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Scum and Villainy, Episode VII: The Assassin Awakens

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl, Nov 14, 2018.

  1. ravagekitteh
    Bastiladon

    ravagekitteh Well-Known Member

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    Taking her seat at the table in the Great Hall, Cordelia Rekkefølge found herself in coversation with the man she had known previously as Barbissar Tisk, diplomat from Skagaskon. After a short discussion about the weather, the conversation moved on to trade routes, which suited her preferences fine. Historically all the metal needed by Sovnscrine had been able to be sourced from the land itself, and their civilisation had never seen the need for precious metals or gems outside of using them to bargain with other lands of a more different outlook. Therefore, Skagaskon’s emphasis on the mining industry, along with the often treacherous path to reach it, had meant that little trading had occurred between the two civilisations. However, she was aware that the kingdom likely had more to offer, and was intrigued to see what that was, and what her own kingdom could offer in return.

    As the discussion continued, Tisk brought up the possible dangers of trading.

    “Skagaskon would, of course, assure safety to merchants and caravaners as soon as they got into the territory, and I assume Sovnscrine would have no trouble providing the same, isn’t that right?”

    She immediately picked up the true intentions of the delegate’s questions.

    “I assume you are referring to the raids perpetrated by these supposed Sovnscrinians? I guess now is as good a time as any to explain the problems currently faced by my home kingdom. As I’m sure you know, we have a reputation for being fierce and deadly fighters in many different fields of combat, able to brave seas, ice, plains and mountains alike. It is not undeserved - it would be deeply unwise for any nation to anger us such that we feel it worthy to go to war. However, that does not make us hungry for battle. On the contrary, it is the greatest warriors that know most the value of not just declaring war at the first provocation. But our reputation remains that of mighty warriors nonetheless”

    “It is this that is causing the problems. Dozens of groups, from pirates to barbarians to even some of your own malcontented factions claim the heraldry and name of Sovnscrine in the hopes that it aids them in their attacks. Granted there are a few ex-Sovnscrinians for whom the desire to kill and destroy outweighs all else, but these are few in number indeed. It is these groups that are responsible for the raids that we now seem to be infamous for. Not to imply any animosity or arrogance, but had the attacks on Skagaskon been genuine, your kingdom would not have been so victorious in your battles. But it is not us who launch these raids. No, it is these imposters that perform these disgusting acts, but it is us who get the blame. Believe me, nobody hates these raiders, or is taking more measures to get rid of them than us”

    Cordelia did not normally make clear her emotions outwardly and this was no exception, having not raised her voice or drawn herself up at all during her explanation. However, one with years of studying body language would be able to spot subtle clues to her fury on the subject. But with her piece said, she eased back into the demeanour she had had before, a barely noticeable change, but one that a select few would spot.

    “I’m sorry to put a dampener on the mood this evening, and I hope we can continue things pleasantly”

    They were about to continue the conversation when the pair noticed their host about to address the group, and agreed to leave discussions until after they had heard what he had to say.
     
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  2. Y'ttar Scaletail
    Kroxigor

    Y'ttar Scaletail Well-Known Member

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    Rosst clasped his hands together as the first of the food arrived and lowering his head closed his eyes. He murmured what may have been a prayer in an uncharacteristically quiet voice that was followed in suit by his companions. They sat (and stood) there for a long moment until as one they opened their eyes and began to eat.

    Victor in particular found himself enjoying the strong tang of the smoked fish that made up part of the opening courses, clearly Ravensden was living in good times.

    As he continued to mull over his food, Rosst listened with interest to the conversations around the table and the stirring sounds of the minstrels.
     
  3. LizardWizard
    Bastiladon

    LizardWizard Well-Known Member

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    Echard Schur was impressed by both the food and entertainment provided in the Great Hall. Addressing their gracious host he spoke with purpose and projected his voice in the manner of merchant who has learnt to be heard over the clamor of the market.

    "My Good lord, your hospitality has left nothing wanting. The rumors of Calderon's generosity were false. You have far exceeded their exorbiance. Might I inquire as to the expected schedule of the coming days?"
     
  4. Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl
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    Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl Well-Known Member

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    Lord Ravensden looked around at all the other dignitaries sat around the square table. They all seemed to be enjoying both the food and the music, which relieved him no end - at least now if any disagreements erupted, they could be pacified with a feast and a song.

    Hanath noticed his satisfaction, and gently placed one of her hands on top of his.

    “There you are, you see,” she reconciled her husband, “They all seem to love our cuisine and our music - everything will be fine, I’m sure of it.”

    “They certainly appear to appreciate our hospitality,” he replied to her, “Let us hope that they continue to do so.”

    He turned to kiss her then when he saw King Gheleon at his place, not saying a thing and looking concerned. He hadn’t eaten much of his meal, indeed Victor Rosst next to him was continually asking him if he could have his food also, believing he wasn’t hungry.

    “Gheleon, old friend, what could be the matter? Is there something wrong with the fish? I assure you it is fresh, as it was only caught at Eel’s Maw a couple of days ago.”

    Over the other side of the table, Echard Schur of Lystenbur hailed his host and asked him of what the next few days had in store for them.

    Never tired of answering questions, Aldradoc replied to him, “Indeed, good sir, I quite forgot to inform you all of the agenda.”

    He then proceeded to recall the full schedule of events from his mind without prompt to everyone present, “The rest of this evening will be set aside for merriment to allow us all to get to know each other better - when we have all finished, my guards and I will show each of you to your rooms. You are then free to organise your belongings and then get yourselves rested. On the next two or three days we will meet in my Council Chamber to start discussing trade deals and peace treaties between ourselves, adjourning only to feast at midday and in the evening in the Great Hall. Finally on the last day we will need to have a lengthy discussion about what we are to do about the plight of the kingdoms further south - I don’t know about you but we at Calderon have heard tales abounding of armies of Demons and other monsters destroying the towns there and slaughtering the inhabitants. We must work out how we will attempt to combat these threats, but we can only do this successfully as a unified front - we must resolve our differences and strengthen our bonds of friendship, or our kingdoms shall be isolated and destroyed one by one.”

    This last serious note made everyone quieten down a bit and look at each other warily - sensing that he had disrupted the frivolity of the feast, Aldradoc ordered the bards to start playing again, as they had stopped when they had heard about the threat of invasion from the south.

    “By all means, carry on eating, all of you! I didn’t intend to spoil your appetites with doom and gloom!” he then said to everyone else hurriedly.

    As the dignitaries all resumed eating, one by one, Aldradoc laid back in his seat. He just hoped that all the other dignitaries both understood the seriousness of the threat and saw the possible looming invasions as a reason to reinforce alliances with other kingdoms, rather than potentially shatter them.
     
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  5. DeathBringer125
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    DeathBringer125 Well-Known Member

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    Hearing the mention of demons Defleur would wave one of his personal attendants over and whisper something into his ear. The servants face would grow dark and he would run off out of the hall.
     
  6. Y'ttar Scaletail
    Kroxigor

    Y'ttar Scaletail Well-Known Member

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    Rosst picked at a fishbone between his teeth before speaking.

    "INDEED. MARSHAL ALTRIK OF DAIRANN HAS BEEN PREPARING TO LEAD FORCES TO REPEL SUCH ATTACKS ALTHOUGH HE EXPECTS HEAVY LOSSES. IF ANYTHING IT WOULD BE GOOD TO FIGHT ALONGSIDE MOST OF YOU. YOUR ABILITIES RAVENSDEN HAVE ALWAYS BEEN HIGHLY SPOKEN OF!"

    Seeing the sour looks, Rosst tried to change the subject.

    "REKKEFOLGE! I HAVE TRIED SOME OF YOUR LAND'S LEGENDARY SMOKED COLDFISH, VERY IMPRESSIVE!"
     
  7. ravagekitteh
    Bastiladon

    ravagekitteh Well-Known Member

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    The mention of the demons reminded Cordelia of one of the objectives she was hoping to achieve with the negotiations. Sovnscrine had already encountered them, and they had been vicious fighters with a care for nothing but destruction. However, they were no match for the warriors of their land, and the combination of that and the harsh landscape of the kingdom meant that, even if the demonic horde swept across the entirety of the land, it would not be able to take Sovnscrine. However, the same could not be said for their fellow kingdoms. The skills of Sovnscrine’s fighers might be legendary, but while they would be able to protect their own nation, there was no way they would have the slightest chance defending the entire continent themselves.

    Despite their own skills, Sovnscrine held a deep respect for those who placed a smaller emphasis on the military. It showed that their priorities were not on combat or war, but on other, more important matters. Indeed, Sovnscrine’s own military skill had evolved only out of necessity due to the harsh conditions they lived in, and war was not something they prized in the slightest, nor was their skill something they especially took pride in, rather seeing it as an unfortunate necessity. But while they held deep respect for the other kingdom’s less military focus, the bitter truth was, when the horde arrived, they would not stand a chance alone.

    She heard Rosst bellowing about his own kingdom’s efforts against the horde, and the facts were reinforced further. Dairann’s military prowess was second only to their own; the discipline and structure of their formations could not be denied, and the sheer scales of their armies was second to none. But not even they would last for long fighting without aid from others. Sadly, it was Sovnscrine only that had truly succeeded in battle with the repulsive foes when fighting alone. But it did mean they could provide aid in battle to their fellows. This was one of the reason she had been sent to this conference - not just to provide a boon to their own economy, but to offer help in battle to others. As much as they disliked their own gruesome skill, it meant they had a duty to do to their fellow human beings.

    It was with this in mind that when Rosst shouted his compliments for their oft made dish, she looked past his abrasive and blunt manner, and replied as warmly as possible. He knew better than anyone else the reality of the situation, and the plight they were all in. If they were to ensure everybody made it through these dark times, they would have to work together.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2018
  8. DeathBringer125
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    After hearing this Defleur would say “Hmmm..... if there is a threat to our fellow nations then Duskhallow’s Esteemed technical army would be glad to aid however we can. Does anyone know the location of this Demonic force now?” the servant who Defleur has previously sent our cane back in and started to whisper to him. After listening to the servant Defleur would sit grimly and rest his head on his hand in a thinking manner.
     
  9. Xasto
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    Xasto Well-Known Member

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    Tisk had heard about what was going on in the south, or he had heard rumors atleast. Terrifying, unnerving rumors. And now to hear Ravensden mention those only troubled him more.

    ''Daemons...'' murmured Tisk to himself. ''May the Gods protect us.''

    Tisk did not however let this spoil his appetite, and proceeded to feast and drink. The wine was excellent, and he poured a glass for miss Rekkefølge. Her fierce comments about the sovnscrinians insurgencies showed her passion and seriousness in the matter. However, Tisk noted that she never explicitly said if these movements had been shut down. Continuous rebellous acts of the sort would greatly damage any efforts of trading between Sovnscrine and any other Kingdom. Cordelia did not seem a fool, and surely she was aware of the consequences. Sovnscrine most probably had a plan in motion to stop these, especially if they hoped for trading agreements by being present to this summit. Or atthe very least Tisk assumed so for the time being.

    Continuing to converse with Cordelia during dinner, he made sure to avoid further talking about the raids and instead talked about Skagaskon and the different customs and cultures present in the realm. Curious, he also asked about Sovnscrine and their traditions.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2018
  10. ravagekitteh
    Bastiladon

    ravagekitteh Well-Known Member

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    Emerging out of her own thoughts, Cordelia saw that the mention of Demons had sent the room abuzz. As well as Rosst’s loud declarations on his own kingdom’s efforts, she saw Defleur engaged in hushed conversation with one of his servants, and even heard Tisk mutter “Demons... May the gods protect us”. Her own nation’s military efforts had been focused on rooting out the various foreign pirate groups, barbarians and other criminals who despite having no relation to the kingdom, had been using their heraldry and name in the hopes of striking fear into their enemies, but it looked as though they would have to divert their efforts to containing the Demon horde alongside the other countries if they wanted anybody else to survive.

    After the initial buzz of the mention of Demons however, things began to die down, and conversations resumed. She returned to discussing their various realms with Tisk, although she noted he shied away from any mention of battles. His points on Skagaskon were intriguing, and she made sure to bear them in mind with the upcoming negotiations. It soon moved on to the customs and traditions of her own country.

    She explained that there was little emphasis on any single aspect of life in Sovnscrine. They had there own beliefs and traditions, but there were no religious leaders in Sovnscrine, and it did not have much bearing on daily life. Contrary to the beliefs of outsiders, there was also little emphasis on the military. When their society had been founded many hundreds of years ago, they had given little thought to waging war on other nations, especially given that the nature of the land made it practically impossible to enemies to invade anyway. Rather, most efforts were based around what was necessary to survive in the near inhospitable conditions they lived in. However, as anyone unlucky enough would find out, the practises gained from hunting, travelling and defending their land - all essential for any inhabitants to survive there - could be used to stunning effect on the battlefield. Without intending it, the act of surviving in the conditions that they did had bred the circumstances for perhaps the greatest fighters in the land.

    Had they been of a different mindset, this fact would have been something to celebrate, and they would have poured more resources into the army and perhaps even launched conquests to take other their neighbors. But to their ancestors, and to those who lived there today, they knew the horrors of war, and wanted no part in it. It was a depressing fact that they could maybe defeat any army without even needing to invest much into a military - that was simply too much power to have. But it was something they could do nothing about. There was no sense in denying it, and it was impossible to decrease their skill without losing the necessary requirements to stay alive. They referred to it as the “Great Irony”, that it was the country with one of the greatest abhorrences to war that had the greatest capacity to inflict it. However, as bad as the coming of the Demons was, it at least meant they could put their gruesome skills to good use.

    As Cordelia spoke, she once again felt that the mood was was dampened, so she endeavoured to try to return things to a less serious tone, and moved on to one of the more interesting aspects of their culture - their relationship with the native Orca. Scholars and the pursuit of knowledge were valued as much as any other role in society, but unless the findings could affect them directly, much of the sciences unearthed would be carefully recorded and stored, to be learned for pleasure, but not for practical value. This was one reason why they respected Duskhallow, for they too pursued knowledge, and often had a far greater capacity to make inventive use of it. But one discovery deeply valued was that if the Orca. These hugely intelligent creatures were plentiful, and it wasn’t long before their people had been able to reach an understanding with them. The two species would often hunt together now, splitting the spoils, and pods were known to aid them in battle, having been able to adapt to the tactics enemies attempted to use against them in combat. It was one aspect of their society that the Sovnscrinians were proud of.

    Cordelia recognised that she had spoken for a while, and noticing that Tisk seemed to have a question on his mind, prompted him to share it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2018
  11. DeathBringer125
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    Defleur’s servant would leave and he would ponder for a minute. After this he clears his throat and begins to speak “Please listen everyone, I have an unfortunate announcement. After hearing about the demonic forces ravaging the lands I had my servant confer with the general who arrived with me. As some of you may know, Duskhallow has been having some issues of the present. And regrettably I think our issues may be connected to the present ordeal. In Duskhallow, we have been dealing with some cults as you may call them. Strange things have been seen in the swamps and we started to look into it. Then strange cloaked figures would wander around after dark and would vanish into alleys when our guards tried to apprehend them. We believe that the issues we have are connected and that the cult may be more than an ordinary group. We suspect that dark magic is involved and this may explain the demonic forces. I deeply apologize that our issues are plaguing other nations and we will proceed to address the best course of action for our nation and our allies and friends. If anyone has a proposition please state it as soon as is convenient. Thank you for your time.” Defleur would sit down and await the possibly heated responses grimly.
     
  12. Xasto
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    Xasto Well-Known Member

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    Engaged in conversation with Cordelia for a while now, Tisk listened to her talk about beliefs, traditions and Orcas He was delighted to hear these stories. Each and every nation had their own ways, and Tisk knew much about the world from his early days in the military, but each time he felt intrigued and fascinated as he discovered more and more. During their conversation, he came to appreciate Cordelia and her strong temperament. Had she been older, she would have made a fine lady companion...

    Tisk had however something he wanted to ask the young lady, something that had been bothering him since their arrival at Ravensden's castle. She noticed rapidly and prompted him to speak up. Tisk leaned and whispered in her ear:

    ''Do you really believe in these negotiations? I mean, it's been years since any real efforts were made between all our kingdoms, and the demon invasion to the south might justify such measures, but it does seem like this was known for a while by certain nations. Why now?

    Cordelia apparently was surprised by Tisk's question, as she didn't say anything at first, probably trying to organise her thoughts for her response. However, before she could say anything, they were interrupted by Count Defleur adressing the room.
     
  13. ravagekitteh
    Bastiladon

    ravagekitteh Well-Known Member

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    Having heard Count Defleur say his piece, conversation began to resume, although with a slightly hushed tone. Turning back to Tisk, Cordelia gave her opinion on his question.

    “I would imagine the Demon problem plays a large part in it, and I would not be surprised if that was the true reason my kingdom was invited. It certainly makes sense that it would be the reason behind the negotiations occurring now, instead of another time. But as you say, it cannot be the only reason. Although the magnitude of the problem is only a recent revelation to some, the existence of it has been known for some time. I would imagine it’s down to a combination of motives and events occurring in all our separate kingdoms. For us, as well as the fact that we’ve been able to defeat the Demonic army, it also likely relates to our so called ‘attacks’ and subsequent desire for peace (attacks which I might add, were perpetrated by criminals hailing from the very places they were attacking, not our own forces). Duskhallow’s reasoning may just have been said then by Defleur - the apparent cults may well be linked to the horde towards the South. As for everybody else, I cannot say. I simply hope that these negotiations serve to the betterment of all.”

    She leaned back, pausing to sip at her cup of water, before posing her own question to Tisk.

    “I understand that I have been talking a lot about my own nation and culture. However, one thing I am intrigued about is your own motivations for attending this meeting. What is it that Skagaskon hopes to gain?”
     
  14. LizardWizard
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    LizardWizard Well-Known Member

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    -Echard Schur began to slouch more into his chair. He could feel the onset of the headaches he had grown accustomed to since his teenage years. He was vaguely aware of the conversation surrounding him, But, his attention was more keenly focused on the fact that normally by this time after a meal he would be full of wine and mirth. Yet, the servant bearing the wine had seemed to intentionally avoid filling his goblet.

    It required numerous failed attempts before he experienced any measure of success. Even when he did manage to catch the swift moving servant's attention he was only rewarded with the smallest splash to wet his throat. Almost as if the servants were deliberately attempting to sober him up. How dreadful.

    Echard spoke ambiently to the room,
    "Demons are nothing new. The south lands have always had minor incursions. They are easily overcome by a determined and organized force. Such battles have been fought and won in the past. The demons that show themselves are not the ones to be concerned over. However, the great concern of my father is that this be resolved expediently. So as not to interfere with trade. He does not seem to see the profit in war."
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2018
  15. Y'ttar Scaletail
    Kroxigor

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    Rosst scratched at his beard with a thick greasy finger.

    "DEFLEUR. I AM NOT SO CERTAIN CULTISTS RUNNING AROUND YOUR LANDS ARE THE DIRECT CAUSE OF THE THREAT TO ALL OF OUR PEOPLES, THOUGH I IMAGINE THEY CAN'T HAVE HELPED THE SITUATION. THOUGH I SPEAK IN CONFIDENCE OF MY OWN LAND'S ABILITY TO SUPPRESS THE OCCULT AND IMPIOUS, IT MAY BE OF IMPORTANCE FOR ALL OF OUR LANDS TO ROOT OUT ANY DEMON LOVERS SHOULD THEY BE AIDING AND/OR EMPOWERING THE DEMON HORDES."

    He glanced at the slouching Echard.

    "SCHUR WAS IT? YOU SAY DEMONS ARE EASILY OVERCOME? HOW MANY HAVE YOU SLAIN IN YOUR SERVICE TO YOUR KIN? CERTAINLY THEY MAY BE DEFEATED BY AN ORGANIZED AND DETERMINED FORCE BUT WE WOULD NOT BE HERE IS THIS WAS A 'MINOR' INCURSION."
     
  16. LizardWizard
    Bastiladon

    LizardWizard Well-Known Member

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    Closing his eyes tightly as the blood shifted in his head; Echard straightened himself in his chair. He stretched his head to the left and rolled his right shoulder in an effort to ease the tension his right side had been supporting.

    Opening his eyes slowly, Echard turned his gaze to Rosst
    , "I have slain no demons. I have never seen one. I do not even carry a blade. I do, however, have an intimate understanding of how to move goods from one place to another. Battles my well be won by strong arms, but wars are won or lost by supplies. I merely intended to emphasize that we need not fear their strength. Demons are not know for their logistics."
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2018
  17. LizardWizard
    Bastiladon

    LizardWizard Well-Known Member

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    Echard shifted his posture and addressed his attention to Defleur. "Perhaps the cultist have greater import than we know. An enemy unseen is a foe most fearsome. While they might not be directly related, when the currents of fate stir they often roil in more than one location."

    Echard rolled his shoulder once more and returned to his former slouched position while squinting his eyes and pinching the bridge of his nose between his right thumb and forefinger.

    Almost as an after thought, he said from under the palm of his hand,
    "Though, I am sure Rosst meant no disrespect."
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2018
  18. Xasto
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    ''Prosperity, my dear.'' replied a suddenly smiling Tisk to Cordelia, ''A unique opportunity to grow buisiness throughout the realms, and a chance to right the wrongs of my ancestors.'' Tisk then turned to his plate, calmly finishing what was left of it without further adressing Cordelia.
     
  19. Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl
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    Lord Ravensden looked about the table once more. The dignitaries were all either sitting behind empty plates or finishing what was left of their meals, so now was the time to escort them to their arranged chambers. He took the free hand of Lady Hanath, who was just finishing nibbling a Breadbutter biscuit (her favourites, as she had a delicate repertoire of tastes) and arose to his feet.

    “My friends,” he announced to the assembled delegates, “I am truly pleased that you have all settled in so well here at Ravenscroft Castle, but all good things must come to an end, and indeed this feast certainly has. Here in Calderon night sets in earlier during the Winter months, and as you can see darkness has descended all around us while we’ve enjoyed each other’s company. My lady and I will escort you and your own companions to your chambers before retiring ourselves, and I wish you all a good night in advance.”

    He and his wife then wandered hand-in-hand to the doors of the Great Hall, as their guests and their retinues arose from the table also and followed them out. Immediately behind them were Barbissar Tisk and Cordelia Rekkefølge, still conversing contentedly, followed by King Gheleon, still brooding quietly to himself, Victor Rosst and his fellow Dairannese knights and Echard Schur, once again escorted by Aldradoc’s Life-Ward Elduroc with one big hand firmly on his shoulder to prevent the drunkard from having any excuse to cause trouble. Driden Defleur and his entourage were the last to leave, warily looking around the hall as if they were sensing they were being watched by an unknown enemy, before catching up with the rest of the party. They ascended the grand staircase and headed to the little-explored South Wing of the castle, reserved largely for visitors’ accommodation, before Aldradoc stopped and turned to address the visitors again.

    “These are the rooms where you will sleep tonight. My lady Hanath will show Cordelia to her room, so that both of you can have some female company for a change, while the rest of you shall follow me. My servants will bring you your luggage posthumously.”

    He showed each of the men in turn to a room he had had prepared for them earlier. Apart from the room for King Gheleon, who he had forgotten was attending and had got Queen Ewald’s room refitted to better suit a man’s needs at short notice, he had made a mental note prior to the visitors’ arrival to give them rooms with multiple beds already installed in case they were accompanied by assistants, which was certainly the case for the knights of Dairann and Defleur’s servants, and had ensured that the rooms were all well supplied with amenities and spotlessly clean. This certainly made an impression on the majority of the guests, who thanked the Lord for his generosity and began to settle in as soon as he left them to their own devices.

    Meanwhile, Hanath had glided over to Cordelia and led her to one of the larger rooms to the right, where she briefed the Sovnskrinian on where everything she would need during her stay was located. The young woman listened to her host’s words carefully and thanked her for her generosity. Hanath was about to leave her then when she stopped for a moment and turned round again. The visitor was on her own, where most of the others had come with friends, attendants or servants - being on one’s own in a strange country was a terrifying feeling at times, and although she did not show it, she must be in need of someone to befriend in this unfamiliar place. She wore her hair short and was clad in a leather tunic and leggings with a pelt around her shoulders - hardly the dress code of a truly civilised lady - but Hanath was too well-bred to make personal remarks. She sat down on the bed and gestured to Cordelia to sit with her.

    “Why have you come here all alone as you have done? Did your kingdom not permit you to visit us officially, so that you had to leave without your elders knowing?”
     
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  20. ravagekitteh
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    The meal soon came to a close, and at the suggestion of their host the delegates started to make their way over to their quarters. As they walked, Cordelia continued to talk with Barbissar Tisk, although she noticed his demeanour had seemed more guarded than normal since she had asked him about his reasons for coming to the meeting.

    Arriving at the South Wing, Lord Ravensden turned around to greet them once more, and seeing as they were the only women among them, directed his wife Hanath to escort her to where she would be sleeping. She listened attentively to facilities available, and settled down in her room to admire the architecture. Lady Hanath turned to leave, but then a thought seemed to strike her suddenly, and she sat down on her bed and gestured for Cordelia to join her.

    “Why have you come here all alone as you have done? Did your kingdom not permit you to visit us officially, so that you had to leave without your elders knowing?”

    Cordelia was taken aback by the question, but she quickly gathered her thoughts and responded.

    “Why, not at all. There is no reason why we would not want to attend such a meeting, or do it unofficially. I hope this idea does not stem from our supposed “attacks” on your land - as we found when we caught the perpetrators, they were in fact a group of malcontents hailing from one of your own cities, and they had simply used our name and heraldry to strike fear into your soldiers and to direct any retribution away from themselves. There are certainly no ill feelings directed towards any of our neighbors. The only other reason I can imagine you might think that is because I am a woman. I do not know about your own kingdom’s views on the subject, but I have heard there are societies that would view a role such as a delegate as being a job for a man. Frankly, we cannot understand why people would choose to limit the usefulness of parts of the population. You will not find any gender split in our society- it’s simply impractical.

    As for servants, they simply do not exist where I come from. There’s no nobility for them to serve. Anybody who requires others to perform basic tasks for them is honestly unlikely to survive in Sovnscrine. Anyway, we have a saying - “Never send two men to do one man’s job”. I hope that explains why it is only me that is here from Sovnscrine.”

    She turned and smiled at Lady Hanath.

    “However, one thing I do appreciate is your efforts to befriend me. Servants or not, an friend is never unwelcome. Thank you for making the effort, and I hope we can help each other through these interesting times”.
     

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