Keep Your Friends Close...
OOC: This is a GM'd event based around political intrigue and is rife with all the perils that comes with engaging a dangerous battle of the wits in the city-state of Tremorus. Looking for collaboratively minded players who feel up to the challenge and are interested in potentially gaining political favor from Leporidae.
Jan. 30, 2021, 6 p.m.
Outside Arx - Saffron Chain near Tremorus - Tremorus - The Sky Palace of Tremorus
Comments and Log
The wealth and luxury of Tremorus - and by extension, Leporidae and Pontelaus - is on display in the great hall where the House Theotokis delegation will be received. Servants in loose-fitting, sleeveless robes are stood here and there, and while the central table holds wine and fruit, there are side tables with other dishes as well. Leporidae has called upon allies from the Compact to help make the case for their potential new friends, and now, the gathered group await the arrival of Adrostos Theotokis, Patriarch of the House Theotokis, and a one-time warlord of great renown.
"And what is this delectable looking item called?" Duarte asks of an oddly shaped pastry the likes of which he has never seen.
Braxas checks charm and investigation at easy. Critical Success! Braxas is inhumanly successful in a way that defies expectations.
Having arrived a few days earlier with a translator Braxas had spent some time among the people here. Noble and commoner alike, gathering intel and trying to gain favor. He played his lute at public venues and parties, charmed and spoke with all he could about current events and the general opinions of the people. He tried to gather anything and everything that might help the compact secure an alliance and deal here with House Theotokis. He manages to do rather well. Learning quite a few useful bits of information and gaining a couple new potential contacts. Now he stands near the others from the compact are waiting. He watches calmly, grey eyes perfectly polite and composed. He wears a new outfit, a striking one of midnight duskweave with real sapphires in the form of raindrops dripping down the tunic. Matching leggings, boots and a sapphire earring complete that outfit that easily have him blending in among the high born and elite.
Home sweet home! Savio is back in the tropics, which considering it's winter in Arx, is probably making him very happy. He's dressed in Arakkoan style rather than Arvani, and his role here is to look pretty and translate. Everybody knows you don't really let Savio talk to people. "The Marquessa of Leporidae is known here as the Praefecta, if you need to refer to her," he offers a crash course in etiquette of the Chain, "And while our honored guest /maybe/ speaks some Arvani, probably he doesn't, so I will translate whatever you want to say. Best case, we hope that House Theotokis can be persuaded to join the Leporidae in a fealty relationship, but they don't much like the Compact, and would be wary of that by extension. Good case, we hope that the Theotokis will help us in fighting our enemies, the Blackreave-Potitus alliance, and worst case, they won't help us at all."
Savio makes a wavy gesture toward a window. "Our friends over at the Tower are meeting with the Makheda-Amkhet, a syndicate of assassins. Theotokis has a big hate-on for them. They have to be convinced to be helpful even if the Makheda-Amkhet are hanging around, because we do need both groups of allies. Does that make sense?"
Pastry inquiry. "It's called a toktika, you'll like it."
Duarte checks command and propaganda at normal. Duarte is successful.
There's been a certain glad-handing of silver and beyond the bard and his charm-offensive, the Count of Amadeo has made sure that people know of Pravosi generosity and Compact values of cooperation. He and his retinue have made an overall good impression on the people they come into contact with, and Savio has overheard a few servants discussing how the Compact doesn't seem all that bad, after all - which probably means other guests have heard it as well.
As it is, today, here and now, they're left a little to their own devices, before the doors to the hall open, and in steps Adrostos, two of his sons, and a half-a-dozen officials and servants. Their clothing is reminiscent of typical Tremorus-wear, though the gold of their house colour is visible in corded rope-belts worn cinched at the waist, and they all carry a left bracer in polished, almost mirrorlike steel on their arm.
"Patrician Adrostos of the honourable House Theotokis!" A cryer announces and Adrostos approaches the table with his head held high. A man past his prime, in some ways; his hair has gone steel, though he wears it oiled and slicked back. His frame still powerful, if softening a bit around the middle. A diamondplate gladius at his side, peace-bound for these talks - but never let it be forgotten that he is the Patrician and former warlord of his house. He inclines his head, and looks to the group, speaking in the melodic tongue of Arakkas and Dawnsend, leaving Savio to translate.
"An interesting group. Are you warriors? Do you understand our nature? Do you know why we are here?" He scoffs. "I trust you can bargain on behalf of the Leporidae and the Proscipi." Still, Savio _is_ Pontelaus, so he gets an outreached hand in friendship, at least.
glances to Savio and nods. "Translate for me please then?" As thier guest arrives, he steps forward, holding his giant well build frame with the utmost confidence yet also respect for the man before him. He bows politely crossing a hand over his heart in an almost military style salute. He smiles faintly trying once again to charm. "Well met, Patrician Adrostos of House Theotokis. I am Braxas of House Whisper. While I cannot claim to be a true warrior like noble men such as yourself, I do fight for my survival and success and the survival and success of those I care for. As all with honor should. I will no be so arrogant as to claim I know your nature, but I can say that I am intelligent enough to know you are a strong man, a man of honor, one who would make a worthy ally of House Leporidae. That is what I have come to hopefully negotiate terms for. I wish to see a strong alliance between your houses, one that will make both of you stronger in turn and hopefully in time restore peace. However, you must be willing, will you speak of this with us Honorable Patrician? What would you ask in exchange for such an alliance between Theotokis and Leporidae?" He gets to the point, his voice deep smooth and calming his tone polite with respect as he regards the man, standing tall at near seven feet in height.
Duarte stands soon as the doors open in preparation for the arrival. The inflow of the personnel, how and in what order, is noted along with other tell tales of 'propriety' as far as this particular people is concerned.
The warlord is greeted with a bow, but no words, as Duarte listens to his words. He allows the 'ribbing' to take a good natured, amused effect on his expression as Savio translates.
"Perhaps in my youth I laid a few low, but..." and he puts his palms on his own growing paunch and smiles. "You've certainly taken far better care. My own duties removed me from battle years ago." Duarte, a warrior? Well - who here would even know if he was or wasn't. He's...kind of a warrior...in some regards.
"I trust your accommodations have been satisfactory? I am Duarte Amadeo, representing House Pravus and the greater Compact."
Savio's murmured, respectful greeting and introduction to Patrician Adrostos is left untranslated as they clasp hands, but the rest, he's doing his best to faithfully translate for the others, and quickly. The guests are ushered towards the hospitality that the servants have taken such care to lay out, and Savio notes to the Arvani, "The Proscipi are the the ruling nobles of Tremorus, or were before their alliance and marriage to Leporidae brought them under that name. Well, they still are. Well -- it's complicated, but yes, we are here to bargain on their behalf. As well -- Pontelaeus is willing to offer Theotokis lower trade tariffs and special priorities for their economic relationship with Tremorus, if it's needed."
After translating Braxas and then Duarte, Savio does note, "I do think your efforts ahead of time have been not entirely in vain, friends, as the word going around is more positive about the Compact than is usual for this corner of the world."
Amanita slowly spins around and bows to Patrician Adrostos, taking advantage of her gown - or her wrapping, as it is. A Whisper as a gift is a bold move. She cuts her eyes to the Patrician and smiles at him, sweet and doll-like. "Formerly Lady Amanita Malvici, now Amanita Whisper. The pleasure is all mine, Patrician Adrostos. I am honored." She, of course, relies on Savio to help her translate, giving a nod of thanks to him before she lets herself be whisked away to the various hospitalities that have been set out. "I hope that the word is more positive about us these days," she murmurs to Savio.
As the two group settle along the table - the high seat left empty for any arriving Leporidae - the servants spring into action - the first course a soup boiled on vegetables and with very soft pieces of a savoury fish to it, boiled until the meat drops off the bone, as it were. Adrastos settles, and gives a friendly nod and a smile to the group, murmuring something to Braxas, with a smirk on his face, before he turns to Duarte. "A fellow ruler. There is some respect. We know of the might of the Pravus, and are pleased to know one of their title-holders," He concludes. "The accomodations have been everything we have grown to expect from Tremorus and its ruling house, have no fear," He offers, with a bark of a laugh, and a slap for Savio's shoulder. Giving a little nod - and looking to Amanita as well.
"Whisper. Is this some sort of... assassin house? Performer house?" He gestures to Braxas. "Tell me more of House Whisper, who brings such beauty," A nod to both Braxas and Amanita at this. "To seek us out."
There's a pause. "As for what we want - Potitus have shown their treasonous ways. And have long held onto a conclave seat they did not deserve in the first place. Your offer is generous, Savio Pontelaus, and I want to accept it. But trade is not the lifeblood of Theotokis as it is Pontelaus."
Braxas smiles to Adrastos, warm and charming in return for that smirk and those murmered words. The question draws a tilts of his dark haired head. He settles himself with the others, is the seat he has been given and regards Adrastos calmly. "You are kind Patrician, beauty is but one of my gifts. Though I would say its a lesser gift, there is much more to me than my handsome face." He smiles oh so charmingly. "House Whisper is House of reknown courtiers. We are diplomats, performers, hosts of events, designers and models of the latests trends. Whispers are multi-talented in many cases but always exceptional in social affairs and the arts. Whispers take only the best to join thier ranks. I am still proving myself to House Whisper as we speak, I am an apprentice at present." He smiles softly as he explains. Looking to Amanita breifly, he waits to see what she might have to say.
Duarte acknowledges Adrastos' address to him with a genial dip of his head. He, however, withholds any further conversation as Savio and the Whispers are addressed more directly. The count opts, instead, to listen to the conversation for anything he may potentially press upon as negotiations deepen.
"You honor us," Savio replies to Patrician Adrastos, with a smile when his shoulder's slapped. The impression being that of course their meager accommodations and hospitality are unequal to said honor, but they've done what they can! Never mind this place is clearly sitting on some kind of enormous pile of money, and largesse has not been spared.
In Arvani, Savio explains a bit about the Potitus to his Compact companions -- "There is a split within the enemy House Potitus who have set themselves against us, as sons murdered a father when an agreement not to war was almost reached. However, it does sound as though Theotokis agrees they're a problem, no hesitation on that point."
Back to Theotokis, and Savio agrees, "Potitus are a blight. They've shown that nothing will stay their hands, now -- peace was attempted. And now we are forced to a different conclusion."
Listening to Braxas's spiel about the Whisper House, Amanita's mouth twitches. A low noise like a chuckle arises, but without her lips moving - or opening - who is to say that it's her laughing? It sounds like a ventriloquist throwing their voice. She blinks a few times at Braxas, however, then turns her attention to Adrastos. "Yes, there is more to Braxas than his pretty face. He plays the lute." If there's a drink nearby her, she takes a long sip before listening to Savio with interest, though her facial reactions stay neutral.
There's plenty of food and drink, and the servant stay at the ready to refresh it all on command. Adrastos quirks a brow at Braxas words, giving little nods as Savio translates. "...Fascinating. How very... Soft." He concludes. "I suppose a soft touch is needed now and again," Almost as an afterthought. He, too, takes his glass of wine, and raises it to Amanita. "And sometimes a soft touch is good, even if it is not needed, mm?" He suggests, then leans back. Glancing to Savio. "I appreciate the Pontelaus being here for us, as always," He notes. Then gestures to Duarte with his wine-glass. "But I am curious what my fellow warrior thinks of all this. What you are all willing to offer beyond the promises of trade. And what you are going to do about those back-stabbing, treacherous Makheda-Amkhet, who no doubt are plotting usurpation even now."
Duarte checks intellect and diplomacy at normal. Duarte is successful.
The fellow warrior thinks, "There's no advantage or honor to giving underhanded scoundrels an edge by inaction. Especially when you yourself are a man who sees it done above board." He laughs, "Why, those treacherous fiends want the conclave seat and marriage pacts - of course they'll use those marriage pact to off their new spouses and assume control." Because that's what treacherous fiends do!
"I'm sure there's reasonable advantages to having the might of this particular House at your back, and in the current conflict, surely," but this he rather waves off. "You can hold your own, after all, with what you have, but why expend the resources to not be prepared for what's coming." The count smiles, "Which, as an emissary of the compact, is my ultimate concern. Hopefully we can put the present matter to rest swiftly enough that we might discuss the broader future."
Braxas chuckles softly and eyes Amanita with a tilt of his head and an unreadable expression. "Yes. I do play the lute. And sing." He smiles and falls silent. For a moment and considers listening and observing a bit for now with watchful attentive eyes. He considers a moment sipping his wine and thinking before he speaks again, sugggesting something rather diplomaticly. "I am not sure how this would be received, but perhaps in addition to trade....military resources could be offered to aid House Theotokis? To bolster your defenses and help you in the war efforts, perhaps supplies, or new ships could be offered? Also if you were to swear fealty to Leporidae, your strength would join with thiers and it would greatly vex the Makheda-Amkhet. You must seek strength and power your enemies do not yet possess no? Did they not once attempt to threaten your own life in some fashion? They lack honor, the enemy of your enemy can be your ally and friend...if you allow it. Alliances are built on less."
Listen! Talk! Listen! Talk! Arakkoan is clearly what gives Savio's Arvani its weird lilt, and he hasn't made a lot of progress through refreshments because he's translating. But he seems to be making an effort to do so as accurately as possible, and adds his own input to the Patrician on the matter of war. "I have fought alongside the Arvani, the men and women of the Compact, that these others represent," Savio notes. "You know the Leporidae." He seems to mean the might of that House, without spelling out their dominance of their little corner of the Chain. "Our allies across the sea -- maybe you know less of them, but they're brave and cunning warriors, with considerable naval power. I would not mislead you in that."
Aiming to keep her emotions at an even keel quite normally, Amanita does manage to look more than a little surprised at Braxas's ideas. She wraps her fingers around the base of her wine glass and squeezes it, her eyes flickering to Duarte and Savio. "What about the Conclave? If the knee is to be bended, perhaps a deal can be reached wherein Leporidae finds a seat for Theotokis in the Conclave - and a certain amount of protection, given what our dear Patrician has been through already." She pauses to collect her thoughts, winking at Adrastos. "If there is some way that we can quell tensions between the two Houses and get them to work together..." She sucks in a breath. "Leporidae would rather have them fight together, for them - rather than against each other? At least for now."
The Patriarch listens, looking to each speaker, glancing as Savio translates - and something Braxas says darkens his gaze, though he waves the bard off. "Yes, yes. Trade and resources. Alliance in war. This we have done before." He notes dismissively, with a hint of irritation - looking over at Duarte as well. "Tremorus is mighty, but is fighting off many comers right now. They need us more than we need them." Astute, perhaps. Certainly cynical. He quirks his lips. "And the fiends may want all they will. The questions is what they get - and what _we_ get." He sits a little straighter - then looks to Amanita, and furrows his brow. "...I do not know if we will bend the knee - we do not _need_ to bend the knee. But we do deserve the seat of the Conclave." He points out. Then raises his head, and looks between them again, taking Savio by the shoulder once more, and murmuring to him alone, looking to Duarte, giving a nod over at the man.
Braxas bows his head apologeticly and falls silent for now, listening and thinking for a long moment. Finally he asks simple and straight forward. "What would tempt you to bend the knee, if you were offered a seat in the Conclave in exchange as well?"
Leaning aside to listen attentively to Savio, Duarte keeps his eyes on the distinguished warlord. Duarte's smile grows wide and his eyes tell that Duarte thinks the Patriarch is very clever.
"Of course, House Pravus especially would expend resources...." Oh! But there's another part?
Duarte knits his brow like he doesn't /quite/ understand... "Forgive me, however, why's a trifling house such as they of concern at all, beyond their petty annoyances. Do they pose some legitimate threat to your mighty holdings?"
Duarte checks charm and manipulation at normal. Duarte is successful.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Savio before departing.
Savio listens as the Patriarch speaks to him, and nods, briefly touching a hand to the man's shoulder and quietly assuring, "I hear you," before exchanging quiet words next with Duarte. Busy. Busy. He continues translating as well, while writing a quick note that's folded and handed to a servant, with instructions to take it to the Tower where the meeting next door is happening.
In Arvani, Savio takes a moment to explain, "The Conclave is Tremorus and twelve other Houses -- the grandest of this island, Dawnsend, and surrounding isles. Like the Lyceum. If I understand the Lyceum correctly."
Back to the translating, and Savio agrees, "The Emissary speaks honestly; the Pravosi will extend their resources against the Blackreace and Potitus, and their might would join Theotokis to guarantee victory against our enemies. As for the Makheda-Amkhet -- were you to commit your fealty to the Leporidae, to become the Count of Theotokis," Savio's takin' a guess at titles here, "Then think of this. You would have the Leporidae at your right hand and the Pravosi, the Compact, at your left. What then could the little trifles do? No matter where they stand, how could they act against you? With Theotokis in such a position, they could not! You would be so far above them, they would be a speck beneath your boots. And of course -- in such a position, your seat on the Conclave would be a guarantee."
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Savio before departing.
Amanita remembers that they have food. To be polite, she begins to sup, listening to the negotiations as best she can when Savio translates. "This is true," Amanita says in between bites of her soup, agreeing with Savio. "If something were to, Gods and Reflections forbid, ever happen to you - you would have more support than ever. Any wrongs would be righted immensely. And with more support, we can make sure that nothing /does/ happen to you. You will be better protected than ever."
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Savio before departing.
Braxas checks charm and diplomacy at normal. Braxas is successful.
Duarte checks charm and seduction at normal. Botch! Duarte fails badly.
Amanita checks charm and seduction at normal. Critical Success! Amanita is spectacularly successful.
Adrastos chuckles at Braxas' suggestion, finishing the last of his soup by mopping some bread in his bowl. "Mm, a seat on the conclave would right many wrongs," He agrees - and then blinks, surprised as Savio translates Duarte's question. "Makheda-Amkhet are carrion-eaters," He informs Duarte. "They fight not for their own causes, but for those who'd give them coin." He rises, leans forwards, on his knuckles. "They kill commanders, yes, and soldiers - but they also kill children, or innocents. They slither past locked doors, and cut throats in bed. We can all appreciate a commander's death to demoralise their troops - but the death of his family, to make them lose no matter the result - that's the work of _those_ venomous vipers," He hisses.
He flexes his fingers, he points to Amanita. "Wrongs have already happened. I like what I hear - the Pontelaus know coin and support, and the Amadeo, I'm sure, will join in fighting the War of Two Queens." There's a slightly predatory grin there - did Duarte just promise an army?
"And these two," He gestures between Braxas and Amanita. "They sing a song I like to hear. Yes, Leporidae is a possibility - if we get the conclave seat. You," He looks to Braxas. "You speak a lot. One has to sift through your words. But there is value. And you." He nods to Amanita. "You have keen eyes and ears. So I tell you this. I would not normally accept the presence of the scum that is Makheda-Amkhet. But..." He looks back to Savio, and his smile grows even wider. "You shall have the support of House Theotokis in your war, on one condition - there is one person among the assassins. I want their head. For they took away someone I cared deeply for, a long time ago. We shall treat them as individuals, and Leporidae and Theotokis will treat as houses - and when Leporidae offers Theotokis a seat on the conclave - as long as it happens after I have received this head - then Theotokis shall bend knee to Tremorus."
Braxas smiles warmly. "I am glad you find some value in my words. I think what you seek, can be arranged easily enough?" He looks to the nobles of the compact for an answer. "It is not too much to ask. One persons head for a lasting alliance with a worthy ally. Well worth it I think." He considers them all carefully.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Savio before departing.
Duarte perhaps after having been a little too ingratiating, a little too slick with his words, a little too presupposing of the leader's blood thirst, Duarte deserves a good ribbing. He takes it quietly and with a knowing dip of his head back to the Patriarch - fair play!
"Which head, my soon-to-be lord?"
Everything is going so weelllllll so WELL oh he wants a head. Because of course he does. There's a little hitch in the translation as Savio processes this particular detail, before he fires up his brain again and asks along the same lines of Duarte, "I would need a name, Patrician Adrastos."
Amanita checks charm and etiquette at easy. Amanita is successful.
Nearly as tall as the men in the room in stocking feet, and towering over both Savio and Duarte in heels, Amanita rises up from the table and takes a step backward to bend into a graceful, becoming curtsey to her soon-to-be Lordship. "Your praise is flattering, but I value it - I know you mean it and that others do not often win pretty words from you, Patrician. Thank you for your consideration." She dips her head low and then takes her seat once more, going back to her meal while she leaves the others to figure out particulars about whose head the Patrician wants.
"The name you'll have later," Adrastos promises with a chuckle. "For now, we seal our deal in blood, and when the assassins have left, I'll give you a name. Let you figure out how it comes - but before I have a head, I will not fight beside you. Before I am offered conclave, I will not bend the knee." He declares booming. He draws a knife from his belt - a small one, surely lethal in his grasp, but not used as an implement of killing - no, instead he gives himself a shallow cut in the palm, careful to avoid any tendons. "Who will clasp hands with me?"
Duarte says, "seems it should be a native of this city-state does it. *cough*Savio*cough*."
Braxas smiles and nods to Adrastos in understanding. As he goes to slice his palm Braxas does not flinch he justb smiles faintly looking pleased. "Count Amadeo, would you do the honors? I feel as though one of noble standing should make this pact." He bows his head respectfully and watches intently.
Braxas smiles and nods to Adrastos in understanding. As he goes to slice his palm Braxas does not flinch he justb smiles faintly looking pleased. "Savio, would you do the honors? I feel as though one of local blood and traditions should make this pact." He bows his head respectfully and watches intently.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Savio before departing.
Savio looks pathologically unimpressed at the alteration to the terms that Adrastos is presenting, and the lack of a name. But he sighs, and says in Arvani to Duarte, "I can't disagree." A small knife with jewels set in the hilt is withdrawn from his own belt, and he slashes across his palm! He stands, and smiles, extending a hand.
"I will see this done, Patrician Adrastos, if I have to do it myself. So be it."
Once everyone else is done with the knife, Amanita wipes it on her dinner napkin and then cuts her palm open rather precisely. She wipes the knife off once more and hands it back to Andrastos, bowing her head to his before she offers her hand. "We shall not fail you now, Patrician Adrastos." She smiles at him and exchanges blood for blood.
There's a small chuckle from the large Outlander at Braxas and Duarte, but a nod, and he gladly clasps the hands together, his and Savio's - and with a pleased expression of surprise, Amanita's. "Bold. I like it. This promises well for Compact and Leporidae and Theotokis alike. We share blood. We shed blood. We will conquer together." He declares.
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