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Soothing a Troubled Heart

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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Mon Nov 25, 2013 12:00 am

Rattled by the almost casual way he spoke of jeopardizing his fate, suddenly the Oracle positioned herself in front of the king, her hand outstretched, fingers pressing against his chest to halt him in place. The Wynnsaren he knew fell away as she shrugged off all pretense of the humanity and approachability that she worked so desperately hard at achieving all of her life.

Eyes burned cold like indigo pools of starlight, while the sigils on the sides of her face and the orbiting halo of stars flared to near painful brilliance as she spoke aloud, her voice distant and reverberating, as if she were standing at the opposite end of a long hallway.

"There is but one destiny, Thaddeus Medvyed, one fate in question here. This fate tightly intertwines you with that of three others. Matsuro Shi

"Hear my words," her voice echoed emphatically. "The stars are coming into alignment. Events that were set into motion millennia ago now draw near to fruition. These events are bigger than you. Bigger than Novastasia or the Stolen Lands or the kingdom of the fey. Even the gods themselves have not foreseen the fullness of what is to come, but they have fashioned a plan to intervene on behalf of this world. Pieces are being pushed into place. That is why I am here. I do not divine fortunes, read palms or interpret Harrow cards. My purpose is to help align the pieces, merely as an instrument used by the gods to give this world a fighting chance to defeat The Great Shadow that is to come. . .and we are not yet ready.

"I have not been granted a vision of your queen because it was not necessary for me to know. This does not mean that she cannot be part of your destiny. You are fated, yes, but not bereft of choice. If she has a design upon you, I do not know it. The machinations at work here send tremors across the Tapestry of Fates. I cannot be sure as to what knowledge she believes to have of your future, but it would come as no surprise to me that Queen Feluanil and her fey might be sensitive enough to feel those tremors. . . to have seen your ties to them when you were just a child. She may even know of the threat that rises, and if so, than she may know that her lands and people are also very much in jeopardy and works to exert what influence she can to protect them. I could not hold her to blame in this, even if it took manipulation to achieve, for we are all being swept along in a quickening tide and if we are not prepared when the time comes -- if Matsuro Shi is not prepared," she stressed, "then all will fall to ruin and madness."

The Oracle stood there for a protracted moment, allowing that celestial gaze to pierce to the very fiber of his being before releasing him and stepping back to proper distance. Her radiance lessened to a more comfortable level, her features softened to a welcoming warmth. Wynnsaren smiled up at him apologetically.

"I am sorry, Your Majesty," she offered, her voice returning to supple tones. "I do not enjoy burdening you with the extent of my visions, for I know how heavily such things weigh upon you. Even so, this one truth must remain in the back of your mind as you and Novastasia grow in power. It is coming. . .

"You need not worry, only stay the course you are on, my king. Seek peace where you can, defeat your foes with precipitancy, and trust in me to help keep watch. I ask only this. . ." Wynn looked up at the paladin-king and emitted a little sigh of concern before continuing. "I ask only that when I come to you calling for action on these visions, that you hear me and react accordingly even if the timing may not be convenient. You have many cares. A burgeoning kingdom, a war to wage, and soon a new wife. Each of these things individually could demand all of you, I understand, but I give you my word, King Thaddeus, that when I call. . .it will be of utmost importance. When the time comes, do not let my pleas fall upon deaf ears."

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Thaddeus Medvyed

Post  Colin Marcus on Mon Nov 25, 2013 12:11 am

Thaddeus' eyes grew wide and felt a cold chill run down his spine as Wynnsaren changed before his eyes. Thaddeus had never, since the moment he'd met her ever truly doubted her visions or warnings. He could tell without hesitancy that she was honest with him from the beginning and the fear and concern whenever she mentioned the threat was sincere.

But this was something different. To actually witness such a vision in this dramatic vision humbled him more then he'd care to admit.

"Never deaf Wynn... never that," the king said softly as she suddenly seemed more herself again. He couldn't help but feel his eyes drawn to the northwest, to the siccitite mine that had helped usher in his part to this drama.

His brow creased as he considered her words and what they might mean. Could he drop everything and run toward this new/old threat? Normally he found it difficult to imagine something that would keep him away.... but with 10,000 enemies swarming his castle, could he even escape? What would happen to his people if he fled when they needed him most? What difference did winning a war matter if this unknown threat was as deadly to all, as the heavenly voice had claimed...

He reached up to his chest and squeezed her hand reassuringly. "When you come, know that I'll be here. I don't know how... and I don't know what, but somehow... as sure as Saranrae defeated Rovagug, we'll find a way to stop this evil."

He tried to give her his most reassuring smile. "Never worry about burdening me with something like this. I think... it's good to have some things weigh on my mind...."
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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Mon Nov 25, 2013 6:39 am

"My king," Wynnsaren dipped into a curtsy in silent thanks. "Your understanding eases my mind a great deal. I believe I had grown too complacent myself, holding back from you the whole picture. Perhaps I had been enjoying my time with you as a companion more than I should have and feared how such dark words of prophecy would affect our relationship. After all, one does not enjoying spending time with the girl crying 'DOOM!' every moment," she chuckled.

Wynn rose to her feet, her eyes shining softly with mirth. "You remember my words, Your Grace, and I will remember my place."

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Thaddeus Medvyed

Post  Colin Marcus on Mon Nov 25, 2013 8:31 am

He gave her a playful wink.. "Also never apologize for enjoying your time in either my company, or my kingdom. It makes me feel like I'm doing something right! It's nice to know you aren't hanging around only because you have to.

"It's also good to know I'm doing something right..." He was quiet for a moment as he dowelled on her words and he became a bit more serious.

"We aren't ready... Will we ever be? I... I'm not even sure what preparations to make. Strengthening my sword arm won't matter if it's the armies I need to lead... Fortifying the city won't matter if the threat is met somewhere else...

"What should I be focusing on...."


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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Mon Nov 25, 2013 8:57 am

"As I said, stay the course, and you will be ready when the time comes. Keep a healthy working relationship with the other three fates, Paido, Zaistrun, Sarala, for they are necessary if you are to have a chance against the darkness. Allow me to worry about the future. You worry about the here and now.

'And now you have an army heading toward your door! Prepare for war," she nodded succinctly. "That should be your focus, Your Majesty."

Wynnsaren reached into one of her long, trumpet-shaped sleeves and removed a letter from a hidden pocket within.

"You have brought the fey to the table, I come bearing the mercenaries of Mivon and hope of an elven alliance." She offered him the letter from the elven ambassador.

"Ereval responded to my missive, and will meet with me at the edge of their lands as soon as I am able. As soon as I hear what message you would desire for me to deliver to them, that is. I hope to send a subsequent response to him yet this evening and ride out in the morning. No time should be wasted."

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Post  Colin Marcus on Tue Nov 26, 2013 5:05 pm

"That... is the best news I've heard all day!" Thaddeus said with a wide grin. "Even with the help of the fey, we are drastically outnumbered and over matched."

He looked over the letter from their elven contact and they spoke about the going prices of soldiers to the south.

"I like the idea of the mercenaries much more then the idea of the Mivon armies marching toward us. What is your opinion? Do we have allies that would come to our aid down there... or would they prefer to watch us fall and hope the Red Doom continues their march eastward?"

He looked at the elven letter again. "I wonder if the mercenaries will have an issue working alongside the elves this time?" He shook his head at the pettiness of people.

"Regardless We need as many swords as we can afford. I would like you to meet with our friend tomorrow and stress that fact. This is an army born for conquest. We've been told that as much from our captives. They're conquering because they can get away with it...

"Their map shows a healthy respect for the elves, but I'm hoping you can convince them that it's unlikely that they will stop with us. I certainly hope they at least think that we make better neighbors then hobgoblins!

"Given the choice in the matter, I would not mention the alliance with the fey yet, or mivon for that matter. Neither of those are cemented enough to risk alienating the elves. We have a verbal agreement with the fey, but they haven't arrived yet and I don't know what form their aid will take.

"However, you are the diplomat... I don't wish to tie your hands in this negotiations. If they don't want to be the only allies to join us, then do as you see fit.


"Just remember... I can't marry anyone there too.... Mivon will be getting our gold, the fey are getting me... I'm running out of assets to give them!"
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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Tue Nov 26, 2013 9:30 pm

Wynnsaren smirked at the comment and peaked an eyebrow. "One does not know the extent of one's assets until he starts to lose them. Have no fear, however, I have no intention of bartering with your body, pieces of your kingdom, or your first born child, and thankfully the elves would hold no interest in these things," she winked.

"That said, I do not believe they will be willing to leave the forest. Though Ereval would not verbally give indication of their numbers, I got the distinct impression that there were very few of the exiles to start with and fewer still after the bloody battles with Mivon. This still may work to our advantage. You have told me that the army will be passing a few miles north of their borders, and it will take them a long while to move those kind of numbers through the forest. If the elves are willing to aid us in harrying the southern flank of the goblinoid army, that should slow them down even further and allow the elves to strike from their own element. If only a handful of them could hold the armies of Mivon at bay for months, then surely they could make the Red Doom pay dearly for every step they take through the Narlmarches.

"This would also keep good distance between the Mivonian mercenaries and the elves, whom I highly doubt would wish to work together after so much bloodshed. That might be more trouble that it is worth."

Clasping her hands behind her back, the aasimar let out a long breath as she pondered the situation.

"The elves want peace. They were exiled from their homeland, sought asylum in the southern Narlmarches where many of them paid for their lives at the hands of humans. Other humans gave them a huge tract of forest land to keep for themselves without our interference. They are very few in number, and they have very little trust left to give."

Wynn pursed her lips a moment before they turned up in a hopeful smile. "But. . . Ereval responded to one of my letters for the first time since the establishment of Lomebara. He would not have done so if he did not believe the Red Doom could be a threat to his people. That is our hook. It is as you say, my king. We will make better neighbors than the hobgoblins. If the elves want peace, then I believe that they will want us to stay precisely where we are.

"Will you be satisfied with that scenario, the elves making strikes against the Red Doom as the army moves through the forest? If you wish, I can attempt to press them for more, but I find it likely that they will resist exposing themselves and frankly, after seeing first hand what they did to the Mivonian army in the south, I think that they could be most effective using those practiced guerrilla tactics from their own position."

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Thaddeus Medvyed

Post  Colin Marcus on Wed Nov 27, 2013 1:46 am

"That scenario would be glorious," he said with his heart full of hope. "I feel bad to call on them so early in our relationship after promising to leave them be... but peace left us too soon.

"Especially for elves...I imagine to their point of view, it's only been a handful of heartbeats and we're already trying to drag them into human problems...

"I hope you can express to them my regret in that regard. I truly had intended to leave them to their own devices... but... 10,000 is a lot of enemies... I fear we will need them. And Mivon. And anyone else we can pay, bribe, or cajole into aiding us...

"Mivon will wait a while... I want as many soldiers on the field as I can man... but we won't be able to afford them for long. We'll know about the elves one way or another before we need to make a decision about whether we can reasonably have both as allies..."
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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Wed Nov 27, 2013 8:20 am

"I will send my silver raven this evening then, and ride out for Lomebara with Kazimir and Glas in the morning."

Wynnsaren was eager to meet Ereval again. Maybe part of her sympathized with their plight, having been ousted from their home only to find themselves embattled in hostile territory. She held no illusions that the elves would want come to the aid of the humans of Novastasia. They wouldn't feel that they owed them anything at all. The only way the elves would be roused to battle was if they believed the Red Doom to be a personal threat to their own nation. If Wynn could manage that. . .or if perhaps they already felt it to be true, then Novastasia would have the aid of the elves against the horde.

"As for the mercenaries," she spoke up after a thoughtful moment, "I know they are expensive to maintain, but I will say that the price was whittled down significantly from where it started and as you know, should make a huge difference in our chances. I have some funds that the four of you awarded me last year that I would like to put toward the cause. It would honor me if you would accept it. I cannot exactly take it with me after all," she smiled.

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Thaddeus Medvyed

Post  Colin Marcus on Fri Nov 29, 2013 8:05 pm

"I'm sure you did admirably Wynn. I've often heard it said the price of soldiers is the worst part of fighting a war." His brow creased a bit as he added. "Which is total rubbish."

He tapped the list of prices and notes he had before him. "These seem almost reasonable... still it will be a heavy drain on the treasury... but that's what the treasury is for I suppose..."

He worked some of the numbers around in his head as he considered her offer. "I appreciate the offer Wynn. I know the others are evaluating their finances too, but I hope it doesn't come to that.

"Novastasia has finances set aside for projects... such as the Cathedral I've been looking forward to... I hope that we'll be able to prove our kingdom to be self sufficient enough to pay for her own soldiers through the economy and mines... and not need us to donate personal treasure to the cause too often..." He shrugged as he considered the options.

"It just doesn't feel efficient for the rulers to need to dungeon crawl and treasure loot just to keep the kingdom standing.... I can't imagine Brevoy is doing that.

"But, we'll of course add whatever we can to the ledgers... We're not Brevoy, and every little bit helps! Anything that we don't use will of course come back to you."

He couldn't help but look towards the planning site for his glorious temple and mutter a little under his breath. "Gonna need that Cathedral sooner then I thought...."
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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Fri Nov 29, 2013 8:07 pm

Wynnsaren shifted uncomfortably on her feet, suddenly wishing she hadn't stopped their meandering progress through the gardens. The whole subject of marriage tended to bring up emotions that were better left buried. Guilt, anger, sorrow. While she'd worked through these things over the last forty-odd years, the shadows of trauma still lingered. But that was her deficiency, not his. It wasn't fair for her to pretend to ignore a subject that King Thaddeus clearly still needed to discuss after the life-changing events of the day!

"The cathedral will be beautiful," the aasimar replied with a smile. "Once the Red Doom has met its own, and the great edifice built, the whole of Novastasia will turn out to see her victorious king wed. There is little doubt it will be an event for the ages!"

She meant it to be comforting, but the king appeared. . .numb to it all.

"It comes as little surprise that you yet seem stunned regarding the whole matter, Your Majesty. So much has happened in such a small amount of time." Her tone was soothing and her eyes filled with honest sympathy. "Do you have any inkling of how you might feel about this. . .about her, once the shock wears off?"

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Post  Colin Marcus on Fri Nov 29, 2013 8:08 pm

"I don't.... know," he said with uncertainty. "Stunned is a very appropriate word. I have so many... so very many questions running through my mind, I'm having difficulty even putting them in order.

"This could be a good thing..." the words felt fairly hollow even as he spoke them. "Some certainly seem to think so. But it's not exactly their lives in the balance.

"On the other hand... I don't exactly dislike her either. I just... wish I knew more about her then a title and appearance...

"I'll go on record now... I know don't how eager she is for this to take place... what future she's seen? But I'll be very disappointed if it has to happen before the cathedral is built..."
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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Fri Nov 29, 2013 8:10 pm

"Your Majesty, if I may say. . . You have already given away your choice of whom to marry for the sake of the kingdom, there is no reason it needs to happen in unseemly haste. You are allowed to exert your will in these matters. This is your kingdom]! More than that, you are King Thaddeus Medvyed and you have given this fey queen your word that you will marry her. If she does not understand the significance of that, than she simply does not know you. She will." Wynn huffed a bit before softening her expression.

"Marry in the place of your choosing. Queen Feluanil may live for hundreds of years or longer for all we know, but you do not have that luxury. Do not build a life with this person upon regrets. I am sure if you explain the matter to her that she will understand."

The aasimar hoped that was true. She hoped this fey queen was not the domineering type, for as it stood right now, King Thaddeus seemed quite acquiescent to her whims either real or perceived. Maybe it was still just the shock of the situation, but Wynnsaren prayed that he would remain a bold and wise ruler in concert with his impending role as husband. They would need him to be bold, especially when the time was upon them.

"What is the significance of the cathedral to you?" She asked with open curiosity. "Is it religious? Cultural?"

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Thaddeus Medvyed

Post  Colin Marcus on Fri Nov 29, 2013 8:11 pm

"An interesting question..." Thaddeus said with raised eyebrows as they started to walk a bit more. "It's not one I've sat and analyzed before.

"Saranrae has little to do with our culture in Brevoy. Our people are descended from the Taldans... and Taldan's don't get along too well with Saranrae.

"There have been... conflicts in the past that had left the country essentially banning her worship there. Admittedly, it was after Brevoy was established... so it still strikes me peculiar that what happens in Taldor still seems to resonate in this part of the world.

"So, no... my interest there is not cultural. I am one of the few odd ones out when it comes to the worship of the Dawnflower. Something Cor felt compelled to remind me of."

He chuckled a little to himself as he remembered his early days in the faith. The confusion his parents had when he said he wanted to train with the unusual paladin, and finally the acceptance.

"No, it's definitely of religious significance... but I also think it's more than that. Over the years, the doctrines of second chances and redemption have become so much... a part of me, I have a hard time telling where her ideals end and mine begin.

"The Cathedral... will be both a monument to those ideals... and a way for me to give back to the goddess who inspired them in me." He grinned a lopsided grin at his friend.

"I don't know if I'll ever be able to fill it... but I certainly will try."
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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Fri Nov 29, 2013 8:14 pm

"Oh you will most certainly fill it," Wynnsaren chuckled softly as they walked along. "It will be standing room only on the day of your wedding!"

She stole a quick glance up at him as he stared off into the night sky. "I will say that you are handling all of this remarkably well. Maybe. . . too well. . ." A single dramatic eyebrow rose skyward. "You know I must ask, Your Grace." Wynn plastered on a very serious expression of utmost concern, trying with shocking difficulty to keep the mirth from her eyes. "Is it possible that you have been Charmed by this lovely female? I hear such things are going around."

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Re: Soothing a Troubled Heart

Post  Colin Marcus on Fri Nov 29, 2013 8:16 pm

A slow grin covered his face as he found himself laughing aloud. It wasn't that long ago he had questioned her on something similar.

Granted... nothing he'd seen or heard since had made him doubt that talk, but after getting betrothed after a mere 20 minutes of conversation he found himself the unlikely recipient of the familiar accusation. It... would be difficult for him to comment on other people's love life after this. He found the irony quite humorous.

"Charmed? No Wynn... If Feluanil has any charming magics available to her... I'm fairly confident I'm immune to them. Now... Domination? That could be another story..." He shook his head at the idea.

"No... I think I'd be feel a bit more... giddy at the notion if there were magics in place. I think the only charms she's employing now are the physical kind, and it takes more than that for me to lose my head...

"No... this acceptance you see is more, knowing what I have to do... and then doing it. Much like the battles I fight. I don't enjoy battle, but for the good of others... I do what I have to do."

He gave her a wink before adding. "Except for the dragon... I'm a little embarrassed by how much I was looking forward to slaying my first dragon!"
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Post  Wynnsaren on Fri Nov 29, 2013 8:18 pm

Wynn considered making a remark about his 'for the good of others' speech and whether he'd be thinking that on his wedding night, which she thought most assuredly he would not, but that seemed in bad form. Admittedly though, it was itching there just on the tip of her tongue. . .

She was apparently feeling a little cheeky tonight, but not so much that she desired to embarrass the King of Novastasia. Well, okay maybe a tiny bit.

"I do hope you feel the same way about your second dragon," the aasimar smiled softly, proud of her exercise in discipline. "From what you tell me Dracean saw of the Red Doom, you may have that privilege more quickly than intended! I have little doubt you will put the second down with the same efficacy as the first, though I need not tell you of all people not to underestimate them. Accept of course. . .it seems I just did," she smirked.

After a few more paces, Wynnsaren stopped and turned, bobbing into a small curtsy.

"Forgive me, Your Majesty, but I feel that I should not keep you any longer. I have little doubt the developments of the day have left you reeling and weary, and surely you need time to process without my prattling. Additionally, I have some letters to scribe yet this evening and a dreadfully early morning tomorrow.

"Is there any further way I might serve you before I retire?"

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Thaddeus Medvyed

Post  Colin Marcus on Fri Nov 29, 2013 8:21 pm

"You can accept my apologies for starters. If we want to talk about prattling, I think I have you beat tonight. I asked you to meet me here for business. and I've been rambling on about my concerns about marrying a perpetually beautiful and noble woman." He snickered quietly at how he must sound. He winked again and said with a grin, "I imagine Zaistrun would say I was worrying like an old woman... again. I'll be very surprised if he doesn't have some words to say on the subject..."

"But enough about that! Unless you have any other information that I neglected to ask about... I suppose your right. It is getting very late and I suspect we both have very busy days tomorrow..."
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Post  Wynnsaren on Fri Nov 29, 2013 8:32 pm

"It is as you say, Your Grace," she nodded. "While I have nothing further to report at this moment, I do anticipate having more for you within a day or two. Hopefully good news.

"It behooves me to admit to you that I look forward to our next chance to prattle at one another again. I have missed it over this past month."

Wynnsaren smiled warmly and dipped into a graceful curtsy.

"I bid you a good evening and pleasant dreams, King Thaddeus." With that, the aasimar turned and disappeared into the garden.

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Post  Colin Marcus on Fri Nov 29, 2013 8:32 pm

"Be safe tomorrow..." Thaddeus whispered as the aasimar vanished into the shadows. 'The Narlmarches aren't as friendly as they once were..."

It did his heart good to hear her words of wisdom again. Even more to hear his own concerns given credence and reflected in others. The problems would still be there in the morning. That much was still certain. At least now he felt more comfortable in his ability to face them.

The night had gotten quite late by that point, and exhaustion from the hard ride had nearly taken him. He didn't believe he would get much sleep this night, but the thought of the look on Paido's face...should the halfling find him asleep out in the garden, brought a smile to the paladin's face.

Saying another prayer for patience, wisdom, and victory at the shrine, the young king made his way back to his room where he fell into a more peaceful sleep then he would have ever expected.
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