(1867-09-03) Before the Ball... Talk of Bandits
Before the Ball… Talk of Bandits
Summary: Alina and Gabriel summon the first two members of the Amethyst guard to them to discuss the bandit problems.
Date: 1867-09-03
Related: All Logs related to the Rise In Banditry plot
Alina  Gabriel  Esyld  Vorian  

Guest Suite - Ostvor Castle - Ostvor - Couvire
See Scene.

The storm from the previous night has faded from thunder and lightning to a simple dreary rainy day. The pattering of rain outside the open balcony doors of Alina and Gabriel's suite at the castle in Ostvor serves as an interesting counterpoint to the occasional noise Gabriel's armor is making as he cleans it from the previous day's joust.

Alina is going through two chests that had been brought with them filled with clothing, trying to pick out exactly what she and Gabriel will be wearing to the ball that evening. Already two different dresses hang at the foot of the bed, letting the folds from being in the chest fall out. She is holding a doublet for Gabriel and frowning the frown of "not sure I want him to wear this one" as Mistress Esyld and Lord Sir Vorian arrive.

The lingering rain has meant a rather tedious day for Esyld, who no doubt would rather have been sparring in the yard or enjoying the sights of Ostvor than tending to her weaponry. Oil and whetstones hold a limited appeal, even for so content a warrior as she and besides.. she doesn't particularly want the lapse into meditative thought that she might ordinarily relish. The mercenary took her defeat in the bareknuckle graciously enough, on the surface - Talia t'Corbeau is, after all, arguably one of the best hand-to-hand combatants in all of Couviere. But it's still a loss. Her pride is dented and will take more than a brief hammering to return to its former polished perfection. If one had to summarise her mood, since the return to thr manse, 'sullen' might be an appropriate adjective.

At any rate, the summons actually come as a welcome relief to the brunette and she makes her way without further ado to the suite of her Lady and Lord Gabriel, attired now in her usual riding leathers. Her 'good' leathers are probaby drying out near a hearth somewhere.. and Esyld herself must have managed to find an entirely indoor path to the chambers; her dark tresses are dry, though tumbling in slight waves as a result of the humidity.

Striding into the room, unobtrusive and businesslike all at once, the t'Maren bastard allows the twitch of a smile at the sight awaiting her. If Alina is hoping for an opinion on ballgowns, she's barking up the wrong tree. But that seems highly unlikely. The heiress knows the strengths of those in her employ, and Esyld would be about as much good at that srt of thing as.. well, Corvin. Drawing to a halt near the doorway, she clasps her hands loosely before herself and waits.

Vorian t'Maren has had a rough week of tournament — exchanging brutal blows in the melee, in the duels, and finally being dismounted in the tourneys. He moves, therefore, with a barely-concealed stiffness. When he thinks no one is looking, a fleeting grimace crosses his features and his hand moves to the small of his back, pressing knuckles into the base of his spine. But he answers the summons promptly, dressed in simple leathers, his sword at his hip.

He enters the chamber hesitantly, proffering a respectful bow, and loiters alongside Esyld, casting her a sidelong look and a tiny grin. One hand goes again to his back, but this time it's something akin to the position of 'parade rest', as though he were being brought up on charges. His other hand rests lightly on the pommel of his sword. "My Lady. My Lord. You sent for me?" Vorian's features are carefully neutral, but there's the barest hint of embarassed unease. After all, he hasn't exactly shown himself at his best this week.

"Tonight is the ball," Alina says calmly. "And early in the morning we will be taking the faegates back to Lonnaire. I would love some time to spend in Ostvor, but we have more pressing issues back home that we must needs attending to."

Gabriel snorts. "The so-called bandits," he clarifies for his wife, who is still taking out doublets and looking them over, occasionally holding them up in Gabriel's direction and either shaking her head and throwing them into one pile or nodding slightly and throwing them into another. "The longer they have to settle in, the more dangerous they'll become."

Alina huffs slightly at Gabriel's interruption, but nods. "I've news from Father yesterday that our guests still will not talk… no matter how much Ivan attempts to convince them it is in their best interest. This concerns me. Very few people have that sort of training." Wraiths, really. t'Corbeau assassins. Which mostly amount to the same thing.

Esyld is unable to entirely disguise her grimace at the mention of Faegates. Damnable things. But to the rest, she listens in polite, attentive silence, nodding her solemn understanding at Gabriel's interjection. Shifting her weight a touch, the woman hesitates, flitting a glance aside at Vorian before she ventures a notion. "If I may, m'Lady.. though there's no way to phrase it that doesn't simply sound like sour grapes.." At this she offers a rueful smirk. "..is it true that the t'Corbeau lands seem to be avoiding the brunt of these so-called bandits? Does that not seem rather odd? Surely your own lands are just as well guarded."

Those bright blue eyes flit between Alina and Gabriel, aware that such an insinuation might be unwise.. but when has that ever stopped her before? "I refuse to believe the Wraiths have any connection to these affairs.." A rare token of approval from the former Fox Captain. But only a fool refuses to acknowledge the skills of their competitors. "..but what becomes of those who do not find a place at Three Rivers, I cannot help but wonder?"

Vorian relaxes slightly as the topic becomes clear. Not a reprimand, then, but battle. Or at least, the promise of battle. He even allows himself a bit of a smile, glancing aside again at Esyld. As the former mercenary speaks, Vorian gives a grave nod, measuring her words. "Mistress Draven says exactly what I've been wondering," he says, looking from one person to another. And then a frown creases his features. "I assume your Wraiths would recognize this lot if they were some direct offshoot," he continues, "..But it has to be said. Could it be possible?" He looks distinctly uncomfortable, looking down at the ground.

"I know I'm new here. I've no intention of insulting anyone's loyalty or intelligence. But in my experience, it's usually the simplest answer that's correct." He glances up again. "Which is more likely — that these men are trained by the same people that trained the Wraiths, or that some entirely new force has arrived among us, just as well-trained?"

Alina's eyes flash with fury. "Are you insinuating that the t'Corbeau are training assassins to use against us?" she asks coldly.

Gabriel doesn't say a damn word. He knows better to interrupt when his wife takes this tone. The grey cloth he is using to clean his armor makes a slight swishing sound in the silence as he continues to wipe the lightsilver down.

"No, m'Lady. The Viscountess does not strike me as such a fool." Esyld answers evenly. "I imply that perhaps those who underwent such training to some extent and ultimately were not given a place within the t'Corbeau forces, would have had to set their sights elsewhere, in order to build a future." Her features are impassive, though she does offer a sublte nod aside at Vorian's take on matters. "As Sir Vorian says more eloquently - either their training is familiar for a reason.. or we are dealing with an entirely unknown enemy of equal - well, close to equal - skill. Either one I find an unsettling notion."

After a moment, she lightly raises and drops a shoulder in a shrug. "And either way, they will be dealt with, in the end. I just like to know my enemy, m'Lady. We were unprepared for their level of skill before and that, frankly, pisses me off."

Vorian's spine stiffens slightly at the tone — not in anger, but in an approximation of attention, a soldier answering his commander's reprimand. He glances sidelong at Esyld again, weighing her words. After a few moments, he is devoting his full attention to her, forgetting to keep himself locked rigidly in position. He nods when she finishes.

"I'm not insinuating anything," Vorian says after a few thoughtful moments. "This isn't my area. I'm a simple man, My Lady. But I don't see that, at this point, we can rule out any possibility. These men are resisting your best.. inquiries." He looks briefly uncomfortable, then continues. "I only know of one force with a reputation that solid, and it's the Wraiths. And with respect, I don't know the Viscountess." He shrugs his shoulders briefly. "If you say she is trusted, then it must be some other explanation, as Mistress Draven says. Rogue elements. Or another force."

Another brief pause. And then, with greater care, he continues. "There's another possibility. If it's not treason, it's an outside force. Not Rivana, most likely, from where I sit. Not Pacitta. So who does that leave? Tirians? No. The Brodlunders are tied up, it seems." He clears his throat. "Would the Imperials have anything to gain?"

Gabriel looks… distinctly uncomfortable. Wraith training is pass/fail, and if you fail…

Well… you don't survive.

Not that he can say as much to Esyld and Vorian. He himself only recently learned as much when he married into the family. Secrets, dark truths, and lies. No, his place in house l'Saigner wasn't always a comfortable one for the former l'Corren man. He clears his throat. "I doubt that these men and women have any direct ties to house t'Corbeau," he says diplomatically. Or as diplomatically as he can manage. "That leaves an outside force, and that worries me as well. The only force I am aware of that has a similar set of skills to the Wraiths is Rivana's Huntresses, and they are all women— and not assassins, besides."

Alina looks somewhat mollified at the answers of Esyld and Vorian. She may personally despise Viscountess Talia, but the idea of the woman breaking the Compact so blatantly was enough to get her blood boiling. No, Talia was loyal to James, at least. A fool in many ways, but she would never betray the l'Saigner.

Then again, Alina believes that of the t'Rannis as well.

The heir to Lonnaire purses her lips, considering. "It would be… poor form if it were Rivana. But not completely out of the question. The bandits we caught have that accent on their lips, whatever questions they will not answer." She frowns. "Pacitta… I doubt Mancini has the balls to send assassins into Lonnaire, but that doesn't mean other councilmembers don't. He may be a spineless sack of shit," Gabriel lifts a brow at Alina's language there, as it's not typical of the woman, "but the rest of them—" she frowns harder.

"Gabriel, I may need to lean on our contacts in Pacitta." She says abruptly.

Gabriel frowns back at her. "Have Corvin do it," he says bluntly. "Rumor has it there's some sort of fever going around that city and I don't want you risking catching it."

Alina may be the heir, but that doesn't prevent her from listening to her husband's wishes when they make sense (and they do more often than she'd like to admit). "Fine. I'll send Corvin. Or Lucas." Alina sighs. "The Tirians and Brodlunders are barbarians. They couldn't pass as Rivanans. So that leaves Rivana or Pacitta. I'm not sure what the Imperials would gain from false Rivanans in Couviere… or how they could travel so far in without notice. The l'Fausts hold the only pass between us and the Empire."

Oddly enough, Esyld seems to take Gabriel at his word. Yes, he's a l'Corren.. but he's an admirable fighter, a veteran of war.. and good enough to be a husband worthy of Alina l'Saigner. She drops the matter abruptly and without so much as a flicker of an eyelash. To other possibilities, then. Scheming and politicking are emphatically not really the woman's forte, so she remains silent a while as the Lord and Lady make their plans, staring unseeingly at a tapestry across the suite. Only belatedly does she realise she's apparently gazing at a depiction of some sort of orgy and she averts her cerulean eyes abruptly, clearing her throat.

"The only company I personally know of that might have reason to straddle the borders and lash out against House l'Saigner, would be the Serpent's Sons. But they're hardly known for being overly skillful.." Well, so says a former Black Fox. The two companies have had a festering rivalry for a considerable time, even since the Foxes won the contract with the ruling house. "They are, however, quite favoured by the t'Rannis, as far as I'm aware." Ugh, so many possibilities. Likely Pacitta is a good place to start. There's little argument that all sorts of despicable acts find their beginnings there. Hovel of cowards and cutpurses. Raising a hand, the woman rubs absently at the back of her neck, before pushing her hair back behind one ear. Only gradually does her attention snag on something.

Oh, wonderful. Send Alina's most loyal and skilled protector - present company excepted - off to the breeding ground of some disease. There's a distinct flicker of.. something in Esyld's usually unreadable features, in the presence of her employers. But far be it from her to argue.

She just privately hopes they send Lucas.

For a moment, Vorian seems to have run out of things to say, and like Esyld, his attention is drawn to the tapestry on the far wall. His head tilts, eyes narrowing faintly, but he doesn't look away. Instead, the man seems fascinated by something and then, belatedly, rather amused. He finally does glance back to the conversation, in time to catch the expression on Esyld's face.

"I must be naive," Vorian says after a pause. "I cannot think of what Pacitta has to gain. If they stir a conflict between Rivana and Couviere, don't they undermine their own authority as a neutral territory? It invites war on their lands. And if they're caught, well, both Rivana and Couviere would have great reason to be displeased." He shrugs his shoulders slowly. "I ought to have paid more attention to the politics down south," he muses.

"It seems to me, though, that men as skilled as this — wherever they come from, it's no surprise they made it. Pacitta, the Empire, Rivana — these men are talented. Would a small group of your men have any trouble doing the same, in their lands?" Vorian doesn't seem entirely comfortable as the conversation shifts to sending Corvin — or Lucas! A spy? Really? — to gather information. These are close-held secrets he's hearing.

"Whoever they are," he says, shifting subjects, "We still need to root the rest of them out. Have the patrols uncovered anything?"

<FS3> Alina rolls Political Lore: Great Success. (5 2 7 7 3 4 7 2 6 8 3 5 2)

"If they stir the conflict and don't get caught," Alina replies absently. "With the Treaty in the works… who knows what Pacitta might do to derail it, exactly because they ARE the neutral city-state and benefit more from the way things have been between Couviere and Rivana than from these two nations working together."

Gabriel grimaces, but says nothing, putting the last piece of his armor aside.

"What information I have is that the patrols have found evidence there are more of them out there, but they haven't come across them yet. They aren't as good at woodcraft as the Wraiths, that's for sure."

"And sending thorn-in-the-side distractions with Southern accents to plague the likes of the l'Saigners.. is a good way to stir the pot." Good grief, did Esyld actually just grasp the machinations behind a move, albeit a relatively basic one? That may be a first. Usually she just tries to kill whoever she's pointed at and leaves the bigger questions for those better equipped to ponder them.

Unthinkingly letting her gaze fall upon one of the two gowns that might have made the cut for this evening, the mercenary chews on her lower lip. "Presumably they're evading patrols to regroup and prepare.. rather than lure us into a trap?" The two might well go hand-in-hand. It's the sneakiness she takes issue with. The same reason she and Corvin used to be at odds ore often than not. All well and good when it's for the benefit of your side, she might admit now. But bloody infuriating when you can't pin down your quarry.

Vorian's mouth opens to answer Alina when Esyld speaks, and he smiles aside at her, nodding. "Precisely," he says after a few beats. "I'm no Wraith, but I was trained in ambush tactics, and we practiced them in the North often enough. What we call a staged ambush.." He sketches a line in the air. "You fight here. Lose. Fall back to a prepared point, and draw the enemy toward it."

A slash of his hand. "And there's the bigger trap. You hit them from the flanks and the front while they're strung-out and overconfident." He shrugs carefully. "I'm not saying you're wrong, Lady, and that this is deliberate — but there's no harm in assuming so. We just move a bit more cautiously than we would otherwise."

The young knight seems far more confident in himself when he's talking tactics, more at home than on the deadlier battlefield of Grand Politics.

"My men and I are a blunt instrument. We're designed to spring a trap. I'd be interested to see what happens if we go out for a nice oblivious stroll, with the Wraiths providing a discreet overwatch. Just a bunch of idiot flatfoots mucking about in the woods." He glances aside at Esyld and grins slowly. "Invite them out to play."

Alina frowns, but before she can respond, Gabriel interjects, "No."

Alina glances to him with a lifted brow. Gabriel doesn't even look at her, his attention on Vorian. "We'll go hunting bandits when we get back to Lonnaire, but I don't like the idea of sending men out to a potential slaughter. If it is a trap, I'd rather the Wraiths find it before its sprung. I have too damned few knights to throw them away so easily. We learned the hard way with this last batch," and he idly rubs his side where he had been stabbed. "These men are well trained. I'm a knight. You're a knight. We don't think like Wraiths— but we have to start working with them in full. And that means letting them do their jobs. We'll do ours, but that won't be flatfooting in the woods, even with Corvin and his hidden killers in hiding around us."

Gabriel frowns. "The Amethyst guard is meant to primarily be guards for my wife and children." He supposed and himself, after a fashion, but he didn't really feel he needs much in the way of guarding. "I'm still working on where we fit into Lonnaire's military structure, but I don't want to throw away the few men I've managed to get for the guard."

He smiles, quickly, a flash of white teeth, though his eyes are still serious. "We'll have our day with these bastards. I've fought Tirians, and they tend towards this guerilla engagements as well. Hopefully by the time our gate sickness wears off the Wraiths will have pinned down this other group. And we can strike."

And in this, Esyld has a rather unique perspective. She walks the line between both styles of assault - trained as a knight, worked as a mercenary.. and often side by side with Wraiths. What does she think? She remains respectfully quiet when Gabriel speaks, particularly as this appears to be a discussion primarily between he and the other knight in the room. But eventually, in her typical manner, she ceases biting her tongue. "I don't like it. Knowing they're there is scarce little comfort, when we can't establish where, in our own territory." Standard impatience from the Baron's daughter, but she keeps it out of her tone, for the most part, looking between the two men. "They almost bested Corvin and I, in an ambush. They almost bested us again, including knights, when we were prepared and had the advantage. No matter the approach, they're a formidable force."

Having outloud weighed the merits of each side, Esyld frowns ever so slightly, deferentially lowering her gaze to her feet. "..much as I desire to charge in and bloody these bastards sooner rather than later.. I concede Lord Gabriel's point. Better to be cautious." It goes dreadfully against the grain. But even the hard-headed mercenary is forced to admit he's right. An apologetic look is cast aside at Vorian - though only vaguely. He did, after all, look at her when he said idiot flatfoot.

"As you say, My Lord." Vorian answers Gabriel equably, considering the other man for a few long moments before inclining his head. "Thank you," he says after a moment. Though what he's thanking the l'Corren for is somewhat unclear. Frowning, he says, "If I have any choice, I'd rather not just walk in blind, it's true. It's a bad business. But if they are preparing a trap, we'll walk into it either way. I'd rather assume that they're outsmarting us, My Lord.

He looks aside at Esyld, smiles at her glance, and continues, "It's not so hard to outsmart me. But I play to my own strengths out there. If we can find a way to pin them and force them to stand, as we did at the camp, we'll have a good chance."

He falls silent for a few moments, tilting his head up toward the ceiling. "It still bothers me," he says after awhile. "No sentries. No pretense of defense. And yet they were so bloody talented." A pause. "No use, my trying to think up a plan. It's exactly as you and Mistress Draven say.. we need to know more. But I think they're baiting us."

"Maybe they are," Alina shrugs. "Maybe they aren't. But in either event, we will see when we return to Lonnaire."

Gabriel nods gruffly, then frowns. "The thing I keep thinking about," he says quietly, "is that they didn't work together. A couple dozen men, all fighting as individuals. No charges. No standing back-to-back to fight off attackers. These men knew how to fight but it was as disorganized as the damned Free-For-All at a tournament: every man for himself."

The Red Knight looks pensive for a few moments. "It doesn't feel right. Even the Wraiths fight as a co-ordinated team. Knights learn tactics to fight together. Had these men worked together, many of ours would have likely died." Possibly including himself. "How do you have men so skilled all together but not trained to fight together?"

Alina frowns as well, but does not look like she has any answers for him.

"All they have in common is location and task. Both of which presumably have been bought or demanded of them by an outside source. Any apparent 'leaders' within their numbers thus far haven't been the real thing. So who or what brings them together and where do they hide, while these skirmishes go on?" Esyld's musing aloud, but it's a mentality that makes perfect sense to a sellsword. Realising she perhaps speaks out of turn, she flits a wary look up at Gabriel, then to Alina in turn. "We'd do well to nip this in the bud before they employ the tactics of teamwork." Following this, she falls quiet. The look she offers Vorian implies it's probably more his place to answer this one.

"It's like something out of the stories," says Vorian quietly. "Champions. Like they expected a battle to be like a song, hero-against-hero. It's like.. well, sort of as you say, My Lord, going to watch a duel. Gladiators." Vorian squints, then shakes his head. "No, you're right. Those men, as well-trained as they are, wouldn't have survived on any battlefield I ever fought on."

He falls silent for a few moments, looking at Esyld, his head canted as he thinks. "When I was a squire, my knight used to make me do something he called — forgive me, Lady — tree-fucking. Me and the other squires would form a shield-wall, and we'd grind it against this tree in the old courtyard. For hours. To teach us to always stand together, work as a unit."

"Because it's hard to teach men to fight as a unit rather than individuals. It's not natural. But these men were never taught that at all." He squints down at Gabriel's armor, considering. "So it comes back to why they were trained and why they're here, just like Esyld says. And how do they know Lonnaire so well? How are they evading the Wraiths?" This question seems to trouble him deeply.

"Do they have help?"

<FS3> Alina rolls Mind+Mind: Success. (7 3 2 1 3 5 5 2 3 2)
<FS3> Gabriel rolls Mind+Mind: Good Success. (4 8 1 8 3 8 5 6)

Alina glances back over to the dresses, momentarily distracted by them. She makes a hmming noise. "Well," she say absently, "not everyone needs to learn how to fight as a group." She's thinking about her own training— fairly extensive for a mere "socialite", though that's not known to any outside the family. Her training focuses on self-defense and how to kill someone one-on-one or to defend herself against multiple assailants. "Sometimes you can't rely on others to help you in a fight."

Gabriel narrows his eyes, looking for a moment as if he might argue with her, then blinks. "Wraiths get unit combat training."

He stands up. "Assassins don't," he says, knowing the sort of training his wife recieves regularly. "Because they work alone."

He glances to Vorian and Esyld. They don't know about the family's Syndicate ties. So many secrets and lies… Gabriel hates them all. But he knows better than to expose them. "Alina. When we return, we need to ask your father about if there are other trained groups of assassins besides the Wraiths in the Edge."

Vorian is at a loss here — there are things that remain unsaid, things that he's smart enough to know must exist. He may have no idea what they are, but he's already seen the first layers of the secrecy that surrounds the l'Saigners. He watches Gabriel for a few silent moments, perhaps trying to read something in the other knight's expression.

"Assassins," he says speculatively, peering up at the ceiling for a few moments. "If you're right, it's a lot of them. Whoever their target is, it must be a substantial one. A dozen, a score, of men operating each individually.. A score of attacks? Or perhaps a score of different targets." He absently rubs his hand against the hilt of his sword.

"This tourney would've been the perfect time to strike," he says after awhile. "But they're not here. They're in Lonnaire and Rovilon. What're they waiting on?" Another brief squint. "You know who resists torture? Fanatics. People willing to die for what they believe. So what sort of thing commands that sort of belief? The right leader, surely. Religion. What else?"

While she is privy to more than most - and likely more than she ought to be - Esyld's own knowledge ends fairly neatly with the Wraiths. What a coincidence, no? Like Vorian, she can make safe assumptions about the less savory side of the dealings undertaken by Duke James and his kin.. but she's not going to be forthcoming with that sort of thing either. Idly chewing the inside of her cheek as she listens to the discussion, the woman's eyes sharpen visibly at something her fellow t'Maren makes mention of, a pointed glance going toward Alina now, along with a single word in grave enquiry. It's a topic that's come up before and always been dismissed, but one that's constantly playing at the periphery of her mind and suspicions. "..Ramius..?"

Alina opens her mouth as if to reply to Gabriel, then shuts it. And sits there in silence for several moments.

"Who could the target be? Father again? But there's been none of these assassins at Highwater, and if they were probing the place we'd know. So… who?"

Gabriel looks grim. "They are in Rovilon, too. What if the King is in danger?" He nods slightly to Vorian's comment about religious fanatics. "That's certainly possible, Sir Vorian. But… the One or the Many?"

Alina's expression darkens. "If you hadn't won this blasted tourney," she says to Gabriel, "we'd be leaving at once. But politics— you must show up and accept your princely prizes." She sighs. "At dawn, then. One bless that the trip between the Ostvor gate and the Lonnaire one isn't as bad as most." She glances to Esyld. "I wonder much the same. What if the Cardinal's Guards were not all the man had waiting in the shadows? And if they are his— Ramius is dead. Corvin brought his ring to King Jean-Paul himself, and if my brother says he killed a man, you can count that whomever he is is no longer among the living. So to what end would these assassins be working for him? Who is their target… or targets? Why do they hide themselves in the forest and only attack wealthy caravans? Why do they avoid Three Rivers?"

Gabriel nods slowly. "All good questions. Perhaps we will have some answers soon."

"I remember the Templars standing and watching my men die, at the Breach," says Vorian quietly. "And hoarding food." There's real rage in his voice, coiled tightly and tamped down. "Under orders from their master. If it wasn't for Sir Joffrey, things would've been a lot worse in Valetta. I wasn't privy to most of what happened with that treacherous bastard Ramius, but it strikes me that he had to have followers we never caught."

He grows grave, reaching up to comb a hand through his beard. "Damnit. You're right, my lord. The King could very well be their target. But it's all.. theory." The word seems to leave a bitter taste in his mouth. "Tomorrow at dawn, then. I'll let my men know to be ready to move immediately." The idea of the Fae Gate does not seem to please him any more than it does Esyld. "In the meantime, we should.. well, I suggest we each watch our backs tonight. Just because they've not been here yet doesn't mean they won't try before it's through."

Despite the grim topic, there's a blatant moment of warmth, of pride and agreement in response to Alina's complimentary words on the absent Wraith Commander. "I have no doubt whatsoever, in regard to the well-deserved and grisly end he was dealt. But.. who's to say he didn't have a protege lurking in the shadows? A second in command? It's only good sense to have a contingency plan, after all." And then Vorian's speaking up, and for once the woman cuts herself off in some form of sympathy. Even if they did come to blows over 'who had the worst time of it in the War', she recognises the underlying fury of a fellow soldier and leaves him room to air it, briefly.

Slowly beginning to nod, ignoring for now the unpleasant thoughts of Faegates, the brunette offers her quietly voiced assent. "Indeed. We're clutching at figures blown in pipe-smoke. Best to wait and see what we can uncover when we get back home." Turning her focus back to the Lady and Lord, Esyld arches an enquiring brow. "Will you be requiring my attendance this evening, m'Lady?" Sure, she'll have the grandest tourney knight in the city - if not the world - on her arm.. but an extra pair of eyes isn't to be sniffed at, especially with the rife tensions in Ostvor. And none of those dandy doublets are going to do much to protect him, if he's set upon.

"If you wish," Alina shrugs. "If not, Gabriel and I can handle ourselves at the ball. I'll understand if you want to turn in early."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License