06.24.2013: Khournas Ibrahm Family Meeting
Summary: Everything Politics. Oh, and Alcohol.
Date: 24 June 2013
Related: None
Anabethe Asher Johana Michael Nitrim Reena Thalo Victor 

And a special appearance by:


Great Room, Blackspyre, Volkan
This room, as the entry to the living quarters of the Khournas family, is about as sumptuous as things get in the Blackspyre. The floor is sheathed in black tile, heated from below by veins of magma running through the tower itself. Deep red carpets have been layered over the tile across most of the expanse of the room, softening footfalls and providing a visual sense of warmth to go along with the physical one. One wall of the greatroom is taken up by a large 'fireplace' where one of the heat-proof transparent tubes filled with lava can be seen pulsing and roiling its way up the tower. Around the other walls are a scattering of drakeskins, paintings of battle and hunt, and shelves of holobooks. Several couches and chairs are gathered in clumps around the room, providing seating for twenty or so with ease. Opposite the lift is a corridor that leads back into the actual living quarters and a private drawing room, with the entrance to the corridor guarded by two men-at-arms at all times.
Monday, June 24, 3013

With the family of the liege and vassal houses called together, it's time for a family meeting! Course it's Khournas and Ibrahm and we all know all important decisions are made with alcohol, so there's plenty being offered around. Course most carry it on themselves already via flask. There's some sort of sandwiches and other things around too, but mostly, those are untouched. As for Johana, she's just leaning against a wall waiting for people to arrive. When they do, she looks around with a smile and motions to chairs. "We're all opinionated and I just thought it'd be a good idea to get your input on a few things."

Leaving his precious coat back in his room, Nitrim strolls into the room wearing a sleeveless, black tunic that shows off the recently healed scar on his left arm, a relic from his foray with the Hostile. No longer so pale and tired-looking, his eyes are wide as his heavy, buckled boots grace his way across the floor towards one of the chairs. As he travels, he grabs a bottle of local beer by the neck, a quarter of sandwich that he lops onto the plate, and takes his impromptu buffet helping with him. He stops before the table, tosses down his cigarette case and a lighter, and then slips into the seat. He settles into a long-legged lean and cracks the cap off of his bottle. Damn the pain medicine.

So when the Wall got an invite to some family meeting, he was all like 'Fuck that shit.' Then he saw the note said 'be there' and he was all like 'Fine. 'So the doors open and the Wall comes through them dressed in his finest. Which looks an awful lot like his standard jerkin, shirt and black leather pants. Not the shiny kind of leather. He's a man, not a clubbing narcissist. He's moving with a slight limp, which given the fact that he's still technically supposed to be confined to a bed makes sense. He eyes the chairs that are motioned towards and pulls his flask out waggling it towards Johana, "Where can a man get a proper drink?"

Michael hobbles in from the lift, using his sheathed long sword in a cane like fashion though he walks as though trying not to limp. He looks fatigued. He doesn't pay attention to the large selection of alcohols, and moves to stand just a little distance from Johana. He doesn't speak, just makes like he'll stand there the whole time unless told otherwise. He's in plain black military cut uniform tunic, pants, and boots, the bulk of his bandages noticeable through the right pant leg.

Victor has actually gotten out of the armor that has become his day-to-day attire with the Hostiles on-planet, putting on normal clothes in deference to the occasion. He nods companionably to Johana and Thalo, "Ana, Thalo. Good idea gettin' people sittin' down. Less likely to go for the throat." His teeth flash white against his swarthy skin, and he looks curiously at Michael before he nods, "Right, Ana's pup." He nods again, then heads on toward the buffet, collecting a beer and popping it open. He leaves the foot where it is, moving over toward Nitrim and offering out the bottle to clink with his cousin, "So, how did you like the taste of combat?"

"You know, Ana," Anabethe says as she strides into the great room, wearing her usual work out pants and tank with her hair in a ponytail and tattoos on display, "It's a good thing we're friends. Otherwise I might take exception to being summoned in my own home." She flashes a wolfish smile, pausing to grab a bottle of beer and a sandwich for herself before making her way to 'her' seat, a particular chaise in the grouping.

Nitrim taps the lower half of his bottle to Victor's and takes a swig. "Nothing says life like being so close to death. I look forward to the next one until all's black, Cousin." He salutes his cousin with the bottle, flicks open his cigarette case, and pulls one out. With the edge of his hand, he bats the case to slide towards Victor as he lights the cigarette with his open, Awakened, palm. His cheeks suck in as he takes the first few puffs, blowing his smoke towards the ceiling. "But, you know, seeing as how the Lash-Vassals just had one of these, Sister…" He turns his attention to Anabethe. "I'm glad she did. Gives us a chance to hash this out."

"Hey Slick," Ana greets Nitrim when he comes in, she's wearing a grin that widens as Victor greets them. "Yeah and I got the turret set in a circle above the chairs, so anything gets out of hand, boom. I take over the Spyre." While Johana is replying to Victor, on his whole go for the throat comment, she reaches for one of the bottles of harder liquor, lifts it to read the label and offers it to Thalo. "There you go, Freefill." Winking as she hands it over. "I've had a lot of yours lately, it's payback." As Beth strolls in, she laughs, "Course you've always made me feel at home, so I forgot it wasn't mine at first." Reaching for another bottle of beer, she actually makes it two, and offers one to Michael. "Take a load off, Michael, have a seat, that leg's gotta be smarting right about now." When everyone is there and greeted, she looks at them all and can't help the look of pride. Her family, whether by blood or not. "So, I just wanted to keep this all informal and stuff. Just needed a few opinions. Emund or Janelle?" Let the games begin.

There is a particular directness to the way in which High Lord Jevon Khournas enters a room. He doesn't specifically demand attention, nor does he put up with needless flourishes or fanfare. He determines a point of destination, and he goes there. This is how he enters the family's Greatroom. He steps through the lift doors, he walks straight to where he can fill his cup with the darkest of the Khournas ales, and then he walks straight to his designated chair — a wingback chair that everyone knows as his chair — and he sits. If anyone even considers standing up to acknowledge his presence, he waves them to sit with a single, precise gesture. His children are the first to experience his gaze, and then he glances over the others, giving each a simple nod of greeting.

Michael seems a little surprised by the change his knight has had, he accepts the beer. Then glances at the seating arrangement, clearly not sure where to sit. "Thank you, sir." he says softly, and considers still where to sit. Eventually he just chooses one nowhere near either end and not in the middle. When he does sit, he rests his sword against himself. Currently he doesn't make show of touching the beer.

"It's not even a question, Ana," Anabethe shrugs, dipping her chin respectfully when her father arrives before she looks back to the others. "Emund's the heir. He's been named, he's been chosen. So that's who we stand behind, until or unless the King says otherwise. Janelle's no more a choice than Sophie is," she declares, taking a swallow of her beer.

Victor takes a pull of his own bottle, "You sound like a fuckin' Grantham." He waves off the cigarette, "Fuck man… you know I ain't stickin' anything in my mouth that hasn't been rolled on the thighs of Terran virgins." He looks over to the entrance from the High Lord, giving him a dip of his head that's close to a bow and then pulling over a chair to straddle the back of it. He nods at Anabethe's words, "Plus, too many of those poncy little Valens hanging around her. They'll have us all riding around in circles instead of cleaving Hostie heads."

Thalo takes the offered bottle, unscrewing the cap from his flask and with the deft precision of a man with smaller hands, begins to pour it in. It's looking pretty good till he turns to see High Lord Fucking Khournas walk in and pours some on the floor. It's not like hasn't seen the High Lord before. It's just that he's usually doing something impressive, like training Knights or crushing foes. Or saving his daughter. Things like that. Not limping around, and drinking. His attempt to recover ends up with more on his hands and the Knight winces as he'd twisted to try to keep from spilling. He puts the bottle back on the table and shrugs, taking a swig from his flask and move over to a chair at a slow, limping pace.

Setting his bottle down, Nitrim looks over to Johana as the name Slick gets tossed over towards him. He lifts his jaw in a sudden uptick, acknowledging her with a smirk. The ridge of his hand to his brow, he gives her a little salute and reaches for his sandwich. Only…he doesn't pick it up. His father's presence is something he almost feels the moment that he enters. Eyes shifting to the corner of their sockets, he looks over to Jevon Khournas as he enters, makes further eye contact, and then decides to leave his sandwich alone. Grantham. He smirks and looks over to Victor, stealing his cigarette case. "The problem, everyone, is that Prince Emund is inactive as of current and even the news is starting to report that something needs to be done. Princess Janelle has the momentum." He says to the room, avoiding eye contact with Jevon Khournas as normal.

"Prince Emund lost his fucking wife," Jevon points out after he takes a solid mouthful of his dark ale. "Let's not belittle that fact here, or anywhere. Princess Ysabella was loved by everyone in Haven, and by Emund the most." He looks dead-on at Johana. "She's been cold and in the Necropolis for less than seven months. He may be inactive, but the man is in grief. Even the Granthams allow their kin longer than we've allowed him to get over his loss." And then he takes another swallow of ale. "So, why doesn't someone tell me why Princess Janelle is better?" And since Jevon never asks questions he doesn't want to know an answer to, he must be expecting someone to speak up.

Reena has been quiet to this point, sitting in one of the chairs with her hands folded in her lap. She's in a pale silver gown with red inside the sleeves and golden details here and there. Now she stands and looks around at the rest of the family. "She is craftier, more underhanded, more ambitious than Prince Emund," she states flatly. "Which is precisely why I don't recommend backing her, Father. Janelle wants things her way, no matter what. No matter tradition, right to rule, allies, enemies. She's a manipulative creature who is only concerned about getting her way." She smirks at that. "I should know, I'm just like her. Emund will be more inclined to listen to your council, and to that of the people. He can be swayed by sense and logic. Janelle, I doubt, will listen to anyone."

Michael isn't really a part of the 'family', however he does know something of the Royal family from both Sir Corbin and his mother. He tends to side with Prince Emund, as did Sir Corbin. He glances to Johana with a look of, 'may I speak?' and if he's given the okay he will. If not, he's content to just listen to the family discuss their views.

"Princess Janelle can have all the momentum she wants. We're the wall, and she'll be crushed against us if she rises up against the rightful heir," Anabethe grimaces to Nitrim, shaking her head. "Why do you think she's sending you pretty little blondes? She knows she's not going to actually win any of us over. The Valens might be distracted by the next shiny thing to come along, but we know loyalty, and family." She stretches her legs out in front of herself on the chaise, crossing them at the ankles. "We ought to put some people next to him," she adds with a look to her father. "Watch his back."

Victor crosses his arms over the back of the chair, looking back and forth as people speak up. When there's a moment's pause, he responds to Anabethe in his gravelly voice, "There've been plenty of young siblings who have taken the throne. If King Symion decides to name Princess Janelle Heir, what do we do then, Beth? Are we still the wall to crush her?" Tapping his beer bottle against the back of the chair idly, he nods his shaven head over to the youngest of the main line, "Nitrim's got a point though. She's active. But is that enough?"

At first, Johana doesn't input anything, because she is of the same opinion as the rest of them, silently agreeing. As the High Lord joins, she offers a respectful nod to him, along with a half smile. "I agree, everyone has the right to mourn and a Prince is no different.." At the question from Michael, she smiles. "Sure, this is an open meeting as far as I am concerned unless High Lord Khournas has any objections?" It's a question, yes it is!

The outside of Nitrim's cheek rolls with his tongue beneath the skin as his father replies, taking a bit of bite with the man's words. A little bit singed by his elder, the burn is met with the hair standing on the back of his neck at the mention of the Saveur blonde. He brings his fist to his teeth, coughs, and then reaches for his beer. "I'm not downplaying the loss of Princess Ysabella. Janelle may be a bit more progressive than Emund, but rightful heir or not the decision hasn't been made yet, has it?" He nods his head in time with Victor's words, trading his beer for his cigarette once more. He taps the ashes and brings the cigarette to his lip. "I've heard from the Daltons the Lash-Vassal meeting was a mess, and that future-crown politics is in the motion. I've heard from no less than three other Awakened of connected dreams on the issue, and I should have details coming in soon as to whether or not we're talking dozens or thousands seeing golden eagles on scales." Before Michael can ask his question, Nitrim dares to look to his father's face. "Like it or not, we're about to walk into a fucking mess."

The Wall himself has remained silent up until this point, taking another swig from his flask. He pulls out a cigar from his pocket, lighting it up. He puffs at it a few times, leaning back in his chair and propping his feet up on a table. "This is about honor and loyalty. Edmund is next in line. That's all that fucking matters right now. Janelle is a schemer. We have no need for a schemer who craves politics over duty leading us during a war." He takes another puff, "So if we need to, we get some people closer to Edmund, we make sure he starts becoming active. And we keep him protected to ensure nothing happens to further degrade his claim." Ok, that might just be paranoia, but the Wall did get so named because he sat idly by and let things happen.

Jevon meets Anabethe's gaze, and he gives his thick shoulders a roll. "I won't be sending you if that's what you're asking, Anabethe. Your duty is here, in the Crescent, making sure those… what are you calling them now, Victor? Hosties?" He smirks to Victor before he looks back toward his daughter. "Making sure those Hosties stay away from our people." He takes another mouthful of the dark, almost bready ale. "But, I see the merits of your suggestion." Then he shakes his head at Johana's question. "Let the boy speak." Though now he looks at Nitrim at his words. "I'm not disagreeing with you, boy. It is a fucking mess, but I want to know why you seem to think that we're better throwing it in with a woman who doesn't even know which end of a sword is the one you stick'em with. I'm not asking for my health. I'm asking because I want to know what Janelle even brings to the System besides a rumored virginity and a shit ton of ambition?"

Michael nods slowly and prepares his words carefully. When he does speak its clear and confident, "Prince Emund is fully trained in warfare, he's shown his mettle and with his leadership this war could go a lot smoother. Princess Janelle is a political driving force, she's quite capable of talking her way into and out of any situation." he pauses, "What the system needs right now is Prince Emund. Someone who can lead us in this time of war. He's going through a pain I know personally and it won't be hard for him to want to fight, but when he sees he has the support of the people and of people that are essentially his family, he'll firm up again and make the tough decisions. I know this, because it has happened to me with Sir Johana's encouragement and her support." he pauses once more and concludes, "Prince Emund's support from us shouldn't be questioned, how we support him should be."

Jevon does regard Reena with a smirk, and can't help but say. "And that's why you'll make a good wife to a good Lord." So there. And then he looks toward Thalo. "As I said, the suggestion has merit. But, sending anyone to support Emund means taking you from the field, and that requires thought."

Reena smiles sweetly at her father, but when he turns his attention elsewhere her smile fades rapidly. Yes, that sword of Damocles is forever hanging over her head. She looks to Thalo, eyes softening for a moment.

"Please, sir, don't throw me in that briar patch," Anabethe drawls with a faint smirk for her father, taking another drink. "I'm as interested in settling in Landing as I am in being used for Hostile research, but he's family, and he's alone right now, and I wouldn't put it past someone as ambitious and sly as Janelle to use his good nature against him. We can't safely bring him here, not without leaving Janelle free rein to meddle in affairs in Landing, but we can find some people to stand next to him. Surely we can spare a half a dozen knights for an honor guard."

Victor shrugs at his uncle, grinning fiercely at the older man, "Hosties, Hosses, metal-faced mother-fuckers, depends how pissed I am at the time." He looks about the group, gesturing toward Michael with his beer bottle, "Ana's pup puts in a good point. But I'd go one further. What the System needs is Emund, snapped out of his funk." He takes a pull of his beer, "Can we treat him like he's made of fucking glass, Beth? You ask me, he needs a good sharp smack upside the head, not more of an honor guard."

"I don't think we're better off Janelle, not with the invasion and not with Emund in his prime." Nitrim responds to his father, coolly. "She's smart. She's a politician. She's no-doubt got a network. Those the things that she's good at. The point that I'm trying to make is that while she's got her eyes on the crown, she's got the aid of other prominent members of the Vassal Houses, and if we throw our lot completely in with Emund and she outmaneuvers both Symion and Emund, she's going to remember who her friends are." He looks to Anabethe, saluting her with his cigarette. "Right now Janelle is dedicating probably most of her time to securing the throne while Emund is stacking grief on top of grief and already the press is depicting him as idle. If he doesn't have a good network of his own, he's blind right now." Again, he nods in turn with Victor. "Prince Emund needs to wake the fuck up or we'd better start considering where we'll stand if Janelle sees us only in his camp. Plain and simple."

"Perhaps we need people in both camps? Does Janelle require more handmaidens? I could see if I can keep an eye and an ear on her, while others work on snapping Emund out of his funk?" Reena offers. Surely Landings would be a great place for her to shop for a noble husband too right?

Jevon does seem to be regarding everyone's words, and so it probably surprises none when he snorts and gestures with his cup. "Fine, lets just marry the both of them together and then everyone gets the damn ruler they want." He shakes his silver-streaked head as he takes another swallow of ale, nearly finishing it now. "Janelle would be a stupid bitch if she starts taking vengeance out on those who stood for her brother while he was still the Crowned Prince. That's how Princess Ophia gets named Queen." He snorts, though Reena's suggestion does earn a thoughtful expression from the old High Lord. "Perhaps, girl… perhaps…"

Michael turns to look at High Lord Khournas, "I may only be a citizen, but I understand Prince Emund's grief. If he needs someone to talk to, to help him break through this pain for now so that he can focus on what matters. I'm willing to help, I know what worked for me and I can give him the same support and advice I was given when I was grieving."

Asher arrives from wherever it was he had been, no doubt some sort of military related duty, and makes his way over towards the gathering with a slight bow of his head to the group of nobles.

"I'm not saying treat him like glass," Anabethe rolls her eyes at Victor. "I'm saying we need people by him, either way. Look, when Nik fucked me over, I could've spent the next year moping about it. But I had the Drakes." She shifts to lean forward, elbows on her knees as she gestures with the beer bottle between her fingers. "And if I wanted to stop for a minute to mope, there was someone to knock me upside the head, hand me a drink, or watch my back for a minute while I had some personal time. Emund doesn't seem to have that. All he's got are sharks. And they're circling."

The Wall offers a shrug at the High Lord, taking another puff from his cigar, "Fuck if I know what to do about it. I can go smack him upside the head if you want. Pretty sure that'll just net me a date with a prison cell." Not that Thalo wouldn't do well in prison. He'd be king. Choice of all the fine bitches. But that is neither here nor there. He looks to Nitrim, "So what are you suggesting? Play both sides? Aint no fuckin' honor in that game." And this is why Thalo will never be in politics. He doesn't get the game.

"That's the thing, though, Father. Open vengeance isn't a politician's style." Nitrim starts, leaning out to the center of the table. He turns his cigarette over and stubs it into the ashtray with a series of sweeping sounds against the ornate clay. "New Queen. Everyone bends the knee and the next thing you know houses like ours that fully supported Emund start getting asked onto shit assignments. Not everyone needs to survive this war so long as the war is won, and any politician would be wise to win the war with a room full of friends. Sir Thalo, we are loyal servants of the royal family. We're expected to call both of them Your Highness. I'm suggesting we make it very clear we're saying that to both of them for now." As Asher enters, Nitrim's head snaps over to him. His long, bare arm levels a pointed finger towards him. "Asher. Did you dream of golden eagles and scales. Yes or no?"

Victor nods to his brother as the younger, taller man joins them, lifting up his beer and gesturing toward the bar and munchies in invitation. He chuckles at Michael's offer, "I'm sure the Crown Prince has people to talk to." He takes another pull from his drink, "Here's the question… war's here. Shit assignments are gonna be on the front lines. Do we care if we have the shit assignments? Not like they're gonna take the Khourni off the front lines." He gestures to the southwest with his own bottle, "Especially not when the front lines are in our back yard. Guess the question is… do we stay full-on behind Prince Emund, or do we try to put some support in Princess Janelle's camp too?"

"No way am I going as a handmaiden. I'd get too bored. I like being out there fighting. It's a great idea though. I'd be all for it, or those who know how to do that sort of thing. Be like having a spy in enemy territory. Dangerous though." As they settle in for the discussion, Johana mostly listens agreeing with everyone who says Emund. "I love hearing all of these reasons why and it only reinforces my own opinion." At the mention of marrying off Reena, she glances over at her and grins. "Good Luck with that!" When Nitrim makes his points, the Ibrahm looks thoughtful. "What do you suggest to wake him up or appear as if we're not fully in his court?"

"Either way, I could be seen as a peace offering, while monitoring the situation from within. There may be things we don't know about both parties. There may be plots within plots, schemes within schemes. Until we untangle this political tangle, we won't know where anyone stands," Reena points out. "And time is ticking away. We need information, and quickly, Father."

Jevon grunts. "Look, Janelle might not be a soldier, but us winning this war means she keeps her Kingdom. She's not going to punish a House for favoring her brother if it risks losing the war to the Hostiles. She's ambitious, but I know she's not stupid." Then he nods with Reena's statement. "I agree, we need information. Fine, Reena… go to Landing, see what you can dig up. Janelle will smell you a mile away if we offer you as a lady-in-waiting, but…" Grunts. "I'll ask Emund if he thinks Ophia could use some help now that Symion has taken ill."

Asher nods faintly towards Nitrim, "Of course I did." he says, then looks to the gathered, "I have no idea why we are really debating this matter though… Emund is the Crown Prince and rightful heir, and has been our friend all along, I see no reason to abandon him so hastily just because the Hostiles have come finally."

"I'm pretty sure shit assignments are our thing," Anabethe agrees with Victor. "The Valen take the flashy jobs, the Lashes flit around in space, the Arboren sneak through the woods. And we take the shit assignments at the front lines. That's our job." And one she's rather proud of, to judge by her brief grin.

In response to Asher's confirmation, Nitrim holds up four fingers to the room, mouthing the words that's four. He reaches past his beer bottle, taking up his sandwich. He takes a few wolfish bites of the meal, washing it down with a swing of his beer. The plate rattles softly as he pushes it away. "Here's what I suggest. We have allies in the Daltons, and others in the Lashes. I can find out who those are and get details as to what happened in their meeting, but it sounds like the Valen are hot for Janelle. So, those of us that have Valen friends, we play it mum, treat them like mushrooms, feed them shit and keep it in the dark. Meanwhile we court the Daltons, Larents, and Orelles as taking interest in the war effort, which would be expected of us."
Nitrim pauses, eyes scanning the room until they fall onto his father's. He offers the man a flat-lipped smile, hoping to the Gods he's showing some worth to the house. "While all of that is going on, I agree, get someone to Ophelia and by proxy get within sight of Emund. Send whoever that is with someone that will give Janelle the opinion we're a house divided on the issue. That should buy us some time." He glances to Anabethe and Reena, then to his father again. "Shit assignments will decimate our numbers if we need them."

Reena looks positively radiant at getting to meddle in some intrigue. She smiles and sits back down, resuming her calm demeanor. "I agree with Nitrim in that, should Janelle win this battle, she will quietly wage war on those who opposed her. So we need to make her believe we are, at worst, neutral on the matter, while quietly supporting Emund and keeping him safe."

Michael speaks up again, clear and confident. "I am a citizen, to most noble houses I am paid little attention and move about with open ears and open eyes. If I am sent to Prince Emunds side for whatever reasons, I can easily gather information that could help us support him." then he looks to Johana, "Though, I do still greatly desire to serve under Sir Johana and earn my spurs and that to me comes first." then he opens the beer she'd given him and takes a swig, idly rubbing his right leg.

Jevon grimaces a bit at both Reena and Nitrim agree that Janelle could become an honest threat. He doesn't seem to be in the mood to argue this though as he finishes his cup of ale. He can't help but snort… loudly… at the idea of courting the Orelles. "Esiah supports Janelle. It is perhaps the only thing he agrees with his father on." Then he shrugs at the rest of the suggestions, though he doesn't turn the suggestion down.

"Quiet support is the last thing Emund needs right now," Anabethe shakes her head to Nitrim and Reena. "Yes, it's the safe thing to do. Just in case. But by not speaking out loud, by not making a statement, we make it that much easier for Janelle to gain more support. If Khournas and Ibrahm won't publicly come out for the prince, then why should anyone else? Some one has to be first. Someone has to be bold. Or else Janelle will take this by default, and afterwards everyone will look to each other and say 'well no one else was saying anything, so we thought everyone was all right with it.'"

"I'm not much for politics, but Edmund's got people. May be they are people Janelle's got her hooks into, but gettin' close to him might not be as easy as all that." Thalo offers up with another puff taken from his cigar. Then a pull from his flask for good measure. Two vices are better than one. A glance to Michael and he sighs, shaking his head, "Look youngblood, can't just go sending some Ibrahm squire that no one has ever heard off of to the Crown Prince to give him a therapy session." He looks to Nitrim, "Anyone you send to Edmund's gotta have enough clout to actually deserve to be there."

"The Crown Prince had every reason to be upset with us when the Lady Ysabella died, she was our guest, yet he mantained his support, and friendship with our house despite it all." Asher says, "We owe him the same respect, and support. We do not skulk around in the field, no reason to skulk around in politics either. I agree with Anabethe, we need to put forth a vocal support of the Crown Prince."

Victor looks over to Michael, smirking crookedly, "You've got other duties as a squire, Pup." He nods to Anabethe, "Point to Beth, Thalo, and my little brother. But does vocal support make this a public fight, instead of private maneuvering?" He grunts, draining off the last of his beer, "This political shit sucks."

"Then, our only other available option is to go the other direction." Nitrim sighs, pressing his cool beer bottle to his forehead. His left eye twitches, and to calm it down he rubs the heel of his hand into the socket while he thinks. "I truly don't believe Janelle will suspect us to maneuver. She'll expect us to do this, but we work alliances and build support for Emund through the other houses that support Emund. Lord Cynan Dalton and Lady Helena Dalton support Emund, and likely so does High Lady Augusta, and they provide power to the Ways. Piece by piece we find the right houses, show Janelle just what she has to contend with, and find some way to get someone close to Emund. Back to the Ophia plan." He sighs, lowering his hand from his face to graze to Asher, then Thalo, then Michael and Anabethe. "Emund's a soldier. Your opponent plays chess. Learn your politics, people, because that's the game right now."

Reena looks over at Anabethe, Victor, and the others. "Everyone here is talking big about supporting Emund, but no one seems willing to step off the front lines for a few weeks to protect him. Curious. I will still happily see about aiding Princess Ophia. Perhaps everyone should also consider how they can support the Crown Prince with actions instead of just words."

Once again, Johana speaks up after remaining mostly silent. "I'm all for vocal support. Since when have we hid behind anything? We're known to be blunt and say what we mean why shouldn't it be the same in politics? Reena can infiltrate while the rest of us vocally show our support. I've basically got the answer I wanted for the meeting and I'm really glad the majority is with me on this. Sure makes things a lot easier on everyone." With another rare nod of approval to Michael, Ana even offers him a half smile. "You just hang around here and earn your spurs, after that, we can reevaluate." Like the others, she looks away when the talk of coming off the front lines comes up and she eyes Michael speculatively.

Michael noting that his offers to help aren't being taken with much interest. He switches gears mentally and then nods to Johana, again a small look of surprise in her changing mood towards him. "If it helps, Lady Talayla Orelle is a close personal friend and confidant of mine. When I have leave from my normal duties, I can speak with her about her house's views and their situation. I am also close friends with Lord Densoric Larent, same thing with him." he then takes another swig, "I don't have to comprimise my duties as Sir Johana's squire, in fact in this plan they'll continue to take my first priority to all things, but at least I can help test the waters as such." he says that confidently but also as and offer.

Thalo eyes Reena a moment, frowning just a bit, "What would you like us to do? I already offered to go smack Edmund upside the head. No one seemed to like that idea. So short of going to try and offer my services as one of his guards, "Not much I or most of us can do about this publically." He takes another puff from his cigar, "It's not about the front lines, it's about what can actually get done." And then another swig from his flask. All for good measure.

Anabethe smiles faintly at Nitrim. "Oh, I know what Janelle plays, Nitrim. That's the point, though. You don't meet the enemy on grounds of their choosing, where they're the strongest. You meet them where you're the strongest, on your chosen ground. I'm not going to play nice little word games with Janelle. I'll lose. But honor? That I can win."

"Not everyone has to offer their direct assistance, Sir Thalo," Jevon explains. "You, like Anabethe, are better served with the Khournas and Ibrahm armies, not playing Noble games in Landing."

Victor leans forward in his backwards chair, "Reena… he has protection. You think the knights of House Sauveur would just sit there while we stomped in and said 'You can't do your job, and we can.' Great way to make friends." He nods to Thalo, then looks over to Jevon, "I damned well hope you're including me in that, boss-man. Because if you put me in Landing, I can't promise what'll happen." There's laughter behind the words, his lush hips curving into a grin.

"Right, then send me to Janelle." Nitrim rolls his eyes at Anabethe with a playful smirk on his face. His smirk broadens to a shit-eating grin as he brings his beer bottle to his lips. Leaning an elbow out, he nudges Victor's arm. "I'll…I don't know, fuck her or something. Gods know that woman isn't the virgin she claims to be." Purely sarcastic, self-deprecating humor from the youngest Khourni lordling. While joking, he keeps his eyes far away from his father's Mordor-like gaze. "She's blonde. That's what the rumors say about me, right?"

"Victor, you're assuming that Janelle hasn't coerced, blackmailed, or bribed the royal guard. I don't know how I can possibly emphasis more how badly Janelle wants the throne," Reena says calmly. She sighs and rubs a thumb across her forehead. "I'm just saying it might be a good idea to have a presence in Landings. To be close at hand if something happens. I am sure we can invent reasons galore to be there. Pimping out the youngest Khournas children for prospective marriage arrangements is one. Of course we should travel with protection."

"Why the fuck does anyone want to go to Janelle?" Jevon suddenly asks. "Her tits aren't beer-flavored." And speaking of beer, he stands up to refill his cup.

"So go flirt with him, Reena," Anabethe shrugs, flashing a grin to her sister before taking another swallow of beer. "You're good at it. Wouldn't exactly be suspicious." And then her sister can aim her ambitions somewhere else. Not that she'd ever say that out loud. She turns her attention to her sandwich then, taking a big bite.

"I think we might be better served by sending you to the shield wall instead, Lord Nitrim. The Awakened can do a lot of damage to the hostiles." Asher comments, "And we might get more benefit out of that then you embarrassing our house in the tabloids with the Princess." He adds. "And if we want guardsmen near the Crown Prince, Anabethe can visit him if we think it needed."

Victor nods to Reena, "I'm assuming that at least some of those eagle-wearing mother-fuckers are actually serious about their jobs." He grins over to Nitrim, shrugging helplessly, "If she isn't a virgin, you'd best bring your A-game, Nitrim, because she's got to be the sneakiest motherfucker in Haven."

"We should stop discussing Princess Janelle and focus on how we'll support Prince Edmund as it seems we're all leaning his direction anyways." Michael pauses, "We've established that Lady Reena will go to Landing. What next? Our focus on the war efforts, is there some what to draw Prince Edmund to the field? Not to fight, but to see House Khournas and House Ibrahm's military mights. Show him we support him, show him who's the show of force when it comes to this war. If that doesn't give him good press, and doesn't show that we're supporting him. Then nothing will."

Victor adds, looking over to Jevon, "If that's true, I'll volunteer for that duty…"

Nitrim blinks, leaning forward in his seat to look across Victor's broad chest towards Asher. Locking eyes with the man, he blinks multiple times before his flat expression twists into a fake smile. "And yet here I am, with all of the out-of-the-house information." Upending the beer bottle, he scoots his chair back and plants a hand on Victor's shoulder. "Janelle's good. I'm good, too." He crosses the floor to stand beside his father at the bar, reaching for another beer. "I can be at the shield wall any fucking time it's asked of me. Reena and I are your politicians. You lose us then you'll be sending Sir Thalo to Landing in finery asking the Lady for a cozy dance."

Jevon smirks toward Victor. "Good boy," he says before he shakes his head. "I think getting Emund out of that stuffy fucking Tower would do him good. He should visit his Paramounts, go on a patrol, get the fuck out there." He looks to Nitrim. "Fine, boy… tell me what Janelle's lady-in-waiting has told you about Princess Janelle." Well, he did say he had all the out-of-house information…

Reena beckons to Nitrim to bring her a beer. She needs one at this point.

"We could take Emund along on a patrol," Anabethe agrees, reaching up to rub a hand at the back of her neck. "I hear Sophie's hared off into the Drake Mountains with a tracker on her after some dream. Ellinor was hoping she might get some back up to drag her back by the scruff of her neck. It'd give Emund an excuse to go along, since Sophie's family."

Michael glances up at Sophie's mention. "Actually.. Lady Sophie told me this morning she would be giving up this plan. And following her sister's advice. She promised to me she would be." he then takes another swig.

Thalo eyes Nitrim, smirking at him, "You lookin' to get punched there, pretty boy?" Ah, there we go. Hostility at a Khournas meeting. One had to wonder why it hadn't started yet. He takes another puff from his cigar, and then he looks to Anabethe, "I'll come along if you think you could use the backup there." Another swig is taken from the flask. And then Michael speaks up, "Well fuck me if that wasn't useful as hell. Time for a new plan it seems."

"I learned from the Lady Soleil Saveur that Princess Janelle is interested in gaining Khourni support. She disapproved of Soleil and I's friendship because, according to Soleil, I'm not relevant." Nitrim sidelongs to his father as he grabs an extra beer. Taking a few steps out, he offers the spare to Reena with a wink. "She suggested to Soleil to court one of my brothers. This was a few weeks ago, but I trust the source, at least at the time I got this information. She's looking for an in at the Crescent. It's a very possible play, and Soleil believes that my family mistreats me." He cracks his beer and dumps back into his seat. "Maybe she told Janelle that, too. Fuck, people, I'm good at this. Even Sir Thalo thinks I'm pretty. Trust me when I say, these things I'm telling you are all leads worth following."

Rising with her beer in her hand, Johana begins pacing, pausing a moment to look at her suspiciously silent phone device. Perhaps she could be heard muttering something about those <insert foul word here> Valen men. "He was married to my Aunt," Johana says instead, "I got to know him fairly well. How about I go visit, reminisce and ask him what we can do to show our support? Maybe hint around that she wouldn't have wanted him to act like this?" Checking her device again, she frowns and takes a long drink of her beer.

Reena sips her beer and keenly watches the rest of the "family" as they tease and bicker. She is the cataloguer of the value of information gleaned, and in her head she's sorting things right now. She nods along with Nitrim's words in illustration of Janelle's scheming. Then she scowls at him very, very deeply. Someone might have more ice water balloon wakeups in his future.

"Why does nobody try to put people in my bed?" Anabethe sulks at Nitrim, though she follows it up with a wink. "That sounds like a good plan to me, Ana," she nods to the other woman, glancing to her father for his opinion on the matter.

Asher casts an incredulous look towards Nitrim, "Of course she wants the support of the Crescent, we provide the bulk of the arms and armor from our foundries." he says, "Not to mention the best shield wall in the system."

Jevon finishes filling his cup, and he shakes his head. "Anabethe, I'll leave you to talk to Nitrim about this. If you think he should go talk to Janelle, fine…" Though his voice seems to hint he will not be cleaning up any resulting mess. "As for you, Reena… I will go write Ophia a letter. Explain you need some experience in the court. If that's all, I'm retiring to bed."

Victor nods to the idea of bringing Emund along on a fight, "A patrol would be good, but probably not to the front lines." He frowns at the mention of Sophie having already left, then looks over to Michael, chuckling, "The pup comes through." He looks over to Nitrim as he speaks up, "If the Princess is looking for an in, it means she's not secure." He watches Johana pace back and forth, "Risky play, Ana, but it could work. Or it could send him further into despair. Do we risk it?" Asher's words draw a sharp nod, and he holds out his fist for his younger brother to bump.

"All the more reason to court her, Asher. She wants something. Want places people off of balance, too." Nitrim replies, pressing the cold beer yet again to his temple. Seems Nitrim may be coming down with a fever. "Please understand, I'm one of us. Getting the Hostile the fuck off of our land is priority number one, but like Emund and his mourning if we focus on one thing we're not paying attention to others. By all means, we go whichever direction we choose and I'm on team Khournas, but I'm just relaying what I see."

"Of course, Father. I will begin readying my things in preparation," Reena assures Jevon. She looks after her father as he retreats, then rises, looking around the room. "Whatever we do, we need to do it fast. Rumors are flying that Symion's time is short. I beg of you all to do whatever you can to keep Janelle out of power. I am Khourni and I fear almost nothing," she looks at Thalo pointedly at that. "But I fear Janelle being my ruler. Deeply. I'm going to begin packing."

Michael bows to the High Lord if he leaves the room. After he's gone, if he's left, Michael will look to Johana with the questioning look of 'can we speak?' before setting his bottle on the table, it's still more than half full for all the supposed swigs he's taken of it.

"You can get people into your bed all on your own, Bethe." Thalo states flatly and looks to Victor, nodding to him, "Maybe if Ana were to invite him out, to visit her, instead of her going to him? At least it gets him here, show of activity from him and support from and for us. Then we can go ahead and get him on a basic patrol, something low key." And then he's being spoken at pointedly and the medicated Knight looks back to Reena, "Yeah…think we're all on the same page there."

"Yes, sir," Anabethe nods to her father, speaking around a mouthful of sandwich. Bad timing. Also bad timing for a grin to Thalo. Yeah, she's a real charmer. "All right, so we look at ways to get Emund's attention for a little. Whether it's a party, a raid, something. Get him out, get some fresh air. Somewhere we can actually control things so it doesn't turn into a hunting accident Janelle can blame on us. As for Janelle…" She frowns slightly, looking to Nitrim. "You're cute, baby brother, but something tells me you're not her type."

Johana ponders a moment. "Think I could get him to go out to lunch with me?" Not likely, but it's worth a try and it's a last ditch effort to try and help.

Reena drifts towards her quarters, pausing just a moment behind Thalo's chair to lay a hand on his shoulder for a gentle squeeze.

"You have my thoughts, Anabethe." Asher says with a nod towards her, "No good can come from supporting Janelle." He offers a fist bump back to Victor, "I'm going to go check on reports from the landing site, however, but if you need me my comm will be on."

"Yeah well, I'm no one's type." Nitrim drawls quietly to himself as he stares at his father's back, watching the man walk out of the room. He doesn't stand for him, instead he continues to stretch his long legs out beneath the table and nurse his beer. He raises his arm, waving to Reena's exit, and then resumes rubbing at his eyes. "What if we asked Prince Emund to come officiate something in his father's absence, since he father cannot? Dedicate a legion of soldier's in King Symion's name and ask for…" He pauses. "…you know the thought occurs to me that we might not want to leave Princess Janelle alone with King Symion. Not that she'd hurt him, but Emund isn't the sort to second guess deathbed wishes."

Michael glances around at the departing nobles and pushes to stand with the help of his sword. He starts for the lift, since no one seems to want nor need him at the moment. His leg hurts again and it's time for more sword work training, or perhaps some punching on a heavy-bag. Something or he'll go stir crazy, just one day in the outdoors would be nice.

Victor nods to Jevon a he departs, finally pushing up to grab himself a second beer, popping the top off with his fingers and tossing it with the others. Moving back to his chair, he drops down, "Let's not drop him into the deep end, eh Beth?" He chuckles softly, taking a pull of his new beer, "I'm sure between us, and whatever guards he brings along, we can keep him safe. I know I always feel better when I've had a bit of a dust-up." Looking to Asher, he adds, "Watch your ass." He shrugs at Nitrim then, "We're all dedicated to the same cause, but hell… might work. And Uncle Magnus," that would be the Master of Coin, "can watch over His Majesty."

Anabethe points to Nitrim. "Very real concern," she agrees. "Might be nice if Ellinor went to visit her uncle while Emund was here," she suggests in turn. "Family and all that." She nods to Asher as well. "I'll keep in touch," she promises. "And I'm interested in hearing about these dreams, when someone gets a chance."

Thalo sighs a bit and stands slowly from his seat, wincing a bit as he does so, "You lot have fun plotting." he offers, taking another puff, "I never did like scheming much." A nod is offered to Victor, Anabethe, Asher and Nitrim "You all plot some good plots and shit. I'll be where I need to be when it hits the fan." And then he's limping off towards the door. He looks to Johana, offering a quick smile, "Night, Ana. I'll probably be arrested and confined to my medical bed after what I did to get out of there tonight." He grins and then moves off to head back down to the barracks.

"I think the dreams mean that we are going to have our new king, or queen, soon." Asher says, "The scales are weighing the two options, and soon will find which 'eagle' is more worthy." he explains, "So, my impression is… we do not have long to decide who we support." he is then on his way out!

"Or if we ask for the royal family to oversee the dedication in the legion in King Symion's name, invite both Janelle and Emund, Emund will likely cancel and Janelle will come. We wine her and dine her, leaving Reena room to try to get Emund to start moving." Nitrim adds, pulling the beer from his head to read the tiny lettering on the back of the label. Like all beer, it's carb-heavy. He shrugs and takes a sip. "But Anabethe? I insist that you don't forget that some of the Daltons share our concerns."
Nitrim waves to Thalo and slumps down in his chair, half-laying in it with one boot propped up on the table. "The dream is of two golden eagles on a massive set of scales. Like Asher's said. He's the fourth awakened I've confirmed has had the same dream, and a lot of us saw the incoming dreams about the Hostile attack. I can't say if it's some universal voice speaking to us, but if we're all dreaming it, then the dream tells me we really need to take this seriously, because the King's going to die soon."

Victor drains down the rest of his beer in a couple of heavy swallows, then pushes up to his feet, tossing it into a trash can set up by the household staff. "Short term, all that I care about if whoever takes the throne lets us fucking smash the Hostiles." He nods at the mention of the dreams, "Sounds like we don't have much time for whatever we want to do then. Cut to the chase, keep it fucking simple, all that." Pointing to the door, he finishes, "Like those two fucking giants, I should get my ass back to the front. Just tell me who to hit or hit on, yeah?"

Michael stops at the lift and turns to look at his knight, "Sir Johana… when you next are free, and feel inclined to, I have something ask you." he'll wait for a response before entering the lift and head back to the barracks.

Anabethe pauses, tilting her head. "That," she says slowly to Nitrim, "Is a good idea. Either they both come, or we get one or the other of them alone. We have people who can watch the King if Emund comes, we have people who can get to Emund in Landing if Janelle comes. If they both come, then the King's less of an issue, and we still get a chance to get Emund on his own." A smile quirks, tugging at one corner of her lips. "I like it. Hit Hostiles, Vic," she adds, raising her bottle to the Drake.

"I'll catch up with you tomorrow, Michael. Thanks for coming, go get some rest." Standing, Johana yawns and stretches. "I'm out, guys. See you all tomorrow."

"So what's it going to be, Anabethe? Johana? You called us all to—" Nitrim stops as Johana decides to call it a night as well. Saluting her and Victor with his beer, he leans back in his chair, closes his eyes, and balances the concave bottom of his beer on his forehead. Holding it in place, he blindly lights a fresh cigarette and smokes in silence.

Johana glances at Thalo when he makes to leave. "Sure thing, Thalo, but don't get in too much trouble, cause of me.." Thinking better of it, she offers her arm. "How about I help you back down?"

"Let's invite them both, to start. Then we'll see what happens when we find out who comes," Anabethe nods to Nitrim, leaning into the corner of her chair. "Otherwise…I think we're decided. We support Emund, and we make no secret of it. But we need him to stand for us to stand behind him, so let's work on that first."

Nitrim glances to the now emptied room, and then to his sister. Pushing off of the table, he rises to his feet and takes his beer with him on his way to Anabethe. He leans in, wraps one arm about her in a hug, and plants a kiss to her temple. Ruffling her hair, he slips away and heads for his door. "I'm coming down with another fever. I'm going to bathe. Congratulations, Sister. Father just gave you the initiative on his behalf."

"And he didn't turn you away, either," Anabethe points out, giving his forearm a squeeze. "Cool down. We'll talk about dreams and Awakened and the like later."

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