "I will plea for House Pennae and what pull we may offer in this endeavor," the newly-made Duchess says in answer to the question. "I believe Malar awaits us in Cardia and he will not be easily swayed." She looks around at the assembled. "But we will convince them," she says with conviction.

Why is Isabeau here? Well, she lives more or less next door, so maybe it's that. That and she was born a Valardin. She has taken a walk out to the space near Cairn Valardin in any event, and when that gigantic shape becomes visible overhead, she gazes upwards, raising her hand to keep the sun out of her eyes, at least until the figure blots it out somewhat. Then she /smiles/. She doesn't get into questioning the hows or whys any of this might be happening, but instead says, "I shall go."

Galatea Galatea was among those touched by a vision--perhaps owing to her own bloodline inheritance from the dragons of Cardian yore. Much like the Valardin, the intermingled lineages of a dragon and human scion of the Cardian house of Proculus has come down to her across the long generations, all of them concealed in Arvum beyond the watchful eye of Malar and his servants.

Now the time for concealment is over--today, the first king of dragons has revealed himself in all his marble-colored glory. Galatea is prepared likewise to wear her heritage on her sleeve. Indeed, she is swiftly overcome by the immense majesty of the arriving wyrm, and finds herself instinctively amongst those going down onto one knee. "I will go where you bid, Sky King," is her answer to the dragon's query.

Insaya's eyes, which were becoming damp just before the shadow fell over the Cairn grow to the size of saucers in her face. Still holding a figurine shared with her from Ferrando of Sir Roland Bergere, she gets to her feet in awe. She doesn't know what she was expecting. And she bows. "Show us a lever long enough, and the proper place to make a fulcrum, and we'll move the world. If they will listen better to those born upon their shores, or even not, then I will help."

Medeia received a note. And Medeia dragged Duarte with her in pursuit of whatever the note claimed. Up, out of the Velenosa Ward and to Cairn Valardin, to find Sydney. And so it is that she arrives there to find herself in awe of Valar. Immediately, tears spring to her eyes but do not fall as that booming voice fills the air. Sh swallows and looks over at Duarte, shrugging just a bit. "Different... plans..." she murmurs to him. There are other familiar faces present, like Atria and Marli, who get nods as she looks around. Then, she's agreeing. Yes. Let's go talk to some /other/ dragons.

Alarissa is there. Has been waiting and when the sun blots out and the sky darkens, when a dragon lands she doesn't flinch though she has her feet spread in anticipation of the ground shaking when he lands. There is a formal dip of her head to the great beast and she steps forward away from her guards. "Long have I guarded pieces of your soul, long have you aided me when I have called out. You call, House Thrax answers. So shall we stand and be your eyes." Alarissa's voice calls out, carrying across the open space.

If there was not such a dire time, Tesha would have cheered. She had known for years that Valar was alive, just...lost track of him after awhile. She gives a deep bow to the Skyking, "We will stand with you." she states. Then she is quiet. She doesn't have anything long or deep to say. Just the simple things for the moment.

Sister Madeleine, Godsworn to Mangata, pads her way through the crowds on bare feet with shoes carried in one hand. "Peace, my friends," she says to the worried people who stare. "The stories tell of dragons being our allies in the darkest days, perhaps that has come to be once more," she says in her smooth rich voice. Full of reassurances that everything will be okay. She looks up at the ancient dragon and bows her head in reverence with a hand over her heart. "You honor our young race by your very presence. I would go if so granted. I have faith in the mission and would see it brought to fruition."

The fact that Ian is in this part of the city at all, and especially that he's in this part of the city with a single satchel bag packed, is a pretty clear indication that he knew he was going SOMEWHERE, and that the going of SOMEWHERE would be achieved from this location. That having been said, from the way his eyes widen and his breath catches, nobody warned him about the dragon. His respectful greeting comes after quick 'oh shit now what' glances at a couple of people who he knows to be more socially adept than he is. (Everyone here is more socially adept than he is.) His bow over his cane isn't graceful, but hopefully it's the thought that counts. He has the sense to keep his mouth shut, otherwise, which is probably going to be his go-to strategy from here on out.

While Sydney may be familiar enough with the concept of dragons, may have seen them wheel about overhead or take a more suitable form, this is the nearest she's been to one. Ever. And it's hard not to have her heart skip a beat and send flutters through her stomach as she jostles and then steadies from the force of that landing. She stoops to where she's been making camp and seizes up her pack, slinging it over her shoulder and standing steadily up.

She squares her shoulders and regards Valar with the proper respect, but whatever she intended to say is disrupted when she hears what Marli has to say. She re-steels herself and murmurs simply, "I don't know what weight my words will hold in my would-be homeland, but I'd be a fool not to make the effort." Her head cants to the side. "No time like the present, eh?"

Somehow it has taken until (whatever disturbingly-close-to-midnight time the fairly sparse number of clocks around Arx are presently reading) for Insaya and Ferrando to have a real actual conversation, and consequently anybody sitting near enough in the Cairn that cares to listen has been given the great retelling of Sir Roland Bergere's quest to find the Sword of Solace, Lady Sandrine, which involved such twists and turns as meeting Lady Prism (she's real nice!), failed attempts to find the Heart's Desire Compass in a sketchy Lower Boroughs pawn shop (it doesn't want to be found!) and a random trip to an uncharted weirdly colorful Saffron island whose two largest residents were a bipolar writbound ettin (ten meters, give or take) and a prismatic jumping spider (not ten meters, also it's Octohopper). It was a pretty impressive story, up until the point where a ten times more impressive dragon lands at the Cairn. What is Ferrando doing? He's staring a bit wide-eyed and deciding that the question probably wasn't aimed at him. Is 'whatever Dominque suggests' an answer?

Adalyn watches as the sky is blotted out as the large white dragon lands, there is a look of awe on her face. When the dragon speaks she closes her eyes, she is not sure what to say as she looks to the king of dragons. She gives him a bow like she would any king, then stands straight. "Whoa." she says to herself looking over spotting Ian among others then back to the dragon. "We shall remind them."

A redhaired man with a limp makes his way over to the brass box on the ground. He leans over, resting his head on it and says the word, "Creo." His hand begins to glow, the brass box sparkles, and then he moves away as the box box abruptly grows little legs and skitters on up onto Valar's back, growing larger as it moves. There's a sound of metal plates shifting, and the box unfolds into a huge carriage, looking large enough to hold dozens inside, though it still looks tiny on Valar's back. Long chains extend and loop underneath Valar, and a rope ladder falls down. Valar seems to pay it no heed, his voice booming, "We are ready, my old friends."

A dozen strangers move forward, the red headed man with the limp among them, and as they move to Valar's side they all begin to transform, folding over, and turning into dragons. Far smaller than Valar, but all huge in their own right, the space around Cairn Valardin becoming crowded- even if in retrospect, it was certainly designed for just this sort of visitor.

Relavor, the red dragon that was the redheaded man a moment before, looks at Sydney. "Perhaps little. Perhaps a great deal. None of us have been to Cardia for a thousand years either, for the most part. But aren't homecomings always a bit sentimental?" The dragon sounds chipper as it nods towards the brass carriage, "All aboard! Though, of course, some of you can ride with the rest of us. There's a bag of old dragon saddles by Cairn Valardin door, and I did test the straps to make sure they won't break. I'm an optimist, you see."

((A round of poses. If anyone has high ride and wants to try to impress the dragons by riding on one of the others with a saddle, it would be command + ride at daunting. You probably won't die from a botch.))

Atria checks command and ride at daunting. Atria marginally fails.

Atria hears there's gear for riding dragonback and she has to try. She goes to fetch one of the saddles and finds a willing dragon, Serdramadin. "If you would allow me...?" she asks, giving a deep bow. "It has been a long time since I have done this, and I may be a little rusty." But if allowed, she saddles one of the dragons and climbs on, thinking herself safe and secure.

Galatea considers the saddles. She considers them long and hard. Making a first impression is always a wonderful thing--but sometimes, the benefits are not worth the risks. She shakes her head--last time she went riding, on a normal horse from the late House Volkov, she wound up getting thrown into a bush. That experience might be slightly more deadly if it happened in mid-air, even if dragons are slightly more intelligent than horses. "I have the same mixed feelings," she confides in Sydney, looking aside. "Indeed, my very existence will be a grievous affront to many of the elder wyrms, probably. But I suppose I have committed myself to this path. All I can do is navigate it as best I can." She moves to the rope ladder, and ascends with some visible hesitation into the giant, magical carriage sitting on top of the back of the king of all dragons. Her life has certainly escalated, lately.

A lot of soldiers have the ability to sleep literally anywhere, but surely nobody takes that skill to the extreme that Ian does. After climbing the rope ladder (with a little bit of difficulty) and settling into the carriage, he slouches into his coat and it won't be long at all before he looks like he's fallen asleep. It probably helps that he's looking a little ragged, like he hasn't seen a lot of it in the last couple of weeks.

Ferrando glances at Dominique after the offer of riding is made only slightly dubiously. "So, uh, want me to hold on to your stuff then, or you gonna take a normal seat with the rest of us?"

Marli is all sorts of happy to see a flight of dragons again. She gives a wide, beaming smile to Sydney. "We'll get some of them, at least. And some of them is an amazing boon." With that, she makes her way up to the grand carriage on Valar's back, giving the scales a bit of a pat of thanks.

"Oh how exciting," Madeleine breathes with eyes bright. "A dragon carriage! Goddess be good, thank you for seeing me through to this day," she prays gently. She slips her boots back on and then joins the others in climbing the ladder. She looks extremely calm for someone who is about to ride on the back of a dragon. "We ride the waves where they take us, sea and sky."

As much as Duarte would love to be the guy with the guts to ride a dragon, he was just a few minutes ago the guy with a yack bucket for a boat ride. So he plays it safe and gets onto Valar. But sans bucket, word has it air flight is smoother than riding on the high seas.

Watching as the purpose of the little box she and the others have been guarding is revealed, Dominique allows herself a soft smile at the ingenuity. "Brass sure knows what he's about," she says. She waits while the ladder is lowered, and then she steps foward, looking to the others who came to guard the little box with her. "I told you it had something to do with Valar!" She grins and reaches out then, resting her hand briefly upon Valar's ancient hide, in awe, in respect, in a moment of gathering this all into her memories where she might hold it forever. To Ferrando she looks, then says, "I belong on Valar's back." She seems certain of that. Then she's gathering up her pack, and vaulting up the ladder. She settles into the carriage contraption, at the front mind you, and straps herself in for the ride.

As the carriage unfolds, Medeia watches in wonder. "Do you see that?" Of course Duarte sees it. Probably. Unless he's looking at something else entirely. She looks between him and the carriage, then back to him. The smiel she gives him is bordering on a grin. "Shall we be bold?" She seems to believe they shall, and begins to move forward, to ascend into the carriage and find a spot to sit not too far from Galatea. Also? somewhere in one of her pockets is something for treating motion sickness, if anyone needs it.

Lucita has arrived with the group in response to a message from Alarissa. She is quiet, almost subdued as she gazes at the skylords. She makes her way over toward Ian, standing beside him after their turn came to mount the ladder. "Never expected to have this happen."

"Life's gotten weird," is Ian's sage bit of understatement to Lucita.

Tesha's mismatched gaze seeks out a blue dragon, but she does not see them. There is a look up to the rope ladder and she climbs up it, getting settled into the carriage. She'd take her dragon riding crash course if she got to Cardia in one piece! There is a look to Ian when they are settled and she gives the Kennex a dip of her head, "I'm glad you are here." she tells him.

Isabeau watches, wide-eyed, as the carriage unfolds itself - it seems to surprise her altogether more than the presence of a dragon, indeed, or even various other dragons. When the offer is made, she gazes across to the dragon saddles, perhaps more out of curiosity than any intention to actually use them, and then climbs up into the carriage. "It was a good day to take a walk," she says, to whoever might happen to be nearby.

Sydney checks command and ride at daunting. Sydney marginally fails.

Sydney has ridden a horse before. She has made an altogether serviceable effort at riding around on a disagreeable mare, but she's only slightly better than Princess Bianca was when they had occasion to ride together. She takes a long squint at the saddles and puffs a long and thoughtful breath. "Damn it. Ought to have taken those riding lessons more seriously when they were on offer." But... no! It's too tempting. "Oh, fuck it." She makes an effort. An effort, indeed.

Ladders. Let this be the hardest thing that Alarissa has to deal with during this journey, though she knows that it won't be. She moves with the others that opt to take the journey upon Valar's back. Vanity means she doesn't ask for help, waits for a moment when there is a lull in people climbing and hooking her one arm around, starts to the process of climbing. But one arm does not do the job and she purses her lips but keeps working her way up till a throat clearing from an adjacent dragon causes her to turn her head. A moments hesitation, the Princess of Maelstrom dips her head in thanks and moves carefully to take the provided assistance from dragon snout till she is up top with others and finding a place near the front to sit.

Somehow, Ferrando is able to refer to the weird transforming carriage that very recently was a weird skittering box with legs as the normal seat without any apparent trace of irony. It's all relative. "Works for me. I think I'm just gonna follow your lead on this one as a general guiding principle, if you don't mind too terribly. Feel free to give me the 'keep your mouth shut' sign at any point here," he deadpans on his own way up to get buckled in.

Madeleine comments sagely to Ian and Lucita, "We're in the second Age of Legends, my children. Or is this the third," the sister muses. She stands and offers her hand to assist the Princess up onto the deck. "Let me, please," she insists.

Insaya tucks her chin in silence, and heads for the swankest conveyance that there ever was. The rope up, and the hands at the top present no reason for concern. She finds a seat by the rail, the better to admire the spread of wings. Shortly she has her folio out, and a piece of charcoal with which to draw.

Dominique smiles to Alarissa as she joins at the front of the dragon carriage, and reaches out a hand to rest on the Thrax Princess's shoulder in encouragement. "I am glad you are here, Cousin," she says. Then she tucks her pack in between her feet, wrapping the shoulder strap around her legs. "I think it's going to get pretty windy, so might want to hold onto anything that's not secured down," she calls to the others. She checks to make sure her helmet and armor are strapped on so pieces of it don't go flying off to hit anyone else.

Adalyn looks at one of the dragons with the saddles and she is tempted but she does not move to try and get into one of the saddles, her eye is on teh carriage and Valar. She will moves to take her place there. She breaths deeply seeming a little nervous, she is about to ride on the back of a dragon! Her eyes are lit with excitement showing that the nervous edge is starting to ease slightly! Just slightly.

Lucita nods to Madeleine. "Perhaps it is for our descendants to discern which age of legends this might be." She looks toward Valar and nods. Her voice is soft as she speaks in a low tone to Maddy and Ian and Alarissa behind whom she is positioned. "Mortals we may be, but we will try."

"Well. We're going home." One of the dragons comments to Relavor, who gives a choppy nod. Some of the other dragons look worried. Nervous. Valar has nothing but regal dignity in his closed eye expression. "She with the statue still acts as my eyes. We are prepared, then. Take hold." Inside the carriage, there are seats and straps, for a great railings. It does seem remarkably difficult to tumble out of the carriage. Brass was thoughtful. And then all the smaller dragons begin to lift from the ground, soaring in a pattern above Arx, and then finally Valar starts beating his wings as well, the force of it like a hurricane below him as he takes flight.

And then, in a heartbeat, they are in the air above Arx, the city growing smaller behind them with dizzying speed. They fly quickly South, soaring high up through lower clouds at first. It's high enough it's uncertain if they pass Azazel's hordes, though they can make out smoky ruins of many of the fallen domains below them.

They fly over the burned Wastes, the dead remains of a once great nation below, with one of the dragons saying, "We should have been there." And Relavor answering, "Aye. They deserved better." Valar says nothing, somber. And still they fly on.

Day into night, as the stars shine down upon them, and the dragons murmur what sounds like prayers in draconic. "Be there soon enough." "More than likely." And Valar rumbles, "We swore an oath." And there's no more conversation between the dragons through the night and day, as a vast continent comes into view.

They fly over outer reaches of Cardia, the signs of battle and destruction left. Cities burned, armies smashed. A dragon corpse or two on the field. And they fly on, the dragons not commenting, as they fly towards the largest city in the world, with a massive black spire stretching up into the skies. And it's to that peak they land, moving to it from above.

There's a boom as Valar lands, and there's the unmistakable sound of a beating heart. A giant heart is in the center of the room, with an ornate multi-colored dragon as large as Valar sitting silently besides it. Around the chamber are dozens, -hundreds- possibly, of dragons, all staring at their arrival. Most bow their head reverently as Valar arrives.

But not all.

Galatea checks charm and diplomacy at hard. Botch! Galatea fails completely.

Medeia checks charm and manipulation at hard. Medeia fails.

Madeleine checks wits and propaganda at hard. Madeleine fails.

Atria checks charm and manipulation at hard. Atria is successful.

Isabeau checks charm and diplomacy at hard. Isabeau is successful.

Alarissa checks composure and diplomacy at hard. Alarissa is successful.

Duarte checks charm and diplomacy at hard. Duarte fails.

Insaya checks charm and manipulation at hard. Insaya fails.

Dominique checks command and leadership at hard. Dominique fails.

Sydney checks charm and diplomacy at hard. Sydney is successful.

Marli checks charm and propaganda at hard. Marli is successful.

Ian checks command and intimidation at hard. Critical Success! Ian is spectacularly successful.

Galatea attempts to step out of the carriage with all the regal dignity that a woman trained her entire youth for courtly appearances can muster. She has the expression just right, the posture just right, she even manages to get down the rope ladder with the appropriate level of magisterial poise. Seeing /all those dragons,/ however, wholly shakes her. She just sort of stands there, wide-eyed, like a piece of meat facing down a pack of hungry wolves. If dragons respect strength, she looks like she might just fall over and die on the spot of spontaneous heart failure.

Lucita checks charm and diplomacy at hard. Lucita is successful.

Adalyn checks charm and diplomacy at hard. Adalyn is successful.

Tesha checks charm and diplomacy at hard. Tesha is successful.

Duarte kind of stumble-walks off the carriage and gives silent praise to the Gods that he's not lost several lunches. He did use all of Medeia's anti-motion sickness concoctions though, so the ride back might be rough. He's going to need a moment before he's in smooth-talker mode and hundreds of dragons staring at them doesn't make him less self-conscious.

Madeleine is a bit wind-swept. Her eyes are bright, her cheeks are rosy. The wisps of hair not under her veil are blown about. And she had taken off her shoes during the long journey so when they land and she disembarks, she forgot to put them back on. Barefoot and disheveled is no way to introduce yourself to dragons. But her smile is serene and her expression guileless.

The ride on the back of Valar is exhilerating, though somber as well, and the Marquessa of Blancbier feels that keenly as she gazes down upon the destruction of the holds of the Compact, and then the destruction upon the lands of the Wastes, and then Cardia. By the time they land at the great black spire, the Marquessa is looking less than regal, her eyes red from maybe crying over the losses down below, like a baby. Not really leadership behavior there. When she finally descends from the carriage, she does so slowly, and with a bit of a stumble. But then she straightens, and gazes around at all the dargons, who are... way bigger than her. It's hard to be noticed, in such company. But she does stand tall, watching.

Medeia is, for the most part, simply in awe as the flight continues. She's a bit mournful, however, as she becomes aware of the burning wreckage of various holdings that pass. And then? They reach the Wastes. Anyone looking at her likely notes intense fear and sadness in her expression - emotions she can't quite shake. She curls against Duarte's side for the rest of the trip, in a solemn and silent state except for making sure he has any of the stuff she keeps on hand for the motion sickness. By the time they land, and she walks out of the carriage, she notes those heads that don't bow. She can't focus on anything but them, for now, and it shakes her.

Tesha is...overwhelmed. She's had visions of this place. "We're in the High Chamber of the Heart." she whispers. Mostly to herself. If there was ever a moment that looked like she was going to tear up, it was now. But she manages to keep it all inside! She sees the dragons and she gives a very deep bow. Because they're guests and some of those dragons look very not alright with them or Valar.

Ian chooses what ought to be one of the most wonderous, breathtaking experiences of his life to... try and get some sleep. As a consequence, however, he's awake and perfectly alert once they arrive. The rumpled clothing and leather armor coupled with a cane of all things shouldn't make for an impressive figure as he disembarks, but the WAY he disembarks might make a brief impression, dropping off the carriage and landing with an adept's ease, and his flat expression and focused gaze form the rest of this first impression. Arvani humans aren't supposed to be able to DO things like that, right? Yet here is one, as Arvani as they come, practically the stereotype of the backwater rube of a human, showing plainly both the warrior's tradition and a familiar relationship with the magic that has merged with who he is.

Almost her entire life has been spent in Arx or the directly surrounding environments - seldom has she had occasion to even make use of her horse, or even board a ship. The first time she rode a ship, she was giddy and beside herself to see the endless expanse of the sea in front of her, and could barely contain herself. Flying? Flying. The world is under threat, she's been stressed for what feels like years, and they're being delivered into a tense situation. That doesn't stop Sydney from gleefully twisting about to get a better view, and giddily squealing and whispering under her breath. "I'm flying. Oh my gods, I'm flying. I'm flying. I am fucking flying."

RAhem. By the time they land, Sydney is still riding high on the experience, to say the least. While she may be unusually charming - what a pretty ring on her finger! - she doesn't have much by the way of traditional diplomacy. So she beams a winning smile, all teeth, then dips into a generous bow. When her eyes lift again, and looks upon those unbowed heads, her expression tempers.

Lucita's eyes widen at the view of so many dragons assembled. She releases the straps from her seat, gracefully descends the ladder though waits to let Alarissa follow her, trying to steady her as she moves to the ground level. She turns toward the assembly, gives a beguiling smile and a graceful , respectful curtsy. If there is trepidation, she masks it behind her amicable expression.

Insaya wouldn't mind admitting to nerves getting the best of her. The stakes are high; never higher. "The Heart of the World," she murmurs, feeling the thump-thump of the place go all the way through her, and derail any attempt at charm beyond the sort the country mouse has in the city. In fact, getting down, she catches her weight funny, and half-trips.

Isabeau spent much of the journey, when not asleep overnight, engaged in mostly idle conversation with other passengers, or else gazing out at such of the view as there is. When eventually they come out from the carriage, her features register plain surprise, if not necessarily at dragons, then at the sheer number of them, but she composes herself quickly, then she speaks just a few words, though not in Arvani.

Isabeau says in Draconic, "Greetings from Arvum. We have come a long way."

Marli rides along in the grand carriage and even manages to take a nap at one point on the way, though she spends much of the time staring over the edge, watching as the world glides by beneath them. When they arrive at the Black Spire, she slips out of the conveyance and stops to bow to Valar and offer a, "Thank you, Great One," to the massive white dragon.

Stepping out from Valar, Marli looks at the assemblage of dragons. She raises her voice and says, "I am Lady Marli Pennae," by way of introduction. "I come with Lady Atria Ulixes," she indicates said Cardian noble, "And these men and women from Arvum to address you." She speaks in Draconic, the words coming like a native's from her lips. "A new Reckoning has come, and it's time to act against the one that would end it all."

Ferrando isn't really an expert diplomat or anything (unless you count an expert guarder-of-courtesans as diplomacy-adjacent) but he's been around both ends of the Boroughs for long enough to know that when going into potentially hostile territory you don't want to look too aggressive, but also not too not-aggressive, and above all else don't look intimidated. He manages to pull that off pretty well, assisted a little by the fact the ride over was one of the most fun things he's ever done in his life and he's still low key buzzing a little over it.

Alarissa's right hand has grasped the rail during the journey, keeping eyes forward, sweeping the land down below. It's when they come to the spire that she's only ever seen behind closed eyes and the heart being heard with her ears, the familiar sight of that multi-coloured dragon. The other dragons assembled. Her hand tightens on the rail and her breath stays in her lungs for a moment, just a moment. Then she rises, moving with the others. Lucita's assistance in getting down is taken though it's easier to get down a ladder than up. There's a thanks for the other woman before Alarissa smooths the dress, adjusts things before moving back into view of the other dragons assembled and takes up a spot to the right side of Valars immense foot. There' a bow to the dragons assembled and stands tall to do what she was asked. To act as his eyes.

Atria dismounts from the dragon that gave her a lift, bowing before it, bowing before Valar. She looks around the room and spots a particular silver-scaled dragon and stares at it. A hand touches her heart and she bows to the newfound dragon. The bow is held for a long moment and then she lifts again, nodding to Marli's words. She begins to speak when there's a pause. "If the Eater of Stories is successful in his quest to get through Arx's defenders, then nothing is safe. Not this spire. Not you. Your hoards will be destroyed. Your familiars taken. Your lives will be forfeit in the worst manner possible."

Ian takes a moment of straightening his clothing before looking up at the assembled dragons. Intentional or not, there's a frankness to his gaze as he regards the beginnings of diplomatic relations that he's comfortable with not understanding.

Adalyn:is in the air she can not believe she is up in the air flying on the back of a dragon! She turns to look out the window of the box sticking her head out slightly to look as they are up in the air, "Gods its beautiful up here to fly." she breaths deeply a small tear falls down her cheek, finding herself here at this moment. She cleans the tear away once they have landed she moves to come out, she bows her head to the dragons who assemble.

A huge red dragon walks forward towards Valar, inclining his head in respect before he rumbles, "Your Majesty. Skylords Praesodymidin, Fulgurium, and Ostrumadin are with me, we have Quorum of the Heart. You are received and recognized, to Speak to the World." It sounds formal, a rehearsed formal line, as three of the largest dragons aside from the red one step forward and bow towards Valar, their heads dipping low. Valar rumbles back, "Thank you, Sangular. You all know why we have come. You know why we are here. We have an Oath. We flew before. We should fly again. Whether to victory or death, it matters not. We have an Oath." And then the humans are speaking, and there's an uncomfortable murmur among the dragons in the back, a silver dragon looking at Atria and giving a nod of recognition.

One smaller blue dragon speaks in the rear, "We're at war. Cynara and her scales are holding Malar, but he's not yet defeated. If we leave now, he might return and seize the heart. Surely the mortals can hold off a demon, if they throw enough bodies at it. They come back, after all. It's barely an inconvenience to them." A gray dragon sounds hesitant, "What's it matter if one city of humans is eaten? With respect, a great many of us have been born the past several thousand years, and swore no oath like the first brood. We're not bound by honor, your majesty."

A purple dragon simply says, "We can't help. That mouth demon thing threw up a barrier around Arvum, and we can't penetrate it. How can we even help if we can't get in?"

((Rolls again, Cardian PCs can roll at normal rather than hard, and someone with a bond to a dragon can roll at easy. Anyone wanting to explain the soul bond can roll occult at hard instead to explain the particulars))

Galatea checks charm and diplomacy at normal. Galatea marginally fails.

Atria checks charm and manipulation at easy. Atria is successful.

Marli checks charm and manipulation at normal. Marli is successful.

Madeleine checks wits and propaganda at hard. Madeleine is successful.

Sydney checks charm and empathy at normal. Sydney is successful.

Duarte checks intellect and manipulation at hard. Duarte is successful.

Medeia checks charm and manipulation at hard. Botch! Medeia fails completely.

Alarissa checks intellect and occult at hard. Alarissa is successful.

Insaya checks perception and occult at hard. Insaya is successful.

Lucita checks charm and diplomacy at hard. Lucita marginally fails.

Dominique checks command and diplomacy at hard. Dominique fails.

Isabeau checks charm and propaganda at hard. Isabeau is successful.

Tesha checks intellect and diplomacy at hard. Tesha is successful.

The room stops spinning long enough that Duarte is at least able to grasp on something spoken by one of the dragons. The, ahh... The gray one! Yes. He clears his throat and speaks with a nice silken accent that works really well (on humans, at least) for its easy, clear tone touched with suave intonation. "'tisn't but one human city. If you remember many years back, when the heart of the world stopped beating. It was Azazel did that. And if he succeeds in Arx, he will do it again. This time without any to reverse it."

Adalyn checks charm and diplomacy at hard. Adalyn is successful.

Medeia's gaze moves to all the different questions, and she wants to answer them all, but there's just. Too many dragons. And then mention of Cynara holding Malar turns her pale. Very, very sudenly, the lady is stepping back, away, quickly to fall to her knees near a wall and dry heave.

Sydney steps forward, gazing out on the sea of faces before addressing those who have spoken in turn. To the grey dragon, she presses a hand to her chest, the other hand swinging wide and expressively as she speaks, her words full to the brim with genuine empathy. It does not ring as hollow, even if it's laced with sentiment. She speaks in practiced and perfectly correct Draconic, even if her accent is ever so slightly off. "Our lives are every bit as precious to us - we live but a moment by your reckoning. We die and bleed just as you do." She swings her focus to the gray dragon. "This is no mere city! The stakes are higher than you can imagine. Arx sits upon the Thinnest Point. If it falls, this world, this Dream falls with it!"

Taking a few more steps toward the silver dragon, Atria says, "The humans have been standing alone, or nearly so. They have thrown bodies at the problem, but more than men with spears is required for this. If the demon can do that," she gestures to Duarte and his reference to the stilling of the heart, when she was first bound to this particular dragon as it happens, "then is it not worth giving them help?"

Lucita starts to speak, clearing her throat and using Draconic language, but after a glance around the various mortals and ones accompanying Valar, she falls silent, letting others speak to explain the situation as she glances from person to person and dragon to dragon as each speaks.

Ian pursues his ongoing policy of keeping his mouth shut and letting the socially adept people do the talking. This leaves him to fade into the background as the diplomatic equivalent to a bump on a log, but at least it keeps him from actively setting back the cause.

Galatea is among those who can claim some lineage tracing back to Cardia. Yet she is not bound to a dragon--and her Cardian inheritance might not be visible at a glance. She makes an attempt to speak with the council of dragons, starting strong, with a practiced skill in oratory that speaks of long hours talking at a mirror. She also speaks in Cardian Draconic, a language in which she is fluent, and one which she must have received thorough tutleage in, because her accent isn't too terrible. "I am the last daughter of the Proculus," she tells the dragons, looking about the room. "And so I know something of what it is to feel the threat of Malar's wrath. Every last one of my kin, including my own mother, were systematically murdered by the Malardin, a ceaseless battle waged with knives in the dark across generations, from which only I now remain. Thus has it always been also with the house Valardin which bears great Valar's name. The fight which unfolds now in Cardia is not a thing in which we Arvani have no stake, nor for which we have no feeling. The Heart is a prize worth protecting. Malar is a foe worth defeating."

Less eloquently, stumbling a bit towards the end of her speech, she adds: "But the Thinnest Point is even more critical. Even should Malar fall, and the heart remain, if the Eater should seize the Point, our current conflicts will be but the prelude to--ah--to--something--well, even worse."

The three called out dragons by Sangular, alarissa's eyes flick to them, having seen them before. "I have faith in Cynara." Alarissa states with ease as if she does indeed have faith. "As I hope you do." But there are concerns about how to even go. "By bonding." Alarissa offers. "To connect souls together, brings forth a tether to Arvum. Not without it's dangers for the one who bonds with a dragon, for the dragon yourself." Alarissa's chin lifts. She relays to them the known how and why. The dangers that exist in doing so. No embellishing. "To bond, creates a thread that would allow a dragon to pass through, to fly, to fight, to protect that which is worth protecting. That those in this very room... I have seen protecting over the last twenty years."

What's gotten into Dominique? She just can't seem to pull it together. She steps forward and opens her mouth to speak, but her words do not come out the way she intended. "This affects everyone. I do know that we need you, as we needed you during the Reckoning. I hope you'll stand with us." Yeah, that sounds appropriately leaderly and effective for diplomacy needs, right?

When Sister Madeleine speaks, it's in a velvet voice which is used to carrying through crowds and against the crash of waves without harshness. Her elegant robes of flowing silk flutter as she makes a sweeping bow to the assembly. "Esteemed Quorum; Skylords Sangular, Praesodymidin, Fulgurim, and Ostrumadin." Then she bows her head and shoulders to Valar. "Majesty". Once she addresses him, Maddie turns back to the other dragons. "We simple mortals have come before you to plead our case and remind you of the friendship and bonds we once held. An oath is binding, in the eyes of honor and our own deities. While we younger races do not live as long as you, we still honor the debts of our parents and their parents before them. Let us once more restore those bonds of faith, and honor the oaths our forebearers made before us." She smiles, a rich warm thing. "We are strong, we mortals, but we are not as strong as when we serve alongside our allies. We are wise, we mortals, but we are wiser when guided by our elders. And you are all certianly older and wiser than we are," Maddie concludes with an easy chuckle.

Taking a different tactic than many, Marli addresses the assembled Cardians and dragons thus: "For centuries, Arvum forgot you existed. They had no memory of Cardia as anything other than a *Human* kingdom at a great distance. They thought dragons made up, a fantasy. How does it feel to be forgotten? To have your existence doubted as fiction? Do you want to continue to not matter to the Arvani, to the world, or do you want to remind them that you are *Dragons* and you are the top of everything? Do you not want to show your might, prove that even things like a would-be-god mean nothing to you?" Marli goads their pride, their sense of glory.

Insaya looks out into the very very intimidating sea of beings, older and grander than anything she has ever seen. And yet, they are here to speak. And in that moment, she studies them, their manners and their ways of standing, for the ones truly looking to be allies. "There IS a way to pass the barrier," she says. Then louder, she calls out the facts. "If you would make a soulbond with someone for whom Arvum is home, then and only then can you pass the barrier that Azazel has made."

"That has its own risks, we are aware. And no one can choose to do this but you. But The way I see it, is this: If any among you will consent to make soul bonds and return to fight this war, not for us but beside us, then Cardia and the Compact can survive and perhaps someday become true allies, with a bond like brotherhood. You risk comparatively few lives for the sake of many, stand to gain much in the way of good will, and would be working in your own self-interest.

If you do nothing and the Compact and its people are wiped out, then when the Devourer enters the Shining Lands and consumes the Wheel, you will share our fate. There will be nothing here for you to hold. And if we should prevail without your aid, then whole world will come to know that while the Skylords and all the might and majesty of Cardia cowered here across the sea, from the least to the greatest and even those Malar names abominations took up arms that the world might endure. You will be alone with your troubles come what may; for no one will help those who will not help themselves.

Under such conditions, can you afford -not- to assent?"

Isabeau speaks once again in Draconic, "This is a war wherein you might tilt the scales greatly in our favor. I must emphasize *our* favor. This affects all of us. If we humans lose, then you, too, all lose." Others have made the point, and so Isabeau does not press it further this instant.

Tesha is looking up to the assembled dragons, she only has permission to speak to one dragon in their tongue, so she speaks in Arvani when she addresses the dragons. "We will not be able to hold Azazel without help from a gathered host. If Azazel gets his way there will be nothing left. No Arvum. No Cardia. No humans. No dragons. No chances for the future that could be had." she states as her mismatched gaze sweeps over them. "I do not want you to die. I very much want Cardia to have peace and to live as they once did. I want to help with that." she states.

Adalyn looks to the dragons as she stands there watching, she is in Cardia...Cardia again? No she shakes her head "We must work together, all of us. This can not be one by doing it alone." she looks to Valar then to the other dragons, "If we do not like many who have said it all ready everything will be gone and you will be too." she breaths deeply. She looks to Tesha nodding her head looking back.

Dominique just listens, at this point, her eyes narrowing as she glances around, watching the different dragons. There's not really much more to add here, when other people are speaking much more eloquently than she could. So she is standing and waiting, like the dutiful knight.

Some of the dragons murmur among themselves and the gray one that spoke earlier looks horrified as the realization sets in, sputtering and sounding almost in a panic, "Wait, if the human bonded with us die, WE DIE TOO? A HUMAN? But you die in like two seconds!!!" Some of the other dragons flap their wings, looking truly alarmed, while the massive red dragon looks at Marli, "She's right, though. The humans have forgotten us. And the demons have grown arrogant enough to try this sort of gambit. We should have burned them all out a thousand years ago, root and branch. And I'm no coward."

Valar speaks softly, the dragons listening, "Some of us will die. We were born with the first heartbeat of the world, and dragons will be here with its last beat. We were here when the first oath was made, when the first bond was forged, and when the first star shone in the sky, from the first death at Dawnhome. We lost a home once, we shall not lose another. We should fly."

Still, many of the dragons, particularly the young ones, look shocked at the idea, "But they are HUMANS. Any one of us could kill them all in an instant!"

((Victory points 39, 100 to convince all of them, 50 and some will come. Can do more rolls, same difficulty.))

Medeia checks composure and performance at hard. Medeia is successful.

Dominique checks command and leadership at hard. Dominique is successful.

Duarte checks intellect and manipulation at hard. Duarte marginally fails.

Madeleine checks wits and propaganda at hard. Madeleine is successful.

Galatea checks charm and diplomacy at normal. Critical Success! Galatea is spectacularly successful.

Isabeau checks charm and propaganda at hard. Isabeau is successful.

Marli checks charm and seduction at normal. Marli is successful.

Atria checks charm and manipulation at easy. Atria is successful.

Noting two factions present, Duarte attempts a balanced argument to each. "It's necessary to understand the true nature of Azazel, for it is truly not as dire as the end of the world," he shakes his head. "It's worse."

"Azazel must - has to - leave bits for people to know. And he needs them to know /he/ owns it. Some of you admire humanity for such little lives capable of awe-inspiring deeds; some probably think we are frivolous and meek - the lot of us.

"But Azazel hates power and heroes. The world will remain, but inhabbited by the weakest and most frivolous of us, in burned away forrests and ruins, cowering in fear for lack of remembering a world /before/ that, but knowing Azazel holds its history. And that will include Cardia, stories of it, or any significance this place ever held. So a soul bond may be..potentially cumbersome...but it is better than the alternative?"

Adalyn checks charm and diplomacy at hard. Adalyn fails.

Ian checks command and leadership at hard. Ian is successful.

Sydney checks charm and empathy at normal. Sydney is successful.

Alarissa checks composure and diplomacy at hard. Alarissa is successful.

Insaya checks perception and manipulation at hard. Insaya marginally fails.

Ferrando checks stamina and medium wpn at hard. Ferrando is successful.

"Imagine it!" Marli latches on to the words being said by the dragons. "You could assemble as the greatest flight of dragons in millenia and blot out the sun itself with your shadows, flying across Arvum. Everyone from the Lyceum north would know you're coming and your very presence would run rampant as new stories, spawned just by your existence once more. You would sweep in and breathe across the demonic horde and do as much good in seconds as entire armies of humans." Her voice is loud enough to carry, holding a soft, seductive tone as she tries to live up to her vow to bring glory back to the hearts of dragons.

Ferrando definitely would last at least THREE AND A HALF seconds and seems weirdly confident about it.

Madeleine says, "My ancient friends, and our younger friends... Though young is hardly a word I can use to describe such majestic beings." She gives another warm and lazy smile. "You would have nothing to live for in the world ahead; what's -left- of the world after the Thinnest Point and the Wheel are consumed. Do you think Azazel will stop at Arvum? At eating humanity? No. His hunger and lust for power and knowledge and destruction will sweep over the world like a wildfire. If he is not stopped NOW, he cannot be stopped."

Atria asks a simple question, or simple in its construction. "Isn't two seconds of life better than a few extra days of waiting for it to all end? "

Tesha checks intellect and diplomacy at hard. Tesha is successful.

There's a boldness about Ian's gaze as he watches the dragons debate, their words translated to him by Alarissa. It might have come off as arrogance, someone who foolishly considers himself to have mastery over the position in which he finds himself, but, especially after the fearless way that he initially presented himself, Ian's implied comfort with standing here in front of hundreds of dragons instead gives the impression of having been earned. Also, he continues to keep his mouth shut, which has a lot to do with why he's pulling this off.

Lucita checks mana and performance at hard. Lucita is successful.

The Marquessa of the Wyrmguard stands forward finally, and speaks. "The Wyrmguard have stood watch, protecting the resting place of Valar for many centuries," she says. She doesn't know Draconic, so she'll have to have her words translated. "We have stood watch over Relavor as well," she says, with a respectful dip of her head toward the Red dragon. "That resting place is no more. Consumed beneath the horde of Azazel, my people sheltering now in Sanctum. My family has served the people of Arvum for centuries, protecting them from the darkest forces within the world. We humans," she says, glancing among the dragons, "have faced much danger. We have grown. We have had our memories wiped, and terrors have haunted our steps across the many years. While our lives our short, while our bodies may be weaker, our will is strong." Her expression is fierce, her blue eyes intense. "Whether you aid us or not, we will fight. That is the spirit with which we were born. We may lose, and then all the world will be consumed. But we will have given our lives for something worth fighting for. Life. Continuance of the Dream. Stand with us," she says, drawing her sword from its sheath, and raising it high, the iridescent dragon gleaming on Wyrmshaven, a blade of Ida's making. "Let us fight for this world together."

Medeia takes a deep, steadying breath and rises to her full (barely over five-foot) height and strides back forward as the panic aover the humans dying settles in. She actually looks entirely calm, now. When she speaks, she speaks in Draconic. "I am Lady Medeia Saik - some among you may recognize that family name and I encourage you to think about what it means that I was bold enough to come and join in making this request. Some others among you may recognize my soul: It is the soul of Livia, Familiar to Cynara and progenitor of the Livy line." She pauses, giving anyone who is translating a chance to do that for those aong the humans who don't understand her. "In Arvum, I am a the co-guildmaster of the Physicians Guild and an apothecary of great renown. I have worked alchemical wonders that have turned the tide of great challenges - like creating a solvent to destroy the Metallic Traitor's thorns before his death. Now? I come with an offer for any who choose to bond with a human. Thanks to one who has returned the Wheel - Lady Mabelle Laurent - I ahev access to a wodnerful flower that can help satve off mortal injury. My own magic allows me to imbue such things to be their best, most potent versions of themselves. I offer one to each and every human that makes such a bond, to help improve all of our odds. We /need/ each other. I stand with Cynara and the world against those would see it harmed." Breathe.

Isabeau picks up on a particular argument and runs with it, in Draconic. "You could kill us all in an instant. I certainly have every confidence of that. Consider then how quickly you should surely dispose of these demons." She beams a quick smile at the dragon in question and quiets.

Galatea fixes her eyes upon the gray dragon who sputters in fear at the prospect of human death, and its possible transference to dragons. This appears to hit upon some deeply-held belief in Galatea, awakens some previously-concealed fire. "Nearly every one of us lives short, fleeting lives, and we die of age, of disease, and to violence like the red tide that lands upon our shores."

With a flick of her wrist, she sweeps her hand to one side. Inner fire becomes true fire. Magical flame erupts above her hand, flickering, crackling, spreading from there to wreath itself around her like a fiery mantle. She stokes the fire as brightly as she dares, perhaps to show that even a mortal with the thinnest inheritance of dragon's blood can also burn, if she so chooses. "But not /all/ of us will die. I will seize immortality one way or the other--either in the way Copper found it, or in the legends they will tell of me after my death buys peace for the world. Do not fear a bond with us. We will surprise you."

MAGIC-Augment self: "I am a spellsinger, and am told you value those. As such, I bring a song to you to enjoy as you think over our words and your choices.

Lucita sings:
As I sing of these simple truths to you
Feel the joy of sunny glints on morning dew
The gentle caress of wind on wing and scales
And excitement of ships racing hard under sails

I sing of the true beauty of promises kept
Of respect and shared sorrow when we both wept
I sing of deep bonds beyond blood or word
Family of the heart with ideas to be heard

So much to remember, so much to recall
So many people, both large and small
So many pages in so many tomes
So many treasures in so many homes

Treasures're valued for memories clear
For gold or gems they're not held as dear
As ages pass slowly following one by one
Treasured past truths, oaths one should not shun

We are like short-lived youths
Seeking hope, seeking truths
I sing to you with soft honesty
I sing to you without hostility

Our memories, loved ones taken from us
By creatures foul, evil, and unjust
Yet courage and faith we do not lack
We defend our homes, fight back to back

We're far to short lived to recall
Most old lessons, a kingdom's near fall
But we don't give up, we try to stand firm
And pray to our Gods, our Faith to affirm

When help is freely given to join our fight
We express our thanks for our allies might
And we hope that your respect we'll earn
As hords of demons try to make our world burn

Sydney strides forward and looks out toward the talkative grey dragon, her voice a gentle lilt in draconic. "...I won't deny that we're fragile creatures. It's what we make of those two seconds that matter most. What that's of import in this life doesn't come down to a matter of seconds? The moment you met a loved one. A friend. The moments that we remember for the rest of our lives. These lives of ours are comprised of mere seconds, when it all comes down to the end. Even if we're afraid - and I assure you, I am /terrified/ of what's to come. But if even someone like me has the courage to stand and fight. Then someone like /you/ can choose to stand and fight, my friends." She gestures to the crowd, the tilt of her hand just so happens to be pointing to the dragon in grey.

Insaya says, though her words may fall below the din and singing, "Not all humans are frail. We are as varied as you hold yourselves to be, with our own strengths. And I could be wrong, but the Compact has defeated more hordes of demons and survived than anyone else has in THIS millennium, and certainly in the last twenty years mostly on our own."

Insaya says, "You can help! And your help would make the difference!"

Alarissa speaks in a moment of quiet from the peitioners. "You hear their words. You hear the songs. These who petition. Magic awakens and there are those here who have crossed the threshhold and would be less fragile." Alarissa remains standing beside Valar's foot. "We bear scars from battles that we cannot speak of publicly. It is a heady thing that we ask. When we die, we return to the wheel until Death spins us back out. When you die, you become the stars in the sky. We understand. We know the value of your life. Of our life. But we know the stakes and all here come knowing that we might not even make it out of this great spire and are willing to die just to petition."

There's a graceful pause. "But we tell you what we want. What we offer. If you were to bond, what would you want in exchange for doing so precious an act. What would you ask of us in return?"

Adalyn steps up and takes a knee in front of the dragons debating, "I wish to introduce myself, I am Baroness Adalyn Clement, but once in another life I was known to you as Nerthus the Fair, many of you maybe remember who I was Many of us are strong like that now." she looks up to them, "I come because I want to save our homes, ours. Yours and mine! To work together is a must."

Tesha looks over the crowd. "For years I have dreamed of dragons. Made it a goal to see them with my own eyes. Which I have both of again thanks to one of your fellows." she states. "Dragons risked themselves to help us at Artshall when it first fell. At Harrow Hall to help us stop the Traitor. I know that you face a war here in your home. And I would come back to help you stamp out Malar. I want him dead just as much as some of you do. For a lot of different reasons." she states. "I want to rebuild the ties between the dragons and the humans. It is long past time." she nods to this.

Tesha then takes a knee, head bowed, "I ask that you give us a chance to live so that we may see the future together."

Kima arrived, flying above the Black Spire, the dragon upon which she rode knowing exactly where it was he wished to go - and therefore take her in the process. The once Lioness of Southport looks as she always had, blonde hair shining and startling blue eyes glittering. Her loose hipped swagger is much the same, too, for those that once knew her. She strode in as though she were exactly where she meant to be, and it didn't appear to occur to her for event a moment that her appearance might be shocking to some.

But then again, she had always been known to be...arrogant.

Ferrando's diligent efforts to look very survivable-by-human-standards and confident in the arguments posed by more occultishly knowledgable parties than him is admittedly a skitch undermined for the moment when none other than Baroness freakin' Kima shows up and he gives her a fairly wide-eyed look. "Oh, -wow-. What I'd give to see the look on Saedrus' face when he hears about -this-," he murmurs half-to-himself.

At least some of the dragons appear to be paying attention, glancing at one another and nodding in agreement. There's booming footfalls as some of the largest dragons, Sangular, Praesodymidin, Fulgurium, and Ostrumadin, move to stand by Valar's side. Valar's eyes are closed, but he still moves his head as if sweeping around the chamber. "Humans would surprise you. You know our story. You know our regrets. But we do not regret placing our faith in humans. We do not regret fighting alongside of them. And we shall not regret doing so again, one final time. Fly with me."

There's still rumblings among the dragons, particularly the younger ones. The purple one asks, "So if we save Arx, do we get to keep it?" Valar doesn't deign to reply to that, just sightlessly glaring down. Another dragon notes, "The humans -would- owe us, it does seem only fair. Yes, the oath but for those us that haven't. I mean." Another scoffs, looking up, "Limatusadin is arriving with the prelate, it seems."

Sangular scoffs, "We should go because we should. But, hypothetically speaking, mortals. What's in it for us, aside from saving the world?"

((56 Victory Points so far. Social rolls again, Kima yours would be easy difficulty for any social roll))

Marli checks charm and propaganda at normal. Marli is successful.

Galatea checks charm and diplomacy at normal. Galatea is successful.

Duarte checks intellect and manipulation at hard. Critical Success! Duarte is spectacularly successful.

Dominique checks command and leadership at hard. Dominique is successful.

Madeleine checks wits and propaganda at hard. Madeleine is successful.

Alarissa checks charm and diplomacy at hard. Alarissa is successful.

Medeia checks charm and manipulation at hard. Medeia is successful.

Sydney checks charm and empathy at normal. Sydney is successful.

Atria checks composure and performance at easy. Atria is successful.

Lucita checks charm and performance at hard. Lucita is successful.

Kima checks charm and manipulation at easy. Kima is successful.

Isabeau checks charm and propaganda at hard. Critical Success! Isabeau is spectacularly successful.

Adalyn checks charm and diplomacy at hard. Critical Success! Adalyn is spectacularly successful.

Duarte recognizes Sangular! He spoke to him once before with House Pravus! The question is a good one...Duarte notes, "Not dying as a result of not saving the world has been good enough for /me/...I mean, I'm certainly not getting anything out of this deal other than that." ... "And I suppose a strengthening of the merchantile trade and all that. Whether you want to trade with us or conquer us, it's best the natural resources aren't depleted and overrun by shards in either scenario."

Galatea is no archmage, and she does not push the limits of her newfound abilities. With a swipe of her hand much like the first, the fire that had enveloped her turns to so much swiftly-dissipating steam. She stands, chin lifted slightly, scanning the hesitant dragons one by one, holding eye contact briefly with some, as though looking for something. Fingers delicately interwoven together, her simply-put question is both an invitation and a challenge: "Which of you would bond with me?"

At the purple dragon's query, she promises: "I am, as it happens, quite wealthy. I promise those of you who are not Oathbound that you will be enriched, one way or the other."

Madeleine laughs in her warm earthy way as she tries to sway the younger of the dragons. "My young friends, who wants to be left out from the adventure?" She continues to speak in her charming way, eyes twinkling and smile bright. "What's in it for you? A tale to tell your hatchlings. Bragging rights. Doing the right thing and saving the world? Well, that's just an added bonus now isn't it? Make a contest of it; who can slay the most demons."

Tesha checks intellect and diplomacy at hard. Tesha is successful.

Insaya checks perception and manipulation at hard. Insaya is successful.

[MAGIC] "You need not fear that the humans stand alone, either. They have their gods, and those gods will answer their prayers now." Marli holds her hand out to the side, arm stretched out. "Gloria! Give us a sign of your presence!" she calls out her plea, loud and firm. Golden-white light begins to bathe down around the Duchess and her hand fills with a spear, its point in the floor. Atop the spear flies a banner, Gloria's symbol clear on a waving flag despite the lack of breeze. The banner and spear glow with a warm, golden light all their own.

All who look upon the Battle Standard of Gloria feel their hearts swell with glory. They feel the need to achieve renown and know that this battle being spoken of would be worthy of filling that need. They know they will not die alone, for their comrades will be with them to the end. The very resplendance of fighting for the world... They know that Gloria stands with them.

"I promise I will not die in seconds. I promise my Duchy will cheer you. That you will always have a home," Marli offers. "I promise you glory like no other will ever be able offer. Stories will be sung of you for centuries to come."

Ferrando checks composure and streetwise at hard. Ferrando is successful.

Madeleine bows her head and utters, "Gloria be praised," with reverence.

Dominique listens and looks at the various dragons as they rumble out their questions and comments. But she looks at Sangular in particular. For a moment, she pauses, gathering herself, and composing her features. Then says, "You get to keep your honor." Her jaw is set, her blue eyes still intense. "If all you care about is 'what's in it for you' then I question your honor," she says, bristling. Her sword is still out of its sheath, she realizes. She doesn't put it back. She faces the red dragon, eyes narrowing. "We are willing to give our lives to save the world, asking nothing in return. Are you willing to do the same?" She offers nothing. No bribes. No pleas. Her intense blue eyes demand.

Making eye contact with her particular Silver, Atria says, "Come with me, and I will sing songs like haven't been sung since the world was young." Whether or not she can live up to that promise... The Cardian noble begins to sing now, letting her voice swell in the chamber. She sings a battle hymn, and it's sung with a marching cadence. Or a cadence one could beat wings to, more like. Her voice grows louder when she regards Marli's magic, pressing a hand to her heart and keeping her beat steady.

Ian checks stamina and medium wpn at hard. Ian is successful.

You know what? Medeia should be used to surprises by now, especially when it comes to Cardia and dragons and her 'dead' cousin hopping off a dragon and standing there are gorgeous as ever (older, though, it's the truth). "Kima." That is a situation to be handled. She puts a pin in it and has a flicker of a smile for Duarte's no-nonsense answer. Then? She looks at Sangular. "Is the promise of not having the entire world lost not enough? I think we can come to a negotiating table /later/, when there is still a table to /come to/. Now is not the time for petty deliberations and squabbles when within weeks there could be nothing to squabble about."

Tesha rises from the kneel, her eyes searching for a moment. There's so many dragons. "I, much like my Uncle Arn, am too stubborn to die unless it is on my own terms." she states. It's true, Tesha should have been super dead a lot of times. "Is Calumar among you?" she asks.

Sydney knows her strengths and her weaknesses quite intimately - and her strength is not playing to egos, nor is it playing to pragmatists, no matter how broadly this might widen the base. She keeps hammering home her messaging to those who, like her, wear their hearts on their sleeves. "Cynara's Familiar - Petraea Livy - my flesh and blood, laid down her life for this cause. So too did countless of her scales. Cynara herself has championed this cause. Do you truly think it such a shallow thing? This is the greatest battle that will dictate whether YOU live, and YOU die, whether you sit on the sidelines or not. Think hard on what you are. What you stand for. What you live for, and what you'd lay your life down to protect." She raises her voice, "Stand with us! Stand for yourselves! Stand for the world you /want/ to see! Let this Dream be yours, and not what someone else would make it!" Yes, there are the beginnings of tears in her eyes. Pugilists these days. So emotional.

Ian finally breaks his silence with a voice that carries effortlessly: "I am willing to repay fighting with us in Arvum by returning to Cardia to settle this war." Once again, what ought to come off as arrogance is backed up by something about the way he carries himself; anyone with any experience with weapons would be able to recognize a seasoned fighter, and one of some skill.

Lucita says, "What is in it for you? Satisfaction of an evil eradicated , knowledge of your ancestors oaths being honored yet until this generation, your parents and grandparents worth recognized. It is something you do to pass on with pride to your own children. And if you need something personal from one of us, lore again speaks of how you have valued true singers, spellsingers. For one month, in each of the next thirteen years, fetch me, I'll sing for you till time for me to be returned home. I can grant beauty, respite-a means of rest without sleep, help your skills improve for a period of time. This being long as my prior oaths of loyalty to Faith and Compact are not compromised."

Adalyn stands as she looks to those who have yet to stand by Valar, "Come with us, I offer myself for one of you to bond with. Fight with me, along side of me and we will have victory. We will save this world together and be like it once was before." he watches them with passion in her eyes and in her voice, her eyes bright with wonder. The warrior/champion/ex Cardian gladiator in a past like, looks between the holding herself strong watching them. "I offer my aid to help save your home if you help save ours." she states simply.

Insaya draws herself up, and cocks her head to one side. Addressing the younger dragons, she says, "You don't want to know all that could be achieved, with all of us working upon the nature of the Dream? You don't want the glory of your name sung and recounted with reverence through the ages? You don't want access to more, and maybe even more interesting familiars? If the way were open, I can't think of many people that wouldn't fall all over themselves just for the opportunity to see you and strut their stuff." The small inquisitor says, "You came to us not too distantly seeking alliance. You are making a new way here, should you triumph. And you will need the new ideas and energy that we have."

Isabeau breaks into a smile at Sangular's question and looks to Dominique. "It is quite as the Marquessa says. Honor is in it for you." She looks back to the dragon and asks with an upturn of her hands. "Would you truly need more than that?" She keeps her words brief, though they are delivered with confidence.

"I can make you no promises, no will I make any," Kima begins, looking not only at those mortals gathered, but the mighty dragons as well. There are a few among the number of humans that Kima's gaze lingers upon and it seems as though...she understands that there must surely be questions, but that now is neither the time or the place. Instead, she chooses to make her stance before the assembled dragons, waiting for a time for the others to say their piece as well.

"Respectfully - any good negotiation begins with expectations. What is it that the mighty among you desire? It is not the role of we youthful mortals to fathom the ambitions or hopes of those such as yourselves." That stated, Kima takes a step back, to stand...if not among the others, then nearer to them, at least.

Ferrando gives Kima a surreptitious little wave (he's still got that same pair of steelsilk gloves she was ogling in the Hundred Cities about 80 gazillion years ago, as it turns out) before regarding one of the questions pose with a thoughtful look. "Some of the best things to offer in a deal aren't things. Aren't even specified. A favor for a favor. What you didn't know you wanted until you received it. What you don't know you'll need now until it becomes clear later. Ridiculous as it sounds, maybe you go to war with one of us, return victorious, and then eight hundred years from now some descendant brings you something you thought lost forever out of the blue because parent to child, generation after generation, they were told there was a debt owed. Who could reasonably offer that with any sort of certainity? But even if the chance of that specific thing is remote, there's an uncountable number of improbable results to set in motion, and given enough of them, one of them's bound to happen eventually. You've all the time in the world, right? What's in it for you might be -possibility-. Even serendipity, if you want to be poetic about it."

Kima gives Ferrando a quick little wave in return!

"My daughter walks the dream." Alarissa squares her shoulders. "It has been five years since I first heard her, saw her. She does so without aid of myself or another. I have long known that she would leave our shores and some day serve at the foot of Cynara, or of another dragon. That she would long outlive me. I have sought to see her trained and learn to protect herself there so that when she came of age, she could make the choice. But I already know her choice, her love for Cynara knows now limits even now." Alarissa takes a deep breathe as she rolls the next words in her mouth through her mind before saying it. "No different than political marriage in truth" More murmured to herself. "House Thrax offers to bind one from every other generation starting with my youngest, in marriage or service at the side of House or dragon. It will be their choice, no less than it will be the choice of the house or dragon he or she would serve with and in. In perpetuity. One from every other generation"

There's some rumblings among the dragons, as more and more move forward, signaling their agreement to the flight. "Arvum has been sleeping for a long time," caaaasually mentions Sangular, "and now it has magic once more. A simple tribute of magical odds and ends that aren't needed would be much appreciated." There's some avaricious nods among the dragons, as sightless Valar glowers a bit. Others seem more taken in agreement, "The world depends upon us, as it always has. And we can burn this out once and for all." says a dragon that moves up to Tesha and nose boops her. Calumar. It looks like most of the dragons are convinced, but there's a few hold outs.

((90 Victory Points, 100 to convincing everyone, but final round. Fingers crossed.))

Duarte checks intellect and manipulation at hard. Duarte marginally fails.

Galatea checks charm and propaganda at normal. Galatea is successful.

Atria checks composure and performance at easy. Atria is successful.

Duarte considers this... "Yeah that sounds fine."

Kima checks charm and propaganda at easy. Kima is successful.

Insaya checks perception and occult at hard. Insaya is marginally successful.

Madeleine checks wits and theology at hard. Madeleine marginally fails.

Marli checks charm and propaganda at normal. Marli marginally fails.

Ian checks stamina and survival at hard. Critical Success! Ian is spectacularly successful.

Sydney checks charm and empathy at normal. Sydney is successful.

Lucita checks mana and performance at hard. Lucita is successful.

Isabeau checks charm and propaganda at hard. Isabeau marginally fails.

Medeia checks intellect and alchemy at hard. Medeia marginally fails.

Adalyn checks charm and diplomacy at hard. Adalyn is successful.

Dominique checks command and leadership at hard. Dominique is successful.

Galatea has spoken of past tragedy, shown her current strength, and even invited dragons into a contract. Now, she attempts an entirely different line of encouragement: Boasting of Arvani military prowess. "Even now, our armies marshal in their strongest fortresses, repelling assaults from the lesser hordes. Arx is a well-fortified city, and the armies from all the outer holdings will collapse upon it and form a host the likes of which the world has not seen for ages. All you need do is fly in and torch the back ranks of the foe, claiming glory and the treasures you seek in so doing."

Alarissa checks composure and diplomacy at hard. Alarissa is successful.

Madeleine offers quietly, "I, can, ahh, see things in still waters. Scyring. See what ripples an action might cause?" This is where she falters a little. The middle-aged sister looks sheepish for a moment. "But alas, my draconic friends, I have no items of enchantment to offer." She folds her hands into the volumnous sleeves of her robe.

Ferrando checks stamina and medium wpn at hard. Ferrando is successful.

Marli's banner sputters out, fading into nothingness but a memory and a few motes of lingering light...until even those are gone. "I offer myself to bond," she says simply, less impressive now that her battle standard is gone.

Tesha checks intellect and diplomacy at hard. Tesha is successful.

[MAGIC] Medeia decides it's time to kind of slip aside again, but she looks for a spot with some plants. She's really just trying to stay out of the way! She runs her fingers over the plants and they... wilt. Uh. The lady quickly turns and uses her body to block the wilted plants.

Dominique scowls at the remaining dragons who hold out for magical shinies. "I don't have any magical odds and ends on me," she says, "but I'm sure you can take your pick from the various holdings that have fallen to Azazel's millions of Shards, once the dust settles. In the meantime, I offer myself, to bond with one of you. Should any within my holdings choose such a bond as well, they are given leave." She still has her sword out, and after a moment, she lowers its point to the ground, and then drops to one knee, bowing her head.

[MAGIC - Alaricite adept] The humans have magic. The humans DEFINITELY have magic. Ian might have hinted at this fact by the ease with which he left the carriage atop Valar's back, but he really confirms it now. The pulse of primum as he brings his adept magic to the fore is practically palpable; for a moment, his eyes flash the color of alaricite, and even the gray in his hair starts to look a lot more like spun metal. Everything about the way that he carries himself changes, a subtle shift from just sorta standing around to standing around with PURPOSE, a stillness that looks like it could, without warning, transition to motion. He slips his cane into a loop on his belt designed to hold it. He no longer needs it.

Ferrando has learned a few things hanging around guarding/spectating Whispers for quite a while and one of them is that when your improvised speech seemed to go over fairly well enough and you don't really have any other great ideas to throw out there? Put a sock in it and don't start undermining yourself! He goes back to concentrating on looking like a slightly less trivially survivable human and keeps his trap shut. Other people make points and he occasionally nods in support. That thing with the magic, yes, definitely.

Atria holds her hand out to the silver dragon she's been talking to this whole time. She continues to sing her battle hymn, keeping pace and blending her words into background music to make everyone else's speech sound so much more dramatic. Eventually, the song fades though and she says, "I will fly with you, my friend. Let me show you things I've come to love as much as the shores of my home here." From a large pouch that's been at her side she draws a bottle of wine. "Be the first to taste new things."

Atria drops Estanotte - a Saikland wine of blackberry and peach.

Sydney has said all that she can say that wouldn't ring saccharine and false, so she makes no effort to manipulate. The pugilist eases down to one knee and deeply bows her head. "Let us stand together. Let us fight together. We, yours and ours, are the only thing standing between this Dream and oblivion."

Medeia takes an aged single golden earring from a fabric lined wooden box bearing a crowned skull design.

Complete ignoring the plants, Medeia remembers something and rummages in one of her pouches. She pulls out a single golden earring and approaches Sangular. "Here," she offers, holding it out in her open palm. "This, perhaps, may interest you? It's of Nox'Alfar origin."

Medeia drops an aged single golden earring.

MAGIC Lucita softly sings a gentle, restful song that highlights her range, control and technique of a talented spellsinger who has crossed the thresh hold. The words do not rhyme, but songs do not have to rhyme to be set to music. Her gaze sweeps over the lingering 'hold-outs' who have resisted joining Valar and those in favor of the humans. There her gaze sharpens its focus as if she is singing directly to them. "I may not be as strong a warrior as some of the others since my voice is my weapon and defense, but can recommend Lord Ian if strength, durability and warrior's skills are preferred.

For something so tiny, it's remarkable that Sangular can take the very tip of a claw that's much bigger than Medeia and lance it on the tip of the talon, and then rest it on a back scale for safe keeping. Boop, done.

Tesha was listening to others, but there is a familiar voice and then she is booped by the big dragon, it causes her to laugh a joyful laugh. Her face is genuinely happy, like the Tesha before all of the hardships and battles. She offers a deep bow to Calumar and then straightens as she removes a ring from her finger, "There is your shining face." she grins up to Calumar. "I came to make you a promise." she states as she shows him the ring. "It's...not that impressive, but...after Malar is gone..." she looks up to him.

Tesha drops Plain Old Ring.

"I am sure some kind of tribute could be negotiated," Kima acknowledged. "Though I am not the one who can make sure assurances as to the /what/ or the /how much/," Kima concluded. Undoubtedly she does not see herself as returning to her former life, even should she survive what is to come. "I do possess a few items of worth that may be of interest to one among your venerable number, although, regrettably..." They are not on her person!

Dominique watches as people offer up little trinkets, her intense blue eyes scanning around. After a moment, she trembles, then says, "Oh fine... you can have the sword." She tosses it on the ground. Alaricite. It's magical, right? And gleams with pretty iridescite. She literally hurts a moment in her heart to give it up.

Dominique drops Wyrmshaven, an elegant alaricite blade.

Alarissa looks to the dragon she stands beside for a moment then back to the assembled dragons. The only thing magical on her is not something so easily handed over. "That which I have, is not mine to give. Only your Kings. I leave the choice to him." The little statue tucked in her pocket.

Sangular has been -ready- for this, he snaps two taloned claws together and a small entrourage of a dozen humans rush out from a door, begin to scoop things up, and tabulate them.

The rampant offerings sees Sydney slowly drawing her pack forward. She quietly produces a pair of breathtaking steelsilk gowns, reverently folded.

Sydney takes The Tribune, a steelsilk gown from scholar's leather satchel.

Sydney takes The Praetor, a steelsilk gown from scholar's leather satchel.

Sydney drops The Tribune, a steelsilk gown.

Sydney drops The Praetor, a steelsilk gown.

[MAGIC] Insaya takes a small breath, and stares into the middle distance. And she feels the blooming of power in her hands like a tickle. It's difficult to say what changes, but it's there, tugging at the nature of herself to make her bolder. "What good are friends you have to purchase, when they have already sworn to help? Our convictions cannot be our convictions if we only abide by them when it is convenient. I have no magical lucre to give. Only this one naked gem," a honey diamond from her hip bag, "-as my pledge of earnesty."

Isabeau has nothing to offer, but instead murmurs, "We have much in Arvum." It's really not the most convincing argument ever, and she falls back as others show up with many more things to present.

Lucita gets a beaded pouch with a butterfly motif from explorer's trail pack.

Lucita gets A Song of Hope from a beaded pouch with a butterfly motif.

Lucita drops A Song of Hope.

Lucita puts a beaded pouch with a butterfly motif in explorer's trail pack.

Adalyn looks to her hand and off slips a ring, "I offer you this." she lips her house ring and holds it out in her hand, "The symbol of house Clement." she holds it to whomever will take it. She looks at the ring for a long moment and then nods.

Adalyn drops the four-pointed star signet of Clement House.

There's quite a bit of dragons eyeing each other, and low murmurs about who gets what. The great red dragon Sangular looks smug, but all faces school themselves to serious expressions when Valar clears his throat. Then slowly, tenatively, the dragons all begin to move forward, all of them. "We're with you." There's murmurs of assent. Not all for the same reasons. For greed. For pride. Some for honor, or even love. But they agree. And it's subtle, but those nearest to Valar can hear just a little exhale, the barest whisper of a sigh of relief. And then there is one more, a slow rumble as a dragon quite near the size of Valar moves forward.

"I will fly as well." The Great Dragon of the Heart speaks, for the first time in living memory. "The Heart will be better protected by my traveling, and so, I fly." There's a shocked silence even among the dragons, before Sangular, "About time. You really do need the exercise."

(116 Victory Points, all the dragons are coming. Buuuut if anyone wants a specific dragon, they do need to make a pitch, which is hard for a great elder dragon, normal for a venerable dragon, easy for an adult dragon))

Galatea checks charm and diplomacy at hard. Botch! Galatea fails completely.

Galatea checks charm and diplomacy at normal. Galatea is successful.

Dominique checks command and leadership at hard. Dominique is successful.

Adalyn checks charm and diplomacy at hard. Adalyn is successful.

Lucita checks charm and performance at hard. Lucita marginally fails.

Ian checks stamina and medium wpn at hard. Ian is successful.

Lucita checks charm and performance at normal. Lucita is successful.

Medeia checks charm and manipulation at hard. Medeia is successful.

Tesha checks charm and diplomacy at easy. Tesha is spectacularly successful.

Madeleine checks wits and propaganda at hard. Madeleine fails.

Madeleine checks wits and propaganda at normal. Madeleine is successful.

When the time comes to actually match with a dragon, Medeia resumes her standing tall and looking calm thing. She /is/ good at it, despite the dry-heaving earlier. "If there is one among you dedicated to healing, or with a particular interest in alchemy and agriculture, it would be my pleasure to shae knowledge of Arvum's flora and the lessons we have learned in recent years."

Insaya checks perception and manipulation at hard. Insaya is successful.

Galatea is nothing if not ambitious, and she dares to approach Sangular himself. A single moment of eye contact, however, leaves Galatea looking mildly stunned--like she had been tested, and in some way found unworthy. A bond with a dragon that mighty is likely not in the cards. She is left spending several moments recomposing herself.

Instead, she turns her attention in the direction of a proud, aged-looking dragon amidst those gathered, and touches a hand to her chest, before bowing formally. "I would be honored if you would be my partner for this very particular dance."

Somewhere in the number, there's got to be a dragon who took an interest in Ian as a warrior and an adept, and he's been watching for such. It's only as he calls his magic to him that he's able to spot this dragon, one who is interested in a familiar as a weapon as much as a partner. One who doesn't expect eloquence or style, except with a blade. Wherever this dragon is, he locks eyes with them now. A slight lifting of his chin. The offer. They both know why he came here.

Atria moves to the Silver she's been talking to all along. She bows before it, deep and respectful. "We will see wonderful things together, my friend. It will be like the days of Legend," she assures it.

Isabeau checks charm and propaganda at hard. Isabeau marginally fails.

Kima checks charm and seduction at hard. Kima fails.

Isabeau checks charm and propaganda at normal. Isabeau is successful.

Sydney checks charm and empathy at hard. Sydney fails.

Sydney checks charm and empathy at normal. Sydney is successful.

Alarissa checks composure and empathy at hard. Critical Success! Alarissa is spectacularly successful.

Lucita moves over toward a group of venerable dragons and gives a curtsy. When she rises she looks each in the eye and says gently. I could not tell who amid you might have an interest in me so must rely on you to please decide. I will do my best for you and honor my given word to you." And she waits, like a nervous wall-flower at a fancy ball, watching, waiting, hoping one wanted her.

Madeleine steps forward to introduce herself properly. "I am Sister Madeleine, Godsworn to our lady of the Wind, Wave, and Serenity, Mangata. One of our Triad of Creation. I have a touch of divine magic, if that's your interest. Otherwise I serve as a counselor to the troubled and a calm rock in the stormy sea that is our lives these days." She looks for the more 'chill' of the dragons; the older ones doing it for something other than glory or adventure. "I look forward to soaring through the skies, over the seas, and being a true friend and confidant to you." She gives her warm summer-soft smile.

Dominique rises to her feet, having given up her favorite sword, but she stares at the Great Dragon of the Heart as the dragon steps forward. She swallows hard at the sight of this dragon, and clears her throat. Before she loses her nerve, she says, "I am Marquessa Dominique Wyrmguard." She glances around at the others. At Valar. Then she draws a breath, and continues. "It would be an honor to bond with any of you," she says. "But... I wish to bond with you." She gazes at the Great Dragon of the Heart. She's bold, have to give her that. Her intense blue gaze meets those of the dragon. She doesn't back down.

Dominique continues after a moment, "It has always been in my heart, and in my blood, to be the guardian of dragons." Her eyes might glimmer a bit as she gazes up at the prismatic beauty. "I hope you'll choose me."

Ferrando checks composure and streetwise at hard. Ferrando fails.

Ferrando checks composure and streetwise at normal. Ferrando is successful.

Kima makes overtures to one particular Elder Dragon, but whatever she says...clearly fails to convince him. At the very least, the dragon isn't so insulted or otherwise annoyed that he turns her to ash for the impertinence! Still, Kima looks awfully dejected about it. Okay, perhaps not awfully dejected. Wistful would be the more appropriate word. Understanding that it's not to be, Kima removes herself from that particular dragon's presence.

Duarte checks intellect and manipulation at hard. Duarte is successful.

Sydney turns her gaze upon the great dragons, and moves to make her pitch, but her words fail her. Before she can get her wits about her, they're already on the receiving end of plenty of wonderful pitches. She turns instead to the wider crowd and straightens her back. "I am Sydney Laurentius Livy, The Waterfall, daughter of Clemensia - and I will stand, fight, and /live/ for this cause. I love this Dream far too much to waste your gift. Your heart, your soul, your wishes, your resolve. I'll carry them all. Who will stand with me?"

Duarte looks real conflicted because of some unspoken aversions. But everyone is doing it and the peer pressure is mounting. Plus they came all this way? He looks at Sangular and clears his throat. "You know...I admire your acumen and you are very shrewd."

Isabeau announces herself in Draconic. "I am Duchess Isabeau Telmar, once Princess Isabeau Valardin. I have long had an interest in and studied dragons. I am a diplomat and a scholar, though not a warrior, but I shall all the same do all that I can to prevent the end of the world, as any sensible person would. I shall not squander this opportunity, if you choose to come with me."

Insaya says, "I was born in this city; a free woman and the daughter of a Senator of a fallen house, and Clemensia as well. But my name has been Insaya Bergere since I was a wee tot, and I remember no home but a shepherd's cottage in the mountains of the Oathlands. I am a servant to the Inquisition of Arx. Justice motivates me, and I can command fire. And if that speaks to your nature, then I will be brave if you will condescend.""

People and dragons mingle. Words spoken to convince this color and that color to fly into battle with each other. Not once does Alarissa move from her own spot. He doesn't need a bond, he has ties to Arvum and yet... She looks up. "He saw this, didn't he. I always wondered why it would leave Valardin after so long within it's care. I think he saw this." There's no diplomatic overtures to the great white dragon they came over on. "For twenty years I have watched you sleep and worried over you. For twenty years,yYou have been with me. Those nascent nights after he died. When I bound myself to Thrax. When I birthed each of my children. As I stood watching Victus go to war and return. You were with me when I lost my arm and my vanity. Each moment, each day and year, you have been in my pocket, in my heart and always on my mind." She lifts her chin a fraction, hand pressing to her midriff. "You gave it to her and with it you gave her her courage and your heart. It has been my courage. I know what you fly into. I know what will happen. But I have always known that some day I would die for you. Would you do me the honour of doing such at your side" All of this spoken in draconic. "Fulfil our oaths to Valardin one last time."

Standing off to the side, Marli does not approach a specific dragon. Instead, the Duchess of Zaffria and lady of Pennae waits to see if her words and magic have impressed anyone.

Sydney steps a few steps to the side and lightly bumps Insaya's shoulder with her fist, with a warm smile.

Ferrando's pitch starts off to one section of the crowd starts up with the sort of Definitely What You're Supposed To Be Saying intro along the lines of "It hardly needs to be said that honorable dueling is the truest form of combat, the pinnacle of martial ambition, and the necessary backbone of any successful military action. This is obvious to the point where nobody serious would even question it," and blah blah blah. That said, there's something about the delivery that individuals with a certain predisposition to, say, question the need for overly prescriptive rules and procedures across all sapient species all recognize as their sort of 'blah blah blah saying it because I have to' patter. The part where he lists off the inadequacies of things like "working out of structure, deviating from scripts, leveraging the fog of war, exercising individual initiatives" and performatively tut-tuts at "ambushes, diversions, misdirections, traps, feints," and so on are similarly actual streetwise code-talking for invitations. Now it's Cardia, after all, so this approach is definitely not going to get any traction with the elders. But he's all about finding the right dragon, not the biggest dragon, right? Maybe there's a still-up-and-comer out there who's felt a lack of bursting out of nowhere going 'RAARGH!' in their life. Also, there's a charmingly rustic magical castle available to crash at thrown in as part of the deal.

Tesha's come to the sudden realization that someone else could make a better pitch to Calumar and the redhead gives a look up to him. Maybe someone would. "We could possibly die together...or we could survive and live together. I am prepared to do both with you. I will do my very very best to make sure that you do not come to harm and that we will be back here to help with Malar. That also might see us dead, but I would rather be filled with the hope I have now than the dread and other negative feelings I have been living with for years and years." she tells the dragon. "I will not leave you." she states quietly. And Tesha knew all about being left.

Valar nods to Alarissa as his rider. She'll be his eyes in the fight to come. Great Elder dragons move to Dominique, Medeia, Ian, Adalyn, Insaya and Duarte, with the Guardian of the Heart with Dominique and Sangular holding out the very tip of a talon to mimic a fistbump with Duarte. Put 'em there. "You know my apprentice anyway." The huge red dragon comments to Duarte. Ostrumadin moves to Kima, Limatusadin bowing in supplication. A giant green dragon moves to Medeia, Serasadin of the Venom, bowing her head in greeting. Fulgurium with Adalyn and Praesodymidin with Insaya. Tesha's dragon looking touched by what she said. One by one, the dragons pair with people, and then it's time for a binding, a ritual, as they bond souls.

It's an odd feeling. For a split second, one could know a dragon's thoughts. After the moment passes, there's still the sensation of their feeling, of the enormity of them nearby, and they will fight as one.

And then it will time to turn for home.

((So the final roll of this matters a lot. It'll be a -ride- check, based on the total number of successes is how quickly they can return to Arx... and how many days into the Battle of Arx they'll arrive. Mass specs and they'll be back first day, mass botches and they have to hope they save the very end. Ride checks at normal, the dragons are trying to not make it too bad, though while traveling quickly in a mass flight.))

Dominique checks dexterity and ride at normal. Critical Success! Dominique is spectacularly successful.

Medeia checks dexterity and ride at normal. Medeia is marginally successful.

Marli checks dexterity and ride at normal. Marli fails.

Isabeau checks dexterity and ride at normal. Isabeau is successful.

Atria checks dexterity and ride at normal. Atria marginally fails.

Adalyn checks dexterity and ride at normal. Botch! Adalyn fails completely.

Madeleine checks dexterity and ride at normal. Madeleine fails.

Lucita checks dexterity and ride at normal. Lucita is successful.

Ian checks dexterity at hard. Ian is successful.

Ferrando checks dexterity and ride at normal. Ferrando is successful.

Insaya checks dexterity at hard. Insaya fails.

Alarissa checks dexterity and ride at hard. Alarissa fails.

Alarissa checks dexterity and ride at normal. Alarissa marginally fails.

Tesha checks dexterity at hard. Tesha fails.

Duarte checks dexterity and ride at normal. Duarte is successful.

Medeia checks dexterity at hard. Medeia is successful.

Kima checks dexterity and ride at normal. Critical Success! Kima is spectacularly successful.

Marli checks dexterity at hard. Marli is successful.

Galatea checks dexterity and ride at normal. Galatea is successful.

Sydney checks dexterity and ride at normal. Sydney marginally fails.

And for the first time in a thousand years, there's a flight of dragons against the Reckoning. The great white dragon Valar flies first, but the sky is awash with the colors of their dragons, as they fly for Arx.

((With the result of the rolls, they arrive on Day 3.))

Duarte talon bumps Big Red. Hell ya. Time to fly home and hopefully he doesn't get motion sickness this time. The soul bond cured that, right?

A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Alarissa before departing.

Ralph the wrecking messenger goat arrives, delivering a message to Madeleine before departing.

Kima is overheard praising Alarissa.

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