Nearby, the same elven woman that had attended Arion, Lureene, and Sasha at the baths sought to approach, and was given leave to do so. Having observed the Princess greet the late Hetaera after the way of their sisterhood, the priestess did the same, hands crossed like a butterfly.
"Princess Alissariel, the last person our beloved Hetaera spoke with was you." Taking a deep breath to calm herself, the woman trusted in hope and continued in the tongue of the Faerie Queen's court.
As the taller woman poured out her worries, the nods and whispers amongst the other priestesses and acolytes left little doubt that this woman's thoughts also spoke for her sisters.
Alis smiled in thanks to Eärissien and nodded to the scribe near her. "Arion, please confer with Lady Lammontari on where we shall convene and handle any changes she may have in mind. My other sisters also have need of me."
Squeezing Lureene's arm once more and nodding for Sasha to look after her, Alis now gave her full attention to the priestesses.
Alis gestured towards the shadowy form of the recently-knighted elven priestess.
As Alis walked off, Tiniel joined her, greeting the other priestess in the same way they had greeted one another.
Her elven Scribe stepped forward as the Princess began to step away,"Yes, at once, Your Highness."
Arion maneuvered beside the Baroness and readied his journal and quill.
"At the pleasure of the Baroness, Her Royal Highness bids Lady Lammontari accept the honour of arranging a new schedule and location - for this day's rendezvous - after the infelicitous discursions. She asks that I convey any changes the Baroness may have in mind. May I also appeal mercy for my famished companions?"
Sindariel raised an auburn eyebrow at her junior and shook her head slightly. "My, my, famished are they? Yet how can this be when you yourself seem rather well-sated, Master Hithraen?"
With a twinkle in her blue eyes as she appraised Lureene and Sasha, she chided, "Please don't tell me that I am apt to learn you were so ungentlemanly as to finish your last repast ahead of them."
Sense Motive Checks:
E 1d20 + 25 + 3 ⇒ (15) + 25 + 3 = 43 alertness
M 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (17) + 12 = 29
D 1d20 + 20 ⇒ (19) + 20 = 39
Amelia watched Lureene's inner battle and come back with a sweet reply to her humble request. A soft smile spread across her lips and there was a gentle nod when the summoner moves closer to her to whisper her request. "Of course, gurl, dat was da intent..." Amelia had planned to tell everyone of the princess's circle what she could find, it could lead them down an interesting path since it seemed to her she had been summoned here.
Amelia put her hand on Lureene's shoulder and again whispered to her as she was starting to pass by, "Ya keep bein' strong gurl, yer tough inside, Ah can feel it." she said offering words of comfort and encouragement to the young enchantress.
Amelia nodded towards those in thanks once more and made her way back to the pile of ashes, pulling out a glass bottle and a wooden spoon to scoop it in with, not want to get her fingers on the substance just yet, wondering if there were any bones left, those would help her as well if she saw any just glancing over it.
Amhranai's gaze lingered on the pile of ashes, the flow of adrenaline coursing through her body slowly ebbing. Curious. She went down easier than O'beilumanji and Lucretia combined. I don't think this will be the last we see of her. Lureene's sorrow struck the elf still for a moment until the creak of armour broke her attention. Ah Darvesch, let's see about that wound. Hopefully nothing that festers. Unbidden, a memory of another time, another place, bubbled to the surface. Hands shook, sweat broke upon her brow and a blast of heat threatened to overwhelm the elf before she shook herself. Not now!
Haltingly at first, Amhranai walked over to where the others had gathered. "Let's get you taken care of, Darvesch. Nice work with that axe, by the way." Laying a hand on his shoulder, the elf summoned the energies required, eyes closed, lips moving soundlessly. Eyes popped open once she was done and fixed the dwarf with a piercing gaze. "We'll need to check that wound later to make sure it heals properly. If you start to feel...odd before then, let me know."
The cacophony of the new arrivals drew the elf's attention away from Darvesch. What is this? I don't think I've ever seen on of these before. Amhranai regarded the cat-like creature with open curiousity until she heard Alis call her name in her native tongue. She answered in kind:
Picking her way carefully around the kneeling form of Amelia, Amhranai moved to join Alis, Tiniel and Earissien, stopping for a moment beside Lureene. "I'm sorry for...well, I'm not entirely sure what to feel sorry over. Regardless, I'm here if you need anything."
Turning to the devotees of Sumalya, she smiled faintly. "Shall we be off then?
"Thanks, Amhranai." He says, "I will."
The stoic warrior looks to Alis and speaks in his native tongue.
"Thank you, Frænka. Do you need me presently? If not, I'd ask to leave so I may do as you suggested and pray. This is Lureene's time to mourn, I don't want to interfere with that. And I'd ask that you summon me when the meeting has reconvened, I do have something I want to propose to Amelia and the Zuck people. This event hasn't changed my mind about it."
He rubs where his wounds once were, still sore from the blow.
Lureene turned away from Sindariel, to hid the growing blush rising on her cheeks. As she caught Arion's eyes her blush deepened to a pleasant shade of crimson.
Amelia's gesture proved a welcome distraction from her rising passion. She took a deep breath to calm herself and replied softly to the Dafari woman, "Thank you for believing in me, Amelia but I would be terribly weak were it not for those I love and care for."
Alis might have noted Amhranai's reaction to Shea with some amusement if not for her own consternation at the antics of the strange cat-girl. With a shrug of her shoulders, she looked to Elendreth and asked, "Your nephew's friend, I presume?"
A sigh of resignation and a nod were all that it took to bring a smirk of amusement to the Princess' face. "I imagine Lord Poe will be quite chagrined when he learns what he missed out on here. In any event, thank you for coming so urgently."
"Yes, I rather imagine Poe would have enjoyed a chance to prove himself, your Highness, albeit I should prefer to defer such trials until he is somewhat more experienced. As for my own intervention, of course one cannot be too cautious where denizens of the lower planes are concerned." Anxiously stealing a glance at Lureene and Sindariel, she added somewhat more quietly, "They are renowned for their duplicity, after all."
The elven wizard aspect within him looked upon Lady Elendreth, in the distance, with interest, particularly wondering what staves she had carried with her. Part of him longed to know more of her nephew, sensing potential in the young Lord.
Magical forces are still strongly circulating here. Something special has happened....shall happen? Perhaps the location, and the presence of so many drawing upon the supernatural and the arcane, so much of the heroic and such strong forces of personality. What would it be like, to be an Archmage, accepted within the circles of one such as Lady Elendreth's peerage? It is exciting to realise I've been accepted among this Court. What missions shall Lady Lammontari assign?
With that new course of contemplation overpowering his emotions concerning Lureene, he looked towards the Baroness, wondering if she realised how much he looked forward to working with her.
Then his stomach rumbled again.
Alis allowed herself a long exhale. "Thank you, Lady Elendreth, should I encounter any such denizens I will be certain to stay on guard. Good Day."
Once the Princess had taken her leave of the head of the mage's guild, she looked to her cousin.
Turning then to Amhranai, she pursed her lips for a moment, contemplating what Amhranai had said as though it seemed an odd thing to ask. At length, she replied, keeping her voice low so that the other elves might not easily overhear.
Amhranai inclined her head towards Alis, lips pursed.
Alis nodded in understanding.
Glancing back over to where Amelia was at work, she continued in the common tongue once again, "Amh, see if you can figure out what is amiss. We won't be long."
With that, the two moved on to hold counsel with their fellow sister and to discuss what recourse Tol Lonnduil's House might take.
As the Princess and her 'hand-maiden' walked off, Sindariel turned her attention back to the rest of you in order to answer Arion.
"Her Royal Highness bids Lady Lammontari accept the honour of arranging a new schedule and location."
"Regarding the 'honor' of scheduling a new appointment," she gave a short laugh, "very well, I accept! We shall reconvene at my estate immediately after her Highness' business with the sisterhood have concluded. After all, it would be a shame to let all that food spoil when everyone has put forth so much effort in building up an appetite."
Reminder: Sindariel's house is about 3 blocks to the south of the shrine (i.e. a little over a quarter-mile from here). It's much closer than any other place you might retire to save perhaps the House of the Muse — which would probably not be the best place to go right now.
"Thank you," he says to Alis. "I'll be over on the benches when you're ready."
The struggling Lightbringer walks to the benches south of the shrine, and sits in quiet contemplation. "So. Now what?" He directs his one and only thought to Kahn, not expecting a response.
He shakes his head, "Well, whatever. It is what it is. I did my duty."
"I just hope this mission of diplomacy ends soon." He pauses, and shudders at a thought. "I'm being as impatient as my sister!" For a brief moment, he reminisces about his family.
Theme: Be Mythical
Alis strolled amidst the ivy-clad archways with the other members of her sorority. Amidst the dappled light reflected from the statues, and the beams glinting from the majestic butterfly, she conversed freely with her sisters in the ancient tongue of the fey court.
"The time Wingilmë shared with me was all too brief," Alis began. She was well aware that all present had surely known the nymph for years if not decades or centuries. Even so, there was a feeling (and not merely that she was the rightful ruler of the land) that lent her conviction and presence despite her youthfulness. "Just as Eärisien asked, the Hetaera did open her heart to me..."
"When we met, I asked, 'Are you Azata?' When she answered that she soon would be, my mind raced. Was she to ascend to Súmalya's court? Had she perhaps shared in the sight of Fëarianna?"
"Do you know what Wingilmë said when I asked if she would be leaving?" At this, the others paused looking to one another for answers yet finding none. Nodding, Alis continued, "She said that even a muse requires inspiration. That caterpillars must shed their cocoons to fly, and that we are not Lanscarilma. We are not meant to fall from the heavens, nor to be admired from a distance. Instead we are like Náriel, meant to reconcile opposites not for our own power, but to lift up the rest of creation. That, she said, is the spirit that moves us. Our free choice to follow that path is our spirit. It is what sets us apart from those who have fallen short of that ideal like the one against whom we prevailed."
At mention of Avoreen, many looked to regard Lureene, not certain what to make of the one the demon queen had called 'daughter'.
"Yes, the one you see there, Lureene, is the daughter of Avoreen, but only in name. Wingilmë said that free will is a tricky thing, that even a heart born to evil may be lured away from it. And so it is by the grace of our Queen that Lureene's heart has been entrusted to another... to me."
For several moments, Alis remained silent, allowing the implication of that statement to sink in.
"When I came here today, it was because of this," she said, holding up the Tear of Súmalya by its platinum chain. "In the midst of challenge and turmoil, my beloved friends recovered it, a priceless diamond the same color as my eyes. Even amidst the crown jewels of Chalësidhea I had never seen its like."
"I was overcome! This could be no coincidence. In my heart I knew it was a sign from the Sacred Muse."
"Today I came here not as your ruler, but as a daughter and a little sister seeking answers... to present to our mother what, once lost, had been found... Without ever saying so, Wingilmë knew this — she could see it in my gaze. And when Avoreen attempted to steal the Hetaera from us, I could still hear Wingilmë's gentle voice within my soul, urging me not to flee as anyone with mortal wisdom might, but encouraging me to stand — to embolden others to stand our ground and give this city hope!"
"'Our mother would gladly fight for us,' she said, 'to inspire us to live without fear. Yet how might she despair if we, her daughters, abandoned her in her time of need?' How could we inspire others if it was fear and doubt that moved us?'"
"And it was in that moment that she told me I was not alone — we are not alone! We are each other's strength and we make each other stronger." Holding up the diamond so that all could witness the holy light that seemed to grow within it, she said, "Wingilmë's thoughts are still with us and her spirit lives on, but it is now her time to serve in a higher realm, Súmalya's realm. I know the absence of her presence and beauty will leave all of you wanting... I knew her for only a few moments, and the part of me that is selfish wishes she was still here in body as well as spirit."
"But let us not burden Wingilmë with heavy hearts — hearts that she gave so much to uplift. Instead, let us do as our elder sisters who serve the Queen of Spirits, remembering and honoring Wingilmë's life so that she may continue to inspire others. For as we have seen, here today, it is possible for a new star to ascend to the heavens, and it is possible for love to save others." Alis looked from The Tear to Lureene, and lastly to Súmalya's visage. "I know that quite well now..."
When Alis had finished speaking, a deep and reverent silence seemed to fall over the shrine. It was then that the rising sun crested the canopy opening, sending a finger of light streaming down thru a break in the clouds to strike the faceted wings of the glass butterfly. Though they were spread across the grove, the Princess and each of her companions from the golden-winged succubus and her lovers to the contemplative dwarf, the melancholy priestess, and the strange witch... each of them was basked in the glow of celestial light. When they each looked up, it seemed to them that the great statue of Súmalya smiled, and even when the brightness and afterglow had faded, the world seemed different somehow, and their place within it grander than before...
bit of luck 1d20 + 15 + 5 + 4 + 3 + 20 ⇒ (14) + 15 + 5 + 4 + 3 + 20 = 61 diviner's fortune, Wingilmë, good hope, feat of charisma
Segue: I'll resume tomorrow with us at Sindariel's estate. Consider the scene at the shrine concluded.
To say that Sindariel's estate was eclectic would have been an understatement. Each room seemed to be centered around either a particular culture or in some cases even a theme. The foyer was designed to resemble some ancient Loxphari tomb, yet the central sarcophagus was now a marble planter overflowing with shade-loving impatiens and caladiums — its carved lid standing watch from the far wall. An adjoining hallway was lined with the flags of various countries the noblewoman had visited, while the front parlor showcased a display of fertility idols from ice-bound Æscia, to the steamy Zucktol Wilds.
Of course there was the 'joke' sitting-room. That was filled with various spiked chairs, racks, and other torture equipment. All of it was displayed in bright, cheerful colors, with various implements arrayed as if they were the place settings for some royal banquet, and on the walls hung the portraits of various dignitaries who had later met infamous ends. With a wry smile, she commented, "Hopefully none of us will be adorning the walls any time soon, but should Lady Ourson care to host a reception for her many admirers I insist we hold it here!"
The real sitting room was only a little less bizarre. It contained what might pass for a chair from seemingly every culture you'd ever heard of (and more than a few that you hadn't). These were arranged in clusters around equally unique tables. The largest was a polished cross-section from a petrified tree. It must have been 10-feet across and thousands of pounds. The smallest was the bronze wheel from an old shipwreck, now mounted on a pivot and topped with glass. More unique, however, was the aquarium that was filled with shifting globules of colorful, heated liquids atop which floated lilypads sculpted from magically preserved ice. The whole of her home had more the feel of an art museum than a home.
Thankfully, the food was not nearly so exotic as Lady Lammontari's furniture collection. Caterers from the nearby bakeries had been well-informed as to the Princess' love of fruit and pastries, and even the meat dishes were presented as either pies or flaky triangles.
When at last even Sasha and Darvesch had eaten their fill and the catering staff had been given leave, Sindariel herself served tea before crossing her long legs inside of a tear-drop shaped chair woven from silk that was suspended from a rafter high above. "Now then, shall we get down to business? What interesting morsels did our new friends allow us to savor since yesterday, hmm?"
From the twinkle in her blue eyes, you could tell that she was not referring to the menu from yesterday's luncheon.
vs Eluchil 1d20 + 19 ⇒ (1) + 19 = 20
vs Lilyana 1d20 + 19 ⇒ (15) + 19 = 34
vs Naiobe 1d20 + 19 ⇒ (1) + 19 = 20
vs Poe 1d20 + 19 ⇒ (9) + 19 = 28
Ahmranai's Diplomacy Checks
vs Angrem 1d20 + 9 - 2 ⇒ (10) + 9 - 2 = 17 civilized
vs Carlina 1d20 + 9 - 2 ⇒ (9) + 9 - 2 = 16 civilized
vs Rinaldo 1d20 + 9 - 2 ⇒ (6) + 9 - 2 = 13 civilized
Arion's Diplomacy Checks
vs Eluchil 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (7) + 13 = 20
vs Eluchil 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (11) + 13 = 24
vs Lilyana 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (18) + 13 = 31
vs Lilyana 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (17) + 13 = 30
vs Naiobe 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (9) + 13 = 22
vs Naiobe 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (12) + 13 = 25
vs Poe 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (11) + 13 = 24
vs Poe 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (3) + 13 = 16
Darvesch's Diplomacy Checks
vs Jaro 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (11) + 4 = 15
Lureene's Diplomacy Checks
vs Elendreth 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (7) + 15 = 22
vs Lucio Gallo 1d20 + 15 + 1 ⇒ (20) + 15 + 1 = 36 charming
vs Poe 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (13) + 15 = 28
Sasha's Diplomacy Checks
vs Elendreth 1d20 + 2 - 1 ⇒ (14) + 2 - 1 = 15 seductive
vs Jaro Corvinus 1d20 + 2 + 1 ⇒ (16) + 2 + 1 = 19 seductive
vs Lucio Gallo 1d20 + 2 + 1 ⇒ (8) + 2 + 1 = 11 seductive
vs Poe 1d20 + 2 - 1 ⇒ (6) + 2 - 1 = 7 seductive
Sindariel's Diplomacy Checks
vs Iole Bonati 1d20 + 22 ⇒ (6) + 22 = 28
vs Luca Petronius 1d20 + 22 ⇒ (7) + 22 = 29
vs Melianna Bonati 1d20 + 22 ⇒ (14) + 22 = 36
Arion looked around at the others before answering Sindariel. The rules, taught during his training, of "no uncoded message in a public conversation without authorisation" echoed in his mind. Giving a standard signal to Sindariel, while looking first at Amhranai, Amelia and some others, Arion then asked, "Among the many interesting features of Your lovely home, some seem to have histories that might be best left mysterious. Those who raised me taught me that some secrets should be discussed only within the family. Does Lady Lammontari's House practice similar cautions or may we openly uncover secrets?"
Good, he doesn't forget himself before strangers...
The Princess' hand-maiden gave a barely perceptible nod before stooping to refill Alis' teacup.
"No doubt the curiosity of many would be peaked by such collections," she whispered.
A 1d20 + 25 + 4 + 4 + 6 ⇒ (1) + 25 + 4 + 4 + 6 = 40 alertness, Tear, Tiniel
E 1d20 + 25 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 25 + 3 = 32 alertness
M 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (5) + 12 = 17
D 1d20 + 20 ⇒ (14) + 20 = 34
L 1d20 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 2 + 2 = 9 alertness
S 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (4) + 2 = 6
Tiniel AA on Alis 1d20 + 18 ⇒ (12) + 18 = 30
T Bluff 1d20 + 19 ⇒ (10) + 19 = 29
Sense Motive Checks:
E 1d20 + 25 + 3 ⇒ (8) + 25 + 3 = 36 alertness
M 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (10) + 12 = 22
D 1d20 + 20 ⇒ (9) + 20 = 29
L 1d20 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (16) + 2 + 2 = 20 alertness
S 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (9) + 2 = 11
"Hmm..." As she lifted the cup of tea and took a sip, Alis' sigh bespoke calmness and satisfaction, bright eyes taking in the room around her. "This is quite a collection, I agree."
As she spoke those words, the Princess smiled at Amelia and spoke in her tongue.
Indeed, as Alis gazed deep into the Dafari witch's eyes, she could almost hear Wingilmë's voice.
Yes, what do you see in their gazes?
A Innuendo 1d20 + 25 ⇒ (1) + 25 = 26
Sense Motive Checks:
A 1d20 + 25 + 4 + 4 + 5 + 20 ⇒ (15) + 25 + 4 + 4 + 5 + 20 = 73 alertness, Tear, diviner's fortune, feat of charisma
M 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (12) + 12 = 24
R 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (15) + 14 = 29
D 1d20 + 20 + 5 ⇒ (8) + 20 + 5 = 33 familiarity
S 1d20 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (11) + 2 + 2 = 15 human
Amelia had been minding her tongue and listening to the chatter of others, though it was painfully obvious that there was a lot of mistrust and wary feelings towards all those who were new, mostly herself. Though she didn't feel awkward, she had always been the 'out cast' or the 'strange one', it was just obvious she needed to let these people who she wanted to call her companions in the near future, know she was on their side.
When the princess spoke to her, hazel eyes, with wide cat-like pupils that seemed to dilate when her gaze turned towards her. Amelia listened to the princess's poor, and simple Zuck and stood a bit taller, using her staff to straighten herself, fingers touching her own chin. The thin framed witch took a step closer to her, but not in a threatening way, more curious than anything.
Tolerance, appreciation, love, and learning...
Alis nodded thoughtfully. The faint smile on her face seemed to belie a sense of reassurance, not unlike the conviction she had shown earlier today when she had unknowingly spoken in tongues* back at the Shrine of the Fates. Expression whimsical, she commented quietly, "I couldn't agree more..."
For a few moments, the Princess seemed lost in reverie, gazing into her teacup.
So the Sacred Muse brings us all closer together...
Looking up at last, she said, "I see no reason for any of us to be strangers. All of us share a common goal here: to heal this land and avert war. Let us converse openly and without guile."
* Yep, even though Alis thought she was speaking in Sylvan, somehow everyone at the shrine was able to understand her speech in their native language. That includes everyone in the party.
Happy to see Alis had understood her intentions, and let it known to everyone else that she meant no one there any harm. A smile spread across her lips as Amelia once again went back to her relaxed stature and let out a soft sigh.
"Aye, we all be friends 'ere... no need fer any o' us ta be stranger's anymore." she spoke warmly, the smile still on her face as she nodded her head to her new companions.
"Indeed, Baroness. My pleasure to report, while among allies."
The elven scribe stood and held forward several pages freshly written upon while explaining,"As for encounters, last night's excursion in the company of these Ladies:
In detail, including conversations, I had begun to record this morning and continued as I might, even as we traveled to this most interesting estate of Yours. The Princess and Yourself might find advantages and value that possibly escaped my estimations. Yet, I could list briefly some that caught my attention in particular, or roused suspicions."
Arion quickly searched the pairs of beautiful purple eyes, and of blue, that observed him and felt he should sum his findings concisely. They would surely question any points they wished to explore. "Of course, this being a vibrant port city, one might expect exotic imports. Yet at first I thought it was unusual to find Sareth Antirel's private rooms decorated by fashions from Loxphari. I see though that in Your own rooms You have curiosities from that land that excel beyond his samples. Nevertheless I make note of it for Your analysis."
"Regarding Sareth himself, You might be aware of his hunger to be accounted as part of the true aristocracy. Lady Ourson and myself teased those cravings with hints that he might find a place among the newly establishing Court. I offered invitations, for himself and guests of his choice, to the Investment Ceremony's reception engagement. I have yet to pen and dispatch such invitations. The enticement did seem to whet his appetite greatly. Although I must say his laugh and smile to himself, when first hearing the offer, were mildly disturbing."
"Among his guests with whom we mingled was one Minister Celadrendir. Our offering of compliments - with possibly hidden intent - led to Celadrendir becoming ruffled and taking the comments as if the Court intended to investigate his home and actions more closely. With that, he put forward insinuations against Lady Ourson which Commodore Gaeros fended away admirably. Again and again the Treasurer returned to probing talk concerning Lady Ourson's past and origins and associations. Both he and Sareth were particularly interested in her. "
The intelligence officer turned to view Princess Kirmoon, reviewing what he had learned firsthand of her friendship with Lureene and said to the Princess, "The Commodore Gaeros behaved quite cordially and told Sareth to put our entertainment on his own tab."
Arion returned to Sindariel, saying, "After the Commodore drove the Treasurer away, at the same time that Celadrendir seemed to be worried and hastily excused himself, we were shown upstairs to the private rooms. This morning we were doted upon by Sareth and his people before we departed for this meeting. There were no other particular persons of interest encountered at the establishment, although Sareth himself eagerly offered to suggest future audience with some of his contacts. Sareth also mentioned it would be his honour to host the next feast held by our Princess. Overall, I would estimate that a great many people last night were of the impression that Lady Ourson was among the highest ranking of the newly arrived Royal Entourage and very influential. We did not notice any suspicious surveillance of our travels to the Elven Quarter. So it was that we attended the Elven Baths, made our way to the Shrine and there took part in the battle."
Arion bowed to the Princess and Sindariel and stood waiting at the ready.
Lureene laughed at Sindariels's joke concerning the sitting room theme. "Trust me, Lady Lammontari, I have already decided who I want to be the special guests of honor at the next reception!"
She watched the interaction between Alis and Amelia with a great deal of interest, relieved the witch-lady is considered an ally of the group. She remembered saying at yesterday's luncheon about the need for an ally with the Zuck people and it seems the Sacred Muse had indeed provided one.
She then watched Arion with an open look of admiration, not just for his handsome looks but for his incisive intellect. While she knew she was also intelligent, she also knew she had difficulty keeping track of such details (especially considering the severe concussion she received back on the Shiv). As he continued on with his report, she ran over the events in her mind and decided his recounting of the events was accurate...mostly.
As Arion took his bow signalling he was finished, she ventured "It is as Arion has stated, Alis. I must hasten to add despite the stunning outfit I wore the previous evening, I got the impression both men's interest in me was not purely...sexual." She turned to Arion and added "Would you agree with me on this?"
The dwarven warrior looked to Lurene, "I don't know about all that. But I did pick up a couple things. Make of it what you will, as I'm not sure if it means anything." Darvesch sighs, "Jaro seems to be an honest hard working guy. A bit of a womanizer, in my opinion. However, he respects anyone who can get the job done, and does hard work to earn their position. That's all he really cares about, as far as that goes. He's also expressed frustrations about lack of repair facilities because of the lumber shortages, causing the Marna Thalasia shipyard to empty."
He pauses to gather his breath, "Crime is up on the waterfront because of the jail being busted open, and Jaro was curious about getting Isaac's men to do something about it."
"What else.." he ponders, "Ah, yes. Master Luca was curious about the Princess building lintels or arches." Darvesch recalls one other thing, "Oh, also, Iole seemed upset by the topic of slavery and fair wages."
Looking to the Princess, "Again, I'm not sure how much of this is relevant to anything. But that's what I recall."
In the moments between discourse, Arion held out his hand, to grip Darvesch's in friendship, saying sincerely, "Not only Your perception, but analytical skills drive directly to the targets master Inquisitor, laying open facts I had not perceived. It was exciting to watch You drive through the target so directly earlier. Well done indeed."
Sindariel nodded in acknowledgement of the inquisitor's perceptiveness. "The master architect is not a jaded man, but he does have a keenly developed sense of priorities. If it seemed that he was upset yesterday, it is because he saw a missed opportunity for collaboration."
"I realize that to newcomers Dafar likely appears divided between elves, and humans of the light and dark persuasions." She shook her head. "It's more complicated than that."
She shifted her position, leaning forward to better make eye-contact. "Those whose families can trace their lineage back to Atella Sempronius' followers, the Patricians as they call themselves, largely resent more mainstream Malatestan influences. Their ancestors came here to get away from debauchery and vice, but instead it sought them out and followed them. Men like Lucio Gallo and Iole Bonati may be necessary to sustain the flow of goods and foodstuffs in and out of Dafar. However, to a people who wished to achieve self-sufficiency, and independence, to live by their own moral code... well, they are like sand in a wound that never quite healed."
"Hmm..." Alis pondered Sindariel's commentary along with what the others had revealed thus far. "What do the Patricians think of other factions within Dafar? Master Petronius and the Harbormaster seemed forthright about aiding the Zucks, but what do they think of their invited stewards from Ilmarond? Naiobe and Eluchíl were affable but guarded, I couldn't read as much into them as I would have liked."
She scrunched her mouth to one side for a moment, eyebrows raised slightly. "Of course I was somewhat distracted... So much for keeping Poe and Lilyana out of everyone else's hair..."
Lureene raised her hand to get the Princess' attention. Once she has been acknowledged she added, "I can also tell you Luca Petronius was irked by having to sit with that boor Iole as not getting to converse with myself and the other mages." She shook her head ruefully at the blunder before she added, "It seems this is because he and Naiobe have a friendly working relationship. Seeing as how they are master architect and lumber baroness, that would make sense to me."
"Lureene has the right of it, your Highness. The temperature within our exedra might have reminded you of home," Sindariel commented with a subtle gleam in her eyes, "were it not so stormy, that is."
"As for how they view us?" She sat back, long legs crossed and face pensive. "I would not go so far as to say we are the lesser of two evils, but there are differences in culture and attitudes that complicate things at times."
After thinking on the matter for a few moments, Sindariel continued, "One difference is that we elves are freer in our attitudes on personal sexuality. You may have noticed that Port Eldarion boasts not one but two sites dedicated to Súmalya. The Patricians are... uncomfortable with certain aspects of the Sacred Muse's portfolio. Suffice it to say they feel an untempered fascination with acts of passion tends to distract one from loftier pursuits–"
The corners of Sindariel's mouth lifted with amusement and she held up a finger while she finished. "You have the right of it, your Highness. The House of the Muse and the Abbey of the Sacred Muse are not hostile towards one another, but they are certainly estranged. Fortunately, being out-of-the-way, the former is well-screened from Patrician view and it is uncommon for those who are not of elvish descent to visit. Although with Naiobe's estate practically abutting it..." She shrugged before turning to answer the dwarf.
"As for converting one of the sites? No, that would be as much of an 'option' as cutting off one's arm to stitch a new leg in its place. What other deity could you possibly substitute for one of the Three Fates without dishonoring the trine as a whole? The citizens of Tol Lonnduil are not religious, but they are spiritual and would never stand such an insult."
"As for the Patricians, they would see such a conversion as placing the ideals of elves above their own. Now as a means to ensure divisiveness between potential allies I think only destroying Atella's tomb and the cornerstones could ensure more ill-will."
Alis shook her head, eyes closed for a moment. "Conversion is not something I would ever consider — it's not even an option. It is a tool used by empires to subjugate a vassal state."
Looking to Amhranai and Amelia, she stressed, "That is not what we are here for."
"Now then," she looked to Sindariel, expression still stern, "there is ample land where we could build new sites, correct? You see my Frændi has an idea that may be of some use here."