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Bastion Planning: Grayhold

The Princess of Bastion invites those involved in efforts to reclaim Bastion to attend to discuss issues relating to the castle, Grayhold. The agenda will focus primarily on ways to determine the state of the castle and to render it safe once more. Those who cannot attend in person are invited to make written submissions.

(OOC: all PCs can assume they are invited! I don't anticipate the event being very long. One of a series to determine courses of action relating to Bastion. Will run follow-up events as necessary.)

Date

Nov. 12, 2021, 5 p.m.

Hosted By

Liara

Participants

Mabelle Oswyn Fairen Audgrim Ian Eirene Gael Bhandn Patrizio Lou Ivy Damiana Symonesse Aindre

Organizations

Location

Arx - Ward of House Grayson - Grayson Mansion - Great Gray Hall

Largesse Level

Small

Comments and Log


Blue, a cantankerous western bluebird arrives, following Gael.

Situated at the head of the large table, a now-familiar sight to anyone attending such meetings in the hall, is Liara Grayson, with the also ever-present pair of senior house staff there, keeping a record of what is said. She rises to her feet as the time to commence arrives, her lips pursing subtly before she opens, "Thank you all for attending. The subject of this meeting shall be Grayhold. The Traitor's presence appears to have left it in an exceedingly dangerous state. That includes dead bodies being made to move. It includes insects. It includes things that look like plants but that move. Per the reports I have received, it may also have stirred up ghosts, or perhaps they are always present; if anyone has sounder insight on that, it is, if not welcome, then certainly necessary."

She takes a pause then goes on, "That is the crypt. Little to nothing is known of the castle above. The Traitor did not set foot in it, at least, beyond the crypt, but that is by no means to say that it is left untouched." A small gesture about the hall, "If anyone has immediate information to add, I welcome it. It is difficult to say what is likely to be encountered, but those with a broader understanding of what the Traitor does may be able to make suggestions."

Mabelle is seated upon the sofa listening to Liara recounting the information, "So the scouts only went through the crypt and not above? Is it approachable from underground then?", she wonders.

Oswyn quietly makes his way into the great hall as Liara begins the introduction and finds himself a seat at one of the tables. The Archscholar opens up his satchel and removes a book and some writing instruments.

Back at the map table, Fairen has his folio out and paper in front of him, focus trained on Liara after giving Mabelle a brief smile, listening to her question.

Audgrim sits at the end of the table, unmoving but alert as he listens to the Highlord. He scans around to see if anyone has something to add, frowning thoughtfully; there's a nod at Mabelle's question, as if he is wondering the same.

Oswyn has joined the a magnificent map table of Arvum made of oak and marquetry inlays.

Ian is also a familiar figure at this point, a familiar, slouching, slightly seedy figure sitting off to the side on a couch. He raises a hand, and offers the following insight: "Don't light the walking corpses on fire. It won't do anything except then you're fighting walking corpses that are on fire, and they're setting everything around them on fire." His flat voice has the disinterested ring of experience.

Eirene twitches a little at mention of walking dead AND bugs AND ghosts. She snorts a little at Ian's suggestion.

Liara confirms to Mabelle with a little nod. "They did. The main part of the castle does appear to be accessible too. I suspect that we might access it however we please. The danger is entirely with what has been left within."

She gives a small nod to Ian. "Thank you, my lord. In the interests of setting us on the correct course, what /is/ the proper approach to dealing with such entities? I gather from reports that plants may have, for want of a better way of phrasing it, grown within some."

Ian shakes his head. "The ones I fought didn't have plants in them, so it might not be the same. But taking off their heads seemed to work pretty well."

Keen to the darkest recesses, it should come as little surprise that Gael Crownsworn's issued forth from a particularly obfuscated angle of the otherwise well-lit hall. His ambling figure, made wider yet by the ampleness of his imposing greatcoat, comes to a steady halt beside Ian's seated figure. "Lord Kennex," he quietly accedes to the aforementioned, head taking an added dip. Soon after, his being neatens and postures forward; in Liara's direction. He's listening, it seems.

Ian has joined the a regal sofa with green silk cushions and silver accented carvings.

Eirene has joined the a regal sofa with green silk cushions and silver accented carvings.

3 First Legion Centurions, 3 Setarcan Royal Shields arrive, following Patrizio.

Gael has joined the a regal sofa with green silk cushions and silver accented carvings.

Mabelle grimaces somewhat, "Taking off their heads. Lovely. One needs stomping, the other needs head removing. So much grace". Mabelle though looks confused, "If the Castle is accessible, what did you mean when you said nothing is known about it, your Highness?"

Patrizio has joined the silver seasilk sofa of superb repose.

Audgrim has joined the long table of polished wood with griffins rampant climbing its legs.

Bhandn came with his assistant in tow, for taking transcriptions of conversations, the knight himself choosing to stay standing with his arms folded as he listens to both Liara and Ian. There's a profound raise of the eyebrow that Bhandn gives to Ian about not setting things on fire, and the other brow joins in right after at talking about decapitation. He doesn't have anything to add right now, but he does nod in Mabelle's direction when she asks about the castle.

Eirene settles next to Ian with a grunt of hello and falls otherwise quiet to listen.

"I would personally assume the castle has been looted, occupied by some force or another, if the Traitor's presence isn't strong there," Audgrim says thoughtfully. "But, it may be that no force think sit is worth defending after it is looted, either. Who knows."

There's a hint of Sebastian to Patrizio's appearance - certainly not the silks, since given the situation of late, the Pravus prince is in armour - but that he's late, and showing little contrition for being so. His soldiers are left near the door as he's making his way over to be more comfortable, with that ever-present folio of his ready, and a stylus out for him to take notes as the jade eyes lift and flit around the room.

Liara says to Mabelle, "Great swarms of insects began to descend on the scouting party within the crypt, making further examination deeply unwise. They escaped by way of the use of a spider given to us by the Nox'alfar, which was adequate to kill at least a few hundred of the insects."

A brief mention, "Having since had that placed on the table as an option, not previously realising the efficacy of the spiders, they are another tool for dealing with the harbour, although we just have five left. They will be applicable in Grayhold, too."

Mabelle nods thoughtfully, "Well they do have a lot of legs", for stomping.

"It expelled a web," Liara clarifies for Mabelle. A belated nod to Ian at his explanation. Then she asks, "Might anyone familiar with the Traitor's creations and leavings suggest what may have been left within the castle? We could scout it ten times over, but only find those things left near the entrances, and not realise some greater threat deeper within."

Eirene comments to Liara, "I think Lou's handling point on that intel gathering?" She frowns in thought.

Audgrim blinks slowly - the spiders is a surprise, but he nods. He's heard more weird things, though he does squirm uncomfortably at the thought of it. "Could it be the start of a Shardhaven?" he says suddenly. "If so, there is a core somewhere."

Mabelle tilts her head, "What kind of web? Is it something that can be humanly recreated? I mean, we made spidersilk, we can create webs"

"I don't suppose this is a problem that would be solved by fire," opines Patrizio, though there's not much of a joke within the matter, as much as he /might/ be known for suggesting it as a solution. He nods, along with Mabelle's suggestion, before he continues. "We might also consult with the Nox'alfar embassy about these things, given their keeping spiders within the confines of our city. But limits to what we can do without at least some reconnaissance."

"She is handling the matter of what the Traitor stole. I might clarify here that the meeting here is the timely eradication of what has gathered within Grayhold," Liara says to Eirene.

"Back then, when the Traitor breached the walls and first assailed the crypts," Gael says - or begins to say - in a manner best described as "everybody listen" as his hands come free from being overlapped against his abdomen, "No matter how much fire we lit, with the torches, laterns, and braziers, the bugs didn't care. They were *not* afraid." This, he says, with emphasis that betrays unease in its diction.

There's a purse to Liara's lips as she looks to Audgrim, and she takes a moment. "I do not properly understand such things, although it is sufficiently twisted as to be plausible."

She says to Mabelle, "I do not properly know, my lady. I can see about inquiring. I take your point."

Nods to each of Patrizio and Gael - she upturns a gloved hand in a small gesture to the latter. "In the case of those larger creatures, straightforward force was the only solution. We killed all those that were present within the castle yard, which is not to suggest that there are no more."

Eirene nods firmly back to Liara, that clarifies it. "I would suggest any further expeditions bring a spider, then, and reserve the other four for retaking the harbor, city, or future surprises. And also prepare for not only what's been named, but the wolf-men under his control as well." She pauses, "do you have maps or floor plans of Grayhold which might be useful in determining entry points or extraction routes?"

Mabelle concurs with Gael, "Fire wont work. Do you have someone you know in the embassay, General? Who can give the alchemists some... sample of the web their spiders weave? If it isnt magical, perhaps we can recreate its proprties", she looks to Liara for approval due to the delicate diplomatic atmosphere, but when she replies, Mabelle promises her, "If it is something that can be looked into, I'd be happy to dedicate as much time as needed for a swift solution"

Over the top of his spectacles Fairen stares at the mention of fire - it never fails to come up. "I think we'd like to retake the city whole as opposed to cinders. Especially if fire doesn't seem to bother them." Furrowing his brow and scribbling aimlessly, "Are they vulnerable to diamondplate and alaricite as most fiends? Was there any attempt at...ah. Any kind of force of will?"

"No one wants me having /any/ fun with copious fire," Patrizio says, in a tone that /might/ slightly be sullen, and a huff of breath, but a nod to Gael, as if he's not disregarding what's being said. "And the one time..." There's a scornful look for his folio, as he continues to write. Since there's clearly some taking up of his discussion of the embassy, the Pravusi prince simply smiles as he continues to take notes for his cousins.

"Would the next time be an attempt to retake it, or a scouting event?" Audgrim asks. "If aiming to retake it... do you need the crypts? Could collapse them. Focus on the castle itself. Crypts can be dug out later."

However good-natured, Gael's deep-lined features regard Patrizio's disparaging with worrying solicitude. "It is their shells, I believe. The flame does not cling to them, nor its heat abates them. It simply does not reach them in any way -- they are, you could say, built to withstand it," there's a beat, a clearing of the throat, then; "And if you are not careful, carry the fire itself." Gael, thus, shudders.

"Those beings which set upon people seeking to depart the city? Do you suppose that there might be more of them? I know functionally nothing about them," Liara says to Eirene, at the mention of wolf-men. "As for maps and plans, they can be made available in abundance. My own thinking on the matter is that it is best done by opening the front doors, and proceeding in methodical fashion from there. Narrow spaces are our foe's friend."

She looks next to Mabelle. "We do have five spiders, although I do not know if they can be made to 'expel' at will. I can inquire."

A remark to Fairen, "Alaricite, diamondplate, steel - what I would suggest matters most is a stout heart. They are most unnatural beings."

"There's also the question of whether what's been named already are the only dangers in the castle," Bhandn adds after a moment of brief consultation with the young man he brought along to write things down. "Do we know if any of his allies have taken up residence in the castle?" he asks Liara, turning his grey eyes to the Princess.

Mabelle nods thoughtfully to Bhandn, "I wonder if any of them had to remain within the castle to sustain the magic"

Liara then clarifies for Audgrim, "If it is possible to retake it, I would prefer to retake it. With the city's own walls having been breached, and various tunnels now leading into it, created by gargantuans, in the event of further assault or battle with by the Abandoned laying claim to the city, I would prefer a fortress that is at least moderately tenable."

She says to Bhandn, "I do not know, Sir Bhandn. Considering that a Su'tavi mage recently attacked villages in the Crownlands, one might assume that they are still in the region."

A soft sound from Patrizio, but a respectful dip of his head to Gael as well, as if he hopes that might convey that he meant no offence. "Not knowing much of magic myself," he voices, "I think that my concerns for anything that might be left behind might be tricks and traps of some sort. Things we might well trigger - not just during the retaking but long after. But one step at a time."

Eirene says, "We can discuss the wolves later, Highlady. But to the question, they do not seem susceptible to particular materials. Though I have fought giant centipedes of the Traitor's which seemed to be easier to slice through their segments with diamond plate. And Alaricite, would too, I would hazard a guess as such."

"Alright. I doubt we can prepare for everything in advance. Just need to tackle it when meeting it." Audgrim is a fatalist and able to adapt to new things. He looks around as there's talk about fire, and then quirks his lips in a wry tiny smile. "What about flushing them out with water. There are springs going into Bastion? For wells and what not? Maybe we can direct one into the crypts. If they can't burn, maybe they can drown."

Oswyn mostly just takes notes quietly, glancing up and squinting at someone when they speak from time to time.

Mabelle mentions to Audgrim, "I think they can swim. I saw them lift a corpse from a river and animate it".

Liara listens to Patrizio, then follows with a small gesture in assent. "Traps may be a problem as well as anything else, and we could speculate for hours and still not be able to conceive of the stranger of the Traitor's leavings. As you say, one step at a time, your highness."

She gives a quiet nod to Eirene. "A matter to consider if we elect to try this undertaking with a smaller team." A contemplative look to Audgrim. "Outright collapsing it would be most galling and potentially damaging to the structure of the castle. Flooding it is a different matter. Of course, it may not work and we would have to drain it again with hostile creatures still inside."

"It's worth considering, though if what Lady Mabelle says is true.... aye, we'd have a bunch of bugs and other critters still alive, trapped in water, so the problem would remain," Audgrim says grimly. "What I get from all this is that they are not weakened by any mundane means, and we don't have the power to combat them except with possibly numbers." He looks at Oswyn. "Or would a ritual of some kind be able to give us an edge? Calling the Gods? This IS Abyssal forces at work after all."

Oswyn looks up and squints. Peering in Audgrim's direction, he asks, "Are you familiar with the recent event at the Shrine to Lagoma? It might work. It might go very poorly for the people attempting it. A ritual is better than no ritual but it would have to be well-organized."

Patrizio nods when Liara speaks to his concern, and there's the dart of his glance to Oswyn as well, but the stylus pauses where it is upon the paper, as if he's waiting to hear about this ritual. "Does this require, though, having enough who've been cleansed to partake in such?"

Apparently not having much to venture on the matter of rituals, Liara simply elects to listen for the moment, hands laid to rest against the edge of the table.

Eirene is no Godsworn, hardly, so she listens to the idea of divine beseeching with eyebrows raised.

Ian is definitely wearing his skeptical face as the talk turns to magic and calling on the gods.

At Oswyn's mentioning of the Shrine, Gael visibly perks up. He seemed about to engage with Ian in some manner of quiet exchange, but he's taken out of the act and his silhouette quickly straightens to look at the Archscholar. "In their presence," Gael lightly begins, hesitant, speaking as though every syllable neared him to some unseen precipice, "Communion with the divine carries a great risk. Even the voices within they hear -- they know, I can say with absolute certainty, when we beseech the Gods. And I have seen it, too, that they have turned their very blessings upon us."

Oswyn holds his hands up, quill still tucked between the fingers of one. "No idea. I don't know if such a ritual exists already. All I can tell you is that calling upon the Gods without any kind of ritual at the Shrine of Lagoma did not have a lasting effect. Two people attempting the beseeching were gravely injured. Another is suffering as well. If we tried something, organized somehow, it might go better. We don't have anything that I know of on hand." He shakes his head. "That's me speaking on my own behalf. I am not the Dominus, nor the Carnifex."

Mabelle sits quietly and listens to the rest of the conversation.

There's only a grunt that Bhandn has to offer when the subject turns toward rituals to call on the divine. He has nothing to contribute to this discussion either, although he does quirk a brow at Gael's words, looking at the Confessor with an otherwise composed expression on his face.

Liara mentions after a moment. "I recall the words of Grandmaster Preston while we were seeking to address the Eurusi matter. Sometimes, we must put our trust in blood and steel. We can certainly add a number of ways to try to aid with that, but cannot put all of our trust in them working. Therefore, any plan we make must be one that can continue with no more than people bearing arms."

"I heard a little about the shrine. I didn't realise you'd invoked the gods," Audgrim admits. He nods respectfully at Liara. "Then... why don't you send in a whole army?"

"Best not spread around, in any case," Oswyn cautions. "The attempt at beseeching."

"I could. My concern then is entities that interfere with people's minds," Liara replies to Audgrim.

Gael has left the a regal sofa with green silk cushions and silver accented carvings.

Blue, a cantankerous western bluebird have been dismissed.

"You were there, master Audgrim," Gael recalls, outstretching a gloved hand free from inside his coat to motion vaguely towards the aforementioned. "The cost of life was far too great back then. You and I, even, were almost added to that very same toll. There must be a way. A different way."

Mabelle shakes her head, "They will just be slaughtered. Several means needs to be used together, we just need a little bit research".

Eirene snorts a little. "We have a lot of little tasks which need to be accomplished before a massive force can be deployed. Clearing the harbor and establishing a landing. Intel on what we're up against. And yes, that. The hive-mind. Losing our forces to Legion is a very real, very dangerous threat. The lure is... supposedly hard to resist," she says with a deeply etched scowl.

Willen arrives, following Lou.

"Ultimately, it is my hope that a sufficient number of other approaches /will/ be successful that the danger of the undertaking is much diminished, but I do not envisage a situation where it is not put to a final conclusion by the point of a sword," suggests Liara. "How much or how little force, and consequently loss, is required will depend on what other means are to hand and whether they can succeed. The Confessor, Lady Mabelle, and Lady Eirene are all quite right."

Treb, a restless direhorn, Rascal, a large striped skunk, Dash, a Kite of the Cloudspine, a feral Bastion kitten arrive, following Ivy.

Ian listens with a sense of detachment. He's watching everyone. He's definitely paying attention. But there's not a whole lot of reaction to what's being said.

Slouched at the map table, Fairen is partially out of it, but keeps focused on Liara and the words that are spoken as he jots notes down almost mechanically.

"As far as we have learned, and the only thing that has been thus far truly conclusive," Gael declaims only upon Liara's conclusion, the pitch of his voice enervated and dispirited as Inquisitors do, "Is that there shall be no solution that comes without sacrifice. But we all here know that. It is what this Confessor here believes we have all signed up for." Upon conclusion, Gael allows a brief silence to carry on his part, and he drags a hand through his hair self-effacingly. Addressing the table is mortifying to him, and he quickly sits beside Ian to escape.

Gael has joined the a regal sofa with green silk cushions and silver accented carvings.

Ian seems to sense JUST enough of the emotional content to Gael's sitting down to know that it's there, but not enough to realize that an extremely awkward pat to the shoulder is not the right response. So he gives Gael an extremely awkward pat on the shoulds.

Lou is hellaciously late and likely had been kept away by late explorer business. She comes into the Hall and settles against a wall so she can figure out where they are in the conversation at the moment.

Ivy is likewise running late to the meeting, and is disheveled besides! That last part is not so unusual. She brushes some straw and grain from her leathers and can do absolutely nothing about the appalling state of her braid, then tries to inch around unobtrusively until she can find a nice wall to hold up.

Oswyn is pretty quiet over at the map table, quill in hand as if poised to take notes.

Listening quietly to Gael, Liara eventually gives a small bow of her head, and offers in agreement, "You are entirely right. That shall go for all that we do to oppose the Traitor. What we must do is strive to minimise the sacrifice required. This is but one small part of a vastly greater conflict. Were it not, I would, by now, have called my banners and be marching to address the matter with simple brute force. Perhaps the situation shall still require that I call my banners, if new information comes to light. Let us hope not."

She puts a question to the rest of the hall, "Would anybody like to put forward their outline of a plan? It need not be perfect, but simply groundwork to go with. My inclination is to use the means at our disposal, be they ritual, alchemical, the spiders, to weaken the foe, and then to have a select group of warriors enter the castle, with a larger force to follow if dangers turn out to be more mundane. That is not exactly a sophisticated plan."

"Might I know what's been said of Grayhold and what our team found?" Lou speaks up after a bit, looking around the room. "Or was no one able to give a report of the dangers we found there?"

"The core details of the scouting report were made available," Liara relays to Lou. "Namely the dead people that were moving, the insects, ghosts, and the spreading of plants into corpses."

Lou nods her head to what Liara says, seeming to confirm that was all that happened. "There was was a strange sap in the crypts too that seemed to burn and nettle into people's skin, but they managed to not turn into anything from that. Ezra could probably tell you something about it. And, we were told there was some woman sitting upstairs surrounded by silken flowers. We thought that might be a mage, but we decided not to go check it out. Also, we really didn't have time as we were being chased by swarms of bugs. The bug animated corpse could talk, by the by, so I assume that was the Traitor or one of his minions talking through it. Probably the latter."

Liara mentions to Lou, after giving a small duck of her head, expression thoughtful. "There was a question about the potential of a minion of the Traitor. It has occurred to me that the Su'tavi mage that attacked those villages mightt have a base. Grayhold is one possibility, although it could be one of any number of other minions."

Ian seems to be having an intense discussion with Gael that involves pointing at his (Gael's) nose. But he does look up for a moment. "It might be worth clearing the palace itself before trying to clear out the crypts, assuming the mage isn't still in residence. That's an awful lot of bad."

5 King's Own Guardsmen, Tulip, a small swarm of pearlescent spiders, Aindre arrive, following Symonesse.

Lou nods in agreement with Ian. "My suggestion would be to definitely have someone go through the castle. See what's taken up residence there. It might require more than one trip, but the point of this one could be to see how far one can get and clear out as much as possible. Be mindful of traps and wary of potential mages or just others in general that might have moved in. The ghosts or the rest can be handled separately. Deathspeakers would be needed to put the ghosts to rest, much like those at the harbor. I'd suggest someone who is familiar with the castle to go with the group so they know where the nooks and crannies are where things might hide."

Patrizio is still settled where he had been, the now-and-again lifting of his head while he's taking notes. Ian's comment, though, gets the faintest crease of a frown to find his features, but he's hard pressed to disagree, and not just when Lou's adding in her weight to the suggestion. "Would it make sense to take someone to purify the place regardless, as the group that goes works? Let us assume that there's going to be corruption throughout, perhaps, having been touched by what it was."

Worry is seated heavy and perpetual across each of Gael's stacked brows, its burden only increasing with the many tribulations laid by the many necessary tasks ahead. Topped, now, by talk of the palace. His chest swells with the fullness of a long breath, that once released, precedes his voiced agreement with both Lou and Ian, "One, two, three trips, we'll make them." The mention of 'deathspeakers' gives the Confessor a moment's pause, one he spends feeling the contour of some symbol, or token, underneath the fabric across his chest.

Ian looks between Lou and Patrizio. "I just mean that the palace sounds like it'll be easier to clear than whatever's under it. It'd give an easier staging area to tackle the rest."

Lou gives Ian a dubious look. "I don't actually know that it'll be easier. But there's definitely more space to give a base of operations of we can reclaim it and hold it."

Lady Astraea, a provincial Oathlander, Frogshield, the Oathlander battle turtle, 4 Valardin Knights arrive, following Damiana.

Liara's gaze turns between the various speakers, quiet and attentive, then she ventures one thought: "If there is an entity within the castle that is bringing forth more inimical creatures, be they insects or otherwise, then it is possible that being slow and methodical shall result in more harm to us than a bolder move."

Mabelle checks 'recovery check' at normal. Mabelle is successful.

"There's also a good chance that the 'plants' that have been encountered aren't actually plants... but bugs masquerading as plants. As with the shrine. So the initial intent of using reagents and concoctions that have been used against other plants in the past may not be as effective as we initially thought," Ivy pipes up from her spot, glancing around. "Were these plants the work of Blight or Emerald, there would be more we could do... but if they are truly bugs, there is a good chance that some of those measures will be less effective."

Tulip have been dismissed.

"It'd also send a clear message, your highness," Gael tells Lou, albeit his voice is subdued, the cadence in his speech almost crude. But decisive. "The rightful keepers have returned, and their kind is no longer welcome."

Ian snorts. "If the insect swarms, ghosts, walking plant corpses, walking regular corpses, and whatever those nettle things are is the EASIER option, you guys are in some trouble."

Trying their best to avoid any disruption to the proceedings under way, a small entourage escorts Princess Damiana towards the gathered group. Her hand resting on the arm of Lady Astraea, she leaves the guards behind and makes her way closer to the lively discussion.

Oswyn makes a sort of little cough at Ian's words.

"What /is/ it with the bugs?" Patrizio's not making light of it, though he's clearly listening, and he's making more notations. "If those are what might await on the surface, one'd wonder what worse things could come on their heels. Especially if fire isn't effective." He's been listening, yes.

"I'm just saying we don't actually know what's in the castle at all, other some vague reference made by a bug plant corpse that exploded into a ton of bugs." Lou remarks tilting her head in Ian's direction, "and it shouldn't be entirely labeled an easier option. I'd rather go in with a healthy sense of doom and be proven wrong." And with that she flashes him a bright, chipper smile. "Or, you know, be prepared for the unexpected."

6 Grayson House Guards, Thistleton, an elderly and devoted manservant, Liza, a young and energetic bard arrive, following Macda.

6 Grayson House Guards, Thistleton, an elderly and devoted manservant, Liza, a young and energetic bard leave, following Macda.

Gael couldn't help but seem mortified by the many given examples of would-be threats here-shared. Habitually, he feels at his wrist as nervousness onsets, and looking at the ground, Gael visibly mulls for words. For an answer, to both Patrizio's question and the debate as a whole. "There is a lot, about the bugs," he turns to Patrizio. "They are an omen as much as they are a means. I am not sure how to explain it, however. I really... can't think of how, besides experiencing them."

Listening to Ivy, Liara offers over, simply, "A sensible caution, my lady. I had not even realised the possibility until recently." She says to Gael, "It would. It is for a not dissimilar reason that I am most reluctant to collapse any part of the castle, along with the more pragmatic view that the fortress is more useful intact."

A mild observation is made to Ian's words, "This is certainly one of the more complex issues."

The arrival of the Queen with Prince Aindre is preceded by the slight commotion of the arrival of the King's Own. Symonesse very patiently dismisses them since, if she were safe anywhere in the city, hopefully it would be here. She steps into the Great Gray Hall on Aindre's hall, seeming a little tired and careworn herself, as if some of the shimmer has been rubbed off her usual bright warmth. They slip in in the midst of discussion and she murmurs something to her companion before finding a place to sit as inobstrusively as possible.

Lady Astraea looks around to determine the best possible seat outside of the immediate vicinity of the gathering. Finding a suitable perch, she slowly walks with Damiana, and then is guided into a seat. She sits silently, listening to the conversation about her, absorbing as many details as possible.

Ian straightens up a little bit with the arrival of Symonesse and Aindre into the hall, even if he doesn't go as far as to actually rise respectfully. His electric blue eyes follow the both of them.

"A bug plant corpse that exploded into bugs?" Fairen asks with a disgusted grimace, his eyes peering over spectacles at Lou. "As if bugs and speaking corpses weren't enough on their own?" Pushing up his glasses, he dips his head respectfully at Aindre and Symonesse upon their arrival, then Damiana next. "Finding out the nature of these insects seems to be paramount. Of course, once we're actually inside of there I expect that would be a little difficult."

Prince Aindre arrives with Queen Symonesse on his arm, in quiet conversation with her besides the part where she's sorting out her guardsmen. In the span of finding a seat first to make the Nox'alfar comfortable and then in sitting himself, it gives him a little time to listen to what some of the people are saying in the room around him. "I just got in and I'm still catching up, but I'm going to have to agree with Highlord Liara that collapsing parts of the castle might make for a disadvantage. I'm not sure if would even work on some of what's in there, if that's the idea.", he interjects, before listening a little more. There are nods of recognition for some people, a wave for another, a brief and quiet smile for a few.

Lou grimaces a bit. "It was just the one. A corpse, with flowers for eyes and moved by bugs."

Gael's altogether unaware of Symonesse and Aindre's arrival until the man seated beside him, Ian, suddenly arises. Instinct leads his narrow gaze around, looking for the justification until spidersilk and pearls incandesce to reveal the why. With due haste, the Crownsworn arises, his being stupidly unfurling from the couch to offer an equally clumsy bow to the Queen. An immense droplet of sweat hangs off of his temple.

"Isn't one really enough?" Patrizio's still not joking, though the words might not be the best chosen about the matter. When there's the arrival of the queen, he does rise to his feet as well, with a dip of his head for Her Majesty, before his opinion comes to his lips. "We can't assume there's still just the one anymore. It's been time enough for them to have more of the things, so I'd be inclined to agree about bringing someone to investigate a little while the groups work to take back the palace."

Damiana leans ever so slightly to Lady Astraea as the murmurs go through the crowd, whispering softly. Lady Astraea returns a brief whisper, and then Damiana rises. "Your Majesty," offers the Princess, a gentle nudge from Lady Astraea pointing her properly at the Queen in term for a curtsey.

Continuing to listen to various people, Liara passes one comment, "I might note, as was suggested earlier in the meeting, that I would intend for any substantial move to resolve the situation in Grayhold to be conducted after matters elsewhere in the city have been disposed of. If those problems prove more difficult than currently anticipated, for example, if the Abandoned are substantially reinforced, or if we cannot find a means to deal with the Traitor's leavings, then an earlier foray into Grayhold might be made. We might for now, however, operate under the assumption that some substantial part of the city will be secure, since that will surely affect considerations."

Symonesse offers nods and gentle smiles for those that greet her in turn and looks immensely relieved once she is seated. Her hand is slow to release Aindre's, if it even bothers to at all. In the midst of speculation and discussion of strategy, the Queen is quiet, but attentive, considering what she hears. Then, in the wake of Liara's statement, she raises her soft voice to say, "If you take back Grayhold first, it could give you a base of operations as well as send a message to those that currently occupy the city. Some of them might retreat just at the presence of House Grayson back in their city. But, while I say that, I realize that the coordination with resources is not something that is necessarily within my purview."

There is a silent bow given by the lurking Knight of Solace for the arrival of the Queen, but Bhandn's silence does not last for very long afterward, as he speaks to the room at large as soon as his back is straightened out. "IF, and I use that word very dubiously, if the bugs there are the same as those at -- " Bhandn has to pause for a second, frowning "-- those at the Shrine, do we not have an opportunity to devise a plan for dealing with them right in front of us?" he asks. His arms fold as he speaks, but his eyes dart from one person to the next. "One assumes that the Traitor's methods are the same, as those of his minions. I feel like solving the problem here would be preparation for the one there, but perhaps I am wrong in that particular thought. I confess, I know very little about this particular matter compared to many of you, but is there anything to suggest that there is no correlation between the two, the Shrine and what is lurking at the castle?"

Lady Astraea has a quill and ink out, furiously taking notes of the details being discussed. Damiana's vacant gaze lies somewhere in the general direction of the din. They both remain silent, just listening to the discussion.

"The bugs in the crypts did not like light. They kept to the shadows," Lou points out something as she remembers it. "But I imagine he has all sorts that he controls at his whim."

Oswyn reaches up to pinch the bridge of his nose, like he perhaps has a very mighty headache.

"Like moths to the flame, many other bugs were attracted by light, too," Gael comments beside Lou, realizing that he's yet stood, from his bowing to Symonesse. Clearing his throat, he then clarifies uneasily that, "I do not think it'll be possible, master Yvar, to predict all ends of this thing. I fear that we can be as informed as is possible, then do what is best with that once each circumstance arises. Now, about the Abandoned..." The Confessor leans lightly away from the table and its long map, gazing down and across its topographic etchings. "They don't fall under my scope of knowledge."

"I think it quite important to remember that these are not, in actuality, true bugs. We cannot expect them to act in a manner of whatever insect they take the form of. Wasps, centipedes... they are not normally flesh-eaters. They seems to actually be extensions of their master, just given individual form but driven by a hive mind." Ivy sighs and shakes her head, "Magic makes things so strange..."

Liara upturns a gloved hand in a light gesture of acknowledgement to Symonesse, considering that for a moment before she replies, "I take your point entirely. There is certainly powerful symbolism to it. However, we cannot tell what House Blacktree will do with the prisoners that it holds if they so much as spot a griffin banner on the horizon, and so their rescue shall have to be the first matter to be undertaken. On a pragmatic note, an open harbour would rather ease the movement of supplies and soldiers."

She doesn't appear to have any helpful answer for Bhandn or input on the related matters, simply reverting to listening for the moment.

Lou notes for Symonesse's sake, to maybe help further explain Liara's train of thought there. "It was pointed out at an earlier meeting that the Blacktree hostages are being executed."

Patrizio opens his mouth, and then closes it, before he's going back to writing down on the leaf in his folio, with an expression that speaks to his having not known of that complication.

Ivy's insight resonates with Gael, who upon hearing it takes back an exasperated step to descend again into the couch's single-limbed embrace. His vision, then bearing, both turn downward to idle at his boots. Still vaguely aware of the ongoing debate, a wince then cuts across his already whip-marked face at the hostage's fate.

Prince Aindre breaks from his listening to offer up, "I support the idea of retaking Grayhold. There are parts of Bastion's walls which are collapsed now, but the Grayhold still remains mostly defensible with minimal work if we manage to bring it under our control again and hold it. It's from there we can expand our efforts.", looking between the people joined into the conversation as he speaks with measured confidence. "When I approached Grayhold with my cousins Lou and Reese and some others, it was nightmarish. But we had no forewarning of what awaited us and our numbers were few. It's true that what we witnessed there could be worse still now, there has been time to spread, but I believe with a coordinated effort between groups and the right tools for the job, it's one we can succeed in." After he gestures to Liara, "As has been said though, the harbor is a problem still and it's our best entrance. These hostages are also a problem. We'll need to handle that situation very carefully, and quietly if at all possible."

"Then... wouldn't it make more sense to coordinate the attacks to occur at the same time? Launch strikes on House Blacktree and Bastion at the same time, so there's no chance for Blacktree to get word and move forward their own timetable?" Ivy looks to those that are tactically-minded. "Or... rather, perhap an attack on House Blacktree should be coordinated with one on the harbor. Rescue the hostages and clear the harbor. Set up a forward camp at the harbor to drive further inward and retake the castle?"

Ian shakes his head as the subject ebbs back over to House Blacktree, and takes a flask out of an inner pocket of his coat.

Her face tipping upward slightly, Damiana continues to listen carefully. She speaks up, suddenly, cool voice carrying forward. "I apologize if it has already been said. How many number the hostages?"

Symonesse nods her head to Liara and then says, "Understandable. Getting prisoners freed from House Blacktree is a priority. They used to hold some of the land around Bastion. A very, very, very, VERY long time ago. Back then, they lost many members of their House and were unable to hold onto their land. I imagine that they have felt an entitlement to Bastion. There is very powerful symbolism to the Dream in regaining something that was lost because it is such an interesting story, but also to the mind. Which is why I suggest the retaking of Grayhold because of the morale victory that it represents for your people." She lapses into quiet once more, listening to the others with the tiniest of frown thought on her pale face.

Liara offers some further clarity, mostly for Aindre and Ivy, "Princess Denica Thrax and Softest Whisper Cesare are assembling teams to effect the retrieval of the prisoners. The matter is in hand. It is my intention to lead in forward elements of our own army, as well as rangers provided by House Leary, to drive them from the city thereafter." A beat of pause and she goes on, "The problem of the harbour is somewhat intractable. A plan is, in very broad terms, in place. It will need substantial revision. I will concede that it may delay other undertakings if we wait for it. I also see the sense to Lady Ivy's suggestion."

A contemplative look is turned to Symonesse, a small inclination of her head given. "Very well. Then we should remove slow and methodical from the table and elect for bold. The one caveat is that we are, to some extent, guessing at what must be done to achieve the goal. If there is indeed a mage in the castle, it would simplify matters."

She looks curiously on over to Lou, "Did you think the woman with the flowers might be one?"

Her reply to Damiana comes with a faint purse of her lips, "Unfortunately, we do not know."

Lady Astraea leans over to Damiana and murmurs softly to her. Damiana nods in acknowledgement of the answer. "If someone afterwards can provide me with some direction, I should like to determine at great haste how many lives hang in the balance there." She then falls silent.

Lou gives a shrug of her shoulders, "We did not see her," she glances to Aindre as she says this since he was there. "She was upstairs, and we elected not to go up there. We could only make assumptions. And, eally, working with that assumption is still a better bet than going in blind and then being confronted with that. You can plan and if you have the right contacts, maybe get some protection in advance."

Some Scholar or another hustles in and pokes Oswyn on the shoulder; they exchange some quiet words. Oswyn ends up nodding and getting up out of his seat, packing his things up again quickly and quietly before ducking out.

Oswyn has left the a magnificent map table of Arvum made of oak and marquetry inlays.

Liara adds as some belated clarification: "When I say 'simplify', I do not mean 'make easy', but rather 'present to us a clear target'." She says to Damiana, "We probably will not know until such time as we move to rescue them."

Then her attention turns to Lou and Aindre, and she gives a small nod, returning to listening to people again.

Frowning at that answer, Damiana nods slowly in understanding. "Let us pray it is in time for enough of them." Lady Astraea places her hand gently on Damiani's shoulder, but the Princess's face betrays no emotion at the statement.

"Pathfinder Lou is right. We won't be going in as blind this time as we were last time." Prince Aindre agrees, then he goes on to say. "If we go together with our fire and our faith in groups steeled for the dangers there, it can be cleared out. Then as Queen Symonesse says, it will be a morale victory. It is also a victory before the Dream, where that symbolism matters. But the together part is important. It's all of us together with our many allies which the Traitor fears the most, and why he's worked so hard as of late to cut us off from them and to divide us as a people too. If a mage awaits us somewhere in Grayhold, so be it. Mages bleed and burn. I'd rather it be a mage than vestiges of the Traitor's corruption left there and still at work."

Lou seems to be nodding in agreement with Aindre there. "The absolute last thing I want is for Grayhold to be turned into a shardhaven. It starts with the area being corrupted."

Liara inclines her head lightly to Audgrim and Lou. "Sir Audgrim gave the very same caution earlier." Liara then draws in a short breath, apparently taking the moment to think, then she goes on to say with a look about the hall, "We cannot plan for things that we do not know. We shall make all possible preparations that may ease the passage of any party to enter the castle, be they alchemical, the usage of these spiders, or otherwise, but it will be done boldly."

She takes a brief pause, and concludes, "With that in mind, I might ask of the people here if anyone wishes to volunteer for the matter, in the understanding that, for every preparation that we can endeavour to make, it may ultimately be no more than a stout heart and some steel against the most sinister of our foe's workings."

"It does seem like Grayhold would be a particularly important blow to strike for multiple reasons. I would rather it be a mage than some abyssal abomination as well," Fairen murmurs with a resigned expression, gazing up at Liara. "While I am happy to volunteer and try whatever is at our disposal, I am useless with a blade or any other weapon. That might make me a liability should it come to that and Iliana sent word from Leaholdt that she will be indisposed there for the forseeable future."

The Queen listens intently to the making of plans, but offers nothing else for the moment. As talk wanders into the horrors that might away in Grayhold, her golden eyes light up as if with an idea. She doesn't voice it right away. Instead, warily, Symonesse looks over at Aindre and murmurs something, lifting her pale brows as she bites her lower lip.

Patrizio continues to take notes, listening to the back and forth and contemplating the various aspects of the plan. And in the midst of it, one of his soldiers comes over, pressing a sheet of paper into his hand, which he takes a few moments to read... and then with a sigh - and the stuffing of the thing into his folio - the Pravusi prince offers a faint frown before he rises from his place and follows those men forth.

Patrizio has left the silver seasilk sofa of superb repose.

3 First Legion Centurions, 3 Setarcan Royal Shields leave, following Patrizio.

"One would be honored to be of service in helping your House reclaim its ancestral home, Your Grace," is all Bhandn has to say on the matter, with a short raise of his hand upward. "If you'll have me." He leaves it hanging at that, saying nothing more.

Gael very gently emerges from within his fusion with the couch, up to his feet, looking from Ian to the masses; from the masses, to Liara. And from Liara, to himself. "Well," he, to the surrounding table, hazards only after Fairen has spoken. "As I wrote to you, your Grace, I shall serve the King's house. It has been willed. You need only tell me how, and I shall endeavor to serve." In this regard, he matches Bhandn's own stance almost entirely.

Calling out in a clear voice, Damiana responds to the call to action. "While I am afraid I would be nought be a detriment on the scene, please know that I will do whatever I can to support this effort."

Ian has been having a long, and probably pretty dark (judging by facial expression and general carriage) conversation with Gael that comes to an end as the other man focuses on the room at large, again. For his part, Ian sinks back into a slouch and regards Aindre and Symonesse.

"If you have a stout heart, we can find a place where you can help.", Prince Aindre says by way of inviting Marquis Leary. He rises up from where he'd been settled to assure, "Nobody will go there without our best protection nor will they be asked to do anything a Grayson would not do. I will be going. I'll be proud to be a part of helping to erase the scourge of this corruption from Grayhold, and go deeper still than even when last we set foot in there. Not only because it is my home, but for the same reason I set foot in the Saffron Chain against the slavers, because we are a Compact and together we are fearsome." He stops for a moment to straighten his tunic and clear his throat before sitting again, leaning in to murmur something to Queen Symonesse after.

"Thank you, Marquis, your highness," Liara replies to Fairen and Damiana, and then she ventures, "There is much to be done about Bastion, and only some parts require capacity to use a weapon."

When Bhandn and Gael each rise, she gives a small inclination of her head to each. "Thank you, Sir Bhandn, Senior Confessor. I would be most glad to accept your assistance in the matter and have no doubt that you shall acquit yourselves splendidly." A smile over to Aindre then. "Thank you."

"I will, of course, be honored to help out anywhere that I may be of use and not a hindrance. I don't wish to get in the way where someone with sharpened steel would be more useful - but where I can be of use, there I shall be," Fairen states firmly to Liara, Aindre and Symonesse after readjusting his spectacles. "We have always been loyal to Ashford and Grayson, this is our duty."

Willen leaves, following Lou.

Liara's bowed acknowledgment humbles Gael, him whose left arm he finds draping across his chest before returning the gesture, only that he dives much deeper than the Highlady. Bowing. A subtle smile then lights up his hollow face, like a ray of sun breaking through a dim stratosphere. He seems glad, almost, to gain the grievous risks he's just made himself beholden to. That being said, done, and sworn, Gael Crownsworn turns to the couch and collects his hat from its center cushion. He seems about ready to leave, but looks to Ian first for A Thing.

Gael has left the a regal sofa with green silk cushions and silver accented carvings.

Lady Astraea leans over to murmur to Damiana softly. Again, Damiana nods back to her. She inclines her head, vaguely in the direction of those gathered who are now leaving.

Liara extends a light smile to Gael at his response, though her attention does not linger, taken as it is by the rest of the hall. She replies to Fairen, "There are matters requiring a slower approach than any application of simple strength; of course, you have been here to discuss a few of those."

She puts a question to those in attendance in general: "Has anyone further views to present? We might also move to any other business that people wish to raise, including regarding previously discussed plans."

Symonesse tilts her head at whatever Aindre murmurs in response to her and offers a few words back of her own before the departures steal her attention away for a moment. That little frown lingers on her pale features. It looks out of place. Her mouth was made for smiling, her eyes made for warmth, not all this seriousness and concern and fear that seems to have taken root upon them like an unwanted weed.

Waiting for a few moments to see if anyone else has other business, Damiana murmurs to Lady Astraea again, who taps something softly on her arm in a pattern. "Has there been discussion regarding the Chain of the Moon?" offers Damiania, as conversation seems to draw quieter.

Liara turns a curious look to Damiana. "It does not sound familiar, your highness. Perhaps I have a note on it somewhere but I certainly do not recall such."

"I have nothing further to present.", Prince Aindre says, "I have been reviewing the records of the previous meetings and it seems as if we have a solid footing even if there is much to do and prepare still.", that last part mostly for Highlord Liara's sake. He rises from the seat he's taken and offers a hand to Queen Symonesse, though mention of the moon from Damiana does draw his attention, a certain worry furrowing his brow just gently.

Aendal, a jumpy and introverted bookworm leaves, following Bhandn.

A nod, in the general direction of Liara's voice from Damiana. "Very well. If it has not come up, no need to take up time here. Thank you.

Ian rubs his forehead and sinks deeper into the couch when the moon is brought up; his demeanor shifts from 'neutral' to 'neutral but also really weary'.

The very mention of the moon makes Symonesse flinch a little, but she manages to keep herself from reacting too overtly. Instead, she swallows back that initial response and takes Aindre's hand to use it to rise to her feet. She gives Liara a bow of her head and then says quietly, "Thank you for letting me sit in. If there is anything that I can do to help, please let me know. Given what was taken from Bastion, it is not safe for me to join in on the missions, but if there is anything else." She shrugs helplessly and shakes her head a little, as if irritated with her own uselessness.

Ivy straightens from her wall lean and shakes her head, "Nothing at the moment, I will stand ready to assist where I am most useful. Be that as a healer, an alchemist, or otherwise." She pauses, then adds, "If large numbers of the bugs are expected, I can offer a contingent of Blackrams direhorns. They have... experience... with stomping out those particular minions."

Liara doesn't query the matter with Damiana further and simply gives a small smile. "Thank you, your highness." To Aindre, she says, "Much to prepare indeed, but I am satisfied with most of what has fallen into place so far, I must say."

A hint of apparent confusion takes her features at Ivy's offer, before she simply smiles and says, "I will welcome any help forthcoming. Many of the creatures are expected, indeed. Thank you, my lady."

She replies to Symonesse, a moment's contemplation taken, "Being that you recall House Blacktree, if you happen to have further information on them, it would certainly be helpful. I remain very much uncertain as to what strength may be arrayed against us if they decide to oppose our move back to Bastion, as seems probable, whether they are a small house with a grand title, or have the strength to match calling their leader a duke.."

Something about the idea of direhorn stomping out abyssal bugs draws Fairen's attention Ivy with brows lifted over his glasses. "Really? I think I should like to see that sometime. Perhaps take some very interesting notes, sketch it out. Put it in my library," he muses, then snaps his head around to nod at Aindre and Symonesse. "A pleasure to see you both, Your Highnesses." His eyes fix back on Liara and he dips his chin. "Very good. I will be ready to crack open the books and assist any of the Godsworn with their rituals. I was able to do well with the Archscholar Sina and Legate Cassandra. Perhaps I still can." Brooding for a bit, he exhales and tilts his head at Damiana. "Princess Damiana. I haven't seen you in some time, all has been well I hope."

As Damiana turns slightly in the direction of Fairen's voice, Lady Astraea leans over and whispers briefly in her ear. "It has been, Marquis Fairen." She manages something of a smile. "These times that we live in truly test our resolve. How have you fared of late?":

Ivy offers a faint smile and murmurs, "A story for another time. Suffice to say, had the direhorns not been there when the centipedes attacked, Blackram would not exist now." She offers a small bow towards the Great Lord, then turns to offer a warm smile to Symonesse. "I would love to have tea sometime soon. At your leisure, of course, Your Majesty." Straightening, she turns to Fairen and gives a nod, "Of course. Treb is at the stables just now. I try not to being him indoors anywhere. A bit like bringing a Graypeak Mountain Dog sized bull into a room."

Liara replies to Fairen, "I do not understand such matters well, my lord, and so shall simply wish those involved every success with it. I can provide material aid if needed." Then she quiets, looking about the hall for another moment.

Symonesse gives Liara a nod and says, "From what I know, House Blacktree once had the numbers to support calling themselves Dukes of the Gray Forest, but that was a very long time ago and they have lost must since then. I don't think they have the power to oppose House Grayson. They saw an opportunity and they moved in to take it. If they could face the might of a Great House, they wouldn't have waited until this point to make their move." She hesitates a moment and then says tenatively, "I suspect you could negotiate with them, if you were inclined. They weren't the ones that attacked Bastion. I don't think they are allied to the Traitor. But I also know how the Compact feels about the Abandoned." She shrugs her delicate shoulders a little. She turns her head to smile at Ivy and says quietly, "We should find time soon, yes."

No longer taking notes but just scrawling along the edges of the paper, Fairen gives a faint smile to Damiana. "Alright, I suppose. My lands did not get sacked but I have my own wondering behind that. It's good though, as it leaves us rather fresh to assist with Bastion, then I can work on our own strange, ah. Issues." Blinking behind his glasses, "I am glad to hear that things are going well in the Oathlands. I recently heard..." But he suddenly goes quiet, looking around. "Lou left?"

Damiana opens her mouth to respond to Fairen, but his search for Lou removed the opportunity. She closes it, so as not to trap flies.

Liara's actual thoughts on this matter are very probably somewhat in line with how the Compact feels about the Abandoned, especially when they are in one's home, but her reply to Symonesse is simply a small smile and a, "Thank you. I wondered at a point at whether I might need to call the banners. I will be glad not to."

Eirene has left the a regal sofa with green silk cushions and silver accented carvings.

Carissa, a Southport bodyguard, Planchet the Lycene maggiordome leave, following Eirene.

5 King's Own Guardsmen, a small swarm of pearlescent spiders leave, following Symonesse.

Symonesse leaves, following Aindre.

Ivy looks towards Liara and Symonesse, considering her words carefully before offering, "It might be helpful... from a standpoint of not alienating the prodigal Houses we currently, if we could negotiate with Blacktree. To show that we are not responding with the stick over the carrot, so to speak. There has been some small rifts showing between the longer-standing Houses and some of the prodigal Houses. This could be a chance to kill two birds with a single stone."

Suddenly, Fairen realizes he left Damiana saying something mid-sentence and turns back with an apologetic expression. "Sorry. I realized that there was something that I needed to ask her - rather important - when I mentioned the Oathlands. My mind is kind of all over tonight, Your Highness." Sighing, he slumps back in his chair. "You were saying?"

A shake of her head, and Damiana moves on. "No bother. I was going to say that I have been tasked with investigating the Chain of the Moon. Have you heard of any such thing?"

"Your Highness." Ian addresses Damiana from across the room in a thick Isles accent. "I'll talk to you once this is done."

Lady Astraea quickly leans over to murmur into Damiana's ear. The Princess nods slowly to her handmaiden.

Liara's response to Ivy is fairly simply, "They entered my home and have seemingly killed a number of my people, my lady. I understand the sentiment of wishing not to undertake further warfare while there is the Traitor to be dealt with, but justice must be exacted."

Planchet the Lycene maggiordome arrives, delivering a message to Liara before departing.

"I understand, Your Grace, and I would hope that the perpetrators would be dealt with swiftly and justly. But this is a people that are more than just those responsible for that heinous act. The elderly, the children.. the infirm.. those who had no part in it should not have to suffer for the pride and ego of those who thought to gain advantage over Grayson. Have justice, but show mercy... the innocent should not have to suffer," Ivy lifts a small shrug and offers a faint smile.

"The Chain of the Moon? I have not. Tell me more? If you would like help looking into it, I would be happy to do so. My student spends most of his time doing nothing but taking up space and eating while ignoring his lessons," Fairen states to Damiana with a most disapproving tone in his voice. "If nothing else, I am at least good for that."

Raising up a finger for a moment before Fairen, Damiana leans slightly in the direction of Lady Astraea, murmuring softly. Her whisper concluded, Damiana speaks in a normal tone with Fairen. "There appears to be many things going on at the same time now. One of which is that the Traitor appears to be chaining the moon. Hence what all but I can see plainly in the day." Lady Astraea watches Ivy for a moment and makes a couple of quick notations on a piece of parchment.

"I do not suppose that many such people have been brought to Bastion," Liara suggests in response to Ivy. "I shall see that care is taken that nothing that would offend the Faith will happen."

A look around the hall, and a few words, "Thank you all for attending. Our next meeting shall deal with the matter of the cathedral quarter."



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