Assembly of Peers - April 1018
Aug. 28, 2022, 8 p.m.
Lucita Jasher Kiera Rosalind Sylvie Kael Pasquale Grady Lou Drake Caspian Victus Tesha Patrizio Keely Sebastian Denica Theo Malcolm Lisebet Leonaess Preston Medeia Ryhalt Saccharin Vitalis Berenice Ariel Liara Sen'azala Fortunato Khanne Sydney Mia Raymesin Cillian Aconite Ann Cadern Smile Corban Deva Titus Haakon Aksel Thesarin Alaric
Arx - Ward of the Compact - Assembly of Peers
Comments and Log
Lucita steps into the room, curtsies where it is appropriate for her to do so and quietly takes her seat on the Lycene benches.
Jasher enters the Assembly beside his cousin, Denica, her vibrant crimson array throwing his funereal black silhouette into sharp relief. Myriad cuts and bruises that mark his face are beginning at last to fade, a grim memento from recent battle. He is wearing his usual flat expression, neither smiling nor frowning, though his head is turned at an angle specifically to note the presence of Victus among the Voices of the Realm. He nods in his direction then quietly leads on to the Thrax section and, after pausing to let Denica through first, claims his own seat.
"Thank you all for attending this Assembly of Peers. If a representative of the Faith would like to open us up with a benediction or prayer?" Alis stands up to bring the gathering to order, and dips her head respectfully towards the Godsworn so things can be started properly.
Kiera enters and moves quite swiftly in the direction of the valardin benches
Rosalind had been early! For once. She moseys her way to the Redrain benches, sitting down to chatter quietly. When the prayer is called, she quiets herself quickly.
Duchess Sylvie peers around the benches that she's sitting in, peering for a moment intently at Preston with a bit of a head tilt, but then sweeping her gaze out.
Kael arrives escorting Princess Keely Grayson in formal fashion, pausing initially only to offer a bow toward the Voices of the Realm. Thereafter he moves by default toward the Valardin benches only to hesitate for but a heartbeat and offer a rather wry grin toward his companion at his near blunder. His course shifts toward the Grayson benches where he pauses so that the princess can join her fellow peers of the Crownlands, offering a few quiet words to Keely and a polite nod of his head to Lisebet and Lou. He looks about to say something to the latter, hesitates, and with another inclination of his head he is back to the Valardin benches. This time however he sits.
Pasquale joined the assembly some time before the start time and has been sat minding his own business taking notes in a small book and occasionally coughing as the others filter in. His head comes up as the assembly seems to be coming close to starting time and he looks about before gently tucking the book away into a pouch on his belt. Settling in for quiet watchful contemplation.
The telltale crinkle of waxed paper heralds Grady's arrival to the Assembly hall, along with Ann and Raymesin, of all people. He says cheerful goodbyes to the both of them before threading his way over to the Grayson benches, begging pardon every time he has to slip by someone.
Although Lou is practically thrumming with excitement from the benches, she does at least do her best to lower her head for prayers. That is, just after she nods back to Kael in greeting.
Drake is not far from Kiera upon entering, and like his sister, quietly takes a seat in the Valardin benches. He settles in to prepare for the prayer.
Caspian enters into the assembly, looks around a moment, and then moves to the benches. The air of expectation is heavy, and the look on his face shows a slight hint of that same expectation.
Prince Victus had arrived earlier than usual for the Assembly. There isn't much joviality to his expression, nor any enthusiasm in his posture. He's quite stiff, his skin a touch paler than it may have been a mere day or two earlier. His chest still rises and falls with his breathing, marking him as alive nonetheless. When the prayer is called for, he makes a slow effort to stand. His eyes settle upon Jasher first, giving the man a grim nod before looking back to the Godsworn benches.
Lady Tesha has been here and has taken up a seat at the end of the Valardin benches as she's still getting used to being out without the veil since recovering more. She gives a nod to those that join them and gives quiet greetings, but is silent other than that.
Patrizio turns his attention, too, to the Godsworn benches when Alis calls out to them, and his hands settle in his lap.
Smiling warmly up to Kael, once they have reached the Grayson benches of course, Keely exchanges a few soft words with the Marquis before dipping her chin to him with flushed cheeks and gently releasing his arm to scoot into a seat at the Grayson benches beside Grady. Lou's cheek gets pecked on the way by, and Lisebet is offered a gentle smile as well.
The space for Pravus at the Voices of the Realm is, at first, empty. It's probably no surprise then to anyone that, when the Artist of Pravus shows up, it's late and with a pause that Sebastian regards the gathered assembly. The prince's gaze goes first to the Setarcan benches, sweeping over those there with a subtle smile and a slight narrowing of gaze as he briefly diverts his path in that direction, before he finally strides for the space at the front and indolently drops onto his padded seat with a faint murmur of greeting to those already there. Just in time to stand again for the opening prayers. Timing.
Holding a sketchbook against the front of her, Denica arrives with Jasher, taking quick steps with her much shorter legs. There is a more subdued expression on her face though her eyes remain ever lively and full of wonder, her expression cannot help but crack into a small smile at the sight of a number of people. Passing Victus, she gives him an discrete but especially warm smile and tries to keep her greetings to others by way of subtle looks in their directions. Rather, she is keeping up pace towards the Thrax benches, where she takes a seat next to Jasher, greeting the others gathered there with a hushed voice as she settles in. Once seated, she will open her book and fish around for a piece of charcoal, when found it brings a little bit of relief and comfort and turns her attention to the opening prayers.
Theo makes his way toward Lyceum seating and gives a nod to a few familiar faces as he passes by various benches. When he finds a place to sit, he adjusts his umbra coat with a hand smoothing down the front left pocket out of habit. A moment later he's settled and giving a glance toward the Voices.
Malcolm arrives and takes a deep breath before approaching the Grayson benches and joining his fellow peers, nodding to familiar faces as he takes his seat.
Malcolm has joined the Grayson Benches.
Lisebet returns Kael's nod with a gentle smile and she offers a bigger friendly smile to Keely. She's settled in, giving a brief murmur to the folks at the table with her.
All awash in lambent tones, Leonaess is settled quietly at the Commoner benches with a basket of what smells to be lavender. Attention drifts over faces she knows and doesn't, growing respectfully quiet for the benediction.
Preston lets out a small sigh from his place, gently setting down the stylus he had taken out to make notes with, and the Carnifex draws himself up before taking a few steps out to a clear area. The downside of Templar prayers is the need for a bit of space, as he takes Crusader from his sword belt and holds it with its point to the ground as he kneels onto one knee and places his head against the guard "We ask the Gods to bless this Assembly. May they grant the wisdom of Vellichor to all who must make decisions. May the Sentinel guide them so they can be just. May Gloria fill them so their actions may be righteous and honourable. May Jayus and Gild lead us forward, to build and not to destroy, in this life that Death grants us, with the choices Skald brings us, and on this world Aion dreams."
"In the name of Petrichor, we ask that he grant sanctuary to this place and that all here should abide it, or face the consequences. And may all the Gods watch what is done here, and may the High Lords please them." Preston then pushes himself to his feet, reseating Crusader on his belt, and then moving back to the benches to resume his note taking.
"Thank you, Sir Preston. We'll begin with the update from House Valardin since I'm already talking. The cleanup and reconstriction of Artshall continues, and both the Duchy and Valardin thank everyone for their offers and efforts to date. It will take quite some time to completely rebuild, but we are prepared to work as long and hard as necessary to see Artshall restored." Alis pauses there, nodding towards those of House Laurent who are present in the audience. "That is all we have to report at this time. The other attending Houses will each offer a status update to the realm, and then there is a guest speaker, Prima Sen'azala. After she has spoken, we will open the floor to any nobility who wishes to ask questions or address those gathered. Prince Victus, if you would?" A polite gesture is made towards the Thrax Highlord as she re-takes her own seat.
Medeia settles stiffly, as if her midsection is wrapped in bandages beneath her gown, at the Thrax benches beside Haakon. Her bearing is proud, expression neutral.
There is a visible look of relief on Lou's face when Alis mentions that Sen'azala will get her requested time. She glances around to see if her friend is in the hall already, having not seen her arrive amongst the throng of people who entered.
Ryhalt rose for the blessing and resettled in the Valardin section in time for Alis to speak. He nodded to the introduction with a light smile.
Victus settles back into his seat, and when he's called up again, he makes no effort to rise a second time. Rather, he grunts, and leans forward enough to at least denote that he was taking 'the floor' of the discussion. His mouth forms a thin line across his bruised face. "What is there to say that hasn't already been said?" He looks across to the Thrax benches, gesturing toward the Isles' peerage with his good arm. "I've witnessed three battles thus far. All three, there was enough blood to dye the sea red. Not a drop from shavs, nor an invader from the outside. We sit politely among each other today. Tomorrow, we go back to killing each other." He leans back then, rumbling with some discomfort in his chest. "It's war. It's nowhere near finished. Anyone who believes in ending sanctioned slavery in the Compact, the frontlines are drawn and waiting."
With that, he falls silent again.
Rosalind's large eyes are already tracking Sen'azala. She's clearly curious but sits back, fidgeting.
The mention of the word 'prima' has Saccharin craning her neck and lifting herself off her seat to study Sen'azala herself and her features brightening. 'Ooooh yes' she mouths.
From the Setarcan benches, Patrizio listens to the reports as they are given. That he's not looking over to the guest of the evening yet, that speaks to how his stylus works on the pages of his open folio in his lap. Though Victus' statement does draw the Pravusi prince's gaze upwards towards the front table, as he listens attentively.
Vitalis bows his head for the benedition, murmuring an assent and affirmation as the Carnifex's prayer concludes. He turns attention to the High Lord Valardin when she begins to speak and straightens at mention of the Prima speaking, eyes flickering about to catch sight. He tucks his chin at mention of work done at Artshall. He nods, thinking on the work yet ahead and nods again at High Lord Thrax's dry resolve.
"Solemn and properly spoken, Your Grace." Alis' word choice is no doubt deliberate there, as she inclines her head towards Victus. "War is messy, and brutal." There's no point in sugar coating it, especially since he has not. "Thank you nonetheless for your update, and I'm glad you were able to make it here today. Princess Berenice. If you could update for the Lyceum?"
More often than not, Sebastian is watching the crowd during the opening prayers, but this time he is watching Preston. Maybe because the Carnifex is drawing his sword out, earning a lift of brows and a faint twitch of lips at the sight of a non-peacebound weapon. When the Pravosi settles again, he's regarding Alis with a faint nod, a gesture that isn't repeated as he watches Victus.
Tesha rises a bit slowly for the prayer, but she keeps her hands on the bench in front of her to steady herself. Once it is said the woman settles back into her seat. She listens to the High Lords that speak and her scarred features sober a bit when Victus speaks. Everything he said was true though.
Edris has joined the Valardin Benches.
Lucita's usual smile is gone as she listens to each report given. The reports are to weighty and somber to receive anything other than her full attention.
Berenice rises to her feet with characteristic grace as she stands at the front of the assembly. "Thank you, your grace," she says with a respectful dip of her head to Alis. "The Lyceum has little new of note to report. We are continuing our investigations into certain discrepancies left behind throughout the Lyceum's finances in the wake of a particular death, but we have no news of matters that may fall beyond our borders to impact our neighbors." And with that, she sits once more.
"Thank you, Your Highness. I hope such matters are swiftly resolved. Nobody likes a discrepancy in the coffers." Alis quips dryly, turning then to nod at the Pravosi sitting with them. "Prince Sebastian. If you could update the realm on behalf of Pravus?"
Patrizio again lifts those jade eyes towards the front benches, to see what Sebastian is going to say.
2 Blackwood trained guards arrives, following Cillian.
Cillian has joined the Redrain Benches.
There's no fanfare as Prince Sebastian stands to answer Alis' query with a dip of head towards her. "Thank you, Your Grace," he answers with ease. "House Prauvs have no updates to offer the Assembly at large. I'm sure everyone is eager to get onto other business," he says, with a genuine smile, as he lounges back into his seat. He might well be looking towards the Setarcan benches as he says that last.
Ariel has joined the Grayson Benches.
"Alright then, thank you Your Highness." Alis keeps things moving along, at an almost regimented pace when she nods next to Liara. "Your Grace, does House Grayson have anything to update the realm with?"
Ariel quietly slips in moving to take a seat on the Grayson benches. Looking a little lost, trying to catch up on whats going on
2 Greenwood Tribe Blood Warriors arrives, following Thesarin.
Liara offers a brief smile to Alis as she rises, then turns her attention out across the Assembly as she speaks, her voice crisp and clear, "Although most will be aware, I note for the benefit of those who are not that settlements, including entire baronies, have been destroyed in the northwestern Crownlands. I have called my banners and the host of the Crownlands assembles to prevent any further depredations against our people."
A scant pause follows before she continues, "Dame Felicia Harrow spent her life in service to Arvum and, in that time, accomplished more than most could accomplish in ten lifetimes. She was the most storied knight of our time. I believe that a new entry in the Hall of Heroes, in House Grayson's section, is an appropriate form of commemoration. I invite input, in the coming weeks or months, from those who surely knew her better than I."
With that, she resumes her seat.
Mia has joined the Grayson Benches.
When Liara stands, Keely straightens a bit in her seat, looking away from conversation amongst the Grayson benches and smiling with a touch of pride at her older sister. It is a short-lived lightening of her young features, which soon fades into a solemn expression at the mention of the destruction in the Crownlands, and the loss of Felicia. There is a mute nod, and then she leans aside to remark something to Grady, reaching a hand to noisily crinkle a paper packet in his hand and retrieve a ginger candy. There is no small amount of cringing at the crinkling.
Grady looks about as respectful and attentive as someone who is handing out candy and crinkling softly has any hope of looking.
Alis looks out towards the Grayson benches as Liara speaks, definitely singling at least one person out who knows who she is when she looks that way, with a brief smile appearing. But, then it is back to solemnity when she inclines her head in gratitude towards Liara. "Thank you, Your Grace." Next, her gaze scans out towards the audience until she spots Sen'azala and then gestures her forward. "Prima Sen'azala requested the opportunity to address the Assembly and her request is granted. The floor is yours, Prima, if you wish to make your statement now. We thank you for being here."
That Prima Sen'azala *is* here is a matter of some question for onlookers, though, surely, not for those directing the Assembly or responsible for its security. She's not seated at any of the benches near the front. As it happens, she's not seated at all, something that's not clear until she slips away from where she was standing near the back, a rather thin shadow without any entourage. No guards, no attendants. Just a single woman in well tailored but fairly plain steelsilk padding softly down the aisle, neither slow nor hurried, with a very thoroughly peacebound alaricite sword slung across her shoulders. She doesn't walk like royalty. She walks like a soldier.
She has a hood up, but she's not trying to hide in it, and when she reaches the center of the room she sweeps it back without any sort of dramatics. The woman's face is badly scarred, likely from some sort of animal, though the scars are long healed, and it's this that...may throw off any recognition. The face *is* recognizable, once one can get past the scars. There's a single line of black paint that's been drawn horizontally across her eyes, something which makes them stand out a bit more. They do seem a bit less brown and a bit more gold than they used to be.
With a tip of her chin toward the Lords of the Realm, the woman half-turns to look over the seated. Shard's voice, at least, hasn't changed. "My name is Sen'azala min'usra Venandi ket Wolfkin," she says to the room. "Prima na Dhiib'andzi. Roughly translated, my name is Sen Who Stands Alone, leader of the primary line of Venandi, chosen blood of the Wolfkin - who I, on this spot, also choose - First within the Chorus of Wolves, one of the thousand jewels in the lands of Nefer'khat." Pause. "With your indulgence, there are things I Have to say."
Alis has left the Voices of the Realm.
Laurene, a military adjutant have been dismissed.
Alis has joined the Voices of the Realm.
It is unseemly for a commoner and a Whisper, but Fortunato claps when Sen'azala finishes her introduction.
Thesarin has joined the Grayson Benches.
Elloise has joined the Grayson Benches.
Pasquale watches Liara thoughtfully until she finishes speaking and the hooded form of Sen'azala approaches the front. His interest in what she has to say clear.
The voice is what attracts her attention most. Khanne looks up towards Sen'azala and her lips curl just slightly. She is fully focused on the Prima, though the smile quickly disappears because what is to follow likely isn't smile appropriate.
Sydney stands bolt upright from her seat at the Commoner's Benches, eyes wide. Mercifully, someone appears to yank her back down to her seat before she makes an ill-timed exclamation.
"By all means, Prima. We are here to listen." Alis encourages; and no, she is not going to attempt to say that entire name. She would definitely fumble somewhere and nobody wants that.
Lisebet looks up as each Head of House speaks. She listens thoughtfully, gaze going over those she can see and judging reactions. As their honoured guest speaks, Lisebet watches quietly.
Lucita murmurs under her breath, likely none but those but the ones at her bench can hear her. "Shard...it's Shard..." Her voice trails off into silence though her lips shape the form of "...am glad she is alive.'
It seems that the Rivens, shifting as quietly as they can towards the Grayson benches, have arrived and settled into their seats precisely on time to hear Sen'azala give her introduction. And gods help them all, Mia -- a woman who has barely been seen to smile outside of Heron Hall, and even then in a thin lipped expression more often than not -- twists her mouth in a crescent, as if finding some deep and wholly unexplained satisfaction at the Prima's mere presence.
If ever there is an uncertain glance it is now, Ariel offers a mild nod of heer head to Sen'azala, letting her gaze linger on the woman, all while holding seat in her husband's stead. Grady offering candy is met with the warmest of smiles, "Better for tasting." She whispers thankfully long fingers prevent too much crinkling there is unfortunately some, she holds it briefly. "Shard, please, go ahead." She voices on behalf of herself really.
Lou seems to sit up a bit straighter when Liara recommends Felicia for the Hall of Heroes. She is clearly surprised, pleasantly so; she seems to agree with the sentiment. She is then turning her attention to Sen'azala. She watches her astutely for a few moments, satisfied she has gotten the chance to introduce herself. She grins widely at Sen'azala, giving her a double thumbs up of support, then carefully starts scanning the room to observe the reactions of everyone else. Lou is very clearly /not/ among anyone who is surprised.
Raymesin too sits bolt upright at the sound of Sen'azala's voice; when Sydney moves, he grabs the back of her shirt and pulls her back down again.
Cillian looks up as the Prima moves to the front of the room his hazel eyes lok on watching her as she stands to speak.
Victus gives a small gesture of encouragement in Sen'azala's direction. "I suppose you'll need to recite that for every Assembly you attend hereon." He snorts. Sounds like the first bit of humor he's had in awhile.
Rosalind straightens the moment Sen'azala speaks. Then watches.
Kiera leans forward in her seat, hands on knees and eyes fixed on the prima lips uncertain of where to settle, at first smiling but then tightening in anticipation
Aconite's head tilts and she smiles at the introduction and like Fortunato applauds softly before falling back to silence and leaning forward to listen.
Patrizio listens in rapt attention for those moments, his stylus paused against the leafs of his folio, as he's considering this moment that's unfolding before them all.
Looking up from her sketching, fingers settle and Denica's attention is fully on Sen'azala as she speaks. Taking in the sight of her, the princess watches with curious eyes and waits to hear what she will say.
Ann is quiet as she has been listening all throughout but when the guest speaker speaks her attention falls on that one as she glances over at Rosalind.
Tesha hasn't heard Shard's voice in sometime, but you don't forget something like that. She gives a curious look over the gathered and then sits quietly back against the bench before she folds her hands in her lap gently so she doesn't fidget so much.
Remus has joined the Setarcan Benches.
Lou seeming mollified, at least for now, that there's no pitchforks and fires coming, she turns her attention back on Sen'azala. Her knee also stops bouncing. This might be why she was thrumming with nervous, excited energy earlier. She watches on, proudly supportive of the woman who is Prima of the Venandi.
"Unfortunately, this requires some history," Sen says, as she looks back to the Voices table, and then to the gathered once again. "And it's a long history, because mine is an old, old house, but I'll try to make it as short as I possibly can. In the days of the Reckoning, House Venandi traveled to Arvum from distant Nefer'khat for one purpose, that of hunting an ancient, eternal enemy. For a time, we did exactly that, fighting separately from the houses that would one day join together to become the Compact, and those that would not. However...as many, many learned in those years, there is not a single house, not a single people that can fight such an enemy on their own. My people made a bargain and a promise to the man who would one day become the Undying Empire, that we would fight our mutual enemy alongside the peoples of Arvum. That we would defend you and yours." She slips a hand to her collar, drawing out an old cloth pouch, long weather-stained, that she has never been seen to remove, even if it has often been out of sight. From it, she pulls something the pouch is entirely unworthy of holding...an ancient talisman of gold and copper, depicting a howling white wolf. She lifts it just above her head. "We were given this promise, which some of you may be able to translate, but which I will tell you right now. It goes as follows: 'Though the skies may darken and the will of men will fail, the wolves will never stop hunting the darkness. Because of the sacrifices of Venandi, we fear not the triumph of evil, and for that we offer our humble thanks. As Arx endures, we will remember.'" She lifts her chin. "Arx endures yet. It is time for you to remember." There's a pause for breath, but she is clearly not done.
Drake doesn't seem too shocked about anything, but he does look quite a bit serious as he listens. One might say more serious than normal, but, he's been serious for a while now.
Sen'azala takes beautiful white wolf talisman of copper and gold from a small pouch hanging from a leather cord.
Vitalis's mouth falls open and he listens, straightening. The full focus of his attention on the Prima as she speaks. There is a flicker on his face at the word 'remember' but he swallows and stills, to listen.
Alis is quiet now, while Sen'azala speaks. As a cue, perhaps, to those of the Oathlands who are here. An encouragement for them to pay attention to what is being said, as she considers it to be just that important to hear. And in line with that, she looks at the talisman when it is held aloft and her gaze turns to further solemnity when the translation is spoken aloud.
Lou sits up even more as Sen'azala starts to recount the promise. It's the final words 'As Arx endures, we will remember' that seems to resonate with her. She quietly blows out a breath, sneaking a peek to see how others are reacting again.
Ryhalt smiles as he listens as Sen'azala speaks, nodding at points.
Cillian eyes remain on Sen'azala listening to her words his hazel eyes looking at the woman, his head tilting eer so slightly looking to the coin and listening to her words.
Lisebet still wewars a copper brooch. She reaches a hand to it instinctively. There's awe for a moment on her face, and she holds her breath until she realizes she is. And then lets it out with a tiny whoosh of air. Her gaze is firmly on Sen'azala now.
The sigh that Medeia releases is accidentally loud enough to be heard past those at the benches around her. It's probably Haakon's fault. She's leaning in to say something to him quietly, looking faintly embarrassed when she realizes how the sigh could be misinterpreted at large.
Ariel looks thoughtful as she watches Sen'azla. Sitting straight up her hand goes to -whoever's= that is close to her, squeezing it tightly as though seeing something for the first time all over again. Her brows knit quite suddenly, poor soul because she's going white knuckled with the grip.
Kael sits up just that little bit straighter, leaning a bit forward. Many seem to have a point that resonates with them, but for the Keaton, it is clear that the promise itself gains most of his focus. Not, of course, that he is not listening intently to all that is spoken.
Tesha quirks an eyebrow when talk of remembering comes up. Should they be concerned? With everything else going on they might need to be. She stays in her seat though, her energy is already low so she's not going to worry too much. For now!
Cadern doesn't seem to be listening so much at staring at the speaking figured, then to the talisman. He seems to shift uncomfortably as he speaks only quietly to the bench.
The peerage in the Assembly is mostly confused. Some of them are slightly rankled that a supposed "peer" that they do not recognise gets to address them all so boldly. But with a High Lord's Blessing, they do not voice any frustration, just sit in their seats with tight expressions. There are some who mouth, 'darkness?' with a few mutterings of, 'is this a metaphor for the shavs?'"
Leonaess checks composure at hard. Leonaess is successful.
Vayne has left the Godsworn Benches.
Sen clearly notes the mutters, but she goes on. "For centuries, House Venandi hunted your enemy and our enemy in the wilds of Arvum. The Compact formed, grew, thrived. House Venandi's name faded, but we remained. When the Sylv'alfar betrayed you, slaughtering your king and all of his male heirs, when Queen Alarice took the throne, she sent out a call for aid. A call for anyone who would join with her to fight this enemy. *Our* enemy, who is *your* enemy. So House Venandi heard, and House Venandi answered. We fought with you. Again, and again, and again we fought. We scouted for you. We were at the vanguard of your battles. We shed our blood alongside you, and it was more blood than we could spare. In the end, our enemy was defeated, but House Venandi was weak and decimated." Her eyes narrow sharply, as does her tone. "The Compact, your ancestors, turned on us, your allies, and drove us back into the wilds. We fought alone then, without allies. We fought your enemy, who is *our* enemy, as our numbers were whittled away to nothing, and as our enemy hunted us down in turn, one by one by one. One by one, until there was only me. I am Sen Who Stands Alone, leader and *last* of House Venandi."
Sen lets those words hang in the air, she lets them sit bitter and angry, but only just so long. "...But I am not here to make accusations. I'm not here to cast blame, to condemn, or to demand the repayment of debts that cannot ever be repaid." She pauses, and for a moment, words clearly catch in her throat. For a moment, her eyes look a little more watery than they should. When she speaks again, it's as strong as before, but the following four words may be the most difficult ones she's ever spoken. "...What's done is done."
Sylvie's lips move, the only thing she has said since Sen'azala has started speaking, to repeat 'What's done is done' silently. She looks to Saccharin next to her, briefly, before returning her gaze back to Sen intently.
Rosalind looks around the peerage, brow pinched. Her eyes return to Sen'azala, looking---sad. The fidgeting of her fingers against her thigh still continuing.
From the Commoner Benches, Leonaess pauses in her herb bundling as the whispers and mutterings reach out, her voice is clear and perhaps spoken a bit too loudly in response to the singing last four words, "Then what are you asking?"
Alis casts her eyes out over the crowd again, and with a stern expression. It does not appear like she's in any mood for outbursts or rabble rousers today, and a glance is given Corban and the other members of the King's Own. Just in case. "Prima." Once again, she inclines her head politely. "One, for those assembled I would note we have allowed ambassadors from other ... areas, to address the Compact at large, so this is not a new phenomenon. And, it is known to the peers of the realm that there are promises made long ago that the Compact has forgotten. Treaties that, because of generations without information or memory of it available to us, we have broken. What you speak of is inarguably even more serious." she allows, perhaps grimly. "Have you a request for the Crown to consider, in light of the information you bring to us? Please do note that we can offer no decision today, as this is a matter to also be brought before His Majesty."
Alis looks sharply at Leonaess specifically, this time. "No comments from the benches. Nobody else may speak until they are recognized. And a commoner requires a noble to speak for them."
Khanne watches Sen'zala, her features slipping first into a somber expression, then into one of empathy and sorrow. When Leonaess asks her question, Khanne turns in surprise towards her before looking back at the Prima.
Then The High Lord looks towards him, Sir Corban stands up a bit straighter and looks a little more resplendent in his silver diamondplate armor. Just in case.
Aconite, like many, is leaned forward on her bench as she listens to Sen'azala, dark eyes unreadable. She follows the flow of conversation to the Peers and then back as her lips purse.
Lou looks back to Sen'azala as she speaks. She's still looking fiercely proud of the woman, offering whatever silent encouragement she can. She casts a glance in Alis's direction before looking back to Sen'azala again.
Jasper, an unflappable scoundrel, 2 Redrain Guards, 1 Redrain Veteran Guards arrive, following Deva.
Kiera leans forward, having nodded at several times throughout sen's speech so far as if to a story retold, but now, now the scholar is waiting to learn
Deva's face is nearly as crimson as her hair as she hauls on over to the Redrain chair at the table. Someone just got into town or something! She bows deeply and apologetically to those gathered before she settles in and hastily slides some papers out in front of her to take notes with.
Deva has joined the Voices of the Realm.
Cillian watches listening to her words, his head shakes from side to side her words hitting something inside of him. He has a look of saddness and fustration on his face as he continues to watch and listen.
Tesha is listening intently to Sen'azala speak, the one eyed woman's face falling into a more sobering state as she listens to what she has to say. The news that the Compact turned on her ancestors was something that makes her grimace.
Leonaess bows her head at the just reprimand and has the grace to at least color but eyes watch the Prima and remain ever curious.
Lucita speaks in low tones to those with whom she sits even as she listens to the audible comments around her.
The mutterings do subside but the looks of consternation do not. And there are a few quiet words along the lines of, "A /prodigal/ house."
Saccharin has left the Godsworn Benches.
There is a soft but audible sigh from Keely, her normally gentle face bearing lightly pursed lips and her dark eyes reflecting a hint of disapproval as she looks out over the muttering peerage. "Honestly," she can be heard, exhaled under her breath.
"Yes," Sen replies to Alis. "I do indeed. A request and an offer." She turns, paces a foot, then turns back. There's a sharp look toward the mutters. "Prodigal House?" she says, low, but edged. "...Prodigal house? If you are going to insult a bloodline older than the Compact, stand and say so. Now."
"Interesting." Victus suddenly pipes up, barely moving in his seats, but tilting just enough to look across the crowd. "An ancient line of nobility from the days of the Compact's very founding has walked into our Assembly. A remarkable chance to restore an institution that is so lost to time, we've all but forgotten about it. Yet I don't see many excited faces." A beat. "So little enthusiasm to come back to /tradition/, for an ally who has fought alongside us in war and then some." He's not bothering to hide the bitterness in his tone, and his gaze says much the same.
Rosalind mutters, "... ... just a prodigal house when ... need ... or ..."
Looking stunned, Ariel gives a soft exhale, preparing for the worst it would seem.
Zakhar has joined the Commoner Benches.
"I would encourage everyone to keep their tempers in check." Alis stands up then, even if it's hard to notice. "If anyone wants to speak on this, they can do so -WHEN I CALL ON THEM- and not before." Alis emphasizes bluntly and firmly. "Prima, please continue with your request, and offer."
Lucita says, "She has indeed fought beside us, protected us with honor.""
Pasquale glances to Victus with interest before glancing through the faces present at the Thrax, Greyson and Valardin benches. Checking and noting anyone who's face shows signs that they might agree, or disagree, with the sentiment.
Cillian frowns as someone calls them just a prodigal house his jaw draws tight and he looks to Rosalind a hand moves to touch her arm in a jesture and his eyes look around the room something light a fire in him and he listens while it burn.
Sebastian glances towards Victus, a faint smile touching his lips. "The Compact may be old, but we forget our history. Much has been lost to us through little fault of our own. The Venandi are an ally that many have forgotten the story of: so we should be forgiving that so few know the story." His fingers steeple together briefly. "Few can say that they have fought and died to the last member of their house, to service a vow made to another. House Venandi can." He dips his head towards Sen'azala. "Speak, Prima. House Pravus would wish to hear your request." And her offer, presumably, but he only voices the first.
Deva seems to be trying to catch up, quickly! Her expression is solemn as she glances toward the voices of the realm. Seemingly echoing Sebastian's sentiment, she bows her head in an agreeable gesture of respect toward Sen'azala.
Ann has leaned as forward as she can to listen more. Brows furrowed as she listens to the muttering and even looks over in the direction when Sebastian speaks. Attention falling back on the Prima to see what the request is and the offer. Ignoring those around her for the moment. Soley focused now.
Khanne looks to Victus then around the Assembly. "I am excited..." she murmurs softly before quieting to hear more.
Cadern looks... distinctly worried as Sen'azala gives the sharp look. He purses his lips as if preparing to add something, but Alis' reprimand gets him to settle back and instead putting hands up in slow placating gesture as if to encourage calm from the speaker and offering a glare for any murmuring in range.
Denica doesn't pay attention to grumblings, her attention is fully and respectfully on Sen'azala, a silent but decided statement. Her expression shows her desire to listen and a mix of curiosity and empathy is evident in her features.
Rosalind's face is growing red. She squeeze's Cillian's hand as she grumbles something to Cadern. Rosa's gaze on the peerage is heated and growing more so. But she forces her eyes back to Sen. Waiting.
Lou might have winced at the sharp tone Sen'azala gives the others, but she might have also glared at those Sen'azala addressed as well. She looks like she teeters between standing to defend the Prima from those making prodigal murmurs and staying put; she opts for the latter for the moment.
Drake is ignoring the peerage rumblings as best as he can, keeping focused on the speakers up front.
Tesha frowns as there are mutters of 'just a prodigal house' and she opens her mouth to say something...only for Alis to tell people to shush. And she's not upsetting her High Lady! She sets her lips into a thin line and stares at a few people as she listens to the Prima continue to speak.
Sen continues to look narrow-eyed into the crowd, in the rough direction that she heard the comment, for a moment longer, before she turns on her heel, once more addressing the room, even if she's put her back partially to whoever spoke. "There is a man out there, a warlord who has haunted the northlands for longer than I have been alive. I know that many of you know the story of House Venandi, even if you didn't know it was mine. I know that many more of you know this warlord, this man who thinks to call himself the Horned God. I will say again, here, on this spot, so that *everyone* can know him, I will say that he is a traitor. An oathbreaker. A butcher of the innocent, a slaver. He is a kinslayer many times over. He has no honor and honors nothing but his own ambition. He is the enemy of my people, and with my people murdered, he is *mine*. Forever. But he is your enemy as much. These attacks on your villages, the destruction of Bastion and Artshall, the attempt made to siege Farhaven many years ago, the attack on the Lodge of Petrichor some time after that, these were not attacks of opportunity by local Abandoned tribes, these were acts of war carried out by this man and his forces. He seeks nothing less than your destruction or your subjugation, and as we've seen...he has the means. He will not stop with those victories." Now, Sen turns back toward the Voices of the Realm. "I am here to forge an alliance between House Venandi and the peoples of the Compact against the forces of the Horned God. As far as I am aware, no actual treaty between our peoples still exists, if it ever existed at all. Regardless of your decision, I will fight this man until he is dead or I am, but I would fight him, not for you, but *with* you. He is the enemy of House Venandi, the enemy of the Primasen of Dhiib'andzi, the enemy of the Crown, and of each and every single one of your houses. If you have any doubts of *that*, ask the person next to you."
... ask the person next to you, she says. Lisebet's mouth curves in a brief smile, eyes gleaming for a moment, at that master stroke.
Not a word from Patrizio, who's been listening to Sen'azala with rapt attention. Sebastian's words do get the turn of his head briefly, the look to his cousin, and then back to the Prima of House Venandi as his lips set into a thin line. And the stylus moves before him on the folio once again.
"Are you requesting formal recognition, Prima? An Embassy, perhaps? I ask specifics only so that we can be clear when we present this request to the King." Alis seeks to clarify. "I concur completely with your sentiment about the one who calls himself the Horned God. And should you be granted an Embassy, I will request that it be built within the ward of House Valardin; we prize honor and duty above all else. Any House that keeps their vows to the very last person alive obviously does the same. Something I would encourage everyone listening to think very carefully about before they say something ill-considered." she declares. "If any of the other Great Houses wishes to add something, I ask you do so now. And then we will open the floor for others to speak."
Lucita raises her hand in hopes she might speak.
Savio has left the Setarcan Benches.
Grady has joined the line.
Sylvie has joined the line.
There is clearly no question in Deva's mind. She doesn't even blink before speaking. "House Redrain would fight alongside House Venandi. To the last. He has destroyed too much for too long, and it is high time it come to an end. For those you have lost, for those that we have lost, for all those that remain at risk until this ends." Her jaw tightens, gaze alight with some intense feelings on this particular issue. Then she breathes and looks toward the others.
Lucita has joined the line.
At those last words, there is a sharp nod from Mia Riven. If any doubt the claim that Sen'azala makes, she has a long, long list of the Horned God's crimes she is ready to provide and her dark eyes move around the room slowly, stopping for a long moment on those who look doubtful here, someone making a skeptical expression there. She's said nothing yet, but maybe, just maybe, that unblinking stare of hers may make a few of them think twice, consider seeking more information, than simply blurting out their dissent.
Titus has joined the line.
Lou has joined the line.
Tyche has left the Setarcan Benches.
Cornelius, a studious looking attendant have been dismissed.
Thesarin has joined the line.
Khanne nods after Deva speaks and says, "damn right we will," before she realizes she spoke a little too loudly. She pauses, pressing her lips together, then nods more. No regrets for words chosen.
Sen'azala gives a faint shake of her head. "An embassy is a building, and, technically, one already exists. I am asking for an accord, an agreement set down and signed by House Venandi and the leadership of the Compact, the details of which I'm more than happy to discuss and debate with those interested where I'm not taking up the entirety of the Assembly's time." As Alis asks for the input of others, she stands straight, hands clasped lightly behind her. Almost-but-not-quite parade rest. Whether that's on purpose or not is anyone's guess.
Rosalind looks to Khanne and Deva, nodding in agreement.
Deva hears that familar voice and casts a brief but proud smile over her shoulder toward Khanne at the Redrain benches. There's an upnod of understanding that needs no further words.
Alis gives Deva a definite nod of agreement there, and then one to Sen'azala. "You've made a compelling case; it will be made known to the Crown." she promises, looking around to the rest of the Voices table, before addressing the rest of the audience. "Lord Grady, the floor is yours."
There is no immediate declaration from House Pravus. Sebastian's still watching -- sometimes the crowd, sometimes the Prima -- but it's the latter to which he inclines his head thoughtfully as she speaks of agreements and specifics.
Turn in line: Grady
Grady crinkles softly as he rises, the eternal, noisy curse of carrying waxed paper in his pants pocket. Even when serious, as he is now, he projects a sense that he's got a smile queued up and ready to go, and he's just waiting for an excuse to break it out. "Prima Sen'az-shala." His attempt to pronounce Sen'azala's name is imperfect, maybe a bit cringey, but unquestionably, almost painfully sincere. "I feel the honor of finding myself here, today, in a gathering that will be remembered long after we are gone." His voice isn't loud, exactly, but he knows how to make it carry, even over the muttering that fills what probably should be silence. "There are few deeper and more revered traditions in the Compact than that promises made be promises kept, and House Deepwood honors those traditions, and honors the Compact's former alliance with House Venandi. I speak with Marquessa Samantha's voice when I express to you a wish to see that alliance rekindled anew. If some of our ancestors once bowed to their darker natures, it is my dearest hope that you will find among my peers a joyful embrace of the light." He's looking at Sen'azala. He's talking to Sen'azala. That slow, warm smile that gradually takes over his thin face and brings a brilliance to his hazel eyes is directed at Sen'azala. But he's not making any pretense that his words in this very public forum, words spoken to fill the room, are only for her. Or even mostly for her. "And speaking for myself personally, while you speak of a shared enmity against another, I hope that we will be able to forge, as well, a shared friendship between ourselves."
... And then he crinkles again as he sits back down.
Cadern checked command + teaching at difficulty 31, rolling 14 higher.
"Thank you, Lord Grady. Would that I had such a way with words." Alis jokes mildly, nodding at Sylvie next. "Duchess Sylvie Zaffria, please address the Assembly with your comments or concerns."
Turn in line: Sylvie
"I, Duchess Sylvie Zaffria, cede my right to speak on the floor of the Assembly of Peers as a Lady of the Compact to the Ambassador of the Twilight Court, Lady Saccharin Maudlin," says the woman who rises from the Godsworn benches, giving a wry half-smile towards Saccharin as she takes her seat next to the woman again.
Sen'azala says nothing, but she listens, she listens intently, and something in her features seems to soften, if only for a moment. Grady gets a single nod, though her thoughts clearly linger.
Cillian nods to something said to him at his seat and looks to Deva and Khanne nodding his head in agreement to their words a smile crosses his lips even though there is still a fire burning in those hazel eyes.
Aconite stands quietly and nods her farewell to those who she was sitting in proximity of before hurrying off.
Aconite has left the Commoner Benches.
Alejandro, a gravely sober middle-aged Torean leaves, following Aconite.
Alis inclines her head towards Sylvia and then Saccharine. "Ambassador. The floor is yours."
Saccharin rises from her seat and shuffles past the priests to get to the aisle. "Thank you." She eyes Sen'azala across the room, before speaking. "My question is for Prima Lalazen." A clear of the throat. "I have an important query regarding a pair of mittens that belonged to my brother and the Primasen of Hyenas. You're basically the same thing. Do you know anything about this?" She lifts a hand, quickly. "And before you scoff, if you knew the aionic potential in the flesh of those mittens, you'd /die/." She has a very straight face as she awaits the Prima's response.
Sen'azala checks composure at hard. Sen'azala is successful.
"You'd have to ask them," Sen replies, with an expression that somehow manages to remain unchanged. it also remains unchanged when she says, a moment later, "...What the hell is a hyena?"
Ariel checks composure at hard. Ariel fails.
"It's like a wolf. But bent over. And much more good humored." Saccharin responds sagely, though disappointed that she won't get those mittens back today.
Ariel's covers her mouth with a hand, trying to stop laughter from rolling out of her. It does absolutely nothing. Much to her embarrassment, she finally manages to cuff it with an apologetic look.
"Perhaps you can discuss mittens and hyenas later. Thank you, Ambassador." Alis keeps a straight face through that, somehow, gesturing towards Lucita. "Baroness Saik. You're up."
Turn in line: Lucita
Lucita stands when she is recognized and clears her throat then speaks in a clear tone of voice. "Prima, welcome back. My guards and I searched the woods and areas around Arx for many days after you disappeared, feared you dead. Am glad you survived the attack against you. Our fight against the common enemy we share continues. My personal sense of justice leans toward granting your wish for a formal treaty, thereby honoring the commitment our ancestors made. Be it one person or many of you, our word as the Compact should hold worth." She gives a solemn nod then sits back down
Lou checks composure at hard. Lou fails.
There may be a hint, a hint of disappointment and regret that briefly passes through Sylvie's expression, so subtly masked in a flash. She inclines her chin to Sen'azala respectfully and then murmurs to Saccharin.
Lou is quite unable to help the escape of laughter that follows Saccharin's question, and she immediately colors three shades of pink when it happens and ducks her head down like she didn't do it.
Rosalind stands quietly, bowing her head respectfully to San. Then she's nodding to her bench and she steps out. Needing to breathe.
Rosalind has left the Redrain Benches.
1 Ravenseye Warrior leaves, following Rosalind.
"Thank you Baroness." Alis nods at Lucita, and then calls for the next person in line. "Lord Titus?"
Turn in line: Titus
Sen'azala returns Lucita's solemn nod, as the proceedings have moved on and thus she doesn't actually have to address the description of 'like a wolf but bent over'.
Standing, the tall and pale southron gives a bow to the highlords, the godsworn representatives of the gods and the peerage.His voice isn't loud, a gravely whisper from decayed lungs as he speaks. "I thank Prima na Dhiib'andz for speaking, the Vaevici recognise her line and may we be wise to listen to daughters who listen to their mothers."
In his gauntleted fingers he grips a flag with a white triskelion, bloody and ripped, a flag that was at the various battles in the Mourning Seas as he holds it up.
"I'm lord Titus of Sangris, Voice and heir of the Vaevici and Warmonger of the Red City. I often say I'm the absolute worst when it comes to diplomacy and there are more wiser and skilled leaders here than I. I speak upon the Mourning Isles as a combatant, ally and peer."
"I've come to petition my peers in this Assembly who live in the Mourning Isles and their families and allies bound in honour and oaths to defend. Whether Traditionalist or Reformist, the only one winning from the Thraxian civil war are the powers that endlessly work to destroy the Compact. I am witness that many on both sides have valiantly and honourably fought and died in the struggle between strongly held views, I have seen honour exhibited by Traditionalists keeping the lady Medeia safe and her being returned in acts of mercy. I've seen great nobles decide not to plunge into carnage but to fight with restraint and understand that no matter if we live or die, it is how we meet the end with honour in tact that matters. The Mourning Seas now run red with that truth, and it runs red with the blood of many. The great decision between Reformist and Traditionalist is a war that hasn't tilted glory and victory to enter side after multiple battles."
"The warlord know as the Horned God and his allies represent one of the greatest threats right now not just to our sworn allies Valardin, Redrain and Graysons who have been hit relentlessly. He and his allies and hordes of tens of thousands of soldiers represent a grave threat which can fracture the world. Already cities that many thought protected and safe have been destroyed as a growing darkness looms. When the Compact is united, it can withstand a Reckoning. When it is divided, it will splinter like Kal'kul'raja shattering Dawnhome into a thousand pieces. The Compact right now is at this razor's edge looking at destruction for all."
"The ruin of the world only is strengthened by schisms and rifts, and the stronger the beliefs held and fought over, the more civilization is at risk. Reformist or Traditionalist, both I see as people who would find it easier to spill their own blood than break bread with what they are placing as their worst enemy, each other. We've seen this, as the civil war in the Mourning Seas is bringing allies from far away to die. What was once an internal dispute is now dragging the Compact in. It is not a war that is winnable for either side right now."
"History is a good teacher. There was a time when great enemies came together to stop a threat destroying the world, for there would be no world for them to fight over if that darkness won. I petition as a peer to the houses of the Mourning Sea to commit to a temporary armistice, to agree that things for now may be held in stasis without threat of attack or change so that the great Decision between Reformist and Traditionalist might be answered at a future date while the Horned God is here. You're all honourable, you've kept oaths and those who breach honour like attacking Mercies aren't representative of any side to the argument. Set the weight of your mighty disagreements down and take up together as shield and sword to fight and defend the Compact against the graver threat. If the Mourning Isles don't, then Ruin will rise and shatter what is one of the best things in this world, this Compact. City after great city will fall. Arx may only endure if the stability of civilization is protected, only if it endures will any be here to remember any grievances we might have between each other."
"I ask my peers of the Mourning Isles not to give up and cast aside right now on their strongly held beliefs, but instead that both sides of their Decision agree on a temporary armistice until after the threat of the warlord known as then Horned God is stopped. Help Arx endure."
Titus drops a bloody and ripped flag with white triskelion.
Alis slides her gaze over towards Victus, to see if he wants to address that before she barges ahead with the next person.
Ariel looks a little more annoyed now, her lips pulling into a frown, and every bit of self control is tested as she turns her gaze to whisper amongst her peers.
Lisebet covers her mouth, managing somehow to not laugh at Saccharin's question. somehow. She has a chance to catch her composure as Titus speaks. For the moment, Lisebet still remains quiet, thoughtful.
Medeia sits up a little straighter when Titus mentions her, looking uncomfortable. She dips her head and helps her gaze on the bloodied flag bearing that all-too-familiar sigil.
Victus gives Titus his full attention from where he sits. Slightly slouched now after having been there for such a time, and still biting back pain at that. Once the man finishes speaking, he lets out a long, almost exasperated sigh. "Victory and glory." The High Lord repeats. "The victory and glory of killing our siblings? Hmph. No, none of us struggle for that. If they do, they're a damn fool. I'll say it even louder for the people in the back if need be." He leans forward, wincing a bit while he hinges at the hips. "The Horned God serves a master bent on slavery and submission. Pieces of those principles have been left in our people like shards of glass. Sure, we might go and fight the Horned God as one, and then half of us will turn around and attempt to accomplish his mission all the same as they prop up thralldom."
The Prince shakes his head. "If only... If only. You will not be joined by hypocrites on the fields between us and this warlord. The fight against slavery from within, and slavery from without, it's the same war. We're fighting our portion of it."
Jasher is doing quite literally /everything/ he can to maintain his composure in light of Titus' speech. His hands are folded so tightly together in his lap that the skin is pure white, his jaw is set firm and his eyes are wide, unblinking and unfeeling.
"Wise words, Your Grace. I don't know that any here can quite understand what those of the Isles endure right now." Alis chooses not to address the main body of what Titus has said, instead simply thanking him with a nod and then calling up Lou. "Princess Lou Grayson, you are recognized."
Turn in line: Lou
Thesarin has left the Grayson Benches.
2 Greenwood Tribe Blood Warriors have been dismissed.
Sen'azala looks as though she does dearly want to say something, particularly once Victus speaks, but she just as clearly pushes whatever it is back down. Instead, her lips part just a little, the tips of her teeth only just visible. It's not...actually a smile. Definitely not anything like a smile.
Lou stands when her name is called. The Tenacious Griffo takes a moment to look around the room and stands tall before addressing the Assembly. "Prima Sen'azala has long been an upstanding member of the community. She fought during the Gyre War, during the Lodge of Petrichor encounter, and lastly during Bastion where she heroically fought against the great numbers we had to face there. She has more than proven her worth and her value to the Compact, and that she is an ally, time and again, and moreover when the Undying Kingdom and Cardia were here to address the Assembly of Peers, she was made known to us then and already has an Embassy built in the Crown Ward.""
There is a pause before Lou continues, "I, myself, have fought side by side with her on numerous times, and I stand with Prima Sen'azala and House Venandi and would continue to fight by her side. We would have no better ally to have at our sides, formally. And even though we do not remember, we should endeavor to discover what our promise 'As Arx Endures, We Will Remember' means, for we might find that we may have other allies at our side as well; allies that we may well need before the battle with the Traitor is well and truly over. If we do not bend, we may break." With that, Lou takes a look around the entire assembly before giving Sen'azala another supportive look and settles back down.
Sitting next to her cousin Jasher, taking in small breathes she listens as her fingers clench the piece of charcoal in their grasp and crack it silently as flakes fall into her lap. Looking up at Victus speaks with eyes shining with appreciation, she does well to contain the emotion that threatens to spill as she fights her own reactions. There is a nod of support with her High Lords words, seeming to value the bluntness of them and the point they make as she bites down on her lip.
Deva tips her head toward Lou, a flicker of a determined smile displaying full agreement.
Haakon has joined the line.
Ariel nods slightly to Lou, an agreeing nod though brief as she looks next to Alis.
"Thank you, Your Highness." Alis smiles at Lou, and then when Haakon makes known he wishes to speak, calls upon him immediately. "Lord Haakon Eswynd."
Turn in line: Haakon
Leonaess has left the Commoner Benches.
Medeia looks around as if planning her path out of the Assembly when her husband is called to speak.
Haakon rises when it is his turn, and speaks with his familiar rough cadence, "House Eswynd understands all too keenly the tale of old Houses abandoned and betrayed by the high nobles after the Reckoning, who have struggled for survival through the centuries since. Yet when it was time, we did not seem treaty with the Compact as equals. We knelt to Tyde, through them to Thrax, through them to the Crown, and we have fought in all your wars far afield, since. At Farhaven, far from home. At Setarco, to defend which we let Darkwater Watch fall. At Bastion, again, even as traitors moved against us. Because we honor our oaths. Many here still bleed from wounds had mere days past, when the Usurper Armada was smashed in their efforts to exterminate my house, a d they have this kept faith with us."
"Of the last of her House, I ask this:" he regards Sen directly. "Do you wish to swear an Oath to the Compact and join us, or remain apart? This treaty you seek. Do you speak only for yourself, or on behalf of others among the living? I ask her what lands, or subjects, or armies she commands. For while I would gladly fight beside you as so many here have, I cannot understand how the whole of the Compact is expected to strike a treaty with any solitary warrior, however powerful or ancient their bloodline. Have I misunderstood, or is that what is proposed here?"
Pasquale can't help but nod slightly when Haakon mentions the treaty being for just one warrior.
Caspian looks to Haakon with a grin, nodding his head slightly and looking back to Sen to see the reaction.
Briefly, Patrizio's brow arches as he's listening to Haakon, though again, those jade eyes turn back to the visitor to see what comes as a response.
Kiera blinks at haakon's words , lips opening and silently moving, hand moving to beneath her chin as she awaits the answer
Zakhar checks perception at hard. Zakhar is successful.
Aksel has joined the Redrain Benches.
Aksel may have been here from the beginning or not. One never knows with this one.
Zoey has left the Thrax Benches.
Zoey has joined the Thrax Benches.
Theo has left the Lyceum Benches.
Lucita mutters, "song verse The Time's upon us, Rebuild the promise ... alone each one will ..."
Patrizio's head turns slightly when he hears Lucita's words and... a pensive expression finds him before he's again taking notes.
Lou glances askance at Lucita when she starts speaking of one of the songs recently published.
In the middle of a conversation at the Grayson bench, Grady abruptly swallows hard, shoots to his feet, and hurries out of the Assembly.
Grady has left the Grayson Benches.
Ann looks up when she hears Lucita's mutter. Interest seen for that but her attention still falls to the front of the room.
Zakhar has left the Commoner Benches.
Sen'azala tips her head a little, listening, clearly studying Haakon's face, the strange expression before having faded back to a certain level of cool neutrality. When he finishes, she lifts her chin just so. "House Venandi does not belong to the Compact. It has never knelt, and never will, as it is the royal house of Dhiib'andzi, the ruling line since the foundation of the primasen, thousands of years old. It owed you nothing but the promises it chose to give, and none of those was submission. The Compact has spent far too long thinking it was alone. The world is so much larger than Arvum. One day, if we're all lucky, you will have to learn the value of alliances again, whether it be with my House or anyone else that isn't seeking to subjugate you."
"As for me," Sen continues, "I have fought for the Compact and her houses for a long, long time. Sometimes for a cause I deeply believed in. Sometimes for survival. However, King Alaric released me from my oaths two years ago; last or not, I am here as an equal, with no obligations toward you and yours beyond those that I choose. These are good questions though. This is my answer: regardless of decisions made tonight or to come, I will fight the Horned God. I will kill the Horned God. I am, in that, an ally. But in that I *am* a solitary hunter. I am Sen Who Stands Alone. Sen Venandi, as I was born. Last of my kind. But Dhiib'andzi still stands across the sea. There are peoples there, sworn to my bloodline, and you will meet them one day. What story will you tell them? That you fought with a Venandi against our enemy, all of her line dead because we twice did not come to a lasting accord? Or that you forged a treaty with the last daughter of House Venandi, their rightful Prima, that you honored our history, that you *remember* our history, that in the end, whether I am alive then or not, we were allies against our greatest enemy. I can tell you now...their reaction will be vastly different, and only one can be of any benefit to you beyond the battle to come."
Lucita's glance toward Alis is apologetic and color rises in her cheeks as she realizes her soft spoken comment carried further than she expected.
Haakon narrows his eyes at one point in Sen's answer. Head tilting curiously. "What oaths we're sworn from which King Alaric released you?" he chooses to ask.
"In short," Sen says, "It is your choice whether I am just one warrior."
Sen'azala explains, "I was crownsworn, my loyalty to the King. He released me for this purpose, so that I could be the Prima of my people."
"I hope that answers your question, Lord Haakon. Please note the details of any treaty will be discussed outside of the Assembly, as we do not have time to negotiate during the length and breadth of what these meetings are meant for. If you have personal questions to ask of her, please do so quietly or outside of the Assembly." Sorry, time's up! Alis gestures towards Thesarin, then. "Marquis, it is now your turn to speak."
The entire Assembly of Peers falls silent as the door guard announces, "Crown arriving!" All present rise to their feet and wait for the monarch to be seated before once again sitting.
13 King's Own Guardsmen, Zelda, the royal messenger arrive, following Alaric.
Alaric has joined the Voices of the Realm.
Thesarin stands, slowly, from the Grayson benches. Someone, likely an overworked manservant, has done their very best at attempting to make the Marquis-Consort look more like a Peer of the Compact than an overdressed shav from the Grey Forest, hiding most of his tattoos with high collars and long sleeves, even tying his hair back with ribbons of Riven blue and white. It's a futile effort, but a valient one. He stands still a moment, leaving a heavy silence before he speaks.
"Prima. I ain't much one to say a thing twice, and we've spake 'fore on this enemy. You got friends here whose words weigh heavier'n mine with most of the Peerage. But with any weight my words've earned for all the times I've bled and killed for the Compact's asking, from the walls of Arx to the shores at the shores of Stormwall, I'll urge them in this room to heed what we hear from her today." He's looked away from Sen'zala at the last, and over the assembled, stern and grim and hard as if he were carved of wood, no matter what expressions the Prodigal noble gets in return. "Ain't dream a moment that any one of us in this room sits safe, or any of them we're bound to protect. We've seen what he's done, and he reckons to do worse. We'd be fools to turn away friends, and worse to turn our backs on an old promise."
He turns back to focus on Sen'zala, reaching one hand to straighten his tunic. "For me, if I see the last drop from my veins spilled seeing this enemy into the mud, I'll call it well spent. Ain't half so hard to promise that I'll stand beside you against what's coming. For Riven, and the Compact, for the friendship 'tween us two, and for friendships older still 'tween our two peoples."
And with that, he sits.
Patrizio rises to his feet when King Alaric enters the chamber, smoothly and quickly, waiting and watching.
Drake was watching the conversation intently, but then when the King arrives and it's proper to stand, he does so.
Titus stands and bows his head as the king enters.
Ariel stands, smoothing out her gown as King Alaric enters the chamber, watching him quietly.
Sylvie rises, of course, with a quick glance to Saccharin.
Alaric arrives into the proceedings with little fanfare and as discreetly as a King can during the most inopportune time, sliding into a seat among the Voices of the Realm.
Ann rises from her seat once the King arrives.
"Thank you, Marquis." Alis thanks Thesarin and stands when Alaric arrives. "Your Majesty." she stands up from the seat she was in to lead the assembly with, and moves to her traditional spot. "The Assembly is yours. We have had updates from the Houses, Prima Sen'azala has addressed us, and the nobility has been given the floor to ask questions." she relays politely.
Sen'azala's nod to Thesarin is sharp, eyes grateful even if her expression remains much the same. "...The words of people I've fought alongside weigh as much as any," she says in turn. Then Alaric arrives, and she turns her attention his way when the rest of the room does. She's already standing, however. Once he's seated, she turns toward Alis, dips her head, says something audible but with words not a one of them can recognize, and then turns to make her way back up the aisle, presumably to the spot she was lurking prior.
Sen'azala says in Khati tradespeak, "Forever Defiant."
Tesha rises when the King arrives, it's a bit quick and it causes her head to get a little spinny, but she resettles comfortably after that. She is looking back to the Prima and others after that.
Lisebet rises as the King arrives, appropriately, and then resettles when it's time to.
With the king taking his seat, so does Patrizio once more, even as he's considering the back and forth about such things... and almost as if the prince is torn for the moment, between where he should be looking for a response at this time.
Alaric inclines his head appreciatively toward Alis. "You've done admirably well, as always, Your Grace. Please, there is no need for me to disrupt your presiding over the assembly any more than I already have," he uttered, gaze washing over the crowded benches before briefly aligning his sights on Sen'azala, though he doesn't deign to speak more.
There's a little flash of amusement, though Alis bows politely towards Alaric. "One last call for questions or comments. Else, we'll be calling the Assembly to a close." She shrugs helplessly at Alaric then.
Ariel sits when time is right and listens quietly.
Kiera has left the Valardin Benches.
Thesarin has joined the Grayson Benches.
After giving it some time, with a few comments scattered towards those at the Voices table along with her, Alis stands up one last time. "Since there is nobody else waiting to speak, I call this Assembly to a close. Thank you all for being here."
Deva is overheard praising Alis.
Alaric is overheard praising Alis.
Ariel is overheard praising Alis.
Ann is overheard praising Alis.
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