• PM To Join • Familiarity and Diplomacy

Doran, please.

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• PM To Join • Familiarity and Diplomacy

Postby Caius Gawyne » Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:03 am

Zi'da 76, 717
It wasn't quite an easy task to send letters from the Duchy of Gawyne in Zi'da, especially this late in the season, and Caius was aware that his home Barony of Umbridge was already buried to some village rooftops in snow. The letter from his father, Frederick, was of course full of the usual pleasantries, the Baron not ignorant of his second son's new employment in the service of the Crown but ignorant of the attack on his life just a few trials over two ten-trials ago.

As much as it was a reminder that he should have made effort to inform his parents of everything that had unfolded over the past season, the young Gawyne felt keenly the waning breaks of his existence as Zi'da began to fade to a close, the promises of his end growing heavier. Granted, neither Jade nor Frederick knew of the date of his natural end, both because it was their parenting preference not to ask their children about their prophetic gift—the lingering evidence of their Immortal lineage—and because Caius had never felt very compelled to inform them of his own accord.

Part of him did, now more than ever, but the rest of him knew it would only cause more harm than good.

The last of his father's letter had been less of a request and more of an arrangement, an arrangement that had almost arrived a few trials too late—the Ambassador from Etzos had come to the Kingdom of Rynmere. And, in true Gawyne fashion, the Baron of Umbridge wanted to know everything he could about the man. Of course, he'd also outlined a number of important conversation topics for his second son. It was a wonder the entire package of notes had even arrived in one piece, let alone on time. Well, barely in time—the northern noble had mere trials to take it all in, to prepare before he was to meet the man, Doran Thetys, in person.

Of course he was.

And so on this trial, Caius had invited the Ambassador to his home in mid-town both because it wasn't some random public place and because it was convenient for the northern noble. He'd hired Lly'en to cook a light meal crusty bread, beef and vegetable stew, and some cheeses all the way from Krome. As was her way, his friend teased him about how easy it would have been to cook for himself had he bothered to pay attention, but she recognized that for the moment with his arm fresh out of a sling and his stitches still itching the healing skin still bearing stitches. prepare some snacks,

Darcyanna was on campus for the trial, and he spent some time actually tidying up, Smudge underfoot and curious. Not one for formalities, obviously, the young Gawyne dressed almost casually in his more every day attire that included his House purple brocade vest and not even bothering with a coat, for the hearth of his well-cared for mid-town home more than sufficient to make the space both welcoming and warm.

While the northern noble was perpetually late, he had no idea about how other people felt about time and the making of it, for his concept of its passage was admittedly abnormal. Caius settled on the couch to wait to more formally welcome his diplomatic guest once he arrived, re-reading his father's notes about the meeting the Baron was hoping the two men would have together with a wince, his still-healing shoulder sore and stiff. With his dog curled up next to him, his feet on the small table, and parchment everywhere while snow fell outside, the young Gawyne hardly looked at all ready to anyone as important as an Ambassador, but, well, that was typical.

It was Smudge, of course, who let him know that someone had arrived, grey nub of a tail waggling in anticipation just enough to tug Caius from his reading. Setting papers hastily on the table, he stood and straightened his vest, ink-stained fingers tracing over buttons before curling into his ever-unkempt hair. Walking to the door, he glanced at his little bulldog who sat with well-contained enthusiasm and the pair of them waited for a knock before opening and greeting their guest with a lopsided smile and a too-warm hand for shaking,

"Good trial, Ambassador Thetys. I hope you didn't have too much trouble finding your way through mid-town to my home and that you'll forgive the informality of the atmosphere, but I figured you've already had a taste of pretense around Andaris by now." Smudge was a patient dog, and as Caius stepped away to let Doran in, waving his hand toward the living room and letting the warmth of his hearth flood the stairwell outside, wafting between them invitingly, the small creature just sniffed and wagged his tail some more,

"Please come in and make yourself comfortable. Can I offer you anything?"

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On Navies and Families (Doran)

Postby Doran » Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:09 am

Image
A lot had changed in the past arc, the Mortalborn reflected as he made his way to the house in Mid-town where Caius Gawyne supposedly lived. He had gone from a largely insignificant university professor to an infamous criminal and finally a hero and ambassador of his adopted people. The Etzori had celebrated him for the same deed that likely made at least half the Immortals hate him. They had allowed him to become more than just another one of Ziell’s many bastards. His recent promotion was only the beginning though, a tool that would aid him in his ascension and help him grow more powerful. In another arc he would rise above the mortals that surrounded him for good.

He knew of House Gawyne of course. He had spent at least half a century in the city, maybe more, and he was familiar with most of the nobles and their petty and sometimes ineffective plotting and scheming. Their wealth had been declining recently, but they still possessed a relatively strong naval force. That was the reason why he had decided to make contact with them first rather than the more powerful House Andaris. Etzos was in need of a navy, and if he desired the continued support of Vuda and his people, he needed to help them so that they would be able to deal with the recent threats.

He realized that most high-ranking diplomats would likely have guards accompany them to such a meeting, but the idea of having a couple of less skilled men and women protect one of the greatest swordsmen in that part of Idalos and maybe beyond just to keep up appearances seemed ludicrous to him. He had confronted an Immortal and lived to tell the tale. He did arrive on horseback though as he had no interest in walking when the weather was that bad.

The house was a disappointment to him. He had thought that a man who would rule a duchy one trial would reside in a luxurious villa and take advantage of his family’s influence, but Caius Gawyne’s residence was surprisingly modest. The man himself didn’t look much better. In fact he took Caius for a servant at first. The noble hadn’t even bothered washing his hands or combing his hair, but then again, what could be expected of a mere mortal?

The Mortalborn’s appearance on the other hand was impeccable, to the point that most people would likely take him for the lord if faced with both Caius and him. He was dressed in a suit of coal and crimson with fine leather boots. He held himself completely straight, and the expression on his face was carefully polite and neutral, betraying nothing of what he thought of the man in front of him. Despite being a Blessed of Syroa he kept his emotions under control most of the time as anything else was a sign of weakness in his opinion.

“Good trial, Lord Gawyne”, he greeted Caius and extended a gloved hand. The contact lasted just long enough to be acceptable. “I thank you for making time for me. I had no trouble finding your residence”, he spoke, faking a kind humility that he had never truly possessed and stepped across the threshold, ignoring the small, ridiculous looking dog that was sniffing and wagging its tail. Why people kept such creatures around, he would never understand. It would hardly be able to scare an intruder away.

“A glass of wine would be appreciated”, he replied as he sat down. “I assume that you are aware of the reason for my visit?”
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Familiarity and Diplomacy

Postby Caius Gawyne » Tue Mar 06, 2018 10:34 am

Underdressed and underprepared, but at least Caius was the one expecting the company instead of arriving late somewhere else. That was somewhat refreshing for a change. The expression of underwhelm on Doran's face as the northern noble greeted him in the same clothes he'd have met a Professor on any other trial when he opened the door himself without a single servant in the rather ordinary rented home in Mid-Town was probably more amusing than it should have been. Hardly the expected image of his noble lineage, the young Gawyne enjoyed being underestimated on occasion, and he certainly found the discomfort in the other man's handshake just a little noticeable,

"Please, call me Caius."

It was all he could do not to grin in lopsided wickedness, sharp blue eyes taking in the well-dressed Ambassador without missing a detail of his clothing or his face, having begun to develop a knack for picking out the little things about individuals—partly out of mage-induced paranoia and partly out of his insatiable need to know things. He offered to take the other man's coat and hang it next to the door where his ash-colored cloak that served as his uniform for the Order of the Mantis and his saber hung at the ready. Waving his hand toward the living room where furniture of decent expense made the well-lit space comfortable and inviting, albeit still obviously more casual than luxurious, Caius paused to glance at Smudge before answering as if dismissing the dog from the room.

The little bulldog seemed torn for a moment, head lolling eagerly toward Doran with a curious whine before the grey beast turned and made his way upstairs, disappointed but obedient, the rapport between master and companion quite close.

"Yes, I'm aware that my father enjoys making me squirm a little under the pretense of political conversation since I've chosen to live in Andaris out of his watchful view." Caius chuckled, watching the other man to see whether his answer annoyed him further, "I kid—You're here for a bit of naval talk, Ambassador Thetys, to see how the Duchy of Gawyne, if not the Kingdom of Rynmere, can offer seafaring assistance to Etzos. Seeing as travel to Gawyne in Zi'da is near-impossible for all but the most intrepid of individuals, I'm your man for such conversation, fortunate or not."

The northern noble's tone of voice became less sardonic and more serious as he spoke, though instead of hovering near Doran, he walked with purpose to the kitchen to fetch a bottle of wine—he'd trusted Halit with the choice a trial ago, having let the Biqaj spend a pretty nel on something unseasonably warm and rich from Desnind—and two glasses. He paused to open the bottle himself, which required a few muttered swears while he traipsed about the kitchen in search of the right utensil, his still-healing right shoulder protesting the efforts. A few bits later, Caius returned to the golden light of the living room and set the glasses down on the meager table between his sofa and two chairs, not glancing at the other man as he spoke over pouring wine for the both of them, unashamedly unconcerned about the absence of a servant,

"I apologize for our choice of meeting place—I no longer live on Rynmere University's campus, though I'll admit a meeting there would be no less informal. My choice to study away from Umbridge wasn't entirely supported by my parents, given I could have invited any tutor I wished while at Warren's End, so I've been here in Andaris almost an entire arc by the sweat of my own brow and the ink on my own hands while working for the Rynmere Gazette. Downstairs, I'm in the process of building my own business. Anyway, it's quiet here on this side of Mid-Town, and within walking distance of the University, the Crown, and the Jail as my position of Lord Arbiter requires. A bit of rest does a well-traveled man good, my grandfather the Duke likes to say."

His wasn't entirely sorry for his choices, the hints of a smile still creased into his well-bred features as he offered Doran his glass of wine and set the bottle on the table between them, settling his somewhat lanky self in the chair opposite, comfortable with his accomplishments and far from ashamed of living a life less luxurious than his peers,

"You used to be a Professor here at the University, Ambassador—" the young Gawne chose to reveal he'd done some research on his guest before he arrived, ever the scholar that he was, "—so you used to live here in Andaris yourself. Tell me, how does Etzos compare to the fair Kingdom of Rynmere?"

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Familiarity and Diplomacy

Postby Doran » Wed Mar 07, 2018 3:53 am

Image
“Caius it is then“, the Mortalborn replied. The expression on his face betrayed little of what he thought of the noble’s words and that he considered being on a first-name basis so soon after meeting each other slightly inappropriate. He definitely appreciated that Caius offered to take his coat though and handed him the garment that was made of fine, dark wool. It was slightly damp, the result of his riding through the snow to get there, but it wasn’t dirty, and though it was of the highest quality, it wasn’t that season’s fashion. The Mortalborn wasn’t some kind of peacock that chased after the newest trends.

The living room, he observed, looked marginally better though it still wasn’t what he expected from a noble, but it did at least seem comfortable, and comfort was something that the Mortalborn did appreciate and sometimes even needed, contrary to popular belief. Judging by the expression on his face, Caius apparently expected him to react to the comment about his father in some way, but he chose not to. There would be little to be gained from criticizing the decisions of those that ruled Gawyne, besides, whatever conflicts existed between the Baron of Umbridge and his heir were none of his business and didn’t interest him particularly either.

He did raise his voice as Caius commented on the reason for his visit though. “I’m here for that”, he confirmed. The noble would notice that the ambassador still held himself straight. He never slouched, not even when he was alone. “We need training, techniques and equipment. You will of course be recompensed generously for your aid. Etzos is a very wealthy city.” He paused to take a slow sip from his glass of wine before he spoke again. “Ink and Prophet, isn’t it? I heard that you offer printing serves, Lord … Caius”, he corrected himself. Just like the noble he had done his research. He didn’t look down on Caius because of his choice of career. On the contrary, such a business could be a valuable political tool in his opinion, if used correctly.

“I taught chemistry as well as alchemy, yes”, he confirmed. He held the noble’s gaze for a moment as he wondered if Caius was aware of his other activities as well, of his actions in Oscillus and the fact that the people of Etzos celebrated him as a hero because of them, but ultimately decided that it didn’t matter as long as he accomplished what he had come for. “I worked at Rynmere University for the better part of a decade before I moved to Central Idalos. As for how Etzos compares to the kingdom, it’s neither better nor worse, but … different, especially as far as the political and religious landscape are concerned. I treasured my time in both Andaris and Etzos equally.”

It was a diplomatic as well as somewhat vague reply. The Mortalborn was of course aware that the boy king had outlawed magic in Rynmere after an incident with a mad Becomer, Fridgar, if he remembered correctly, while Etzos unfortunately still welcomed mages, a circumstance that posed a certain dilemma and made it necessary that he treaded carefully lest he caused political tensions.

“Have you ever travelled abroad, Caius?” he asked and took another sip. Small talk as well as at least feigning a certain interest in the person opposite of you were a necessary part of any meeting.
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Familiarity and Diplomacy

Postby Caius Gawyne » Wed Mar 07, 2018 5:31 pm

Bogs, what a sarding hard ass.

Caius was already bored, watching the dark-haired man across from him from over his glass of wine, the scents of the hot cycle and alcohol a welcome distraction from the stiff, formal creature he was forced into conversation with. His life was too short for this fuckery, and it was all the northern noble could do to keep himself from rolling his eyes once the Ambassador spoke of Etzos' needs when it came to the subject of seafaring combat,

"For equipment, you'll want to talk to House Burhan. The Duchy of Gawyne trains all of Andaris' military in its harsh conditions, even U'Frek's Sailors. Given my Kingdom's current political atmosphere, I can tell you right now there's no sarding way the King will allow Etzori soldiers to come and train on our soil, especially since I'm aware Vuda has no qualms about allowing mages to wear uniforms and serve the people as so-called protectors. But, perhaps, in a season or two if you give us time to prepare, my grandfather the Duke would be generous enough to send some soldiers from Gawyne to train on location. It will be a tenuous deal if made, not because I doubt the Duke's willingness so much as I doubt Cassander's permission given our stance on magic and mages, how dangerous it can be. We can cross that bridge when it presents itself, however."

Caius spoke plainly, sitting up and leaning his bony elbows on his knees to look down briefly into his wine as if reading the entrails of some slaughtered animal for direction. Speaking of mages and magic made his voice waver despite himself, eyes straying for a moment to the ash-colored cloak before he looked back at Doran,

"The Biqaj of Burhan are excellent shipwrights and it is where most of our naval craftsman are born and raised, working in the shipyards of Cyrene Bay. I can make arrangements for you if you desire, hopefully before the foul weather of Cylus makes travel difficult. I can, as Lord Arbiter, probably also get in touch with the Commander of U'Frek's Sailors, though that most likely would border on abuse of my position since I have no need of him in my duties for the Order of the Mantis. I'll see what I can do if you need such conversation."

Inwardly, Caius groaned to listen to himself, wanting for a moment to drain his glass and pour another. Instead, he kept his well-bred, well-practiced political face on, unaware that the man before him was just as much a Sesser as himself.

Grateful for the shift in conversation, the young Gawyne set his wine down nodded,

"I'm a printmaker, yes. Almost finished with my certificate at the University—I have some chemistry classes to take, actually, and I'll admit I've always held a silent candle of curiosity about alchemy." Doran spoke of his length of time at the University and Caius did his best to keep his surprise from his expression, hardly pegging the Ambassador for being old enough to have taught for over a decade. Still, when the man spoke of the religious landscape of Etzos and Rynmere being different, the comparative religion student couldn't help but grin like a predator, leaning back again against the back of his sofa and letting his uninjured left arm hang over the back of it.

Religion was somewhat of an unspoken passion, and Doran had just poked the bear. Attempting to contain himself lest he unload his entire thesis on the other man, Caius chuckled dryly,

"Ah, Ambassador, are you sure you lived among Rynlists for as long as you say? The arcs have been kind to you, but perhaps you hid in the lab. The similarities between the Immortal-denying Etzori and the more extreme tenants of Rynlism aren't really so different. In fact, did you know that there are more than a few pockets of devout Rynlists in Etzos? I will admit that I've been accused of bordering on the apostate, given my family's somewhat controversial, not publicly discussed lineage and my somewhat unitarian view that acceptance of the Immortals isn't incompatible with worship of the Sacred Seven."

He could go on, honestly, and while he only hinted at his personal connections to Immortals in his lineage, he wouldn't shy away from the discussion, preferring a good academic debate to the sarding boring talk of economics and warfare, of navies and training. He was a student, not a soldier after all.

"I studied abroad at the Viden Academy for an arc—716, actually." His expression bordered on the mischievous, "And I'm aware you spent some time in the North as well, Ambassador Thetys. I hope you don't mind that you've actually had a cameo in one of my research papers for my letter in religion—I'm not as ignorant as perhaps you were hoping."

Caius refilled his half-full wine glass then, irises shifting from their normally sharp blue to an almost Ashan green in his amusement and curiosity, eager for the other man's reaction.

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Caius Gawyne
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Familiarity and Diplomacy

Postby Doran » Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:24 am

Image
Barely five bits had passed, and the Gawyne boy was already getting on Doran’s nerves. He talked too much, he seemed to think that he knew better than him even though he had only lived for a quarter of a century – at best - and he probably considered himself some sort of cool rebel because he lived in such a quaint home rather than a palace and used all manners of swearwords. He needed him though, and thus he simply leaned back slightly in his chair and folded his hands in his lap rather than rebuking him as he would an unruly student.

“Let me be honest, Caius”, he spoke. “I am a native of Rynmere. I mistrust mages as much as you do, and I completely understand why the king would never allow Etzori soldiers on Rynmere soil – although I am sure that you have a way of determining who is a mage in order to ensure your people’s safety. It would be more than generous if His Grace, the Duke of Gawyne, sent some of his soldiers to Etzos so that they can pass their knowledge on to us. As for House Burhan …”

He paused briefly, remembering his meetings with a lady of that House. Elyna Burhan and he had fought side by side when the shadow beasts had attacked Rynmere and saved each other, and they had met again shortly before he had left for Etzos. She had shared his views on the Immortals and life in general, at least back then, and she might have become an ally and maybe even a friend – although he had few of the latter – in due time.

“I am acquainted with one of House Burhan’s members, Lady Elyna Burhan. Your aid in that matter would be appreciated though as I am unaware of Lady Burhan’s current location.” He paused again and took a sip from his glass. He had not heard from Elyna since he had left Andaris. He didn’t normally care about a mortal to such an extent, but he could not help but wonder where she was and if she was well, perhaps due to their shared experiences.

As Caius admitted that he was interested in alchemy, the Mortalborn raised an eyebrow. “Is that so?” he asked. “If you are serious, I might be able to teach you a bit or at least answer some of your questions. As for the supposed similarities of Etzos and Rynmere as far as religion is concerned … perhaps”, he conceded. “Rynmere as a whole does allow Immortal worship as well as the possession of pro-Immortal materials though, does it not?” He stopped there even though he could normally have discussed religious matters for breaks as one of Caius’ comments had caught his attention.

For the first time since they had met, the Mortalborn didn’t look indifferent. He looked … intrigued which was, most likely, an unusual reaction from a man who had allied himself with the Etzori and who had once tried to slay an Immortal. It had been too long since he had met somebody that shared his divine blood. In fact he could only recall meeting one other Mortalborn in recent times – Oberan, a man that used his considerable powers for pointless pranks, a waste of time in his opinion. “Is that your way of saying that your family is descended from an Immortal?” he asked. “May I be allowed to know which Immortal? I apologize in advance if I misunderstood you”, he added. Perhaps, he thought, there was more to Caius Gawyne than met the eye after all.

He furrowed his brow as Caius told him that he had been featured in one of his research papers – he was not sure what he was supposed to make of the comment – and then he asked, “What did you write about me, Caius? How do you view my actions on the battlefield in Oscillus?” It didn’t matter to him if Caius approved or disapproved of his attacking Xiur or thought that he was a violent criminal, but still, he could not help but wonder. Outside of Etzos he didn’t get the opportunity to talk about what he had done very often.
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Familiarity and Diplomacy

Postby Caius Gawyne » Wed Mar 14, 2018 1:59 pm

He knew that look.

The way Doran settled into his chair and folded his hands, the expression that passed over the older man's features, and the way he contained his tone of voice when he spoke next were not at all unfamiliar to the northern noble. Caius knew the look of veiled impatience, aware that his lack of concern over proper, expected decorum—because real life happened in the leading between the lines of text, anyway—was often frowned upon by his noble peers and political equals all the sarding time. As if somehow putting on this air or that really made a difference when one got down to sorting p's and q's into the type drawer. It didn't. The young Gawyne's life was too fucking short to worry about whether the Ambassador left his home liking him or not, with less than twenty days left before his natural end.

"The Order of the Mantis has plenty of methods of determining whether or not an individual is a mage, yes, and as its Lord Arbiter, it's my place to judge them. I'm quite sure my grandfather will be happy to make arrangements for Ymiden or Saun, given the weather is fairer between our two nations and the sailing will be safer. I will be sending a letter home within a trial or two, and will make sure to pass on our conversation. Either His Grace will put me back in touch with you on the matter or he will contact you personally."

The young Gawyne glanced back into his wine for a moment, chewing the inside of his cheek. Of course, someone else would be getting in touch with Doran, but it didn't matter,

"I'm unfamiliar with Lady Elyna Burhan, and I don't think anyone is currently sure of her location. Though my House has an amicable relationship with theirs, sharing a Duchy border and all. My family is more in touch with Baroness Raakel and Baron Jalen, but honestly, in my current work with for the King under the Lord Inquisitor, I've run into Baron Pavoo in the Crown more than once. Any of those contacts would most likely be useful to you in procuring proper outfitting for a naval fleet, or at least getting the ear of the Duke of Burhan." If nothing else, he knew he could get in touch with Valeria and have her pass on the Ambassador's needs to her family, unsure as to whether he could actually accomplish all of the arrangements in two ten-trials. He kept the sudden tightness in his chest at the thought from his face, smirking at Doran's shifting of subjects.

It was not unwelcome.

"As a perpetual student, I'm always curious, Ambassador. I've always wondered what use Alchemy would be to my printmaking, what boundaries I could reach past with both my creative and professional endeavors. Rynmere was founded without the intention of ignoring the Immortals, yes, for even the Sacred Seven recognized their existence and accepted their interventions. Warren Gawyne, my House's founder, the Patron Saint of Knowledge, was also called the Half God. Strike you as suspicious? It does me, anyway, and I have spent some of my time in pursuit of the truth. It has been over the course of centuries that the worship of our Ancestors—worthy though they are of such adoration and following—has shifted perspectives away from Immortals, making most of them out to be fickle, selfish creatures who have no interest in making mortals out to be anything but their pawns—"

And, to some degree, the Sesser couldn't argue, shifting in his seat and reaching as if to scratch the itch that tingled between his shoulder blades at the thought. He couldn't quite, aware of Syroa's mark that stretched like abstract wings across his pale skin,

"—I've written and researched the matter extensively, and have my own, somewhat unitarian opinions on the matter. That said, the Seven are my deities of choice first, Immortals second. With an exception or two."

Caius grinned then, chuckling at Doran's next question,

"Yes, I was being a little coy on the matter of my family's lineage. It's not a subject I bring up in most conversation. In addition to my comment on Warren, which is somewhat common knowledge, a few in the Kingdom are also aware that my grandfather, the Duke of Gawyne, is a child of Ziell. This, of course, has caused a bit of controversy on religious matters, as it's our Ducal Council's job to elect religious members, even the Emperor and Empress, and so it's mostly kept out of politics—if you don't mind me requesting you do the same in confidence, Ambassador Thetys."

The young Gawyne set his wine glass down and sat back in his chair, ink-stained fingers moving stray hair from his face, curious about the now-Etzori man's thoughts on Immortals and their children,

"My mention of you was a footnote, really," He shrugged his narrow shoulders, "A reference to the extreme actions taken by mortals in reaction to the somewhat incomprehensible decisions of the gods."

Quiet for another trill or two, Caius added with a more devious, curious sort of smirk, "Are you asking me to make a moral judgment on your choices, ser? I'll admit that accounts of the battle are spotty at best this far north of Oscillus and in a Kingdom that prides itself on the glorification of the accomplishments of humanity's efforts to rise above mortal limitations. You'd have to give me a first-hand telling of what forced your decisions before I could tell you my personal view on the matter. Academically-speaking, your attempt on the life of Xiur was in some ways condonable, but not at all commendable. You survived, which is curious enough. I have—"

He paused, a breath away from sharing just how personal he'd found himself with an Immortal in Vhalar, ignorant on all accounts of the details of the man before him, "—well, perhaps we should share our stories in turn, Ambassador."

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Familiarity and Diplomacy

Postby Doran » Sun Mar 18, 2018 3:20 am

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As Caius told him that it was his place to judge mages, the Mortalborn briefly wondered what judging them looked like, considering the fact that those that were discovered to be mages were automatically considered guilty. A moment later he decided that he didn’t care though. As he had told the Lord Arbiter, he mistrusted mages. As far as he was concerned magic was a parasite and a perversion of the soul and far too dangerous, and Idalos would be a better place without those that wielded it. There were only two exceptions, Beira, the woman that he had once loved, more than anything else in the world, and her son, Sintih, but he had not met either of them in a long time.

“May I inform Lord Vuda of this?” he asked as Caius told him that he was sure that his grandfather would be quite happy to make arrangements for Ymiden or Saun – which would hopefully still be early enough. “He will want to stay updated”, he explained, remembering what he had discussed with the Chief Adviser prior to his departure from Etzos. He hadn’t had any contact with either Raakel or Jalen Burhan during his last stay in Andaris – there had been no reason for him to talk to them back then - but he had heard their names before at least. Pavoo Burhan on the other hand was somebody that he was quite familiar with - and not only because of his current position.

“Lady Elyna is Judge Paavo Burhan’s daughter”, he pointed out, but didn’t dwell on that topic as Caius elaborated on his interest in alchemy. He didn’t mention his offer of teaching him again – he hated repeating himself – but he replied, “Alchemy would allow you to create ink with special properties. You would be able to create invisible ink or print letters that only reveal their true contents upon coming in contact with a certain substance which would certainly be of use to the Order of the Mantis. You might even be able to improve your tools with it. Alchemy is a science that is only limited by one’s imagination – and one’s skill of course”, he added.

He had been about to tell Caius what had happened on the battlefield Oscillus and why he had decided to try and kill an Immortal that most would consider benevolent, not because he felt the need to defend his actions – he didn’t care about that – but because he enjoyed discussing matters of philosophy as well as moral and ethical dilemmas. It was just then that the Lord Arbiter began to speak further of his family’s lineage though.

He didn’t react to his revelation right away, even though he had definitely not expected that. Instead he simply sat there quietly for a few moments, his face nearly expressionless as he tried to decide what he was supposed to make of it and whether he should tell him the truth. Had he still been in Etzos he would have lied or not said anything at all even though some of the Etzori likely already suspected what he was. Had Caius been descended from any other Immortal he would have done the same, but as it was the advantages of telling him outweighed the disadvantages by far in his opinion.

For that reason he remarked somewhat dryly, “It seems as if I’m your great uncle then. I must ask you not to tell anybody besides your grandfather of course, just as you asked me to keep your being the grandson of a Mortalborn out of politics.”
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Familiarity and Diplomacy

Postby Caius Gawyne » Fri Mar 23, 2018 12:15 pm

"Please do send notice to Lord Vuda. Ambassador Thetys. And I will send a letter home to Gawyne. You should be able to visit my homeland in Ashan, if you'd like a personal meeting." Caius hesitated to offer himself as an escort, aware of his personal timeline, burdened by his prophesied, promised end.

He was aware of who Lady Elyna was, but truth be told, he'd mostly kept himself out of whatever political entanglements he could, no matter how much his father the Baron attempted to shove him into things and test his mettle. His older brother Hunter perhaps would have once been better suited for the political arena, though the eldest Gawyne probably wouldn't handle Caius' passing very well. He'd told no one—no one except Darcyanna, anyway—too afraid to let even his parents know of the trial and trill of his natural end as promised.

Shifting in his seat to settle into it and attempt to shift his thoughts away from what he so despondently considered the inevitable, he was genuinely interested in Doran's description of alchemy, "Ah, see, that's what I considered as possibilities, though I'll venture to guess there's even more interesting creative opportunities, not just practical ones. Some of my work is intended as art, not spy craft. I need hobbies to stay sane. I don't suppose you'd be interested in some private tutoring? I'm sure that you're kept busy enough with Ambassador things, but should you find yourself with some spare time, I'm somewhat of a perpetual student." It was like speaking of his hopes and dreams to his delicate pianist, to speak of future things he knew he wouldn't see to fruition but couldn't help asking for anyway. The words sort of tumbled easily from his lips in the flow of normal conversation even though they tasted like ash, his chest tight with a fiery ache he couldn't seem to quench, no matter how much knowledge he sought to fill himself with.

There was no escape—his prophetic gift as an Envoy seemed immutable.

The young Gawyne couldn't help but speak of his family heritage with a hint of chagrin, the smallest sliver of resentment, and a bit of unfiltered pride. He considered his Immortal lineage to be more than just fancy party talk, taking seriously the implication that Ziell himself had, for whatever reason, personal enough interest in the Kingdom of Rynmere to allow his own son to become a Duke, to mingle his existence with the stuff of mortals, as irreverent of the Rynlist faith's insistence that Immortals didn't care as orthodox Rynlists were irreverent of Ziell's own power. It was an amusing paradox, and one that Caius always enjoyed discussing with his grandfather, who was, of course, full of his own well-aged opinions.

Reaching for his wine glass again, the northern noble was not at all prepared to hear Doran's response to his somewhat aloof form of bragging,

"Grea-what? For Fate's sake, I wasn't expecting—" Wide-eyed for a moment, the young Gawyne's irises a mix of unfiltered emotion, Caius hovered in the space between sitting and reaching, carefully regaining his somewhat limited composure, "—Great uncle? What, on Ziell's side? Are you saying that you, too, are half Immortal? Well. I don't have a sarding clue what to say to that."

He did his best not to sound incredulous, having somewhat assumed that such children were rare, if not nearly singular in nature depending on the Immortal parent, and that the chances of meeting more than one would be rarer still. The northern noble wasn't entirely sure how to feel about the admission—excited, uncomfortable, burdened, fascinated—and it took a moment or two for a smile to find its way into his expression. The man before him had attempted to kill an Immortal—Xiur—and yet he was of another Immortal's lineage. That changed everything and Caius felt the academic part of his brain melting. He blinked and attempted to recover his mental footing, but it was difficult.

By the Seven! Questions flooded his too-busy mind, and the young Gawyne was desperate not to drown in them. Did he have abilities? How long had he known? Had he met Ziell? Did he want to kill him, too? How did he find out? Did he have children, too? For a trill, Caius had to stop himself from blurting his burdens to him like a confessional, aware that he'd never even told his own grandfather about his prophetic gift. Others had, but even his parents didn't know the date he knew, didn't know it was literally a fistful of trials away. The burden of knowing, the sting of a death too soon, crept under his skin and burned in the molten cavity of his chest—Doran Thetys was family, in some ways, and yet the young Gawyne would probably only have this moment with him.

He let the wine pause him, to keep too many words from filling the space between them, before he cleared his throat and attempted to be as normal about it all as possible when he was admittedly not, "—if my Grace Jason of Gawyne has any idea he has a, well, a brother or not, he's never said a word. I won't either. You know, he's in his seventies and looks younger than my father, his son. The Kingdom gossip is sarding ridiculous. And you were born here, in Rynmere? How old are you really? Bogs, of all the things to ask you. I'm sorry. Now I simply must hear your side of the story about Xiur."

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Familiarity and Diplomacy

Postby Doran » Wed Mar 28, 2018 9:51 am

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“I already mentioned the possibility of my teaching you“, Doran reminded Caius. “I would appreciate an opportunity to take on another student.” Having said that, he fell silent again. Caius reacted to his revelation that he was half Immortal exactly as he had predicted. He stared at him incredulously, and he seemed to temporarily have lost the ability to speak coherently. As he was not convinced that the younger man would be able to process what he said in his current state, Doran didn’t reply immediately, but waited for him to calm down somewhat before he confirmed, in case Caius was still confused about some aspects of what he had said, “Yes, I am. I’m a Mortalborn of Ziell.”

“I doubt that His Grace is aware of my existence”,
he remarked dryly. While Caius appeared to be absolutely flabbergasted, the alchemist remained calm, and the tone of his voice only changed very little – although Caius’ reaction and his excitement did amuse him – to some extent. “My being a Mortalborn is not public knowledge. I have only ever told a select few. I’m sure you understand why. I tend to move a lot in order to keep people from realizing that I do not age. I wonder how His Grace explains his being … different without revealing his divine heritage”, he admitted. Caius’ answer truly interested him as doing so seemed next to impossible to him.

“I was born here, in Andaris”, he confirmed and paused for a moment before he revealed in a matter-of-fact tone, as if there were nothing extraordinary about it, “And I am nearly four hundred arcs of age. I came into this world when it was a very different place. As for my side of the story …” He paused again, wondering what exactly he should tell Caius – and how much. He came to the decision that Caius deserved a little honesty, more so than most at least. For all his flaws the young man was family, and his dislike for his cowardly father did not extend to those that were descended from him.

“You mentioned the extreme actions that mortals take in reaction to the somewhat incomprehensible decisions of the gods. That was how you worded it, wasn’t it?” He did not wait for Caius to confirm or deny that – he remembered exactly what he had said, and thus there was no need - but continued, “I have never struggled to comprehend their decisions. I’ve met at least a dozen of them, usually more than once and found most of them to be inherently flawed. You mortals believe that the Immortals are, for the most part, benevolent and just and that they care about you.”

“I once believed so as well, but that cannot be further from the truth. Most of these beings are utterly without mercy. Moseke, Vri, Ziell, Xiur - those that you commonly call the good Immortals - they turned their back on their own flesh and blood and on a man who begged them to save his innocent child and his dying lover, and they didn’t feel any remorse. We are but pawns, Caius, born just so that we can be marched like lambs to the slaughter and sacrificed at the right time, for their goals.”

“My sire visited me around this time last arc”,
he revealed. He was still mostly calm. There was only a hint of bitterness in his voice. “He told me to travel to Ne’haer where more of his kind would be waiting and then on to Oscillus. They talked about how important that mission was, but most of the mortals that travelled with me turned out to have no combat experience. They were little more than children, naive and trusting. Xiur manipulated them, he used his powers on them and made them believe that there was hope for them and that their lives mattered.”

“I found that to be untrue. That supposedly important mission was little more than a game that they played because they were bored. The Immortals manipulate us from the moment that we take our first breath until we lay on our dying bed, they lie to us, and they are willing to sacrifice thousands, as if they mean nothing to them. I was tired of being a victim, Caius, I was tired of being treated like a servant and being discounted due to my human blood, and I do not appreciate being lied to. When the opportunity presented itself, I decided to strike back.”

“What would you have done in my place?”
he asked and looked into Caius’ eyes. He did not care whether the boy thought that his actions on the battlefield had been right or wrong – he knew that it had been the only way - but Caius claimed to be a scholar of religion, and he had talked to few people like that. His answer would without a doubt be … interesting.
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