"Of course, Your Highness." He nodded at Alis.
He cleared his throat before he began, recalling the details of the other Lightbringer citadels. After locating his plans he had prepared, he hands them to the Maestro. "My primary goal for this project is to train those interested in becoming part of the Lightbringer organization. As such, there will need to be barracks for the soldiers, as well as the training grounds. A separate structure will be required for officers quarters. The main building will be for teaching facilities, and a secondary building will be used as a kitchen and dining facility. Traditionally, this is set up as a campus, with interconnected buildings, except the barracks of course."
Not content to sit, he paced while facing the Architect. Gesturing with his hands as he spoke, he explained in further detail the plans he had for, what looked like a full military complex. He looked to Alis and back to the Architect, "I hope my plans are neither too crude nor too grandiose. This is how I recall my own training campus."
On the look from Arion, Lureene tore her gaze from the Treasurer and instead deigned to stare at a spot above his left shoulder. The meaning was clear; she no longer considered him anyone of import.
...At least not until he apologizes to ME!
As Darvesch explained his plans for the Lightbringer citadel, she repressed a smile not so much for agreeing with the doughty dwarf (although she certainly had no complaints) but for the gnashing of teeth she could imagine him doing as the cost of this endeavor became clear.
And I hope you CHOKE on that, Hior!
Eyes invisible behind his dark spectacles, the broad shouldered man stroked his two-tone beard with one hand as he took in the dwarf's requirements.
"Her Highness speaks of a citadel, and you, Sir, speak of an instructional campus," he said in a deep voice. "I myself must confess ignorance of your order and their needs. Do you envision this site being hardened against attack like a keep, walled in the fashion of a private estate, or open like the university?"
"Furthermore, would this site serve as a base of operations or strictly as a training ground? If the former, where do you envision the primary areas of responsibility for your agents? Port Eldarion, River March, the whole of Dafar? Such considerations will inform the potential sites we might assay as well as ancillary structures — bridges, docks, and the like."
Turning to his aides and the apprentices who had accompanied Master Petronius, Hior added, "You see, one must always consider the practical costs of not only property and labor, but ongoing needs such as provisioning and accessibility, and whether the expected economic benefit can adequately sustain the necessary infrastructure."
"After all," he said, bowing respectfully to Alis, "we should neither wish to squander our patron's fortune, nor neglect that a sovereign invests the wealth yielded up by their populace."
As the Treasurer finished his impromptu lesson, the younger aides in tow nodded quietly to one another, unaware that they were not his true audience.
Sense Motive Checks:
A 1d20 + 25 + 4 ⇒ (10) + 25 + 4 = 39 Tear
R 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (9) + 14 = 23
D 1d20 + 20 ⇒ (15) + 20 = 35
S 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (4) + 2 = 6
Luca 1d20 ⇒ 19
After considering the Guildmaster's questions he replied plainly. "Of course, I neglected to inform the Princess of the full details of my plans. These are not set in stone, and I'd gladly enjoy it if we could work together to come up with something more efficient."
He redirected his gaze to the Minister of Treasury and replied sharply. "The campus I'm drawing inspiration from comes from my own home deep within the mountains. We were prone to squander much of our resources on the protection of our citizens."
He looked to his elven cousin. "However, the Lightbringers operate solely on donations and recovered bounty. Each member is highly encouraged to seek out trinkets, baubles, and artifacts, particularly those that once served evil. These items are redeemed or used as components for holy or just causes. The fees from this, as well as the treasure recovered from felling demons, and other vile creatures, is what sustains the Lightbringers. We seek to impact the economy as little as possible, remain independent, but protect the city and its inhabitants."
He once again spoke to the Guildmaster. "To answer your question more directly, the safety of the soldiers as well as the citizens of this amazing city is paramount. As such, I would request that the site be a bastion of defense, a keep. As for it being a base of operations or a training grounds, it will serve as both. The protection of Port Eldarion will be the primary focus. In time, after many recruits have been trained, we will be able to station them all around Dafar. Once word has spread that this site exists, I hope to recruit many soldiers for the defense of Dafar."
The warrior looks to the rest of his companions. "As much as I hate to admit this, but we can't be expected to take on every single problem on our own. I'll be the first to say that I'll die defending her. But we're going to need help if we are to defend this realm against fiendish machinations."
When he says "I'll die defending her", he's referring to this realm
Lureene nodded slowly at Darvesch's proclamation, all the while resisting the urge to utter some foolish banality in response to the arrogant elf's words. Instead she offered a small smile in reply to his words, a smile not reflected in her eyes.
Easy there Lureene. Let him prattle on to try to draw a response from you. Best he focus his attention on YOU...rather than 'Lis who can read him much easier that I...that much I know. Still, every little statement uttered by him only gives him more rope to hang himself with.
Lureene spoke quietly after the dwarf finished his statement. "I believe your words have merit, Sir Hellhammer. Considering the state Port Eldarion finds herself in, bringing in outside help seems a sensible proposition to me."
Good girl, El, don't others get under your skin.
Alis offered a brief yet encouraging smile to Lureene before meeting Hior's inscrutable countenance. "Our noble ally and honored guest, the Prince of Del Synar, has pledged to support the Lightbringer's crusade per noblesse oblige... as have I."
Nodding to the map of the city, she conjured dancing lights above four defensive structures on or near the main course of the river. "Arrowhead Citadel, the harbor keep Lonndenost, River Watch Keep, and the Warden Headquarters... Even if the former are in need of repair, the harbor itself and the south shore of the Daifiri seem well-fortified. However, I see little more than watchtowers south of the Trade Quarter or west of Tol Lonnduil, and Pinnacle Beach seems wholly undefended. Am I correct to believe that the same holds true for the Daifiri Flats?"
Alis dipped her chin demurely, a subtle gleam in her blue-violet gaze, "Given the Lightbringer's aptitude for rooting out corruption, my preference would be to position them nearer the capital's center of population, not on its outskirts."
A 1d20 + 25 + 4 ⇒ (7) + 25 + 4 = 36 Tear
Sense Motive Checks:
R 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (12) + 14 = 26
D 1d20 + 20 ⇒ (7) + 20 = 27
L 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 2 = 4
S 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (20) + 2 = 22 +2 human
1d20 ⇒ 20
"While the beachhead and the north shore of the river mouth are indeed vulnerable, those settlements are sparsely populated. In the event of an attack evacuation would prove more practical than entrenchment. Even so, perhaps a decade ago, the previous Barons Mondracus and Bonati entreated the Governor to strength defenses south of the city walls. The Fraternity was approached, and we considered chiefly three sites."
Stepping up to the railing a respectful distance from the Princess, Master Petronius used his ceramic walking stick to point out locations on the map. "These sites were east and west of the ridge south of Mondracus Estate, and just outside Colossineum on the south side of the wall."
"By our assessment, the soil close to the beachhead was too loose and susceptible to tidal flooding to prove suitable for larger fortifications. The land closer to the Bonati plantation would have proved suitable, yet of negligible strategic value, particularly given the much smaller population in The Plantation even just 10 years ago."
He tapped the empty land south of the Plaza District. "If it is to be a keep and one nigh the center of population, I would recommend here. It would provide a fallback point for those living in the Outer Quarter and a point at which force could be mustered against a landing south of The Pinnacle."
|Giles von Hearthwick|
Excellent, I didn't think to see her again so soon. What timing!
Alis shook her head enthusiastically. "Not at all, show her in!"
Upon seeing a certain look of urgency on the priestess' face, the Princess remarked, "Dame Amhranai, we are joined by Treasurer Celadrendir and Master Petronius of the Builders in a discussion over a site on which to found a new chapter of the Lightbringers."
She indicated the field south of Colossineum by circling her dancing lights about it. "I understand that Lord Bonati currently has too many field hands and not enough fields. It occurs to me that an increased demand for manpower, such as a large building project, might help to relieve him of the need to... overhire."
There was a hint of mischief in Alis' eyes that revealed no disappointment over the prospect that Baron Bonati would be forced to pay his workers higher wages or lose them. "Would you not agree, Amhranai, Maestro? Sir Hellhammer, what say you?"
Beyond the grand hallways, Arion had stopped at the door to the map room, allowing each member of the group to pass nearby, before following them into the chamber. Once inside, he slowly paced until he stood directly behind the Treasurer. From his position he could look over the shoulder of Petronius, examining what he might of the plans submitted by Darvesch.
As discussions were continuing, concerning the location of the new establishment, Arion moved beside Darvesch and leaned over to whisper to him.
Upon the entrance of Amhranai, Arion welcomed her, saying, "A wise voice for the people and our valiant companion in battle. Welcome, Amhranai."
Darvesch nodded at Alis' suggestion. "Agreed. The field south of the Colosseum is exactly the area I had in mind actually."
He met Arion's whisper with a reply of his own, almost without thinking, he whispered a reply in Dwarven.
"One step at a time. I want to make sure this city is stabilized before trying to take on outside threats. Cut the head of the snake, if you will."
The warrior simply smiles politely at the guests. I'm glad we can get moving on this project, though I suspect the urgency to which the princess has shown for this endeavor is for another purpose. Not that I mind at all.
Her heart was still there on Pinnacle Rock, an empty pit yawning in its absence. She barely recalled descending the towering promontory, nor could she say how she ended up at the Governor's house. Her eyes were blank as she regarded the well-kept grounds, gardens in full bloom, iron dome brilliant in the late morning sun. Just as brilliant was the gloriette north and west of the gardens. It's radiance usually caught her eye, but today it was little more than a light in the distance. I have seen Sorrow's face. She does not speak, she does not weep. She does not know me. For I am but a stone fitted in place on the bridge where she walks.
The walkway to the western entrance of the Palace stretched before her but she was unable to cross the threshold and so stood at the gate, oblivious to the guardsmen warily grasping their weapons. A popping noise, followed by something sharp jabbing into her hand, broke the spell. Cursing, she looked down at her hand to see a winged shape dart upwards, stopping just before her face. It was the pixie once again. His voice flooded her thoughts-'Your friend has been taken care of and is much happier for it. Iscandu says to not allow yourself to be weighed down by his passing; you have much work to do. Honor his memory and do not falter now! Remember the dream!' A wand, barely perceptible, appeared in his hand and gently alighted on the tip of the elf's nose. Eyes blinked reflexively; by the time they were open again, the pixie was gone.
Life came flooding back into the priestess, threatened to brim over until she remembered the watchful guards. Azubuike...rest easy and dream well. Her knight's badge, hidden from view inside a pocket, was warm to the touch as her fingers closed around it. Affixing it to her breast, Amhranai passed beneath the archway, back straight, strides purposeful.
Giles promptly answered her at the door and she silently followed him through the palace, pausing as he slipped inside a room. She heard muffled conversation and then Alis' ringing voice. Offering the dwarf her thanks, she entered the room and immediately had to stifle a groan. More of my least favorite people.
Amhranai inclined her head in greeting to Arion before answering Alis. "Bonati has a surplus of many things, Princess. Generosity being one of them. I believe he will be most eager to voluntarily provide some of his men to assist with the construction effort."
The Treasurer cocked his head slightly at the appearance of the tattooed elf, yet offered a slight nod of courtesy upon spotting her badge. Perhaps picking up on her distaste for Iole Bonati, he smiled and commented, "Ah, yes yes... the fledgling Lord Bonati. No doubt his demesne would benefit from the auspices of the Lightbringers, particularly after snuffing of hope's light. No doubt our stalwart champion's torch shall prove more resilient."
"By the by," he continued, "I cannot recollect such a memorable countenance from my tenure at court. Good Dame, are you, like her Highness and retinue, newly arrived in the capital?"
K:Local DC 10
A 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (11) + 13 = 24
R 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (3) + 12 = 15
D 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (11) + 3 = 14
L 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (8) + 0 = 8
S 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (19) + 1 = 20
"I do not believe 'resilient' is the word you're looking for, Treasurer. Lady Mondracus is a very resilient woman. Perhaps less suspect to ill-will would be a more fitting descriptor for Sir Hellhammer's proposed building.
"As for me? Well, I don't make it a habit to frequent the palace. Too much empty space for me."
Lord Celadrendir tipped his head to Amhranai, still smiling as always, "Then the privilege is ours, it would seem, for this unlooked for boon."
Turning back to the map, the Treasurer whisked a crenelated figuring from a nearby table and placed it in the location designated for the keep. "Master Architect, would it be correct to guess that whilst your engineers draft schematics, and laborers prepare the site that the Fraternity's stonemasons might attend to Lonndenost as well, or do they find themselves mired in the morass of our tumble-down penitentiary?"
"Per her Highness' direction, reconstruction of the prison continues apace. As for the Harbor Keep, our assessment is that only a single tower requires repair. Unlike the prison it was struck a glancing blow. It should not take long to rebuild."
"However," he pointed to a red flag just to the north east of the Colosseum, "if we are to transport materials and goods with any efficiency, I would strongly recommend that we finance Guildmaster Rochmir's request to rebuild the Porters & Cartwright's Guildhall."
"No doubt you did," Hior responded, "Lord Gallo has enthusiastically privatized as much of the drayage business as possible whilst leaving less profitable tasks such as garbage collection to those who can afford the luxury of fresh air. While there is something to be admired of such a keen nose for profit, the protests levied at my office by his merchant competitors are becoming quite... noisome."
Lord Gallo is in charge of the shipping...That gives me an idea...
Lureene who had been mostly quiet observing the proceedings spoke up. "Excuse me Master Hior for my ignorance on this subject, but do you mean to say Lord Gallo is causing your...uhh...office some difficulties." Her eyes gleamed as she continued, "Perhaps I can persuade him to help with your shipping concerns."
Several in the room shifted uneasily at Lureene's comments, and Lord Celadrendir's aides gave one another questioning looks. Their master however, merely replied enthusiastically, "How wonderful! It would indeed be a pleasurable surprise to learn we have an ardent proponent of economic stimulus in you, Miss Lureene."
Sense Motive Checks:
A 1d20 + 25 + 4 ⇒ (4) + 25 + 4 = 33 Tear
M 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (18) + 12 = 30
R 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (20) + 14 = 34
D 1d20 + 20 ⇒ (5) + 20 = 25
L 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (4) + 2 = 6
S 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 2 = 4
Uugh... if it was Lucio Gallo she'd have to be on top...
Even as Lord Celadrendir's smile soured at Sasha's exclamation, Alis gave the redhead a pat on the back. "I doubt the need for such... energetic negotiations. A friendly tip that a motion to commandeer the Concern's ground fleet for public sanitation might nurture Lord Gallo's sense of responsibility."
A voice rose up from behind the Treasurer, flanking his followers, "Lady Ourson is of the highest order, in the domain of stimulation, whatever the worthy cause. The wise cultivate her favor, for, whether pleasing or sweet torment, as surely as the dawn draws avian song, she is irresistible."
Arion stared down one of the lackies who dared to remain within striking distance, while asking Lureene, "O Blessed of Wingilmë, may we know more about what Lady Ourson meant, about persuading Lord Gallo?"
"Oh!" Sasha's surprise at the unexpected mission, minor as it was, was evident on her features. Trying to look as serious as she could, the ranger stood up straight and saluted, "You can count on me, Princess," before hustling for the door, favoring her right foot only slightly.
And with a slam of the door and excited chatter from outside in the hall she was off.
Blissfully unaware of the innuendo flying after her words, Lureene smiled warmly at Arion and replied, "Arion, I believe since Lord Gallo seems to be...enamored of me, he would prove more receptive to Princess Alis' suggestion should it be voiced by myself, along with a chance for him to express his whims to me...nothing improper mind you. Just an informal get-together would be sufficient I think."
"I see," Thrandel noted, his gaze shifting momentarily to the Treasurer and the scribe behind him before turning to the golden-winged beauty. Bowing deeply, hat in his hand, the commander of Arrowhead Citadel said, "The pleasure of seeing you again was ours, Lady Ourson, gods speed on your mission."
Smiling sweetly at Lureene, Alis said, "I am entrusting this to you and Ms. Nevah, Lureene, the business owners and citizens of Port Eldarion are counting on you."
Looking back to where Sasha stood smiling by the door, she continued, "Sasha, go ahead and get suited up. Giles will show you the way thru the city. Be watchful and wary of anyone who show you favor."
Alright, this sounds exciting!
Sasha took a deep breath, trying her best to look serious and nodded twice vigorously. "You've got it Liii–ssar–ee..."
Dammit Sash, get it together!
"You've got it, Princess! I won't let anybody make... off with my Lady!"
Biting her lip, eyebrows raised in apology, she gazed at Lureene and asked hopefully, "Can we go now, my Lady ship?"
Lureene curtsied to the Princess, "Of course your Highness. Consider this problem with Lord Gallo dispensed with."
As she headed to the entrance where Sasha awaited her, she placed a hand on the redhead's shoulder. "Of course Sash...I know you must be getting hungry. This won't take long." She then nodded to Commodore Gaeros and the Harbormaster as she exited the chamber, "You are both TRUE gentleman! I shall enjoy seeing you later after I have finished with this minor errand."
As a quartet of guards fell in behind the two beauties and the dutiful butler, Alis called out in encouragement, "I shall look forward to your success!"
The moment the door had closed, there were several moments of tense silence before the footsteps had faded away. With a gaze like the hottest part of a flame, Alis took in the room which was now predominantly occupied by men with the notable exceptions of herself, Amhranai, and Tiniel. Taking a measured breath, she began, "To ensure that all of you understand what I am about to say without misinterpretation or misunderstanding, I shall address you via a tongues spell..."
After she had cast the spell, she continued, "Lords and gentlemen, I am well aware that at times it may be difficult to maintain focus on the weighty matters before us, particularly when graced by the presence of those whose charms might tend to distract and cloud judgment with passion. I myself serve the goddess of passion and know full well the sway she holds over a mortal heart — cleverness and boldness are but two of the fruits of such inspiration"
"However," her gentle tone took on an steely edge, "the next man who deems it appropriate to demonstrate his cleverness or boldness by raising public commentary over a lady's private passions, or correlates her competency in any way to how well she wears a corset, shall know the gratification of conducting their own affairs while wearing one until I am satisfied that their curiosity has been sufficiently stimulated."
Looking from one man to the next as she stressed each word, she asked, "Do. I. Make. Myself. Clear?"
"Sir Hellhammer," his Frænka said, clearly not amused, "is there something you deem pertinent to share with your peers?"
Judging by the tone in her voice, there was no doubting that the Princess was looking for a volunteer to just try testing her resolve.
D 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (8) + 0 = 8
Sense Motive Checks:
A 1d20 + 25 + 5 + 4 ⇒ (6) + 25 + 5 + 4 = 40 familiarity, Tear
M 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (13) + 12 = 25
R 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (4) + 14 = 18
D 1d20 + 20 + 5 ⇒ (7) + 20 + 5 = 32 familiarity