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Post-solstice Ride.

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Post-solstice Ride.

Post  Thaddeus Medvyed on Thu Feb 27, 2014 8:49 pm

Kuthona 23rd 4712

Thaddeus sat at his desk staring at some reports that required his attention. Unfortunately all he was doing was staring at them as his attention was elsewhere.

It had been a busy week. Both the dedication of the memorial statue and meeting his future queen again had weighed heavily on his mind the last month. Now that it had passed, he'd hoped that some of the concerns would have lifted, but he had as many questions as ever. Even more perhaps.

Suddenly his mind sprang to the present as the door burst open. His hand was already on his nearby sword when he recognized the whirlwind.

"King Thaddeus!!"

"Thomas," the king responded with a stern edge to his voice. He sat back down and stared at the boy. The sandy haired boy stopped suddenly and bowed deferentially.

"Sorry highness... I have a message for you."

"One that overrules the need for knocking?" His eyebrow raised at the squire. "We still have protocols here. You can't just ignore the rules..."

"Your right, Sire... It won't happen again..." The boy promised earnestly. Thaddeus tried to hide the small grin in the corner of his mouth. He knew it certainly would happen again...

"I thought you were working with the horses today Thomas."

"Ohhh I was!! That's where she found me..."

"She?" his curiosity peaked as he reached out for the letter.

"Ambassador Wynn... She asked me to bring the letter as soon as I could."

Thad nodded as he read the letter.


Moonday, Kuthona the 23rd, 4712

Your Majesty,

In lieu of our regularly scheduled meeting, I have prepared something of an outdoor excursion for us this afternoon. If you are so inclined, please dress warmly and meet me at the stables an hour after high sun. I have taken the liberty of asking the groomsmen to have Yaromir and Xiaobo tacked and ready for a ride.

Ambassador Wynnsaren

"Thank the gods for well timed distractions," he muttered to himself.

"Sire?"

"Nothing, important Thomas." He said as he started stacking his reports into an orderly stack for later.

"You did well," He looked up and grinned, "though in the future, 'as soon as you can'... still includes knocking. Go back to your work, if you see the Ambassador there tell her I'll join her presently."

As he dismissed the squire back to his work he looked over the letter again. He couldn't help but be curious. He had not seen her about since the memorial feast, and he knew that the ceremony had affected her. Survivor's guilt wasn't easy to set aside. He could only assume that she felt the need for a distraction at least as much as he did.

Gazing out the window he saw he still had a few hours to arrive, so he went and changed into something a bit warmer. He had a new cloak of heavy wool and dyed crimson that should fit the occasion.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

The trip to the stables was uneventful, though he did see a few more peculiar looks then usual. Not bad per se, but different. Emotions seemed to range from curiosity to jealousy but nothing that gave him pause.

Of course he announced his betrothal to the queen of the fey just a few days ago, so he imagined it would take some time for the citizens of Novastasia to become accustomed to the idea. He wasn't even accustomed to the idea yet.

He grinned as he entered the stable grounds and smelled the familiar scent of horses. A scent he knew too rarely during the winter months, not even counting Zaistrun's penchant for illusionary steeds.
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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Thu Feb 27, 2014 11:22 pm

The pastoral serenity the king happened to be enjoying, was shattered by a commotion inside of the stables. The sounds of a horse snorting, kicking against the walls of his stall and two voices arguing drifted into his hearing. One of those voices in particular echoed in the familiar yet alien strains of the Ambassador, whose practiced speech patterns only crumbled on those extremely rare occasions when she lost her composure.

"You took the switch to him?!" The angelic voice echoed in dangerous measure. "Good gods, man, of course he bit you! If I hit you with a switch I would hope you had the spine to bite me too!

"Bo. Calm down now." The snorting and kicking stopped abruptly.

"Let me see the wound, Sammiel."

Incoherent grumbling followed her order.

"Gird up your loins, I am not going to hurt you," she responded sharply before a brief pause in the conversation. "There. Good as new. Now bring Yaro around and I will take them both out. You have done quite enough."

A few moments later, Wynnsaren strode out into the yard with the reins of the two stallions in hand. Her color was high and the silver of her eyes flashed with residual infuriation over the indignity her horse had suffered. Tapestry black hair, which had been loosely pinned into a twist at the back of her head, had already lost a few locks which now hung in lazy waves about her ears.

She was dressed more casually for this outing than she had ever appeared before the king, wearing close-fitting leather riding breeches of a deep chocolate hue, juxtaposed by a loose peach blouse tucked in at the waist and tall, black boots reaching nearly to her knees. Without her usual billowing skirts, the aasimar appeared a tiny thing, smaller still beside the powerful horses she led toward her liege.

"Your Majesty." Wynn's curtsy exuded graceful femininity in spite of her more masculine choice of attire, and her voice had returned to its usual smooth timbre at the approach of her friend and king. "Punctual as ever," she smiled. "Thank you for agreeing to meeting me here."

In the midst of her greeting, Glas had stalked up silently to join the small menagerie behind her and stood beside Xiaobo with tentacles shivering toward King Thaddeus in recognition.

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Post  Thaddeus Medvyed on Fri Feb 28, 2014 1:50 pm

"It's my pleasure Wynnsarren," he said as he waved a greeting at the space lion. It was an interesting feeling to be recognized and welcomed by the unusual creature. Not something that he ever would have imagined.

Turning his attention to Yaromir his grin lit up even further. Horses he was more familiar with, though he hadn't ridden much this winter. Yaromir apparently felt the same as he shivered a bit in anticipation and nuzzled the king's head as he took the reins from the aasimar.

"Missed you too..." he chuckled as he patted the steed's strong neck.

"Sooooooo... what new adventure do you have in store for us today?" He grinned widely in curiosity.
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Post  Wynnsaren on Fri Feb 28, 2014 4:08 pm

"I think it best that I keep that surprise to myself just now," Wynnsaren teased before vaulting up into her mount's saddle. Breeches made certain aspects of life so much easier. . .

Just behind her seat, Xiaobo was sporting a bundle on his haunches which appeared to be comprised of a couple of horse blankets, a starry cloak and a sack whose contents were yet unknown. The aasimar pointedly ignored his questioning glance with a smirk.

"I should make an admission to you, my king," she began, watching Thaddeus pull himself onto the enormous Yaromir with ease. "I selfishly found myself in need of a diversion, and I could not bear the thought of taking our meeting in the castle this afternoon. I was hoping to talk in a place with fewer eyes and ears. Fewer whispering lips.

"A bit of peace. A bit of fun. I pray I did not overstep, but I felt that perhaps I was not alone in that desire."

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Post  Thaddeus Medvyed on Fri Feb 28, 2014 6:45 pm

"Not at all, distractions are becoming more and more welcome as the winter goes by..." Yaromir danced a bit as the familiar weight settled on his back. A bit lighter then usual as the Paladin didn't wear his armor for a friendly ride, though the familiar sword was always close at hand.

He trotted Yaromir next to Bo and glanced curiously at the hidden package and laughed.

"Very well... keep your secrets. Lead on!"
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Post  Wynnsaren on Fri Feb 28, 2014 9:12 pm

The pair picked up at an easy trot and headed out the northern gate of Akiros. It was nice riding next to the king, for all eyes were immediately drawn to that powerful presence and then downward when they bowed as he passed. There was a certain anonymity it afforded and Wynn found herself grateful. No questioning glances or accusatory glares. No need to witness the pain in the eyes of family members of those she lost upon the wall all those months ago. When she was beside the king, the aasimar felt as if she simply faded away. That was good. That was how it was supposed to be. These past few months had given rise to doubts as to the wisdom of accepting such a public role within the kingdom and while she felt her work had so far been a help, she now also feared how easily it could become a hindrance. . .

The air was frigid but the sun was shining and sparkling off of the pristine drifts of snow from the previous evening. It was a beautiful winter's day. Certainly not one to be spent inside if it could be helped!

Wynnsaren turned Bo down the path to the northwest as Glas bounded playfully into the freezing mounds only to burst forth and pounce into the next. A rubbery blue lion in a sea of white.

At length, as the countryside sprawled out ahead of them, she spoke up. "I felt that the memorial went quite well the other day. . . A tasteful balance of mourning loved ones and celebrating the lives of those we lost. Your speech was particularly beautiful. Even some of the fey were tearing up." She offered a smile that didn't quite reach her eyes.

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Re: Post-solstice Ride.

Post  Thaddeus Medvyed on Sat Mar 01, 2014 7:05 am

Thaddeus nodded somberly. He had put a lot of thought into the memorial. The sculpture had been commissioned months ago, and had shown an obvious joining of Human and Fey defeating insurmountable odds... just as he remembered that battle himself.

He'd wanted the people to remember. To remember what teamwork had accomplished. Many had fallen, but their sacrifice had saved not only the people but the dream that was Novastasia.

That was his goal... The solstice was the longest night, the dark that didn't want to end... but brighter days were in the future. He hoped the symbolism wasn't lost on the mourners.

He appraised his friend's expression. He remembered well her reaction after the coma, and hoped this would have brought some much needed healing. He feared it had only torn open a scab.

"How are you doing," he asked with sincere concern. He tilted his head back the way they came. "It sounded like quite the tongue lashing you gave Sammiel back there...

"I'm not sure I've ever heard you that angry at a person before... did he deserve it?"
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Post  Wynnsaren on Sat Mar 01, 2014 8:56 am

"A tongue lashing was not unjustified after the physical lashing he gave my horse," Wynn muttered, her lips drawn into a tight line. She glanced over to her royal companion. "Have you ever been caned, Your Majesty? I find myself sensitive to the subject whether perpetrated upon man or beast. Discipline without love is cruel.

"Granted, Bo does not behave in the same princely manner as Yaromir. . .more like the court jester," she sighed, "and he is as stubborn as a mule, but I will not see him handled so roughly for it will just make him more aggressive. He has no respect whatsoever for these stable hands. I should have taken him over to be housed at Kaz's cabin months ago, for he gets on well with that shaggy pony and he never tries to pull his stunts around the ranger anymore. I do not think Kazimir would mind as long as I care for him. Certainly the Master of Horse will be glad to have my "ill-tempered beast" off of his hands!"

Wynnsaren leaned over the saddle and stroked Xiaobo's neck affectionately, whispering something soothing to him in Tien.

"As to myself? I am managing. Feeling a bit worn if I must be honest and a little out of step, but surely that is nothing compared with the stressors that have been bombarding you most recently. Stressors can be beneficial or detrimental and I find myself curious in which category you would list them. Your betrothed in particular. . ."

The aasimar turned to King Thaddeus with a warm smile. The afore mentioned curiosity burning clearly in her eyes.

"Did you two have a chance to talk privately during her visit?"

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Post  Thaddeus Medvyed on Sat Mar 01, 2014 6:26 pm

Thaddeus frowned as he listened to her report. He didn't like the idea of mistreating animals anymore then she did. The switch was a tool used by many in training... but Thaddeus had rarely been comfortable with it and hadn't used one himself in many years. Yaromir had been trained switch-free. Regardless, both of these horses were already trained.

Given this information, he would certainly have to investigate the matter. Sammiel had excellent credentials, but if there was actual abuse going on in that stable... well, the King wouldn't stand for that.

He winced a bit at the mention of Feluanil. "Yes... Yes we did. Granted, not as much as I'd liked, and our conversations seem to create more questions then they answer...

"But yes. We did get to finally talk a while."
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Post  Wynnsaren on Sat Mar 01, 2014 10:43 pm

Wynnsaren didn't miss his reaction to her question and the corners of her lips turned downward upon hearing the frustration in his voice.

"I was hoping she would be more forthcoming with you," she offered plainly. "The queen was very. . .verbally elusive when Sarala and I met with her, and truthfully it is a game I have played in the past for various reasons as an oracle, but I thought with you being the Fated one in question, that she might provide you with answers that we could not receive."

Wynn faced forward on her horse and sighed. Apparently she was wrong.

"Were you able to discover whether she intends to live here in Akiros?"

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Post  Thaddeus Medvyed on Sun Mar 02, 2014 3:27 pm

"I believe she intends to spend some time here..." he spoke tentatively. He disliked having to sift thorough her words to find meaning, but he found himself doing it all the time. Layers upon layers, hidden meanings and innuendos...

He found himself smiling and stifling a laugh. His father hadn't taught him much about women in general... but he did remember him complaining about this trait amongst even mortal women. Maybe his situation wasn't that unusual.

"We spoke about rights of succession. She has no intentions of ever ruling Novastasia. When I die, the throne will go to my heir.

"She intends to fulfill the duty of a queen... whatever those happen to be... but the kingdoms won't be 'joined'. Apparently the fey would tear us apart," he chuckled at the image of Akiros full of sprites and pixies like his childhood friends playing their tricks out in the open instead hidden. There would be chaos for sure...

"She's much like Dracean...," he shook his head and chuckled. "At least in the fact that she's known this land long before we've come... and told me that humans have come before. It's just the way of things. She doesn't seem to give our nations or borders and such, much thought at all. Very non-political for a queen."

He shrugged and chuckled a bit. "I can consider any concerns I had that she was going to take control of the kingdom to be quelled... On the other hand, I really can't say this... apathy puts my mind to ease either...

"It's always something, I suppose..."
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Post  Wynnsaren on Sun Mar 02, 2014 4:19 pm

The snow dusted path before them meandered among the low rolling hills that would lead to a forested area very familiar to the aasimar and her akata companion. Not that she could see much of her surroundings at the moment, not in the middle of the day, but the path had been trod only hours earlier beneath the clarity of starlight to set up for today's activity.

Glas, apparently understanding precisely where they were going, bolted ahead down the path and out of sight. Those whose eyes were unimpaired might have seen a tentacled, leonine head poke up over a hill ever so often to check on their progress.

Wynnsaren listened intently to the king's words as well as the tone of his voice, as he spoke of this latest meeting with his future queen. Her apparent disinterest in the surrounding nations and the man-made concept of 'borders', told the oracle that whatever Fate Feluanil had seen, it was unlikely to be driven by political opponents. Exactly what she had seen yet remained a mystery. Though Wynn wasn't sure whether the fey queen had been given a similar foretelling to her own, either way, she felt relatively confident that this new player would be a boon to Matsuro Shi's preparedness instead of a hindrance. That truly was the best she could hope for given the situation.

"The Queen made the comment to me before, that we all have our parts to play. Perhaps what you see as apathy is merely resolve. She knows what must be done and intends to do it. She is focused on her purpose."

The aasimar turned her clouded eyes toward the king, a soft smile playing upon her lips.

"I know something of that, though I must say I have never been called to the specific task of marriage in order to accomplish said purpose. I wonder what that was like for her. . . The fey queen must have known that she was to be joined with you in marriage since the day you were born. Perhaps even before! Was it a choice she made or one that was made for her as so many of mine own missions have been?

"There are always two sides to every story. You have only recently discovered her, but she has known you for decades. While she may not be able to share what she has seen of the future, perhaps she would be more willing to share something of her past. I dare say she would have much to tell!"

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Post  Thaddeus Medvyed on Sun Mar 02, 2014 5:31 pm

Thaddeus nodded in agreement.

"I've had similar thoughts myself... Just some of the terminology I've been hearing... Perhaps it is resolve, but it still sounds like apathy to me. That she hasn't... trapped me in a marriage as I'd thought originally. More like we're both in the same trap.

"I suspect that she doesn't really have any interest in marriage. She came right out and said that fey don't think about such things... It's more a human thing.

"What kind of preparation necessitates a wedding? All the secondary bonuses I could think of... such as uniting the kingdoms seem off the table." His face twisted into a frown as he tumbled the mystery around in his head.

"I suppose children could be important. If she knows that our half-fey son is the one to stop the coming darkness... I could see the need.

"However, both of you seem fairly certain that this threat is for the others and me. Not our heirs..."
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Post  Wynnsaren on Sun Mar 02, 2014 9:57 pm

"I cannot speak for your betrothed, but the threat which has been revealed to me reaches much farther than merely Matsuro Shi," Wynn reminded him gently. "The threat -- at least initially, is to all of the Stolen Lands, but if left unchecked it could certainly be for your heirs as well! You and your companions have the opportunity be the solution to that threat."

Though she was sure the king understood these things, the oracle took the opportunity for clarification whenever possible. It would not do to foster misinterpretation. No doubt things could get a bit more muddled with additional and probably unrelated visions from another source thrown into the mix.

"But yes, I agree," she added. "If the Queen seems less than concerned about heirs, than it would make sense that her visions are specific to you."

What an interesting position this young man from Brevoy had found himself in! Two strange women telling him that he was destined. . .fated for greatness through even greater trial and insisting that he must be prepared. Undoubtedly a great burden to bear. . .

"So since speaking with her again, do you find yourself more eagerly anticipating your nuptials?"

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Post  Thaddeus Medvyed on Mon Mar 03, 2014 7:27 pm

"Honestly.... I'd say less." He grimaced at the admission. It was a touchy subject that he not only found it difficult to say aloud... but to even think. After all... near as he could tell, every thought was an open book to his betrothed. It was an... awkward situation.

"For many months now, my main goal was to get my cathedral finished before the wedding. Dealing with all the other projects and trying to scrape up the funds to do it justice was no easy task. The people came first, and my personal goals were pushed farther and farther out.

"Now... it's in sight. The finishing touches are nearly in place. I was... concerned that I would have to compromise that goal to appease some greater fate... but now it looks like I may be able to win that battle."

He shrugged his shoulder with a forced chuckle. "Now... the urgency that I had imagined seems to simply not be there. When, where, how... they simply don't seem to matter to the one who saw their need...

"I find myself very confused... and feeling a bit silly to be frank. If this is just going to be some kind of emotionless business arrangement, then obviously I must be putting too much thought into it.

"Still... marriage isn't something that I could enter into lightly..."
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Post  Wynnsaren on Mon Mar 03, 2014 8:43 pm

"Nor should you." Wynnsaren smiled appreciatively at his comment. "She must feel this union is important else she would not have insisted upon it, but as you well know, her ways -- the ways of the fey, are quite different from yours. The details of such an institution to her must seem. . . trivial."

The aasimar considered that a moment. "Likely even more so for her, for by all accounts your queen is considerably older even than those of a grandmotherly age," she offered a self-deprecating smirk. "What you consider a lifetime covenant, she may consider more like the span of the flutter of a butterfly's wing. Certainly puts things into a different perspective."

Upon hearing her own words, Wynn closed her eyes and groaned before pushing a couple of stray locks over her ear.

"That. . . That did not sound nearly as comforting as I hoped it would, Your Majesty. Forgive me, but while I have observed many marriages and similar relationships in the past, my own personal experience with the subject matter is negligible. Still, I know you. It is because of who you are that I have every confidence you two will find a comfortable cadence in your relationship. It likely will begin as a business relationship as you say, but that is alright. Certainly many arranged marriages start off much the same and grow into something more over time.

"In the meantime, I do hope that you will not forget that you are surrounded by family, friends, and a nation. . .all of whom love you dearly."

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Post  Thaddeus Medvyed on Tue Mar 04, 2014 2:52 pm

"And I them, my friend..." he said with a warm smile. "It's one of the things that causes me to double think everything all the time... It was easier to make decisions just for myself. Now... Everything I do or say has tied the fate of those thousands to my own...

"What is good for me... or what is best for everyone... It's a difficult line of thinking some days."

He chuckled lightly as pondered things.

"It's funny really... Do you remember what I told you about Paladins and wives? How... incompatible they were? I had never put much thought into at the time... but since taking this position, I had warmed to the idea." He smirked as he added, "Regardless of what the Magister may claim.

"It took some time, but the idea started to appeal to me... A wife, children, a whole family line in the kingdom... Then... her.

"Feluanil... may well be the perfect wife for a paladin. She's self sufficient, more then capable of protecting herself, and seems uninterested in competing with my existing causes...

"A paladin could hardly ask for more... But now I'm still conflicted. The other image that had been forming has its appeal too."
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Post  Wynnsaren on Tue Mar 04, 2014 9:01 pm

The aasimar turned toward King Thaddeus with a single brow arched delicately in question.

"Perhaps I do not fully understand your meaning. You will soon have the wife, gods willing the children and a whole family line in the kingdom. Fate and fey contrivance have given you an experienced queen that will not only treat you as the king you are, but will aid you in growing to your fullest potential. She is not only a perfect wife for a paladin, but she is a perfect wife for a king.

"Are these two images you hold so dissimilar?"

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Post  Thaddeus Medvyed on Thu Mar 06, 2014 2:05 pm

"Paladin and King have been known to conflict from time to time," he said with slight frown. "For example, the Paladin in me wanted nothing more then to rescue that Lebeda girl from Surtova... the king couldn't act. Now she's dead... So we've heard that is. That decision gave me many sleepless nights.

"This apathy and self sufficiency may well be suited to the Paladin... It sounds like having a wife without the burdens of being married... The King?? I'm not sure. I suppose I had hoped more for a woman who shared my ideals, my hopes and goals for the kingdom and would help me lead the land to them. A partner in the political battles... I'm not sure the reality will match that ideal.

His eyes narrowed in mock indignation. "And what do you mean treat me as the king I am..." He chuckled and shook his head. "It seems to me that she sees me as a weapon to be tempered and little more..."
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Post  Wynnsaren on Thu Mar 06, 2014 8:49 pm

Wynn's shoulders slumped almost imperceptibly and she turned her clouded eyes back to the path ahead of them.

"Queen Feluanil did not feel personally that a memorial was necessary, but she understood why you believed it to be so for your people. She told me that her place was at your side. Now I assure you, I was paying quite a bit of attention to how she would react -- or not, during the solstice festivities, and she stood by you not as a visiting queen but as your queen. She supported you."

What an odd direction this conversation had taken! When had she gone from trying to put a positive spin on a difficult situation, to defending the very queen she had been dubious about for so long?

"Your Grace," she began again in a small voice, "I know that the circumstances are not what you hoped for and honestly, caring for you as I do I would undoubtedly have counseled against such a hasty betrothal had I been there at the time. But the deal was struck. It is done. I must admit that now after meeting her personally, I believe that one day you will look upon this union as a most fortuitous decision. While it might seem untenable at this moment, you may one day realize it to be the best thing that could have happened. I have been in such situations, and I understand it can be a bitter pill to swallow. I pray that you do not take as long as I did to come to terms with it."

In that moment she looked older than she ever had to the young king. Old and infinitely weary.

"There was a time when I made plans for the future. Once I believed I could have a life of my own. The powers I serve made it quite clear that there were other plans they had in mind for me. Plans to have me invest myself in the Fates of others. For many years I hated them for what they had done, but when I saw that they intended to do good through me -- at least what I could see with me own eyes, how selfish would it have been for me to keep railing against them? How many have they saved through me? Hundreds? Thousands? I doubt I will ever know.

"I may never have the type of life I once thought possible, but in the end I know that I will have lived a life that touched countless others. They may never even know my name, but I will know that I lived a life that mattered. In that knowledge, I learn to be content."

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Post  Thaddeus Medvyed on Fri Mar 07, 2014 2:38 am

Thaddeus quietly absorbed what she said. Some he'd heard before, some he wished he could change. The paladin abhorred slavery in any fashion, and the way the gods yanked her from place to place and from home to home angered him. It may be for a good cause, and lives had been saved for certain... but the loss of choice in the matter was still wrong in his eyes. She deserved better.

What he hadn't thought through before, was his betrothed appearance at the Solstice. Wynn took an interesting view that he hadn't considered before. If she was truly as apathetic as he thought... she wouldn't have come at all. That had to mean something... he wasn't sure how much, but certainly something...

"Thank you for the counsel Wynn," he said as he nodded thoughtfully. "I can't tell you the comfort it gives me to hear your... endorsement of her. The opinion of someone whose suspicions were won over, mean a lot more then the fawning of those who never were suspicious in the first place...

"And it seems I am surrounded by those." He chuckled as he remembered Sarala and Zaistrun's reactions of her.

"I'll confess that I may be too close to this to see it clearly, but it meant a lot that you had my interests at heart and having met her, are more comfortable."

He glanced over at his friend and thought for a moment. "Actually, I am curious about something... You say you've played the verbally elusive game before. Why is that? It seems the oracles, soothsayers and fortune-tellers have long held reputations speaking in riddles, but you've never taken that route with me. With me you've always spoken plainly and directly and I think the results have been favorable."
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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Fri Mar 07, 2014 11:38 am

Bowing politely in response to his thanks, Wynnsaren allowed her eyes to linger directly upon his rather than just over his shoulder. She hoped he understood that she was trying to draw parallels between their callings, and not simply retell him a sob story. How does one delicately put the phrase, 'Fate does not give a fig about your happiness,' or, 'You must learn to be content in the moment and hold your hope that you will one day see the bigger picture, because all you are able to see right now is that you have been dealt a lousy hand.' She didn't want to discourage him, but neither did she want him to fall into the trap of bitterness and anger as she had. King Thaddeus was better than that. Wiser than she had been. He would soldier on under any circumstances, Wynn told herself. There was no reason to worry in that regard.

At his next question, it was her turn to narrow her eyes and arch a single dark brow. To anyone else it would've seemed a dire warning, but he knew her well enough to notice the playful glint in her silver orbs.

"Your Majesty, it is with troubling frequency that you seem to lump me together with. . .those of my ilk. Thus, I fear it necessary that I repeat myself. I am not a true soothsayer. I do not divine random futures. Frankly, the term 'oracle' barely suits me considering the specific task these visions lead me upon. Lastly and most importantly, I do not tell fortunes. . .

"I assure you, that I will see to it you pay for that comment presently, for we are nearly at our destination." Wynn warned in an all-too-innocent voice as she nodded up ahead.

"In answer to your question, I have never been elusive with you because you would not have received me well had I done so," she said simply. "One must play to one's audience, if you will forgive the churlishness that statement. And it had to be you that I won over first because then the others would consider and follow suit but if you can recall, they did not accept me so readily. Sarala thought I was off my rocker. Zaistrun thought me a waste of time. Paido still looks at me askance from time to time.

"Now if I had been sent to any of them, I would necessarily have had to alter my approach, for a portion of Matsuro Shi does not trust anyone that comes to them with apparent openness and honesty. They have a difficult time conceiving that anyone -- but with the exception of you of course, Your Grace, would act as such without a personal motive behind it. No, if I had gone to one of the others, I would have had to approach with an air of drama and mystery and power, not as an innocent miss waiting in the forest for her quarry to come along." Wynnsaren smiled at the memory before continuing. "If I had been sent to one of the others, I would have used my true voice and spoken of the mysteries of the heavens and told them of their very important place within that tapestry of Fate and how the symbol I had seen was the key, while withholding the true substance of my visions.

"You see how well they responded to your fey queen," she glanced over to her liege. "But I believe that is the true question, is it not? You wish to know why your betrothed is so elusive about the visions or Fate she has seen for you. I do not believe she is playing a game, if that is your concern. I believe that this mystery which encompasses her is simply who she is.

"Also and more to the point, there are times when it is truly inadvisable to share a vision with the subject. It is often dangerous to know what is coming before it happens and a person will act differently than he might otherwise and throw the whole plan askew. Sometimes it is safer to lead the person by the hand, than to tell them the destination and leave them to their own devices. I believe this to be the case with Queen Feluanil. If she has not shared her visions, than I now have confidence that there is a good reason for it."

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Post  Thaddeus Medvyed on Sat Mar 08, 2014 12:39 am

Thaddeus snickered at that. "Led by the hand to mysterious destinations? That situation sounds familiar." He looked down the path wondering exactly what mysterious outing she had planned today.

"I don't mind be led, if I trust the one leading... or at least the mission," he said with a wink. "I suppose you may have a point about knowing too much..." a frustrated sigh accompanying the admission. "Still... if I'm supposed to fight, then let me fight. If we need to plan... let's plan. Waiting... feels a lot like 'wasting time' and what's coming is to big a threat to waste anything.

"Isn't the point of sending messengers like yourself to cause us to act differently? To provide a warning and prepare for danger or else all is doomed...

"I have a hard time seeing the danger in knowing how 'some' of the pieces fit together. Maybe not all... but sometimes hearing that others know more about me, then I do... It feels like people and gods are talking 'around' me. If I'm a part of this... then I want to be a 'part' of this."

He looked at the aasimar with curiosity. Sometimes he forgot about her many experiences before arriving here. "Are you speaking from experience there? Has that happened to you before where someone learned too much and disaster happened?"
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Post  Wynnsaren on Mon Mar 10, 2014 12:15 am

It was a long, protracted moment before Wynnsaren responded. Whether an aversion to remembering or hesitation to reveal such failures, she was clearly reticent about sharing.

"My visions are not always about danger, you know. It may surprise you but in spite of prevailing opinion, I am not a harbinger of doom." The aasimar glanced toward her king and grinned widely before inclining her head in a bow. "Except in your case of course, Your Majesty.

"In answer to your question, yes," she gave in with a sigh, "I am speaking from a bit of experience. In my earlier days, I was sent to Oppara to a senatorial family with three sons. Senators in Taldor, especially those in the hereditary seats, are bloviating bureaucrats with a bit too much wealth and a bit too much power and prestige within their spheres. All fluff and no substance." Wynn sniffed in distaste at the memory. "Each family from the senatorial class has one seat which they fill with their eldest son. An 'unbearded' -- the average citizen, may gain a seat by doing a good deal of exemplary work for the government, making a name for himself and agreeing with the Prince's politics of course, but most of them have inherited their seats from their fathers' before them.

"Forgive me, I do not mean to lecture you on far-flung foreign governments but it is essential to understanding the circumstances," she smiled. "The father of this family had just passed away and left his senate seat open, which went to the eldest brother, who frankly, was a louse. The second brother was just as terrible and both of them had tormented the youngest brother all of his life. He felt weak, impotent and seemed confident that his life would pass him by without anything of import happening to him."

The oracle fidgeted in the saddle and the leather creaked noisily, filling the momentary silence.

"It was to this youngest son I was sent. I had received a vision that one day he would fill a seat on the senate as well, which meant, in my mind, that he would have to find a passion within some of the lower echelons of government and make a mark there in order to be noticed. It was quite rare for a younger son to take an earned seat on the senate but not completely unheard of. So I set out to help this young man find his passion in life and build his self-image.

"I did not him of the vision that brought me there, just that Fate had sent me to better his situation and to ensure him that in spite of what his wretched brothers had told him, that his life was important. Unfortunately, my charge was something of a slug," she sighed. "He had an ambitious and agile mind but a lazy soul. He did not want to 'sully' himself by working among those of the lower classes and though I introduced him to many opportunities within the city, trying to stir his passion for something, he was quickly becoming wearing of being what he saw as my 'project.'"

Wynn clacked her teeth together sharply. "So I told him. I told him that the gods had shown me that he was meant for a seat on the senate. I told him that he had the potential and the mental acuity to set those overstuffed senators back on their heels and make a real difference in his city and in his nation.

"He was very, very quiet and intent. That should have been my first warning, for he was relatively dismissive of everything I had to say. His smile following was sickly sweet. That should have been my second warning. I had been with him for nearly a month and the idea that an oracle would come to him alone, had increased his confidence exponentially. The confidence I had hoped to build turned quickly to arrogance. Gods I was a sodding fool," she exclaimed suddenly and crudely, pushing her thumb and forefinger against her aching eyes.

"We were to meet the next day and go on a tour about the city to look for opportunities with new eyes after I had made this revelation to him, but when I arrived, the servants greeted me with news of an accident. The brothers had been invited to a gala the previous evening, and on the way there, the carriage in which they were riding was accosted by thieves. The driver and the two oldest brothers were killed in the melee. My charge, the youngest, was injured but only sustained superficial wounds.

"When I went in to see him, he was lying there in bed with the most pleased grin on his face. And I knew. . . There had been no 'accident' at all. It seemed that their house just had a senate seat open up with the youngest son ready to step into his unexpected duty, with the sympathetic support of the public at his back."

Wynnsaren turned back to the king.

"If I had held my tongue. . ." She shook her head in disgust. "By telling him what lay in his future, I did nothing but inspire him toward murder. He took the lazy way out. He saw an opening to get all he wanted without having to actually work for it, he leaped at the opportunity! He wasn't ready to become the senator I saw in my vision, for he needed to experiences the failures and difficulties that striving for a goal will bring. It would have refined him. . . purified him. But no, he did not like waiting and he did not know how to be patient, so he simply took what he wanted."

The aasimar still struggled with that particular mission. She'd moved on from the guilt of her own mistake and taken the lessons to heart, but what bothered her was that she couldn't be sure if she somehow had accomplished that purpose through unjust means. He had become a senator just as her vision had shown her. . . Had one of the less altruistic powers that she served intended on having exactly this happen? Was it a mistake or was it by design? Oracle or no, she wanted to be no party to murder, and ever since her conversation with Queen Feluanil, Wynnsaren had been questioning everything. Every vision. Every decision. It was unnerving.

"So you see," she concluded, "I learned just how dangerous foreknowledge can be. I have become necessarily much more careful, for when people know the end of the story it robs them of the experiences and growth that happens in the middle. They want to jump to the end and be done with it. Therein lies the difficulty however, for ignoring the necessary maturation that needs to occur is to potentially destroy all odds of success in the end game.

"If Matsuro Shi were to face now what I have seen in my visions, nothing could save you. Nothing." Wynn paused a moment and allowed her eyes to emphasize her point. "You may feel that waiting is wasting time, but I assure you it is not. You are preparing. When the time is upon us, you will be ready to strike.

"There was a philosopher that lived in Brevoy by the name of Tolstoy, who has said that, 'The strongest of all warriors are these two -- time and patience.' You must arm yourself with patience, My King. For what is to come. . . you must.

"I should guess however, that this is less about my visions and more about those of your betrothed," the corner of her lip lifting into a little half-smile. "I cannot say for certain of course, but it may simply be that Queen Feluanil does not know all the details of what will come to pass. After all, visions, prophecies, knowings. . . They can often be open to interpretation and are very rarely straightforward."

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Post  Thaddeus Medvyed on Wed Mar 12, 2014 1:46 am

"Much like a fortune teller," he said with a sly wink and a teasing chuckle.

"I suppose there is some merit to the secrecy... but it still doesn't suit me. There is another interpretation to your story of your senator. It could have had less to do with him knowing the future... and more to him being a murderous lowlife. The murder may have had more to do with the older boys tormenting him for years then the title...

"It's... difficult even for me to see how all the threads are connected, I can't imagine how much worse it is for you. How do you judge?

"How do you draw the line between steering someone and pushing them?"

He was quiet for a moment as he weighed the threats hanging over them. He had little doubt that she was correct. They weren't ready yet for whatever it was that was coming... and that thought turned his blood to ice. It wasn't that long ago that he'd led the city against 10,000 and personally helped slay three dragons in one night...

What was coming??
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