Isaac might not have been there for the whole assassination thing that went down, but he heard a bit of a different story from Amoya. With an amused smirk in Poe's direction he nodded, "Yep, Him, my Corporal, A rock man and a kitty cat tried to save the governess, very brave of them to risk their lives." Isaac saw no reason to rain on his parade, the girls seems to be interested in the tale.
Tapping his chin, he figured that what he had to go and do didn't require the princess' attention at the moment and took a seat with them. "I'll join you outside, it's a little too stuffy inside if you know what I mean." He said with a wink at no one in general and wondered if they would even get what he meant by 'stuffy'.
Lureene waves over a servant to bring over an additional chair for the Marshal. Once he has settled in, she responds wryly "Well Isaac, once you left they brought out the main course which was quite delicious I could tell, because it kept that stuffy Lord Gallo from pestering me!" She left little doubt in her mind the exact meaning of the word.
After she has drunk some more water (she had been feeling quite thirsty due to the wine drunk earlier), she then adds "Then Alis decided to put all of us on the spot, so to speak. She asked what should be done with the excess Zuck population?" She blushes slightly as he winks at her. "I am curious, Isaac, what would YOU advise here? I mean you are close to the problem here in Port Eldarion, you must have some insight you can provide here."
"Stuffy?" Poe raised an eyebrow, "Why I found the company raaather delightful. Of course, some of us seem to have had better fortune in our seating arrangements than others."
With a restrained chuckle and a knowing nod, the young elf continued, "Truly, you might have done better to invite Lady Lammontari. She is quite the fashionista and more well-liked among the people of quality than Lord Gallo. I pray he did not upset Auuuntie, I should be most cross if he did..."
"In any event," Poe waved a hand, dismissing the unpleasant thought, "please do tell your thoughts on the matter of the 'Zuck problem', Lord Hlokenar. Consider it a rehearsal before speaking before her Highness."
Leaning closer and speaking with some confidentiality he whispered, "Evidently Princess Alissariel took issue with something I said and I didn't even have the opportunity to present my own solution. Best to err amongst other nobles than before royalty it seems."
S 1d20 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 + 2 = 10 human
P 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (20) + 0 = 20
Sasha frowned slightly, not quite following what the others were implying.
I bet Pope was teasing Lily or making faces at Tut or something...
Not quite certain what to make about all the comments about guests and stuffiness, she merely added, "Yeah that Lucio guy really looks like he could put the food away."
"Guess it's a good thing Lis–ah...re-ul?" catching herself too late, the readhead stumbled over Alis' full name, "asked me to keep your seat... warm..."
With a sigh, Sasha turned away, hiding a frown of annoyance from the handsome officer.
Smooth, Sash, really smooth...
Isaac listened to them as they explained to him what he missed while he was off doing some business and quirked an eyebrow at them as they talked about the zuck people as if they were a burden. The idea put a small frown on his face as he put his fingers to his lips.
"Hmm I have put plenty of thought into this 'problem'.."He said rolling his eyes in a slight mocking manner. "I believe, a process for those who want decent jobs with decent pay will be in order, I believe some kind of citizenship should help put more order in place, and while I believe racism will exist, it's the least we can do at the moment." he explained, this time, his causal smile wasn't on his face.
Lureene steals a quick glance at Lord Poe, intensely curious how he would react to Isaac's suggestion.
I wonder how the other factions would react to the sudden influx of Zuck citizens...I suspect some of them would be less than pleased...
Lureene frowns while absently running her hand through her hair. "Isaac, that seems a reasonable start to me. I find it hard to believe ALL Zucks would accept the offer of citizenship, BUT maybe it would be seen as an olive branch by them...hopefully."
Isaac nodded to Lureene when she mentioned that not all of them would want to become citiziens. "I am also well aware of that fact.. But giving them the option to have such things is a for sure way to let them know we haven't forgotten about them and things are changing and hopefully for the better... I just want things to be fair in this city even if we do have a monarchy here."
The Marshall was glad that something was going to be done about the zuck population in the city. He had been doing his best to give people work when he could. "My idea after they have attained citizenship was to try and find them more reliable jobs. That's the tricky part, creating enough work for all of the people who need it. Though, mind you I know a couple places that could use extra hands they can trust." Isaac tried to be an optimist about things he really did, as most of his ideas also relied on others to play ball with him on this.
"Yes, Lord Poe," Lureene nods in reply, "It is as you were trying to say, albeit not as...diplomatically as her Highness is accustomed to. I do still have reservations about the methods of encouraging the Zuck population to stay civilized." She smiles at Isaac and gives him a surreptious wink. "If the right people are in charge of that project, I know it will be handled quite soundly."
|Naiobe Sempronius Eldarion|
"My dear girl," Naiobe said gently, "I have little doubt that there are more laborers than your husband requires. However, have you not noticed the many luxuries your dear Iole continues to import, and how your coffers grow in spite of the many new workers who have taken the field? The balance of supply and demand does not merely exist where commodities are concerned, but also in labor."
Even as Melianna's brow furrowed and she looked to her incensed husband for understanding, the First Daughter continued, "Your Highness, it is noble to demand action from the peerage, and there is wisdom in soliciting we who have long called Dafar home. Perhaps it would be better still to ask those who are most-affected what they want and need rather than asking those of us whose needs are already met."
For several moments, silence reigned throughout the chamber as Princess Alis nodded thoughtfully, eyes scanning the chamber before her as she rolled her scepter between gloved fingertips.
"You make a valid point, Lady Sempronius Eldarion," she said coolly. "The question is, how do I ask ten thousand discontented souls what they need without being deafened by the ensuing din?"
In the ominous silence following the Princess' question, a single voice answered.
The master of the half-destroyed Porters' Guild stepped forward, bowing deeply, one arm swung gracefully to the side. "You ask a select few who each speak for their neighbors."
As the elegant, white-haired elf straightened, his left arm remained outstretched, and after a moment it became clear that he was drawing the attention of those assembled to a particular focus...
Amhranai grunted at the exchange between the Countess and the Bonatis. You lie worse than a sleeping dog, Iole. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Carlina's brows rise, doubtful of the Baron's claim; by the rest of her face, though, the woman did not seem interested in challenging him. Alis' latest question seemed to have brought the back and forth to an end and it was with some curiosity that she noticed the cartwright guildmaster make his way to the front of the exedra. He spoke only a few words, but the elf could feel heat rising within her. Remind me to never ask you for a favor, Rochmir! Jaw locked, Amhranai rose from her seat and squeezed past the whaling baron to stand at the head of the table opposite her fellow elf. Let's see how many I can enrage this time.
Suddenly trembling hands swept the hair from her face and then tucked her cloak backwards, past the weapons at her waist. Cocking a leg to the side and putting her weight on it, Amhranai rested a hand on the pommel of one blade to still its shaking, slowly looking around the room as she did so. Words sprang to life in her mind, most full of vitriol, only to be discarded in favor of something a little less confrontational. A path finally appeared-Amhranai settled her gaze on Alis and began to speak. "Your Highness, as I told you earlier, matters here are not quite what they seem. If you didn't believe me then, I'm sure you've gathered as much over the past few days, today's 'festivities' further driving that point home. The same could be said about you from where I'm standing-I know little about you and what I have seen so far belies appearance. Given this, should I trust you or you me? Time will tell, but for now I'm willing to reach across that gulf. May Iscandu and Sumalya reward that faith.
"Now then, I don't presume to speak for the Zucks but, as the guildmaster intimates, I am their 'neighbor', so to speak. I've fought alongside them, lived amongst them, shared their triumphs and failures. Healed their wounds, helped birth their babies, organized those willing to listen." The elf's voice took a sharp tone, eyes drawing into slits, breath drawn in sharply. "I've experienced firsthand the way the 'civilized' races regard them in a number of aspects. Seen with my own eyes the slave trade in the north." Amhranai exhaled, strident tone and darkened face disappearing with that breath. She cast her eyes downward for a brief moment, then continued, gaze traveling once again. "Perhaps these qualify me to speak on their behalf, but I truly believe they themselves should choose a speaker of their own. I will, of course, be sharing with them what I learn here today and, while I will try to guide them, I cannot say for certain how they will react." A smile that did not touch the elf's eyes rippled across her lips. "Be certain, though, given what's come before will most likely dispose them to a not inconsiderable level of distrust. Misplaced, I hope, but we shall see."
Her weight-bearing leg screamed in agony, numbness creeping up its length; she hastily shifted her weight to the other leg and then fixed Alis with her eyes once more. "If you would speak to the Zucks, your Highness, then speak with them, not to them. I can suggest a few of the more level-headed and, barring any overwhelming disagreement, facilitate a meeting between the lot of you. There is some merit to the ideas and plans others have put forth so far, but to make any of those a reality, common ground, common respect, must be met. Iscandu grant that that meeting goes some distance to healing the rent that now exists between us all."
A great many murmurs pervaded the great hall in the wake of Amhranai's speech. Whether the strange elf's words had appealed to or vexed the Princess, the tattooed one could not tell, but beside her, Carlina whispered, "A bold proposition, but well-informed I suspect."
Nearby the tall, white-haired elf nodded subtly in agreement. This strange newcomer certainly had a knack for stirring things up.
A 1d20 + 25 ⇒ (12) + 25 = 37
Sense Motive Checks:
M 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (13) + 12 = 25
D 1d20 + 20 + 5 ⇒ (11) + 20 + 5 = 36 familiarity
"Speak with the commoners?" Lord Gallo was the first to voice his misgivings. "Such discourse should come up thru the appropriate channels. It shows contempt for our stations to suggest such a thing."
Smoothing the pleats of his toga, the large man nodded in self-agreement, perhaps oblivious to the irony of such a statement given his earlier embarassment.
A white hot flash of anger seared through the elf and manifested itself in short, clipped words. "Your gross mismanagement and abuse of power is no less contemptible, guildmaster! We've tried things your way and it's not lead to anything except more money in your pockets or food on your table. Now it is time for both parties to have their say on equal ground."
"Eh?!" Lucio's right eyebrow arched so severely at the rebuke that one might have wondering if it was going to knock his hat off. When he turned to find the petite elf glaring him, he snorted and shook his head.
"You see?" He asked, holding out a meaty hand, "If this insolent woman does not even know her place enough to speak with respect to her betters, and she knows our tongue, why should we expect her rabble to behave any better in her Highness' court?"
From the back of the room, the master architect cleared his throat. "The continued presence of a student who cannot accept the criticism of their teacher, will only be tolerated for so long."
At the statement Lucio grinned, eyeing his fingernails, yet Master Petronius was not done speaking. "In this instance, it seems we still have much to learn."
Although the old man's words were curt, and his opinion perhaps unpopular, more than a few heads nodded in agreement, even as Lucio grew red in the face.
"Now now, Lucio," Rinaldo said clapping the man on the shoulder, "there's no harm in listening to what another man needs to say. Besides, the Princess has plenty of guards. If folks get rowdy at a fancy place you show them out, simple as that."
"Given the chance though," he nodded reassuringly, "I reckon there's at least as many cool heads among the Zucks as there are in this here room."
"Your Highness," Lady Mondracus ventured, "I can attest that there are those among the Zuck population who desire peaceful cooperation and compromise. Even though the presence of so many poor is surely a logistical dilemma, I would encourage you to empower Amhranai to entreat the leaders of their community to parlay."
Looking around, eyes imploring, she added, "We all need a roof over our head, a place to sleep, and food to eat. We all wish to keep our loved ones safe. I do not believe you will find their hopes and desires so strange..."
"And if it should be a mere matter of current social standing," she said turning back to the Princess, eyes glancing momentarily to Lord Gallo, "then you yourself, Highness, can amend that technically, can you not?"
At the Baroness' final comment, Princess Alis merely gave a faint smile and lowered her gaze as if considering something. Yet it was not only the Princess who caught the meaning of Carlina's suggestion. Judging by the reaction around the room, it was as clear to Amhranai and Darvesch as it was to others that the Baroness was implying Alis should elevate Amhranai to the ranks of nobility!
Bluff (Innuendo) 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (11) + 11 = 22
Sense Motive Checks: Innuendo
M 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (17) + 12 = 29
D 1d20 + 20 ⇒ (15) + 20 = 35
|No One of Consequence|
|No One of Consequence|
"Are you quite serious?" When Isaac crossed his arms and Lureene cast him a questioning gaze, the young lord shifted in his seat, looking at both with some surprise.
"Well," he began, "that unkempt woman is the sort that leads others to believe there are such dreadful things as 'wild' elves, it's true. However it is rather the high elves who make pacts with devils and those reclusive folk with ash-grey skin deep within Rivermarch that are the most curious."
"Elves," he laughed, "with grey skin, can you imagine it? Ahhh... Hmmm... Of course in a land with men made of rock and talking cat-women I suppose it should be hardly surprising. Why they are of various dark shades themselves now that I think of it! Fascinating..."
"I–" Sasha's misunderstanding gave Poe pause and he first held up a finger for a moment before wagging it twice.
"While that is certainly possible, my good woman, I said nothing of the sort. The devil-summoning elf I spoke of had skin white as alabaster and with luxuriant black hair and eyes of the deepest blue... The 'grey elves', as I call them, were wholly unrela–."
In spite of his no doubt adamant self-discipline, Lord Poe's left eye began to twitch at the redhead's deductions. "I– you– she– No... Nooo!"
Shaking his head in the hope of clearing such chaotic thoughts from his person, Lord Poe crooked a finger at the serving girl. "I rather imagine that wine is indeed in order. Quite a lot of wine I imagine..."
Lureene can only nod in agreement with Poe, although for different reasons. News of Amhranai's plans filled Lureene with a sense of satisfaction. I know she cares about those who suffer, despite what others may think of her appearance!"
She smiles at the serving girl, "I will also take some wine as well, preferably a less potent brand, thank you." She thinks of what she learned about the various races of elves, especially the dark skinned one. Back in her days before she had arrived on Elsemar, she had heard tales of such elves, though she had never personally met one.
She touches Sash's arm while chuckling lightly. "I think Lord Poe was referring to someone else, Sash!" She runs her hand through her long flowing blondish hair in a futile attempt to shake the dampness out of it. "Lord Poe, you mentioned a race of dark-skinned elves. Are they an enemy of your peoples?"
"Enemies?" Poe seemed taken aback by the question. "Now now, let's not leap to any more misunderstandings."
He gave a bemused laugh and nodded to Isaac as if there were some inside joke between them. Yet if Poe had meant to make a dig at non-elves or some such, it was poorly conveyed and lost upon all others save himself.
Sighing softly as he dabbed at his eyes with a handkerchief, the young lord explained, "At any rate, I esteem the answer to your question to be 'no', Lady Ourson. While it is true that my dear Elvalith sought to snipe the good warden Taurostar with poisoned arrows, it was a perfectly understandable mistake. Quite amusing in hindsight actually..."
Sense Motive Checks:
I 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (13) + 11 = 24
L 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (15) + 2 = 17
S 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (18) + 2 = 20
Isaac listened with amusement as Poe started on with some of his musings that he gathered from the mission that one of his officers had sent the lot of them on, of course he knew of it, he just kept it on the Down-Low since he was asked too. Though the fact that Sasha couldn't catch on to Poe just really made him feel like sitting out here was truly the right choice than listening to a heavy debate about something that he'll probably have to deal with later.
"Ah yeah, I'm sure your Aunt wouldn't summon such a creature... she has you to deal with." it was a light hearted tease, but they were all sooooo easy to pick on.
Though he turned his attention to the servant girl and smiled at her, "I'll have some wine too if you don't mind."
"Sasha, I believe, you're still missing the point at what Poe is trying to say... but, I don't think I was debriefed about these 'dark skinned elves' that you mentioned before... you say they were deep within Rivermarch? The only dark skinned elves I know, are the half-elves that are mixed with Zucks such as Amoya and her twin sister..." He said, hoping to keep the topic out here lighter than it was inside, he had a feeling Alis sent them out here for a reason.
So Amhranai thinks it wise for the princess to speak to the Zucks in person? I'm not sure how good of an idea that would be... maybe someone who is closer to them would be a better person to represent them, someone the Zuck people trust... I know Amoya has a sister who is a bit on the wild side, but she's very close to the Zuck people since she tends to give them alternative healing... He mused to himself as he rubbed his chin as the others continued on with their conversation.
Between Sasha's fanciful flights of imagination and Isaac's teasing, Lord Poe was quite at the loss for words. Yet while he did not see fit to dignify such tomfoolery with a reply, there was something in the Marshal's words that provoked him to speak.
"Ye gods man," he swung his head about, gripping the edge of his chair as if afraid he might fall into the sky, "do you mean to tell me there is another Ms. Echorn?"
Suddenly aware of the trembling keen in his voice, Poe sat up straight, trying to compose himself. Swallowing hard and managing only a wan smile, he joked, "Would I be correct in presuming that our dear dear glaive-wielding soul reaper is the proverbial 'evil' twin?"
Although he gave a laugh and looked about with a knowing nod, it was plain even to the succubus and her friend that Poe had a healthy respect for Amoya's battle prowess.
"As for Elvalith and her twin sister, Kai'ell, our mission was quite secret at the time so it is little surprise you should not have heard tell of our exploits. Yet being as the Princess and you fine, noble souls defeated that self-same devil of which I spoke, it occurs to me that a debriefing may indeed be in order... on many counts."
Sense Motive Checks:
I 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (13) + 11 = 24
L 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (16) + 2 = 18
S 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (18) + 2 = 20
Lureene stares at Poe as something he just said registered in her wine-soaked senses. "Excuse me Master...err...Lord Poe? Did you say you had encountered Lucretia before?" She asked him, nearly committing yet another fauz-pas in her surprise. "Is that something you are at liberty to discuss at this point in time?"
I have to know how she knew my Mother...or if she was simply lying to me.
"Ah, I had not realized you were on such familiar terms."
With a brief laugh at his own joke, Poe accepted a glass of wine from the returning servant and wet his throat. "As it so happens, the members of my... retinue did encounter that she-devil you named in the company of that foul miscreant, O'beilumanji, not long after Governor Taurion's demise."
As he began to recount the events, Lord Poe rose from his seat and began to pace, one hand stroking his chin as he swirled the wine in his glass with the other, pinkie finger gracefully extended.
Note: I'll reply with a bulleted summary a bit later as that should make for a more-suitable reference.
"As you no doubt have already heard, I made a valiant attempt to save Governor Taurion's life. It all began when the late Governor Taurion held a rather unorthodox spectacle in the Coliseum — a Malatestan-style series of gladiatorial bouts between prisoners! It was during the grim struggle that ensued where I made the acquaintance of the black-furred cat-girl, Shea, the granite-skinned warrior Fahren, and our half-Dafari ally, Amoya. While dear Amoya was present to provide final rites to the fallen and healing to any victors, the others were themselves unwilling (albeit effective) gladiator."
"On an amusing side-note," he intimated, "I learned that Shea was ousted from her tribe for being insane, whereas the brute Fahren was arrested for breaking a nobleman's fist with his jaw."
"In any event, for having the good sense to show concern for an elvish hero," he placed a hand to his chest, indicating himself, "Auuuntie secured their release as wards of our estate. Naturally, I was overjoyed to have such fascinating research specimens, but I shan't confuse you with the details of my findings."
"Now let's see," he mused, taking a sip of wine, "where was I?"
"Ah, yeees... 'Lucretia' you called her. Hmm..."
Seemingly lost in thought for a moment until the red head cleared her throat, the young elf sniffed and began, "It had just occurred to me that things might have gone quite differently had a high elf, such as myself, been present at that meeting. You see, I only learned of it post-facto from my wards, so you must excuse me Lord Marshal, if my recount is less complete than that which you yourself received by way of the Corporal."
"Nearly two weeks after that fateful day, we knew several things. Firstly, even his Holy Eminence, Lord Minister Mandir Darodel, could not restore Governor Taurion to life — her heart and very soul had been stolen! Secondly, we had been apprised that aid both military and diplomatic was en route from Mennen Fedleth. What we did not know was how her Highness had been delayed, nor the whereabout of the assassins."
When Isaac nodded in affirmation, Poe continued, "Tasked with an 'under cover' mission from her superior, Lieutenant Elhendu Taurmithant, Amoya, Fahren, and Shea, all dark-skinned (or furred as the case may be), rendezvoused with a contact outside The Plantation at a rather notorious establishment with a colorful name that I care not repeat."
Giving a blazé sigh at the reference, Poe continued, "As I was saying, it was none other than the late terrorist, O'beilumanji, and his witch that the three encountered there. The would-be murderer was obviously recruiting malcontents to perpetrate acts of violence and mayhem at his whim, but what was surprising is that he could not claim responsibility for the Governor's death."
"In fact," he waved a finger for emphasis as his glass was refilled, the faintly sweet, rosé having little effect upon him, "neither he nor his witch seemed to know who was responsible! So you see, the natives themselves are not so united in purpose as we might suppose."
"That said, and I believe this shall interest both you and her Highness," Poe took a long sip, his throat no doubt becoming dry by this point, "those few brave souls that openly refused O'beilumanji soon met their end — cut down by a giant scythe wielded by a seemingly frail witch who did manifest great, black, feathered wings!"
"Well," Poe said heavily, "without the strength of arms to 'nip the problem in the bud', as the lovely Lóthanel would say, nothing happened at all! If only I might have been there, with blade in hand and spells at my fingertips. Alas..."
Behind Poe's back, Isaac merely rolled his eyes and shook his head. As if the youth could have made a difference given the difficult your own group faced against such monstrously strong opponents.
None the wiser to the glance shared between the Marshal and Lureene, Poe continued, "Some time passed after that escapade before I and my wards were subject to any further excitement — a droll romp in the catacombs beneath the Vault of Bälezu."
Looking to Sasha he clarified, "That's Dalus to you humans, by the by."