(1867-10-08) A Meeting Of Minds
A Meeting of Minds
Summary: After the bandit fight, Alina meets with her vassals to dicuss how things went
Date: 1867-10-08
Related: Death and Destruction And everything else regarding the The Rise in Banditry Plot
Alina  Gabriel  Corvin  Lucas  Esyld  Vorian  Talia  Odilia  Clarke  Paege  Noel  Joshua  

Main Keep - Highwater Castle - Couviere
The main keep of the l'Saigner castle is clean and well-kept. The floors above are referred to as the "family tower" and are where the main and secondary line l'Saigners make their home. The first floor houses the Great Hall, the kitchens, and the Grand Study (where the Duke has less formal meetings with vassals and the like).

It's been a couple of days since the bulk of the remaining forces have returned victorious, if not lessened, to Highwater and the capitol city of Lonnaire. Most of the visiting nobles are staying in the Garden District, though they have come to a meeting called by the heir and her husband. The Duke himself has been called on urgent business to Rovilon, so Alina is in charge, as is her due, while he is away.

After the bulk of the various people have come and settled in, Alina leans forward in the chair she sits in on the dais. To her side in the chair usually used by her mother the Duchess, her husband Lord Sir Gabriel sits, looking serious and calm, as usual. Off to Gabriel's side is a rangy, darker-toned man that is fairly recognized around Highwater: Master Ivan Bakerson, one of the senior Wraiths, taking the place of the still-healing Corvin. He's openly armed with sword-breaker and throwing daggers, and wearing his armband high and proud on his upper right arm. Off Alina's is the recently knighted Sir Esyld Draven, armored in brigandine and openly armed with her bastard sword.

In a chair in the front of the room is Corvin Fremont, bandaged and recently fed, healing with the help of fleshknit. He would be one of the obvious guards on his sister and her husband if he were not convelescing. But for now, he is just here to listen and add commentary if he feels it absolutely needed.

In a chair not far from Corvin is Lady Paege t'Rannis, beside her, her brother Noel. He isn't the heir, but he is an older brother to Paege. Lord Joshua t'Cauthone, heir to house t'Cauthone, sits beside Noel and the two younger men converse in a friendly manner while waiting for things to begin. Lady Verity t'Picot and her eldest sister are there, as are several other prominent (and not so prominent) nobles and recognized bastards from across Lonnaire.

After a few moments of scanning the room to see who all has come, Alina clears her throat. "Good evening, my lords and ladies. And masters and mistresses," she tilts her head slightly towards the bastards in the room. The l'Saigner have always regarded bastards almost as well as true nobles, and to the woman on the dais, there's not enough difference for her to really care about this evening.

She is garbed in a gown of rich, deep purple edged in black, her underskirting in black with black lace. Hidden within her sleeve are her lightsilver blades Shadowmirror, more out of habit than expectation to need them. Her husband is openly armed with a longsword at his hip, though he is unarmored and garbed in black and purple of the house as well.

"I would like to congratulate you and your forces for a swift end to the intruders plaguing our lands. A complete and swift end— we only took a dozen prisoners, including their leader. You and your forces are to be commended."

Corvin Fremont returns Alina's nod with a faint grin, but this isn't his show, so he otherwise sits silently in his chair, clearly still favoring his left side, but otherwise allowing no discomfort to show. He does briefly glance around the room at the assemblage, but only for a moment or two before his attention returns to the speaker.

Vorian t'Maren is also present, on his feet. His hands are clasped behind his back, and his rather plain longsword hangs at his hip. But he's in no condition to fight, that much is obvious. Though his wounds have been treated with healoil, they're still rather significant. He probably shouldn't even be on his feet, but the bearded t'Maren is tenacious — or, as some would have it, pig-headed.

He looks around at the other occupants in the room with a somewhat reserved expression, offering Esyld a brief smile and a nod. But the man seems ill at ease, shifting slightly when Alina offers her congratulations. He holds his peace, choosing at the last to simply incline his head rather than speak up. Not just yet — there's certainly more opportunities to come, in the course of the meeting.

There's a nod from Clarke t'Cauthone then, even as he dips his head over quietly at the l'Saigner hostesses, standing over at attention still while looking about the room. He looks over at the others present then and gives a quiet salute over to Corvin and to Gabriel. His own face is lined with thought and he gives a quiet salute as well to the recently knighted Lady, saluting quietly to Esyldthen whileglancing around. He is quiet, thoughtful and looking up and then standing at ease and waiting for any further instructions to be given or comments to be made. A quiet fist is given in acknowledgement to Vorian and he dips his head at Alina then as she speaks congratulations.

If Esyld is ill-at-ease, one would be hard pressed to guess it. With her hands clasped loosely before herself, the former mercenary stands tall in her position as Alina's Guard for this little gathering; an occasional roam of her vibrant gaze taking in the array of faces, both familiar and not, with a practised, deliberately unreadable expression. Well, for the most part. There's a flicker of a smile in return to Vorian's, and it lingers as the motion from Clarke catches her eye, in turn. It's little more than a momentary upward twitch at one corner of her lips, and dismissed promptly as she returns to grave - and hopefully at least quietly intimidating - watchfulness.

Seated, instead of standing in the room is the Viscountess of Three Rivers. Recovering from her own severe wounds, Talia had not let such prevent her from attending the meeting and had insisted on coming, much to her own personal healer's discontent. And, having brought Odilia with her as her own guard, as well as eyes and ears, she seems attentive to what may be said. And what may transpire. She gives Esyld a slight nod of recognition, having heard of the woman's knighting and the nod a measure of respect, and congratulations from the noblewoman since she had not been able to give such on the battlefield. Then, her eyes settle on Alina again after registering those who have gathered. The news that their leader survived is news, for Talia, and briefly her eyes narrow without giving her own thoughts away. Her features remain impassive.

Odilia was settled somehwat near Talia. And as one of the bastards in the room, did give a slight curtsey to that slight head nod from Alina. Dressed in a fine gown, something newly picked up Pacitta no doubt. Looking more assistant than guard and likely given orders by the disgruntled healer to ensure Talia did not over due it.

Alina folds her gloved hands together, resisting the urge to pop her knuckles. "Their leader has provided us with intelligence we could not have recieved in any other way," she continues. "Valuable intelligence." She smiles. "And the problem of 'banditry' within not only our duchy, but within the Duchies of Rovilon and Ostvor, has been broken by this. Couviere is a safer place by far with these men and women dead. Those that survived, those very few, will either prove as useeful as their leader has so far, or they will be executed for crimes against the Edge."

Corvin lets his gaze travel to Esyld for a moment or two, studying her by his sister's side, a faint smile flitting across his face. Despite the temptation, he doesn't toss her a wink. He wouldn't break decorum when Alina's speaking like that. He does shift slightly in his chair, once again betraying that he's still not fully comfortable, but that's hardly surprising, all told.

Clearing his throat, Vorian speaks up. "Is it possible, now, to tell us a bit more about these men? I know we learned little from the first captives, but now that we have their leader.." And a grave nod is given toward Ivan at that, lacking the discomfort he'd once expressed at the idea of torture. "Perhaps now we know who these people were. What they wanted."

Clarke takes a few moments of contemplation, and then ndos. "And why they were in such numbers out in the hinterlands." He makes a quiet inquiry a moment after Vorian, looking thoughtful as he listens to Alina speak.

'Provided'. Yes, Esyld is sure the captive was most forthcoming. She resists the urge, however, to look Ivan's way.. not because she's unsettled by the man's methods, as most are, but because she risks grinning broadly at him for the triumph. And that wouldn't be very proper, now would it. Instead, she distracts herself gauging the responses of those present; Talia's sharpened gaze comes as little surprise, for example. Then there's a flutter of enquiries from the noble Knights in the chamber. Shifting her weight fractionally, the raven-maned t'Maren bastard otherwise remains quite still… but there's no denying she's just as interested to hear the answers. Happenstance has her catch Corvin's eye in a passing sweep; a fractional pause of her gaze accompanied by the hint of a curve about her lips, before her eyes are wandering onward to Paege.

Odilia looks curious at this news about the captives actually haven provided information, where it had been lacking before. But with others already raising questions, she stays quiet for the moment. And while most have a almost dour turn or the stoic unreadable look going on, Odilia actually as a smile resting on her lips, and even tosses Ivan a wink.
<FS3> Alina rolls Perception: Good Success. (5 7 2 5 7 4 4 8 4 2 5 2 5 2)

Keeping her movements limited, Talia remains still in her seat. And, as Vorian and Clarke voice inquiries, either they seem to be asking the same questions she would herself start off with, or the Viscountess has none of her own yet. She takes this time, instead, to study those present, including Paege t'Rannis. Talia gives an incline of her head towards Ivan then, knowing well the man's methods and settles to listen to Alina's answer.

Alina frowns slightly. As well as she's trained to school her face, the slight, momentary frown is quite deliberate. Quite.

"These men and women were a… mercenary-type group that specialized in assassination. They were recently homed elsewhere in the Edge, and were moving to settle in Couviere." She smiles at everyone. "Everyone can agree that we do not need such murderers here, especially if they would sneak across our borders like theives in the night and try and take a new home by force as opposed to settling like rational people would."

Alina glances to Gabriel, who nods slightly to her. She gives her husband a bright and genuine smile for a moment, before turning her gaze to the audience. "These men and women were highly skilled and well-trained at what they do, like any highly-paid mercenary guild. That is why we called up as many troops from our own lands and our vassals as we did." She gives another small frown, directed at no one in particular, though a few in the audience flinch some at it. "A lesser force would have not been guarenteed a victory. A larger force could not have moved through the outskirts of the Blackfens into Savora where their main encampment was located. The other five groups, though smaller, were pointed at their smaller encampments in other areas of Lonnaire. Those encampments were wiped out as well."

Corvin's face remains impassive as Alina gives a certain degree of more detail as to whom they were facing. While it's likely a fair track of logic that he already knew some or all of this, his complete lack of reaction probably enforces the notion.

Esyld flicks a pointed glance toward Vorian, following the explanation from the heir. So, they hadn't been far off in their early thoughts on what they might be up against, when the 'bandits' had proved rather formidable. Good. She's really not the cerebral sort, prone to relying far more upon instinct or intuition than intellect.. so it's nice, on occasion, to get something right. Did those shoulders just square a fraction further? The news of the further camps and their shared defeat elicits a warming of the woman's expression, too. Yes, she had her misgivings about the tactics of the engagement. But an actual voice of reason always goes a long way to easing lingering concerns. And there is, for a splitsecond, an almost wry glance of comprehension toward the Duke's bastard, as if something had just been cleared up, somewhere in the back of her mind.

Bloody Oath. That has Clarke t'Cauthone looking up and silently wincing and giving a nod over at the words that the group is told. To his mind, the quick explanation provides a great deal of background to the fight, and a more reflective look on his face. A silent frown on his face as he glances over, contemplating some other inquiry, but remaining silent for the moment as his fingers twirled together at his side. Nodding silently at the others in quiet relief. So the losses.. Had a point.

Vorian does not speak for a few long moments. His gaze flicks from one person to another, perhaps trying to see who had known this before now. Perhaps just buying him time while he thinks. "Certainly, Lady," he says with reserved civility, "I'm glad that they're dead. I'd happily execute each of the prisoners myself." He glances at Esyld, catching her look, and gives her a grave nod. And looking to Clarke, he sends the man a significant glance as though to say 'It starts to make sense'.

The talk about the true nature of the 'bandits' doesn't cause any notional change to Odilia's expression. Her attention lazily drifting over the group present as reactions are guaged, taking measure of who does seem to be surprised and those who seem to be taking in the information for the first time. Her eyes do however dance back towards Alina when the number of camps is laid out.

Talia keeps her silence, presently, but she nods once towards Alina, accepting of the facts provided and she does allow a brief smile to touch her features with the news of the success of all parties involved. Then, who could blame her? She had nearly been one of those losses, herself.

Alina's voice hardens. "However. The losses on our side were higher than they needed to be, in part because some of the men at the main encampment did not want to follow the orders of my husband… your future duke… Sir Gabriel l'Saigner."

In the audience, a couple of the nobles flinch. Including Lord Joshua t'Cauthone.

"Gabriel is to be your duke. For now, he is in charge of the military forces of this duchy, at the blessing of YOUR CURRENT DUKE." Alina's blue-grey eyes flash with fire behind them. "When Gabriel gave me his report of what occurred in the field, I was livid. LIVID. And I am not much better pleased now, with some time to cool down from it."

"I know, other than the t'Maren, this duchy does not field knights. Horses bog down in the swamps. Knights are stuffy, self-centered prigs, mm?"

Several people in the audience begin nodding, only to quickly stop.

Alina's voice goes deathly calm. "If I hear tale of any of my vassals' forces ignoring or defying the orders of my husband, or of those he places in command again… you better hope that the enemy you are up against kills you."

Behind her, Ivan casually draws a dagger and begins trimming his nails.

There are a few exclaimations from the audience.

-That- tone of voice from Alina has more steel to it than any of his old sergeants could ever muster, in blade or in voice. So automatically as Alina gives out her orders Clarke t'Cauthone goes to stand up stiff and ramrod straight as best he can then, going to a formal 'at attention' posture then if only out of long drilled reaction to hearing such tones,and the knight would remain in it for the time being.

Corvin actually has to hide a smile behind his hand at that, not so much Alina's words, but purely Ivan's little gesture. Make no mistake, Ivan is quite intimidating when it's required of him, but not so much a showman. So he rests his elbow on the arm of his chair, his palm covering his lower face, though the mirth fades from his eyes quickly. It is a serious matter, it's just that Ivan's nail-trimming actually caught him a bit off-guard.

Odilia's eyes brows raise at that news, sure…she had heard some whispers to that effect. But she..well her alter ego..had been with the other forces, and there had not been a single issue. Maybe more expected..all considering. And while Corvin might hide his mirth, Odilia does not…that smile grows into something quite bemused at Ivan. But there is a coolness to her eyes as she takes the measure of the knights in the room, and considering the others she may know, half wondering which ones will end up having 'accidents' as a result of their stupidity.

Vorian's eyes narrow briefly. Not in anger, apparently, but in thought. It takes some effort for the bearded knight to think — it must hurt, the cogs burning away in his skull. When Alina mentions the heavier losses, his head drops momentarily. He cannot conceal the expression of exhausted grief that momentarily crosses his face. He looks back up, more composed, and stares from person to person as though seeking something. He attempts to make eye contact with Esyld, as though to try to convey some message. As the grief fades, it's not hard to spot the anger that lives beneath it, equal perhaps to Alina's. It has not yet, it seemed, found its target.

There's almost an audible scoff from Esyld when certain parties are actually dimwitted enough to nod at the belittlement of knights. They're in the presence of t'Marens! The sardonic curl of her upper lip conveys enough, however, as her own not-so-subtle backup to Alina's vehement words. There's no point in trying outdo James' daughter when she's in full flow.. best to just try and stay out of the line of fire. The ripple of disquiet through the room has no effect on the seasoned warrior whatsoever. You'd have to be an ingenue to not understand the common sense in the warning. Besides, she herself had noted the dissension in the ranks, on approach to the encampment. She simply wasn't in a position to berate folks for it. Catching Vorian's look, the young woman purses her lips fleetingly in an expression of shared, smouldering anger.. less of a fire than his or Alina's, but present all the same. Good men were lost because mediocre men made up the bulk. That won't happen again.

If anyone is watching Talia, there is a moment that her features betray a flash of understanding, before it's smoothed away. And while the Viscountess does not flinch, as some do, she does incline her head in acknowledgement. It's only polite, and courteous, afterall, to one's future Duchess. Not that she has anything to fear from such an edict, or threat. Or those in her family. And like Odilia, her eyes, too, turn briefly to the room to sweep over those that look more guilty than they ought to, those like Clarke who are standing more rigid.

Alina sighs, somewhat theatrically. "I hear the disbelief. If it were my father here and not me telling you this, you would be silent, and responding with 'Yes, Your Grace', not twittering like a bunch of redjays." She looks over the room, her expression full of cold anger. "My husband is a knight. For the first time in the history of house l'Saigner, the Duke will be a knight."

"This is the way of things. He is learning to fight as we do, to live as we do." She gestures to Ivan and Corvin. "My husband has spent the last year training with the Wraiths, to learn our way of fighting. Soon he will have a teacher from House t'Cauthone to learn the ways of fighting with a staff." Several in the audience look pleased at this. "But we will have a knightly guard— the Amethyst Guard— in Highwater to help guard the ducal family. Gabriel currently seeks candidates."

There is some discomfort among the audience. And Lord Joshua speaks up. "If he is learning our ways, then he should know the Wraiths and swamprats can keep the l'Saigner safe, as we have for generations— the Wraiths were born of swamprats, you know. We don't need a knightly order."

Gabriel glances to Alina, and then when she nods to him, he speaks. "There is a place for knights in Lonnaire… not just in Bloodfield. Even though I will learn your ways of fighting, so I can better understand you and your troops; I am a knight. Likely at least one of my sons will follow me as a knight. And though the Wraiths are formidable, they have their weaknesses. I will have my wife and children guards by both Wraiths and Knights alike."

Lady Paege t'Rannis clears her throat. "We of house t'Rannis pledge to serve Lord Sir Gabriel as Lord Constable of Lonnaire." She elbows her brother. "Aye, we do," Noel says a moment later, rising and bowing to Gabriel.

As Lord Joshua speaks up, Clarke t'Cauthone goes stiff then at the words from his kinsman of the Blackfens. His posture is still stiff and regal and as form as he can maintain, but at those words his teeth grate. Just ever so slightly though it is hard to tell. His hand clenches and then relaxes then as he listens to the rest of the conversation,and goes to a more at ease but still ramrod straight posture, his head inclinedin agreement with the words of the future Duke and at the description Alina gives of the Amethyst Guard.

Silent still, Vorian's head turns toward Joshua t'Cauthone as he speaks. He simply stares at the man for a long few moments, his anger turning to cold disdain. It's not a usual expression for the affable young knight — a man who so often prefers to pretend he's a common soldier himself. He glances at the other nay-sayers, the ones who murmur more softly, with equal disgust. Moving awkwardly, he goes to bow to Gabriel. It looks as though he might fall; his knuckles go white from the effort of straightening. "Lord Sir Gabriel has my support, such as it is, my men, and my steel."

Corvin glances over at Joshua t'Cauthone, finally deigning to speak, "The folk of the Fens have always had their place among our number, Lord t'Cauthone. But times change. We adapt. You serve House l'Saigner. We serve the Kingdom of Couviere. One madman with a Cardinal's robe nearly brought the whole of the Edge to it's knees, and it took more than just Wraiths to stop him. We will not be unprepared again." He bites back a rebuke on questioning his sister so publicly. Alina can handle that alllll by her lonesome.

For those that would see out of the corner of thier eyes a twitch from Clarke t'Cauthone as Sir VOrian goes to offer his own support. A wanting to perform it himself. But holding back in not wanting to perform an actio that would offend the heir to his house. As Corvin speaks then, he keeps his posture ramrod straight then, eyes and face looking as approving as he can get away with.

That's a fair point… nobody expresses uncertainty or argument to the Hawk's face.. but you can guarantee they'd only leave and express it amongst themselves. Better that everyone say their piece now, in the opinion of Sir Esyld. Who's fairly infamous for her own forthright manner, in certain company. The notion of the Amethyst Guard is not a new one to her, apparently - certainly she doesn't so much as bat an eyelash, in comparison to some rather stunned looks being shared about the crowd.

Gabriel's words on the place of a knight, though, visibly rouse a smidgen of pride from the one he most recently elevated. So it's not exactly a shock when she follows Vorian's lead. "..and mine. I would hope that had never been in any doubt." Though she doesn't stray from Alina's side, the brunette does better face the Red Knight and bows respectfully from where she stands. If the crowd need t'Marens to show them the way forward, so be it. Especially that t'Cauthone. An incredulous glance passes on from him to the one she knows better, Clarke; an arched brow to punctuate the expression. Biting her tongue with considerable effort, she simply averts her gaze after a moment with an exhalation through flared nostrils.

As for the merits of Wraiths.. the former Cavalry Captain offers a grateful look Corvin's way, in the wake of his calm retort. He's much more eloquent - and level headed - than she can usually hope to be.

Finally, Talia speaks. Her words are slow, as if each of them might bear effort, but if such is so she hides it well. She speaks, not just to Alina, but the room at large, and those doubting 'twittering redjays'. "Things are changing, in the Edge. And, we, like it, must adapt. Change. Grow. Or risk further harm to our people. Stagnation breeds death and ruin." There is a brief pause, before Talia continues, but it is not a pause to gather further words. Her chest wounds, afterall, had been deep, and severe. "As your House always has had our loyalty and support, so will it continue, Lady." She nods to Alina. "Lord." Another nod to Gabriel.

"Mad Lord Joshua," Alina leans forward and addresses the heir to house t'Cauthone directly. He gives her a frustrated look.

"I'm not Mad," he says calmly.

"Oh?" Alina titters behind a gloved hand. "Were you in the fighting at Savora?"

Joshua frowns. "No. I sent men in, but I did not fight myself."

Alina looks firmly at him. "Those 'swamprats' that have held our safety in their hands that you sent in? I understand they were the bulk of those who spoke out against Gabriel. That lingered behind instead of making the charge. That abandoned my husband on the field and instead of drawing the enemy out where the hammer could fall on them, pushed then past the knights and other fighters into the encampment deeper and flushed out the lighter fighters there so that a section of Wraiths— INCLUDING MY BROTHERS— were rushed where they had to drop their bows early and engage in melee before they had whittled down their targets."

Joshua, to his credit, does not flinch. "That may be so, Your Gr— my lady. I did not see myself, but if this is so, they are my responsibility."

"Impress upon them the gravity of their situation," Alina says icily.

The heir to the Blackfens nods, then bows to both Alina and Gabriel. "The men of the Blackfens will serve in the future without hesistation."

The response from Lord Joshua has Clarke t'Cauthone relaxing. As his Lord bows, so does Clarke over then to Alina and Gabriel then, Clarke drawing up his hand to clasp itto his opposite shoulder,and then standing up. A look of relief on his face then and a quick nod is sent to his head of house in acknowledgement. Clarke otherwise remains at attention then, straightening his posture and relaxing just a slight then.

Odilia's eyes continue to drift amongst those gathered as the discourse continues, lingering upon the t'Cauthone heir, or least he was for the moment. Talia gains her attention when she speaks, Odilia knew to well the reason behind the slow words. That Talia was present was a testiment to her strength of will. Delivering a firm nod in silent support of Talia's reaffirmation of the support that will continue to be given. As many look between Alina and Joshua in the current exchange, Odilia's eyes wander otherwise.

That's what happened? Balls. No wonder Corvin was irritable with her for questioning his tactics.. Following Alina's words, directed toward Joshua, Esyld really cannot help but glare. That's not a pleasant thing to behold, when her temper is provoked and she's fully armed. His men were the reason the Wraiths were practically overwhelmed. The reason Corvin almost..

Swallowing her ire - not without momentous effort - the brunette draws her gaze away from the t'Cauthons entirely, offering a look rife with subtle apology toward the injured Wraith, and toward the Viscountess. How woeful to be disappointed in an entire company, so soon after her new title being granted. Anyone who knew her well enough would note the telling indications of continued anger, even in the tension along her jawline, or the tightening of her clasped hands. But, impressively, she keeps her peace; drawing and loosing a deliberate, slow breath. Alina has the greater right to fury.. and the sharper tongue for conveying it.

OK, now Corvin looks surprised, at least for a moment. He hadn't been aware of what had placed the assassins in the camp in such ideal positioning to meet their ambush, but had chalked the hard fight as much up to the "fog of war" as their opponents' skill and training. To hear that the t'Cauthone forces had botched their portion of the attack, well…that does draw a dark expression across Corvin's face. He had been prepared to lose Wraiths in this fight, but to find that some or all of those might have been avoided if someone followed orders properly? Well…Alina likely already knows she's going to have to restrain him (and likely the other Wraiths besides) from "disappearing" some of those forces after all this. Or not, depending on what her wishes may be.

Managing to straighten from his bow — his hand now pressed to his chest in an awkward posture, half salute and half-salve to his wound — Vorian too looks both surprised and very, very, angry. It's not reserve that holds his words back just now, but a sort of speechlessness. He simply doesn't have the words to express his rage.

He looks over at Esyld and Corvin, then back to Joshua t'Cauthone. Nostrils flaring, the man visibly reins himself in, his hands tightening and relaxing repeatedly. At last seeming to be in control of himself, he turns his attention back to Alina, the semblance of politeness returned.

This revelation that Alina provides does not merely surprise Corvin. Or Eysld. But, Talia as well. She, certainly, had expected something else than what Corvin's team had encountered. To, as Alina had suggested, whittle them down from behind, with precision, and found a very different setup waiting for them. The Vicountess' eyes slowly train from Alina, over towards Joshua t'Cauthone. And, by proxy, to Clarke. The thin line of near expressionless measure her mouth had taken takes a more severe, dark look. Her hand clenches the armrest of the chair it had so previously been calmly resting upon. And unlike Vorian, the Viscountess does not have the politeness to return back to a calm sembelence.

A hand slowly finds its way to Talia's arm, Odilia leaning down and whispering something softly to the Viscountess. Even if her own eyes drift between Joshua and Clarke, before drawing their way on back.

And mixed in for Clarke then is his own feelings of grief and turmoil. At what he did or did not do. But he stands straight then, perhaps aware or not aware of some of the looks and the eyes upon him, standing stiff at attention and feeling his own stomach turn to ashes then. Slowly, slowly churning then with a feeling the likes of which he felt in the aftermath of the battle. The failings of his own kinsmen, his house.. As far as the knight is concerned, they are his now as he stands quietly in his position, tense and anguished.

Alina's steely gaze holds Joshua's for some time before the heir to Blackfens breaks and looks away. "I will see to disciplining them, my lady," he says quietly.

"Better you than me," she says calmly. Frighteningly calmly. "If I suspect that they were not disciplined enough," she says, "I will have them brought to Highwater myself, and give them to Corvin and Lucas."

At that, Joshua's eyes widen. "Y-y-yes, my lady."

Lucas is seated at the periphery of the meeting, not by station, but by choice. When the t'Cauthone's failings are brought to light, his expression does not grow grim, but concerned. His hands bandaged after the battle remain in his lap but his eyes are on his siblings, trying to read what's to be seen there. Though when mentioned in the same breath as his half-brother, he shifts his expression from concerned to his Wraith-like mask. Lips pulled into a thin, forbidding line.

There are plenty of things Esyld might add.. if she were a noble, for one, and if it were necessary, for another. But the reaction from Joshua is, apparently, good enough for her. For now. Interesting that he would question the necessity of Knights when his own men apparently balk at the first scent of battle. She certainly doesn't want them at her back again in the foreseeable future… perhaps they can be found a place more suited to their abilities. Like the bottom of a ravine.

Still.. you can't tar everyone with the same brush. There's a flicker of sympathy for Clarke. He, at least, was there in the thick of it. She remembers that much. A moment later, though, she's distracted by her own dark amusement at the suggestion of turning over would-be deserters to Corvin. No doubt that would improve his mood. Lucas.. not so much. On the latter she keeps one eye, noting the fractional changes in expression.

Talia's dark expression almost turns darker, as there is a smile that does not nearly reach her eyes upon her features as Alina suggests handing such forces over to Lucas and Corvin. She well knows the wroth of family wronged, and can appreciate Alina's protectiveness, and sense of justice in that respect. Still, she relaxes, some, as Odilia murmurs something privately to her, nodding in agreement. The smile dims, turning more broody, then. She exchanges a look with Corvin, meaningfully, and then her attention is back upon the woman holding this meeting of her vassals.

Vorian swipes a hand over his eyes in an exhausted gesture that may or may not conceal tears being wiped away. But as he feels certain eyes turning toward Clarke, the t'Maren moves quietly to the other man's side and thumps a fist into his shoulder. It's a gesture of allegiance, and an acknowledgement. He glances over at Lucas as the young man is mentioned, head canting slightly, his bearded features taking on a somewhat more calm cast as he tries to catch up with the implications of what's occuring. He forces a smile, barely more than a grimace, as Joshua concedes to Alina.

Clarke's face continues to look pained then, him tucking away his anguish then and driving it to a pit in the center of his stomach. He will remember the words said today and the failings of his ken. And he will remember then and carry it with him forever for his own penance then. To make right forthe failings and the losses. So he steels himself a litlte more focused and lets out a quiet breath then. The quick look of Esyld is acknowledged with a silent look of thanks on his face. The thump that he is given by Vorian has him almost startle a bit and almost jump, but his own hand goes up to clasp it then in thanks and something soft is whispered back over.

It is only as Talia relaxes that Odilia's hand drifts back away, giving the Viscountess a smile she would know well. It was quite…cheerful. It is a smile that gets flashed towards Lucas who is far to busy trying to look like a stoney Wraith.

Corvin's gone back to watching in silence now, shifting a bit in his chair once more. It's not quite a fidget, but between already starting to feel hungry again, and the ache in his side, he's still a long way from comfortable. He glances to Lucas, then to Esyld, the corner of his mouth quirking in a touch of a smile at the latter, before dark eyes again fall on Alina.

There is a palpable silence for a few more moments, before Alina looks back over those gathered. "Now that the unpleasant business is out of the way," she says cheerfully, "I would like to reiterate that great good for our nation was done these past several weeks. And I hope to see you all at the masque."

Vorian leans aside to murmur something in response to Clarke, but his gaze turns to Joshua again. His glare hasn't diminished in the slightest, it seems, despite his approach to the other t'Cauthone's side. But when Alina speaks, he manages to wrest his attention away from Joshua once more. At the mention of the masque, he flits a glance in Esyld's direction, then back to the Heiress.

Clarke takes the moment to finally go more at ease, though his cousin is still given as much of a glance as Clarke can manage diplomatically. And as he goes at ease, shoulders slowly unclenching and relaxing from having kept posture and he nods at Vorian's response.

Lucas shifts under the scruity of the room, but manages to keep his steely expression intact. He gives his sister a small nod at her praise for the group but doesn't add to it, happy to slip from notice as quickly as possible.

It's perhaps Corvin's smirk that has Esyld promptly reaffirming her earlier appearance of neutrality, as she quietly shifts her weight and schools her expression. Cards are probably not her game. Stop glaring at people. Yes. As Alina's mood shifts, so too will that of the room at large - she's seen it before, but it never fails to fascinate her, the way the heir and her father can manipulate a crowd with such ease. So it's with the ghost of warmth that the ebon-tressed young woman catches the glance from her fellow t'Maren. Fleetingly, anyway. She averts her gaze a splitsecond later, those blue eyes wandering the rest of the crowd.

Well, that sounded like a dismissal if ever he's heard one, so Corvin moves to his feet, considerably more slowly and deliberately than would be the norm for him, and offers a bow towards Alina and Gabriel, tilting his eyes toward Esyld as he recovers from it, and offering a brief smile, before he starts to move off at a leisurely pace…likely to find more food and return to lounging about waiting to heal. It might long have been noted among those that get to see Wraiths recovering after battles that they actually DO follow the Healer's advice and tend not to "push themselves" unnecessarily while healing. Corvin seems no exception.

Grand life for some, laying about stuffing their faces all day. Esyld, on the other hand, remains off to Alina's side, calmly waiting for the crowd to disperse and the Lady to more properly dismiss her. And once that's done… she'll find something of great import to attend that keeps her out of the way for the next few hours. Knowing her, that probably involves beating the shit out of something, or taking her destrier out for a stretch. Either way, she's not immediately in the mood for company. She's likely not the only one with a lot to think about.

Speaking quietly to Clarke, Vorian murmurs "They didn't die by your hand, brother. Remember that." Like Corvin, his duty now is to return to healing — but like Esyld, his impulse is to go out and destroy something, or find some other way to live. And he can't. So it's a rather frustrated t'Maren that, after allowing the other nobility to leave, turns to depart. Perhaps he'll go back to throwing his helmet into a wall.

Dismissal given Lucas shoots his sister a look as he rises. The unspoken question: do you have need of me? Likely not all things considered but it was apropos to ask before he vanished into the keep and his own business.

As Vorian speaks to him in passing, Clark t'Cauthone has a look of relief pass upon his face then as his nod acknowledges it and a whispered thanks is sent towards the other knight. ESyld is as well given a quiet salute then of respect.

With the dismissal at hand, Odilia only moves when Talia does. There with a hand subtle hand to steady or support should it be required by the Viscountess in departure and retirement to her room to continue to rest and heal.

Talia nods to Odilia, and pushes herself up to her own feet, slowly, bracing herself briefly on Odilia, and then moving further without the other's support. She inclines her head to Alina, silent and then Gabriel before returning to her own rest, and healing.

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