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AoW: Lessons Learned

The Academy of War is hosting a roundtable discussion for all members, all members of associated organization, anyone who participated in the defense effort of the lodge, and anyone else who is intereted in learning things that can manage to not be disruptive. The topic will be lessons learned from the defense effort, with a focus on observed battle tactics of the enemy and strategies that were effective against them. It's essentially open to all, but anyone being disruptive will be asked to leave by the room full of highly trained military professionals. There will be food and drinks available.

Date

Nov. 29, 2018, 8 p.m.

Hosted By

Natalia Kael

Participants

Ajax Alis Adora Carmen Ouida Shard Amari Gilroy Sparte Macda Terese Reigna Rowenova Kaldur Waldemai Delilah Sina Calarian Jeffeth Talwyn Rey Dominique Thesarin Duarte

Organizations

Academy of War

Location

Arx - Ward of the Crown - Academy of War - Headquarters

Largesse Level

Grand

Comments and Log


Carmen gets Carmen's Notebook from Waterproof Book Bag with Lagoma Patch.

Kaldur has joined the a large wooden table.

Amongst the harshness of winter, Ajax slips into the headquarters the large mercenary being mindful of others presence as he draws closer to the table.

Ajax has joined the a large wooden table.

Adora has joined the the refreshment tables.

2 Novice Keaton Huntsmen arrives, following Amari.

Alis doesn't tromp loudly this time, because leather boots are not nearly as loud as plate! Go figure. So she's able to slip in to the room rather quietly all things considered. And it's only the occasional glimpse of her white hair that gives away her presence until she pulls back a chair to sit down in.

Adora stomps her way in, not actually bothering to pay attention to who is here and making a beeline for the food table where she starts assembling a plate.

Rey has joined the a large wooden table.

Greeting the newcomers to her table with an assessing glance and cursory nod, Carmen digs a small book and quill out of her bag and sets her helmet to one side, out of the way.

Zephirine arrives, following Talwyn.

a small twilit kingsnake, Talwyn arrive, following Macda.

Philip, an overworked assistant, 2 House Wyrmguard Guards arrive, following Calarian.

There is food and drink a'plenty, the buffet tables well adorned with a variety of inoffensive choices for eating. There is a table with drinks and also staff members that are fetching glasses for people, depending on their preferences. If nothing else, those who attend this evening will be well fed. The tables have been pushed so that mostly everyone is arranged in a big circle, though there's clusters for people to sit and speak quietly as needed. Right at the moment, Natalia is uip near the front of the room at the edge of the stage, watching people arrive and get settled. As it gets to be about that time, the Whisper clears her throat, slipping up onto the stage. "I want to thank everyone for coming tonight," she speaks up, putting enough volume behind it that she's sure to carry over the conversations in the room. "For those of you who have not yet come to one of these, this is a discussion and opportunity for sharing, rather than a lecture on anyone's part. Unless we start having a difficult time with people being heard, we won't be using a talking stick or the like. Tonight's discussion is about lessons we've learned in the defense of the lodge, or anything related to that whole mess that needs to be well known. Does anyone have any questions, or would anyone like to volunteer to get us started?"

Natalia has joined the an exquisite wooden stage.

Adora slowly looks up from her plate to eye the bookcase of swords, "Are you fucking kidding me?" she asks the crouton in her hand before she shoves it in her mouth, chewing loudly as she turns to listen to Natalia. She then asks, "Who thought swords would make a good bookcase? What even is that?"

Ouida slips into the room, walking along beside Thorley, shaking off the light dusting of snow on her hood and cloak. The Harthall knight seems content with quiet, and settles at one of the tables along with the Baron Farwatch. As Natalia begins to speak, she continues to hold her silence, nodding respectfully to those that she recognizes or makes eye contact with. But apparently she's mostly here to listen, tonight.

Ouida has joined the a large wooden table.

Shard stalks quietly into the room, her shoulders a little hunched, her eyes narrowed, and her expression...focused. She heads immediately for an empty seat.

Amari arrives as Natalia is making her announcement to kick off the meeting, and drifts towards the refreshments as she takes stock of who all is in the room. Adora is hard to miss, so she smiles a bit at her outburst and turns an appraising eye on the bookcase made of swords she's called out. "That is something." She notes with a touch more diplomacy than the carpenter before having a brandy poured.

Shard has joined the a walnut wooden table stained a red-brown.

Amari has joined the the refreshment tables.

Kael is actually running slightly late, though perhaps the weather is to blame on that. It is, after all, cold outside. Nonetheless he has his wife on his arm, escorting her as is typical of the pair. A few words are offered under his breath to her, a slight smile added, and thereafter he is moving to the table to claim seats. On his way he is of course nodding toward those he happens to know. Ah, with Natalia at the stage, he is turning to regard her with a bemused little smile and an inkling of pride. Rather than sit, he's leaning there, a hip on chair and regarding his protege.

Gilroy walks in and immediately his attention is on Natalia as she gives her introductory speech. Though while his eyes are racing the stage his feet are slowly sidling him toward the buffet. He nods thoughtfully at Natalia's words, pursing his lips as if really giving lodges and lessons and defenses and academies and wars lots of thought. Then Adora grabs everyone's attention and he turns to load up his plate with big piles of everything. He grabs two glasses of something pleasantly brown and translucent before he goes to find a place to sit.

Sparte is still standing in front of the bookcase a bit dumbfounded. His eyes turn to Adora, then to Amari, then back to the bookcase. Slowly, tentatively, he reaches out to poke one of the swords. Then he pokes it a bit harder. "...Seems, uh, stable?"

Sir Floppington, the soulful hound arrives, following Rowenova.

Gilroy has joined the a large wooden table.

Entering just as Natalia began, Macda looked thankful that they hadn't arrived too late. With the blond princess on his arm, Talwyn strided by the refreshment table to grab a drink for each of them, and they exchange a whispered moment before proceeding to the sofas. Hearing Adora, Macda turned to note the bookcases but didn't see what the problem was and returned her attention to sitting and a drink. Drinking down the first offering quickly, she clearly needed that drink.

Macda has joined the a comfortable ivory leather and mahogany wooden sofa.

Terese stands with her back against a wall, listening to the discussion, offering a friendly smile or wave to friends and family as she spots them, but not wishing to disturb the proceedings herself, retains her focus on the discussion topic. Though she does tromp over to the food table to get a cheese plate, quietly inquiring with the staff whether or not the cheese comes from Valardin holdings, or if it's inferior quality cheese.

Talwyn has joined the a comfortable ivory leather and mahogany wooden sofa.

Rowenova has joined the a comfortable ivory leather and mahogany wooden sofa.

Scribble, a Delicate Social Butterfly, 1 Bisland pride guards arrive, following Delilah.

Terese has joined the a comfortable ivory leather and mahogany wooden sofa.

Delilah has joined the a comfortable ivory leather and mahogany wooden sofa.

Ajax eyes the entrance at the newcomers, his head dipping in brief acknowledgement of those joining before he takes a seat his brow furrowing at the arrival of Sir Flop, before looking back towards the speaker.

Reigna takes a seat as Kael guides her to a chair and folds her hands in her lap as she settles in to listen. She has a bright smile for Natalia, paired with a subtle wave, a similar silent greeting for Amari and others with familiar faces.

Alis does not seem keen on offering her own commentary, at least not yet. Instead, she busies herself pouring a drink, and then looking up and around to spot people she knows. Family and fealty are offered warm smiles of familiarity. While others are given polite smiles and nods.

Sir Flop happily joins Delilah, setting his chin on her lap and looking up with those soulful eyes.

"Careful," Amari warns Sparte as if genuinely worried that if he pokes much harder on the sword shelf it'll definitely tip forward and dice him into pieces, "Maybe don't." That's giving her some serious anxiety so she looks away, wiggling fingers after Reigna, Kael and Natalia from her post at the refreshments table.

"That's offensive," Adora sniffs, picking up a slice of beef, putting a few pieces of cheese on it, then another beef slice before picking it up like a sandwich and tucking in, "That's offensive to carpenters," she says, though her mouth is full so it mostly sounds like "muff mufofen ma mafenders."

Primus, First of Monique's Assistants arrives, delivering a message to Kael before departing.

"I'll go." Kaldur smiles at Rey and stands, "Forces led by Warchief Marian protected the Grove and its environs. Several bands spread out in the forest protecting those of us at the Grove proper from bands of... as I understand it, abyssal wolves. Archers were stationed in the trees, supporting ground forces," he pauses and continues, "These bands fought two distinct roving skirmishes on separate occasions and were," he bows his head, "With losses, aye, a resounding success. The Northland tactics and skill of men and women there, were well suited to the defense. I don't have figures on losses or more to share, that is information privvy to leadership. But I think, overall, defense of the Grove went well." He seems a little mystefied by this still, but proud.

Waldemai listens carefully.

"I believe they call it 'art', but don't quote me on that," Natalia answers Adora mildly, sending a glance in the direction of the bookcase in question before she shrugs and looks back over those assembled. "I see a great many new faces here this evening, and do just want to make a note that if you're interested in joining the academy, all it takes is to reach out to me. If the tuition is a concern, there are a great many opportunities for us to work something out." She's starting to say more, but Kaldur speaks up to start with, and there's an encouraging smile his way. She falls to quiet, moving to slip down off of the stage, collect herself a drink, and find herself somewhere to sit. "Did you see the wolves at all?"

Delilah slips in among the others in the Academy, venturing along the outer reaches of the room to avoid causing anyone disruption or discomfort. Her hooded cloak slips from her shoulders as she falls in next to Rowenova, having somehow along the way found a glass of something to drink. Whatever it is, she murmurs her gratitude to the staff. No sooner settled, she reaches down to pet the handsome hound and turn her attention upon the Whisper acting as their hostess.

Shard crosses her arms over her chest, but she's sitting up very straight, and very still, as she listens. Her attention is firmly on Kaldur until questions start being asked.

Sebastian, an adorable gray and white tabby, Jacinthe, Arindais, a dour-looking Scholar, 1 Templar Knight guards arrive, following Sina.

"That was a gift from Lady Greenmarch," remarks Kael, his gaze sliding from Sparte to Adora and then back. He catches sight of Amari with her commentary however and offers her a little chin-up by way of greeting. Eerie, perhaps, that he is the recipient of a missive soon enough by that very named individual by those in the know. It is glanced at and set to the side before Kael is turning to focus on Kaldur, nodding to the man by way of gratitude and paying a keen amount of attention to his words.

Sparte takes Amari's advice, giving the bookcase one more up and down before slowly meandering away to find a place to sit down. "We lost more than a thousand to fell a gargantuan, where the Iron Guard and the Faith Militant made our stand. Regular weapons only angered it, arrows did distract it, lighter armor was insufficient. It was siege weapons and clever use of ropes that finally ripped the thing apart."

Nova props up one elbow on the couch backing between herself and Delilah and idly pats the other woman on her nearest shoulder. Sir Flop happily chins the Whitehawk lady, too. They quietly converse at the ivory/leather/mahogany sofa, but the wolf scout mostly looks straight ahead toward the yonder presentation.

Sina arrives at the Academy of War headquarters, having heard that there is a meeting taking place, of lessons learned. As Archscholar, she has a vested interest in learning. Quietly, so as not to make too much of a scene, she settles into a place near the back close to the doors, her single Templar guardian taking up a post not far from her. She listens quietly for now, glancing about to see who is present. Her expression is solemn as she hears Sparte speaking, turning her eyes toward him as she listens.

Alis speaks up now, raising her cup towards Kaldur in acknowledgement. "We faced abyssal wolves as well. And bears. Abyssal bears. Along with another evil." It prompts a scowl from her, actually. "We were lucky to be on well trained war horses, or they would likely have bolted."

Ouida has left the a large wooden table.

2 Harthall house guards have been dismissed.

Niall RedTree, adorably awkward page have been dismissed.

Sparte has joined the a large wooden table.

Calarian steps down into the grand chamber midway through Natalia's welcome, loosening his coat and sparing a brief look through the room, taking note of its occupants -- and the bookcase, as it is pointed out. The commentary on it arrests his motion, but by the time Kaldur has begun to speak he resumes his progress into the room, stepping past a few tables to ultimately pull a seat out and drop onto it comfortably, an inclination of his head drawing the man's assistant to one of the adjacent chairs. His eyes flit this way and that to track the conversation silently.

Calarian has joined the a walnut wooden table stained a red-brown.

In answer to Natalia's question, his eyes swivel to her, "No, we didn't. We heard them, and a band with Duke Gabriel and Count Thesarin among others tracking them, they came close and either harried or met the wolves. Within the grove, on the night we were there, Shaman enacted a ritual barrier, calling on fire, earth, wind, and water to shield the trees and spirits there. And us. Dame Morrighan, Master Cillian and Lady Kalani saw to our defense, while Cybele," he pauses a moment, and again, "Bashira, Marquessa Eilonwy and I stood... ehm... channeling? I don't know the word." He pauses, brow furrowing, "Creatures of mud and fire rose from the ground and were met by our defenders. I don't remember good swathes of it. In the end, Bashira fell. Cybele fell the next night." He shakes his head, he wasn't there. He opens his mouth to say more and closes it, settling again into his seat. "Bears? Who were you with?"

[Kaldur above]

"Was there some sort of visual indication that the wolves -- and bears -- were different from other sorts of wolves and bears?" Natalia asks, looking between Alis and Kaldur. Sparte's contribution has her glancing his way and frowning, nodding. "Not much came back to the city about that fight," she says. "I know it is likely difficult, but would you mind speaking more to the defeat of the thing?" Kaldur's further elaboration is met with a nod. "Thank you," she says.

Delilah reaches down to gently run her hand over Sir Flop's ears. That much might allow her a chance to calm any lingering nerves in the wake of Kaldur's story. Her sun-bright gaze remains focused heavily upon him, mindful of the nuances of conversation. She only briefly pauses to acknowledge a murmur from her assistant, and nods deeply to Sina as the Archscholar makes her appearance. That faint touch of a smile lifts and she nods to her superior.

Looking around to see if anyone else is going to start the conversation, Reigna smiles when Kaldur starts. She listens intently to him and Natalia's question, soon enough her eyes are turning to Sparte's offering. When Kaldur mentions Cybele and Bashira, Reigna's chin ducks a little, her eyes lowering a bit.

Jeffeth has joined the the buffet tables.

Shard speaks up, "I've fought Abyssal wolves, and a demon wolf, before. Believe me when I say that you won't fail to notice the difference. At best they're enormous, but they usually look ill, or downright magical. Demon wolves are much, much larger than that, and oily black, sometimes with actual fire."

A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Sina before departing.

Sparte looks to Natalia, eyes glancing around the room at the others present before he nods. "When it fell, it came apart as though it were people that had been... Mashed together like a bad potato soup, and had stopped holding itself together. It was big bloody clumps, falling all around." Sparte frowns slightly. "At the end, there was a bear. It was the only thing of it still alive. The bear ran off into the forest, but we had wounded to care for and the battle was done. More level heads than mine said to just let it go."

The Archscholar is there only a short while, before a messenger arrives for her. She glances at it for a moment, nods slightly, and then tucks it away into her belt. She gives Delilah a quiet nod, and then she quietly departs as she had come, her Templar following after her.

Sebastian, an adorable gray and white tabby, Jacinthe, Arindais, a dour-looking Scholar, 1 Templar Knight guards leave, following Sina.

"I was with Count Blanchard, Dame Alexis Wyrmfang, Lady Hannah Wyrmguard, and Lady Fianna Crovane. We protected the pasture." Alis replies, to Kaldur's question. And to Natalia's, she dips her head as well. "The wolves were larger, and their behavior was extremely aggressive. I would say rabid, but they posessed unusual strength. And they came boiling out of the woods like there was a magic wagin full of them and they endlessly piled out." she adds, with a touch of remembered exasperation. "The bears... their skin and fur was loose and hanging off. And they were putrid smelling." Her tea is fortifying, perhaps, because she takes a long drink of it after the recitation.

Shard eyes Sparte. "There was a bear /in/ the gargantuan?"

Rowenova opens up one of many pockets on her battle skirt, pulls out what is a mysterious someThing in a linen cloth from the shadowed interior, and then passes over the wrapped unknown to Delilah. Sir Floppington soaks up the wonderful pets from Delilah but nose twitches to whatever Nova has.

There's a swinging hand through the air, Jeffeth smiles brightly. The large knight of Solace sends a broad smile as he shakes his head to the group at large raising his rather powerful voice. "The bear was just.." He waves his hand dismissively. "Don't worry about the bear! It was bearly even there." The big man pipes.

Delilah raises her head soon as Shard asks a question poised upon her lips. The words tumble apart, rendered once more to silence. A smart nod reinforces the query. Of course, there is Jeffeth by the banquet tables dismissing a bear.

Sparte just gestures to Jeffeth by way of answer to Shard.

Oaken, an Oakhaven bloodhound have been dismissed.

4 Novice Keaton Huntsmen have been dismissed.

Gigi, an apprentice physician's assistant have been dismissed.

Marie, chef of Keaton Hall have been dismissed.

Gilroy calls out to Jeffeth, "Sounds pretty grizzly!"

Macda turns to see the Knight attached to the voice. The delivery forces her to offer to smirk, and a look to Terese to contain herself.

Rowenova looks up to Jeffeth and suddenly laughs about the bearly even there, then lets out a heartier laugh after Gilroy's grizzly comment, too.

Shard's narrow gaze shifts to Jeffeth. There's a flicker of irritability in her expression, followed by suspicion, but surprisingly enough she doesn't actually push further.

"I lay claim to little martial knowledge," Calarian says, stirring briefly in his chair. "But I would think the sole surviving element of this... Construct might warrant some consideration." He shrugs, admitting, "Though I do not know if anyone could know something worthwhile of it."

"To northland tactics," murmurs Kael, his head inclining somewhat, though a thoughtful expression is worn on his face. When Sparte is speaking up, his focus shifts toward the other man and he is nodding toward him with a grim scowl. "Quick thinking," he remarks, on the matter of the ropes. "Was that part of the plan beforehand, or did someone come up with it during the actual encounter?" Alis' description has Kael's jaw setting as he mutters, "Reminds me of Setarco, but no surprise there." Even though he's grim, he's offering forth, "Unbearable," in response to Jeffeth and Gilroy. He went there.

"Boo!" Adora calls out with a scowl, to Jeffeth and Gilroy, "This is serious talk!" she chides them as she shoves a handful of cheese in her mouth.

Alis suddenly wishes they did have a talking stick, so she could walk around thwacking all the punsters. There is a definite groan at all the bear jokes.

"Thank you," Natalia tells Shard when she speaks up, bowing her head that way. There are nods for the others that speak up as well, though she ends up frowning. Calarian's words have her glancing that way, and she offers quietly, "We are not here to question peoples' actions taken during the conflict, only to share knowledge. Thank you." When Kael joins in with the puns, she shoots him a brief glare, but doesn't comment, just taking a big swallow from her glass.

Talwyn glances about the room, noting details and wincing at puns as he relaxes back into the sofa.

Sparte turns his head to consider Kael. The topic has taken the pep out of him, he isn't smiling or laughing along to the puns or such tonight as he remembers. "It was part of the plan, but the plan was lost when we went into contact with the enemy. It was the swift thinking of Guardsman Jyri that got the ropes put to proper use, and Sir Preston that fired the felling volley. We were fortunate to have them both among us."

"Bearly tolerable," Delilah murmurs to Rowenova, albeit possibly not as loud as some. "The discussion appears to be rather polarizing, whereas matters might be better if they were black and white." She nods, nibbling on the morsel of a snack provided by the erstwhile scout.

Ajax's fingers lace as he listens to the conversation, his eyes darting around the speakers with mild interest, his large frame leaning back in his seat.

Jeffeth has left the the buffet tables.

With one hand holding her own mouth shut from further giggles (which are... incredibly visible as far as the jiggling process goes), Rowenova offers out a linen cloth with the mentioned snacks inside.

Calarian shakes his head at Natalia, eyebrows lifting a fraction. "You misunderstand. I did not criticize the decision to focus on the aftermath of the battle over giving chase." He shrugs after the statement, pressing no further.

"Perhaps the bear was the animating force or instinct guiding the amalgam of sacrificed people that forms the thing." Amari ventures from the refreshments table. Just saying. She doesn't even think to slip a bad pun in.

"The Valorous Few fought cultists and a Gargantuan," Shard says abruptly.

Sparte shifts his gaze to Shard. She has his undivided attention now.

Kaldur's expression suggests that he finds the jokes in poor taste, given what he understands about the nature of Gargantua and the sacrifices made by all of the defenders, but those making them are no strangers to loss and he holds his tongue, looking thoughtful as folk from various quarters sound off.

"I heard Archlector Brigida chastized a gargantuan so badly it killed itself out of shame," Adora offers mildly, picking out a few choice slices of meat.

"How did you bring the Gargantuan down?" Natalia asks of Shard. She nods to Calarian but doesn't reply, instead looking to Sparte. "Could you elaborate about the rope work? What did you do with the ropes?" For Alis, she asks, "Was there anything further unusual about the abyssal creatures you faced? Did they seem to have any sort of strange abilities or the like?"

The big man raises his hand to Sparte. "If I may Sparte?" Sir Jeffeth raises his voice, inclining his head to Natalia.

Sparte digs in the waterproofed pouch at his belt, pulling out a thin notebook. He continues to watch Shard, though he gives a small nod. "Of course Sir Jeffeth. I have the historic notes with me that inspired the tactic."

The tiny white haired Mercy is listening her chin in her palm as she takes a moment to get comfortable in her chair and tilts her head towards whoever is speaking at the moment. Rey does not seem to have much to offer at the moment but compared to others her groups time in defense was abit more unusual.

"Not so much the wolves and bears, but the final creature we faced. It was a corrupted... Unicorn." Alis waits for the possible spate of disbelief before she continues. "It hurt us just by existing. It pulsed with such evil that it felt like fire burning through our veins and into the bone. And that's in addition to the physical damage it was able to do with hooves and the razor sharp horn." There's even a wince to accompany that, if one is playing close enough attention.

Kael can't help but flash a grin toward Natalia that, for a moment, betrays just how young he is. Nonetheless it is a short lived thing, and with a stroke of his beard later, he is turning back to Sparte. He nods to the notation of Guardsman Jyri and Sir Preston and when Jeffeth speaks up he looks toward the large fellow. There is however an occasional glance to Shard, curiously, as well. Oh hello, when Alis mentions 'corrupted unicorn' his entire focus is on the woman.

"/We/ didn't," Shard replies, with very specific emphasis. She leans forward now, her arms unfolding to brace against the table. "Our job was to guard a ritual to empower a weapon that would free names from the thing. We were ambushed from multiple angles by archers, but that's about the only mildly clever thing the cultists did. They were...not untrained, but not particularly good fighters, overall. The Gargantuan moved in on us slowly, slowly enough we were able to mostly finish off the cultists before it reached us, and then, very suddenly, the damn thing was moving like lightning, and was right on top of us. Our plan was to harry it, strike and move away on all sides, depending on who it was attacking. In practice, it almost didn't matter. I think it would've worked better with horses, but not as well as you'd think. We took considerable losses, but we held its attention until the ritual was done. Luca stabbed it once with the empowered weapon and the thing fucking exploded."

Carmen's quill stops scratching against her notebook with Alis's description, and she cocks her head to one side to look at her, staring outright.

"The gargantuan was using a tree as a weapon, clearing out our forces back to the archers line. It was taking a grievous amount of damage through our continued strikes, but so were our forces. The felling blow was a combination of different things. Jyri Tersk and Lord bedivere had the ropes into the gargantuan and when it was disarmed of its weapon, it was pulled to its knees. Siege weapons, our forces arrows, as well as ground weapons were employed once it was an easier target. Its hand was taken off and finally we were aided by our friends of the forest, servants of Petrichor. The bear. Who likely scored the killing blow, lodging it's teeth into the skull of the thing and pullng it down. That is when it was pulled apart." Jeffeth explains.

Wilhelm the Iron Messenger arrives, delivering a message to Rey before departing.

Gargantua he's heard of. The smashed, bad-potato-soupness hard to contemplate, but he's grappled with that. A corrupt unicorn that pulses with evil, however, that gets his attention. "Ehm."

Metzger, a great grey shrike arrives, following Dominique.

Dominique comes in with no grace, little presence. She is dressed in clothes, she has a sword sheathed. She has a frown and icy blue eyes that scan the gathering, before she finds her way towards Calarian's side, waving off a staff member from asking her if she wants anything.

Alis gives a slightly sheepish look and a shrug to Carmen, and Kael. And then Jeffeth too. "I wasn't aware that the Gaargantuan could move that fast. You would think with it being so big and lumbering, well..." her voice trails off. "That's a lesson learned too, then. That we must expect the unexpected from the 'totally normal creatures' we encounter." Hey, is that some whiskey? She grabs the bottle and uncaps it to splash some into her tea. "Was I supposed to term it in a more mundane manner? Shit, sorry. It's just... that /thing/. A nad horsey with a horn on its head that somehow put acid in our veins." she ddecides. Like that sounds much better.

Sparte's eyebrows go up a bit at what Shard says, then his attention shifts back to Jeffeth. He shakes his head a bit and furrows his head. "I didn't see the bear until it fell with everything else. A relief to know where it came from wasn't the inside of the thing."

There's a bit of a wince on Natalia's part as well, when Alis mentions the corrupted unicorn. Still, there's discussion of the gargantuans, and so she has all new things to frown about. Or more of the same things to frown about. Whatever, there's just more frowning. She listens, drinks from her glass. Alis's question does have her shaking her head, htough. "No, you're fine to speak plainly," she says. "It's hard to hear, that's all. Thank you." She nods, looking between Shard, Sparte, and Jeffeth. "Those of you that faced those things, do you have any tips for commanders leading troops against them in the future?"

Calarian looks between Alis, Shard, and Jeffeth. He offers a slight nod along with Sparte's words, though his attention flicks up and aside at Dominique's approach. He offers a faint smile before his expression grows somber once more, gaze returning to the others.

Adora looks around the room, chomping on a chunk of bread now. "Sooooooo. Did anyone keep the horn?"

Jeffeth goes back to shoveling food onto a plate rapidly. Before looking up to the next question with a slight frown. "Many suffered a great amount of fear upon witnessing the thing. An unnatural fear to an unnatural enemy. Some of our forces fled, some of our forces were locked with fear. There was a counter measure employed that relieved that fear in many, but some sort of way to prevent that... Effects on the mind. Right away. That would be helpful." More food, shovel, shovel.

Waldemai leans forward to hear the advice.

Adora narrows her eyes at Jeffeth and starts piling her plate a little faster.

Kael nods toward Shard with gratitude, and Jeffeth similarly. "Interesting," he says in the wake of Alis' notation regarding the movement, sharing similar thoughts, "that it came with that surge of energy. For your group also," he gestures between Sparte and Jeffeth, "did it approach in that slow style and then surge forth? I wonder if it has a set amount of time that it can move swiftly and tires thereafter." Alis' words regarding the unicorn have him on the cusp of speaking, but he holds his tongue. For the moment. There is a glance cast to Rey however.

Terese briefly wonders if her brother has been saying inappropriate things to Macda. It seems likely. She raises an eyebrow briefly at the two, making some unrelated notes about the discussion at hand.

Dominique's arms cross her chest, a frown on her lips before she fiiinally leans in and murmurs something to Calarian, almost reluctantly.

Shard lifts her chin slightly as she contemplates the question. "Place of engagement is important. The forest was too dense for horses, and being on foot was not enough to get out of its reach. I have no idea how fast those things could move in an open area, but you stand a better chance if you're mounted, with ranged weaponry. Don't attempt to hold ranks against one. Don't count on anything but an extremely high cliff between you and it to help you. It's too big for any kind of pit trap or barricades even if you can be certain it will go right where you want it to. And ours had four arms. I heard another had six. It can use all of those limbs at once and it's damned accurate."

Gilroy has left the a large wooden table.

Rey catches the glance from Kael and she nods gently as she listens to the pair. "One should know, not all Unicorns are evil. But it seems they can be corrupted. From our side of the grove things went differently..." She says this softly and will wait till the conversation can move on to explain of course.

Sparte looks downwards. "I... Was one of those who struggled against the fear, until the countermeasure as Sir Jeffeth called it was deployed. I was of no service as a commander in that battle once the enemy was there, much to my regret. I was not the only one to falter, but I do not know what would have happened if we had not been spared from that sense of horror."

Shard adds, idly, "Gargantuans stink too."

Jeffeth nods, "Yeah."

Delilah glances at Sparte, then Jeffeth, at mentions of a countermeasure. Her mouth tips up slightly in a smile. The conversation with Rowenova has been lengthy, rarely interrupted by petting Sir Floppington. The hound deserves good dreams.

"Oh, yes. Of course. We were protecting a good nmumber of unicorns in the pasture, and they had all been fighting this Evilcorn.. yes, I'm calling it an Evilcorn, until dark fell and we had fought off the waves of other corrupted animals." Alis clarifies, giving Rey a grateful nod for her comment.

That hound -- Sir Flop -- closes his eyes but stays alert enough to listen while basking in the bliss of those pets from Delilah.

Talwyn looses an innocent smile. "I am here only to listen, and perhaps harvest a song. If there were any fallen in the course, I should like to hear their names." he asks in a silent moment.

Jeffeth has joined the a walnut wooden table stained a red-brown.

Rowenova has kept up her chat with Delilah but has not outwardly spoken much.

With his plate now overladen with food, Jeffeth makes his way to take a seat next to Shard. Setting the plate down, he pulls the chair back. "Once it was disarmed it was able to hurt less of our people. Letting it hold onto a tree is no good." The Knight Commander adds in as he goes to settle down.

Given the speed with which Jeffeth is putting food away, Gilroy stands from his table and hurried back to the buffet to pile another plate high with meats and roasted root vegetable, topping everything with just way too much delicious and unhealthy butter. Then for good measure he loads up a separate plate with desserts. So loaded he turns and sprawls at the closest place to sit.

Gilroy has joined the a comfortable ivory leather and mahogany wooden sofa.

Dominique has joined the a walnut wooden table stained a red-brown.

"Alright; this has all been very helpful so far, and I appreciate everyone being willing to share," Natalia says, sending another quick glance over those assembled. "Did anyone else encounter any unusual tactics or circumstances during the conflict? Did anyone run into any of the enemy's ways of communication, or the like? Did anyone notice anything about their communications?"

Kaldur looks a trace surprised when Rey speaks, pleased though. He goggles a bit at the plate of food that Jeffeth sits down with, but it follows. There's a lot to feed. At Natalia's question, he nods and lifts a hand, not taking his feet again, "The fire-eyed mud creatures of," he pauses and blinks, "Of, ehm, uncertain provenance spoke with one creepy voice. Pronouncing our doom, and their victory and-" he waves a hand. Kaldur is here and the mud creatures are not.

Quietly declining the buttery turnip, Macda mouths something of a 'no, thank you' without much of a voice, and a clearly dismissive wave of her hand to Gilroy.

Rey clears her throat softly, "I am not sure if our tale does any of the above. But we were contacted in person by what I believe was the Unicorn herd Stallion. He wanted/needed us to follow go with him. After touching his hide we traveled on moonlight to another part of the forest. There we found two paths, one that clearly was marked for us to see, but the hounds we had showed another path. We followed the later and found a baby unicorn strapped to a rock and cultist trying to harm it, some ritual that we stopped. Or well the hounds and Marquis Kael. Marquessa Regina and I were able to get him lose after the cultist were taken down. The forest was silent after that.." The way Rey spends this tale, it sounds both magical and very real. Must be something about the Moon-touched Mercy that makes sense.

Kaldur has heard this tale before but only now actually puts the three together, Marquis and Marquessa Keaton, and Lady Rey. His mouth rounds a bit and he nods, but still shakes his head at the 'travelled on moonlight' bit. That one's a puzzler.

Alis has seen too much weird stuff by now to even bother faking disbelief. So instead, she simply looks solemn at Rey's tale. "Poor baby unicorn." she murmurs, mouth downturned. "It's fortunate you had the hounds with you."

"Trying to intimidate you? Did you get the sense that it was them speaking, or was it someone speaking through them?" Natalia prompts Kaldur, smiling for the wave of the man's hand. When Rey tells her story she turns her attention there, and though it's brief, the smile that appears is encouraging. "Thank you for sharing," she says.

Kaldur adds quickly, "It was them, as much as I can understand their, ehm, 'themness.' They spoke of their master."

Shard looks a little sharply toward Kaldur. She doesn't even bother to hide her interest.

Rey simply nods gently, that smile that seems to linger on her lips is offered to those who look her way or express interest in what she says. Those who know Rey, know that speaking in front of everyone when it does not have to with healing is a feat in itself. (Natalia should be proud!)

Natalia smiles encouragingly at Kaldur. "Could you elaborate a little bit about the mud creatures? I think you have everyone's interest and curiosity both." She glances around the sort-of-circle for confirmation in other faces before she looks back to Kaldur and nods to him. "I know you spoke a little on them earlier, but there's been a lot to talk about."

Kael nods toward Rey when she speaks, and toward the latter of her words, he is inclining his head toward her. This is unmistakably a motion of gratitude. "It seemed to be a sacrifice. I can say that the forest that we went to, we did not walk back from it on our own, we were taken back in the same manner from which we came. I cannot tell you *where* the forest was. The other matter is that of a single black ribbon in the trees, yonder in the direction the herd went. I do not know if it is indicative of anything, but it is worth mentioning in case it is or it comes up again, that they are using these ribbons as markers of some sort." With that he silences, turning back to Kaldur.

Gilroy looks around when people keep saying a certain word. "To be clear, when you say unicorn you mean a horse with a horn on its head that is majestic and beautiful? Like the old kids' books about Garyl Glitterhorse, the spectral bicorn, but with only one horn? Because that sounds completely mad. Just, you know, in case people didn't know that." He sits back on the couch and uses the tines of his fork to mash up some celery root. "You go to the Academy of War expecting 'here's how to do a sea maneuver' or 'here's a guide to advanced flanking', not moonbeam dancing with magic love ponies."

"Who kept the baby unicorn horn?" Adora asks, taking a sip of wine. When Amari says something she snorts, "We clearly need a bigger wall."

Ajax's lips smack together as he listens towards the tellers, his brow furrowed with a mixture of curiosity and unease.

Kael offers as an aside to Gilroy, without missing a beat, "Duke Valdemar Grimhall is working on a naval academy that is within our network of Academies."

A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Jeffeth before departing.

"The baby unicorn," Natalia tells Adora, watching her for a moment before looking on to Gilroy. She doesn't answer him or comment about the unicorns, just turning her attention back to Kaldur expectantly.

A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Adora before departing.

Kaldur says, "Ehm," the young knight screws up his face, "I didn't see them much, focused on the ritual, but they were more or less human-shaped and rose up from the ground after rain fell, spirit rain, it was - and they had eyes of fire. My cousin, Lady Kalani suggested burning them and I have some recollections of Dame Morrighan's blade aflame and the mud creatures crumbling under her assault. Cillian's arrows flying." He shakes his head and lifts a finger, brows lifted hopefully, "So, to fighting mud creatures, fire is a good option. These anyway.""

Shard asks, eyes narrowing again, "What did they say about their master? Or was it just a variation of 'he will kill you all'?"

A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Jeffeth before departing.

Alis turns her head slowly, so she can look for Gilroy. "One must learn tactics for every situation, don't you think? Whether it is fantastical or not. I mean, we should be able to operate under any conditions, even possibly drugged. If we want to make it out alive." she points out, not addressing the realness of Unicorns or not, there. Just the notion in general.

Clearing her throat and sitting up, Carmen raises a hand holding a quill. "Excuse me, Whisper. Carmen Harol. I'm a medic, and I wasn't there. I had a few questions." She looks down at the notebook in her hand. "Back to the gargantuans. What was the countermeasure against the fear? And the, ah, 'bad potato soup' - did anyone touch it? Was it toxic? Oh, and right. They moved fast, but not /moonlight/ fast, right?" The questions come out in a rapid stream, but there's a lingering note of skepticism at some of the words she finds herself saying.

Dominique has left the a walnut wooden table stained a red-brown.

Metzger, a great grey shrike leaves, following Dominique.

The large Knight of Solace is pressing up to his feet, apparently departing. There's a glance over to Carmen and a slight furrow of his brow. Jeffeth clears his throat. "The countermeasure was the blessing of Gloria, made manifest through a servant of Gloria." Jeffeth explains and is starting for the door.

To Shard, Kaldur answers, eyes scanning the ceiling as he tries to summon the words from the cascade of strange images and sensations. He starts and stops again, "'You will die,'" he blinks and brings his eyes down to Shard, "'And the barrier will fall, and the God will devour all the spirits within.'" He lifts his hand, "But... bigger. Ominous."

Calarian settles more firmly back in his chair, arms crossing as he listens to Kaldur's account of the words. His lips purse faintly.

"I don't know about their gargantuan," Shard says toward Carmen, "but we were absolutely drenched in...everything, when it exploded. I've had no reports of any bad after-effects from the survivors." She looks back to Kaldur, and her frown deepens a little. "The barrier you were using at the glade, I assume."

Jeffeth has left the a walnut wooden table stained a red-brown.

Terese queries, "Were holy water and holy flame options used on the gargantuan or other things? If so, were either measure effective?"

"Thank you for coming tonight," Natalia tells Carmen aside, her expression pleased for the questions. As answers begin and then there are more questions, she smiles to herself and finishes off her drink. The empty glass is set aside and she settles back in her chair some, looking from person to person as they speak.

Scratching out some notes and looking to Shard, Carmen flicks a brief, slight smile her direction. "That sounds awful, but... maybe not as awful as it could have been. Thanks-

Scratching out some notes and looking to Shard, Carmen flicks a brief, slight smile her direction. "That sounds awful, but... maybe not as awful as it could have been. Thanks-" Natalia's comment has her looking up though, with open confusion. "I think we're all grateful you set this up, truth told."

white-tailed eagle, 2 House Riven Soldiers arrive, following Thesarin.

Again to Shard, "The one we raised by ritual, yes. With earth given us by Sparte, a pearl from the sea that, ehm, I brought, fire from Dame Morrigan's blessed lantern and wind from," he sweeps his and around. "I couldn't tell you how it was done, I didn't join until it seemed to take a toll on Marquessa Eilonwy and Shaman Bashira." He looks solemn, "Too late, perhaps."

"I can say we didn't try holy water or holy flame on the Evilcorn. And we should have thought to bring it. That's an excellent idea for the future. Perhaps it can be discussed with the Faith, to have some... portable supplies of such available the next time we will possibly face such creatures?" Alis addresses Terese's question, and glances over at Natalia and Kael then as well.

Delilah looks up from the conversation quietly held with Rowenova, and gives a slight shake of her head. "No," she says to Terese. "Holy water would not have worked given the vast size of the creature. Quantities required akin to a pond may not be practical, though perhaps if used as bombardment weapons, there might be a chance. You might ask Dame Harrow about the effectiveness of other holy, prepared items; I cannot speak to her efforts fully, but they may have been included."

Shard grunts. "So nothing unexpected. Which is...what /I/ expected."

A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Gilroy before departing.

Thesarin arrives late. He looks toward the assembled, looking around with a short nod to the speakers. He moves to take a spot close to the back, listening, as onobtrusive as a 6'2" shav in a Grayson nobleman's clothing can be.

Adora shoves the rest of her sandwich in her mouth, then abruptly stands and leaves, taking a glass of wine with her as she goes.

Adora has left the the refreshment tables.

Harlen arrives, following Duarte.

"I imagine that you would have the most success with that sort of discussion with the Faith, of any of us in the room right now," Natalia answers Alis with a smile, a little dip of her head that way. "I can help set up a meeting if you would like." There's just a hint of something playful in her expression to follow that offer, though it's gone again quite promptly as she looks over the assembled. "Does anyone have anything big to bring up that we've missed touching on?"

Carmen raises her quill again, looking for all the world like she does NOT want to. "There's one more thing, and... I know no one wants to talk about it or even if it matters so we can /not/ talk about it if that's so. But I have to ask: what happened to Sir Daemon in all of this?"

Alis gestures towards Terese. "I think Princess Terese would be an excellent point of contact to negotiate with the Faith on that. We all know I'm better at the flail negotiations than the ones requiring I attempt diplomacy." she jokes, looking over to wink at her cousin first. And then Natalia. Her expression turns more solemn at the mention of Daemon though. "It appears that Sir Daemon was felled by a cultist wielding a poisoned blade."

Sparte seems to have been rather out in his own world thinking and staring at, well, the bookcase again. Yet the recent conversation has brought him back to the present, and he raises a hand to Natalia's question. Then Carmen speaks and his hand goes back down to wait.

Ajax shoots Sparte an easy going grin, as he see him raise his hand, his own fingers moving to run against his stubbled chin.

"A valuable meeting," Calarian says, easing free of his chair and nudging it back into place as an afterthought. His assistant rises quickly after and the nobleman takes a step away from the walnut table before hearing Carmen. The question gives him brief pause, and he takes to fastening his coat while he listens.

"We had neither in our group," murmurs Kael in the wake of Alis' glance, nodding toward her as well as Terese. "I think that it certainly a good suggestion and should anyone," oh look, he is looking rather hopefully at Terese once more, a hint of a smile playing about his lips, "seek to pursue this tactic, follow up on the research and touch base with us to inform us of your findings it would be most appreciated." He glances to Delilah as well, nodding to her. When Alis follows up, there's a flash of a grin to her, though short lived for he sobers with mention of Sir Daemon.

A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Gilroy before departing.

Green eyes absolutely serious, Carmen bows her head to Alis. "Thank you." She clears her throat a little, forcing a quirk of a smile to lighten the air. "I promise I'm done now. I think, though..." And she trails off, flashing Sparte a glance.

Gilroy pushes himself to his feet, heading back to the buffet and topping off his plate before he turns and heads back out into the cold

"A messenger sent her way might be suitable," Delilah adds to Kael. His nod is met with a deep dip of her head, acknowledgment for the marquis something steeped in considerably less bon vivant amusement than she usually possesses. Once more she turns back to her conversation, quieter.

Duarte slows from a hustle when he enters, all quiet and respectable, but he seems a bit disappointed in himself for arriving so late. He quietly and unobstrusively makes his way in and focuses his attention on the forum.

"The wolf we fought," Thesarin rumbles out in a deep, slow voice from his place in the back. "It seemed to form out of the shadows in the dark. Spoke to us, first. Taunts. Threats. From each way." He looks serious, frowning slightly. "Ain't know how such thing could be brought to fight, 'cept by luring it out."

Kaldur shakes his head, "I don't have anything else. Not regarding defense of the Lodge."

Duarte has joined the a comfortable ivory leather and mahogany wooden sofa.

Gilroy has left the a comfortable ivory leather and mahogany wooden sofa.

Sparte smiles briefly for Carmen before he rises up from his chair. He turns to look around the room, eyes landing on Shard briefly before he looks to Natalia. "The Iron Guard will be adding a memorial for those soldiers of our number that fell within our halls, alongside the memorials of those who have fallen in the past. Sir Preston is seeing the fallen of the Faith are interred in a place of honor. I do not know the traditions for the fallen of the others who fought, but I ask everyone here to take time to put them in your thoughts. In whatever way you choose to thank them, to honor them." Sparte lets out a slow breath. "And that we consider others may join them. I am told maps have been found amongst the cultists. Maps with no clear purpose. I am investigating one such map that indicates a location in the Mourning Isles, I ask if any find such maps or are cartographers wishing to help figure out what they intended with them, you contact Pathfinder Lou of the Society of Explorers." Sparte stands for a few seconds more, not seeming sure if he should say more. Deciding not to, he quietly retakes his seat.

Shard's eyebrows lift slightly at Sparte's glance, but she says nothing herself. She merely listens intently as each person speaks.

"Thank you," Natalia tells Thesarin, nodding for Kaldur. Sparte's words have her bowing her head for a moment, though she brings her chin back up before he's finished speaking. When he retakes his seat, she smiles his way as well. With one more look over the group, she moves to rise again. "On that note, I am going to call this to a close for this evening. Thank you to everyone who came, I think we all got something valuable out of it."

Calarian remains still, listening. Sparte's ending request earning a slight nod. He straightens and departs then, moving off for the entryway at a brisk stride.

Calarian has left the a walnut wooden table stained a red-brown.

Philip, an overworked assistant, 2 House Wyrmguard Guards leave, following Calarian.

Kaldur nods and looks solemn at Sparte's words, brows twitching at the mention of maps and uncertainty and speculation that all is not well. He clears his throat though, as reports seem to be thinning, before murmuring to Rey and then stands moving to the table of refreshments and food to prepare two plates. Listening still. Just peckish.

"Guardsman Sparte, I would like to hear a little more about your efforts with cartography if I could. Not now, as it may not be the appropriate time, but if you might wait a little afterward?" Delilah looks at the half-full glass of wine for a moment, then back up to Sparte. He receives the quiet inclination of her head and that wide-eyed regard, taking in the gravitas of his other statements in measured statements. Then she nods, choosing to resolve herself back into being quiet behind the rim of that glass.

Sir Rhys, a Valardin Knight, Laurene, a military adjutant leave, following Alis.

Remaining seated, Carmen flips through pages in her book that are absolutely covered in dark, inky scrawls, dark lines and wild circles. She opens to a blank page and continues to write, sitting quietly as chairs begin to scrape over the floor. Briefly distracted, she offers a few of those departing quick smiles before returning to her work.



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