01.12.3014: Dinner Party for Three
Summary: Erik and Ana invite Anabethe for dinner and conversation.
Date: 6/November/2013
Related: None
Anabethe Erik Johana 

Great Hall - Obsidia, The Crescent
The Great Hall of the Shard looks more like something from the Vale or Landing than the seat of a Crescent house. It is made entirely of white marble, with fluted columns encircling a great dome. A great battle rages around the interior surface of the dome, a mural of the defense of Obsidia during the Second System War. Chips of obsidian form the blood of Hostiles and the Falls themselves, while bright colors spread elsewhere to present the heraldry of the knights and the colors of the landscape and sky. Beneath the domed roof is a wide expanse, able to serve as a dining hall, dance floor, audience chamber, or courtroom at need. Holographic fireplaces line the walls, providing light and heat without smoke or the need to feed them. Trophies from various hunts line the walls below the height of the dome, rhinoceros horns, elephant tusks, lion heads, and more.
January 12, 3014

A formal invitation was extended to Lady Sir Anabethe from both Erik and Johana Ibrahm, to join them both for dinner. The Great Hall was set up for a dinner, one that is for a smaller party than the more extravagent affairs that had been held in here before. The lone table is the center point with everything else cleared away and there is seating for three as well as place settings for three. A servant is already on hand with wine, while Erik is standing at Johana's side at the table while they wait for their honored guest to arrive. When Anabethe does arrive, she would be escorted in by another servant to the Great Hall.

Anabethe, as is her custom, hasn't made much show of arriving in Obsidia. Nor has she gotten particularly dressed up. She's clean, and she's not in armor, which is really about all anyone can expect from Bethe when it comes down to it. "Ana," she calls as she's shown in, smile flashing. "I heard congratulations were in order. Sorry I haven't been down to offer them in person recently. Erik," she tips her chin toward the Valen, smile wry.

Dressed in a red tunic style shirt that covers that little baby belly she's getting and black loose fitting pants. Johana is standing at Erik's side, rather formally, that falls away as soon as Bethe arrives. When she sees Bethe, she offers a hug and a bright smile. "Thank you, I am so scared, but everything will be fine. We're excited." She waves away the apology. "Please, that's not necessary. I'm just happy to see you."

Erik, being a Valen, is dressed up for the event but not extravagently so. Perhaps being an Ibrahm now has rubbed off on him in more ways than one. He is in his formal noble outfit, with a militaristic fashion design due to the stiff high collar. When the servant announces Anabethe's arrival and the Lady Knight herself appearing, the Valen's attention shifts from his wife to the visitor, his demeanor immediately changing to a more stiff and formal nature. Waiting for the exchange between Johana and Anabethe is finished, Erik bows his head respectfully to the latter, "Anabethe, thank you for coming. Welcome." There is certainly a spark of excitement in the Valen's eyes but he is well schooled in keeping his demeanor in check, especially in front of guests.

"There's nothing to be scared of," Anabethe waves off the concern, returning Johana's hug warmly. "It hurts, but less than getting your guts torn out or your ribs busted up, and it's something your body is actually meant to do. Unlike being ventilated by Hostile swords. So. I'm sure you'll be just fine. How have things been otherwise?" she asks, moving comfortably toward the table, her casual demeanor a sharp contrast with Erik's formality.

Reassured by Bethe's words and hug, Ana steps back and smiles. "It seems to be happening fast. Still seems like we just got married and now here I am. I found out by ultrasound what the sex is.." She leaves that mysterious, flicking a look to Erik. "Things have been fine, thank you. Erik is running twice the patrols lately because I'm unable to for now." She motions towards the small table. "Would you join us?"

Erik smartly stays silent when the two women exchange womanly experiences, trying to remain inconspicuous as he could only imagine what it's like, and it is something he prefers not to. When Johana mentions the ultrasound though, the Valen can't help but smile, one that has a touch of pride in it. When his wife extends the invitation to Anabethe to join them at the dinner table, he moves to the soon to be mother's side to assist her, always doing so despite being shoo'd away plenty of times.

"Why do you think I got it out of the way long before the Hostiles were going to be here?" Anabethe sympathizes with Johana with a rueful smile as she settles into a chair. "Are you keeping the sex a secret, or just teasing me?" she asks in turn, smile flashing.

Gradually, Ana is getting used to the overprotective nature of Erik while she is in this state, but she shares a quick smile with Bethe. "Thank you, Erik," she tells him softly. Her husband was still an enigma to her most of the time, but that look of pride isn't missed. She also has a seat, after Bethe, because she knew Erik wouldn't sit until she had. "Wise of you, Bethe." Though she winks. "I'll let Erik tell, he's been wearing that same look of pride since he heard the doctor say."

At her mention of thanks, Erik leans in and grazes his lips at her cheek in response before escorting her to her seat at the table once Anabethe had settled into hers. Only then does he move to his own seat, motioning to the servant with the wine to start dinner, which begins with the pouring of wine for all three though Johana's is rather watered, with a second glass that is just water on the side. When Johana lets him share the news, the Valen can't help but speak, "A baby boy, the future heir of House Ibrahm will be a boy."

Anabethe chuckles softly at Erik's excitement, reaching for a glass to raise it in salute. "Congratulations, Sir Erik. Your boy sperm was successful. This time." She winks at Johana, leaning back and making herself comfortable. "It's good to see both of you again. Sometimes I feel like I don't see anyone lately unless it's a wedding or training."

Ana reaches for her water glass and lifts it, then takes a drink, smiling behind the glass at the pride she can hear in his voice. She just couldn't help it, he was so cute. Returning the wink to Bethe, she laughs. "I feel the same way. I should come over more often than I have lately, more like I used to. I miss my family." Her Khournas family.

Reaching for his own, Erik raises it as well as Anabethe congratulates, "The Valen stock is strong, despite what the Khourni think." The answer back was light-hearted and meant is jest, but it also foreshadows to what is most likely to be discussed at dinner tonight. For now though, there is no rush by him to leap into the subject as the servants now arrive with the first course, salad and soup, with a variety of dressing to choose from. "Or on the field of battle." When Johana brings up family, Erik does think back to his own back at the Vale, he certainly has had no time to visit.

"It's sperm, Erik. I'm pretty sure they're pretty standard," Anabethe smirks at the Valen, amused. "I had a visit from Niko the other night, though, speaking of. Wanting to get everyone to join in on more mass assaults on the Hostile bases. I'm not sure I agree with the strategy, but I was thinking some joint maneuvers would probably be good for all of us."

Brows lift when he makes a joke of the Khourni's attitude towards the Valen, but the come back from Bethe has her lifting a fist to her mouth and coughing, trying not to laugh out loud. Ah and then the matter is brought up, but for now, Ana remains quiet about it, preferring to see how Erik led it as she begins on her salad.

The smirk is returned in equal amusement and then Erik turns to the servant who brings the first course, thanking him before he begins after putting the napkin on his lap. "So you received a letter from my brother as well. He does have a point, about closing the bonds between Houses, since the Realm's common enemy has returned. Problem is, coming together is much harder than just simple words or joint maneuvers, years of going against each other is hard to shed."

"Not a letter," Anabethe shakes her head, then pauses. "Well, there was a letter first. But he stopped by the gym." She grins, taking a drink. "That was fun. But yes, we've talked. And I'm not sure I agree that it's all that hard," she adds, arching a brow at Erik. "It's always seemed to me that it was the Valen looking down on us and not wanting to work together. Working together is what we Khourni do," she points out, spreading her hands in front of her. "That's how a shield wall works."

Ana also places her napkin on her lap then reaches for her water glass again, taking a long drink. The letter had still gone unanswered, though perhaps this would be the beginning of an answer for it. "I do agree, when the Hostiles first attacked, we were on the first ship to them to fight. You were there, I was there, we were all united in the attack and the tactics of it. To continue pushing them back further would be the best for everyone here. It's grim when we find them on our own lands, blowing up our factories as if there is no security or patrols there at all. I want them gone from Obsidia and I am willing to do what I need to assure the safety of the masses." She gives a solemn nod to Bethe, about the Valen not deigning to work with the Khourni. "It seems they are willing now."

There is a thinning of lips when the blame is placed on the Valens, Erik shaking his head slightly, "The Khourni are good at working together, I'll give you that, but with each other. There were even issues with one of Ana's own knights, working with the Valen. And then there was the issue with my Lord Father." Who use to be the Knight Commander of the Realm until he was dismissed by a certain person. "But I will attribute that to the Old Guard. To me, working together is not just fighting at each other's side, it's to be there at each other's sides without seeing House colors or blood lines. And it has to be from top-down, not just the commanders saying those words about unity, the soldiers have to feel it too."

"No offense, Erik, but I'm not sure you and your brother can really look at the issue of your father in an…unbiased manner," Anabethe points out. "I'm not disagreeing that there was something a little off about the whole thing, but it's also not impossible that there are actually better commanders than your father." She takes a sip of her drink, shrugging. "Either way, no one's disagreeing that we ought to be working together."

Preferring to remain neutral on that point, Ana doesn't offer anything further at the moment, finding sudden interest in her soup and her water. Yes there was a certain dynamic at play she wouldn't touch. Her husband and her liege. She was well and truly in the center.

There is no protest from the Valen when Anabethe suggests that there are better commanders in Haven than his father, pride almost had him speaking up immediately but clearer thinking stills his tongue. The servants do come, trying to remain unobserved and out of the way, bringing out the next course when the first is finished. The Valen is now too focused on the discussion to really see them coming and going, food a second thought as well though he does continue to eat while listening, "I think we need to go a step further than working together. I am not sure if my brother was thinking of going this far, as I have not had a chance to speak to them first, but I believe that we should begin exchanging units as well, perhaps a full company of various House soldiers." He knows enough about Warcraft and Commanding to know that it is not an easy thing to do and it will hamper current unit cohesion, "Bonds are stronger built when soldiers not only fight together but live together. It will also mean convincing the current Knight Commander as this will affect the realm greatly and tactics moving forward. Which is why we wished to speak with you first, Lady Sir Anabethe. We are your vassals, and if we are united on this, it will send a stronger message, instead of just a Valen spouting nonsense wearing Ibrahm colors."

"Again, I don't disagree," Anabethe shakes her head. "We've all got our own specialized forces, and we need to be making decisions based on the needs of the area. I'm not averse to trading a few forces here and there. Though we have to be smart about it. There aren't, for example, a lot of places in the Crescent where horses and cavalry are going to be much use. Just like it'd be a bitch to transport infantry deep into the plains of Rohven. I was actually thinking of running a joint training exercise soon, give people some more practice in working together."

Lifting her gaze to her husband now, Ana has a smoldering pride in her. He had spoken the way he had seen it and didn't back down despite anything. When Bethe agrees, she nods and finally inputs. "All of those are good ideas, though we do need some immediate action. I can pledge no more than myself and my husband offering himself, without your say so. I would like to offer some of the Ibrahm knights to participate with both you and Sir Niko in uniting all of us, every House, despite past differences. The matter of the Knight Commander is a sensitive one between the houses of the Crescent and the Vale, but it's not an insurmountable one."

Hearing that, Erik nods his head as he was also thinking about the local terrain of where units would go, "Of course, but it will give each exchange unit experience fighting in terrain and situations they are not use to. Which will be of great use, especially if these units become vetted, when we strike against the Fifth Planet." Yes, the Valen went there, even before the invasion had begun, the youngest Valen in that line was thinking not only of pushing the Hostiles back but actually defeating them this generation. Perhaps it is the delusions of grandeur that Valens are accused of having. When Johana speaks, Erik turns his gaze to her and smiles, nodding his head once more.

"I'm less concerned about terrain and more concerned about chain of command," Anabethe grimaces, reaching up to rub a hand at the back of her neck. "That's the biggest problem I've seen when we get people together from various places. Everyone wants to be a hero, no one knows who's actually in command, and no one follows orders. That factory explosion? If people could have followed commands, we might have had time to get the capable people in to the bomb sooner."

With a grim expression, Ana nods to Bethe, rubbing a weary hand over her face. She had been briefed on exactly what had happened. "We got some random Citizen trying to play hero as well as a ward from Sauveur and some Blue Sister? I don't mean to say I am pleased with what happened and I have yet to speak with them about it. Sir Thalo hasn't even come by yet. I went by the hospital where the Sauveur was housed, but she was too ill at the time for visitors. What would you do, Bethe?"

The mention of the chain of command being fuzzy doesn't sit well with Erik as well, "That is the problem with having integrated forces on a temporary and impromptu basis. Once unit exchange begins, then they will have more time learning and getting use to the new chain of command of where they serve. In the end, they must remember that they serve the Realm."

"Can't say I've come across anyone who thought any differently." Anabethe takes another drink, shrugging. "I'll set up some times for it. We do need the practice, and I'd like to prove that I can hold my own as a commander, honestly. Should take care of a few things at once."

Ana falls silent again, just looking in between the two. She reaches for her wine this time, as watered down as it is and takes a long drink. "I'll just figure it out," she mutters, tossing Erik a glare. Damn the hormones.

"We'll all figure it out, Ana. I'll be back from the front more after the next few days." As if on cue though, a servant does come to Erik, whispering something to him. This causes the Valen to frown before looking at Johana and Anabethe, "I beg your pardons, but I need to excuse myself. There is an update from the front that I am waiting for and they are awaiting a reply. Please continue with the dinner."

At the interruption, Ana looks up, her expression neutral as Erik excuses himself and asks them to continue. She nods to him before looking back at Bethe. "Thank you for coming tonight and I hope we can all get everything settled with the others and live in relative peace again."

"Well, you'll have to talk to the Hostiles about the whole relative peace thing," Anabethe says ruefully once Erik's left, shrugging as she leans back. "The Valens take this whole rivalry thing way too seriously. We talk a game, we play around. But no one's going to let the Hostiles win just because Valen and Khourni disagree with each other."

Ana watches Erik go, her expression still veiled until he is gone, then she visibly relaxes. "I just don't know about all this, Bethe. He's so painfully proper and polite." Though she says no more about it, instead, she smiles. "You would be amazed what accord and harmony does for morale, Bethe. I know I fight a whole lot better when I am not on the outs with one particular Valen. Even just one makes a difference. Maybe think about that a little bit too, you may think it makes little difference, but it does. We're all marrying into each others Houses, we have to get along because now they are all family."

"He's a Valen," Anabethe shrugs. "Does he make you hang up his clothes after you rip them off?" she teases, smile crooked. "But no, just because we're different doesn't mean we can't work together."

"If I say yes, does that incriminate him on being entirely too proper?" Ana says as she rises. "Thank you for coming. Bethe, It was so good to see you again. I'll come see you soon as he allows me out again."

Anabethe arches a brow, shaking her head as she stands. "You're a grown woman, Ana, he doesn't get to tell you where to go. Unless that's your thing," she teases, winking once. "It was good to see you. I'll keep in touch."

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