Bastion Scouting Debriefing
(OOC: every PC is welcome! Can be assumed that uninvolved NPCs have not in fact been invited)
Oct. 3, 2021, 5 p.m.
Reese Bianca Rosalind Raven Patrizio Preston Lou Vitalis Katarina Ivy Haakon Veronica Denica Edris Cesare Raja Felicia Natasha Alantir Drake Pasquale Raymesin Ian Jasher Mirk Alis Valdemar Sydney Mark Oswyn
Arx - Ward of House Grayson - Grayson Mansion - Great Gray Hall
Comments and Log
Valdemar has joined the a regal sofa with green silk cushions and silver accented carvings.
2 Culler Brutes, 1 Culler Boatswain arrive, following Raja.
Rosalind has joined the long table of polished wood with griffins rampant climbing its legs.
Alberico, the Malespero aide, Louis, a Malespero Armsman, Mar, the Magpie arrive, following Pasquale.
Drake has joined the a regal sofa with green silk cushions and silver accented carvings.
2 Culler Brutes have been dismissed.
1 Culler Boatswain have been dismissed.
Balian, a Templar squire, Guy, a hunting kestrel, 1 Templar Knight guards, Direhorn Jeffers, a barded Templar wargoat arrive, following Preston.
Edris has joined the Couch of Majestic Gryphons.
Vitalis has joined the Couch of Majestic Gryphons.
Ian has joined the long table of polished wood with griffins rampant climbing its legs.
Pasquale has joined the long table of polished wood with griffins rampant climbing its legs.
Treb, a restless direhorn, Rascal, a large striped skunk, Dash, a Kite of the Cloudspine, a feral Bastion kitten arrive, following Ivy.
Cufre has joined the a round table with inset amber and glass badgers.
Situated at the end of one of the long tables in the hall is Liara Grayson, two of Grayson's more senior servants seated nearby to take notes of all the proceedings. When it comes time to kick matters off, she rises to her feet to offer a simple, "Thank you all for attending. We will commence with a report from each of the scouting groups. I ask that interjections be saved until every group has made its report." Her gaze turns towards Bianca. "Legate Bianca, would you be so good as to commence matters with the report on the harbour?"
Raymesin has joined the a round table with inset amber and glass badgers.
Raja has joined the silver seasilk sofa of superb repose.
Sydney has joined the a round table with inset amber and glass badgers.
Raja has left the silver seasilk sofa of superb repose.
Raja has joined the a round table with inset amber and glass badgers.
Oswyn has joined the a round table with inset amber and glass badgers.
Reese arrives at the event while adorned in steel and steelsilk armor. She moves with the easy grace of a trained warrior and has a peacetied blade at either hip. She is a bit late to the meeting, but eventually made it! A polite smile of greeting is given.
From her place on the couch, Bianca inclines her white head deeply to Liara. "Of course, it would be my please, High Lord." She stands with ponderous slowness. "The smell hit us first, before we entered the harbour proper. Some of us," her silver eyes stray to Valdemar, "handled that better than others. Needless to say, they left everything to decay where it fell, included a gargantuan carcass, blocking a good bit of the harbour. There were voices, trapped souls of the dead, who attempted to claim possession of some of us, so they could die. And of course, the flying centipedes that ate flesh. Overall, not the safest place, but we did manage to pass through, thanks to the valor of those who accompanied me."
Rosalind is totally here. Here pale freckled skin is still red and splotchy, maybe even a bit swollen. But it's totally better! She gives a warm smile to those she knows, or even those she doesn't and goes to have a seat. Then she hears Bianca and grows quiet.
3 First Legion Centurions, 3 Setarcan Royal Shields arrive, following Patrizio.
Raven arrives fashionably late and slips in as unobtrusively as possible, large verdant eyes sweeping the faces of those assembled and sizing up the seating arrangement. She bows to the High lady and slinks towards a seat.
Patrizio, like Raven, does his imitation of his absent cousin Sebastian, though the Pravusi Voice tries at least to look somewhat abashed about the fact that he's not as punctual as he ought to be. There's the brief making of reverence to the princess of Bastion, before he's finding himself a seat as well, and the brief dip of his head as well to those he recognizes, before he settles in to listen.
Listening with a faint frown, Liara gives a small inclination of her head to Bianca after she finishes speaking, and she offers a simple, "Thank you, Legate," without passing comment or offering further query, at least not yet. She looks over to Vitalis. "Lord Vitalis, would you be so good as to report on matters at the western gate?"
Reese finds a place to sit and she looks over to bianca as she speaks, listening to her words with close attention. She then turns to listen to Vitalis.
Raven has joined the silver seasilk sofa of superb repose.
Veronica has joined the silver seasilk sofa of superb repose.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Reese before departing.
Preston beats at his cloak as he enters the Gray Hall, removing some of the dust from the road. But thankfully at least he discarded his armour before rushing over, so he is a lot less clanky. Spying the Legate, he makes his way across as he listens to the early reports, bowing as he takes a seat at the sofas to the others present.
Preston has joined the a regal sofa with green silk cushions and silver accented carvings.
Patrizio has joined the silver seasilk sofa of superb repose.
Lou had arrived early and is leaning against one of the walls rather than seated for the moment. Her arms are crossed and she quietly watches those who step forward to speak.
Vitalis stands to address those gathered, "Our group scouted the western gate and found it 'guarded' by a mercenary company who were speculatively desscending on Bastion." He elaborates, "We observed fifty or so abandoned from different clans and tribes, and could find no evidence of any entity funding their work. We believe them to be opportunists come to sieze power or wealth in Bastion, with no particular abyssal alignment or service noted." He continues, "They are well-ordered and disciplined and it is uncertain if there are more mercenaries in this company or if we saw the bulk of them."
With a small duck of her chin to Vitalis, Liara says, "Thank you, my lord," and then, as before, no commentary offered, she moves on, asking, "Lady Ivy, I'd be grateful for your report on matters in the noble district."
Raven leans over and murmurs to Patrizio softly.
Vitalis settles back into his seat near Edris, nodding at the man as he does.
Katarina, adopted Princess of House Valardin, is present but unremarkable -- to the extent that beyond noting that she's present, seated at the big table, and wears an expression of carefully but not completely restrained concern, no further remarks regarding her are necessary at this time.
Phillip, 2 House Riven Soldiers arrive, following Nigel.
Ivy stands, offering a nod towards Liara, "Of course, Your Grace." She glances around the room, "We found only trace remains of Abyssal presence, insect husks, smears. They all but disappeared by the time we reached the noble district. Instead, we found that a very thorough and systematic search of houses had been conducted, locks and windows broken, signs of looting. With one exception. A ducal house near the end. No signs of forced entry, though the door was unlocked. Within we found three professional bandits in the middle of a very thorough and well-planned emptying of the house. Boxes carefully packed, shipping labels. The boxes were to be sent to Arx. Unfortunately, in the ensuing fight, two of the bandits were killed. However, the third was detained and turned over to the Inquisition for questioning. We found them to be members of the Silver Harpies, a professional group of thieves known for selling items and information to others of ill-repute. A possible to connection to the Traitor. Investigations are ongoing." SHe offers a quick bow towards Liara before stepping back to lean against the wall once more.
After Ivy finishes, Liara, who listens with pursed lips, offers over a "Thank you, my lady," and then her attention turns to the next person up, Haakon. "Lord Haakon, I would be grateful for your report on the cathedral district."
Haakon rises when called, clad in iron, wool, and leather. The reaver speaks in a strong, rough voice. "The lot of us went underground near the Western Gate, came near as we could to Cathedral Square afore coming up for light and air. Nowhere near so many foe moving in Bastion as we'd thought. Came upon the Square just afore sunset and found it.. unnatural with growth. What ought have been cobbled ground were a bloody jungle, spilling over with vile poisons and such. We marked some foemen moving among the vines, by the time we'd cut into the cathedral, and barricaded the door against them from within."
"The enemy hadn't defiled the inside as they had the rest of the city. While some among our number stacked pews to hold the doors closed- the foe had started to break in- the rest gathered up what pieces we could. Vials of holy oil, tomes, censer, altar cloth and such.. Dame Reese found a hidden stash with something of particular value. The foe broke in afore long, and we slipped out the vestry. Went back to ground, and left the city without trouble."
Raven turns her gaze to Haakon expectantly. Her eyebrows lift in mild surprise as she listens to the report without the sort of colorful commentary she's come to expected from the seasoned lord.
There is a sharp intake of breath from Lou when Ivy mentions the Silver Harpies. It's a name she's heard before, it seems.
Veronica also looks just a little bit surprised but she hides her smile behind a hand. It's accurate, on the whole.
Vitalis looks with interest at Lou when she reacts to mention of the Silver Harpies. He looks to Ivy and back to Lou, lips pursed thoughtfully.
"Thank you, my lord," comes Liara's reply. Considering the gravity of everything, she keeps her expression carefully schooled as she listens. Next, she says, "Princess Denica, I would be grateful for your report on the artisan district."
Denica stands up on cue with shell pink lips pressed together and vivid eyes alert. A hand flicks at her gown, driving out any rogue kinks in the steelsilk before she speaks with a loud and clear voice that can carry across the room. "My team scouted the Art District," she begins. "We took a prisoner early on and questioned him," the princess uses that term loosely. "The information he provided us, was there are about a hundred soldiers there, under the banner of House Blacktree. They have moved on the city to take advantage of the fall of Bastion. We do not has reason to believe that Blacktree are abyssally aligned, rather that they are opportunists. They are capturing and we suspect probably killing Grayson vassals still in the city." Denica's expression is stern, somber and stoic as she gives her report, before she sits down once more.
Aegis, a large red Oakhaven bloodhound, Rurik, a prodigal assistant arrive, following Mirk.
Liara inclines her head lightly to Denica. "Thank you, your highness." Then her attention turns to Lou, expression a touch more somber, "Princess Lou," - getting called 'princess' is just something Lou has to endure from Liara - "We would be glad of a report on matters in Grayhold."
Edris blinks, unable to keep his gaze from moving briefly to Lou's face as she's addressed, but otherwise he keeps his expression still, and then listens respectfully.
"Lady Ivy, I have reached out to a contact regarding the Harpies. Someone who once asked for my help as they had kidnapped her mother. I will let you know if they are willing to talk." Lou says after a moment. "I did not get an opportunity to aid her much, because the Inquisition warned me off of doing so given the danger they present." Lou then looks to Liara and nods, "Of course." She steps away from the wall then and projects her voice far enough for those to hear it and tells the report as one would who has reported on affairs over and over again throughout her life.
"We were able to get around most of the obstacles the other scouting parties pointed out," Lou starts, furrowing her brow some as she says this, "When we got to Grayhold itself, we could either go through the castle or go straight to the crypts through the hole the Traitor created to breach the walls. We opted to go into the crypts. All around the hole were the carcasses of dead bugs. We lit torches on the walls and delved inside, taking care. The first thing we noticed was the smell. Rotten decay, not of people, for it's already the crypts, but of plants. There was the remnants of some kind of sap that had moving organisms in it on Alarice's fake tomb. It was, of course, empty other than that. Ezra got some of it on his hands and it started wriggling around, so he cleaned them off quickly." There's a light pause there before Lou continues.
"After that, we heard the sounds footsteps, like metal clipping against stone. We were confronted by a disfigured corpse that had daisies for eyes and who told us another was waiting upstairs made of silken flowers. Then it demanded to know who we were, before it erupted into a swarm of bugs. I ran, because bugs usually means the Traitor, but the others stayed behind for a bit. A pale woman beckoned to me from a door and told me that we'd be safe in her office, and about that time the others started gaining their senses and running from the swarm then. We learned the woman was Lady Amy Rowland, whom was the treasurer of Queen Alarice during the Sylv'alfar War. It became evident when she offered drinks that she was just a shade, a ghost if you will, of that woman. However, she did tell us what it was that Queen Alarice hid in the crypts that the Traitor took, an item which was meant to be destroyed but never was because Lady Amy met an untimely death. She was quite upset that she was not able do her duty and it is now in his hands." There might be more to that report, but it's likely stuff that's only meant for Liara and the voices' ears. She walks over and whispers something quietly to Liara.
Mirk has joined the Couch of Majestic Gryphons.
Listening intently, her features taking on a pensive, faintly troubled mien, Liara eventually offers a simple, "Thank you," to Lou, and then she collects herself to her feet. "If anyone has further clarity to offer on any of the matters just presented, additional information that may help us to better understand what is going on, I would welcome that now."
Veronica has joined the line.
Ivy dips a nod towards Lou and murmurs, "Thank you, Your Highness," then falls silent to allow the Pathfinder to present her report. The fantastical nature of it provokes a few brow raises, though she says nothing. The sap draws some curiosity, much as the mention of vegetation around the cathedral did with Haakon's report. Liara's question has her eyes scanning around to see if there will be anyone speaking up.
Cesare has joined the line.
"Lady Veronica," Liara says, with a small gesture of her hand in apparent invitation to speak.
She was confident in setting her name in the ring, but now that she's called before the assembly the blonde Inquisitor has to take a moment to compose herself. She does advance, however, pushing a lock of hair away from her face. She clears her throat, and then Veronica adds: "As Lord Haakon reported, there was immense vegetation cloggin the Cathedral Square. It was...hostile, to put it mildly. Your highness, I realize you are probably trying to avoid more of the city being set on fire, but I would like to gain permission to form an expedition to burn all of it out. It isn't natural or right, and it's quite dangerous."
Preston has joined the line.
Raven's attention swings her attention to Veronica curiously. She tilts her head. She opens her mouth to speak but closes it and fishes out a flask while she listens, thinking better than speaking on this occasion apparently.
"I do not doubt that it is dangerous, and appreciate your good intentions in this regard. The prospect of an alchemical solution to the problem, without usage of fire, has been suggested and I hope to see it explored further. We might go over the options for dealing with each problem as a next step. Thank you, my lady," Liara says, and then she turns to the next person. "Whisper Cesare, please."
Being that Veronica is the protege of one Princess Katarina Valardin, it's only logical that her request draws her patron's interest. Katarina's brow furrows, but she continues watching from afar rather than butting in or anything so unprincessly. Regardless, those close enough can no doubt read the 'I hope you know what you're doing' written on the Eurusi woman's face.
Turn in line: Veronica
Turn in line: Cesare
Veronica bows as she is addressed and returns to her seat with a murmured "Thank you for hearing me my lady."
Reese has joined the line.
Ivy has joined the line.
Cesare rises to his feet from where he's sat at the long table, swaying...only very slightly. "Cesare, Softest of Whisper House," he addresses the assembled. "I'm uncertain how much information has already been shared with everyone present, but my research has turned up the presumed identity of the Knight of the Breach who was encountered at the original battle, as well as that of his weapon, a possible connection to Lorwroth Kinsbane - possible- his connection to particular members of the New Triarchy, and the one who ended him originally." He clears his throat. "Pathfinder, with regard to what was found, I hope that those of us who were aware of the black ring which holds some significance to this situation will be informed if that was the item stolen by the Traitor - and that if it was not, my suggestion to at least explore or attempt to recover items from Halfblood's Woe might be considered. Thank you."
Turn in line: Preston
"That was not the item stolen by the traitor," Lou says immediately in response to Cesare. "We are aware of what the item was and what it might possibly do, but have yet to confirm the latter. It is a named item." And that seems to be all Lou is willing to say on that matter.
Liara purses her lips together as she listens, but elects to offer no commentary at all on this particular matter, simply giving a small inclination of her head to Cesare. "Thank you." Then she turns to the next person up, "Grandmaster Preston, please."
Raja had been sitting and listening quietly. When Cesare stands up and shares what he does, Raja looks confused. This is all new to her.
Vitalis has joined the line.
Vitalis tips his head with interest studying Cesare - he'd wondered what the Softest might ask, curiosity clear in his expression. He purses his lips and nods, looking to the high lady. Vitalis rises to his feet, indicating interest to Liara that he wishes to speak.
Cesare's hands ball into fists. "It was my vision," he hisses. Then he sits back down into his seat, very heavily.
1 Iron Guardsmen, Axelle, a personal valet, Bonehilda, the prettiest-colored spider, Mira, Betty, Alafiss, an angry hairless black cat arrive, following Felicia.
6 Grayson House Guards, Thistleton, an elderly and devoted manservant, Liza, a young and energetic bard arrive, following Macda.
Preston slowly pushes himself to his feet slowly, wincing a little as he puts pressure on his bandaged arm. Still, he pulls at his shirt and bows his head to Liara "Your Grace. It is a small point. Or two. We have found the Traitor hunting for other relics, one an old Templar relic that thankfully we retrieved. There are a number of small tribes being pulled in with the offer of joining Legion, an offer I do not understand but one that pulls at them." Preston pauses for a moment "But, there was a Su'Tavi mage as I understand at Bastion? Wounded by the Marquis that fell. She answers to the Elf collecting these items for the Traitor. A Lady Calyana. From sources and from an encounter with the Traitor's forces high in the Red Mountains, we have also learnt that they seem to have a..well. A hidden path through Arvum that their magic allows. In so far as their mages go, they can move strategically in ways we cannot." There is a final wry smile from Preston "Oh, I have also learnt more on those targetted by the Traitor, but perhaps that is something for another time."
Nigel has joined the long table of polished wood with griffins rampant climbing its legs.
Raven says, "Pretty sure she's Sylv'alfar, not human, if that matters."
Turn in line: Reese
"Thank you, Sir Preston. That is most helpful, and the last item is indeed a matter for another time," Liara replies, and then she adds to the room more generally, "We might endeavour to keep the scope of information presented here relevant to events at Bastion and what must be done to reclaim it. That is not to diminish the importance of other matters, but we only have so much time."
That being said, she says, "Dame Reese, please."
Denica has left the long table of polished wood with griffins rampant climbing its legs.
3 Inquisition Confessors have been dismissed.
3 Thrax Guards have been dismissed.
1 Thrax Elite Guards have been dismissed.
a silent, nondescript man, named Cato have been dismissed.
"Your ring is of equal importance, but there was nothing in that particular vision to suggest it was associated with Bastion and what was taken from there. However, it /may/ relate in some way to other matters of importance involving certain allies of the Compact. That is a discussion for another time, though." Lou speaks gently to Cesare, giving him a grim look.
3 Inquisition Confessors have been dismissed.
3 Thrax Guards have been dismissed.
1 Thrax Elite Guards have been dismissed.
a silent, nondescript man, named Cato have been dismissed.
Reese rises to her feet and heads up t the fron. "Oh, I just wanted to say that I am not sure what the faith relic I found is, but when I do figure out, I will let you know and the faith know of course." She says.
Turn in line: Ivy
Felicia's a late arrival, but is about as discreet as a knight in full armor can be, taking up a spot at the edge of the room and leaning against the wall to listen silently.
"I appreciate it. If we have learned one thing from all of this, it is that even our own home holds mysteries," Liara remarks to Reese.
Then she turns to the next person up. "Lady Ivy, please."
Natasha watches Preston in that same attentive, but inscrutable fashion, before turning her gaze over to Ivy once called up to the line.
Ivy steps forward to offer a nod to Liara once more, "As a point towards using alchemical reagents on the vile vegetation found in Bastion... there are some of us that have dealt with such reagents already, and would be glad to offer assistance in that matter. Myself, Lady Medeia, Countess Thea... we have all dealt with at least one man-made poison that was being used to kill a Grove. We might be able to turn such a poison back onto the growth around Bastion with minimal danger to the folks that will come in after." She pauses, then adds seriously, "I would not suggest anyone go about licking walls or doors until the city has undergone a thorough cleansing, but it will not provoke clouds, gasses, or other immediately harmful side effects. And we have already created an antidote to it as well, that can be applied after, to neutralize the poison and ensure greenery of a more normal variety will be encouraged to return to the city." So said, she steps back once more and returns to people watching.
Reese has joined the line.
Cufre has left the a round table with inset amber and glass badgers.
Lou starts to say something about the form of travel Preston describes, but stops herself; a discussion for another time. She turns a curious eye to Ivy.
Turn in line: Vitalis
"That, along with a suggestion put to me by Lady Mabelle yesterday, sounds most promising. Thank you, my lady," Liara replies to Ivy, with a quick smile breaking her otherwise pensive expression, and she asks for the next speaker. "Lord Vitalis, please."
Lou has joined the a mahogany grand piano with an ornately carved cabinet.
Alantir has joined the line.
Torsney, an attentive high strung law clerk arrives, delivering a message to Preston before departing.
Denica has joined the long table of polished wood with griffins rampant climbing its legs.
Vitalis listens with interest and no small amount of concern to the folk who take turns speaking. He bows to Liara and extends those courtesies to the Grayson nobility pressent, "I am trying to devise a way we might divine the location of these agents. I've been warned off the effort as too dangerous, but-" he squints, "Had we those means, and could have found that Su'Tavi mage, we might have found her before she descended on Bastion. I'm not sure what 'too dangerous' could mean when the populace of a city could be at stake. If any can assist, I would be glad of any aid offered."
Evensong, a twittering songbird arrives, delivering a message to Reese before departing.
Turn in line: Reese
"Food for thought. Thank you, my lord," Liara replies to Vitalis, then turns to Reese, with a light smile. "Dame Reese, please."
Raven frowns gently and listens, chewing her bottom lip absently in thought.
Reese get back up to the front. She has a gentle smile for those here. "Oh, I was just thinking, that if we are doing cleanings, we should get cleanings if having nnightmares after this all, Lady Ivy?"
Turn in line: Alantir
"Can such things be solved?" Liara wonders, apparently rhetorically, and she gives a small inclination of her head to Reese. "Prince Alantir, please."
Alantir stands when addressed, raising a gauntlet to lift the visor of armet. "I trust, Your Grace, that the information being withheld from those at this table is not significant enough to jeopardize the safety of those offering to lend their assistance to House Grayson? Bastion, as described by these expedition leaders, is a dangerous city -- I would not wish to see lives lost due to restricted intelligence sharing or improper military preparation," he says, expression neutral but tone conveying some degree of concern. This inquiry, it seemed, was born from a respect for operational security.
Ivy looks to Reese and smiles gently, moving across to talk to her more privately for a moment.
Raven snorts indelicately for some reason with Alantir's question, her good hand rubbing her face.
Reese murmurs something softly to Ivy.
Liara gives a little shake of her head in response to Alantir's question. "If you are referring to the item taken by the Traitor, it may present a dire threat to a great many people, considering his apparent interest in it, but I do not think it will be of interest with Bastion specifically. However, as I am sure all here will appreciate, there are some things which it is best not to speak of without certain protections being in place."
"Thank you, Your Grace," the knight replies, dipping his chin respectfully and returning to his seat. It was clear that the most he could do was take the highlord at her word.
After an inclination of her head to Alantir, and a considering look to the growing volume of notes being taken down by the Grayson clerks nearby, Liara addresses the room as a whole, "We will move now to suggestions for solutions for each of the issues presented. I invite anyone and everyone who wishes to speak to indicate as much, and we will move through each in turn. I have one particular matter to address for my own part, first."
Lou finally moves to settle down on the seats surrounding the large musical instrument. She glances over at Reese when her sister says she's having nightmares and gives her a consoling look.
Drake watches Alantir, looking rather sympathetic about his questions, frowning slightly when Liara mentions protections. He nods to the prince but doesn't move much from his spot either.
Raven's chin lifts and her gaze settles on Liara with interest, still and attentive.
When there's the mention of the discussion of solutions, Patrizio's lifting his head anew, that leather folio of his coming open. That the stylus is at the ready, rather than his moving to perhaps join the line, speaks to where his mind is at the moment.
Felicia has joined the line.
Reese looks over to Lou,g iving her sister a gentle smile that reaches her blue eyes and briefly brings her blue dimples. She seems have familal affection for her.
With the call for present solutions and tactics on the table, Natasha's gaze moves towards Patrizio where he sits with the Pravosi contingent, curiosity hinted within her near-obsidian stare. A soft discussion at her table, however, pulls her focus away to regard her company.
Seemingly collecting her thoughts, Liara continues, "A number of House Grayson's subjects are held prisoner by, and some may already have been killed by, this House Blacktree. Its head, calling himself Duke Ranver, appears to have set himself against House Grayson in very deliberate fashion. Before action can be taken against them, and before they can be driven from the city, our people must be made safe. This may be by way of a rescue, although I am conscious that such an undertaking poses dangers of its own, or by seizing a number of House Blacktree's people and then exchanging prisoners. I am open to suggestions on the particulars."
Patrizio briefly turns his head when he's noticing out of the corner of his eye, that glance from Natasha, and a faint smile finds him as he dips his head to her. And still, the stylus rests on the page before him. But a nod, to Raven settled close by, at something she's saying to him.
Raven considers Natasha, the Princess getting a twice over in a wary, profiling manner. Her lips purse as if something said privately troubles her. There's softly spoken back and forth between the Blackheart and Prince before she bows her head to hi in apparent accepting of some bit of insight.
Pale fingers lift from her side of the table. "Your Grace," Natasha begins. "Did the scouting endeavor that ran across House Blacktree indicate whether that mission turned up any reasonable estimates as to how many of your subjects are being held?" There is a shift of her attention to her cousin Denica, there, who had been part of it per her report.
Ivy looks up from her quiet conversation with Reese to ask, "Do we know anything about House Blacktree's location or numbers? Are they protected by the Traitor? Are we likely to encounter more of the insects, or living foliage?" She pauses, casting an apologetic glance towards Natasha for perhaps speaking at the same time, then sends that same apologetic look towards Liara for the possibility of interrupting.
Nigel has left the long table of polished wood with griffins rampant climbing its legs.
Phillip, 2 House Riven Soldiers leave, following Nigel.
Raven says, "What do we know about Blacktree itself, or at least, it's Duke?"
Raja remains silent from where she sits, her dark gaze flickering from person to person. She is listening intently, putting the pieces together in her head and possibly plotting as well.
"Your Grace, with your leave I'd be willing to lead a contingent of knights out to face House Blacktree. If we coordinate with another group who are able to action the rescue of the captured at the same time it would limit them from being able to use them as leverage." Felicia volunteers from her spot.
"This is the first I've heard of House Blacktree," Lou answers Raven from her seat. "My understanding is Blacktree numbers 100 in the district they occupy. There's no telling how many people this so-called Duke calls his own, however, or what reinforcements he can call to the area. The only benefit we have with them presently is that they are openly occupying hostile territory and have no love of the Traitor themselves. I'll defer to Liara to the numbers of our people being held."
Denica happens to look up as she sees Natasha's attention shift to her direction. Though she's been sketching through most of the meeting, she's alert, listening and always watching. There is a regrettable shake of her head, piping up briefly she says, "we got the sense there were a group of them, but how many, it was hard to tell. We could hear them, but were not able to get close enough to see. Rather, it was their voices, their manner of speech that made us quite certain that they were living in Bastion prior to the attack," Denica provides what information she has, though cognizant that it is limited.
"I have received no specifics. A visual observation may not necessarily be reliable, either, in case they have removed prisoners to their own home," Liara answers Natasha. Then she turns to answer Ivy and Raven's questions, "We know very little. It may be a house of a few hundred, with a head with a very grand view of himself, or it may be a large house with tens of thousands of people between it and its vassals."
She gives a little nod to Felicia. "Thank you, Dame Felicia. As Princess Lou says, their force observed in Bastion numbers one hundred, which we might swat as one would a fly, but they must, of course, realise this."
When Denica speaks up, Liara says, "Thank you, your highness."
Lou adds, "There's also a prisoner that can be questioned who /might/ know the Grayson numbers held there. They're with the Inquisition at the moment."
"Thank you, Your Grace," Natasha replies, as always with that same level, quiet voice that strangely carries to the furthest end of the room. "I asked because the number might influence weighing one option over another, whether House Grayson elects for a covert rescue, or a prisoner exchange. If the numbers are unknown but are reasoned to be significant, it might be safer for your subjects to pursue the latter....but that also means securing those high enough in House Blacktree's hierarchy. For instance, if they're not Abyssal aligned as Princess Denica reported, they might be amenable to releasing all of them in exchange for their Duke, should he be captured."
Liara says to Lou, "That appears to be one of these so-called Silver Harpies, although I am certainly open to correction."
Then her attention goes quickly back to Natasha, expression thoughtful. "I had in mind the capture of their outer patrols or foraging parties. It was suggested to me that their duke is in Bastion. That would certainly be a bold undertaking, but it may very well resolve the entire matter all at once."
Haakon advises bluntly, "Find where your vassals are held, kill a who hold them, free what you can and present this 'Duke' to the Sea. Or.. whatever Grayson justice looks like," he amends after a moment. "A body doesn't negotiate with the folk squatting on the ruins of your capital and ask for a courteous exchange. Bloody well kill them."
Raja snorts, "I wouldn't exchange. I would just go in and get rid of this House Blacktree. I doubt that people like that would pay any sort of heed to whatever pact or deal that is made."
Raven pulls out her flask and salutes to Haakon, apparently agreeing with the lord's sentiment.
Denica lifts her attention back to the conversation as they discuss targeting the Duke, "the Duke was in Bastion when we were there. He was in his chambers, during the time we were scouting, at least based on what we were told by the prisoner." Denica clarifies to the question.
"Might I suggest." Pasquale offers here. "That you find a way to make them come to you? That way you will always have superior numbers and position and you are more likely to find a valuable prisoner without having to fight your way into the center of their camp."
Lou crinkles her brow at Liara. "I'm fairly sure Mabelle's group was one that also took a prisoner. She had it in her report, and she reported the hostages."
Felicia gives an agreeing nod,"They're in Bastion, so I assume that they would have Abyssal support, your Grace. But cutting the proverbial head from the snake rather does prevent it from eating more. But, I am at your Grace's disposal however you wish to proceed." she offers a half-bow respectfully and settles back into her spot.
"If there are still a number of them in Bastion, might I suggest an... information-gathering party? Similar to the scouting parties, but looking this time specifically to separate one of the Blacktree folk from the herd, to be questioned as to the location of the prisoners held, if they would even still be alive, and if so.. what sort of opposition we might expect in attempting rescue? That wasy we have the, ah, intel needed to properly coordinate between an assault and rescue missions?"
Vitalis lifts a hand, "I believe there are two prisoners. One Silver Harpy and another?" He looks between Denica and Ivy.
Raymesin settles back as he listens, one long leg crossing over the other at the ankle.
Ivy nods to Vitalis, "My group secured a member of the Silver Harpies."
Liara gives a little nod to each of Haakon and Raja. "I entirely appreciate the sentiment. I will attend to exacting justice once the matter of the prisoners is resolved."
She pauses to examine a note on the table, then says, "Princess Lou is quite right. There is a prisoner from House Blacktree. They should be examined further, although we cannot count on any information being reliable."
Denica pipes up again in response to Vitalis's question, "we took one of the cooks serving the Blacktrees," Denica clarifies by way of numbers of prisoners.
Reese finally pipes in. "I would very much like the honor of representing the Templars and going to help rescue the prisoners when the time comes for such." She then pauses for a moment.
Dark curls brush against pale cheeks as Natasha nods towards Pasquale. "It's likely that they're being held in hostile territory as is, coming in hot to kill House Blacktree might spell doom for our forces if the objective is to get at least some of Her Grace's vassals alive. Luring them out would be a gambit made possible, I think, if you have someone important to them to do so. That is the overall gist of my suggestion."
Pasquale offers. "From what has been said you might not even have to offer up a vulnerable target. It might be enough just to offer them an opportunity to make Grayson look bad."
Lou tilts her head in Pasquale's direction. "Getting into Bastion is made easier by those who grew up there and know the tunnels, alleys, and other side roads that can get you in and out of a place. And those of us that grew up there know it far, far better than House Blacktree." Not that she's suggesting she's going in for rescue or anything, but more that they have that resource at tip of their fingers.
"I will volunteer to accompany the rescue mission to see to it that prisoner and rescuer alike have immediate medical attention. Ensure all prisoners are at least travel-capable." Ivy glances around at the various nobility and royalty and Faith members before landing on Liara, "Though it might be best if there are multiple healers along. As much as I have confidence in my abilities, the less time we can take in getting people travel-ready, the better."
Reese looks over to Lou at her words, nodding to her.
Raven says, "PErhaps an request to parlay might be a proper means to lure out suitable targets or perhaps the Lord of the House himself?"
"Still." Pasquale says lightly to Lou. "That would be easier if some of their troops were off doing something else."
Raven says, "They will expect Grayson to want to negotiate, surely?"
Ian has left the long table of polished wood with griffins rampant climbing its legs.
Ian has joined the a round table with inset amber and glass badgers.
Ian has a dubious expression as he braces himself on the long table and, pushing himself to his feet, switches to the round one.
"That is an excellent idea. Plus it'd give us an idea as to their numbers, and whether or not they still have Abyssal allies," Patrizio voices, nodding along with Raven and Pasquale's suggestions. "Even if we haven't the opportunity to free the captives, it doesn't put their lives immediately in more danger."
"They are not allied with the Abyss. They are Jayus worshippers." Lou supplies for Patrizio. "Lady Mabelle mentioned one of the first things they did was build a shrine to Jayus."
Jasher speaks up in response to Raven's question with a rhetorical, "What other reason would House Blacktree have to take hostages? If they want nothing from House Grayson, they will have been executed already. They would not take on the responsibility to feed mouths that provide no advantage to them except perhaps labor, if they're being used in such a fashion."
Cesare sits up. "The Hands of Jayus?" he asks.
Raja looks to Cesare, "Who?"
Simply listening quietly as the conversation goes on, Liara looks over at Cesare's query. "I did not hear quite such a term used, but it appears that they worship Jayus specifically. It is unclear to me as to whether they recognise the rest of the Pantheon."
Patrizio's brows crease when he hears this, but there's more writing in his folio, and a shake of his head. "That seems... unusual," he says, mostly to himself while he's doing such a thing, but the jade eyes lift once more as he's listening.
Vitalis pipes up, "Could I suggest pitting the mercenaries at the gate against this Blacktree? Pay them? Or infiltrate them?"
Reese looks baffled. She bites her lower lip and everything. "I never heard of Jayus worshipers who take captives before."
"I suppose - if they're House Blackwood, perhaps not. The Hands of Jayus were a branch of the Crafter's Guild from Gemecitta, cut off from civilization during the Sylv'alfar war," Cesare says. "They're Abandoned, but not in the sense we think of them. A tribe that moves constantly, not settled in any one village, and they provide supplies to other Abandoned tribes rather than raiding."
Lou seems to shrug in Cesare's direction, not seeming to know what the Hands of Jayus are. "Blacktree," she corrects gently in his direction. "Blackwood is a Compact house."
"It's not uncommon for Shav tribes. They aren't all shamanistic or demon worshippers," Mirk says on the topic of Blacktree's beliefs, shrugging a shoulder. "Pantheon worship is very common among Abandoned, though often in a fashion we would consider heretical. Many acknowledge only a single god or goddess, and deny the rest, or they have their own very unique interpretations."
Alis excuses herself quietly from the seat she'd been taking up, leaving her assistant there to take notes as she's summoned away for something or other. A bow is offered towards Liara, and then the other Grayson family members present before her white haired little self disappears.
Haakon sniffs sharply, "You're talking in hundreds and half hundreds. Send a few ship upriver and kill the bleeders, afore their little king smartens up and runs back into the trees, dressed in whatever he stole from the Grayson wardrobes. Bargaining with a handful of folk who pick the bones of your capital will reek of weakness."
Alis has left the a regal sofa with green silk cushions and silver accented carvings.
Sir Rhys, a Valardin Knight, Laurene, a military adjutant, 10 Valardin Knights leave, following Alis.
Raja looks to Vitalis, then to Cesare. A smirk turns at her lips. "You know, Cesare, the mercs already know your face. You could help manipulate them into believing the Blacktree are aiming to take over their claim."
Cesare shakes his head at Haakon's words. "If they /are/ the Hands of Jayus, they didn't become Abandoned intentionally. There's a good chance they'd be willing to come into the Compact peacefully. Particularly if a representative of Jayus was sent to them." He sighs, sitting up a little straighter yet again.
Natasha folds her fingers over her folio. "There's a wealth of options, at least with respect to Her Grace's request about her vassals. I do agree with the notion that before anything is settled that Blacktree-affiliated prisoners be interrogated first to determine whether any new information gleaned whittles down the number of possibilities." There is a glance to Lou. "I understand that this is a House Grayson matter but I'm willing to help assist in questioning should you require it."
"They took hostages and are holding a section of our city with soldiers. There's nothing there that suggests they'll come peacefully. They strongly feel they have a right to be there, but we've no idea why they feel that way." Lou spreads her hands and settles them on her knees, leaning forward a bit. "If anyone knows anything about the origins of House Blacktree itself, that would be helpful."
Preston checks 'recovery check' at normal. Preston is successful.
Raven checks 'recovery check' at normal. Raven is successful.
Liara gives a little nod to Vitalis. "An interesting suggestion, my lord, and worth exploring further." She inclines her head to the departing Alis, then something approaching amusement plays at her features at the exchange between Cesare and Haakon, and she just says, "In the Crownlands, ensuring the safety of one's subjects is paramount. It will not go to the point of making friends with those who have captured them. All that awaits House Blacktree once my people are safe is ruin."
Then Liara looks about the room in general, saying, "There is some excellent food for thought. I propose tabling this matter for another, more specific meeting, because for now, I would like to proceed to suggestions regarding the other issues in Bastion. I have no specific thoughts or plans to present on them and open it to anyone to put ideas forward."
Zoey has left the long table of polished wood with griffins rampant climbing its legs.
Edris nods once at Mirk's words, though he remains quiet, listening attentively, his expression thoughtful.
Turn in line: Felicia
Preston coughs gently from his perch on the sofas "Might I suggest that inducing others who profess to follow the Pantheon to break their contracts and promises to others is perhaps not a conversation to be had in front of Voices of the Most Holy? We do rather have particular views on whether such ideals represent the best of us." At Haakon's suggestion, Preston's shoulders lift in a non-committal shrug "You must provide the choice to them to do the right thing. Though I would not overly worry about appearing weak by choosing to talk rather than kill. Once you've lost your main hold, it is probably beyond the point of worrying about such appearances. Still. They are Abandoned, and have made their opposition to Grayson clear. Honourable combat seems quite reasonable."
Cesare's expression goes totally blank. He sits particularly still for a moment, except for the quivering of his eyelashes, then stands and calmly exits the room.
Cesare has left the long table of polished wood with griffins rampant climbing its legs.
Raven says, "It has been suggested that Ruin's got a stake in events in Bastion. If this is so, then a commitment to a peaceful solution may be necessary to counter..." She makes a face and waves a hand, "May be necessary."
Haakon regards Liara and Preston in turn, and draws a breath to answer, before letting it out unvoiced as Liara declares the wish to move on. A small shrug and he resumes listening.
Valdemar rises from his seat and excuses himself.
Valdemar has left the a regal sofa with green silk cushions and silver accented carvings.
5 Grimhall House Guards, Gustav, a gruff Islander advisor, Vladimir, a shaggy brindle Grim Wolfhound leave, following Valdemar.
Raven rises, bows to Patrizio, bows to the high lady. Makes direct eye contact with Vitalis in a meaningful way and then saunters on out.
Raymesin has left the a round table with inset amber and glass badgers.
"Be safe, Raven." Patrizio's smiling when she's bowing to him, his head dipped in response, though his jade eyes turn back to the others, as if seeing if there's anything else.
Drake has left the a regal sofa with green silk cushions and silver accented carvings.
Ivy pushes away from the wall to move towards Liara, offering a bow to the High Lord before leaning in to murmur something to her.
Raven has left the silver seasilk sofa of superb repose.
1 Iron Guardsmen, 3 Black Fleet Reavers, Moonsilver, the pale-feathered raven leave, following Raven.
Sydney rises from where she has been seated and quietly makes for the exit, expression troubled, and despite the time elapsed, hair /still/ damp.
Ian doesn't move just yet, content to sit where he is and drink occasionally from his flask while he watches people filter out.
Sydney has left the a round table with inset amber and glass badgers.
Rosalind climbs to her feet, and bows her head all properly and things. Then she hurries(as best she can), out the door.
Rosalind has left the long table of polished wood with griffins rampant climbing its legs.
Connal, a Northern Wolfhound, Honeymare, 1 Ravenseye Warrior, 3 Sanna House Guards, 2 Northern Rangers leave, following Rosalind.
Bianca is overheard praising Liara.
"I have people helping me to investigate further to see if we can determine what the item the Traitor took can do. I have my suspicions, and none of them are good." Lou tells Liara, her brow furrowing a bit as she speaks to it. "And once we know what it can do, we're going to figure out a way to stop it."
Natasha seems to be speaking softly to her cousin Jasher, before she slowly rises from her seat to dip her head towards Pasquale and Patrizio. Pale hands move to collect her things.
Denica stands up wordless, a few balls of crumpled paper on the chair next to her. They are all gathered up by her chosen attendant as she glances towards the exit, seeming convinced the bulk of the conversation has died down. Even steps, takes the short princess to the exit.
Denica has left the long table of polished wood with griffins rampant climbing its legs.
3 Inquisition Confessors, 3 Thrax Guards, 1 Thrax Elite Guards, a silent, nondescript man, named Cato leave, following Denica.
With no further views ventured, Liara speaks up to the room again. "Thank you all for attending. I trust that this has been informative, and will help with future planning. I welcome correspondence with further information or if clarity is needed."
Then she inclines her head lightly to Lou. "None of them good at all. Thank you."
Looking up and around to Lou, brows furrowed, Ivy asks, "Was it a necklace?"
Likewise, Patrizio nods to Natasha, as he's closing his folio, and slowly, he rises to his feet as others are doing the same. It seems there's nothing more that he's worried about for the moment, and with a reverent bow to Liara, he slowly makes his way towards the door himself.
Patrizio has left the silver seasilk sofa of superb repose.
3 First Legion Centurions, 3 Setarcan Royal Shields leave, following Patrizio.
Alantir has left the long table of polished wood with griffins rampant climbing its legs.
Natasha has left the long table of polished wood with griffins rampant climbing its legs.
3 Thrax Guards, 1 Thrax Elite Guards, Torsney, an attentive high strung law clerk leave, following Natasha.
Jasher stands to his feet while exchanging a brief word with Natasha under his breath. Thereafter, he bows to Liara and Lou both, and then pivots on his heel to wordlessly depart the hall.
When the meeting is drawn to a close, Edris rises, to offer a deep bow towards Liara. However, he doesn't approach, perhaps having little of value to offer, though he does turn to speak quietly to Mirk and offering a brief half smile before the Elwood lord begins to make his way out.
Jasher has left the long table of polished wood with griffins rampant climbing its legs.
3 Thrax Guards, 1 Thrax Elite Guards leave, following Jasher.
Lou glances over at Ivy. "Lady Amy Rowland only told us the name of the item. Not what shape it took. I can say, however it is not likely to be the ring Cesare is worried about, although the two items are equally detrimental." A pause, and a curious look, she asks, "Does the necklace you are asking about have a particular name?"
Liara offers smiles, little bows of her head and the occasional wave in parting to various people, including Patrizio, Jasher and Edris, though for her own part, she remains standing by the table.
As the number of people decreases, Ian finally puts his flask away. He braces on his cane and levers to his feet with a little bit of effort, then starts towards the front of the room where Liara and Ivy (and presumably Lou) are.
Raja watches as people begin to filter out. Still, she remains in case more information can be gleaned.
Ivy lets out a breath and shakes her head, "None that I know of, though very little is known of the necklaces I've been seeking. There are at least twelve of them, each a necklace with a pendant. Each pendant bearing the symbol of one of the Gods of the Pantheon. These are the talismans I've been seeking, but I know not if they were given proper names."
Veronica carefully rises and slips out, having listened much more than speaking, and gaining much to think upon.
Veronica has left the silver seasilk sofa of superb repose.
Mykael, 2 Prodigal reavers leave, following Haakon.
"This is not that. This is a weapon.." Lou assures Ivy, giving her a grim look. "Your pendants are something else entirely," of this Lou is certain having had a meeting with Ivy about them at some point. "Something meant to be helpful."
Bianca has left the a regal sofa with green silk cushions and silver accented carvings.
Archimedes, the Grim Face of Owlish Judgement, Sir Alren, Scholar Duran, a perpetually put-upon assistant, 5 Templar Knight guards, Clementine leave, following Bianca.
Nodding to Lou, Ivy looks relieved, "Thank the Gods. The presence of a... a cult of Jayus in conjunction with the item taken had me worried."
Edris has left the Couch of Majestic Gryphons.
Katarina has left the long table of polished wood with griffins rampant climbing its legs.
A dutiful Valardin aide, 2 Valardin Knights leave, following Katarina.
"It sounds like the Jayus people are separate from the invasion," Ian remarks as he gets closer. "Are we sure the people they're holding are prisoners? Someone under armed protection in a hostile area doesn't look much different from a prisoner."
Vitalis is taking notes, writing his thoughts quickly, while they're fresh. He looks up to catch that look from Raven and points at his notes, nods. He looks briefly at those filing out and then at his tablemates, offering a farewell to the Elwood lord he'd not been properly acquainted with - an oversight. He blinks at Mirk before bending back to his notes, a glance at Ivy for her question.
Liara gives a little nod to Ian. "From the descriptions I have received, people are locked away. I certainly take your point. One of the Abandoned apparently declared that House Grayson is not worthy of holding Bastion, which is a clear indication of hostile intent. I suppose it is plausible that there may be some intention to keep people safe, but if that is the case, then there is nothing stopping us from immediately using military force."
"If they were merely being offered protection, they should have been returned to friendly lands already. Its not as if there is active patrols by the Traitor's minions in the city anymore." Ivy points out as well.
Ian raises his eyebrows. "Or they could be pissed off that House Grayson left them behind," he points out. "And the people they're holding might not want to leave their homes, or might not have anywhere to go." He pushes a hand through his hair. "All I'm saying is that once you take things to war, it's all really hard to walk back if you figure out later on that you didn't have to go that far. Killing people is the kind of mistake you can't undo. I know our enemies don't care about that stuff, but we're not them."
Lou raises brows at Ivy. "I'd say that the corpse that addressed us in Grayhold was evidence of some sort of active patrol somewhere."
Vitalis looks at Lou and considers, "Mnmmh. Maybe. The Traitor isn't known to be too mindful of his toys."
Liara gives a small duck of her chin in acknowledgement to Ian. "Indeed, we are not. Perhaps the prisoner already taken will yield more information in this regard."
"From what you were saying of what the creature said to you before bursting apart... I'm not so much sure that's an active patrol so much as a... an unliving messenger left for whomever entered the crypts after the Traitor. It -did- mention there being someone waiting upstairs, did it not?" Ivy lifts a small shrug.
Raja is quiet at her table still. She moves to stand up and straightens her clothing. She approaches the group assembling around Liara. She waits for a moment where it seemed polite enough to speak, "From what I understood, there are three opportunistic factions within the city. There are the Mercs by the Western gates, this House Blacktree, and then the Silver Harpies. I am unsure if this was already suggested as there were a great many suggestions tonight, but.. how about the introduction of false documents into their ranks? Say, someone from the Merc group got wind of the Silver harpies wanting to steal of their supplies and poison their food and then House Blacktree gets a note about the mercs wanting to move in? Create some interfaction fighting between them. It will help thin their numbers before moving in."
"Given all the talk of plants we've heard about, I kinda figured that person might be Emerald, and we weren't going to take the chance to find out if it was her or not," Lou grimaces a bit as she mentions it and rises from her seat to draw closer to those gathering around Liara. "She is the corruptor, after all. And while I do not go into /shardhavens/ I wouldn't lay down bets that they might trying to turn Bastion into one with all of the corruption there. Emerald is the one that creates them."
Ian bows his head to Liara. "If it comes down to it where violence is the only way forward, I'll help where I can. But we've already got a lot of enemies. If there's a chance some of these people could be made into something other than enemies, it's probably the best chance the civilians have." He looks over to Raja. "It won't go well for them if everything descends into chaos. They'll be the first casualties."
Preston pushes himself to his feet as the meeting breaks up, bowing to Liara and Lou as he makes his way towards the exit "I shall leave you to your deliberations, Your Grace. Your Highness. Though, I would note in life we are often presented with complex situations where it is hard to discern the right path. When you are granted one where you know your enemy, there is not always a need to respond with complexity." He bows his head again to Lou "Your highness, I'll be in touch with some minor information that the Explorers may find useful. Good day."
Preston has left the a regal sofa with green silk cushions and silver accented carvings.
Balian, a Templar squire, Guy, a hunting kestrel, 1 Templar Knight guards, Direhorn Jeffers, a barded Templar wargoat leave, following Preston.
Vitalis looks up at Raja, "My thinking was much along those lines. Engineering some way for those laying some claim to the city to figh one another wtould be a most efficient use of resources." He nods at what Raja suggests. "Those are good suggestions. I would suggest turning Softest Cesare on that matter should you wish to pursue it; he was phenomenal in devising and maintaining a convincing charade."
"If they leave peaceably, and they have not in fact killed any of my people, then there are certainly other foes far more demanding of our attention," Liara suggests in response to Ian. Then she inclines her head in acknowledgement to Preston, before looking to Raja, lips pursed in contemplation. Eventually she ventures, "The Silver Harpies appear to have a presence in Arx, at least, and so information to direct them as might suit us could be conveyed here, if one of their agents can be unearthed, although I do note Lord Ian's caution on this matter."
Raja glances to Ian, "Well. Then we may have to have a covert operation to get them out before the documents are spread out." She looks back to Liara and a sly smile turns up her lips. "Let me start a little askin' around."
Having been very quiet much of the evening, Mark stands from the place he'd been sitting and slips out without interrupting.
Mark has left the a regal sofa with green silk cushions and silver accented carvings.
a singing messenger named Maria that sang this message either loudly or softly arrives, delivering a message to Liara before departing.
Ivy points towards Ian, "That. If the captured folk ARE prisoners and not 'guests', then they will be the first casualties of any in-fighting between the factions. As well, I don't think there are anymore Silver Harpies in the city. We seem to have come upon the last group. They'd already taken all the relics and were down to personal papers, journals, that sort of thing." To Lou, she nods, "Entirely possible, but.. if I'm remembering this correctly.. the creature told you that someone of silken flowers was waiting for you upstairs? I will not try to claim any great knowledge of Emerald, though I have been learning quickly, but I don't know that 'silken flowers' is an appellation I would apply to her? Its possible that someone, or something, else is still in the castle." Letting out a breath, she murmurs, "I would suggest speaking to either Lord Orland or Mistress Insaya regarding the Silver Harpies. They were the ones that knew the most about the company and have been actively seeking further information on them. From what I can tell, the Silver Harpies are professionals. Silver in a sufficient quantity might be enough to gain information."
Felicia stirs from where she has been blatantly eavesdropping to prowl towards the others remaining,"The Silver Harpies were involved in the threatened destruction of Wheelspinner." she informs quietly as she takes up a spot in an 'at ease' stance, attention largely on Lou and Liara.
Liara then goes on to add as a general thought, "Military force is not an issue. I could call my banners this instant, but it would be a dangerous and, in any event, inefficient approach to the problems."
Ian looks over at Felicia. "I don't suppose they were led by a really pale man with red eyes? I ran into some people about six or seven years ago who were calling themselves the 'Exploration Guild' or something like that, but I got the sense that name was bul -- was, uh, made up. They were trying to get their hands on a Nox'alfar, uh, death toy."
Lou inclines her head after Preston, giving his back a curious look when he mentions the Explorers. Exploration of any sort always has her interest. However Ivy's comments bring her attention back to the conversation. "Bastion is a large city. If they are clearing it of any goods or relics there, they may be there for a long, long time. They might have just moved on to another district than that particular ducal area." Felicia's comments have both of Lou's brow's drawing up. "They meant to try and destroy an item of the Gods?" She's assuming Wheelspinner is such an item anyway. "Or was it one of the Elven creations?"
Raja looks to Felecia, "Huh. Pardon my ignorance, but what is Wheelspinner?"
Vitalis folds his hands and looks to Felicia when Raja asks - he's never heard exactly what it was despite having seen it in action. Vitalis tilts his head at 'Exploration Guild,' "A rival Society of Explorers?" This rings a fainest bell.
"Yes." Felicia advises Lou,"And no, Wheelspinner dates back to at least the Dance of Skulls, and was once carried by Death's general." at the query she touches a couple of light fingers to the plain looking scabbard at her hip,"Death's sword." she offers simply.
Ian nods to Vitalis. "I ran into them on a Society of Explorers mission I'd been brought along to protect. We're pretty sure they knew the artifact that we found was there, somehow. We didn't know it was there until we found it, so they must have had some kind of inside information."
Lou glances over at Ian when he mentions this. "Which mission was that?" she wonders. This is the first time she's hearing about artifacts found on a mission recently!
"Wheelspinner is known as the Blade of Souls, it has proven, in the past, to be particularly useful in whittling gargantuans down to size." there's a wry amusement to her tone,"An ancient poem associated with it is 'Wheels turn and kingdoms fade, Souls reborn and spirits made, but seek the blade that strikes the heart, of ancient evil's nameless dart. For it the blade of souls is found, and truly aims at spirits bound... then souls return to Death's embrace... no more to nameless torment face."
Ian angles his head to Felicia. "Didn't Lord Haakon say something about there being a bunch of trapped souls at the harbor?"
Liara reverts to just listening for now, to Felicia and then to the others, about Wheelspinner and the other matters arising too. Then she confirms following Ian's words, "He did."
Ian nods towards the sword at Liara's hip. "You think that thing could set them free? I'd be game to try to get you there if you think it's possible. That'd take at least one problem off the list."
Ivy offers a light shudder at the mention of the Death of Skulls, drawing in a deep breath and letting it out slowly before looking back to Lou, "And they are a large group, by all accounts. The fact that every single house in the noble district had been picked clean, and we caught the three down to the papers and ledgers part of clearing out a -ducal- estate suggests that they were there, if not from the time the Traitor invaded, then directly after. There was even suggestion they were clearing out Bastion -for- the Traitor, which means it would have been a top priority for them to complete. That nobody else encountered the Harpies in any of their districts, especially the artisan district? Suggests that this was the last of their stops." There might be a slight shift away from the sword at Felicia's hip. A subconscious maneuver, but one that will put a touch of space between her and it.
Felicia blinks slowly at Ian and grimaces ruefully,"That must have been before I arrived. But, well... again, Your Grace, I stand ready whatever your orders." there's that wry smile again,"Trapped souls themselves tend to be better freed by Namers, unless we're talking that they've been molded into gargantuans? But, as a Deathspeaker it's my duty to help the dead, so, I'd be willing."
"That is in the region where a gargantuan was slain," Liara says to Felicia. "That is not an area about which I know anything, but I suppose if a solution is available, it should be followed through on."
Ian shrugs to Felicia. "I think he said they were trying to possess people so they could die? Not that I know what I'm talking about here, but that sounds like a lot of dead people trying to get back to the Wheel. Seems up your alley. Maybe Raymesin Ulbran's, too."
Raja nods to Ian. "Not sure how they feel about it, but I am sure both Raymesin and Tanith would like to see the souls returned to the wheel." She sighs. "Thank you for having me in your home." This is last said to Liara. She gives a respectful bow. "If I learn anything, you will be the first to know." She then turns on her heel to head out
Felicia gives a slight nod of her head,"Most of the Deathspeakers are not knights. And admittedly, taking on a gargantuan without magic can be... dangerous, to put it mildly, but, that? I can do. Marquis Rymarr, myself and others destroyed one at the Lodge. And I've... learned much since then. If there's others willing to face such a beast, me and Wheelspinner will be there."
Vitalis nods at Ian, "I'd lend myself to that effort as well. Terrible circumstance, to be trapped outside the Wheel." He scratches at his jaw, making no move away from Felicia or the blade, probably because they're far enough away. Right? "I've had enough of blighted vines and things to last three lifetimes." He shudders then, for true, and starts to organize his papers.
Ian snorts, then coughs a laugh at the statement about taking on Gargantuans without magic. "I know. The dead one in the harbor stepped on me on its way down."
Liara offers Raja a quick smile, a mild, "Of course," and then returns her attention to the others. "I think that I might officially adjourn matters there, although you are of course welcome to remain to discuss anything of interest. Thank you for attending."
Ivy squints a look towards Ian, "You and Master Evaristo... the most unlucky combatants I've ever met..."
Pasquale stands as the meeting starts to close, nods to the others, and then starts making his way out.
Ian raises his eyebrows to Ivy. "I'd consider myself lucky. When I volunteered to distract it while the others got the ballistae ready to go, I thought it was going to be my last act in this life."
Oswyn looks up from his notes. He has been taking copious notes, and there's even a page with a sketched outline of Bastion that's pretty much dry by now in front of him.
Pasquale has left the long table of polished wood with griffins rampant climbing its legs.
Alberico, the Malespero aide, Louis, a Malespero Armsman, Mar, the Magpie leave, following Pasquale.
3 Armed Confessors arrives, following Insaya.
Raja looks to Ian and leans closer, "Gotta be the scarf.."
"Both with courage and honor to face foes that would send most running for safety." Felicia opines with a smile for Ivy,"Surviving the experience is something that should be recognized, Lord Ian, even if the populace is perhaps... not quite ready for such things."
"More ready than it used to be," Oswyn remarks, quietly.
Back to list