Skip to main content.

DIPLO: A Matter of Honor

An Oathlands count is refusing the call of banners and has threatened to declare war on a smaller barony and invade unless they evict all of their eurusi refugees. This could significantly disrupt the war efort.

((Moderate risk, diplomatic characters, could potentially have combat. Eurusi characters specifically fit here))

Date

Jan. 18, 2021, 2 p.m.

Hosted By

Apostate

GM'd By

Apostate Drake

Participants

Drake Kenjay Mabelle Lisebet Bahiya Zara Katarina

Organizations

Location

Apostate's Dynamic GMing Room <OOC Room>

Largesse Level

Small

Comments and Log


While some are traveling east, to the islands, business takes this group of travelers west of Arx. By horse and carriage, you have all been sent to a diplomatic exchange with Count Dorian Redshore, of the County of Redshore, in his manor house in the southern Oathlands. The problem at hand is this: the Count has apparently refused the call of banners, objects to the presence of Eurusei refugees in the Oathlands, and has sent word to the its own vassal barony of Wyndcall that they should stop sheltering Eurusei refugees immediately, or face consequences.

It's a lovely home - symmetrical and a bit stern, but surrounded with gardens, turning bronze on the edge of autumn. There is a moment to dismount, disembark, get prepared and focused as well as discuss the gameplan as you are approaching the home.

Kenjay emerges from the carriage, then turns to offer Bahiya - and anyone else who needs it - a hand down. Clad in scarlet and orange Eurusi-style silks, with armour of steel and leather never designed by an Arvani smith, the warrior might be a strange choice to bring to an ostensibly Eurusi-hating County, but there you go. He offers Bahiya a low-voiced description of the surrounds as she dismounts from the carriage, making note of the gardens, the trees and the manor itself in particular. His helm is in his free hand, tucked under his arm.

Mabelle descends from the carriage by Kenjay's onto the leaf-scattered ground after another long carriage ride. She is not foreign to the landscape of the south Oathlands. Clad in what she considered appropriate for a diplomatic delegation, including a few things that are likely not and maybe a weapon concealed up a sleeve, Mabelle is mainly carrying her smile with her as she waits for her companions by the gate.

Lisebet knows most of the folks she's travelling with, being a former Oathlander. The petite duchess is quite willing to work with those she's here with. She steps down on her own, but smiles at those who are here. "Very symmetrical," she notes, overstating the obvious. "And I bet the gardens are lovely in spring and summer." She makes her way to stand near the gate as well, quietly.

Bahiya accepts Kenjay's help with practiced ease, the aquamarine-hued ribbon over her eyes catching the light as she tilts her head, listening to him speak. Eurusi-jewels of Arvani make gleam, and her garments, matching the ribbon, are the same rich color of the gems. Her smile is grateful but fleeting, tucked away beneath the neutral, calm expression of a diplomat. Her hand tucks into the Redrain Prince's elbow. "Do let me know if I am glared at," she says softly, her tone teasing and her Arvani accentless. "So I can smile and alarm."

A little odd to see Zara in full martial gear but here she is, accompanying her cousin, Katarina as they travel through Oathlands to get to the lovely manor of the baron. She looks dignified, stoic, as though there is nothing to worry her mind. Just yet.


Katarina lets Zara walk ahead of her. She knows full well that she's going in with one strike already against her -- she and Bahiya both. The diminutive Valardin Princess is in an armored leather gown, all black and white and silver, with her hair pulled back behind her. She looks almost funereal, with her black and silver veil covering most of her face. "If it is only glares," Katarina notes softly, "then we will be fortunate, for not having to work /down/ to that point from a more harsh beginning~."

A house butler makes sure to get everyone's names and proper title before proceeding into the manor. He then leads you to a long room, the table set for luncheon. At the head of the table is the count himself - a man whose graying beard and lined forehead show him as a patriarch in this traditional home. To his right sits a somewhat younger man, with a thin moustache, wearing a blue silk shirt and gray wool trousers, with a dueling rapier worn at his side.

The butler introduces them thusly: "The Count Dorian Redshore - and his Sword, Sir Philip Strong, Captain of the Redshore Guard."

The latter-mentioned guard captain stands and bows in greeting in an appropriate way, though the Count remains seated. The table is set for a fall luncheon, with small cups of soup with onion, a bit of salad, and pre-carved chicken with warmed apples. For Bahiya, the warm scent of the food is the tell that at least the Count is responding with some hospitality.

Still, his expression remains impassive, even as the butler one by one introduces the diplomats properly. His look toward Katarina, in her veil, is much colder than the one he gives to Princess Zara a second later.

As all are seated according to station, the Count speaks up. "I can't imagine you will be staying too long, but as it's been a journey, the least we can do is welcome you. I'm surprised so many would be sent on such a futile errand as this."

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

Kenjay, having been introduced as Prince Kenjay Redrain (although it's probably debateable whether the Count is still waiting for the Prince to arrive) offers the Count and the Captain a fluid Eurusi-style bow - one that doesn't move the elbow Bahiya is holding. "Many thanks for your generous welcome, my lord Count," he replies, a tinge of Eurus remaining at the very edges of his Arvani.

Mabelle checks charm and diplomacy at normal. Mabelle is marginally successful.

Mabelle scans the setting of the room and the bearded man as he speaks. She does not touch the food quite yet, old habits from her days of living in the Lyceum are still embedded, but does not make it seem defiant. "It is always pleasant to learn the Oathlands hospitality is still practiced in full swing, Count Redshore. Thank you for hosting us. That aside", she adds with a smile, "In such cases, no matters are too small to attend to. One loose hinge can bring down an entire wardrobe, trust me, I'm speaking from experience", she curves her lips at him as if she had a wardrobe or two collapse in the past. It likely happened.

Features unchanging as the count finally addresses them, Zara simply gives a gracious nod at his words of welcome, settling in comfortably. "Thank you for your gracious hospitality, my lord." She says simply, staying close to Katarina, as though to indicate her solidarity is unyielding. "It seems a faithful man such as yourself holds the doctrine of Gild close to his heart. Your hospitality here suggests it is so."


Once the group is announced and presented, Katarina steps forward, to stand alongside Zara. Though the young Princess was not born in the Oathlands, she is well-versed in its customs, in the way that immigrants to a new land often end up more familiar with that land's customs than some of the natives who take it all for granted. And so Katarina turns her 'Oathlander' dial up to 11 in her posture, her curtsy, her bearing. The only thing she can't do it on is her voice -- her cadence and vowel sounds are still the property of Suj'abbat. "Count," she says, in a gentle but not apprehensive tone, "why do you call this a 'futile errand,' if you would indulge my asking...?"

Lisebet enjoys the aroma of the meal that is set up, as they enter. With the introductions so appropriately done, she looks to those who speak as they do so. "It is always appreciated to find ourselves met with some wonderful Oathlands hospitality. Thank you." She settles into the seat, comfortably, and seemingly at ease. She glances at each person as they speak, mostly quiet, studying the Sword at this point, while the Royalty takes on the Count. Curious to see how Sir Philip Strong reacts to all this, and wondering why he is here with the Count.

Bahiya checks charm and diplomacy at normal. Bahiya is marginally successful.

Bahiya, for now, remains quiet after her introduction, letting go of Kenjay after he gives his traditional bow, Bahiya moving smoothly into her own deep, respectful bow. She does remark, "It smells quite wonderful here," to no one in particular. Her hand tucks back into Kenjay's arm, her smile growing. "You are gracious to offer us hospitality despite the futility," she says in the direction of the count. "It says much of your character and we are humbled by it. It takes nothing to order us away and takes much, much more to offer your respect. We give it in return."

"My thanks to you. As a Prince of Redrain, it's interesting that you take notice of these internal Oathlands matters." But the Count clearly notices that edge of accent that Kenjay has, and a brow quirks at it. Wine is brought forth, and coffee and water for those not drinking wine.

Sir Philip takes wine. "We should all be so flattered as to be a hinge in your wardrobe, Lady Mabelle." It's unclear if he is being sarcastic, but, this seems positive enough.

"Katarina Valardin," says the Count Redshore, evenly and properly for now, "Though you are a Princess of Valardin, in these times of strife you have come to the Oathlands while still showcasing your Eurusei heritage. Nevertheless..." He finds a smile for her. She's doing her very best and doing a fine job of it. "You've assimilated well into this country, so please understand, when I speak of the Eurusei refugees here locally, it is not about present company. When I speak to their well-documented traditions of being thieves, and liars, I do not speak of those who have, as singular people, become members of our Compact." At Zara's comment about hospitality, the Count gestures openly. "We have fine traditions here. They can be taught - to individuals. But when refugees-" He looks at Bahiya, and pauses. Though she cannot see his expression, she will at least hear the hitch in his tone- to all present, he does seem a bit apologetic, but he does keep moving with this, as he is not entirely convinced- "band together, they also cling to their old cultural ways. You, ambassador, more than anyone, are aware of these Eurusei traditions. Their lack of value for honesty and for property."

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

Mabelle checks perception and diplomacy at easy. Mabelle is marginally successful.

Kenjay checks perception and empathy at easy. Critical Success! Kenjay is spectacularly successful.

Zara checks perception and empathy at easy. Zara is marginally successful.

Bahiya checks perception and diplomacy at easy. Bahiya is successful.

Lisebet checks perception and empathy at easy. Lisebet is successful.

Katarina checks perception and empathy at easy. Katarina is successful.

Kenjay smiles at the Count, having accepted coffee. "As one who understands both the Dune Kingdoms and Arvum, my lord, I could not turn away," he says. "And while I am of House Redrain, my sister married into House Valardin, and I number many Oathlanders as my kin." Polite and calm, Kenjay just about radiates earnest sincerity. "I have assisted in the Northlands with matters pertaining to refugees - and pertaining to the differences between Eurusi and Arvani ways, and the finding of common ground. Still, I have found the Eurusi to be thieves no more or less often than the Arvani, and I am all too aware that desperate people will do desperate things."

Mabelle concurs with Kenjay while trying not to point out that he is insulting his own guests, "Cultures can be a thing of beauty, if you guide them and help them assimilate into society. They do not disappear just become one is more familiar with the ways of their host. I do assure you however, that thieving is not a cultural habit, as Prince Redrain just mentioned, it is a matter of need. Perhaps some guidance and assistance can prevent it?", she suggests.

Bahiya, a woman clearly of Eurus, gives another deep bow in the count's direction. "You are not wrong that there is much amiss with Eurusi tradition and culture. I am a refugee to the shores of the Compact, intent on unraveling the foundations of my homeland. But, theft is theft. While there are aspects of our culture that prides itself on misleading others, there is very little that covets thievery, as has been stated." Her head tilts, her expression open. "You said 'property', pertaining to the lack of respect and value of it. Is something missing, my Lord?"


Katarina puts on her most gracious face in accepting the (perhaps unintentionally) backhanded praise of the Count, and her veil makes it easy to bite the inside of her cheek a little without anyone knowing. The talk of thievery and disregard for property makes her eyes narrow for a moment -- and then her brows lift in something like recognition. She nods to Kenjay, and offers: "I think that of all of us present, I am most familiar with any customs of the Dune Kingdoms regarding, ah, lies." Katarina pauses, so that Bahiya might ask the exact nature of the issue. "If we were to speak to the refugees who vex you so, and are able to settle whatever disputes have arisen --" Katarina looks to Zara as she speaks, as if seeking to make sure she's not overstepping her bounds in front of the Great House's Voice, "-- would you then answer the call to banners...?"

Lisebet doesn't want to overstate things, but she does look quite curious, as she listens. "I come from an Oathlands family and have worked with refugees as well as these others, though admittedly in the crownlands." There's that acknowledgement of another person waying in, Lisebet quite in agreement with the others. "Teaching, mentoring, and giving people honest work and means to take care of themselves seems to be appreciated by all. I wonder Count, Sir Philip, is there perhaps some way we might be able to assist?" Her voice, though from Westrock Reach, is still all Oathlands, no accent as yet really built up from the Ashfords. Of course, she's rather saying the same as everyone else, but one never knows, perhaps a bit of a different take on it might help.

"I see." Zara says, brows furrowing lightly, as she glances to the others, shifting to silence when they make their cases. She doesn't say her piece until she notices a gap in the conversation. "Well, while we're your guests." She seems to put a little emphasis on the latter word, which may seem odd. "We won't go so far as to throw insult to any of your decisions. However, I would like to point out that these refugees, wherever they may be from, are our guests. And anyone who considers themselves a true follower of the gods would keep that in mind." Her lips quirk just slightly. "As for the idea of them bringing in new customs. Change is inevitable in Lagoma's name. And it should also be noted that there was a time when our ancestors before us were refugees too. Though much of our history is lost, that is something I know." She breathes a sigh. "As a vassal of Valardin, it is your /duty/ to answer the call to banners."

"A man might steal food, in desperation, Prince Redrain," says the Count. "In lean times I could even understand it. But to steal hierloom items is not an act of desperation, but one of... recreation." He drinks some wine, and clears his throat a second later. He directs his next comment to Bahiya. "Indeed. There is. Our very heirloom blade, Shorecleave."

With this, he glances to the Sword, his right hand man so to speak.

Sir Philip continues, putting down a spoon first, lifting his glass. "I was on a training exercise in the Wyndhall barony. It is absolutely crawling with those- ah-" Barely contained racism held in check, the man looks at Katarina apologetically, "The refugees, yes. You're aware of course of their customs as you said. And you're also aware that the heirloom blade isn't to be drawn lightly, so it was stolen away while it was unattended." He looks a bit chagrined by this, but it's clearly a pain point. He goes back to soup, which helps somewhat.

"The Baroness Wyndcall should hold responsibility. They are her lands... and thus, her refugees," the Count Redshore continues. "But she has refused to take responsibility for the theft and continues to shelter them." He looks to Zara, who is being stern, and Katarina, more pleading. "IF. You can see this matter settled." He sniffs. "Then we would be more inclined."

Kenjay nods as he listens to the Count. "I am sorry for the House's loss," he says. "Such a matter is grave indeed." His eyebrows do lift at Philip's admission, but he keeps quiet and listens and drinks coffee.

Katarina checks composure at easy. Katarina is successful.

Mabelle tilts her head for a brief moment as uncertainty engulfs her expression, "If a heirloom blade is of such great importance, why would take it there if it clear to you that the place is -crawling- with refugees", she echoes the swords words, "And why leave it unattended?"


Katarina doesn't so much as furrow her brow at Philip's near-slip. There's something grim in how easily the Princess looks past it -- it says more than it should about how deeply those sentiments need to cut to get through a built-up emotional carapace. Katarina looks to Zara for a signal on how to go forward, and dips in for a brief, murmured exchange, but Mabelle's question does catch her attention.

"I'm sorry for your loss, my lord. I do wish you'd just told us that was the situation you wanted resolved." Zara says, her voice softening a little at Philip's admission. "We can speak to the baroness. And though I insist that the Eurusi under her are kept safe, we'll ensure the sword is returned to you." She says firmly. It appears that the situation has given her a low appetite since she doesn't touch the food.

Lisebet considers the information that is now provided, with a thoughtful look. "An heirloom sword is indeed something of import and not something that should be easily lost," she agrees with the group. Mabelle's question brings a slightly wry smile to her face as she listens, looking to hear the answers given. "Speaking with the baroness does appear to be the next thing on our list to do, but I do wonder if there is any more you would like to tell us?" Going along with Mabelle's line of questioning. Lisebet's focus is again over on the Sword, rather than the Count at this point.

The blind Ambassador is thoughtful, her brow furrowing as she tilts her head. "You have no suspects as to who might have stolen it? Did you question any of them?" Her head turns to Katarina's voice, an emotion flickering through her features. "Do you know where these refugees come from, specifically?" She lets go of Kenjay, spreading her hands, palm out in a gesture of honesty. "Eurus has several states, and the traditions vary from each." Her tone is gentle, understanding. "Have they been asked?" She gestures. "I know you do not trust them, the refugees, but if the heirloom is important, and its recovery also important, perhaps we can help you find it." She gives a bow. "While the Baroness is protecting the refugees, I am sure she is still honor-bound to return the item. If she does not know where it is, then we should find the thieves themselves."

"Lady Mabelle I thought the refugees were not thieves, and WERE to be trusted," says Sir Philip, making eye contact with her for a moment. "Of course I would ride out with the blade at my side, and, assume it was safely cared for while I worked training with blunted weapons. But since the Baroness sees fit to provide those on her lands with work tending to them, it was taken from either the stables, or the fields, in the interim."

The Count seems tight-lipped for a moment. "Princess Zara, I have no desire to murder or cull these refugees, but I do wish that they would take their families and traditions elsewhere... somewhere other than the Oathlands, or at least other than my vassals in specific. But if you could see to the recovery of the blade." A great, weighty sigh. "Perhaps your speaking to the Baroness wil succeed where mine has not." When Bahiya asks an important question, he considers what he knows. "Suj'Abbat, is my understanding, though I am not wholly familiar with all their customs." But some here would be, obviously.

"I wouldn't leave something so valuable among a group of Oathlanders unknown to me, sir." Zara points out to Philip. "But we all make mistakes. And you certainly do deserve to have your sword returned to you."

"Will you also heed the call of banners too, if this sword is returned to you, or the culprits are brought forth?" She asks the count, a brow rising.

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

Mabelle is done sitting, she rises from the chair and stands there, hands folded about herself, rubbing her chin with the other, "If I were to go to bathe and have my favorite ring with me, I would leave it unattended. Did you just.. set it aside? Did you ask someone to look after it? Please tell me, Count Redshore", she looks at Dorian now, "That you did not bring the entire nobility of the Oathlands to your doorstep just because your Sword was careless". The entire time her smile is present, tight. But its there, and she assures him, "We will assist however, once we get the full count from the Sword. How else would we know what exactly happened?"

Lisebet turns back to the Count now, with his words. "Change is difficult, isn't it?" she asks, sympathetic. "And yet, it can lead to such beautiful and vibrant growth, if it is positive. I won't say it's easy, but I can tell you that it is entirely possible to do it, and to work with everyone to have a fair, growing and learning population. There are always little hiccups along the way, but they can be taken care of fairly."

Kenjay drinks coffee. Behind a coffee cup, no-one can see you smile.

Bahiya laces her hands together as the Count confirms a suspicion. Her head tilts in Katarina's direction, the Ambassador smiling, and simply waits.


A look of understanding washes over Katarina's veiled face. She relaxes her shoulders, which she hadn't even realized that she'd been keeping so tense. "It is fortunate," Katarina notes, "that among the nobility at your doorstep is the heir to the throne of the Dune Kingdom of Suj'abbat, the City of Veils." The Princess laces her fingers in front of herself, reciting her birthright a calm but decisive tone. "If they are of my birthland, Count, then I will return your House's sword. And you will answer the call." Now it's gone from Katarina asking and Zara telling, to Zara asking and Katarina telling -- though Katarina takes pains not to threaten, but rather to just exude too much confidence to be argued with.

The Count raises his chin at Katarina. His knowledge of precisely her heritage may not have been known to him until now, but... it does make some sense. A bit of warmth finally comes over his features. "Perhaps then you can speak to them in the language that I cannot. But if they ... continue to lie to us, then we will insist on their removal."

Philip looks rightly chided by Mabelle's pointed words. "You are right of course. It was clearly my error, but you will see, if you speak to those refugees, that they are up to no good. And no good will come of throwing ourselves into this war on their behalf."

He rises, and bows. "I wish you well in your dealings." With a tight throat, he leaves the luncheon for the time being.

The Count looks levelly at Zara. "Yes. If the matter is settled, we will answer the call. Good luck to you."

Katarina checks perception and diplomacy at normal. Katarina marginally fails.

Bahiya checks perception and diplomacy at normal. Bahiya is marginally successful.

Mabelle checks perception and empathy at normal. Mabelle marginally fails.

Zara checks perception and diplomacy at normal. Zara is marginally successful.

Kenjay checks perception and empathy at normal. Kenjay is marginally successful.

Lisebet checks perception and empathy at normal. Lisebet is marginally successful.

The attache now rides out to the lands of Wyndhall (under Baroness Wyndcall) who seems to have the camp of Suj'abbati refugees set up in farmlands in her barony. It's easy enough to see why a training exercise MIGHT happen here - for those more martially inclined or interested in riding horses there is plenty of open and cleared terrain. Some muddy, from recent rainfall, and some tilled, as new cropping has sprung up and the settled are reaping the harvest.

The settlers are not, for the most part, in permanent dwellings, but they are orderly, with white tents housing some, and some in wooden lean-tos. New construction seems to promise buildings that can withstand the oncoming winter, but isn't yet complete, and there's a bustle to the camp as the attache approaches.

Mabelle and Katarina get the most wary looks, it seems. Perhaps they are just terribly fancy. It's hard to figure out if anything is centralized here.

As for the others, there's really only a few score refugees, and... it would be unlikely to blame the children who are currently out playing in the field, or some of the farmers who are cutting crops. If you were an heirloom blade, where would you be?

Mabelle frowns somewhat as she sees the state of the population, something which she constantly works to improve in Artshall. The new construction gathers most of her attention and for the most part, she does not notice people look at her. She's quite used to it by now. She leaves talking to them to those who speak their language, despite her own understanding of it. They might be more receptive to it or quite the opposite, but for now, she'll watch.


Katarina's confidence in speaking to the Count may have been unearned -- but hereditary royal titles are also unearned, so at least it's of a piece. Katarina walks among the settlement, speaking Eurusi with her native accent, introducing herself as Princess Katarina Valardin and so on -- but finds that she receives more wary looks than anything. The frown on her face behind her mask is somehow obvious without being seen. In fact, Katarina seems downright /bothered/. The young woman is agitated in ways that she does not voice aloud.

Lisebet checks perception and empathy at normal. Lisebet is marginally successful.

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

Lisebet has helped settle refugees fairly recently on Ashford lands. She isn't martially inclined, but is willing to accept that some sort of military training might happen here. Her attention goes to the farmers in the fields, briefly, and to the children playing. It brings a smile to her face, as she watches them. She offers a rueful smile to Mabelle and Katarina, along with a "Maybe some of us should try?" She thoughtfully moves away from them, and looks for someone she can speak to, perhaps surprisingly opening in Eurusi, though it is entirely Arvani accented.

There's a certain determined look on Zara's face as she walks along the camp, studying the settlers, her eyes softening as approaches them personally. She greets them kindly, brows furrowing slightly as she studies their dwelling.

Kenjay is Bahiya's escort and guard - but he's also got a reputation of his own. Suj'abbat may not have been the city he spent his days in, but you never know, word of the Scarlet Storm may have spread. He's certainly got the name marked on the signature armour of a gladiator, and he carries himself as an arena champion should. Afoot he spots a few likely people, and with a warning touch to Bahiya's hand he escorts the diplomat in their direction. "Good day to you all," he greets them all warmly. "How're the preparations for winter going?" His Eurusi is colloquial, informal, and spoken like a native - unlike his Arvani.

Bahiya does her level best, through body-language and more, that Kenjay is the one in charge at this very moment. Her be-ribboned visage drops, head bowed. Her gems were stowed before their arrival to the camp, her cloak covering most of her clothing. She is subdued but observant, her hand still in Kenjay's elbow, the woman doing her best to imitate an uninteresting shadow.

It could work for Katarina, but it could also work against her - she's kind of a big deal, being the heiress and all... Mabelle is of course famous locally, being an Oathlands girl, and dressed with dragonweep and other rich things... Zara is also well-appointed, but being in armor seems to work in her favor somewhat. The armor Kenjay wears is more recognized - the Suj'abbati understand a gladiator. And when he cheerfully speaks their language...

The man he is speaking to, tan of skin and with a scarf over his head, up-nods to him. He looks into the flap of the tent he is somewhat guarding, but senses nothing amiss otherwise. "What sir, we are not accustomed to what we have heard is an Oathlands winter! We have our best men working on the crop storage first. And as you can see, we are nearly finished with the stronger housing here."

Lisebet slips aside. There are a lot of women with children in the camp - one woman seems the most awestruck by the situation, and approaches Lisebet, tentatively. "... Do my eyes decieve me that you're bringing royalty to us?"

Katarina checks perception and investigation at easy. Katarina is marginally successful.

Mabelle checks perception and investigation at easy. Mabelle is marginally successful.

"I do hope you feel safe around here." Zara says with brows furrowing in worry as she glances around. "I have faith the baroness will see to your protection but House Valardin will aid however they can." Her eyes scan the surroundings, as though trying to find anything out of place.

Zara checks perception and investigation at easy. Zara is marginally successful.

Lisebet smiles at the woman, kindness shining through her eyes. There's a genuine kindness that comes automatically. She doesn't actually say yes or no to that - really does she need to? She glances back at the others, Valardin royalty as they might be, with a delicate half shrug, barely even visible given what she's wearing. She's actually not really richly dressed herself, though she's in good leather armour, all Farshaw colours at that. "We come to see," Lisebet says in Eurusi that she has paid attention to learning. "how you are preparing for the winter, and what might be troubling you all." She'll start there, of course. "The Princess and - all of us - we would like to understand better what might be amiss, what we can assist with, and where your strengths are, where you might also contribute to the society that you are now part of." Petite and demure, that's Lisebet, but she quiets now to listen.

"I was in Arx last winter," Kenjay says to his new friend. "I knew that snow would fall, but I was still as cold as I've ever been. You'll get snow here, when it's so cold that the water has turned solid." Genial, affable, Kenjay is everyone's friendly uncle, as well as a warrior. "Get the winter buildings finished as soon as you can, because the cold can kill more easily than a sword." He pauses, then grimaces. "That is, if you're still here when it gets that cold. I don't know if you're aware, but your Baroness is in trouble with her master."

Mabelle listens quietly on the conversations being held as she travels around the camp, checking the conditions in which they live in and then some.

Bahiya continues to be quiet and still observant and unremarkable.

Katarina looks for something quite specific... and thinks she spots it, a small building contructed of wood, the outside entrance hung over the top with a veil. An Oathlander would've missed this detail.... Zara seems to, though she also sees that Katarina sees such a building.

Mabelle's seeking is directed elsewhere... if you WERE an heirloom sword, where would you be hiding? A few options. Perhaps it's been taken into this main tent. Perhaps it's in that building the other ladies are curious about. But it wouldn't be out in the fields - there's no security. The thought does occur to her that she could try to snoop around inside the tent but if she wasn't up to sneaking she'd have to talk her way in to one somehow. But there are several.

The woman smiles at Lisebet, seeming genuinely eager to answer. "The rains are getting a bit colder than we're used to! We had a good storm blow in last night that nearly tipped our tent. But, the Baroness has told us that if the weather gets too cold, we're all simply invited to her home to wait it out!" Naturally.

"Oh, is that so," meanwhile, says the man talking to Kenjay. "Oathlands politics can always be a bit confusing. She's been very hospitable to all of us. Though if she's gotten into trouble for that I cannot imagine what happened."

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

Bahiya checks perception and diplomacy at easy. Bahiya is marginally successful.

Mabelle looks to the left, looks to the right and locates a young woman. She awkwardly murmurs to her in Eurusi, that her stocking got caught in her.. well. Its caught. She's not even certain the woman knows what a stocking is, but hey, she definately knows the location it got stuck in. She offers her a brooch she has in her bag, quite valuable, if she can just step into that main tent to fix her.. situation.


Katarina walks toward the wood building with the veil hung above the entrance. She stops outside of it, hands folded in front of her lap, looking up at the veil with... if we're being honest, trepidation in her eyes. Then, she turns to look at her companions as they interact with the settlement in their various ways. Her gaze returns to the veil over the door, and for a moment, she bows her head, eyes closed.

After a moment, Katarina's eyes open, and she lifts her head. She motions toward Zara, telling the other Princess to follow with her. "I will not ask you to employ deceit, cousin," Katarina murmurs toward Zara. "And I will in turn ask that you do not judge me for doing so." Katarina approaches Kenjay, Bahiya, and the man at the tent. "I am Princess Katarina al'Muraq-Sabbat, daughter of King Mahukum'il'ramir and Queen Tala'il'ramir, heir to the Dune Kingdom of Suj'abbat. We seek the sword called Shorecleave. Per Oathlands tradition, I am to be married to it."

Bahiya leans and shifts on her feet, the movement subtle, and murmurs something to low to Kenjay, her tone apologetic, perhaps apologizing for the distraction of movement.

Kenjay's smile turns wry. "My niece is Suj'abbati," he says. "She is a fine woman, but found the Oathlands a difficult place to be at first, where they value truth so highly." His hand pats Bahiya's on his arm, and he smiles again, this time at Katarina. "Hello, nephew."

"I imagine snow will be quite a bit colder than even that cold rain," Lisebet murmurs sympathetically. "But to move in with the Baroness? That seems to me to be an ideal situation for all." She might have had to convince herself that is true, to say it, odd though that might be. "I heard there was some bad horse riding around here, and people waving sticks." Not that she is Eurusi, and she's not very good at lying, so quite obviously anyone likely can see through her, but maybe she'll get bonus points for trying?

There's raise of her brows at Katarina's pre-warning, though Zara knows better than voice her reaction to this. Instead she simply watches her cousin at work, managing to keep her composure even as she speaks of ancient Orthodox tradition of marrying weaponry.

Bahiya can smell the mud so... they weren't kidding it seems about last night's rain.

Mabelle slinks off into a tent, speaking briefly to a woman just outside and handing her a bauble - something more valuable clearly to the refugee than Mabelle, as she seems shocked to receive it. She's welcomed in.

The tents are far from squalid - it's not a bad way to live. There are two boys in the back playing with a spinning top in a cleared out spot of dirt - some kind of betting game maybe, done with colored marbles on the side. They both look surprised at the fancy lady that just walked in.

Before she can say anything else, there is a commotion from outside as Katarina gets the attention of the camp. Hushed mutters flow through, as well as nods of acknowledgement. What she just said makes perfect sense, clearly.

The boys in the tent that Mabelle is in get up, and run outside. They leave the inside of the tent unattended and allow Mabelle to do her business... or, well, snoop around, if she wants to start searching under blankets or in boxes or in that one pile of straw positioned near the back-

"A sword with a name called Shorecleave would certainly be a fancy one," speaks up one man, looking right at Katarina. "The swords from this country have long straight blades, not curved as we're used to. We don't have such a straight blade around here," he declares.

The woman Lisebet is talking to seems to struggle with the question at first, as if re-translating. "Oh, yes, some soliders and guards came out here and did some sword and drill practice... somewhat recently. Their armor was quite more like hers-" Zara's. "They didn't leave anything behind."

The man Kenjay is speaking to smiles quite warmly. "The... Oathlanders-" He wanted another word, struggles with translation, settles on this, bad pronounciation and all, "have a dull way of communicating. Seems to suck all of the joy out of life to only make true statements and never be clever. Still... in the manner of what is most likely to fit in well in these countries, we're teaching the children not to lie."

Mabelle checks perception and investigation at easy. Mabelle is successful.

Scaring little children out of rooms is Mabelle's favorite activity. Why do you think she never gave birth? Anyway, once they are out, she rummages as if the room is laced with hidden cookies and she finds a very curious sword belt hiding behind some leather packs.

At least some of Lisebet's poor wording may be due to being a non-native speaker. "Did they give anything away?" she asks curiously. "Or lose anything?" She gives up on trying to be quaint or obscure, at least somewhat. Mostly she gives the woman a somewhat knowing look, as she listens to the wording trying to see what isn't quite being said. If she can. Katarina's words gaining the attention of the entire camp get a slightly tilted head from Lisebet, but she's still mostly focused on the woman she's talking to.

Bahiya smiles gently to herself, murmuring again to Kenjay, but she seems ... delighted. Whatever she's noticed, she'd conveyed, entertained but what is likely an innocent brush with her homeland's culture. Or, a part of her homeland.


Katarina approaches Kenjay and Bahiya, and performs something like a leveled-up curtsy -- it includes flourishes that are part of no custom anywhere in the known world, and goes on for nearly ten full seconds, but should get across the message that the pair should be treated with respect.

"It is of dire importance that the sword is returned to its rightful owners. It would dramatically improve the standing of your community within the Oathlands, and make aid in building shelters much more likely. It is of equally dire importance that the practices of the Temple of the Veil are conducted openly, for the Oathlands will welcome such ceremonies with open arms and understanding."

Kenjay offers Katarina one of his fluid Eurusi-style bows, then turns to face the Eurusi man he'd been speaking with again. Whatever Bahiya murmured to him has him smiling. "I never spent any time in Suj'abbat," he says. "I am aware of the customs, though. And, um, I've never been to the Dune Kingdoms in my life." Apparently thinking on your feet is difficult when it's with words.

The belt that Mabelle finds would indeed fit a straight blade, the kind that the refugees claimed they obviously did not have. And thus she walks out of the tent with a belt with a straight blade which the Suj'abbati clearly said they did not have - or actually they did say that they did had? No one seems surprised or offended or tries to hide it at all. That's all perfectly reasonable to them.

The man by the tent, that Kenjay was speaking with, crosses his arms. "I am going to be perfectly honest with you-" he says... (Really?) "We didn't think the blade was particularly important. But the man we got it from did treat it with a lot of care."

The woman Lisebet is talking to turns her attention to the two boys. "You weren't supposed to be playing with that," she says to them. "It's sharp. I'll have to stab you both with it to teach you a lesson!"

The boys laugh. There's a chattering of conversation among them as they declare they were innocent and then declare they were guilty in turn, a bit of awkward interruption that puts to the immediately the clear lie from earlier - yes, the children are taught the very same traditions as the adults. But sometimes, it takes a little practice.

The woman looks apologetic to Lisebet a second later. "I think that might be the thing you're here looking for. I did not realize that they had taken it prior. It's very important to us that it not be bothered."

Katarina says something enlightened, and there are some mutterings around the crowd. "We're... grateful for your visit, princess," another woman says. "It's truly an honor to have you here with us. We'll be sure to practice more openly in the future as it pleases." Mutters of general assent.

The two boys both look at Kenjay, and, as if realizing for the first time that he's here, they seem to believe at least that his armor is super cool... and identify with the trickiness of careful phrasing.

"The man you /got/ it from?" Zara asks suddenly, overhearing the words directed to Kenjay, her brows rising at this.

Katarina checks charm and propaganda at hard. Katarina is marginally successful.

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

"Oh yes, he gave it to us," says the man by the tent. He looks at the blade with a bit of confusion, then back at Zara. "He said it was a peace offering from neighbors. It seemed like a real struggle for him to part ways with it."


Katarina bows her veiled head toward the woman who speaks to her about 'practices.' When she lifts her head, she scans over the settlers with golden eyes, and offers them one more hopefully enlightened set of comments: "There is so much more to the world around us than we are taught in Suj'abbat, my friends. Keep open hearts and open minds toward those who represent the Faith of the Pantheon, when your paths cross with theirs. It is the Faith of the Pantheon that teaches us the terror, the unceasing pain, the limiting and crippling slavery of making one's own choices."

Bahiya breathes out, perhaps a little louder than she intended; she is slightly surprised. "A masterful bit of deception," she says quietly, as much for Katarina, who she can scent nearby, as well as a compliment to ... well, anyone listening. but it's clear to the others she means Sir Philip. Her mind is whirling, continuing to listen. "Now we must convince the Count what we think happened. If we need to. We only needed to return the heirloom, yes?" she asks the attache.

"Suj'abbat is in your past, as Skal'daja is in mine," says Kenjay, looking around at the refugees around them, then pulling back his sleeve to bare his wrist and the scars it bears. "I am now a free man, and the Oathlands' honesty is your future." And then he grins, bright and bold. "And I need a wheelbarrow to carry the contents of my loincloth."

Katarina checks composure at hard. Katarina fails.


"UNCLE--!" Katarina says, nearly snapping her neck she looks over at Kenjay so quickly and sharply.

Bahiya checks composure at hard. Bahiya is marginally successful.

Bahiya smiles, neutral, calm, but her voice cracks a little. "A free man, yes, and a wonderful companion. And he speaks truth; it would be a very, very large wheelbarrow, so I hear."

"To clarify, what did the man look like?" Zara asks before adding. "I believe I may know who it was. We'll alert the count of this." Her attention shifts to Kenjay. Not just at his words, but at Katarina's exclamation. "Well we can use that excuse whenever someone asks us what took us so long." She adds dryly. It seems that is the closest she's going to get to playing the game.

Lisebet pauses for a moment, eyeing the children and the woman. She has to think more than a little, and on her feet. She's not commenting on wheelbarrows or what's in Kenjay's loincloth. So she keeps her attention on this woman, mostly. Though the whole camp is probably difting to where Kenjay and Katarina are .... holding court. "There is much joy and fun here," she says after a moment. "I hope that remains, even in winter's chill." There is just straight up concern there, no games.

Some refugees seem pondering the possibility of the unceasing pain of freedom and considering it thoughtfully. Others are... then doubling over with laughter at Kenjay's comment and his princess-nephew's sudden shock.

The man near Kenjay keeps his composure at least enough to speak directly to him and the Ambassador, though his eyes are bright from laughter. "So you are saying that he lied to us about giving the weapon as a gift. I think it's very unusual for an Oathlander to tell a willing lie. Still. The weapon delights the children so much!" he adds, with an open gesture to the children.... who are more delighted by Kenjay's joke than the sword, which they are now totally ingoring.

He then gives Zara first a fairly accurate description of what indeed does seem to be Sir Philip (though it might take her a second to untangle it- he had brown hair and he did have a moustache but his eyes were not in fact flaming red, and he was fairly tall and wore the coat of arms but he did not have seven fingers on his left hand, and such as it is...)

Lisebet pauses for a moment, eyeing the children and the woman. She has to think more than a little, and on her feet. She's not commenting on wheelbarrows or what's in Kenjay's loincloth. So she keeps her attention on this woman, mostly. Though the whole camp is probably difting to where Kenjay and Katarina are .... holding court. "There is much joy and fun here," she says after a moment. "I hope that remains, even in winter's chill." There is just straight up concern there, no games.

Some refugees seem pondering the possibility of the unceasing pain of freedom and considering it thoughtfully. Others are... then doubling over with laughter at Kenjay's comment and his princess-nephew's sudden shock.

The man near Kenjay keeps his composure at least enough to speak directly to him and the Ambassador, though his eyes are bright from laughter. "So you are saying that he lied to us about giving the weapon as a gift. I think it's very unusual for an Oathlander to tell a willing lie. Still. The weapon delights the children so much!" he adds, with an open gesture to the children.... who are more delighted by Kenjay's joke than the sword, which they are now totally ingoring.

He then gives Zara first a fairly accurate description of what indeed does seem to be Sir Philip (though it might take her a second to untangle it- he had brown hair and he did have a moustache but his eyes were not in fact flaming red, and he was fairly tall and wore the coat of arms but he did not have seven fingers on his left hand, and such as it is...)


Katarina actually has to adjust her veil, her shocked reaction to Kenjay's joke was so sharp. It didn't unhook from her ear or anything, but it definitely got a little bit tilted. Somehow, even though her cheeks are hidden from view, it's obvious that she's flushed. "...the children are going to spread this far and wide, now," Katarina says toward Kenjay, in Arvani. "Prince Kenjay Redrain is going to be known to half the Eurusi community of the Oathlands as 'the Wheelbarrow Swordsman' or some such thing." She huffs, obviously a little bit embarrassed. And hoping that no one asks why the woman who claimed to be the daughter of Suj'abbat's King and Queen just called an obvious Arvum-native 'uncle' when he was so clearly lying in calling her 'nephew' earlier.

Kenjay's grin at Katarina is bright and bold and utterly delighted. "Call it a blow for truth and justice," he says, then winks. "And for a mighty weapon indeed." And then an expansive gesture to the people of the camp, Kenjay's smile somehow managing to grow even brighter. In this moment, it's no wonder he won the favour of the arena of Skal'daja; the showman stands here, and these are his people.

Bahiya frowns, confused, speaking in Eurusi, "Why would anyone want to blow a mighty weapon?"

At this point, the diplomats have a strong idea of how best to negotiate. The sword is not really a big deal to the refugees and can be returned to the Count in fact.

Sir Philip was, as Mabelle had suspected, completely careless with the weapon. As he explained it, it was stolen, but as the refugees explained it, he gave it away to them freely... a situation that thanks to the Suj'abbati communication habit, was trickier to sort out than Count Redshore could manage.

The truth is that Philip Strong simply never wanted to put his own life on the line. He thought that by causing a diplomatic incident, he could avoid being sent to fight himself in the Oathlands' conflicts. But now... rest assured he will, as the call to banners will be answered. But Philip Strong will fight stripped of his title for this act of cowardice.

And all mighty weapons - were indeed returned to their rightful owners. And...

Handled accordingly with the dignity they were due.



Back to list