The Redreef-Blackreef Egg War
Dec. 30, 2020, 8 p.m.
Outside Arx - Mourning Isles near Redreef Shores - Blackreef Beach
Comments and Log
The Redreef-Blackreef Egg War has started at Outside Arx - Mourning Isles near Redreef Shores - Blackreef Beach.
House Darkwater banners mask the approach of members of House Redreef -- as well as members of House Kennex and House Eswynd, though if either of those Houses brought their own boat as well, it wouldn't make much of a difference. The main thing is the lack of Redreef banners, because that was well-judged as something that would immediately put "House" Blackreef on their guard.
After all, Redreef and Blackreef have only been in an undeclared war for around 250 years. Maybe a little more.
Blackreef Beach, as all of Blackreef's settlements have been named, is small and doesn't look especially sturdy. Built on a small cay, it borders on a shanty town: meant to be abandoned with minimum fuss. A few touches of modern development are there: some stone walls, that sort of thing, but all of it is at the mercy of what construction supplies the Blackreefs have been able to raid.
Having spotted the outsiders' approach, there is a party on the sand waiting to greet them. A bunch of rag-tag soldiers, with mismatched gear cobbled together from whatever sources were available, a fair amount of it probably looted from dead men. A sour-faced, strong-jawed, severely balding man with a flinty stare is their leader, wearing black common cloth and leather armor that has become low-grade from years of wear and tear. He waits with keen interest to see who disembarks.
Catalana has spent a lifetime working on diplomatic relationships for Kennex and this is no different. In fact, she looks a little excited and murmurs to the others on board. "I feel like I'm eighteen again and reaching out to a Shav tribe. Work in a duchy is so dry." She regards the soldiers and the basic constructions on the beach and she asks Trueth, "Has there ever been any negotiations to bring them in officially as a house?" While they get ready to disembark, Catalana fixes her hair and her gown. She knows the importance of first impressions.
It's almost as if Trueth doesn't have the good sense to be afraid of soldiers, or anyone with a sour face. Perhaps it's because she's spent so much time around the Bloody Baroness. She moves to disembark, turning her head to Catalana with a smile. "Ha. Easier to stick a pig and produce gold. This isn't going to be easy by a long shot. The Baroness is... well. You know the Baroness. And these people? Just as stubborn, if not a little worse. Like a bad tooth." She adjusts her gown and steps off the ship, curtseying to those gathered in her best show of etiquette. "Lady Trueth Redreef. A pleasure to meet you."
Haakon is among those who vault over the ship's rails, splashing into the shallows to help run the longship up onto the sand, so the more genteel folk can disembark with a dry feet. Shield slung across his back Haakon looks up to catch the harpoon that is dropped down to him, before turning to eye those waiting ashore.
Griffin takes up the end(ish) of the arrivals. As far as he knows this gives him a look of all the parties - disembarking and greeting. But for now, he waits.
Medeia watches Haakon and then follows Catalana and Trueth, but she hangs back somewhat. She is not visibly concerned about the welcome they are receiving and stands tall in her fine outfit of honeysilk and clever armored pieces. Her medic's supplies are at hand and her blades are peacebound at her hips. She is prepared for... almost anything. She casts her eyes over the settlement, such as it is, lips pressed thin, before settling her gaze on the balding man.
When Trueth curtsies and introduces herself at the front of the group, the balding man's face immediately and notably sours. He looks as though he might reach for the sword at his hip -- but the presence of a figure like Haakon may be why he decides to instead give the shallowest of bows and sneer, "I am Lord Hector Blackreef. Welcome to Blackreef Beach. How many of our people does Redreef hope to kill this time?"
"We do not wish to kill anyone," Trueth says simply to Hector. "We wish to have a peaceful conversation, if we could, with your Baronesses." She makes a motion for Medeia to come forward, letting both Catalana and Medeia speak; surely they're more charming than she is, and anyone is welcome to speak. "I have been in correspondence with Lady Melora... discussing matters of the occult."
During the trip, the recently-arrived pale, blonde cousin of the Bloody Baroness spent her time making boats of old parchment and teaching others to do the same (if they so wished). She's no sailor and it passed the time! When they arrived, Maya is -not- at the back of their disembarking party. She's just near to it. Perhaps just ahead of Griffin, in fact. There is a certain antsy edge to her, though she is looking the gathered men over. "I think tales of them being raiders might be exagerrated," she sotto-voices to Trueth.
Medeia checks charm and empathy at normal. Botch! Medeia catastrophically fails.
Trueth checks charm and empathy at normal. Critical Success! Trueth is spectacularly successful.
Griffin checks charm and empathy at normal. Griffin is marginally successful.
Catalana checks charm and empathy at normal. Catalana is marginally successful.
"Oh," Medeia wasn't expecting to be summoned forward by Trueth so quickly and, well, she hadn't prepared what to say. "Oh, well, no," Medeia looks at Trueth, eyebrows furrowing, "Lord Blackreef, we aren't here to kill anyone. If we were, you'd already be dead by now. I know you're probably upset about your suster, but we're honestly just here to talk." Perfect diplomacy.
Hector's eyes widen and his mouth flattens. There's not just fury on his expression, but actual /hatred/. "My... Lady..." he starts to say, looking as though he's trying to resist screaming in Medeia's face. Hector's sister; the Baronesses' mother; slain by Redreef.
Griffin with his hands outstretched calmly interjected, "No, nay, nothing like that. We're just here to talk. Truthfully." And he very carefully smiles. "Trust us."
Haakon idly weighs the heft of the harpoon in his left hand, gripped at the balance point, as he watches Hector Blackreef grappling with his rage and loss. Haakon says nothing to interject, simply watching and waiting, like a patient hunter.
Catalana just stares at Medeia for a Looooong moment before drawing breath. " Lord Hector. A pleasure." A charming smile is flashed at once. "I'm Lady Catalana Kennex. A pleasure to meet you. I am so pleased to be here."
The look on Hector's face is not one that Maya likes, but she leaves it to the others for now. Too many voices can be just as much a problem as one saying the wrong thing. Instead, she lifts her chin to cast a look around with one bright eye; taking in the mood and state of the men on the beach, as well as looking beyond. Perhaps paranoid of more dropmercenaries.
"Now that we've established it's a pleasure for everyone to be here and we're sorry about past events that can never be rectified," Trueth says, clearing her throat, "We would ask that you please look... past our transgressions, Lord Hector. At least for this particular moment in time." She bows her head to him. "It is our greatest wish to come to a peaceful union, the Redreefs and the Blackreefs, joining together as one powerful force. Without your expertise, we would never make it. What do you say?"
Medeia shuts up very quickly and steps back closer to Haakon. She's... had a long boat ride.
The other voices seem to quell Hector's fury -- for whatever reason, Catalana introducing herself makes Hector blink, as though realizing that this is a unified front from a number of noble Houses. (The Eswynd armor is another clue.) His fury is replaced by a pang of confusion -- and then Trueth exploits that moment.
"Landis Redreef was no friend of Blackreef," Hector says, breathing out. Landis: Ember and Marina's father, once the Baron Redreef, now dead. "To say the least. And Tiberius was no friend either, but would have emptied the treasury given enough time and made Redreef weak." Tiberius: Landis's brother, who briefly replaced him, and Trueth's father in law.
"But you all must have seen what we saw... even if it took you long enough. That Landis's child, the Baroness who reigns now... she's a psychopath. And something must be done about her. Together. Agreed." Hector turns and begins walking back toward the settlement, to cut a beeline toward the center of it, where the Ebonhold sits -- the 'castle' of a shanty town, as awful as such a phrase implies. "Come. I will introduce you to the Baronesses."
Haakon tilts his helmed head to a slight angle as Hector makes that tremendous leap of logic. A glance aside to Medeia, and a small shrug as he mutters, "It gets us talking to the right folk." Good enough for him
Catalana keeps her words to herself. Wisest decision here. Instead, she walks alongside Hector. "Baronesses, Lord Hector? Why did your house chose to have the ladies both remain in power? Does it not cause issue?"
Trueth turns around briefly to the party with wide eyes as if to say 'It worked!' before nodding solemnly back to Lord Hector. "Aye. Surely your Baronesses will... have suggestions, and we will work on alliance, together." This is all the more that Trueth says for the moment, growing tight-lipped. "We are all quite interested in meeting the notable people of the island... and we also wish to speak about the matter of Mangle Cove, and the neelambari eggs, of course. We cannot abide by senseless violence."
Falling in line Griffin keeps his opinions to hismself.
Oh, that's- hmm. Maya looks back ahead to regard Hector and then to the others to gauge their reactions. She clears her throat and straightens, checking the bag she has with her. A random selection of things. Some unguents, a book or two, a folio to take notes in. Look, she's a fledgling healer and an occultist! She tries to be prepared! Once the others start forward, the blonde follows.
Medeia rubs her forehead, looking up at Haakon. When her hand lowers, she has a look of confusion on her face. "That it does," she replies softly. Even so, she stays at the back of the group - she doesn't really want Lord Hector looking at her again.
As the group walks, they are given an accidental tour of just how badly Blackreef is doing. Supplies must be rationed based on what repairs are needed most, and thus virtually everything is at least somewhat shabby, if not intensely shabby. Dirt roads. Buildings made from whatever could be spared. Children wearing clothes that were probably hand-me-downs from four generations ago. And so on. No one appears to be sick, and no one appears to be starving to death or subject to malnutrition... but it's still very much a bunch of nobles who have seen the splendor of Arx, stepping over to the poor side of the tracks.
Hector walks alongside Catalana, and says: "When Baron Accolon and Baroness Lux were slain, the Baronesses were mere girls. I acted as their regent until they were of age, and assumed that one would display more innate aptitude than the other, or that they would fight over it. Instead, they chose to share. It is... unconventional, yes. But it is their wish." Hector seems mildly ill at ease when he says that, as though he doesn't really care for the whole two-Baroness thing. "Mangle Cove? Ah, yes. Your fishermen trying their hardest to see us starved."
Haakon treads along, eyes moving as they proceed toward the settlement's keep. He seems unsurprised by the state of the Shav'arvani settlement. A few muttered words to Medeia.
It's not a long walk to the Ebonhold, and the 'castle' (such as it is) is built of slightly sturdier stuff than the rest of the settlement, and naturally all of it is stained or painted black. In front of the Ebonhold itself is a courtyard, where two identical young women -- wearing black common cloth cut to resemble traditional Islander noblewomen's gowns -- are peering down at what appears to be a case of liquor. On a bench next to them, an older man with shaggy hair and a beard has a cane resting at his hip, and he holds up one of the bottles to survey it. "...Raconteur Brewery. Not a company I ever raided."
Hector breaks up the little meeting with the group in tow: "Not now, Caradoc, the Baronesses have business to attend to. My Lords, my Ladies, I present to you the Baronesses of Blackreef Beach: Belide and Melora." Both of the women curtsy. One of them has glittering feathers (neelambari feathers!) as earrings, the other black stones.
Trueth curtseys to the Baronesses, then bows deeply to Caradoc. "It is a pleasure to meet you all - Baroness Belide and Baroness Melora. We have much to discuss, but I am glad to finally put faces to the correspondence I have sent." She smiles winningly at them and looks to Catalana and Medeia once again - really, to any members of the party that wish to make a first impression. "Your feathers - they come from the neelambari?" She asks the twin.
Griffin bows to the Baronesses, each in turn. "I'm Lord Griffin Redreef. If I would have been here prior I would have taken your homeland and put it in verse. Alas, I am having some troubles, but, perhaps next time."
Hearing the name of Venturo's business, Medeia looks over toward the bottle held aloft. "Raconteur makes exceptional quality brews and spirits under the skill of one Messere Venturo Thayne," her Lycene-accented alto voice notes. "To have such freely wash up ashore is a blessed gift." But she stops dead in her tracks at the name she hears. "Caradoc?" She blinks, looking at the man curiosuly. "Sorry for staring, my lord, I had a cousin named Karadoc, it is unexpected and wonderful to encounter his name here." She smiles and dips her head graciously before turning to the baronesses. "Baroness Belide and Baroness Melora," she dips a curtsy then, "Harlequin Medeia Eswynd - physician and professor, and my husband," a gesture to Haakon, "Lord Haakon Eswynd of Eswyndol."
Haakon sniffs sharply at the smalltalk, dipping his head and shoulders to the Blackreefs without lowering his eyes. For now he lets the finer talkers talk.
Catalana pulls herself up to her full height and allows the gown to flutter around her. "A pleasure Baronesses. I'm Lady Catalana Kennex. Voice of House Kennex and minister of population for House Thrax. It's a true pleasure to be guests at your home. How have you found leading since coming of age?"
And then there are introductions and Maya does not rush to provide her own. "Lady Maya Redreef, Minister of Infrastructure." She looks behind her, back down the paths they had just walked. The struggling town. Forward again, that pale eye focuses on one twin and then the other. "Perhaps we can discuss what I mighht do to help."
The one with the feather earrings gives Trueth a nod: "They are," she says, and comes off as a bit standoffish, perhaps. Not actively rude, just... maybe a little snooty.
The bearded Caradoc lets out a quiet groan as he uses his cane to push himself up to his feet. Even before he starts walking, it's obvious from how his weight rests on the cane that one of his legs is lame. "Your cousin was very lucky," the man says. "Only the most utterly handsome of men get to be named Caradoc." He offers Medeia a smile, and gives a look toward Haakon. "You look like a man who could go for an exceptional spirit, Lord Haakon."
The young woman with the black stone earrings widens her eyes a bit when she looks at Griffin. "Lord Griffin Redreef! The poet! Oh, my sister Belide and I have read your verse in a book Caradoc showed us, and it is so truly amazing--!" She catches herself from gushing, in part because she can see Hector boggling in the background.
"You let them read poems by a /Redreef/?" Hector stage-hisses toward Caradoc.
"They're good poems," Caradoc replies with a shrug.
And at last the twin with the feather earrings -- Belide -- nods to Catalana and Maya. Her gaze lingers on Maya for a long moment. It's the eye. She's looking at the eye. "Leading has been difficult," Belide says, "but it is comforting to know..."
"...that someone always has your back," Melora finishes.
Griffin can't help but smile behind his hands, coughing, at the men talking about his poetry. To the twins, when he has taken the time to be to cover his amusement, "You did? I was thinking about a new theme.." And then he stops. "Well, maybe in the future. If you would like, I can write on the front page for you?"
Haakon gives the ghost of a smile to Caradoc at the offered drink. "Hear my words before deciding whether you want to drink with me," he suggests before addressing the Blackreefs. "I've seen your strength. A dozen ship, with bodies to fill them. That's not nothing. But we both know how Abandoned survive against the Arvani. We survive by not being worth coming after for long, and no Arvani but Redreef cared enough to come after you, before now." A slowly drawn breath as he lets the first words sink in. "A storm is coming. You've heard whispers of the looming Kinstrife, mayhap.. Thrax against Helianthus. And Helianthus won't bear any Shav'arvani to live. You have cause and reason to hate Redreef, but causes and reasons can be mended. Helianthus hates our kind without cause or reason, and wants only our skins from his crosses."
The reaver looks between the Blackreefs present, then gestures at Medeia. "Look at her: what she wears is worth half your fleet. My harpoon is forged of diamond steel, *given* to me by some Mainlander with more treasures than she could spend. Sea and Sky strike me down if I lie, you can't *imagine* how rich the Arvani are. You couldn't raid in a hundred years the sort of wealth you can win from these fuckers in peace."
Catalana glances amusedly at Griffin. "I have yet to read your poetry My Lord. But it is on my desk to read when I get a few moments spare." Her attention then fall again on the twins. "I understand the sentiment. Our Marquis was murdered some time ago when he chose to set the thralls free in our land. It was important that the family banded together and worked with purpose and vigor to see his goal accomplished." She gestures to the two girls. "Much to what you are trying to achieve?"
Being stared at doesn't help Maya's comfort levels and she seems more than happy to let someone else take center stage after she's said her piece. She even steps back behind the others and angles to go back to watching the town. Sure, she's mostly avoiding the stares, but... she can at least try to identify things they could actively help these people with as a sign of goodwill.
The smile that settles on Medeia's face at Caradoc's face is a soft, genuine, and wistful thing. "You are not wrong, my lord Caradoc, on any account." Her eyes skim back to the baronesses. Before she can speak, Haakon is speaking, and she looks to him and listens. He's not one for speeches, so when he speaks at length? She pays attention. When she is gestured to, she stands still, meeting the eyes in turn of any who look at her. She also stays silent to let Catalana have her say. Then, she supports her husband. "My husband speaks true, though I believe he speaks misguidedly when he refers to you as Shav'Arvani, no?" She offers the Blackreefs a charming smile. "Yet, the sentiment remains: You are not viewed as legitimate in the eyes of Helianthus and his ilk. He will come and care not whether your bodies rot on land or feed the sea. We come offering aid - in exchange for yours against Helianthus."
Catalana unfortunately confirms Haakon's words. "Unfortunately it is true. House Blackreef is not a house recognized by Thrax, but it could be if they would like the aid to become one." Her face is for once serious, the charming smile melded into something stronger. "Helianthus is coming and after that the Eurus fleets who pray on isles like yours for their slave force. They will not care that you quarreled with Redreef. They will just take what and who they want. Baroness Ember, for all her faults, she has reached out her hand to you." She looks at both girls. "I don't believe in drawing blood unnecessarily and I believe that houses prosper better when they met on equal grounds. What would it take for you to join the compact under Baroness Ember?"
Caradoc listens to Haakon's words. Keeping the neck of the bottle held in his hand, he still strokes his beard with his fingertips. "We've heard the talk, yes," Caradoc murmurs toward Haakon and Medeia. "And... I agree with you, my Lord, my Lady. On all points. However..." Caradoc's eyes discreetly cast toward Hector.
Hector is grousing at the idea of Griffin autographing anything for the twins, meanwhile.
"What we want to achieve is--" both twins start to say together, and then look at one another and seem to have a silent moment between themselves, of sorting out who finishes the sentence. Melora is the one who finishes, "...keeping our people alive, healhy, safe from the elements..."
"This group came to us to propose an alliance," Hector says. "My Lady," he says, gesturing to Maya, assuming for some reason that Maya needs to be in the limelight, "what do you say to this?"
Catalana's question, asking what it would take for Blackreef to bend the knee, catches both women off-guard, and Hector and Caradoc besides. Belide and Melora both try to answer at once:
"Food for our people," Melora says.
In the same instant, overtalking her sister, Belide says: "Our rightful domain."
Oh, shit. Maya winces, but turns back toward the talks. She opens her mouth, then closes it. It takes her a moment to find her works, but she finally sucks in some air and digs in the bag she has with her. A map is pulled out and unfurled. "I think first things first-" it at least gives others time to consider -their- thoughts and weigh in, "we need to confirm what you believe to be your domain compared to what we have traditionally viewed as your domain."
It promises without promising and should make it look like she's open to discussion. Hopefully. "Food, however, I am certain we can do."
Catalana clarifies firstly. "What do you consider your domain? And may I ask, how do you plan to lead? It may be advisable for one to take position of leader and the other of voice. The voice speaks with the same authority of the head of house." She nods with Maya naturally "Joining the compact means having the resources of your Leiges available. House Kennex would be happy to support the rebuilding and fortifying of your lands and starting farming programs. There are many displaced from the Eurus crisis and be able to call this place home, should you want that."
Medeia gestures at the case of washed up alcohol and says something, the tone of her voice indicating she's settling in for the long haul.
Medeia says in Isles shav, "I suggest we drink, this might take a while."
Ah, yes. Now there down to business. Griffin watches.
Haakon sniffs sharply at Medeia's comment. "Aye, as she says." A slow breath drawn through flared nostrils while awaiting the Blackreef answer as to their claimed domain.
"Everything Redreef took from us," Belide answers Maya. For a flicker of a moment her eyes turn to Hector, who gives a subtle nod of approval.
Melora tilts her chin upward, like she wants to argue -- anyone who's had a sister knows that look.
Caradoc offers his yet-unopened bottle Medeia. "Indeed," he says to her. "Would you mind, my Lady? It gets a bit tricky, trying to open things, when I need to lean on my cane."
Hector walks around to stand next to Belide. "The Baronesses must know, Lady Catalana: what do you propose be done about Ember Redreef?"
Medeia checks charm and manipulation at easy. Medeia is successful.
Ember GM Roll checked stamina(2) + survival(2) at difficulty 15, rolling 8 higher.
Ember GM Roll checked stamina(2) + survival(2) at difficulty 15, rolling 2 higher.
Ember GM Roll checked stamina(2) + survival(2) at difficulty 15, rolling 6 lower.
Ember GM Roll checked stamina(2) + survival(2) at difficulty 15, rolling 16 higher.
Medeia takes the offered bottle and dips her chin, opening it for the man. Her warm hazel eyes flick over him appraisingly, lingering on his cane and leg. There is no pity in her expression, rather, it is a look of clinical curiosity - as if she might fix what time has made irreparable. The bottle is handed back before she leans down to open more and pass them around into willing hands.
There is a small shake of her head and Maya holds out the map towards the Baronesses. Perhaps a little more in Melora's direction, but her single eye can be blamed for that. "I would like to know precisely. After so many years, stories differ. What my people believe was taken and what yours believe was taken may differ." There is a brief hesitation before: "Unless you mean to try to trick us into giving up more than you are owed all while accepting aid as well?" If there's drinking, she will partake: it might be a bad idea.
Catalana doesn't touch a drink. She's serious mcSerious pants. "And what did they take?" Glancing around, she admits with true honesty. "Currently you struggle to feed and support what you have. Why would giving you more land be beneficial to anyone but you?" She glances at Hector and plays completely naive. "I am not certain what you mean?"
Haakon checks stamina and survival at easy. Haakon is marginally successful.
Maya checks stamina and survival at easy. Maya is marginally successful.
Haakon sniffs, several rounds into the drinking. "Fuck Redreef Shores. You ever even been there? Any of you? For two hundred fucking years? Streets stink of piss, puke, and guts." At least they *did* the time Haakon was there. "Better for strong folk to build their own stronghold.. instead of scrambling for some Arvani's bloody scraps. Build a proper fucking CASTLE aye?"
Medeia checks charm and manipulation at normal. Medeia is marginally successful.
Fine spirits are such a rarity in Blackreef Beach that it's no wonder bottles are getting passed around. Caradoc grins to Medeia: "Thank you, my Lady." There are no cups to offer, and so drinking from the bottle it is.
Hector squints at Catalana. "She's mad. It's plain to see. News of her public fit at Ivan Helianthus reached us even here."
Belide takes the map and surveys it, but doesn't seem to have an immediate answer -- and then someone puts a bottle in her hand, and...
...some time later, Caradoc has kept Haakon drinking with him, pull for pull. It's as though the crippled sailor has been waiting for someone who can keep up with him his whole life, and is relishing the opportunity. All four of the Blackreefs present have dipped into the Raconteur liquor, and while looking over the map with Maya, Melora has allowed herself to get properly drunk, and is slurring her speech. Hector has been careful to stop Belide from drinking as much as her sister, though both of them are visibly buzzed.
"...I wish we had a castle," Melora sighs, too drunk to stop herself from thinking aloud.
Catalana glares at Haakon for a moment, but Melora's comment catches her attention and she slides closer to the girl. "The only thing stopping that from happening is yourself. Bring your family and lands into the compact and we can help with that. Though, with trade deals on those beautiful feathers and eggs would help you do it on your own." She lowers her voice to the young girl. "Imagine being known as the Baroness who brought riches to her family. Who shaped their future in this moment. I imagine Lord Griffin would even write a poem about you." She keeps her voice quite hushed. No need for those uncles or sister to know.
Griffin really did live in a world that was charming compared to that. He'd never really had to look at it from the other side, and because of that, he was opening up his eyes for the first time ever. And it was also interesting which one of the sisters has was "helped" to drink less.
Medeia settles near Haakon, holding a bottle and pretending to drink, but not partking. After a while, to cover her tracks, she swaps bottles with Haakon so the one in her hand is not full in case anyone checks. When her husband begins to talk about Redreef being terrible, she seizes the opportunity, looking to Belide and Hector in particular, letting herself take on an affected tipsiness. "Aye, fuck Redreef! You want Ember Redreef's scraps? You want to take her home and sleep in the bed she's fucked in? No." Her head shakes, looking right at Belide. "You deserve better than some crazy woman's hand-me-downs. You want revenge on Redreef? Be better at their own game than they are. Join the Compact, reap your riches, elevate your house over hers. Let her froth at the mouth in jealousy and be /unable to touch you/." She looks to Caradoc then, smiling warmly. "You know, Lord Ian Kennex has lame legs, too, and he has some contraptions that help him walk. Bet we can get you one."
Maya is much too small to keep up with the likes of Caradoc and Haakon, but she's at least not near as drunk as Melora. She's trying for the camraderie angle and to build up rapport. Or maybe just to steel her own nerves.
"Here's the thing," she says finally. "I cannot guarantee you an unknown portion of land. It's like going to a farmer and saying 'just butcher me some meat' while expecting the butcher to know exactly how much you need. I'm not empowered to do that and I risk upsetting you by offering too little." Before there can be protests, she pulls out some parchment and prepares to write. "What I -can- promise, however, is food, clothing, and building supplies." She nods toward Catalana. "Kennex has already pledged as much. As Minister of Infrastructure, I can do the same for Redreef. We can see that your people are happy." The others can rile them up regarding Ember or even dissuade them about Redreef's lands... She's trying to go for the heart.
Catalana checks charm and manipulation at easy. Catalana is marginally successful.
"Fuck Ivan Helianthus," Haakon tells Hector bluntly. "Lackwit Demonlicker sends his minions to break down the doors of MY house? Glad I flayed the bastards," a nod of thanks to Caradoc as he is poured another drink. Melora's want for a castle is answered, "You should fucking BUILD one. With a big bloody hall and two big twin thrones in it. They even have black stone in Darkwater Watch, you could keep the ebon walls and towers..."
Ember GM Roll checked composure(3) at difficulty 20, rolling 6 lower.
Haakon checks charm and leadership at normal. Haakon is marginally successful.
Maya checks charm and manipulation at normal. Maya marginally fails.
Melora's eyes have a glazed-over look to them, but she seems almost rapt in listening to everyone in turn as they talk of things that Melora has always dreamed. Maybe not the streets reeking of shit and piss -- Blackreef Beach has one or two of those -- but the idea of bringing wealth, security, steady trade... all of that is visibly lighting up Melora's mind.
And visibly darkening Belide's. "Sister," she says, in the exceptionally cold way of a young woman who's drunk and upset, "how DARE you."
Melora stands up, leaning on Maya to steady herself as she does so. Belide strides forward and, without warning, slaps her twin across the face. "Redreef KILLED Mother and Father," Belide sneers. "And now they want to buy us with empty promises, so that they can USE us and then DISCARD us, or finish us off--"
Hector and Caradoc are both watching, and both seem surprised at the outburst; Hector seems to approve of it, if not the slap.
"Sister," Melora says, rubbing her cheek, "we should not... we should not argue in front of outsiders. Let us step inside for a moment." Melora picks up the bottle from the table, and as she walks toward the Ebonhold, that most crappy of castles, she has a swig from it. Belide huffs, glaring at the party, and follows her sister inside.
Caradoc murmurs to Medeia: "I have a bad feeling about this."
Griffin sighs. *Now* he wished he had a drink.
Haakon turns to Hector with a raised brow and a small shake of his head. "Your hate is gonna get those girls killed, old man. Redreef is naught but a pebble before the hammer that's above your heads."
Medeia looks at Caradoc and presses her lips thin. Setting down the bottle, she takes his good arm, and using Haakon's words to Hector as a distraction, leads Caradoc with her to follow the twins.
Maya is a little bit of a wobbly support, but she tries! That is, at least, until Belinde slaps her sister. The blonde looks pained for the twin and seems about to say something (or perhaps offer to look at the pained cheek) but both are wandering off. She looks like she wants to follow... but is also terrified of making things worse.
Ember checks luck at normal. Critical Success! Ember is spectacularly successful.
Catalana mumbles under her breath, "Teenagers." Before looking at the door. Turning to the two men, she just shakes her head in disgust.
Caradoc takes Medeia's arm, but he's slow to walk -- just in general, owing to the leg, but he also drank a Haakon amount of liquor and probably doesn't get as frequent a chance to put his liver through the motions. "We were teenagers once," he says to Catalana. "Well. You much more recently than me. They have their fights. They almost never drink, they're having a blow-up, it'll be -- oops, almost -- almost dropped my cane."
From just within the doors of the Ebonhold, the twins' argument can be heard, increasing in volume. It's hard to tell who's angry about what -- there's a lot of talking over one another, and they both do kind of have the same voice. As the argument gets louder and louder, dead parents /and/ hungry people are being invoked.
Hector glares back at Haakon. "My Lord, my hate is the only thing that has kept them ali--"
Hector's comment is interrupted by the sound of glass breaking and a strangled scream.
Medeia and Caradoc have just reached the door when it opens, to reveal Melora, standing, breathing heavily, a shattered bottle of fine Raconteur spirits in one hand, blood splattered all over her.
"As... As the Baroness of Blackreef Beach," Melora says, in a shaky, slurring, somewhat numb voice, "...I will have peace. With Redreef Shores. With the Compact."
Caradoc drops his cane for real and nearly topples over. Hector just stares, dumbfounded, before roaring in a panic and RUNNING for the Ebonhold: "BELIDE! BELIDE!"
Medeia sees the blood and rushes past Melora, to get to Belide. She checks the woman over, but it is too late. She waves the family away, they shouldn't have to see her like this. THe Harlequin stays with the... body... Until it is time to say the prayer for the soul.
Belide has had her neck opened up -- bleeding out swiftly, but maybe not swiftly enough. That's the kind of imprecise work that results from using a broken liquor bottle as a tool.
When Medeia rushes in, Caradoc actually DOES fall over, and is nearly trampled by Hector, who stops in the doorway and stares at Medeia with the body, but can't seem to bring himself to say anything. Both he and Caradoc, in their own ways, look like they could never have expected this.
Melora drops the broken bottle and then walks back to where she was sitting with Maya. She looks between Maya and Griffin: "I will need... I will need a bit of time... to put affairs in order, before I am ready to formally... formally act upon... anything."
Something in Maya's single eye says she's surprised at the outcome (as to which sibling came out triumphant), but also relieved and proud of Melora. When the woman returns and joins them, the one-eyed blonde just slides over a bottle. "Send word once you are ready. I would even be glad to come out personally once you are."
Griffin looks over to Maya,and then back to Melora. "Aye, I think we can do it."
"Belide Blackreef, may the Queen of Endings receive your soul and see to its care." Medeia says quietly, hands held over the body, "May your next turn on the Wheel be blessed by the goddess, with the Mother of Beginnings smiling upon it."
Under his breath, Griffin repeats the same words.
Haakon keeps the distance Medeia ordered, being further back than most of the others. He takes in the bloody scene silently, but his attention fixes promptly on Hector, watching the older Blackreef and wary of what the old warrior might do next. His first words are to answer Medeia's prayer with a murmured, "So be it."
Hector seems as broken as the bottle. When the prayer concludes, he turns away, and it really is something to see an old warrior struggling to hold back tears. He doesn't say anything, doesn't look at anyone -- just starts walking away.
"Thank you," Melora says, to Maya and Griffin. "I... I... what did I just DO...?"
Catalana pales significantly and looks upon the scene before her. Her fingers curl around her locket as she stares at Melora in sheer shock. There is a look after a deep swallow. "Does...this is... what's the word? Death of kin?..." The poor woman looks quite terrible in regards to the turn of events.
"You saved your people." Medeia says, having rejoined the group for the time being. "Baroness Melora. You made the first hard decision you will have to make for them. And you will make every hard decision you have to with poise and honor." She rests a hand lightly on the woman's shoulder, before saying more quietly, "I can prepare the body for services."
"Come!" Griffin leads Melora to a seat. "You did what you did. But for now, we.. you..need to focus on the bigger picture, okay? There will be time enough to mourn. Okay?"
"You did what you had to," Maya agrees, with... surprisingly little emotion. There is a look to Griffin and a slight pull of her features. "There is time to mourn. I believe what we can do is see a food shipment, at bare minimum, sent for the people of Blackreef while they adjust." This, this is something she can understand. Recovery after trauma.
Melora still seems stunned by her own actions -- but insulated from fully feeling their weight by how much liquor is in her bloodstream. "Thank you," she whispers toward Medeia. She looks over at Catalana, and holds eye contact for a moment, but what she wants isn't very clear -- understanding? Absolution, perhaps? Still, the mention of a food shipment makes her breathe out. "Thank you," she says again.
Melora's voice almost cracks as she murmurs to herself: "A castle."
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