DIPLO: Shavs from Sungreet
(Second variant, more Thrax and Kennex focused)
Jan. 21, 2021, 7 p.m.
Meyneth's Dynamic GMing Room <OOC Room>
Comments and Log
When the diplomatic party from Arx arrives at Songsorrow, they will find... well, nothing much remarkable, on the exterior. There might be a couple too few boats in Songsorrow's harbor, though -- what's brought the group here is that Songsorrow's boats seem to be... well, not working how they should. Like, for example: most boats are supposed to at least mostly stay ABOVE the water. Not so with some of Songsorrow's, lately! Shipping boats and military vessels alike have fallen prey to this epidemic of sabotage, and with the Mourning Isles in a state of chaos, narrowing down a culprit is difficult work. Next to the Arx team's boat, a longship bearing the flag of House Brightmoon is docked.
The castle of Songsorrow is called Symphony Keep. The walk from the docks to Symphony Keep passes by a community of Eurusi refugees and an open-air bazaar type market, into which those refugees seem to have been awkwardly folded -- there's the greater market, and then there's a corner of it where all of the Eurusi vendors have been made to stay. Eurusi customers tend to stay there, too.
Once the party reaches the castle, they will find... well, a scene. Count Alex Lostsong, a slender young man with dark eyes and dark, close-cropped hair is in the middle of a spirited argument with Baron Hans Brightsong, a sun-ravaged man with stringy brown hair and icy blue eyes. A Eurusi woman, decorated divinely and wearing red, is to one side of them, awkwardly hovering at the edge of the argument. The various courtiers in the room look like they want to put their head into their hands.
"--obviously THESE PEOPLE," Baron Hans says, pointing at the Eurusi woman without looking at her, "who will INFEST the Isles like VERMIN and UNDO whatever PROGRESS--"
Alex is shouting over Hans, and neither of them appear to be listening to one another as they shout: "--TARRED BY ASSOCIATION, and the fact that WAR looms over us is NOT lost on me, even though I know YOU'VE been LUSTING for it for YEARS--"
Petal is here with the dipolmatic party. The tiny seamstress is adorned in leather armor. She has a bow on her back that seems a bit heavy for her small frame. She also has a knife at her right hip. Violet is along with Petal and it is good think she is here. They are both pulling a cart that is filled with chests and baskets. They have lots and lots of things with them. Petal is likely somewhere behind the nobles, the girl seeming as if she were not leading this mission or anything like that. Violet is a shop keeping who is adorned much like Petal in simple leathers.
Well, this is certainly a scene.
The move towards Songsorrow and the sights that follow have been taken in by attentive and watchful near-black eyes as Natasha Thrax makes her way to the structure along with the others assigned on the present diplomatic mission. While occasional consults with her hand-held black diary are taken during the journey to apprise herself of whatever word had been communicated to her about Songsorrow's present troubles, there is keen interest in her gaze when she observes how the Eurusi refugees have arrayed themselves within the county - or whatever is visible to them at the present moment. She keeps by the side of the Kennexes, up until they're granted entry in the hall when they're presented with a vociferous exchange.
She doesn't speak, though, not immediately, and it's only when she's gathered some context of the conversation (if it can be called that) at hand, and a natural break in the hurled tirades, that she does: "My lords," spoken with her precise, serious diction. "Thank you for the lively welcome, it's heartening to witness such enthusiasm as I take it to mean that there would be no objections if we settle in to discuss the matters at hand?"
On the way to the island, Ian's primary role was as captain of the ship that brought at least the Kennex half of the Thrax/Kennex diplomatic group here (and maybe the whole group). Now that he's here, he's very clearly a bodyguard for his wife. And everyone else, but mostly his wife. There's no attempt made on his part to pretend to be anything else. Not that the sight of the careful, even uncertain way that he walks is liable to inspire a whole lot of fear or respect in someone who's never seen what he's capable of. Either way, he shadows Zoey and the others, sticking close and keeping an eye out with a sense of situational awareness, not just watching people but also the surroundings, up to and including scanning rooftops.
Towards the back, but not quite, is Griffin. He's dressed in leathers, and keeps his eyes out for anything out of the ordinary, and looking at the vast majority of refugees.
When Lady Zoey Kennex nee Bisland, Voice of Stormward arrives with the party, she carries herself proudly and frowns to hear the two noblemen screaming at one another. She turns a sympathetic eye to the Eurusi woman, then adds after the princess, "Clearly, my lords, you have strong feelings about the subjects. We are very interested in offering assistance."
Petal is just behind Zoey, Ian and Natasha with her cart full of things and her shop keeper friend. She has a smile for the those they approach, but the small seamstress seems a little shy. She doesn't talk yet.
When Griffin surveys the room, he doesn't see anything out of the ordinary, really. Courtiers and castle staff mill about. The Eurusi woman in red is really the only person who seems like she wouldn't fit in at any other Isles castle.
When Natasha and Zoey speak, Alex and Hans stop arguing, and both look momentarily surprised, like they were so caught up in their screaming match that they forgot other people exist. A courtier rather sheepishly announces the party by name.
Count Alex is dressed in traditional Isles fashions, but with a subtle youthful flair -- and is dressed in fashions, rather than armor. He bows. "Your Highness. My Lady, my Lords, messere." He seems like he's having trouble coming down from the argument.
Baron Hans bows as well, and he's in full leather armor, marked with House Brightmoon sigils. (The sigils are mostly crescent moons.)
Count Alex continues: "I am Count Alex Lostsong. This is... my vassal, Baron Hans Brightmoon. And to my left -- Inaam'al'chakroun, the spokeswoman of our Eurusi, ah, settlers. I... beg your forgiveness for that display, it was... most unwelcoming. Please, let us all adjourn to the dining hall, I believe, uh, food has already been prepared."
Curiously, as Alex leads the way, Inaam joins the procession, keeping a wide berth from Hans, who similarly does his best to stay away from her.
Petal looks over Alex, seemingly especially curious about his taste in clothing. She then looks over to the Baron and then to the Eurusi woman. She has a smile for them that reaches her warm brown eyes. "I am very honored to be invited to dine." She says in her heavy accent. She has the accent of a Northern Shav and likely doesn't seem noble at all. Even her manners are subtly inperfect. She wasn't likely raised around nobilty. Violet smiles and dips into a curtsey. Violet also seems pretty common. She starts to follow along the procession. Violet and Petal bring some of their stuff with them for whatever reason. "I love the name Lostsong and Brightoon." Petal says, still in her accent. Her cheeks are a bit pink, like she is honored and excited to be here.
Ian nods to the Count and Baron, his expression characteristically flat. If he saw anything out of the ordinary in two men having a screaming match over whatever they're fighting about, it doesn't show. He doesn't seem to have anything to say, and continues to follow where the diplomats in his party (ie, not him) lead.
"Well met, my lords. Please lead the way."
Though despite her words, Natasha doesn't step with them immediately, letting the Songsorrow party move forward and examining, quietly, how they situate themselves within range of one another. "What do you think, Lord Ian?" she murmurs softly once they're out of earshot. "About the ships and the claims of sabotage?" She is no sailor and so defers to the knowledge of the captain of their voyage. But with the question posed to the Sword of Stormward, she starts moving, falling in step with the rest of her party, and drawing a curious eye towards Petal as well - everyone is familiar to her, to some degree or another, with the exception of the legendary seamstress.
Griffin notices that distance between Baron Hans and Inaam. And that she joins them. Other than his greetings he keep to himself for the moment.
Zoey looks on Petal and smiles warmly, amused but not unkind, as the group falls into the procession. Her eyes fall once more on Inaam, as though studying her appearance in an attempt to learn what she may before speaking to the woman directly. She watches the Count and the Baron as well, examining expressions and body language, getting a feel for the people with whom they came to speak while others watch over their surroundings. In deference, she stays near Natasha and follows her lead.
Ian shrugs to Natasha. "I've worked with some of the captains who sail out of this harbor before. They're not Aethan or Wash, but but they oversee a tight ship. I wouldn't chalk this up to the carelessness of the sailors." He speaks to Natasha in a low voice, calculated to carry to her and no farther. "Helianthus' people used sabotage against Stormward on a couple of occasions, staged to look like accidents. Could be them again. Or someone else." Ian: narrowing down the field of possibilities like a boss.
Petal seems to be paying more attention to the clothing the three are wearing than anything, trying to gauge their style and tastes. She follows along with Violet at her side. Petal has a warm smile for Zoey and she has one for Natasha as well when the princess looks her way.
Wash is mentioned, and Griffin gives a minimal nod. But for the most he is very curious what position Imaan really has around here. Right now, Zoey and Natasha seem to be leading them, so he follows the leads until he is spoken to, or they have sat down for supper.
Fashion says a lot about a person, and Petal's eye for it will tell her the whole story. Alex is five-six and has a slender build, and he dresses in big coats with fur linings and other such garments that are more or less designed to make him look... bigger. Broader-shouldered. Maybe not so much TOUGHER, but definitely BIGGER.
Alex sits at the head of the table. Inaam takes a seat to his right, and the seat to his left is offered to Natasha. Hans seems to move to the opposite corner of Inaam, so that the party is pincered between their baleful looks at one another.
Food is indeed on the table, along with rum and other less important non-rum drinks. "Thank you for coming all this way," Alex says. His eyes stray to Inaam for a moment before he looks over the assembled party at the table. "And I hope that we can get to the bottom of this before my liege catches wind that I have a Redreef sitting at my table." Alex grins -- apparently it's a joke? Redreef's progressive leanings are definitely anathema to Alex's vassal, at least.
Hans doesn't look amused by the joke at all.
Alex continues: "If I might ask directly, though... with war so close... why has the Compact targeted Songsorrow?"
Petal and Violet both take a seat at the table. Some place near each other and in the middle. They leave their chest of items behind thier chairs. Petal goes for the non rum drink, but Violet helps herself to a small tumbler of the rum. Petal looks in Alex's direction as he speaks, showing him polite and focused attention. The kind of attention one might give to an important man. He dresses to look bigger after all. She doesn't answer the question though, likely seeing that as directed toward to the nobles here.
Ian takes a seat next to Zoey. He doesn't have anything to add to the discussion, but from the way his sharp eyes move from person to person, he's probably listening. He's certainly watching. He's also trying really hard not to embarrass his wife with his table manners, which don't show the practiced elegance of someone raised at court so much as the unpracticed elegance of someone whose older brother very belatedly realized he probably should have manners crudely hammered into him through shouting. He's trying, though!
"Thank you, my lord," Natasha murmurs to Ian, a thoughtful cast to her expression once she digests the words of the Sword. To Zoey: "My lady, if I may, I'd like to get your impressions later, as well, once we've been given an opportunity to confer. But for now..." With everyone else examining their party intently, though, she makes a mental note to herself before she steps further into the dining room. The placement of the woman in red to the Count's right is curious enough, but significant, noted without comment as she takes the seat offered to the man's left. That, at least, is familiar to her - she often sits by the left hand of Victus Thrax, the seat to his right always reserved for Alarissa even if she is absent.
The question given, she links her fingers on her lap, a cant of her head allowing her to view the three faces of the Songsorrow delegation. "I would like to reply to your question, my lord, with a question of my own - namely why you believe that it is the Compact that has targeted Songsorrow. If you have any evidence to present, my party and I would be very interested in hearing it as this also comes as news to us."
Zoey takes an appropriate seat where Ian can also sit beside her, and when Alex asks his question she blinks. "Targeted Songsorrow?" she echoes. "I would very much like to see such evidence myself." Her aide, Ruslana, fills her glass with cool water before falling into step with other members of the household staff. "Does this have anything to do with the condition of your ships we saw on our way here?"
Griffin doesn't seem bothered by the 'joke'. After all, he's not so far up to be one of Ember's confidents. "Me? Surely you jest." His reply was an equal 'joke' for Alex.
Alex lifts his cup of rum toward Griffin, as though to signal to the man that he's glad Griffin didn't take offense. His attention is on the Princess and Zoey for the moment, though. "It has everything to do with the ships, my Lady," Alex says. "If I had hard evidence to show you, I would rest it upon this table like a platter. But I only have rumors and whispers, of guard detachments in the wrong places at the right time, and other... oddities that all seem to lead to my boats sinking."
Baron Hans speaks up: "One of my sailors saw a group of Lostsong guardsmen walking away from the docks -- but could see that one of them was a woman, and swore upon Mangata's name that he was not mistaken. When I asked when Songsorrow had started allowing women to serve as soldiers..."
Alex finishes the story: "...I informed the Baron that there are no women in Songsorrow's military. I understand /why/ the Compact would seek to make trouble in for House Helianthus and House Dredcall and all of the others, I truly do... but why /us/?"
Inaam quietly drinks wine, occasionally making eye contact with others at the table, but otherwise remaining enigmatic and silent.
Zoey checks perception and investigation at normal. Zoey is marginally successful.
After leaning over to say something to Ian, probably showing him which utensil he is supposed to be using and how to hold it, Zoey says, "So whomever she was, whomever her companions were, they were not Songsorrow soldiers. At least not all of them." She sips her water and sets the glass down. "It would appear that you have infiltrators."
"I see. I hope you'll oblige the forbearance necessary to answer what promises to be a slew of queries, my lord, as it seems that the most effective recourse to address your concerns is to determine who exactly is sabotaging your ships, though I do acknowledge that we have limited time. Are these rumors and whispers come from your own reliable sources, or just a single source?" Natasha asks, after a pause to listen to a whisper from the astute Lady Kennex. "Either way, I would like to hear more about these other oddities that all seem to lead to your boats sinking. The witness account regarding the female Lostsong soldier is one, certainly, but are there others?"
Ian mutters something either to himself, to Zoey, or to his dinner.
Ian checks perception and empathy at normal. Ian is successful.
Zoey checks perception and empathy at normal. Zoey is marginally successful.
Natasha checks perception and empathy at normal. Natasha is marginally successful.
Petal checks perception and empathy at normal. Petal is marginally successful.
Petal seems to be enjoying the dinner. She looks over to Inaam, admiringly. "I probably shouldn't interupt, but I love your gown. All Eurusi style clothing that I see is lacking in comparison, but in Arx we are just trying to emulate and copy and don't really what what we are doing exactly. I am Petal Penrose, a seamstress. I am mostly here just bearing fashion gifts and the like. But I am super honored to be here. I will be telling stories of your lovely adornments and well how wonderful it looks on you. So many nobles in Arx, want Eurusi fashions and I try my best, but it never turned out so well." She says. She then peeks over to Alex with a smile as well. She says. The seamstress seems more interested in how those of Sorrowsongs are dressed than anything regarding the ships.
Griffin checks perception and empathy at normal. Griffin is successful.
Whatever Zoey says to Ian gets a brief, skeptical look from him, before his expression returns to its previous state of guarded woodenness. He goes back to watching in silence and trying not to eat like someone who was born in a barn. Or in the hold of a ship.
Alex nods along to Natasha's words, his dark eyes intent upon the Princess when he's not sneaking glances to see if Inaam is looking his way. "These stories come to me second and third hand, and always reported after the fact. A sailor who thinks nothing of seeing another group of sailors performing maintenance on a boat, even though the sailor was unaware of any maintenance due... and the next day, the boat sinks. Some stories come to me from the fair Inaam's community, of guards wandering toward the docks under cover of night, following no route assigned by any captain..."
Hans scoffs loudly. "Yes, let's all trust the Eurusi," he mutters. "Surely, there's no connection between THEM showing up and INFILTRATORS, as Lady Kennex so accurately puts it, sabotaging your fleet..."
Inaam turns toward Petal with a bright smile. "When I heard you announced earlier, I thought, 'is this truly Petal Primrose?'" she says, speaking to Petal while seeming to ignore Hans's accusations. "In the short time I have been in this place, already I have heard your name more than once. The community that has come to Songsorrow is one of artisans -- actresses, singers, painters such as myself, sculptors, poets, and tailors..."
Griffin sips his wine and is thoughtful for a moment. He takes a quiet moment to speak quietly to Natasha.
Zoey glances Hans' way. "While I understand the distrust of outsiders to a point, it would serve us well to at least listen to what they might have to say before deciding whether or not to dismiss it, Baron," she says to him. She turns her attention then to Inaam. "From where in the Dune Kingdoms did your people come?" she asks.
Natasha checks perception and investigation at normal. Natasha is successful.
Petal seems deeply interested in Inaam and she even leans forward as if eager to hear her words. She smiles at the talk of the artisans. "You are a painter?" She says and her brown eyes are bright. "I would very much love to see your work, if we can make time for such. I am not much of a painter myself, but I brought one painting with me as a possible gift. I admire painters very much." She says, looking all curious. "I won this painting in an auction. There was a great deal of competition to get such. It is by Arx's most famous painter." She says, gesturing toward the chest. "Although I admit I am more interested in your work. After all, I have already seen the work of painters near me."
Violet if on cue goes to find the painting in the chests of things.
Petal gets going crownsworn from a celestial wooden chest.
Zoey checks perception and empathy at normal. Zoey is marginally successful.
Violet looks to Petal. "It is by Fortunato Whisper." She says, piping in with the name to help out Petal.
"Oh! It is masterful," Inaam says, when Violet shows the painting. "Count Alex has become a fantastic patron of the arts -- he has spoken to me of his dream to make Songsorrow a place where these things are at home. Soon, he is to sit for me, for a portrait to be displayed in this very castle." Alex is blushing a little bit at Inaam's gushing. Hans looks visibly disgusted for a moment.
"I am from Vel'ichalah, myself," Inaam says. "The settlers in Songsorrow hail from many corners of the Dune Kingdoms."
"And you can go back there," Hans suddenly cuts in.
"Baron--" Alex sputters, indignant.
Inaam narrows her eyes, finally rising to Hans's bait. "I have been QUITE polite with you, Baron," she says, her so-thick-you-could-use-a-spoon Eurusi accent becoming frozen. "And I have not voiced MY suspicions, which is that the sabotage is YOUR doing, as a pretext to round up myself and my people."
She lends an ear to Griffin as he softly murmurs to her, though she attempts to disguise this by picking up a plate of fruit and passing it to the young man's direction. This is a dinner, after all, and they are eating. Natasha's attention does wander over to Petal's affable engagement of the mysterious Eurusi before she continues to address the Count, though she adds the Baron into his inquiries. "Rumors and hearsay can be difficult to verify, though I suppose there is proof enough of sabotage when your ships sink the way they do. But these incidents have only started occurring....when, exactly, my lord?"
The Baron, next, when the princess turns her attention to him. "And you, my lord Brightmoon? Our delegation arrived in the midst of an argument and while I understand that you have some concerns, is there anything else about them that you would wish to inform us of, other than the fact that there are Eurusi refugees in Songsorrow?"
After a long pause at Inaam's words, she continues. "I do intend to ask you next, Inaam. Rest assured that you will be heard."
Griffin a sound of 'hm', and turns his head towards the Baron.
Petal smiles at Inaam's word and Violet does too. They both seem pleased with the reaction. Petal turns to Alex. "Oh, that is wonderful." She says toward Alex. "I hope to one day see the painting of you, Count Alex. I would be honored if I could visit and be a part of Songsorrow's artistic rise. I would love that very much." She says, before looking to Inaam with a dimpled smile. Then the conversation changes tones. Petal looks concerned. "You can have the painting as a gift, if you want, we would be honored if you kept some our local artwork." She says, but Petal then falls silent.
Ian picks at his food in silence, still watching, but without really giving away any sense of what he thinks about any of the proceedings.
"Both the Princess and Miss Inaam make valid points, Baron Brightmoon," Zoey says evenly. "And it would not be without president for such to occur. Men in service to Ivan Helianthus staged a riot in Crimson Square to cover the fact that they were attacking our home with intent to murder my family." There is a change in her expression though as something seems to dawn on her. She puts down the utensil she is using and looks once more at Inaam, her eyes focusing like a lioness crouched in the tall grasses as she watches a herd. "Vel'ichalah, you say? The City of Tomes, renowned for its collection of secrets? I happen to be an Academic among the Scholars of Vellichor myself... and a linguist."
Alex seems thrown by Inaam's accusation, like it's news to him. He blinks for a few moments, struggling to keep up with Natasha: "Ah, uh, one... month ago, about, Your Highness."
When Natasha calls upon Hans next, the Baron Brightmoon is doing his level best to contain his fury -- his expression is that of someone resisting the urge to get up and go sock Inaam right in the mouth. "And the Eurusi arrived /two/ months ago. Look at how the Count fawns over this... WOMAN," Hans says, possibly catching himself right as he was about to use some incredibly distasteful insult. "She's cuddled up to him and blinded him to his duties while SOMEONE -- probably the Eurusi themselves -- destroy his county's livelihood."
Inaam scowls at Hans. "Why would we do a thing like that?" She looks to Petal: "You are a connoisseur of beauty, Petal Primrose, and I ask you, have you ever seen a soul as ugly as this man's?" Inaam scoffs openly.
"Bitch," Hans replies, sharply.
Inaam replies just as sharply, but in Eurusi, in a flash of anger -- whatever she's saying sounds /quite/ pointed.
Ian looks up at Hans with a quirked eyebrow, a 'Really? You went there?' expression. He says something to Zoey in a low tone, before cutting himself another slice of bread.
Oh, but it gets heated over there, and Griffin sits back and watches very carefully, includings a spate of angry words he doesnt understand but gets the drift of. He makes a mental note to ask Zoey to expand his studies to the verbal.
Petal looks to Inaam and then to Hans and then back to Inaam. She seems deeply torn on how to respond. "I am not sure." She admits. "I don't know very much about souls." The girl says. She looks to Alex and then Inaam. "I know more about the beauty of this moment. Fleeting. Fragile and of the moment. Moments that should be not be wasted." The girl, adds looking upon Alex. "I did bring a honey silk gown. It is a fabric that I helped to create. Although..I think it will not quite do you justice." She adds to Inaam. "But I hope you will except? Tell me, Count Alex, do you think this gown would look lovely upon her?" She asks even as Violet gets a honeysilk outfit from the chest and lay sit carefully out.
Petal gets a lovely rose-gold honeysilk gown from a starlight Aion Pouch.
"Enough." Zoey stands. "Baron, accusations without evidence is as useless and inflamitory as name-calling," she rebukes the man before turning to Inaam. "And you, miss, will be in a better position to claim moral high ground once you stop obscuring the truth." She takes a breath. "You are not from Vel'ichalah. I can hear it in your voice. I know not what other secrets you keep or lies you have told, but now is the time to come clean if you want us to take you at your word." She returns to her seat, giving Natasha a brief apologetic glance.
Petal gets lovely rose-gold honeysilk slippers from a starlight Aion Pouch.
Petal gets a lovely rose-gold honeysilk cloak from a starlight Aion Pouch.
"The Queen of Endings probably would say.." But Griffin doesn't finish, as Zoey's words speak volumes.
Alex stares at Petal for a long moment: "I... yes, she'd look beautiful in it, she looks beautiful in anything," the young Count almost sputters. He's lost control of the situation and is a bit deer-in-headlights as he tries to figure out how to right the ship, so to speak. Zoey's accusation likewise blindsides Alex, and his lips flap uselessly while he tries to figure out a sound to make.
Ian sets his napkin down and uses the table as a brace to push to his feet. "Show me the damage that's being done to your ships." The suggestion to Hans is half suggestion, half command.
Griffin checks charm and empathy at normal. Griffin is marginally successful.
Petal looks to Zoey and her brown eyes widen. The girl seems a bit confused herself. She keeps quiet for now.
Zoey checks charm and diplomacy at normal. Zoey is marginally successful.
Petal checks charm and seduction at normal. Critical Success! Petal is spectacularly successful.
Ian checks luck at normal. Ian marginally fails.
At Ian's whisper and Zoey's words about calling out the woman as not from Vel'ichalah, Natasha's fingers curl into a fist and drives it on the table to produce a thunderous sound that echoes throughout the dining room. It's in no means a gavel, but she knows its effects in a courtroom; what it *is*, indubitably, is a call to order. There's a grateful incline of her head to both Kennexes.
Dark eyes falling on Inaam, the Thraxian speaks, in careful but precise Eurusi: "I do not subscribe to hearsay but the facts, from what I can observe at this time, are as follows: You are dressed in a manner and fashion too wealthy to be declared in any stripe a refugee. The incidents of sabotage only appear to have started a month ago, thirty or so days after you and your people have arrived here. The esteemed Lady Kennex, a talented linguist, thinks your earlier epithet to be Skal'dajan, and I trust her expertise enough in languages to believe her when she says that your accent is not from Vel'ichalah. Before I turn my attention to anything else, is there anything you would like to tell us?"
Petal sucks in a soft breath and another soft breath even as she looks to the honeysilk dress and then back to Alex. The girl seems lost, looking upon him for a moment. She appears more interested in him, Inaam and her fabrics than anything else going on right now. "She would look lovely in any creation I make. I could only be so lucky if she would consider wearing something I made." Petal adds. "But I would be lucky if you would as well Count." The girl says in this dreamy admiring voice. "I would be so lucky and honored if you would allow me to visit and help with your artistic rise. I can tell you are a man of a great taste. A man who knows beauty. Beauty of the moment is fleeting and to be seized, I hope that we can work together very much. I hope to see the painting fo you very much and I have an idea of what would look best upon you, Count." She says. "I hope we can work together. You are someone who doesn't need much in the way of adornments. I have an idea for the painting."
Petal gets An elegant and yet still very simple steelsilk tunic from a starlight Aion Pouch.
Violet goes to pull out a simple white steel silk tunic of exceptional quality which is only adorned in white kid leather. It is quite a bit different from the bulking up clothing he wears, being more likely to emphasis and flatter his naturally slender size.
"My Lord," Zoey says, turning to the Count. "It is clear that you care for Miss Inaam, and by extension her people who have taken up residence in your territory, but I would ask that you set your feelings aside for a moment and allow us to examine the situation impartially. There is much at stake, as you well know, and if it is true that she is a citizen of Skal'daja, the City of Chains, from which the fleet now threatening the safety of Arvum now sails, then for the good of all our people we must know and take anything she has said or done into account."
Griffin takes the moment to talk to Alex, "It's all up to you, I'm afraid. Whether you want to or not, this battle come."
Petal smiles and adds. "Elegant, tasteful, handsome and would be absolutely perfect upon you. I made it and never realized who it was truly meant for before this moment." She says still all dreamy. Petal seems to have Alex and clothing on the mind more than anything else at all. Her brown eyes are warmed with longing. She then looks over to Zoey and then back to Alex, sucking in a soft breath. "We must know, as Lady Zoey says."
Hans grunts toward Ian, but pushes off from the table and walks off with the Kennex Lord, apparently quite ready to be away from the conversation. Not that he wants to talk about much, as Hans remains sullen and silent while the pair walk away.
Alex remains almost too stunned to do anything: "Skal'dajan...?" he repeats, and looks to Inaam with big, questioning eyes. He listens to the words surrounding him, but it's Petal's display of her mastery that seems to really snap him out of his fog: "That's amazing," the Count whispers, looking at the tunic. What the tunic means to him exactly isn't clear, but something about it strikes a chord deep within the ruler of Songsorrow.
Alas, his reverie is interrupted by Inaam standing up and removing a small dagger from her dress. She stands behind Alex's and wraps her arm around his throat, using the other to poke the knife against one of his arteries, but not pushing in just yet. "You Compact people are maybe a tiny bit smarter than I gave you credit for," Inaam says. She's quite obviously stronger than Alex, because Alex is trying to pry himself loose and can't -- but he can only try so hard, without risking jabbing himself on her knife. "But I was not lying when I said that I was a painter. Here -- allow me to paint the room red."
Ian checks dexterity and athletics at hard. Ian fails.
Zoey checks charm and diplomacy at normal. Zoey is marginally successful.
Natasha checks intellect and manipulation at normal. Natasha is marginally successful.
Petal rises to her booted feet as Inaam puts the knife to Alex's throat and a soft gasp escapes her lips. She seems uncertain how to react. She looks over to Zoey and Natasha as if trying to get a feel for what she should do. The girl is pale faced and deeply concerned.
Petal wields a diamondplate and southern darkwood heavy crossbow.
Petal starts to try and subtly ready a diamond plate bow loaned to her by Felix. She seems pretty nervous!
Griffin checks command and performance at normal. Griffin is successful.
That's certainly a definitive answer to her own question, though one that threatens to bite the count in the proverbial arse. Natasha's eyes widen faintly when she receives the reply Inaam gives them after confronted by the observations of the rest of the delegation, before dark eyes narrow visibly. "You don't want to do that."
The Thraxian princess rises from the chair. "I won't insult your dedication to your masters by claiming that anything else we can say would persuade you to drop your knife, or that any threats levied by us will somehow put any fear in you nor put to question your willingness to die for your cause. But in at least releasing him, you may be given a chance to escape from here and ensure that all your efforts will not go to waste. A spy or saboteur is no use to her master if she's too dead to report on her success. Put down the dagger, Inaam...if that is your real name."
Petal as her bow ready even as her slender arms shake a bit. She doesn't look like she wants to try and take this shot, but it seemas if she will if she feels she absolutely must save Alex.
Petal checks dexterity and archery at normal. Petal marginally fails.
Zoey stands, slowly, raising her hands and speaking calmly. "Listen to me, Inaam'al'chakroun," she says. "You are far from home. You have been fed falsehoods for so long, possibly since you were too young to remember, but every choice that comes your way is an opportunity to grow beyond that. I do not know if you ever met Prince Damik, but for a brief time I knew him. He saw another way, he grew, and as he did, I saw the traditional greeting change from this..." She demonstrates the motion of crossed arms over the chest as though bound. "... to this." She parts her hands, as she had seen him do, as if those invisible chains were breaking. "You have a chance to do the same now. Put down the dagger, release the Count, and let us talk."
"-- chance one of your guards is... What the fuck." Oh, look. Ian's back. Just in time.
Petal shots off an arrow just as Ian returns. The arrow goes flying into Alex's chair and clearly missed. Petal sucks in a breath and starts to load her bow again. Her arms are shaking just a bit and she seems far from an expert archer.
Griffin started to talk to her, Inaam, in a low, soothing voice. It really doesn't what he says, probably echoing Zoey's, or perhaps Natasha's. He smiles as he does it, reaching her, and holding out his hands. "I give my word, nothing will harm you, if you let him go. Go and talk with Lasy Zoey."
"Talk, talk, talk," Inaam sighs. "You know the nice thing about those who truly are from Vel'ichalah? They know how to NOT use their mouths once in a while." A bead of blood forms at Alex's neck as the knife pokes him just a tiny bit. Inaam is taunting the party in both word AND deed.
Hans apparently forgot his helm and led Ian back to go grab it. When the pair of them are in the doorway, seeing Inaam with a blade to Alex's throat, Hans sputters with the stunned rage of someone who just had their prejudices, to their mind, completely validated. "MY LIEGE!"
Hans chages in, drawing his sword, and Inaam is forced to let Alex go to defend herself. She slashes at Hans's throat -- his charge is stopped as he grabs his neck, wounded but apparently not fatally. Though he should probably keep his hand clamped down on that neck of his, just in case.
Inaam decides that this is a good time to make a break for it -- and starts hustling toward Ian in the doorway. "Out of my way, cripple," she sneers, clearly not thinking much of the Kennex Lord.
Ian checks dexterity and medium wpn at easy. Ian is spectacularly successful.
With silver flashing at Hans and blood spraying across the table at the wound inflicted on him, that's when Natasha moves. She is not without her athleticism and she's quick for a princess despite the long skirt and high-collared gown. Her aim, however, is not to give chase when Inaam makes a break for it, especially when sharp eyes catch the sight of the formidable Kennex lord emerging from the doorway. "Incapacitate, not kill, my lord! We need her for interrogation!"
Whenever she reaches Hans, she whips out a handkerchief in an attempt to press the cloth against his wound, batting at his hands so she can try and give it a good knot to ensure enough pressure. She is no medic, but common sense dictates that blood should probably *stay in* the body and not be kept flowing out, so that is what she attempts to do.
Ian actually does look like he's obligingly getting out of the way for the crazy woman with the knife, but what he's actually doing is stepping into a position where he can't be casually throat-slashed by said knife while at the same time he just sorta casually, with a flick of his wrist, takes her feet out from under her and knocks her to the ground, then, with a strike from the end of his cane, knocks her knife away from her, across the room. It's all so fast, and so smooth, that someone who wasn't paying attention might come to the conclusion that she tripped, or fell over, or gave up. It's all done without flicker of emotion in his eyes. Well, aside from the lingering expression that goes with the 'what the fuck.' from earlier.
Petal seems super relieved when Ian shows up. She lowers her bow with the eargerness of one who wasn't very comfortable using it in the first place. "Oh, thank Magnata, Lord Ian is back." She then watches as Hans rushes forward, looking troubled. She then gasps as Inaam runs away. "Well.I am going to give the honeysilk to Lady Zoey or Princes Natasha instead." She says, mostl to herself though. Then Ian takes out Inaam and she looks relieved, super relieved. She then peeks over to Alex and then rushes over to him, checking to see if the count is alright.
Hans makes pained wheezing noises as Natasha tends to him -- he doesn't seem to be in imminent risk of dying before a doctor can arrive, but yes, blood on the inside is a good policy for most living things.
Alex is in a state of shock, and when Petal tends to him, he holds onto one of her arms with both hands like he's trying to confirm things are really real. He looks at the arrow in his chair, and then at Petal -- and blurts, "Thank you for not hitting me with that." It's probably a gallows-humor joke, but he seems too shell-shocked to really sell it as such.
Inaam's head hits the ground with a thunk when she falls, and the Eurusi woman is out cold -- but still breathing.
And while Natasha deals with Hans, Griffin deals with Alek. Checking him out for wound, and sitting him down to avoid to shakes. (once the adrenaline passes)
Zoey sighs heavily and sinks back into her chair, clearly relieved that the momentary explosion of violent activity is over. She smiles Petal's way and agrees, "Thank Mangata indeed." She looks Alex's way and tells him, "You should sit. Drink something. The truth has been unveiled, and now the real work begins."
Griffin checks wits and investigation at normal. Griffin is successful.
Petal sucks in a soft breath. "I am very very glad that I didn't hit you. I was so nervous. I am not really a fighter, but I thought she was going to kill you." She says.
Natasha checks perception and investigation at normal. Critical Success! Natasha is spectacularly successful.
Zoey checks charm and diplomacy at normal. Zoey is successful.
Petal checks charm and empathy at normal. Petal fails.
Ian checks command and leadership at normal. Ian is successful.
Petal checks charm and empathy at easy. Petal is marginally successful.
Natasha is overheard praising Ian: For neutralizing a saboteur at a pivotal moment. Your timing is impeccable.
Natasha is overheard praising Zoey: Your linguistic skills and sharp observational acumen are a credit to your family and to the Mourning Isles. I hope that the gods bless me with more opportunities to work with you, if this is what is going to happen in each encounter.
Petal is overheard praising Natasha.
Petal is overheard praising Ian.
Petal is overheard praising Zoey.
Petal is overheard praising Griffin.
Natasha is overheard praising Petal: For your charm and attempts to get Count Lostsong to see reason.
Natasha is overheard praising Griffin: For your keen observation.
All of this is a level of intrigue what's probably over Ian's head, in general, but once dispatched to collect specific people, he's much more in his element. He rounds up some of the Songsorrow guards plus a few people from his own ship. The mop up operation is neither creative nor inspired, but it doesn't have to be either; the important thing is that he's got enough of a command presence to get everyone working together and following his orders, and as such, the people he's sent out to get are got with minimal loss of life.
Petal continues to stay close to Alex. The girl still seems concerned. She tries to learn as much as she possibly can about what went with Inaam. She also speaks still of the future, of SongSorrow's artistic rise and about getting a painting of him.
It takes a little time, but once they have been flushed out it becomes easy to pick them out and round them up. Griffin actually is pretty good at this. Who knew he could find something that wasn't battlelike!
Zoey talks at length with Alex over a meal so that they can rest, collect themselves, and gather strength for the work ahead. Once Natasha has extracted the information and Griffin and Ian have acted on it, she goes out among the people and starts conversations between merchants and other common folk. If she can talk Petal into coming with her she does so, and with her charm, diplomatic skill, and market expertise she starts encouraging the creation those inroads that will one day flourish into professional relationships between the Eurusi immigrants and the local populace.
With Inaam having been secured to a not-so-welcoming part of Songsorrow, it isn't long after that Natasha Thrax pays her a visit in her cell, the door closing resoundedly behind her and sealing whatever fate befalls her at the hands of the Thraxian Inquisitor-Magistrate-Princess.
What happens in the next few hours is shrouded at best, but to say that any degree of recalcitrance from the Eurusi agent has been rewarded with absolutely no degree of clemency; this is war, and to say that she has been frustrated long enough in the issue of *knowing* that there are active foreign agents in Arvani soil finds a chance to be redressed at last with this incident. Such frustrations must have been fuel to further cause her usual intense tenacity to burn, for she emerges from the cell tireless and galvanized with a list that may or may not have flecks of blood dotting its corners. Certainly executions will come later, but that, she leaves to the Count.
The list is later provided to Lord and Lady Kennex, and certainly the rest of the co-conspirators will be interrogated also, but that, she leaves to the justice of Songsorrow, with entreaties imparted to share whatever valuable information they manage to pull from them.
Baron Hans Brightmoon survives his injury, though he is mute for the rest of his days, his vocal chords having been severed. The Bay of Tranquility, his domain, is thus forever that much more tranquil.
Natasha's masterful interrogation of Inaam'al'chakroun -- which Inaam somehow survives -- confirms that the woman is a Skal'dajan agent. She's not nobility or royalty of the City of Chains, like her fine clothing made the party guess. She's just a spymaster with very expensive tastes. Under her supervision, a dozen other Skal'dajan agents operated within Songsorrow, sabotaging the boats in an attempt to sow distrust between Alex and the Compact, since Alex was known to be a bit of a ditherer -- the type to intermittently make progressive noises under his traditionalist liege, but not consistently. Inaam's access to Alex, and thus to Symphony Keep, allowed for such things as the theft of guards' uniforms.
With names being named, Griffin is able to lead some of Alex's men in identifying the agents. Then, under the supervision of Ian, there is a decisive and well-coordinated sweep of the Eurusi settlement, rounding up the Skal'dajans and bringing them back to be interrogated by Natasha in turn. The Thraxian Princess comes away quite well-informed about Skal'dajan espionage tactics, and the agents come away missing some of their fingernails.
As for Count Alex, he spends quite a bit of time with Petal, and just as he was a sweet little puppy dog of a Count for Inaam, so too is he for Petal Primrose. He also re-forges his distant but no less real bond with the Kennex family through his time spent with Zoey, and the three of them make for a lively little salon of a group, so that Count Alex comes away quite favorable toward Kennex -- though he leaves Zoey with the warning that if his liege in House Dredcall calls his banners, he is oathbound to answer them.
When the party is at last ready to leave Songsorrow, there will be one key difference in the county -- from their boat, they can see on a nearby hillside thirteen crosses, one Skal'dajan each.
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