• Closed • [Krome] The Homekromeing Democracy

There are a number of satellite villages in Rynmere, each overseen by a Duke of one of the seven noble families, and all ultimately controlled by the King of Rynmere.

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• Closed • [Krome] The Homekromeing Democracy

Postby Faith » Sun Aug 28, 2016 10:12 am

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23rd Saun, Arc 716


Faith was of the opinion that the slavers in Athart were missing a trick. She had experienced all sorts of torture, disciplinary techniques and just plain sadism over her arcs, but really, why didn't they just make their slaves learn to ride horses? She was better now than she had been, but in truth she had been sore and uncomfortable in ways and places that even her own owners would have found gratifying to see. She had not yet been disavowed of the belief that Lord Venora understood common, and so she made it a habit to speak to her horse. She didn't think they had named, so she had called it "horse". She chatted to it as she climbed up on it, whilst sitting on it and whilst getting down. When she brushed down the horses at night, she spoke to each of them.

Faith had made sure that she tended to Lord Venora's needs for food and so on during the journey, to the amount that he desired her to do so. She was not in any way pushy, but she would cook for them, tend to his clothes and so on as he required. It was difficult, cooking on a camp fire but she did what she could in order to make sure that she provided him with hot and tasty food at night (one pot wonders) and also with snacks which she made by cooking on the hot stones. She had learnt a lot about cooking in that time, especially about cooking outdoors; flies and wind and animals were all very real pests which she did not have to face indoors. But the thing about it all that she had really learnt was that it was vital to keep one's supplies stocked with a few fresh ingredients, because if one did not then soon everything tasted like everything else. If he did not wish her to undertake something she did not push it she fundamentally went with what he told her to do. Other than that, she seemed to be almost fanatical about being as good as she could be at combat, both with her hands and the knife.

But, all of that was behind them and the trials had passed in a blur of training, talking to her horse (she really had conversed with it quite a lot) explaining that she did it so that her horse wasn't lonely if asked, and generally developing her ability to ride a horse and for the sores to scab over. She'd had worse. But now, they were approaching their destination and Faith was feeling that strange mixture of nervous, excited and worried. She was worried about Master back home, for all that Lord Venora had warned her about, and she tried very hard not to think about what they were doing and what this might mean for Malcolm. Her sleep was deep and she dreamt of him often, wondering about how he was and what they dreams she had experienced of him meant. They were confusing to her, but she could not give voice to that.

But right now she had urged Horse forward to alongside Lord Venora's at his bidding. He was just running through the last minute reminders to her and then? Well then they would do this.
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[Krome] The Homekromeing Democracy

Postby Kieran » Tue Aug 30, 2016 8:47 am

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They came upon the fortress of Krome, where - hopefully - Elyna was being held by the Lord of this place, Marcus. Alistair knew next to nothing about the man of Krome. He had been kept away from that family by his own - Krome and Venora had never gotten along that well. They were polar opposites, and not in the sort of way that found attraction in one another. Alistair had mentioned that as they came upon the fortress, informing Faith of the relation between his Great House and theirs. "The Krome view the Venora as weak, flowery, individuals. They called our men boy-fuckers and our women delicate." He said this matter-of-factly, as he wasn't honestly bothered by this accusation.

Mostly, because it was true. And Damien made sure to point that out. "To be fair, the men do tend to be boy-fuckers and the girls do tend to be a bit more of the puritanical, fainting variety. Unless you go south. Those men and women are wild. Well, still boy-fuckers, but wild." The Lich laughed, his terrible snicker escaping through his dead vocal chords. Alistair shrugged. "Anyway, the Krome are filthy mud-eating animals. They value their brutishness so dearly, yet in actuality it has not made them stronger or better than the men and women from any other Duchy. Merely less dignified." This was, essentially, his honest opinion. If there was anything Alistair could not stand, it was lack of propriety and organized structure. The Krome felt too loose, too wild for his tastes. He'd avoided them and their tendency for fury since his youth, and had been well served in doing so.

Of course, he was about to meet the Lord of the mud-slinging pigs, so this was just about the opposite of the pact he'd made with himself to avoid this conflict. Nevertheless, Elyna was necessary for his counter-rebellion strategies, and to secure favor with at least one member of Burhan would be essential when Veljorn was overturned and the house rediscovered its own loyalty. He instructed faith to maintain a level of mannerly silence as the man and his armed guards approached the fortress. Damien and Alistair dismounted first, moving within clear vision of the men and women operating this castle.

He made his voice clear, holding in his hand the sigil of House Venora - a golden pin he'd always worn covering his brocade vest, informing others of his position in the Duchy as the first in line. "I am Lord Alistair of House Venora, First in Line, representative of the Grand Duchy of Venora and her people. I have come to discuss a beneficial arrangement with Lord Marcus of House Krome, a man who I have heard to be a great and honorable warrior and tactician. Please allow my passage." He waited, the Lich alongside him. Damien eyed each of the individuals around the fortress, determining their numbers and envisioning a proper escape plan if necessary.

But - that was only if Alistair failed to convince Marcus of his integrity, which would be problematic for his health and possibly survival, he imagined. There was of course also the matter of the political slander that could follow this situation in the light of Alistair betraying his words to Marcus. To smear and dishonor a pact was of course a vile deed, but he would make no pact. He only intended to gain the necessary information he desired, give his gift to Elyna, and ride immediately south for the battle that was to come. He'd carried ahead of Veljorn's army, but this detour would insure he fell behind.

Luckily, Andaris was a well-fortified city and the siege would last some time, he imagined. But one could never be sure in war. The course of action was to be swift, to be gone therafter, and to inevitably succeed.
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[Krome] The Homekromeing Democracy

Postby Elyna » Tue Aug 30, 2016 11:10 am

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Ready for travel Elyna took the opportunity to slump in the small room she’d shared with Marcus the night before. He hadn’t been in jest when he’d announced they would be leaving for Andaris within the morning. The keep was a hub of activity, his guards preparing for a rapid departure to join Veljorn at the city still three hard day’s ride away; four if they were being sensible. From what the woman could tell though, the troop of guards had no intention to be sensible. They reminded her of guard dogs on chains, pulling at their bonds and desperate to leap, snarling into the fray. Marcus had remained in Krome and they wanted to join the rebellion. They wanted to be there to fight the Iron Hand and bring the city to heel. It made the Skyrider feel sick. How many innocent people had died in the city? How many of her Wingmates and Volarean’s had bene needlessly slain. Were her friends still alive? Hands bound with Iron shackles the woman had paced the floor until weariness had seen her sit and wait, preserving her energy.

Marcus had used the room beyond her own and she could hear him issuing orders and going over lists of provisions. Fifty men and woman made the Baron’s troop and as much as he wanted to move out immediately, they needed to ensure that they could survive the journey at a fast pace and arrive able to fight if needed. The woman could have helped with the calculations…but she’d chosen not to. He’d listened at first before realising that her suggestions were in fact, slowing his progress and the punishment had seen her propelled back into the chamber and her hands bound.

At least the window was open. A light summer breeze stirred the endless dust in the room and she’d been able to hear hoof beats in the distance and then clattering into the yard. Among the other hubbub of noise, it was hard to discern anything of consequence of a few more horses arriving. It was the study door that slammed open that made her jump. Sat beside the chamber door the woman could hear the message’s arrival. He announced the presence of Lord Venora and Elyna groaned, pushing her fingers into her hand. Zvezdana had married Veljorn, it would make sense that her family supported the hopeful usurper.

Alistair and his retinue were ushered with military efficiency to the make-shift study. Marcus dressed and ready to ride stood behind the large wooden desk. Hands at shoulder width apart and resting on a map. The tall mane studied them with soft blue eyes as the Lord Venora and his personal assistant, the slave-girl were admitted. His retinue forced to wait in the larger hall below. A hall that had seen the poisoning of the previous Baron.

“Lord Venora,” he nodded, “we’re due to ride at any moment. Your visit is unannounced and we are unable to provide a generous hospitality at this time. To what do I owe your visit?”

In the next room Elyna sighed, resting her head back against the wall. She didn’t want to believe it, but she certainly could. Venora and Krome and Burhan…all allied and against the city. How many more people would die in the aftermath? She gripped her fingers into fists and held her tongue. What could she do from here? Nothing, except bide her time.
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[Krome] The Homekromeing Democracy

Postby Kieran » Tue Aug 30, 2016 12:19 pm

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Alistair was allowed into the interior of Marcus' keep, his group of cloaked individuals led inside and waiting silently alongside the Lich Damien. What no one knew about any of the men below was that they were all dead - six of them were mindless zombies who were merely well-kept and engineered by the Lich and his apprentice. Damien kept close watch and ensured no one came to speak with Alistair's undead retinue. He made himself, among all of them, clear and eyed those around him very neutrally. He could already tell they were talking ill of him and the Venora, which was to be expected in Krome. Even those who appreciated the rise of Veljorn and Zvezdana could surely not cut the wife of the rebel flack, and all due to the characteristic of her family name.

He could tell, though, that at least some seemed filled with relief when they heard that the Venora may come to Veljorn's assistance. Less danger for them, after all, to have more allies on the battlefield. Or so they thought.

Upstairs, Alistair was led to discuss things privately with Lord Marcus. The thought was far from lovely, considered he seriously doubted his ability to combat the man without resorting to Necromancy, but he trusted in his ability to ensure this did not descend to that of a violent exchange of blows. If it did, well - he had a sword that he didn't know how to use, but he could at least quite rapidly melt through the man's face if he managed to stay alive long enough to get his mana flowing.

"Worry not, Lord Krome," the Venora replied, "you mustn't worry for my hospitality. The fact that I have been invited in to this place in the midst of a war is hospitality enough." He smiled faintly. In honesty, that was quite true. He didn't fully expect that they would even be allowed at all. A portion of him had even prepared for the off-chance that Veljorn's men engaged in attempting to volley down the Lord where he stood.

Of course, the most important thing here was to keep composure and say what Marcus wanted to hear. Alistair had a natural poker face due to his evident lack of emotion entirely, but that didn't always mean he was a good liar. He had been working on the words he'd offer Marcus since they left Venora eight trials prior, and even now he did not feel fully confident in them, especially if Zvezdana had spoken to others about her brother's disagreement with her political standing. He was worried, to say the least. His only fall-back if it came to aggression was that Marcus would be declaring war on Venora if he struck at Alistair. That was quite unfortunately his only shield against the man who was larger and more skilled than he was in the ways of war.

Without all that much pause, however, the man continued in his words. He would not allow Marcus to lead the conversation too much - it could create holes. Questions could be asked that he couldn't rightly answer.

"You are marching for the siege of Andaris, are you not?" he asked, though the question was evidently rhetorical. "I am to be Duke. As the Duke, I must align myself with my Duchy's interests. Coincidentally, it is within my Duchy's interests to have greater representation in politics, as can be said of any Duchy. If my sister is to be crowned Queen of Rynmere, the standing my family possesses would dramatically rise in this nation. I would speak frankly and confess that while I do not have the closest relationship to my sister, her backside on the throne would greatly bolster the power of my Duchy and its presence in political affairs." He spoke calmly and collectedly. His face remained almost entirely unchanging and stoic, but with enough emphasis and emotion to imply sincerity. The delivery of a lie was not an issue for him - it was the creation of a lie on the spot, under fire.

As a result, he felt confident in his ability to persuade Marcus of his intentions, perhaps almost with hubris as he did so. "If you march on Andaris, I would desire to attend with you. My men are already on their way to Andaris from Venora," he said truely, "and so I imagined perhaps we could battle alongside one another as future Lords of Great Houses." As he offered this, he ushered Faith into the room with Marcus, gesturing for the man to observe upon his assistant. "This is Faith," he said. "She is an excellent assistant. A slave, to be sure, but one who knows her place in the system. She can cook and clean, and I as a doctor have taught her basic principles for treating wounds. I have even begun to instruct her on midwifery for your inevitable child with the Lady Elyna. I would offer her as a gift to Lady Elyna, your wife, for your kindness in treating with me, and seek to present her as the first gift of many in the beginning of what I believe can be an excellent political relationship."
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[Krome] The Homekromeing Democracy

Postby Faith » Tue Aug 30, 2016 12:36 pm

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That they were here already was astonishing and a little bit terrifying to Faith. She had never in her life been away from her owner even overnight and so to have been away from Master for this long was unnerving to her; but Lord Venora had been clear and kind and Ser Damien had helped her train. She had kept herself busy by cooking and by doing a lot of training in combat arts, so that she might be better able to assist Lady Burhan.

As they made their way in, Faith reverted to form. She walked behind, kept her eyes lowered to the ground meekly and said nothing. She was wearing a long black dress which had a tightly boned corset and was so long it touched the floor. The stiletto dagger that Lord Venora had given her when they left on this journey was carefully sewn into that corset, amongst the other bones. She was a competent seamstress and so she had been able to do that relatively easily. Over that boned corset dress was a black leather corset, also boned, which pulled in her small waist. She said nothing and did not move when they were talking, not lifting her eyes at all. But she made sure that, as she had her eyes lowered to the floor, she knew where the guards were by virtue of where their feet were.

When Lord Venora ushered her into the room, she stepped in and she dropped a well executed curtsy. She did not speak, of course, because to do so would be unnecessary, but she stood ready for inspection as needed. And as she did? Well, as she did she prayed to Famula with intense and heartfelt genuineness that Lord Venora, Lady Burhan, Lord Venora's men and herself be successful this trial, for the good of House Venora and at her Master's desire. If, of course, and only if, it was Famula's wish.
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[Krome] The Homekromeing Democracy

Postby Elyna » Tue Aug 30, 2016 12:59 pm

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The sailor looked between the Venoran and the slave and considered his answer with care. Finally he crossed to the chamber door and released the bolt.
The door opened at Elyna’s side and like a kitten she was pulled to her feet by the scruff of her neck by the taller, stronger male. Kicking against the floor she fought for her foothold and stumbled after the man into the study. Bound wrists had turned red and started to rub against the metal shackles. Long hair fell in untamed twists and hid most of her bruises from view. Those that remained on her throat were a cacophony of colour yellows, browns, blacks and blue hues in stripes from a powerful grip. The top of brown trousers stained dark with old blood over her thigh. Ashamed of her appearance and furious with Marcus, and the people who stood before her, the Skyrider yanked herself free of his grip to stand on her own feet. Dark eyes flicked over the Venoran party.
“As you can see, my future wife is somewhat difficult to manage,” Marcus shrugged and a pair of guards filtered into the room behind the Venoran pair, “but I won’t deny her a gift.”
Alistair. She recognised the boy she’d met in the man before her. He was betraying their homeland, how could he do this? He was taller than she remembered and more noble somehow. The same placid expression though as though his thoughts were far more important and took him elsewhere. The slave he’d mentioned. Elyna blinked twice to see the thin body and neat dark hair. She remembered the woman as though from a dram, but wasn’t sure if it was simply how she assumed how all female slaves looked? Neat, tidy and pale. As though the life had been drained from them.
A slave? Elyna studied the group, incredulous. What use did she have for a slave?
“You are welcome to join us Lord Venora,” Marcus agreed. A faint smile pulled at his features and Elyna looked away, cringing. It was a smile she’d learnt to fear. She closed her eyes.
“I fear I must extend similar hospitality to you and your retinue at this point. I am well informed that contrary to current appearances you’re political allegiance is not to her Highness…so I must insist that you join the Lady Burhan in more controlled circumstances? We are however bound for Andaris and you will be treated well. I’m sure the Lady Zvezdana will vouch for your loyalty once we reach the city. I’m sure she will be delighted that your army will be joining us.”
The guards drew blades and Marcus pulled a second pair of shackles from the desk drawer and threw them across to the Venoran lord. They landed with a clank of metal at his feet.
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[Krome] The Homekromeing Democracy

Postby Kieran » Tue Aug 30, 2016 1:30 pm

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Faith did as she was commanded to, which Alistair respected. She presented herself as the proper slave that she was - she was formal, polite, courteous, but also only seen and not heard, and always hovering in the backdrop of their noble negotiations. She had been molded into an excellent subject, and so Alistair did hope in fact that Marcus did not invoke any form of abuse or wrath upon her once she was sent into his care. Judging by the next appearance in this meeting, however, Alistair couldn't be too hopeful. Elyna entered from the chamber door, though by force rather than will. She was beaten to a pulp, bound and likely left hungering, removed of her strength. Alistair, as a doctor, could immediately recognize the beginnings of weakness and improper nourishment in her appearance, aside from merely the physical trauma she'd experienced.

The sight was, of course, unsettling. It wasn't because he particularly cared about Elyna. Their relations in the past had been distant, hesitant and ultimately empty. What bothered him the most about all of this was the disregard Marcus held for the heir of a powerful family. To treat her in such a way was to spit on Burhan. To allow her to be treated like this - knowing or unknowing by the Rebel King - was evidence of Veljorn's dishonor and moral fragility. This was a violation of the ideals that the Houses of Rynmere kept duly in their heart - to humiliate a noble, to degrade them to a state lower than the subjects they commanded, was to spit upon the system of nobility itself. How could Marcus' men look at Elyna as their rightful better when viewing her in this condition? It was short-sighted of the Lord of Krome.

The nobleman nearly shook his head in disbelief, but refrained.

"Difficult to manage, yes," he said, fully acknowledging that from the eye Elyna offered him, the woman was likely angered at Alistair. He allowed this to happen - because he could not prevent it. He had walked into the eye of the storm, and if he did not manage himself carefully, he would be placed into the outer rim.

Which, evidently, would happen anyway. Apparently this man had somehow become aware of Alistair's distaste for the rebellion. Not all that surprising, though he was fascinated by his absurd methodology. To imprison the heir to House Venora? They were one of the most beloved Houses. Not to mention the political intrigue in direct association with Alistair and Zvezdana. "You are aware that my sister is 'Her Majesty', correct? And that I am the chosen successor to the Great Duchess Ebony Venora? You cannot force me to go anywhere or do anything, Lord Krome. That is not the way in which we operate in this country." Though he knew based on how he treated Elyna - he didn't care about how they 'operated' in Rynmere. Ridiculous man.

He would play the game of honesty, then. He had begun reconciliation with Zvezdana - this would be unwise for Marcus to pursue. "Additionally, as much as my sister and I have our differences, I guarantee you the humiliation you wish me to endure and the anger of my house that ensues will very likely bring her wrath upon you. My house will exist after this war, whether you like it or not. I will exist. Do you really think it wise to create a permanent enemy when we could work alongside one another?" he raised an eyebrow. Alistair truly held himself together despite the severity of the situation. He spoke in political terms, things he hoped the Krome could understand despite his family's ignorance on anything besides savagery.

If nothing else, then the Venora had to make a decision: kill Marcus here and now, have the minions set the keep to bloodshed, or risk death in a situation where this man controls every aspect of Alistair's life. He needed to think . . . and hard.
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[Krome] The Homekromeing Democracy

Postby Faith » Tue Aug 30, 2016 1:50 pm

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The woman that they brought out was battered and beaten, yet Faith recognised her. From that dream with Malcolm and the slave wondered just how that could be. But now was not the time for her to be thinking about the reality, or lack thereof, of dreams and so on. Now was the time for her to be doing what she had been sent here to do, what her purpose was. Whilst the noble lords spoke and so on, she remained quiet and said nothing, but then the one who was in charge here (Lord Krome, she knew, Malcolm's son) said words which were important, at least to the young woman who was likely to be largely ignored.

He would not deny her a gift.

And so, as said gift, even as the guards moved and did things, Faith dropped another curtsy, to Lord Krome and she moved to stand next to, but slightly behind, Lady Burhan. Because she had been given as a gift and, as such, it was important that from this trill onwards, they all saw her as Lady Burhan's slave, not Lord Venora's. The machinations of nobles were, or must seem to be, completely over her head as she moved and curstied to Lady Burhand and then stood, eyes to the floor and meekly waiting for the fate of so many to be decided. She had never felt so useless but by Famula, if this descended into a fight she was protecting this woman and her child.
"To be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."

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[Krome] The Homekromeing Democracy

Postby Elyna » Tue Aug 30, 2016 2:16 pm

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Elyna kept her own gaze fixed on the young woman who approached and slid into place behind her. She turned to watch her new gift and resisted the urge to recoil. Elyna had never wanted a slave and still had no desire to have another human subjugate to her will. There was little she could do at this stage and at least the woman was not bound. The shackles on her wrists were irritating, hot and sweaty skin expanding against the tight metal bounds. Worse, it was harder to press hands to the gentle swell of her belly and feel the life moving beneath. The Skyrider focused her attention on the two noble lords and the palatable tension that filled the room.
“I merely take steps to assure your compliance my Lord,” Marcus folded his arms over his chest. A tall man he had broad shoulders and short cropped hair. His guards were strong men, more used to sailing on open seas then confined to land. At his nod, the two drew weapons and held them ready. An open thread.
“It is my suspicion that you are far from reconciled with your sister, although I suspect you’re right. I can imagine her Majesty would be peeved to consider her brother ill-treated,” Marcus moved around the desk to stand in front of the Venora. Eye to eye with the man he simply brushed away the shackles, kicking them to the side of the room.
“I would not want you to feel ill-treated but I seek assurances that you’re not seeking intelligence amongst us, as my traitorous lady was sent to do,” he glanced back at Elyna before placing his hands on the desk behind him and leaning back, relaxed. “A compromise my Lord? Freedom of movement for our journey, but with the knowledge that treachery on your part would cost first your Gift her life and once my child is born, the Lady Elyna’s,” he paused to allow Alistair time to consider his answer.
“You’re out numbered, my Lord. Do we have an accord?”
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[Krome] The Homekromeing Democracy

Postby Kieran » Tue Aug 30, 2016 2:53 pm

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Cost them their lives? He needed to think about that as well. There were many, many options here. If he were colder, Elyna's passing by Marcus' hand would have been a benefit, and something to consider. To murder Elyna was to anger House Burhan - Marcus could be set upon by Veljorn as an act to appease his other relatives, and the rebellion could turn upon itself. He didn't find the idea of Marcus murdering Elyna to be troublesome to his political scheming. However, Faith was Tristan's property and Alistair additionally figured that in the future a beneficial relationship with Burhan would outlast the momentary retraction of the rebel's army.

As a result, Alistair canned his idea of simply corroding through Marcus' skull and staging a violent rescue. He listened to what Marcus had to say and nodded his head in agreement. "Absolutely," he replied. "I am not outnumbered in fact," he stated, "but I don't care about threats or violence. You could have come to this compromise without ever threatening me, Lord Krome. It is no matter, though. I understand your apprehension. Willingly, I will accompany you as a prisoner of sorts, as long as you give me the respect of a Lord." He was pleased to see his mobility maintained. That would make it a great deal easier to escape from the crowd when he inevitably wished to relay information to his forces, who were likely to be led by his father Kaleb.

The man did not offer Marcus a handshake, however. He was his prisoner now, not his business partner. Instead of pleasantries, he focused his mind, staring upon the injuries of the pregnant Lady as he began to tweak the energy within the wells to have the minions face west. It was a signal to Damien that things went poorly, but not gravely so. A signal that rather than marching upon Alistair to defend him, they should be wary that they too could become imprisoned by the Lord. Damien bit his lower lip and frowned, quickly rounding up the retinue to leave the Keep immediately. He would contact members of the Coven in Rynmere, informing them that one of their own had been abducted by a hostile force. Alistair could not risk discovery at the hands of Marcus inspecting his guards, and so they could no longer be there. They made their retreat swiftly, something the Venora had already prepared an excuse for if necessary.

They weren't my guard - they were merely mercenaries to protect me to the Keep, and leave me in your charge.

He'd thought this through. He was ready for this. It was his big entrance into the political scene of Rynmere, and he didn't want to die amidst the glory. So, he nodded his head and allowed himself to become encircled by the guard, sending Faith off to Elyna.

"Lord Krome, will you allow me to at least treat Elyna and ensure she is healthy? In her state, the pregnancy could be compromised. I am sure you would wish for your child to be born safely into this world, just as Zvezdana would wish for your wife - who Zvez has always deeply admired - to be elegant and presentable when we reunite with Veljorn's forces." He said this for a multitude of reasons. One, he genuinely did feel at least a little poorly for the woman, who had been clearly battered and mistreated as a result of this man's... sadism. Secondly, he wished to ensure the woman acknowledged he was not here to be one of her tormentors. Allying with the Burhan members that did not wish to send Rynmere into chaos was a large portion of the reason he was here in the first place.

But he could only leave it all to the Krome's whims, ones he greatly wished would be rational in their nature. The man looked to Faith and gestured that she go to Elyna's side, immediately offering her Lady assistance. She was a noblewoman - even if she had been placed into such a disreputable state, she still had command over others. Faith could serve her well, especially in this evident time of need.
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