Until Every Chain (in Kennex) is Broken
Marquessa Vanora Kennex has not been idle. While others prepare for war, Vanora focuses on the immediate need for peace amongst the Kennex. This is not the best time to be at odds, and she has worked tirelessly to reach out and help set the domain she co-rules with her husband Ford to rights.
She works with businesses within Kennex to retain former thralls, particularly well-trained ones, at a fair wage. She sponsors necessary infrastructure projects - schools, medicine, housing - to make sure that everyone is properly housed and cared for. She pays particular attention to the thralls who work with ships - as sailors and shipwrights and everything in between - to make sure that their naval strength is as steady as possible with the upcoming crisis in the east.
She even reaches out to Orazio's Sentinels (who stubbornly insist upon referring to themselves as that, even though Orazio himself asked them politely to stop) and assures them that proper care is being taken to see to the religious education of the former thralls - that temples are being built not just to Mangata but to the entirety of the Pantheon. Freedmen are being asked to help work on the temples once the issue to the east is settled, and the zealots have been asked by the Marquessa to keep an eye on things and make sure that the gods are properly honored. It speaks to their zealot hearts it does, and they agree gladly. Of course, this means zealots will be in and out of the temples but right now they're at least walking with Kennex, not marching against.
Marquis Ford is not absent from these negotiations. He is present for all of them, presenting a united front but letting Vanora take the lead. He reinforces her authority as needed, if a particular vassal gets too fractious about it - and in general seems to agree with everything she is doing and saying. The united front is well received it seems, particularly as Vanora is doing what even the most traditional of Thrax know women are best at - cementing alliances, handling diplomatic matters, and keeping things well organized and well run.
Lady Catalana Kennex, recently returned from a sojourn in Stormward, wastes no time in helping the Marquessa, reaching out to everyone she knows to help smooth the diplomatic path. Naomi Cutter does the same, providing valuable contacts among the more common sailors so that when Vanora starts encouraging people to hire ex-thralls - the boots on the ground (decks) are already primed to do it. Lord Wash Kennex likewise orders the Captains of ships in the Kennex fleet to start hiring ex-thralls, and has been heard talking about this new path for Kennex most enthusiastically.
Naomi Cutter even goes one step further with the support of the Marquessa - Writing to her former connections within the Kennex Corsairs, and with funding from Lady Vanora of House Kennex, Naomi arranges for the creation of an academy to teach sailing, naval strategy, military logistics, and hand-to-hand combat. She tracks down Corsairs with injuries that prohibit active service and places them as instructors. Former thralls are welcomed, and all students will be provided room and board for the duration of their training. Students will be guaranteed admission to the Kennex land or naval forces if they should prove competent. It's an exciting new opportunity for many in Kennex, though it remains to be seen whether the quality of the students produced from this will be worth the investment.
Lord Ian Kennex and Lord Valdemar Grimhall, interestingly, both provide security - Lord Ian by training men and coming along to ensure the Marquessa's safe passage, Lord Valdemar by hiring mercenaries to protect the Marquis and Marquessa on their diplomatic travels.
All in all, it's a united front that Kennex provides. Rumors of squabbling between the various members of the family seem to be just that - whatever happens between them in private, together they're providing a united front of strength and forward-looking goals to Stormward and to the rest of the Compact.
Graysons, take note.