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King and Consul

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Thaddeus Medvyed

Post  Colin Marcus on Mon Aug 26, 2013 11:22 pm

"Right! Varnhold...." He said clearing his throat. "There has been discussion of sending a retinue over to maintain contact with Lord Varn.

"Nothing too serious, check on their progress with the trade way... we'll have our road finished shortly. See how there battles with the Centaurs are going."

He shook his head as he pondered the cool autumn air. "I'm not sure what the winters will be like in the mountains there, so this may be the last contact we have with them before spring. If he asks about the soldiers... that's when I intend to send them... if the need is still there of course."

He looked over toward the east, visualizing the keep and the swordlord who ruled it.

"I think you'll find it a more pleasant trip then your more recent adventures.... almost a vacation really. Not a lot of comforts... but they treat us well. Sarala is almost giddy to go too." He snickered at the sylph's exuberance when the trip was first mentioned. "Though frankly she seemed more excited to go with you, then when we were all going."

He sighed low and gave a helpless shrug. "Of course... it means you just got home and I'm already sending you away again...."
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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Tue Aug 27, 2013 8:51 am

"I did not accept the position of ambassador only to sit around the castle eating eel and turnip pies all day," she winked. "I enjoy the journey! I enjoy visiting new places and meeting new people! Plus, Varnhold with your sister?" Wynnsaren chuckled. "I think somehow we will manage to have a good time. . ."

Since her first trip to Mivon with 'Sara the Servant' in tow, Wynn looked forward to the chance to have the sylph accompany her once again. The aasimar had no complaints whatsoever about traveling with Kazimir and Glas. They were good friends and good company, but adding Sarala to the mix made the journey all that more enjoyable. It was a different atmosphere with her. Kaz loved the peace and thoughtfulness that silence afforded, and so did Wynnsaren, but sometimes it was nice to have a girl to talk with.

A vacation with the king's sister was not the only reason that the ambassador looked forward to a visit to Varnhold though. She'd heard much of Magar Varn and looked forward to meeting the man herself, but more than that. . .Wynn was curious about this conflict with the centaur tribe.

"My king, if I may inquire," she began slowly after nibbling at her bottom lip in thought. "You have agreed to aid Varnhold with soldiers in their fight against the centaurs, but would you allow me first to see what other avenues of resolution might be open?

"I freely admit that I do not know the story on either side, nor if Lord Varn would be at all interested in a peace talk, but I would like to, at very least, look into the matter during our visit. Perhaps there might be a better solution to the trouble than bloodshed."

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Thaddeus Medvyed

Post  Colin Marcus on Tue Aug 27, 2013 11:42 am

"Varn has little interest in peace I fear... but neither did Mivon." He grinned at his diplomat and chuckled.

"If you can work the same kind of magic that you did with the elves, I think a lot of lives would be saved on all sides.

"Problem is... elves are fairly well documented and while a bit isolationist... are still a more 'sociable' race." He considered that statement for a moment before adding, "In their own way...

"Centaurs?" He found himself shrugging in ignorance. "The only thing I know about them is what little I've heard from Lord Varn. He describes them as violent and savage..."

He looked back toward the north this time, toward the far distant mine of Sootscale kobolds.

"We've dealt peacefully with the elves, and the kobolds... but not so much with the trolls or the Mites... We're also guests in that land and have little in the way to negotiate. You should speak with Magar Varn... see if any compromise 'could' be agreed on...

"There should be a way..."
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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Tue Aug 27, 2013 12:57 pm

"Should be, I agree," Wynnsaren grimaced. "I know it is a long shot, but I feel we would be remiss to forego at least the effort to explore other options. Personally I think I will have as difficult a time with Lord Varn as I might with a raging centaur. . . A swordlord whose pride has been pricked?" She shook her head. "I do not imagine he will like the thought of diplomacy at this juncture. Not after blood has been spilled.

"Still, I will be sure to speak with him first and assure him that you will indeed keep your word for aid in the Spring if he yet needs it. I may do a little research on centaur tribes in the Stolen Lands however. . . No reason I can't be prepared if I am allowed a meeting with one of their number."
The aasimar turned to regard her king with a smile hinting at the excitement she felt at this new opportunity. "When would you have us ready to depart Akiros? "

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Thaddeus Medvyed

Post  Colin Marcus on Tue Aug 27, 2013 1:28 pm

"At your soonest convenience," he said nonchalantly. "There's no urgency on this mission, and it's not a long journey. Though I hope you'll all be home by the 1st...

"As for Lord Varn? I look forward to your opinion of him too. He's a seasoned warrior and his troops were well trained... though Novastasia is growing quite faster then Varnhold has...

"When we first met, I though him somewhat arrogant... full of that Swordlord  confident. Now he seems more... accommodating? He approached us about treaties against Brevoy interference, as if I was the more powerful country and he sought protection..."

He sighed a bit as the politics of nations weighed down on him again.

"I don't like to be suspicious... and he hasn't been anything but a good neighbor. Still a second opinion would be nice.

"I'll be very... annoyed if I find out I've been manipulated into fights that aren't... worthy."
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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Tue Aug 27, 2013 2:28 pm

Trotting alongside the king, Wynnsaren listened quietly to his concerns. She had not been made aware of Lord Varn's request for treaty against incursion by Brevoy forces and immediately wondered if the man hadn't been 'leaned on' by one faction or another for aid. He would seem a natural ally to Rostland, being a swordlord himself, but it was King Surtova that granted him rights to begin a nation of his own in the Stolen Lands. If she had to place a wager on it, she'd bet that Surtova had approached him through shady channels pressing for Varnhold's swords in the coming war. Something she might inquire about if the opportunity arose.

"I will be sure to spend some time in the man's company," the aasimar nodded, "and with Sarala's uncanny eye for deception, we will hopefully dissuade any lingering fears you may have."

When she raised her silver eyes to settle her gaze upon the ruler of Novastasia, Wynn noted how heavily that burden weighed upon his shoulders and she pressed her lips together in a comforting smile.

"There are so many troubles that vie for your attention, my king, that perhaps you need not borrow any additional ones.

"Though," The aasimar's little smile lifted ever so slightly more at the right corner, "as an oracle, it behooves me to warn of one more difficulty which will soon befall you. . ."

Wynnsaren's hand tightened on the reins, subtly gathering up a tuft of mane at her mount's withers.

"I fear that you will suffer a great loss of pride when Xiaobo and I show you and that big brute of a colt you are riding, what it really means to run!"

The moment hung timeless in the space between them, as the pair looked at one another. Wynn saw her king's eyebrows raise in surprise and with a carefree laugh, she lowered her body down level to Xiaobo's neck, gave him his head and whispered.

"Now. . ."

If the ornery stallion hadn't been chomping at the bit since the beginning of this ride, he might not have reacted with such vigor as he did, but it seemed as if he himself needed to prove something to this bigger, younger, stallion. As soon as the word floated past his back-turned ear, it was as if the dapple gray had been propelled from a catapult. Up on his hindquarters he rose and leaped forward, hitting the ground at a dead sprint..

The yellowing autumn grasses blurred past Wynnsaren's vision like a wave of molten gold as her horse chewed up the path upon which they were flying. She could see nothing at all beyond thirty feet and the world was slipping by so quickly that she wouldn't have been able to react fast enough to avoid an accident, but she knew Xiaobo and trusted him to find the safe route. And he did. Every time. It made for a most exhilarating experience!

Behind them Wynn could hear the pounding of heavy hooves. Not as far behind as she'd expected though. . . Yaromir was bred to bear armor and carry an armored rider, but Thaddeus was in a fraction of his plate and the horse was free of his own burden, so now all of that enormous power was employed in the singular purpose of running down this presumptuous little gray.

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Thaddeus Medvyed

Post  Colin Marcus on Tue Aug 27, 2013 2:32 pm

Thaddeus shouted in exuberance and couldn't tell if the pounding he heard was the thundering of hooves or his own heart beating. Whichever it was, he loved every moment of it!

These afternoon rides were some of his favorite activities. He felt less like a king, and more like the man he was before. The lose of Longstrider still hurt when he dwelled on it, but here with Yaromir? The same smell of leather and horse, the same wind in his face. Whatever his station, some things never changed. Having a friend on the trails with him, only made it better.

His eyes widened as he saw a fallen tree across the path that hadn't been there before. "Wynn!" he started to call futiley over the thunder. The warning was for naught though, and he laughed as Xiobo cleared the tree without thinking twice. Only a hair's breath before the king urged Yaromir to do the same.
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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Tue Aug 27, 2013 3:59 pm

What seemed like hours passed by in only minutes as the two stallions battled for the lead, but eventually the golden bay edged out his older competition. Xiaobo might have had the speed and the long, sure stride, but Yaromir had the stamina and heart to go the distance and beyond, not to mention a rider more skilled at bringing out the most in his mount. For Wynnsaren, riding at such speeds was essentially a trust fall. Give him the reins and hold on tight . .

The victorious team now named, they walked the horses for a time to allow them to cool down and to catch their own breath as well, before King Thaddeus pulled off the path toward a little stream. A great oak grew alongside the stream, now seasonally crowned in a brilliant blood red, and providing an excellent place for refreshment for both horse and rider.

"That was well ridden, Your Majesty," she grinned, pushing a few escapee dark locks behind her ear. "I may have to challenge you to a rematch sometime soon if you do not mind pressing your good fortune. . ."

Wynnsaren dismounted and led Xiaobo for a quick drink. Attaching his lead to one of the tree's branches allowed the stallion a chance to graze while he took a few moments to rest.

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Thaddeus Medvyed

Post  Colin Marcus on Tue Aug 27, 2013 4:24 pm

Thaddeus grinned as he patted Yaromir's strong neck. The horse pranced along gleefully as if fully aware and proud of his victory.

"Anytime you wish milady." He said as he tied the horse off. "Don't take it so easy on us next time... I'd hate for Yaro to get an ego!" He couldn't resist a wink at that comment. He was fully aware both riders had given their all and any pride he had in coming out on top here, was tempered in the knowledge of how much more he had to work with his new steed. Still, the horse showed great potential.

"Thank your for the distraction there Wynn." He said as he stretched his legs a bit. "There's nothing like a little exercise to make a good day even better."


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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Tue Aug 27, 2013 5:08 pm

The aasimar chuckled, considering teasing him about besting a blind girl in a race, but thought the better of it. Instead, she simply smiled and knelt down by the side of the stream, where she pulled a kerchief from beneath her leather corset and immersed it in the cold water.

"Only a little while ago you told me that distractions could be troublesome," she looked over and winked at the paladin. Wringing out the kerchief slightly, Wynn pressed the cloth gently to the side of her neck and chest, to cool herself after the hard ride. "Actually, about that. . .

"Would you mind if I asked you a personal question, my king?"

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Thaddeus Medvyed

Post  Colin Marcus on Wed Aug 28, 2013 6:11 pm

"Not all distraction are equal," he said with a laugh.

"By all means... sounds like today is the day for personal topics." He grinned and shook his head still chuckling.

"Ask away!"
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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Thu Aug 29, 2013 12:14 am

Given leave, Wynnsaren folded her legs beneath her there next to the stream and turned to address her royal companion.

"After discussing the topic with your sister following the Gyrona troubles, and now with you, hearing the words. . . distraction, trap, unavoidable. . . I cannot help but wonder if there is a sort of Medvyed aversion toward marriage in general.

"You speak of a queen as if she would be a millstone about your neck, but I do not see how this must be so. In fairness to our future queen, I do hope that you do not shoulder her with such a burdensome illusion before you have even met!"

The aasimar smiled and dipped her kerchief in the water once more.

"Surely you must not always have felt this way? A man such as yourself must have had many loves in his life."

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Thaddeus Medvyed

Post  Colin Marcus on Thu Aug 29, 2013 12:18 am

Thaddeus laughed as he sat near the brook and felt a cool breeze on his face.

"No... not a Medvyd thing at all.. Both my brothers and older sister are all quite married. Mostly happy too if the rumors are to believed. Though with Cor, I find that hard to believe... And no... my opinion wasn't always so..."

His mind drifted back as he recalled his younger years. Before Sarenrae, before Tambor.

"When I was younger... I suppose you could say I had a few admirers. More then one young lady turned my head too... but never anything serious.

"Closest was probably Rebecca... She was the stablemaster's daughter. Most beautiful thing I'd ever laid on eyes.... of course I was fifteen at the time, but still... Undoubtedly one of the reasons I enjoyed spending so much time down by the horses...

"Word got out, then mother and father put a stop to it. Things are a bit different for the noble houses in Brevoy, as I had it explained to me... vigorously.

"Let's just say that Cor wasn't THAT off when he'd arranged Sarala to marry without any input... That was pretty much the dreams and desires of most noble parents... Any future spouse had to be 'worth' their blood..." His face twisted up in disgust at the practice.

"Apparently the bloodline had to stay as pure as possible..." He stared wistfully across the brook. "Ironic considering Sarala's adoption... Knowing what we know now... I wonder if he would have ever married her off? She was older than Tharli was when she was married... by many years! Probably why Cor was so quick to jump on the idea when he gained the title... But in hindsight, I imagine father could have found a suitable match if he'd been inclined..."

"Regardless... it was made clear upon us all, that there were to be no bastards 'tarnishing our honor'. Women were for marrying... and only when the family approved. I took those lessons to heart when I left with Sir Tambor.

"I was only sixteen at the time, but I believe Father was already trying to scout some potential wives for me... However, daughters are good for tying families to other families' fortune..." He chuckled a bit as he recalled some of his parents frustrations. "Son's need to be 'worth' marrying

"Let's just say... that as a third son, with little fortune or prospects... I didn't really have much appeal. Probably, why they didn't fight too hard when I told them I wished to join Sir Tambor's order. Perhaps if I made a name for myself...

"By the time I was out from the families shadow, I had a few opportunities I suppose, more then a few grateful women rescued and all... but by then I had taken to my new calling heart and soul. I wasn't prepared to retire to care for a family... so I didn't have a family. Simple as that.

"There were two brothers hard at work keeping the bloodline intact and ensuring that heirs were where they needed to be... Me? I was free to live my own life. Fight the good fight. Save the weak. Smite the wicked. Without having to worry about leaving behind widows and children, I could fight with all my heart..."

He grinned a lopsided grin as he added. "I don't think... burden would be a good description of our future queen.... but I do think it'll be tough to find a way to balance all these new responsibilities...

"Saranrae. the Crown. Wife. Children... Any one of these would deserve undivided attention. I'm not sure how other kings do it..."
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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Thu Aug 29, 2013 12:37 am

"Most do not do it well." Wynnsaren's full lips curled up into a bemused smirk. "But none of them are you. None of them have your heart. You will find your balance when the time comes, simply because you will it to be so, for there is greater strength in you than you yet know."

With damp fingers, the aasimar smoothed the loose strands of shining, black hair back into place, chuckling as she did so. "What is it about you, my king, that always brings out the old oracular crone in me?

"I will forgive you for that," she teased, looking up at him, "but only because you put up with my incessant prying."

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Thaddeus Medvyed

Post  Colin Marcus on Thu Aug 29, 2013 2:07 am

Thaddeus scoffed at the crone remark and grinned. "As long as the fortellings are that favorable... pry all you want.

"Besides... It's only prying if I have something to hide."
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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Thu Aug 29, 2013 11:00 am

She watched Thaddeus for a long moment, honestly surprised by the truth of his simple statement. This man truly had nothing to hide. . . The aasimar smiled then, wondering if she had ever in her life felt that way. For fear, for shame, for hurt. . . there had always been something about her person or past that she would rather have kept unknown, but things had been different since she'd met Matsuro Shi. For the first time, she didn't as keenly feel that pressing need to hide what or who she was. Live long enough though, and there were bound to be things best left buried. Few attempted to dig so deep as to make her uncomfortable.

Thoughts of him came unbidden then; a man for whom she'd delivered tales untold but for the simple asking, and she could not bring herself to understand what had come over her. Why that story? Why Akram? A pain seated so close to her heart. And in that excavating, he'd unearthed something that had made her uncomfortable. That still made her uncomfortable. Something that tugged her back toward Silverhall and that palace of marble and ice. Back to those platinum eyes filled with delectation and danger.

Rasven Winter himself seemed to have many and more secrets, and though he had cryptically responded to her prying, it didn't seem as if he was doing so reluctantly, just -- carefully. Very carefully. Wynnsaren wondered if he was trying to protect himself or her with such skillful hedging.

Maybe both, she realized with a smirk.

So completely lost in reverie was she, that she didn't hear the cry of alarm from her companion, nor feel tremble of the ground as the four hundred pound beast came barreling between them to jump bodily into the shallow water of the stream with a great splash. Soaking them both. . .

"Glas, no! Not the king!" she both signed and spoke furiously aloud as she whisked the water from her eyes with the back of a hand. Wynn got to her feet sputtering. The akata stood there, shivering his tentacle mane at her; expressionless but for the alien shifting of his prismatic eyes. As he stared unblinking, and without twitching an extraneous muscle, one of the thick, rubbery tentacles reached down into the stream and flicked water on his mistress' dress.

Silver eyes flashed with mirth then narrowed dangerously. If they had been alone, Wynnsaren would not have let such a brazen challenge go unmet, but for now, she would bide her time. Signing a blur of symbols to the akata, he responded with another shiver of his mane and then bounded out of the stream to race around the field, water sluicing effortlessly off of his rubbery skin.

"Your Majesty, I'm so sorry. . ." She meant to offer it comfortingly, but somehow a faint snicker stole into her voice as she said the words.

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Thaddeus Medvyed

Post  Colin Marcus on Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:48 pm

Thaddeus just stared in shock at the space lion frolicking about and ever so slowly wiped the water from his face. He shook the water free from his hair as he turned to his companion. He was about to dismiss Glas' actions when he saw there was more mirth than discomfort in her face.

"Ok... alright..." He said as the shock slowly melted to a good natured grin.

"Looks like someone is enjoying this a bit too much," he said staring intently at Wynn and decidedly not at the akata.

A stiff breeze caused a shiver to run down his spine then. His brow furrowed a bit as he glanced toward the north.

"It won't be too much longer where being soaked outside may become a serious problem. I'm no Oracle... but it seems to be getting cooler. I suspect this winter won't be as mild as last year..."
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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Fri Aug 30, 2013 1:01 am

"From an entirely selfish perspective, I hope you are correct Your Majesty, for the winter season is one of the things I have found most enchanting about this region."

Her jovial smile downturned as she saw Thaddeus shiver from the cold water he'd been assaulted with.

"Perhaps it would be best if we make our way back to the castle," she said with some disappointment, rising to her feet. "I fear that I have no cape of my own to offer you, and if you catch a chill Paido will flay the skin off my bones and make an angelskin cloak out of me most assuredly!"

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Thaddeus Medvyed

Post  Colin Marcus on Fri Aug 30, 2013 1:03 am

"Ha!" Thad scoffed at the notion while rising to his feet. "I was about to suggest a return as well...

"Though... to be honest, I was more concerned you come down ill... For myself, I'm a bit more worried about rust solid!" He chuckled a bit as he retrieved Yaromir and patted him on the nose.

He thought for a moment as he eyed her stylish riding dress. They hadn't adventured much last winter, but now that he thought of it, he couldn't remember ever seeing her bundled up for winter. Even soaking wet in the middle of Rova she didn't seem to be fighting the random shivers that he did.

"You aren't kidding are you... The cold doesn't bother Aasimars much does it?" He grinned a bit jealously. "I wonder what that would be like..."

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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Fri Aug 30, 2013 1:06 am

"It allows me to better enjoy the snow fall and the iced over rivers and lakes without fear of harm, I suppose."

Wynnsaren wrung out her kerchief, folded it neatly and slipped it back beneath her corset before attempting to wring out the more sodden portions of her dress.

"Every season has its charm. . . The awakening blooms of spring, the scents and warmth of summer, the crisp colors of fall. . . Winter is magic," she smiled wistfully. "Like a comforting dream in which all the world changes beneath a fluffy blanket of white, and stars in the form of sparkling flakes of snow fall gently from the sky.

"Magic. . .

"As the land sleeps, the people of Novastasia will have more time to gather together for warmth and revelry. More stories told, more dances danced. . . Ahh, but I think I have unintentionally revealed myself something of a hopeless romantic," Wynnsaren laughed lightly.

Xiaobo pushed his head against Wynn's chest as she approached and she pulled another apple from the saddlebag. She let him crunch on that as she removed his lead and swung herself up onto his back.

"Perhaps we may find the opportunity for a winter ball this year, Your Grace. It might be a welcome distraction from the cold of the season."

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Thaddeus Medvyed

Post  Colin Marcus on Fri Aug 30, 2013 1:09 am

"That... is something I think we can make happen.." Thad said thoughtfully as he climbed on Yaromir's saddle.

"Granted... I've been to a few, but have no idea the steps to planning one. Still, I like the idea.

"Something to help strengthen the community... perhaps raise their spirits a bit. Not to mention distract them a bit from the troubles up north.

"Come the first of the year... the people could have a lot weighing down their mind..."

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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Fri Aug 30, 2013 10:33 pm

"Come the first of the year, you will have a lot weighing on your mind!" She smirked. It was endearing the way the king considered everyone else's needs before his own. "The diversion will do you good I think. You and your people. . ."

The riders took to the trail once more, wet as they were, and headed back toward the castle .

"I will see to it that your desire gets into the capable hands of those more suited than I in planning these events, but I will happily oversee it if it suits Your Majesty."

Wynnsaren couldn't help but smile at the thought of such an affair.

"Your people have been most welcoming in spite of my. . . eccentricities; even so far as inviting me to their own gatherings about the city. I should like to repay them in some small way for the warmth they have shown me."

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Thaddeus Medvyed

Post  Colin Marcus on Fri Aug 30, 2013 11:01 pm

"Then you have my full support." Thad smiled at the idea.

"I'll tell Paido to get you whatever is needed... I think the most stressful part of the winter would either be late Abadius through late Calistril... Depending of course on how long news takes to get to us from Brevoy.

"But if spring starts in Pharast... then Calistril is when I think people start getting the most restless."

He nodded toward her and added. "At your discretion of course."
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Post  Wynnsaren on Sat Aug 31, 2013 12:11 am

Wynnsaren grinned at the prospect. "Calistril it is then!"

The ride back was pleasant -- if a bit more chilly for the paladin -- with the ambassador getting filled in on some of the local news she'd missed after being gone for the past month. In turn, Wynn shared tales from her journey through Brevoy, lingering on her encounter with Pitri and the proprietor of the Swaggering Swan, Nekolaius. She even went so far as to recall some of the lines of the song he sang that had been set in the Stolen Lands, of Armag the Twice Born.

It was her intention yet to speak to Philippe Lagruex, the castle minstrel, to see if he knew the composition, but now she could speak with him about an upcoming ball as well!

There was much to do, including a new journey to prepare for before she'd even unpacked from the last one. In spite of it, Wynnsaren looked forward to the new challenge that Varnhold and its centaur problem presented, even moreso, to the company she'd be keeping along the way.

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Wynnsaren

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