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King and Consul

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King and Consul

Post  Wynnsaren on Mon Aug 19, 2013 6:55 pm

15th of Rova, 4711


It would be a beautiful afternoon for riding, Wynnsaren considered as she stood at the fence overlooking the pasture. There was a crispness in the air which heralded the season's change, yet the sun shone brightly and warmed the skin pleasantly with its light.

She'd sent a messenger to the king earlier this morning requesting audience to discuss the results of the journey from which she'd just returned. The boy had come back after a short while with word to meet his majesty at the stables after lunch. It was an excellent idea.

For the occasion, Wynn wore a soft, burgundy riding dress with leather leggings and a rich, brown leather corset that laced up the front, not dissimilar to her usual attire on the road, since King Thaddeus preferred to keep their meetings somewhat casual, but in an effort to embellish things just a bit, she braided a matching burgundy ribbon into her hair and twisted it up into a loose bun at the nape of her neck. He was the king after all, and she hadn't seen him in over a month.

Wynn laughed as she watched Glas tearing around the pasture. The horses were in the stables donning their tack for the ride, giving him free run of the lush green grass. He barreled past her through the growth with tentacles flying and sending clumps of sod sailing through the air as those sharp blue claws dug deep into the turf. There was little the akata seemed to enjoy more than running.

She could hear that one of the stablehands was struggling, trying to get a bridle over her stallion's head, but he was having none of it, and was dragging the poor fellow around the yard. Xiaobo could be trouble, but he was loyal, as he'd demonstrated by returning home with the akata in tow after she was taken to Candlemere Lake unexpectedly, during her journey from New Stetvan.

Wynnsaren named him 'little wrestler' in Tien for his scrappy nature. She enjoyed his spirit. It was this horse that she'd traveled with exclusively since coming to Novastasia and they'd come to something of an understanding after Kazimir punched him in the side of the face for biting her. He stopped biting after that. Also, he seemed to tolerate Glas better than most horses, which was a great benefit.

"'Bo!" Wynn called sharply as she snapped the riding crop against her thigh and moved to where she could see the goings on. The horse halted abruptly, but stepped on the man's foot in the process. She was pretty sure that was intentional. . .

"Xiaobo if you don't at least try to cooperate, they're going to geld you," she threatened as she strode up to the brute and pulled the half-worn bridle from his head, "and don't think I'm going to try to stop them this time!"

She held up the harness for the stablehand who was rubbing his foot and trying not to curse in front of the lady.

"Give him the curb bit. The snaffle pinches him," she suggested from experience, "but do not let him get away with that or he will be a monster for the rest of his stay." Wynn eyed the horse dangerously, but he just turned his head to ignore her.

Xiaobo was as proud as he was tempermental, but he had a gait as smooth as silk, which made for a very comfortable ride. An important quality when spending so much time on the road. Dapple gray in coloration, he had a dark tail and mane which had been trimmed to a short length for practical purposes, with a graceful neck and wide black eyes that held an intelligence and love of freedom. Kaz called it spite what she saw there, but Wynn was pretty sure it was just independence. It took a good deal of confidence to ride at a pace faster than a walk when you could only see thirty feet in front of you, and for that reason alone she had to have a mount she could trust to help keep himself and her out of danger. For Wynnsaren, Xiaobo was that horse.

By the time they got her mount situated, the stable master was walking the king's destrier out into the sun, fully tacked and wearing a crimson tabard bearing the royal seal.

He was a sight to behold. Golden brown and brushed to a brilliant sheen, the stallion stood a full two hands taller than Xiaobo and thrice as muscled. He pawed at the ground before her as if he knew he was being admired.

"Hmmm. . . humble too I see," Wynnsaren laughed as she went over to stroke his muzzle and feed him one of the apples she'd brought.

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Post  Colin Marcus on Wed Aug 21, 2013 9:54 pm

"We're trying to work some of that out of him." Thad approached with a jovial smile. He was dressed almost casually, but still wore the breastplate and pauldrons from his armor. He patted his mounted affectionately as he approached and the horse glanced his way in recognition.

"Humility is a quality I admire more in people then I do my war horses... He's young yet, but he still has some training to go. Though if his performance against the trolls is any indication, Yaromir will be a fine steed soon."

Thaddeus' eye twitched a little as he recalled why it was he was training his new horse. Longstride had fallen in battle some time ago, but he'd rasied him since a colt and the loss still hurt.

"It sounds like you certainly know your way around horses mi'lady. Have you ridden long?"
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Post  Wynnsaren on Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:26 pm

"Your majesty. . ." Wynnsaren curtsied deeply at the king's arrival. "You are looking quite well, I am glad to see!"

She rose to her feet and smiled pleasantly. "I have been riding for a long time, yes," the aasimar winked, tapping the riding crop against her opposite palm, daring him to tease her about her age, "but I do not have the training on horseback that you do by any means.

"I have found that horses are much like people in that it just takes time to get to know them and work around some of their quirks before you can form a bond. 'Bo is all I can handle right now I am afraid," Wynn laughed lightly. "I am no master at horsemanship."

She clasped her hands behind her back as she spoke, holding the second apple in her free hand where the dapple gray could see it clearly. Sure enough he came trotting over merrily as if the stablehand wasn't just two yards away cooling his foot, and snatched the apple out of her hand with his teeth.

Turning on her heel, she grabbed his reins as he crunched merrily away.

"Glas is looking forward to our ride as well," she added, calling the king's attention to the ebullient akata she could hear darting about the pasture.

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Post  Colin Marcus on Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:52 pm

Thaddeus's eyebrow raised as he saw the blue space lion running lighthearted and joyfully through the field and couldn't resist a hearty laugh. Sometimes when he saw Glas it was hard to reconcile the alien killing machine with the playful puppiness he saw with his own eyes.

He was quite pleased that his trust in the Akata and his friend hadn't been misplaced.

"I agree with your observation... Both observations actually," he said as he patted Yaromir's neck. "Horses are a lot like people... He won't be so much as a weapon for me... as he will be a trusted partner. At least I hope he will be. Unlike Longstrider, I haven't put as much personal time into his training.

"Something we're going to change aren't we... " He had made strives to leave the castle more since Wynnsarren had left for Whitehall. Though he still felt there was work to do, he was content with the personal progress he'd made.

Still, it felt wrong for the horse masters to be training 'his' horse.

Shaking those feelings off, he grinned back at his companion.

"I'm glad you agreed to go riding today. I know you just got back, and more time in the saddle was probably farthest from your mind."

He quickly checked the saddles and finding them secure offered Wynn a hand. "After you?"
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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Thu Aug 22, 2013 12:23 am

"Thank you, Your Grace." Wynnsaren smiled pleasantly, placed her foot high in the stirrup and taking Thaddeus' hand for support, vaulted herself up onto Xiaobo in one smooth motion. She stood in the stirrups briefly to spread the train of her dress behind her and out over the stallion's rump.

"And of course I agreed to accompany you today. . ." The aasimar teased as she watched him lift himself easily upon his own mount. "After all, how could I turn down such an invitation from my king? Let alone a friend that I haven't seen in so long!"

Thaddeus Medvyed would've struck an impressive figure mucking out a stall, she noted with an appreciative glance, but atop the proud and noble Yaromir, he looked every inch the king painted in the story books that all the young girls sighed dreamily over when they turned through those well-worn pages.

The pair eased their mounts into a trot and turned to ride past the fenced in pasture to get Glas' attention before riding out onto the low, rolling hills north of the city.

"How have things been in Akiros over the last month?" Wynn inquired as she rode up beside him. "I heard many construction projects in the works on my way in yesterday afternoon and I must say that the people seem happily preparing for the winter season."

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Post  Colin Marcus on Thu Aug 22, 2013 12:27 am

"It's true," Thad said happily. "There hasn't been any major disasters since the Lurker incident. Traica seemed... bewildered about the organs they removed. The victims still have symptoms but nobody has the... skill necessary to open them up to see why or how they're still alive.

"However, they are alive and only a little worse for wear, so we're counting that as a win.

"Progress seems to be coming to Akiros... a bit slowly for my tastes, but coming. We have an inn that's almost ready to open, and we'll be annexing Tatselford by next month.

His face took on a more serious note as he added, "Which will be good with the current state of Brevoy... Word has it that things are finally starting to boil over."
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Post  Wynnsaren on Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:51 am

"What?!" The look of concern on the aasimar's normally calm and collected face must have been comical. Even at the utterance, Wynn came to the realization that since Silverhall, she had unintentionally emotionally invested herself more heavily than she might have wished into the brewing conflict of their northern neighbor.

She took a quick moment to collect herself. "Forgive me, but just having returned from there, I find the thought rather distressing. What news have you heard, my king?"

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Post  Colin Marcus on Thu Aug 22, 2013 2:00 pm

"I'd actually hoped you may have more information yourself..." Thad stated. "It sounds like Lebeda's and Orlovsky's are bringing things to a head soon...

"While you were gone, we explored the northeast section of our future territory. It looks like excellent farmland, and we found no sign of monsters... so I have hope there. However there was something that gave us pause.

"Brevoy has various forts protecting their southern border. We've passed this one a few times on the way to Restov and back, and it was always manned. This time however, it was abandoned.

"We searched it for any sign of wrongdoing, but no signs of trouble. Just abandoned in haste. The soldiers took their personal possessions but a lot of incidentals remained."

Concern clouded his face as he continued his tale. "We traveled to Niveska's Crossing, and asked the tavernkeep if he'd heard anything. He only knew that Brevoy had summoned them back but didn't know why."

"After that we swung past Oleg's but he couldn't shed any light either... so we let it go. However Sarala showed up with more answers."

"Her sources gave her the rundown on the current climate. We had long heard rumors that King Regent Surtova was 'attached' to marry Elanna Lebeda from Silverhall. People speculated that she was in New Stetvan to align the two families. Apparently that was a lie.

"The Orlovsky's were the Medvyed's neighbors and never truly acknowledged the Surtova's right to rule. However they also aren't the type to cause waves. At least without some kind of serious backing.
"Which is where the Lebedas come in. They run Silverhall and are quite wealthy... and if they are backing Orlovski then trouble would be in the air. So apparently the Surtova's took a step to block that alliance...

He grimaced as he tried to keep his telling as neutral as possible. He did not want Novastasia to be involved in Brevoy's war. That had always been his standing... but sometimes he still wanted to ride out and right wrongs...

"Sarala's contact tells us that Elanna has been held hostage by the Surtova's. A game piece to force Silverhall to stay away from their rivals. Dame Labeda has been more concerned with her daughter's safety and thus no threat to the crown. However at the turn of the year, her brother Lander Labeda will come of age, and he isn't so accepting.

"Quite frankly everyone seems to expect hell to break loose when that happens and war seems imminent.

"Word has it that the Surtova's are recalling their soldiers quietly so any attacking force may be surprised by the true number of soldiers the king-regent has available...

"You went to Silverhall? Did you hear any gossip about this?" He smiled again as he added, "I was quite relieved to hear that you made it back in one piece."
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Post  Wynnsaren on Thu Aug 22, 2013 3:31 pm

"You are kind to say so, King Thaddeus," Wynnsaren offered a smile, but it did not quite reach the shine of her silver eyes which had suddenly grown quite frigid.

Bloody Surtovans. . .

The oracle had developed a dislike of the ruling family from her time living in New Stetvan, but having no direct experience with them, it was an opinion based solely on rumor and supposition. Rumor, as she had most recently experienced, was not fact, but that did not change her feeling that they were slimy power mongers that would do just about anything to retain the throne. Holding a daughter of House Lebeda hostage was a step farther than she thought even they would take.

Little in this world set Wynn seething as readily as hearing of an innocent being held in slavery or captivity.

"I fear I have nothing to report on the matter," she grimaced. "Though my host for the final meeting in Silverhall did allude in passing to the growing tension, I did not press him on that particular issue."

Wynnsaren turned her eyes toward the king. "May I be so bold to ask if this new information has changed your stance on Novastasia's diplomatic relations between the two factions within Brevoy?"

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Post  Colin Marcus on Fri Aug 23, 2013 12:02 am

Thad rode in silence for a moment, pondering the question. Finally he just shook his head.

"It's politics," he said, spitting the word as if it left a foul taste in his mouth. "Kidnapping and blackmail is inexcusable... but at the same time, I don't believe the Orlovskys or Labedas are sterling examples of purity. This is one dirty maneuver in a game full of dirty maneuvers.

"Were it up to me... I would ride north this afternoon, storm the castle and rescue the lady. Unfortunately it's more complicated than that.

"I promised the people here that Novastasia would be neutral in the coming wars. I have to stand by that. Any action I take here... could have serious ramifications for more then just myself. From I know now... I pray for the safety of the girl, and I hope the Surtovas responsible are dealt with... But I'm not sure I can do much more than that."
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Post  Wynnsaren on Fri Aug 23, 2013 8:39 am

Wynnsaren smiled at his response, glad and a bit relieved to hear it.

"No doubt a wise decision, Your Grace, and one that your people will be most pleased to hear."

As king, Thaddeus had no reason to seek her opinion or approval, but as friend, maybe he would understand her words to be as encouraging as she intended them.

"When I was serving Novastasia as interim priestess, I met many families who had immigrated here from Brevoy to escape the very trouble that our northerly neighbors are about to be embroiled in. They came, not thinking that life in the Stolen Lands would be all sunshine and roses. . . no one with a modicum of sense in their heads would think that," she laughed lightly, "but they came because they hope for a king who will seek to bring them peace and prosperity."

There was a moment of thoughtful silence and Wynn twisted her hand into Xiaobo's mane before she continued.

"To seek peace is not necessarily to acquire it, though, that much is true. There will be difficult times to come." Her silver eyes flashed as she looked out over the stallion's head, not seeing to where they were riding, but to what was before them. The great darkness still loomed. . . She was pleased at the king's decision not only for the sake of the people, but also because becoming involved in Brevoy's conflict would only serve as a distraction from preparation, and they would need to be prepared. For what though? That was ever the question that haunted her.

"There was a man whose caravan I traveled with in Varisia. His name was Ritu Ghatourey." The aasimar smiled as the warm memories of the wizened old friend washed over her. "He saw me through one of the most difficult times in my life. He used to say, 'Gilraen!'" she spoke in a thick Varisian accent to mimic her mentor. "'Vhy you are so restless! You seek a home to call your own. . . a place of peace, but you do not understand that vhat you need is vhat you already possess vithin yourself . Peace does not mean to be in a place vhere there is no noise, no trouble, or hard vork. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart.'"

Wynnsaren laughed realizing she had become something of a bag of wind herself since those days when she accused Ritu of just that. With shining eyes filled with nostalgia, she turned her face to address her king.

"Your people seek peace, but they do not expect freedom from trouble. When you show that them that you are willing to protect them and that you have their interests first in your mind even before your own, then they will trust you and through that trust you will help them find peace.

"You are a good man, Thaddeus Medvyed," she smiled, using his name without title for the first time since before the meteor was found. "And you are a good king. I find myself very proud to be in your service."

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Post  Colin Marcus on Fri Aug 23, 2013 8:36 pm

"Thank you Wynn... It means a lot to me to hear that." Thad mulled over her words for a few minutes. "I hope that is always the case."

He stopped Yaromir for a moment as they rode. This was one of his favorite routes to take, a winding path north of the castle and as the Tuskwater came into view, the sight always took his breath away. To the right a ahining sea glittering in the afternoon sun, to the left a burgening city still in it's infancy.

"You know... despite the soul lights, alien menaces and carniverous eels... It really is beautiful here...."
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Post  Wynnsaren on Fri Aug 23, 2013 8:50 pm

Pulling up Xiaobo served only to irritate him and he tramped in place a few times before settling.

"It is," Wynnsaren responded to the king, smiling as her eyes were drawn in the direction of his gaze, only to find her view stopped short by the prevailing fog of gray where her sight failed her.

"I know the view you speak of, though I have only ever seen it by the light of the moon." She let her lids drift closed as she remembered so easily the view from the top of her tower where she spent so much time in the evenings. Though the season had grown late and the wind carried with it a biting chill, the aasimar and the akata found it comforting and most nights took their rest there out under the stars.

"There's a certain. . . wild freedom about these lands that is quite compelling. Beautiful and dangerous." Her eyes opened again as she added, "We have found that to be especially true as of late.

"If it is not too bold of me to inquire, Your Majesty, is there yet plans to build a wall of protection around your capitol city? With the trolls that had been rampaging and the owlbear attack, perhaps it might be worth consideration to build a first line of defense to protect your people against the many dangerous creatures of these lands, and give the guard a good advantage against onslaught."

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Post  Colin Marcus on Fri Aug 23, 2013 8:52 pm

Thaddeus cringed as she mentioned her handicap. The way she moved and handled her horse and what not, he truthfully had forgotten about it.

"I wish you could see it like this Wynn... Truthfully, I can't think of anywhere else I would want to be then Akiros on a day like today... I want to remember it this way.

"In fact, I think I'll hire an artist to paint this view... something for the library as a reminder of our roots." He grinned as he the idea formed in his mind. The more he thought about it, the more he liked it. Hopefully they had an artist in Novastasia that was skilled enough to capture the view. Something that even Wynn could see regardless of time.

"As for a wall? I absolutely would like one. I'm not sure when it will happen... the city is having so many growth spurts that I'm not sure when I should start establishing fixed borders.

"But you are right.. I've learned a lot after the owlbear attack. It was beyond foolish of me to take as many fighting men with us as I did then." He shook his head in frustration. "I have to focus more on defense then just offense."
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Post  Wynnsaren on Fri Aug 23, 2013 8:59 pm

"I wish only for you to take it into consideration, my king, so that you might be prepared, for this land yet conceals threats much greater than Hargulka. . .threats which would seek to sweep Akiros and all Novastasia under its shadow. . ."

In that instant, the aasimar suddenly appeared so much older than she looked. Older and more worn with care than even her true years could suggest.

Wynnsaren hung her head and offered a self-deprecating chuckle. "It was not my intent to come to you as a purveyor of doom. I cannot tell you how many friends I have lost that way." With a final shake of her head, she raised her silvered eyes to meet his. "As it is your duty to protect your people, it is my duty. . .my purpose to aid you against this darkness however I might do so. If it is advice, I must give it. If it is magic, I will provide it. If it is my life, than it is well spent.

"I say these things only so you might understand the position in which I find myself. Yes I am your ambassador and I am proud to be so, and yes I am your friend and prouder still, but the gods have sent me here for a reason, and I must keep that foremost in my mind. Fate has seen fit to intervene on your behalf and that purpose must rise above all others."

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Post  Colin Marcus on Fri Aug 23, 2013 9:22 pm

"And I thank you for the reminder," Thad said solemnly. "I confess, I'm not as... familiar with such... sinister opponents. The ones that lie in the dark and wait.

"Hargulka I can deal with. An enemy who boasts in the sun and strikes sword against shield... but the quieter ones?" He grimaced as he realized the truth of it, "Sometimes those enemies slip my mind. A reminder here and there is most welcome.

He raised his eyebrows as he considered the warnings in her words. When an oracle tells you to build a wall... it made him think twice. Still, she had claimed that if her information was vision-wrought then she'd tell him. This time she did not... so perhaps it was simply a general uneasiness.

"Unfortunately the missions I've been sending you on have kept this evil at the forefront of your mind, haven't they... I was going to inform you the next one should be more... pleasant. A couple day journey over to Varnhold to maintain ties with Magar Varn... and Sarala wishes to accompany you again. It may be nice to visit an ally for a change.

"Though first... while we're speaking of looming evil. How did your journey to Silverhall go? Was it fruitful, or more dead ends?"
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Post  Wynnsaren on Fri Aug 23, 2013 9:26 pm

Wynnsaren started a broad smile as the king mentioned the next mission, which then abruptly turned to a betraying, crimson flush when he asked about Silverhall.

"Oh. . .some fruit was borne I suspect, though the answers to my questions were different than I had anticipated." With a brush of her heel, the aasimar urged her horse into a walk, and the pair continued down the trail.

"It was revealed that the location of the meteor came from Numeria; given to an agent of Master Winter of Silverhall, who intended to use the information to make honest acquisition. He had no knowledge of what might happen during its excavation, though the Technic League, the ones who likely provided the location," she explained, "may indeed have had a more sinister purpose in mind. At this juncture it is impossible to tell. Locations of skymetals outside of Numeria have been garnered in this way before, so perhaps this was all unexpected misfortune. . ."

Even as she uttered the words they rang false to her own ears. After the mi-go encounters and all the discoveries on Candlemere Isle, was it really possible that all of this was simply a coincidence?

"To learn anything further, I would need to make an extended visit to Numeria, which of course I am willing to do if you believe it beneficial to our cause."

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Post  Colin Marcus on Fri Aug 23, 2013 9:41 pm

Thad eyebrow shot up again quizically at her peculiar reaction. He could tell there was more going on behind those beautiful eyes then she'd let on. But mention of the mysterious Numeria shook him in the saddle.

"Numeria?!? I've heard... things about that place. I don't know how much I believe, but skymetal certainly fits the rumors... "

He shook his head as he considered an expedition. What little he knew of Rasven Winter didn't inspire trust. Incredibly rich and just as dangerous though the rumors debated whether it was his sword or his influence that could kill faster if crossed. A cousin to the Lebeda's and therefore it didn't take much imagination to envision him sending any inquiries off to the silver mountain....

"No... That may be too far to go on such slim evidence right now... As much as I want to know everything I can about this threat... I don't want to send you through a civil war into as dangerous place as that... Especially since we have no current interest in allegiences and they aren't known for sharing secrets anyway....

"The risk doesn't balance the reward on this one..."

"Though," He grinned a bit as he rode up a bit closer. "I'm a bit curious what brought such color to your cheeks there... Don't tell me your one of the girls from back home that get all swoony at the mention of visiting swordlords? Sarala is bad enough when Lord Varn is mentioned..."
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Post  Wynnsaren on Sat Aug 24, 2013 7:39 pm

The aasimar responded with a lighthearted laugh formed of both nervous anxiety and the thought of Sarala swooning.

"No. I will admit a certain enamor with the stories the swordlords perpetuate of themselves. The bravado, the unquenchable spirit and the idealisms they follow. . . but as is so often the case, the stories rarely match the reality. In Brevoy and Mivon I have had occasion to meet a few. I do enjoy the verbal sparring, friendly or otherwise," she chuckled, "for they seem to be as quick of tongue as they are of blade. It is an enjoyable dance."

A long moment of silence passed with only the sounds of clopping hooves, and screeching leather between them, before Wynnsaren was able to continue.

"In Silverhall, I found that the stories I had heard of Rasven Winter, also did not match the reality." She sighed softly and stared off into the gray ahead of them. "He was not the man I expected to be dealing with, nor do I think I was what he expected. . . I rather think we surprised each other."

The corners of her lips lifted in a small smile at the memory of his reaction to the story she had shared and then her reaction to his bold proposition. Indeed, the whole conversation came as one surprise to her after another! Wynn looked forward to the chance to understand more about this mysterious merchant prince.

"In lieu of payment for the information he shared with me, I gave my word that no action would be taken against Silverhall if in truth she had nothing to do with the intentional release of alien creatures, and also," she hesitated, "I made agreement to meet with him again at an unspecified date. . ."

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Thaddeus Medvyed

Post  Colin Marcus on Sun Aug 25, 2013 9:37 am

Thaddeus' brow furrowed in concern as he listened not only to her words.. .but her body language as well. There was definitely something there... The young king wasn't sure what he thought about that little smile. On a professional level, it wasn't ideal for Novastasia's diplomat to become smitten with such an influential person as this. Most especially one on the brink of a civil war that they intended to stay neutral in. Emotional ties were the enemies of neutrality...

On a more personal note he couldn't deny a pang of jealousy. Though he readily knew that he had no claim, it was hard not to be enamored with Wynnsarren. Ironic that as chief diplomat it meant that everyone else in the world seemed to see more of her than he did.

Mostly though, there were the warning bells of a friend.

"Wynn..." he began softly. "I want you to promise me you'll be careful out there. Not just from the obvious threats. I've never had the privilege to meet Master Winter myself, but my father was concerned about him. I've heard the stories of his wealth and influence... and I've heard that he deals with some very unsavory people. Which... you seem to have confirmed yourself."

He flinched a bit as he tried to words things correctly. He was after all giving advice to someone with much more experience in the world than he, himself had...

"I would be very surprised if the person you met face to face, is the same person who roamed Silverhall after you left... These politicians have ways of telling people what they want to hear, when they want to hear it... and only what will bring them some kind of benefit to tell."

"Your a very special person Wynn... I just know that there are some wealthy people out there who like to collect 'special' things..."

He shrugged noncommittally. "There's also the chance he's vying for allies in the war. I just don't really know," he said with a weary sigh. "There are so many threads running through Brevoy right now, I can't seem to untangle them..."
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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Sun Aug 25, 2013 2:08 pm

Wynnsaren smiled warmly. His apprehension for her well-being was sweet and unexpected in that it was voiced so honestly. She realized then how much she'd missed their regular chats since she had been traveling out of nation.

"Your concerns mirror my own in many ways," she offered in thoughtful objectivity after a long moment's pause. "I know virtually nothing about the man. . .even now. Two hours. That is the extent of the time we spent together, but something about him. . . I cannot properly explain. . ." The aasimar flushed again, worse now with the king's eyes on her. "Something about him was different somehow. I have never met his like, and I will admit that this mystery has left me wanting to know more.

"I give you my word that I will be careful, Your Majesty. I have made no commitments to Master Winter, save that I would meet with him on a second occasion, and it may assure you to know that politics never came up but for me to explain to him vehemently that Novastasia is taking a neutral stance on the Brevoy conflict. If his only interest is to seek a political ally, which I strongly disbelieve," she added, "than he would be quite disappointed."

Wynn's dark brows pinched together slightly in consternation as she considered one of his points.

"You mention wealthy. . .'collectors'," she began carefully, in a soft, melodic voice as she turned to face King Thaddeus. "I have known such men before. I have nearly been sold to them. I have even dealt with some of them since pledging my service to you in fact, but . . .do you believe that I am someone whose affections may be bought with money or power?"

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Post  Colin Marcus on Sun Aug 25, 2013 2:37 pm

Thad's knuckles went white as he gripped the reins and Yaromir fidgeted, sensing his master's discomfort.

"I remember well. I remember all your stories, though to be honest I have more trouble learning the Tien words then I ever did Celestial." The king's face was nearly as red in embarrassment as his knuckles were white with the familiar anger at that particular story.

"I was... hesitant to even say anything." There really was no delicate way to have some discussions, and at that moment he sincerely wished that Sir Tambor had been a wandering bard instead of a paladin.

He shook his head and then locked eyes with his friend. "To answer your question... No, of course I don't believe you could be bought with power or gold.

"I suspect though, that won't stop the unscrupulous from wondering what bait would appeal to you. This isn't... Longshin," he said, butchering the delicate language. "Words are more effective then coin and I believe we all have certain weaknesses that others would exploit. Sarala has always been one of mine... Yours?"

He shrugged at the question. "I know you have been shunned in many of your travels. You told me few look past your heritage or gifts. A clever wordsmith could take advantage of such things... Home? Acceptance? A hint of mystery?"

He tried to grin a little to lighten the mood a bit. He wasn't certain how it worked. "You are one of the most adept people I know at seeing to the heart of a person... I just don't want you to let your guard down. A man who has prospered as much as Master Winter has... he obviously is adept at telling people what they want to hear."
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Post  Wynnsaren on Sun Aug 25, 2013 5:33 pm

The aasimar was silent for a long while as they rode. It was not a silence born of anger or frustration, but one of honest consideration of the king's points. Could Rasven Winter be so perceptive and insightful as to have contrived that entire conversation of two hours to bait her on their very first meeting? Such a thing seemed impossible. . . Then she remembered the enchanting platinum-gray of his eyes and their intensity as he watched her speaking, and her heart faltered in her chest. Was it impossible?

"It was not my intent to cause you discomfort with the question. It is just important to me that you do not think me so easily swayed. I would not wish for you to perceive me in that light, for risks of the heart are not something I have ever taken frivolously. Indeed, only once before and that ended. . .unfortunately."

Wynnsaren looked over to her noble friend and smiled. There was a sadness behind it that she did not bother trying to mask.

"You are welcome to speak with me on any subject. You must know that. I will never be antagonized by honest thoughts, for I know your heart, my dear king, and I would have you speak it at every opportunity."

That said, she turned to face front and address his comments.

"I do have exploitable weaknesses. You are most correct in that. Maybe Master Winter is a man of such force of will and wisdom that he can read me like a book, and after meeting him, I cannot say that it is not beyond reason. . .

"As I said earlier, my purpose for being taken to the Stolen Lands stands above all else. Novastasia. . .you, her people. . . None of that can or will be put at risk and the gods have seen fit to put me in my place before, so I know where I stand."

Wynnsaren smiled again, more softly this time. "Besides, it is only one more meeting that I have agreed to, but what if Rasven Winter is just how he appeared to me that night? What if the man I met really is everything he said and I believe he might be? Should I not jump at the chance to know him better for fear of being hurt?

"My life does not often lend itself to such opportunity. If there is even a remote chance that I could find. . . a deeper connection in this lifetime. . . Someone who is willing to take as big a risk on me as I am on him?

"I have to jump. If he turns out to be what I feel him to be, than I have to. To not take that risk would be a worse fate than taking it, do you not believe it to be so?"

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Post  Colin Marcus on Sun Aug 25, 2013 5:47 pm

Thaddeus couldn't help but chuckle as he considered that question.

"I suppose I would say jump. I am not known for shying away from danger... though I've been told by many that jumping in without forethought will one day get me killed. I suppose that could just as easily apply to the heart as the sword...

"So my advice may not be the best to go off of."

He was quiet for a moment before he added, "Hearts are tricky things... I've guarded my own for years now. Paladin's also have a higher cause, and distractions can be... troublesome. There have been many who have abandoned their path for the sake of a woman, a family, something more. I had long ago decided that I myself would never fall into such a trap.

"Now? Kings... Queens... heirs? It's unavoidable really. This is what my future holds... and it's not something I find myself prepared for. I feel like I understand at least some of your obstacles."

"As for Master Winter... It is... possible that the second hand rumors I know of him are unfounded. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt... though in this case, my instincts still advise caution."

He grinned warmly at the aasimar. "For your sake, I do hope he is, what you think him to be... and if not? Then I certainly hope you find someone who is. You've done wonderous work for the gods and me, and you deserve as great a measure of happiness as anyone ever has."
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Post  Wynnsaren on Sun Aug 25, 2013 9:32 pm

"You honor me, Your Majesty," Wynnsaren smiled with a bow of her head. "But there is yet much work to do and far too much chicken counting going on here before the poor hen has even grown old enough to lay eggs!"

She laughed brightly, grateful that Master Winter wasn't able to hear all these assumptions that were being made about him! There was a terrible amount of inferences being made over a conversation that lasted only two hours. . . Still, that brief encounter gave her pause. She couldn't help but feel that something more important had happened that evening than the simple fruitless inquiry about a fallen meteor. Or perhaps, she was only acting the part of a silly girl. . . It had been a very long time since she'd felt this way and Wynn wasn't entirely pleased with the loss of control over those emotions. The time would come when she might have the opportunity to explore them more deeply, but for now she tucked them away for safe keeping and turned her attention completely to the man beside her.

"Deserving of happiness may be debatable, but I have learned to take my joy in moments and find simple contentment in between. And at this moment," Wynn patted Xiaobo on neck and briefly closed her eyes as the sun's light warmed her skin. "I am riding beside the King of Novastasia, who happens to be a very dear friend, on a horse who has not attempted to unseat me yet today, with the weather as near to perfect as autumn can be, as a loyal blue space lion runs along beside. . . I would say that I have already found more happiness in this moment than many do in a year! I can ask for no more than that!"

Wynnsaren urged her horse into a trot, Xiaobo seeming eager to pull out in front of the more imposing Yaromir and he tugged hard, asking. . . insisting that he be given his head, but for the moment his rider denied him. The cantankerous horse threw his head in protest, but obeyed her wishes for now.

"Now before we got into the details of our love lives, or lack thereof," she chuckled, taking a detour from their path of conversation, "you mentioned something about a journey to Varnhold?"

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