05.27.3013: The Sword of Damocles
Summary: The morning after the war begins, Knights waiting on their deployments discuss what is to come and what has already happened.
Date: 27 May 2013
Related: Tournament Feast
Agnes Alexis Eilara Tristan 

Grand Rotunda - Elder Seat, Arborenin
The edifice of the Elder Seat has been built around the tall, old, and stalwart tree known as the Wise Wood. It has been nurtured for millennia, and unique advances in botany have allowed the Paramount House of Arboren to shape the tree to their needs without fully interrupting its natural processes. The most evident of this is the Grand Rotunda — the main entrance hall of the Elder Seat. The cavernous antechamber literally bisects the tree's thick body, allowing for the room to be completely open without the interference of the trunk. Grand columns have been erected from floor to ceiling along the outer circumference of the room, however, to allow nutrients to continue to flow from the roots far below to the topmost leaves high above.

Everything about this room is natural and earthy from the oiled wood floors that integrate the Wise Wood's rings at its center, to the petrified wood that is used to construct the walls. Soft light glows from the ceilings, dimming and brightening based on the levels of natural light. The curved walls are almost entirely accented by large windows that provide breathtaking views of the Arborenin Woods, save for the wall that is directly across from the enormous entrance doors. This wide section of wall is occupied by a enormous staircase that leads up to the first exterior terrace of the Elder Seat, and thus to the rest of the Arboren's noble lodgings.

This room is almost never empty, looked after by patrolling guards when there is not a celebration taking up the expansive area of the rotunda.

27 May 3013

In the wake of last night's dramatic news, the Rotunda is quiet, almost peaceful, as citizens and nobles have returned to their postings, war rooms, or families to digest the situation. Sir Agnes Peake is standing at one of the windows, looking out at the beauty of the landscape, and wondering how long it will remain lovely. She can't help seeing it reduced to burning embers in her mind's eye, with war on the horizon. The Knight Lieutenant is in her armor, reclaiming a few moments of peace before her transfer to the Shadow of Intent.

There's probably been the sound of music coming from Tristan's room all the time he's been awake since they returned from Landing. But now he's making his way out, coming to a stop as he looks around at the various people in the area, before he makes his way over in the direction of the same window that Agnes is standing at. Not dressed in armor for the moment, but he looks like he's ready to go get hold of it at once should it be needed. "Looks nice out there, doesn't it?" he offers a bit quietly.

Agnes meets the young man's eyes in the window reflection as she nods, her lips set in a grim line. "Yes, but for how long, Milord?" she asks softly. She does turn then, to look at him. "I remember when you were knee high to a grasshopper, and now you will be out there, fighting a war against an enemy unseen for 500 years." Her expression turns melancholy, as she clasps her hands behind her back.

"We will do whatever we can to keep as much of it the way we want it," Tristan offers, before he adds, "Those thinking mostly in technology and strategy needs to remember one thing working in our favor, I suppose. We fight for our homes and our families after all." A brief pause, as he's unable to hold back a smile at her words now. "There are times I barely can remember when I was that little," he says, a bit lightly, before he nods a bit. "But yes, fighting against them can seem a bit terrifying at times. It was like that out in the woods too." When those scouts were encountered.

"We will be a significant target for these monsters," Agnes says, her eyes moving over the view. She gestures here and there as she speaks. "We have a wealth of strategic value to both sides, Sir Tristan. Our resources are of utmost importance; when technology fails, nature is the lifeline all will require. Wood for fuel, plants and animals for food, water for hydration. Arboren is a key objective in this war."

"True. Which makes it all the more important that we do anything we can to keep them away." Tristan looks out there with a quiet smile. "Thankfully, we know the terrain better than them." Another brief pause, as he lets out a quiet sigh. "Another reason why I'm supposed to be doing my share of the fighting on land, I believe."

"I am being deployed to the Shadow of Intent as a Marine for the opening skirmishes," Agnes notes. "I am hoping they never reach Imperius but, if that occurs, I will return to Arboren for the defense of our people."

Tristan nods as he hears that, "The Shadow of… That's Lord Cedric's ship, isn't it?" Offered a bit quietly, before he smiles briefly. "Good luck out there, and come back safely when they come here. We will need you among us to fight for our homes." Looking out the window again for a few moments now, rather thoughtfully.

Alexis has appparently decided to go for the outright martial look as well for this visit, her boots clunking upon the wooden floors as she limps heavily along and moves to approach the pair at the window. Delivering a rather awkward bow she then opens with. "Sir Tristan, Sir Agnes." Then more to the latter. "You will also be aboard then? We are fortunate in our captain at least, he is definitely no fool."

"I will do my best, Milord," Agnes murmurs. "Please look after my family while I am away. I am torn most deeply by leaving them." It is clear from her expression that the Lady Knight is struggling with her decision to try and head off the Hostiles away from Peake. As Alexis joins them she nods to her old friend. "I am, Sir Alexis. I would have the Hostiles stopped in space, before their majority make planetfall in the system."

It feels so good to be out of a dress! Eilara descends the stairs from the family living quarters, treading lightly in her boots. Going anywhere quietly in high heels is nigh impossible! Sleep seems to have helped her nerves a great deal. Calmly, she starts toward the others, nodding politely as she shoves her hands into her jacket pockets.

"Of course. We will do whatever we can to keep them as safe as possible." Tristan offers this with a bit of a smile, before he looks over to Alexis as well. "Sir Alexis. How are you today?" Listening to the others at the talk about the ship, he offers a quiet smile. "I don't think I'd lst long on a ship. I'd probably get suffocated from being inside something for so long." Looking around again, he spots Eilara, offers her a quiet smile. "Hey," he greets her, watching her a bit carefully for the moment.

Alexis shifts her weight onto her good leg with obvious relieve once she has stopped and straightened from the bow though her expression does sour a little at Agnes words. "They will be attacking for the next four decades and I suspect that no matter how hard we try, they will break through to planetary surfaces more than just a few times." Pivoting on her left foot she then inclines her head to Eilara before looking back to Tristan. "I am healthy but hardly happy Sir Tristan. Still, I have studied the Hostiles extensively but you did actually fight their scouts, is there anything you learned which would be helpful you can tell us?"

"Thank you," Agnes says quietly to Tristan. She nods in greeting to Eilara. "My Lady, might I charge you with the perilous and prestigious task of keeping my favorite nephew out of trouble while I am deployed?" She gives Alexis a gentle shoulder nudge in a gesture of camaraderie. "One can hope for a quick and final end to war, can't one?" she quips.

"Me too," Eilara confides, nodding to Tristan as they discuss ship travel. "Sir," she bows her head respectfully to Alexis, remaining largely silent until Agnes poses her question. "Of course, Sir Agnes," she cracks a very small, mildly amused smile and nods. "I'll do my best, anyway," she adds, her tone hopeful. For now, she seems somewhat quiet, thoughtful even.

"Well, I suspect we'll be facing worse enemies than those scouts, of course. But they had some kind of camouflage that was quite good. Didn't notice them until they were right on top of us." Tristan looks over to Eilara as he speaks, since she was there as well. "I think those scouts wasn't too hard to fight, though. So they probably have some stronger units there…"

"We can hope." Answers Alexis to Agnes there before nodding slightly as she listens to Tristan. "Some kind of adaptive camouflage? That sounds frustrating to deal with, what where they armed with?" Then following the question she adds. "They are liable to also have immensely strong direct combat troops, mechanical limbs and augmented or replaced skeletons plus built in armour."

"This sword has been hanging over our head for a half-millenium. I have faith that we are prepared," Agnes assures them as best she can. She listens attentively to Tristan's descriptions. "Did they use any particular transport?"

Shifting from side to side, Eilara listens in rapt silence, but suddenly something seems to distract her. "Please excuse me," she bows her head to the group, before promptly slipping out through the front and off… well, who knows where.

Pausing for a few moments as he sees Eilara head out, and looking a bit worried, Tristan waits for a few moments before he looks back to the older knights. "Well, those we encountered had some kind of double-headed axes, with grav systems. And I don't know of any other transport than those pods." Letting out a bit of a sigh.

Alexis does look suprised at that. "I would have expected scouts to have projectile weapons of soem sort especially given the camouflage." Then she shrugs, bowing her head to the departing Eilara then looking back to the other two. "They were obviously expendible, sent on a suicidal scouting mission to gather what information and spread what panic they could."

Agnes ponders a moment. "Sending scouts with weapons that have to be used in close quarters can mean a few things. Perhaps they were relying on the camouflage and the element of surprise to get in close without being seen. Or perhaps they were never supposed to engage, and just observe, and they disobeyed their orders." She strokes her chin slowly. "The latter could be interesting, and something we could use to our advantage. If there is dissension among the Hostiles, we might be able to turn them on one another and pick them off when the dust settles."

"Well, when they took my cousin and his wife, they left him hanging…" Trailing off with a grimace at the memories, Tristan takes a few deep breath, before he adds, "And took her somewhere. She was Awakened, while he wasn't. And one of those two seemed to head for Lady Lyrienne, who is Awakened, instead of going up against the two of us who are knights. There's some suspicion that might have something to do with it…"

Alexis just winces at that. "So they were after prisoners then." She seems not very happy with this revelation, a glance to Agnes. "Much as it would be very useful to be able to do that I think you are jumping to rather fanciful conclusions there Sir Agnes." She hrms. "Us having Awakened was a significant edge in previous System Wars, it sadly does make sense that they want to find out everything they can about Awakened and perhaps try to replicate the ability for themselves."

"They're targeting Awakened for capture? That does not bode well," Agnes says with a grimace. Her brow furrows as she folds her arms over her chest. "Well I can still hold out hope they might turn on each other and save us the trouble," she harumphs.

Tristan sighs, "That's one of the theories, yes." Looking a bit thoughtful as he looks out the window again, he sighs a little bit. "But we don't know for sure, unfortunately. It would probably have been easier if we actually knew anything for certain, right?"

Alexis does pace now… Limping heavily as she does so and causing and audible crump of armoured boots. "I have spent years studying them but the problem is everything we know? Is five hundred years out of date. They could have changed entirely over that span of time though from your encounter with the scouts we can assume they still follow their cybernetic ways. And we obviously know they are still Hostiles."

"If they are targeting Awakened, do we have something in place to put them under protection? Should a warning be sent out?" Agnes asks. She watches Alexis pace, but stays rooted to her spot.

"Those things were discussed in the big meeting my Lady Mother held here the day after we encountered them out there," Tristan offers after a few moments of pause, before he offers a brief grin to Alexis. "And we know our weapons, both swords, arrows and psychometry, still works against them."

"There are I think over seven hundred thousand Awakened in the system Sir Agnes, roughly one in twenty of the population spread thought all walks of life." Alexis then apparently considers something before adding. "Not that I am opposed to the idea of conscripting musicians. I could draw up a list of bands I particularly dislike perhaps?" Then a shake of her head. "I should return in any case, a pleasure to speak with you both."

A red light blinks on one of Agnes' gauntlets. "That is my summons. I need to depart now to the Intent. Take care, Sir Tristan. And may the Knight guide your sword arm when needed. " She nods then to Alexis. "I'll see you on board."

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