After lingering in the corridor, eyes trained on the departing trio and the space they had previously occupied, long enough to ensure Arion would not attempt anything rash, Amhranai spent the rest of the trip above-decks. Her steps carried her aft, away from the others, where she leaned against the rail. Probably more peaceful back here.
The water cascading in the wake of the Avenger dully reflected the lurid glow of Darkpool above, light the elf basked in and drew strength from. Within its calming presence, her previously dark and chaotic thoughts settled until she found sleep, however fitful, curling up on the deck and wrapping herself in her cloak.
After starting awake one too many times, the dark-haired elf sat up, rubbing at her eyes. I'll need to speak with Alis when we return, preferably before Arion does. This mission could have turned out much worse. But what to say? 'Arion allowed his rage over a perceived slight against Lureene to nearly get the better of him'? How much, though, was his display there simply rage from a perceived slight and not a predilection for violence? Would he have carried it further? Alis did warn him against violence before we left but that doesn't mean he falls prey to it so easily. Regardless, it can't hurt to let her know.
An uproarious shout from the fore broke the elf's thoughts. What in the name of Miralnas' still winds was that?!
Lureene rubbed the sleep out of her eyes as she was woken up by Darvesch's yell. Yawning, she rose to her feet and moved to the locker where she had stored the magical gear, her gaze drawn to the naked dwarf. Well accustomed to Darvesch's nudity by now, and not wanting to dredge up past history between lovers, Lureene purposefully turned her attention to other matters. Unwilling to leave the lock unprotected, even for a moment, she waved Captain Fingel over. "Is there an escort for our prisoner waiting for us?"
We are at the Palace? I hope we have an escort because the last thing I feel like doing now is wandering all over this place!
Arion almost fell asleep, nestled in the pillowy ear muffs of Sasha's snuggle-melons. Had he ever received a scalp massage from anyone? This was better than hours of deep trance. Elven dreams began to intermingle with the sounds and scents around him and moments passed as hours. When he finally dared to open his eyes again they fell upon her nearby thighs.
Those are the most tactical scabbards I have ever seen. Is that a device for opening bottles?
Noticing Lureene returning to the business at hand, Arion sat up and stretched and took a deep breath.
"Right You are, my Angel. To our duty. Let us ensure the criminal is securely imprisoned and then find breakfast. The prospect of exploring parts of the Palace excites me."
Arion massaged Sasha's shoulder and neck and pulled her into a kiss.
"Thank You. May we find time later for me to repay Your compassion."
Even as Arion was snuggling with Sasha, and Darvesch was girding himself in mithril, Captain Fingel met Lureene's baby-blue eyes with her own hazel gaze. With a nod to the Palace's private docks, she said, "Oh, you might say there's an escort."
It was then, peering thru the dimness, that the succubus could make out a force of at least 20 people, many clad in the armor of the Royal Guard, waiting upon the pier. There were even more patrolling the curtain walls and the gardens within, and one figure that was unmistakable to Lureene.
"Normally it would be the agents of royalty who await their ruler's grand entrance," Këowyn said with a wink, "not the other way around."
For indeed, standing there in a white robe wearing an amethyst cape with a collar of soft, white fur was Princess Kirmoon accompanied by the Royal Guard and their Captain, along with Councilor Eluchíl, Commodore Gaeros, Lady Lammontari, and two other dignitaries the rest of you had not yet met.
Arion helped Lureene to carry the confiscated equipment and led the way across the slips towards the Notables. Taking his place behind the line near the Princess, he admired the grandeur. Leaning over to Lureene he whispered in her ear, in the Auran language, "Now THIS is far more to my liking. What regal array our ruler displays, boldly relocating her residence today. To me, this is well worth waiting for a breakfast. You belong, shining, among these asterisms. To share this with You...it is much to me that we are together."
The Spymaster was near enough to them that Arion could speak to her in a low voice. He intimated, "Baroness Lammontari, I look forward, at Your convenience, to sharing with You, and Your most important Client, tales of how effectively were put to use the articles You recently donated to our friends."
As Lureene struggled slightly with the weight of the lock box which held the confiscated magical gear, she smiled gratefully at Arion's assistance. She murmured softly to him also in the Auran tongue, "Arion...always the gentleman I see...I shall remember this GALLANT gesture and thank you later for it!"
Stifling a yawn as the pair approached the royal retinue, she could not help but think of Arion's display of behavior towards Ugorji. To be honest, it troubled her more than she cared to admit. Unlike her previous lover (whose ring still encircled her finger), she believed Arion had more difficulty controlling his emotions.
Perhaps an informal chat with Tiniel would be in order...
As they arrived in front of Alis and her retinue, Lureene bowed down in front of her ruler. "Your Highness, as you have probably already determined, our mission was a success. We were able to capture the assassin and return him here without any loss of life." She gave Alis a look filled with urgency as she continued, "The things we learned from the prisoner need to be discussed... preferably in a more private setting...AAaand with a full pot of tea!" She finished as she again stifled another yawn.
"Excellent work, everyone," Alis said, the Tear of Súmalya glowing softly upon her breast. "I observed your interrogation of Captain Ridger, and you made the right call in releasing him."
Turning her attention to the captured man Darvesch was leading forth in shackles, she cast a spell and in a voice sharp as steel said, "I don't know what you hoped to gain by allying yourself with the Queen of Lies. Yet whether you were the mastermind or the pawn, you have the murder of Head Hetaera Wingilmë, and an assassination attempt on a member of Ilmarond royalty to answer for. What do you have to say for yourself?"
A 1d20 + 10 + 4 ⇒ (10) + 10 + 4 = 24 Tear
A 1d20 + 10 + 4 ⇒ (12) + 10 + 4 = 26 Tear
Spellcraft DC 17
E 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (5) + 15 = 20
M 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (5) + 5 = 10
R 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (4) + 12 = 16
D 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (9) + 7 = 16
L 1d20 + 13 - 5 ⇒ (10) + 13 - 5 = 18 divination
U 1d20 + 20 ⇒ (13) + 20 = 33
Will DC 19 1d20 + 10 - 2 ⇒ (7) + 10 - 2 = 15 demoralized
A 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (17) + 11 = 28 win
U 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 2 = 7
Alis readies Good Hope
Ugorji casts Stilled, Silent Fear
Will DC 19
A 1d20 + 8 + 3 + 4 + 2 ⇒ (20) + 8 + 3 + 4 + 2 = 37 resistance, Tear, enchantments
k 1d20 + 7 + 1 ⇒ (6) + 7 + 1 = 14 Alis
R 1d20 + 10 + 2 + 1 + 2 ⇒ (7) + 10 + 2 + 1 + 2 = 22 resistance, Alis, enchantments
D 1d20 + 10 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (20) + 10 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 2 = 36 resistance, Alis, fear, spell/SLA
L 1d20 + 8 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 4 ⇒ (8) + 8 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 4 = 24 sacred, Alis, mind-affect, emotion
g 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (14) + 2 = 16
S 1d20 + 1 + 1 ⇒ (13) + 1 + 1 = 15 Alis
T 1d20 + 10 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 10 + 1 = 15
Alis casts Good Hope via Spellsong
(Concentration on Detect Thoughts ends)
Ugorji casts Stilled Silent Charm Person
Will DC 17
A 1d20 + 8 + 3 + 4 + 2 + 3 ⇒ (13) + 8 + 3 + 4 + 2 + 3 = 33 resistance, Tear, enchantment, good hope
Alis casts Charm Monster via Spellsong
Will DC 20 1d20 + 10 - 2 ⇒ (6) + 10 - 2 = 14 demoralized
A 1d20 + 19 ⇒ (14) + 19 = 33
EDIT: Gah, forgot Alis' SM check... >.<
Sense Motive Checks:
A 1d20 + 25 + 4 + 4 + 20 ⇒ (20) + 25 + 4 + 4 + 20 = 73 alertness, Tear, feat of Charisma
Even as Sasha, Tiniel, and other ranked about Alis threatened to break and run, the Princess stood her ground, the Obanohi's magic having no hold over her whatsoever. Pointing her scepter at him, she declared, "Only a fool squanders his one chance at a plea for mercy with such grandstanding. Hope and courage ultimately prevail over despair and cowardice."
As the effects of Ugorji's spell dissipated harmlessly, spears and spells were leveled at the man, yet Alis held up her hand and said, "No, I'll handle this..."
Let him try...
Once more, Alis stood unfazed by Ugorji's dwindling stream of magical power, and she wove a spell of her own into her words as she addressed him, "You just don't understand, do you? I'm seeking peace, not war. You should do the same."
In an instant, Ugorji became more relaxed and nodded in understanding as he realized Alis was not in fact his enemy. Dipping her head slightly, Alis gave the man a melancholy smile and said, "Please, Ugorji, allow my guards to escort you into the Palace and we shall get those bindings off."
Near the Princess, Sindariel gave a nod to her fellow ministers and Ugorji. Following Alis' lead, she spoke pleasantly and said, "Please continue ahead with Sir Hellhammer. I expect her Highness and company shall join you shortly to ensure our visitor has been made comfortable. There are a few wardrobe concerns we must look after first, they shan't be long."
Once Darvesch, the ministers, and most of the Royal Guard had departed, taking Ugorji's gear with them, Sindariel turned to Alis and resumed speaking in their native tongue.
U SM 1d20 ⇒ 14
Alis reached out and squeezed Sasha's hand before turning to lay a comforting hand on Tiniel's shoulder. "While I was reading his thoughts, I could see in Ugorji's eyes that he was biding his time, hoping to fool us with his ability to cast spells even while bound and gagged. If nothing else, he thought to at least shame me before everyone else and sew confusion."
Violet eyes still glinting with her conviction, she said, "I figured it would be best to make him desperate enough to try now while the odds were stacked against him. Besides, I had cast a few protections of my own as you disembarked. I'm not that reckless."
Looking back towards The Avenger and her crew, Alis saluted them in recognition of the part they had played. "If I only had a dozen crews like yours, Captain Fingel, the Gulf of Dafar would be safe enough for even a pleasure yacht to sail without fear. You have my thanks."
"More the adventure for the crew I do have then, your Highness. Should you whimsy ever strike you to pen a Letter of Marquee..."
Even as Këowyn's unfinished remark won an appreciative laugh from Alis, the would-be privateers returned their ruler's salute and eased The Avenger back into the Daifiri River to return to home base.
The sound of Lureene and Sasha tummies rumbling in unison provoked a grin from Alis. "Nice to see you too! Come on, Giles has your supper waiting. Darv should be up to meet us as soon as they have secured Ugorji within an antimagic cell."
Arion had insisted upon assisting Giles and the staff, in presenting Lureene and Sasha with everything that would satisfy their appetites. Although he sensed some concern was distracting Lureene, he decided to let everyone relax and eat in peace, without stirring up potentially disturbing conversation.
Standing alone in the night breezes, Arion picked at flaking breads and fruits from a small platter resting upon a balustrade. He watched the drawbridge lowering again as the Avenger withdrew. Nearby, stood the statue of Cainrelée.
Only hours have passed since we three stood watching her. Lureene was so supportive and understanding. When we have more time, there is so much that could be shared between us.
Grasping a cup, he turned and watched Lureene as she enjoyed Sasha's company and the meal. When her tired eyes noticed him, he smiled, comforted by the new life his heart longed to be part of in this new location.
Looking back down that long road behind me; so many women, and yet, here is the first with whom I truly wish to share all my thoughts, my tastes, my desires...everything
Arion leaned upon the balustrade, sipping at his drink, enjoying the recess between missions, where he had moments to reflect and ponder about such matters. Would a wife have a place in the life of a Master Spy? Their dances during adventures had been perfect teamwork so far.
He turned again and watched the dark waters and night life and allowed his heart to roam freely through whimsical waking dreams.
In case any of you are wondering what the Palace's gloriette looks like...
The dwarf greets his companions as they dine, stomach grumbling with hunger. He approaches the Princess with a smile on his face. "Glad to see the mage didn't turn you into a toad!" He gives her a hug and whispers in her ear as quietly as he can.
"We need to talk later."
He turns around and looks at the food in front of him. "This looks great! I'm starving!" Darvesch proceeds to fill his plate with food already available and wandered toward Amhranai. In a low voice, he asks the elf, "Anything exciting happen after I left? I heard Amelia had to watch the prisoner."
Amhranai reluctantly joined the others, mind elsewhere. A few items found their way onto her plate, more out of habit than any desire to eat. The cup she filled only half way with wine. Do they do nothing else but eat and talk? We have things to take care of and I need to check on Karaka and the others. Warn them that Bonati is more active than usual. Food found its way into her mouth though she did not taste much of it. Distractedly, she noted the return of Darvesch and, with some surprise, his approach to where she sat.
Silence greeted the dwarf's question as Amhranai set her cup beside an empty plate. The elf's eyes slid past the faces, seeking one in particular. A moment later, in a voice just as hushed, she said, "Let's just say our new friend may have been a bit...vigorous...while interrogating Ugorji. He didn't do anything improper, but he came very close. I thought I was going to have to subdue him and I'm not sure how much I trust him. I was going to speak to Alis about it when she's free."
When Darvesch and Amhranai had approached, they found Sasha in the middle of recounting to Alis, Sindariel, and Tiniel her struggles with Ugorji. "Yeah, exactly! That's when I was like, 'Ooh we can see where's he's standing if he's in the ri–'"
A wink from Alis to the approaching duo interrupted Sasha's train of thought. "Oh, hey guys!"
Alis held out her wineglass to Giles for a refill of the pale rosé she had been drinking before rising to her feet. "Please, go on with with your story Sash', I'm just going to have a chat with them for a bit."
Glancing momentarily to Lureene, who had been sitting quietly by, eyelids drooping, she teased, "As if today wasn't exhausting enough, now you've got food and wine lulling you to sleep too El. Don't worry, we can retire for the evening soon."
With that, the Princess gestured towards the south end of the gloriette. Once the trio was there and overlooking the royal docks, she asked, "So what did you want to talk about?"
"Just a note of caution, Alis. While we were in the brig, Arion very nearly lost himself to his...baser emotions and looked ready to cause Ugorji serious harm. He may have been unduly upset at a slight to Lureene, but given your warning to him before we left, I'm not sure if he has a predilection for violence. I don't know that I trust him and, with the three of them together, that could be quite dangerous."
"Hmm..." Alis took a sip of wine as she listened to Amhranai's concerns, one hand resting upon the marble balustrade as she gazed upward towards The Ghaele, the constellation that was now ascending in the east.
They're like air and earth alright...
When the Dame had finished speaking, Alis thought on the matter for a moment before replying, "In Arion and Tiniel's line of work, a certain... readiness to meet a situation with violence is needed. I imagine it's not that different for an inquisitor."
"That said," she shifted her position, facing more towards Darvesch, although she now met Amhranai's eyes, "discretion becomes even more important in someone with a license to kill... Is this what you wanted to speak to me about also, Frændi? Not that Wingilmë's murder wouldn't have been enough to set off a reasonable man, but... I'm certainly curious to know what set him off in particular."
As if Lureene doesn't already have a penchant for evoking strong emotions in others...
Lureene spent most of the dinner satisfying her body's hunger and thirst, coupled with the ongoing battle to stay awake. Being on land again did not make that any easier.
Time and again she found her gaze straying to the handsome Sky elf whom she had grown very...fond of. Or was it something MORE? She focused on the look of anger fueled by rage in his pale eyes as he confronted Ugorji back at the Avenger.
Was Arion reacting that way because of ME?? She sipped the wine slowly, trying to gather her thoughts together to figure out the enigma that was her lover. I have seen his eyes glow with passion and desire for me...and yet he shares that look with Sash...understandably so, I would say. He is a man of great passions, I can see that. He buries his feelings deep and tries to control them...as do I. We are much alike in that respect. Perhaps he truly LOVES me...as I do love Alis, and Sasha. Gods know the feeling of terror I felt when I saw Sasha helpless through Grak's eyes...if she had been killed, would I have responded with even less restraint than Arion showed there?
As Alis headed out to talk with Darvesch and Amhranai, Lureene took advantage of the situation to talk with Arion. Picking up her wineglass and, after a moment of thought, added a fresh bottle in her other hand she headed out to where Arion was standing alone with his thoughts. She set the glass and bottle down on one of the tables and moved behind him, embracing him gently.
"Arion...is there something you wish to...talk about?" Her voice breathes softly in his ear with a note of concern.
The stoic warrior takes a deep breath. "I wasn't there when it happened. What Amhranai speaks about happened after my own interrogation. All my questions were answered, so I left to rest. In hindsight, I recognize it was my duty to remain with the prisoner, and will accept whatever punishment you see fit. To clarify that situation, the last answer he gave me is the slight they imagined. He was simply remarking after my inquiry about the nature of the spell used to summon, and whether it was a calling or summoning. I asked because I wanted to know if Avoreene was killed, if she'd simply be sent back to the Abyss, or if she was truly dead. His remark was, essentially, anything's possible."
The warrior sighs and catches a breath. "My concern was two-fold: Lureene and Sasha. Bluntly speaking, I don't think Sasha should be permitted to accompany us anymore. She's becoming a liability, and quite frankly, couldn't handle herself against the summoner. She nearly died, and subsequently, sent Arion and Lureene into a frenzy."
He shakes his head and sighs once more. "As for Lureene, she blantantly disregarded your orders to do no lethal harm to our quarry. Even after being reminded more than once. I have my own recommendations on what I would do, however, you are the Princess and that jurisdiction is yours alone."
Alis noted Amhranai's silent nod and said simply, "I see."
Can't say I'm surprised, every one of us is headstrong in their own way...
With a gracious smile, she said, "Thank you for coming to me about this first, I appreciate it. I do know that Sasha and Lureene can be high-strung, I suppose it shouldn't come as a surprise that Arion might be as well. I'll speak with them on my own."
"As for punishments," she laughed softly and shook her head, "you do realize that dwarves are entirely too hung up on such things, right Darv?"
With an encouraging pat on the back, she said, "No. As long as you know what to do next time and then do it that's good enough for me. We can save any unpleasantness for the unlikely scenario where you forget your follow through. Fair enough?"
Looking to Amhranai, Alis continued, "Speaking of punishment, what part do you think Iole Bonati played in today's events? By the sounds of it, he didn't want me, of all people, to know that he was helping someone get out of the city. Supposing for a moment that he didn't put out a hit on you, can you think of any other reasons he might do such a thing? Murder seems a bit... blatant to be frank."
Arion shifted slightly so that he blocked the wind from blowing in Lureene's face.
"Mmmmmmm.....You did retain some excellent features from Your bloodline. You have the warmth beyond any who have embraced me before. Yet, it is comforting and not at all like the sweltering jungle calidity that I have to expend a spell to endure every day down here. Few tales or books describe how durable the skin of Your kind truly proves to be, at the same time that it is more luxuriously silken soft and plyable than an innocent infant from this world. I was thinking of You before You graced me with Your presence again."
Arion turned around and held Lureene, arm around her waist, fingers cradling her head, woven through the billowing layers of her satiny hair.
"I know that we have the potential to be an ideal pair. I think though that we should develop different plans for our roles together, shifting supporting and more active strategies. I need to do my job of course, keeping duty and focus separate from personal cares. I do not want to entertain the line of thinking, of flying off to some island paradise with You, ripping You away from Your friends and life here."
He looked far away and suddenly realised, "I wonder if flying off anywhere far from You would even be a life worth living, anymore."
Looking down at her, beyond her beauty, the like of which he had not seen in that world in all his days, something he could not explain in words transfixed his heart to her soul.
Mark THAT well, in your journal, son of Hithraen; a High Elf at a loss for the right words to describe some feature of this world...curious, since she is not really of this world.
Lureene allowed herself to be held by him, taking comfort in both his body warmth and in his words spoken from the heart.
"OOooh Arion...I believe we can and DO make a beautiful team TOGETHER! I will support you in EVERY way I am able to do so." Her lips brushed against his in a tender kiss, lingering for a moment before pulling away. "As you know , I have duties as well. Duty to serve and help my FRIEND 'Lis, who has done for me MORE than even she realizes. I know she will need OUR help..." she adds as her hand moves to clasp his own hand in her own, fingers entwined with his, "in order to bring peace to Port Eldarion." Her lips travel up his face to breath again in his ear. "BUT if you mention that island paradise again...I may just take you up on that promise!"
She then pulled him into another embrace, kissing him warmly on his lips before reluctantly pulling away. "We should see what the others are doing now...I can barely keep my eyes open, Arion. Maybe you know of where my room is?"
"Weeellll... yeah I guess he was kinda pissed off, but I just don't think Ari likes how we do things back home, you know?"
Sasha glanced away from Sindariel and Tiniel over to where Arion and Lureene were wrapped in each other's arms. She smiled.
Aww, I knew she'd like him! They're so cute..."
The sound of plates being gathered up caught her attention and she turned to find Giles cleaning up after everyone else. Picking up her own plate, she asked hopefully, "Do you have any more of those deviled eggs, Mister Heartfire?"
|Giles von Hearthwick|
Giles drew a deep breath, allowing himself only a single twitch of his mustache at the slaughter of his name. "It is von Hearthwick, dear girl, and we are quite fortunate to have had enough deviled eggs for everyone after you swept in like a hungry vixen."
Even as Sasha's shoulder's slumped, lip pouting as much from guilt as disappointment, he added, "However, I do believe there are yet two halves remaining on the serving tray if you are quick about it."
"Eeee!" With a squeal of delight, Sasha hopped up and gave the elderly dwarf a peck on the cheek before bounding off to claim her prize. At her leaving, Sindariel merely grinned to herself even as Tiniel furrowed her brow, looking towards Arion with lips pursed.
Taking the halves, one in each hand, Sasha was about to gulp them both down when something drew her eyes upward... to Arion and Lureene.
Sucking on the corner of her mouth for a moment, she looked back down and then up again before, with great determination, walking over. "Heeey... diiid eitherofyouwantthelastofthedeviledeggs? Giles said I could have them..."
S 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (17) + 10 = 27
Sense Motive Checks:
R 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (14) + 14 = 28
L 1d20 + 2 + 5 ⇒ (3) + 2 + 5 = 10 familiarity
"They say...they belong to the prettiest Malatestan Commando at the party. Rejecting the conjuration school, I cannot produce more such snacks for You by metaphysical means. If I had known You enjoyed them so, I might have specialized in another discipline. As it is,"
He looked at Lureene with a wink and a smile and continued, "my magic is only fitting for capturing Oobee Doobeez and making them scream 'help, I'm being oppressed! Now we see the violence inherent in the system!'"
He said to Sasha, "May You enjoy the last two halves. It is the least I can do, after all You have done for us today."
There were no words capable of expressing Sasha's joy. With a high-pitched noise that might have dropped bats from the air, she leapt as if to hug her lovers before remembering the precious treats in her palms. Then slowly, savoring every last delectable ounce of filling, she nibbled away at them, eyes closed in an expression of gustatory ecstasy.
At last, with a sigh of simple pleasure, she swallowed the last bite, swinging her hips from side to side as she sucked the last few golden flecks from her fingers. Then, spotting the bottle of wine Lureene had brought along, she glanced behind her only to find that Giles had already cleared away her own glass.
Pointing a finger, with eyes hopeful, she asked, "Do you have enough to share, Ellie?"
Lureene shook her head at her friend's appetite. I am amazed...she could go all night I think! Realizing the more wine she drank the less chance she would make it to her own room (wherever that was) under her own power, she held out the bottle to her bodyguard. "Help yourself, Sash. I just would request you NOT overindulge too much this evening..."
At least he and I are on the same page. Perhaps, between the two of us, we can keep things together. I'm willing to give Alis the benefit of the doubt here, but should things continue as they have, we'll be in for some trouble. What I saw there was by no means a measured response, even for someone in his profession. And it did not at all look like an act.
"It's possible Bonati was paying a debt since Vergeir essentially went to jail for him. Perhaps there's more to that waiting to be found in Freetown, where he was supposed to be dropped off. I don't know. As for punishment, well...No need to be blatant about it. Perhaps a trip to Freetown would be in order first?"
"Vergeir, hmm?" Alis raised an eyebrow at Amhranai's revelation about her assailant.
He must have escaped when O'beilumanji destroyed the prison.
"If it's as you say, Iole was probably repaying a debt of gratitude in getting him out of the capital. I still wonder whose idea it was to come after you though. Some might see the Baron as one step better than a robber-baron, but he did inherit his family's holdings. I find it hard to believe someone like that would risk everything just to strike at someone they obviously view with contempt."
Yet what boy thinks twice before kicking an anthill unless he's been stung?
"Of course," she tipped her glass to Amhranai, "you are made of sterner stuff than you look, so who knows. Iole may have underestimated you, and I may be attributing him more sense than he deserves."
"The question now is," she glanced over to where Arion, Lureene, and Sasha were voice trailing off, "whether to confront him directly or watch what he does next — I'll need to sleep on it."
"Speaking of sleep..." she turned back to Amhranai and gestured due east toward the north wing of the Palace. "Thanks to a recent influx of *ahem* resources, the Palace is livable again. There's still a good bit of clutter, of course, but Master Petronius assured me his artisans have only finishing work left at this point."
"I had Giles prepare apartments for everyone, Amh, so feel free to make use of yours whenever you are in the city proper. Given the day we've all had, and particularly the situation with Vergeir, I'd suggest you rest here for the night — it's already two hours past Nightfall after all."
"I'll leave it up to you but," Alis looked to her cousin and asked, "Frændi, can you at least show her the way? There's been quite a bit of remodeling so things are probably different than she remembers."
She gave a wave to the two and remarked in parting, "I'll need to have invitations to my Investment ceremony delivered to each of my Lieutenant Governors. Maybe in the morning we can discuss who will visit Freehold. If you'll excuse me..."
With that, the Princess took her leave of Amhranai and Darvesch, and approached the others.
I wonder what they have to say for themselves...
As Alis walked up, she could overhear Sasha going on excitedly, a bottle of wine in one hand, an empty glass in the other as she sat upon the wide railing, legs kicking alternately. Nearby, Lureene stood leaning her head upon Arion's chest, eyes closed as if she'd fallen asleep standing up.
"...said there's all sorts of neat shops and cafés in The Arcade, and since we've got all this money now– Oh, hey Lissi!"
With a big smile, Sasha hopped back down, the wine causing her to take a split second extra to find her balance before she sashayed over, shaking the bottle lightly in offering. Alis held held her fingers about an inch apart before extending her glass. As Sasha smiled and poured, she said, "We were just talking about going shopping tomorrow with all that reward money you gave us. Want to come with us? I told Ellie that I've got lunch!"
Alis looked over to the older spymaster and smiled, tipping her head ever-so-slightly towards the redhead beside her. When Sindariel smiled and patted the seat beside her, Alis said, "Oh, I'm sure she would. Why don't you share the last of the wine with Sin and Amelia over a good story before we turn in for the night?"
Sasha wobbled slightly as she held the wine bottle up to the moon and squinted, finding it still nearly half full. "Yeeaah, that sounds like a good idea, okay!"
With that, the ranger was off, speaking of scabbards and spells long before the older woman had managed to entice the bottle from her hand.