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* Plot Information for Dena Nehele

With the full force of the Guilds at her back, Rilandra Vlas seized the Territory Throne of Dena Nehele. The common born Province Queen now owes allegiance to the Master of the Guilds for his assistance in both securing the throne and securing Darcia Glassade's continual safety. Trapped between the demands of the Guilds and the demands of the Aristos, Riley is struggling to rule, finding the palace more of a cage than she could have dreamed possible.
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Author Topic: Promises of liquid gold  (Read 116 times)

Description: Attn: Catalina

Offline Lucien Glassade

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Promises of liquid gold
« on: Nov 12, 17, 02:41:33 PM »
For over thirty years Lucien Glassade had been a powerhouse of Dena Nehelian politics. He was the second son to a failure of a man. He had climbed over the bodies of his father and his brother to water the roots of his dying family tree. As a young man he did not have the luxury to be a drunk or a playboy; The family was dying, and it was his place to construct a future for the Glassade family.

No-one else would.

So he had worked tirelessly. He suffered a cheating wife who bore him three sons and brought wealth and a political acumen to the marriage. He had born three powerful, wonderful sons -- scions who would bring great honor and prosperity to his family.... if they could ever get their heads on straight. Marcel was a Warlord Prince who wore the Green and yet he could never seem to step out of Lucien's shadow. Remus was bold and powerful, but consumed by his passions and reminded Lucien of his brother. The drunk and the fool. And Simion, well.. he was still too boyish to realize the difficulties of being an aristo in Dena Nehele.

Even with these struggles he loved his sons. He knew the Glassades could not prosper in perpetuem without a Queen in their control. He could have hoped Marcel or Remus would marry one (in fact he arranged for such things), but Lucien was never one to bet on the future of the family on a single gamble. So he paid for a Queen to become part of his family after the fifth attempt at a Queen child failed.

To Lucien, Darcia was never just a pawn. She was as much an adopted daughter as she was the future of the family. But so were the rest of his children. Lineage was a family's lifeblood, and though Darcia did not have his blood he gave her his name. And she, as much as any of those born from Adela's womb were his children.

And Rilandra Vlas had stolen her from him. Kidnapped her. Hid her away and then once she'd stolen Darcia's seat she refused to let anyone see her. For all he knew, Riley had killed her. Or her Guild Masters had.

But Lucien wasn't one to just lay down and die. Not when the future was at stake. Not while his daughter was out there. Not while the heart and soul of Dena Nehele was being sold for some usurper to rule.

Catalina Toma was a wealthy and powerful member of Dena Nehele's aristocracy. She was also a powerful Black Widow who held the Red. While she was young, younger than his daughter even, she was influential and had the ear of many of the other aristos. She also was well liked and had been a supporter of Rilandra's for a time. But recently he had seen and heard her feelings on the Queen of Tulzbruja had changed. It was a standard day at Court, Rilandra adjourning the gathering to go off with one of her many males; No doubt to fornicate in the dirt of Darcia's garden or somewhere else nearby.

But he did not think much of the mating habits of the self-titled Bitch Queen of Dena Nehele. Instead he moved to someone who could help put her in a leash. He moved with calm and confidence as he approached the Lady Toma, his cool eyes focused on the floor before shifting directly onto her. "Lady Toma." Lucien offered warmth and a bow of his head. "May I steal you away before one of your suitors tries to claim your time?" His gray eyebrows lifted with a twist of a smile, his head indicating the rest of the room. "I promise I will only attempt to make them jealous if you wish it."


Offline Catalina Toma

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Re: Promises of liquid gold
« Reply #1 on: Nov 12, 17, 08:02:44 PM »
Catalina didn't say much at court, these days. Before Riley's formal ascension to the throne, Catalina had been as merry and vocal as the rest of the aristocrats who gathered under the guise of court business for the sake of gossiping and supporting each others' initiatives. Oh, Catalina still gossiped. Since the auctioning off of the country to the Guildmaster though, Catalina's commentary at court had been more restrained. She sat with a pack of she-wolves, and their judgments and banter were whispered with sharp little smiles and knowing looks. When court dismissed they often left en masse, piling into a coach or two in order to be whisked away to whatever eatery was currently fashionable. The fact that Catalina's group showing up for an after-court lunch could make a place fashionable wasn't something that escaped the Black Widow, and it had become quite the routine.

Today, Catalina was still abreast of a half-dozen others when Lucien Glassade stepped into her path. Catalina smiled brightly in response, and did not even look away from the Prince to flick her fingers at the others, that simple gesture assuring them that they should continue on without her. Surely there were threads exchanged, because apart from the cursory greetings they all gave to the Prince in passing, nothing else was said before they migrated on and left Catalina behind.

"Prince Glassade," Catalina greeted him, bowing her head politely. She might have outranked him, but she was not foolish enough to think that Jewels and Caste automatically trumped experience. An elder courtier of any consequences in Dena Nehele was rather like a geriatric lion in the wild: rare. The mortality rate of powerful people tended to increase sharply with age, as reflexes and tolerances decreased. That Lucien Glassade was even still standing before her was a testament to his canniness and power, and Catalina was aware enough to recognize at least that much.

"Only if I'm allowed to start a rumor that you are one of those suitors," she teased him merrily, as she closed the distance between them. "Will you join me for lunch, Prince Glassade? It's been a long time since I've shared a meal with someone who appreciates a good drama as much as I do." If he was amenable, she'd offer her arm. The sleeve of the off-shoulder shirt she wore was a crisp white, a pretty contrast against the deep tawny cast of the shoulders that were left bare above them. A corselet prevented her shape from being lost beneath the shirt's flowy fabric, which was echoed in the skirt that swung lightly about her legs as she moved. Her hair was twisted up into a bun at the back of her head, leaving only a few stray curls to decorate her neck and collar. None of it was quite as lovely as the perfect little smile she gave him, though, a very precise blend of sincere-looking happiness and devilish humor.

Offline Dashel Darko

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Re: Promises of liquid gold
« Reply #2 on: Nov 13, 17, 11:41:20 AM »
It was rare for Dashel to curse. Rarer still was it for him to think about another and wrap it with feelings of anger and hatred. By his nature, Dashel was an optimistic and good-natured person. He thought everyone had the capacity for good and for generosity and benevolence. He considered that even most of the Aristos who sneered down at him for most of his life really weren't bad people. They just hadn't had good learnin'.

But he hated Lucien Glassade.

A lot of that, probably, had to do with his association with Riley. For much of her life Lucien had been an enemy -- the villainous father of her dear friend. He represented what was wrong with Dena Nehele: It's opulence. It's corruption. It's arrogance. And yet while Dashel could (uneasily) turn a blind eye toward Garen L'Voide because he supported Riley and was trusted by her, he could not do so for Lucien. There was no charitable offering of redemption or of improvement for the Glassade patriarch. He was an enemy of Riley, an enemy of her vision for the Territory, and as her bonded male it was Dashel's responsibility and his duty to hate the man too.

It was strange how the bond transmuted his own opinion of a person. If he were able to divorce his feelings for Riley (an impossible task) he may have been able to take a step back and consider it with a more objective, patient perspective. But as it were he was unable to do so. When he saw Catalina, a woman he was starting to take a shine to and appreciate (he still thought, daily, of how magical that night had been between them), he inwardly seethed.

Dashel never seethed.

But still it burned him to see Lucien walk up to her and smile and act the courtier, and worse that Catalina seemed to indulge it. He should have walked off with Riley, should have ignored it and addressed it later. Should have.

Instead he moved from Riley's supporters past the invisible barrier that was aristo territory and moved with just a touch of haste to come in right before Lucien could offer his answer to Catalina's invitation.

"Ah, sorry. Prince Glassade, Lady Toma." Dashel offered apology and bowed his head with as much respect as he could offer that scumlord aristo, then turned his eyes strictly to Catalina. "I overheard and meant to catch you before you got too far, Lady Toma. Lady Vlas has asked me to take you to lunch today on behalf of the Territory Court."

Lie. Lie. Lie. But it sounded good at the time in his head!

He turned to Lucien, eyebrows raised high in an outward expression of apology. "I apologize for my timing. Perhaps you two can meet another time?"

Offline Catalina Toma

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Re: Promises of liquid gold
« Reply #3 on: Nov 13, 17, 12:17:47 PM »
Generally, Catalina enjoyed the unexpected. As someone who struggled so often with boredom, it was almost always a joy to find herself taken off guard by some interesting development in her day. It broke up the monotony of daily court life and made it more like a game, and Catalina loved a good game. So, despite her lack of any real history with Lucien Glassade (or perhaps because of it), she'd been pleased to find him seeking her out. More than just the intrigue of wondering what he might want, his opinions of Rilandra Vlas were well known, and stirred a quiet curiosity in the Black Widow. He would make a powerful ally, if Catalina could find some common ground with him. The fact that he was something of a silver fox with a rumbly voice that could curl toes certainly didn't hurt matters. She found herself genuinely pleased at the idea of taking a lunch with him.

Enter one Dashel Darko. He was the most puppy-like of Riley's puppies, and a recent acquaintance (read: project) of Catalina's. The Widow was immediately annoyed at the interruption, and doubly so when that interruption served as a thinly-veiled insult to the man to which Catalina hoped to ingratiate herself. She didn't broadcast that annoyance, of course; her court smile was still prettily in place, and she merely looked surprised at Dashel's arrival.

"Handsome Princes on every side," she remarked with a smile, turning to orient herself in a three-way space with Lucien and Dashel. The younger Prince lied through his pretty teeth about a lunch date supposedly on suggestion of the Queen, and Catalina's smile grew brighter in response. "Did she?" she mused, seeming impressed by the idea. "How incredibly kind of her. Someone must have told her how much I enjoyed our little adventure," she said, a hand touching down lightly on Dashel's forearm.

On a psychic thread, Catalina brushed Dashel's mind with a warm little tease: *Eager to play rescuing hero again so soon?*

"But I'm sure Lady Vlas wouldn't want me to be rude by withdrawing the invitation I've just extended," she added, with just a touch of a pout softening her tone. Only briefly, and then it lightened once more to something perfectly friendly. "You can trust me to take you up on the offer at dinner time instead, however. Are you free then, Prince Darko?" Subtly insidious Craft laced itself around a few choice words, and Dashel was subconsciously pressed to bolster his faith in the Widow before him. She continued on that psychic thread between them.

*Lucien Glassade is a potential thorn in Riley's side, Dashel. If he wants to speak with me, I need to hear him out. It may be that he'll tip his hand and we'll be able to uncover whatever plot he's currently putting together. He's got something in mind if he's trying to butter me up, don't you think? Trust me to find it out. Have dinner with me tonight, and we can talk about it more?*

Offline Dashel Darko

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Re: Promises of liquid gold
« Reply #4 on: Nov 13, 17, 12:35:13 PM »
Dashel practically beamed in response to her compliment, where as Lucien remained stoic and calm. The elder Prince didn't speak, instead allowing the Dark Jeweled Black Widow handle the matter. She was both the center of the dance and also the highest casted among them and Protocol dictated it was her choice in the matter, not that of the Princes who were courting her favor.

Her psychic thread was responded with a chipper, playful *Always!*, which didn't lose potency as she offered her 'But', as before it could truly sink in that she'd deflected her dismissal of his offer, she wrapped insidious tendrils of coercion into his mind. He sat there for a moment, only momentarily disappointed, before the offer of dinner sounded much better anyway.

"I have a busy schedule, of course, but I will make time for it Lady Toma." He replied with no small amount of charm. A novice, perhaps, naive, surely, but not unskilled.

*You're right. I hadn't thought of dealing with him like that. Hah! It's why I still have a lot to learn from you, Cat.

We'll talk tonight. I didn't mean to be rude! I just can't stand that slimeball.*


But his psychic conversation was private, and outwardly he offered only a bow of his head and his torso, reaching half to his waist before he came fully up to his normal height. "Prince Glassade, I apologize for the intrusion. I hope you both have a pleasant lunch." He turned to Catalina, taking up her hand in a smooth gesture that let him kiss her knuckles. "Lady Toma."

And smoothly he departed to find something to busy himself with to occupy his mind until he'd have opportunity for that dinner date. There was no anxiety in him or concern for what Lucien Glassade was up to. Catalina would handle it and tell him.

He trusted her, after all.

Offline Lucien Glassade

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Re: Promises of liquid gold
« Reply #5 on: Nov 13, 17, 01:42:30 PM »
Lucien was not pleased that one of Rilandra's "men" had interfered in his business. Somehow Rilandra was like an ill-trained hound, one that had the need to piss over everything that appealed to her. The fact that she'd sent this Pup Prince to interceed on his meeting with Lady Toma was crassly and clumsily done, but he'd expect nothing less from someone in Vlas's Court. It was small wonder that the commoner, landen-mudblood Queen couldn't handle the courtly dance well. She was in the position she was in now not because of merit, but because of a deal with the devil.

Catalina handled herself with poise and with absolute grace. She smiled, flirted, pouted, and soon enough the Pup Prince was sent bounding away to find another bone. Lucien nodded gently to his "apology" and watched him go. Once he was out of ear shot, Lucien offered a slow rumble of approval. "Expertly handled." He turned to her and his smile showed no teeth, but nonetheless lifted the edges of his (more salt-than-pepper) beard. "You learned your lessons well."

Slowly Lucien moved toward Catalina's left side, offering his arm to the hand that did not hold a snaketooth and turned his attention forward. "You do me great flattery in suggesting that I could be one of your suitors. I assume there are many who desire to be; you are a woman of great beauty, Lady Toma. Few men look past that." He turned to her, an aside where an eyebrow was raised just lightly. "Age gives a perspective on the more attractive qualities of a woman."

A small smile lingered and though his legs were longer than hers, he kept his pace to match step with hers perfectly. His eyes looked ahead then, but she noticed it did not sweep the room from time to time. This was not a man who lived in fear, despite recent changes in fortune. "Would you do the kindness of picking the restaurant? I am a terrible creature of habit, and would rather rely on your wisdom on the matter."

He figured she would understand his desire in venue: Away from Rilandra's pups and her sycophants. Somewhere they could speak of in peace.


Offline Catalina Toma

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Re: Promises of liquid gold
« Reply #6 on: Nov 13, 17, 05:30:14 PM »
Catalina smiled and waggled her fingers to wave farewell to Dashel before he bounded off. Lucien's compliment won only a soft laugh and a slow shake of the Widow's head as they began to walk.

"I assure you, Prince, there wasn't much training needed before I knew how to handle over-protective admirers." She sighed, content, and settled into a relaxed stride at Glassade's side. "Prince Dashel is harmless, but his timing unfortunate. If only he'd come along before I'd been extended a better offer." She smirked a little, but didn't bother to overkill the flirtation by leering at Lucien or even glancing his way.

Lucien flattered her in turn, and then she did look over at him, an approving smile on her painted lips. "Do you think so? Tell me then, what attracts you to a woman, Prince Glassade? I shall have to know if I want to refine my dating pool to more prestigious offers than the common court puppies."

He asked if she'd choose the restaurant, and her smile brightened. "Of course. I've a coach just there, in fact," she said, with a gesture to where her coachman waited outside of her vehicle. As the couple approached it, the sharply-dressed driver opened the door and stood by to close it once the two were inside. The interior was posh and rich, colorful enough to suggest the youth of its owner, but not so overly done as to be garish. Catalina was obviously a lover of the dramatic, but she was a tasteful dramaphile, at least. The scent of honeysuckle, subtle enough to be overlooked when the Black Widow was out on the street, was more noticeable here in this enclosed space that'd been so repeatedly exposed to her perfume. Her directions to the driver were threaded rather than spoken, so she was free to listen to Lucien speak as they were launched onto the Winds. It was a short trip; the place she had in mind was still well within Bidea proper. It wasn't a particularly secret location, but it was one of the more luxurious restaurants in the city. It was showy enough that the up-and-comers crowded it at night, but established enough that the truly avant-garde shunned it. But because the point of being there was to be seen, there was usually a terribly small crowd there during the day. One got more social bang for their buck being seen at night, after all, when all the socialites were out and about.

Catalina came here often, evidenced by the way the maître d knew her by name. She was escorted at once to a corner booth that was obviously intended for more than two people, back in a corner away from the main pass of what little traffic there was during the day. It was a perfect location for a private conversation, Catalina thought. No one could fault her if she said she went with Glassade to the Climbing Rose, as it was a perfectly public locale. Yet the reality of the place was as comfortably private as she could want.

Offline Lucien Glassade

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Re: Promises of liquid gold
« Reply #7 on: Nov 13, 17, 05:51:20 PM »
"A harmless guildsman." Lucien seemed to ruminate on her point with a soft, but audible 'hmm'. "Prince Darko is a unique individual, then." The point was made, and he felt no further need to ruminate about it. While he'd not consider the boy a threat, he was still Riley's creature and an outspoken member of the Jack's Guild. Hardly someone that Lucien would completely overlook.

She asked what attracted him, and to that only a small hint of a smile graced his weathered features. He did not look to her, but somehow his words still were curved in such a way as to make it clear they were for her alone. "Intelligence. Drive. Grace. Ambition. Humor." He paused for a moment, as if to add weight to it. "Considering you have all of those qualities, I think you will find no difficulty in appropriating a worthy suitor, Lady Toma." His hand patted hers; an almost fatherly gesture, though he was by no means her parent. Merely some things an older man could get away with that younger men could not.

He filled the time on the coach with questions of her theater and the productions there. Perfectly polite and interesting subjects, but never would be the meat of any political discussion. They quickly made their way upon the coach to the destination, and as she stepped off first off the coach, she would be able to see a smaller, less guarded smile as he saw the locale. "I suppose I shall have to add 'Taste' to your list of attractive qualities, Lady Toma."

Soon enough they were guided to the corner booth. The smell of her perfume lingered pleasantly in his nostrils. A more profane man might have considerable thoughts of that scent -- but Lucien was focused on business now, rather than lingering on her attractiveness or thoughts that could expand from there.

He had never been a slave to lust.

"You had always been a supporter of Rilandra over my Daughter." Lucien began slowly once their wine was served and they were alone. He had one leg crossed over the other at the knee, and as he leaned back into his seat, cradling the glass in hand, he considered her with the full weight of his gaze. "Someone who would shake the establishment, I recall you saying. Someone to affect change.

Is this the change you hoped for, Lady Toma?"
He asked her, not in a flippant or edged way, but a seemingly genuine curiosity.


Offline Catalina Toma

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Re: Promises of liquid gold
« Reply #8 on: Nov 14, 17, 11:25:22 AM »
Lucien's praise seemed to warm Catalina towards him, though she was careful to keep her appreciation muted and quiet. She knew how to read an audience, after all, and it seemed to her that a more obsequious response would be dismissed or read as insulting by the older Prince. It didn't particularly matter to Catalina whether she actually turned Lucien Glassade's head as a potential lover or not. Most people liked to be made to feel attractive, and were drawn towards people who gave them that feeling. Whether it was genuine on Catalina's part or not, it certainly seemed so, and that was by design.

That extended into the conversation in the coach. She was engaged but not overbearing. Talkative, but not to the point where she didn't let him speak. She was giving when it came to details about her work and the cabaret, but was careful to draw Lucien into the conversation in equal turns. Light topics, of course. She seemed no more eager than he to discuss matters of importance before they were safely tucked away in a restaurant booth.

The wine came and Catalina settled back into her seat with a glass, both content and energized, by the look of her. Lucien began by calling out the fact that Cat had supported Riley over Darcia, in the past. There was no shame in the Black Widow's mien while he spoke. Only a tempered little smile, patient and well-humored. She sampled her wine, and that small act allowed her just a beat to consider her answer before she gave it. In the end she shrugged and sighed softly.

"Sometimes, you pick the wrong horse," she admitted, wistfully. "Of course I have nothing against Darcia, Prince Glassade. But even you must admit that Dena Nehele has been... sick for a very long time. I feel it is a bigger problem than any one Queen can combat. So... yes. Riley seemed like she was something different. Something that would shake things up and maybe bring change that we need so much. And while she did indeed bring change... I would have to admit that no... this isn't exactly what I was hoping for." She lifted her glass again, but paused with it before her lips before drinking.

"Or maybe it is, and it's just not finished yet," she allowed, with a rising little smirk. "Maybe she'll bring the whole Territory crumbling down, and we'll build something better from the ruins." Only then did she sip her drink, that smile lingering in her eyes as though that wasn't the first time she'd entertained such a thought.

Offline Lucien Glassade

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Re: Promises of liquid gold
« Reply #9 on: Nov 14, 17, 11:47:17 AM »
While Catalina might have been amused at the prospect of anarchy and rebuilding civilization from the ground up, Lucien was less so. He had built up his family for decades -- already having crafted something from nothing, and he was in no mindset to think of this as an opportunity built out of armageddeon. His face showed as much, his jaw clenched and one could practically hear his teeth grinding in annoyance to her baiting smile.

"The blame of the ills of this Territory are not our possession, but that of the Guilds. The people starve because the Guilds murder our Queens. They have entwined us into the web of needing them to lobby our power and jockey for the few resources that are available. The lands that are fertile and rich are rare, and thus whoever was fortunate -- or ambitious enough -- to own them, profited.

Rilandra is nothing good or beneficial to this Territory. She never has been. She never will be. Her true colors were revealed when she chose to openly welcome murderers, thieves, and thugs into the Courts all so she could steal my daughter's throne."


Lucien looked at her with a piercing stare. She may be a powerful Black Widow, but she was young still, inexperienced, and thought herself untouchable because she held the Red.

"Who's to say your theater won't be torn apart by the desperate? Or your family fed to the wolves, if Rilandra finds you an enemy? It is easy to consider becoming the phoenix, until one remembers they have to die in the first place."

Lucien slowly set down his glass, his movements measured. He uncrossed his legs and planted both feet on solid ground as he leaned forward toward her. He rested his arms on his knees as he lowered his voice. Even though they were in private, this point was better delivered in a soft and firm tone, rather than a lecture.

"Rilandra cannot continue to rule without the support of the aristocracy. L'Voide alone cannot fund the Territory. She cannot feed the people without our farms and our Jewels, as she so desperately wants. Right now she has preyed upon our fears of the Guilds and our own rivalries for her agenda.

But our division needs to end, Lady Toma.

We need to come together -- form a united front for our interests. Force Rilandra to hear our concerns. You are well respected and in power. Rilandra still thinks you an ally to her.

If you can be the voice, I will have the other families fall in line and give you support."


Offline Catalina Toma

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Re: Promises of liquid gold
« Reply #10 on: Nov 16, 17, 02:05:39 PM »
Catalina's head fell slightly to one side while she watched Lucien expound on the ills of the Territory and the culpability of the Guilds. Her posture was relaxed, as though it bothered her not one whit to be sitting across from a man with such a reputation and history as the Glassade partiarch. And the truth was, it didn't. She knew better than to discount him entirely as a formidable force in the Territory, but in Catalina's mind he was nowhere near the paragon of influence he'd once been. Riley had made a fool of him, of his entire family, really. There was history behind him that yet lent him strength, but to many people of a peerage with Catalina, he was little more than a defeated old man still shouting at the heavens for having had the audacity to rain on him. He'd done well at the Game for a while, but in the end he'd been bested by a nympho-maniacal commoner with a penchant for collecting strays. Catalina could understand his anger, even if he stopped short of truly arresting her sympathy.

It was unfair, perhaps, but sometimes life was that way.

Her comment about the Territory falling down had been nothing more than a joke, a flippant dismissal of his concerns about Riley. Yet he latched onto those words and threw them back at her, forcing her to consider what it might be like to see such things come about in a literal sense. It seemed an impossibility to Catalina, something that was likely shown on her face. Still, she considered it, which she hadn't done before. It was enough to finally drain some of the mirth from behind her expression, enough to make her seem just a touch sullen while she looked away and took another swallow of her wine.

Lucien sat forward some and softened his tone, and Catalina turned her less-happy face back towards him to study him as he spoke.

"To what end, Prince Glassade?" she asked him, once he'd finished. "I have fantasies of my own, but tell me, what do you feel 'our' interests are? Short of having her step down to allow your Darcia to take the throne again - which seems unlikely - what is it you hope to accomplish, yourself?"




Offline Lucien Glassade

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Re: Promises of liquid gold
« Reply #11 on: Nov 16, 17, 05:11:20 PM »
"I am not deluded about our future." Lucien's words were a soft creep of admission, a truth that was difficult to confront and more difficult to countenance as reality. "The Guilds have now been openly welcomed into the Halls of power. We are likely never to be rid of them, now. But the devil's contract relies soley on Rilandra, that I have no doubt. She needs them and they need her. If a division can be fermented between them their power and their support crumbles.

For as much as the Guilds are powerful they are still imbibed with individuals. The Guilds are not limitless in wealth. She relies upon L'Voide for money, else the Slaver would not sit in the Territory Court. Where as you, I, Gavril, and many others of the aristocrats still have large coffers and larger holdings.

Rilandra can only look toward the Guilds for support, where as we can hire aid outside of the Guilds themselves. Raej and Hayll have mercenaries and agents that we can use to great affect, if we do it discreetly. The key thing here is to divide the cooperation between Rilandra and the Guild Master."


Lucien took a slow breath at the topic of what to do afterward. "I do not know where Darcia is*. She may be dead, or held in captivity for Rilandra's own gain. She's not spoken to any of us, and we've had no contact since she disappeared and Rilandra stole her seat.

We will have to find another Queen to take her place, at some point. But we have time. Ours is not a swift campaign, but one we must exercise, lest we always have the Myos, Shaos, and Jacks in the Courts, openly acting as enforcers for Rilandra's rule in perpetuem."


Lucien paused, allowing Catalina to form a response or state her opinions on the matter. There was no doubt what he was proposing would be difficult and dangerous, but the state of the Territory was at stake.



*This thread was started before this thread


Offline Catalina Toma

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Re: Promises of liquid gold
« Reply #12 on: Nov 17, 17, 11:02:34 AM »
"Will we?"

Catalina had sat there through the entirety of Lucien's speech, listening thoughtfully and critically while he spoke of the Guilds and how irrevocable their influence on the Territory now seemed. The idea of hiring muscle from outside of the Territory wasn't something she'd considered, but it did promise to be an interesting option. What would Dena Nehele look like if the nobles had their own murderous allies to balance the support of the Guilds behind Riley?

It wasn't until Lucien spoke of eventually replacing Riley, of needing to find another Queen, that Catalina's voice rose once more. Only two words, at first, but there was such courage and confidence in them that surely much more was said than those two plain syllables. At once, she betrayed that the future of the Territory was something she'd considered at length, herself, despite her reputation for being concerned primarily with pursuits that were more recreational than political. She seemed unfazed by the danger inherent in Lucien's proposal. Indeed, she intended to double it.

But first, she shielded their table against eavesdropping and scrying. She even blurred away the sight of them, so their lips might not be read by someone duly industrious. Lucien may be entirely unaware of the Craft moving at the depth of the Red, but it was there regardless.

"What is a Queen, truly, Prince Glassade? Why do they rule? As far as I can tell, it is for a few basic reasons. Four, actually, if you count sheer tradition," she amended, with a dismissive tilt of her head. She sat forward in her seat and set her wine glass down, a quiet passion warming the cadence of her lowered speech. She extended one index finger vaguely upwards, as though counting off a point.

"They are programmed by caste to care for the land and people they rule. That's what's said, isn't it? Two," she would extend another finger for each of the reasons she cited. "They feed the land, which in turn feeds everyone else. This, more than any of the rest of it, is what makes them crucial to our survival. And three, they tend to draw strong Blood to them in service, which often means that even a Queen who's garbage at the rest of her purposes can hold a position of authority well beyond her own means.

"I don't actually doubt that Riley cares for the land and its people, in her own way. I think she's misguided about how best to serve them, and I think putting a gang of murderers, thugs, and spies at its helm is more a disservice than a help. I think I am far from alone in that thought, as well. And every moment a Queen - Riley included - spends sitting on a throne is a moment they're not out feeding the land. Who can say with a straight face that here in Dena Nehele, thin as our harvests are, our Queens are more useful sitting in a throne room than out helping the land flourish?

"And who are the nobility, but powerful Blood? If we could band together as you say, and we could conjure additional strength from outside of the Territory, we would be just as justified in ruling as Riley is. Maybe moreso. Would not even your sweet Darcia vastly prefer to spend her time actually tending to the land and the people rather than sitting in a court room? And how much easier would our peers sleep at night if their Queen daughters were suddenly no longer targets to be aimed for?

"A council of nobles could rule, Prince Glassade. Taking Queens out of their role for a time is the only way to diminish the bloodlust for them, the only way to make them safe and to allow them the freedom to heal Dena Nehele's land. Don't mistake me; I would still see them revered for the irreplaceable asset they are to our people. But just imagine a world where our fates are not left in the hands of one seemingly random woman at a time. Imagine a world where the pillars of the Dena Nehelian nobility come together and cooperatively see that the interests of the Territory are served."



Offline Lucien Glassade

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Re: Promises of liquid gold
« Reply #13 on: Nov 17, 17, 08:58:02 PM »
Lucien listened raptly to Catalina's points about Queens and their places in Blood Society. Certainly, some of her points were one which he echoed. He nodded slowly to show he was following her statements, though perhaps not necessarily agreeing with them. He used his own Craft (Aural Shielding was a specialty of his) to surround their conversation, not away that she'd already done so.

It was clear that she had put great thought to this. That made him more secure in his choice for an alliance of sorts -- a target for mutually beneficial assistance. "Darcia is my daughter, and I love and miss her, but I did not yearn for a Queen daughter to serve her. My daughter has a large heart and a great care for the people, but even when she sat on the throne of Dena Nehele she did not rule. That responsibility was left to her Triangle and First Circle, myself, Gavril, that jackboot Tobias with the ridiculous bear, and those more knowledgeable.

Your points are sound, Lady Toma. Queens may have sat on the throne but I'd be surprised if it had not been the case that they ruled only through wise counsel. The Queen has always been the rallying cry and the symbol, not necessarily the mind that guided the Territory."


He leaned forward to pick up his cup, his finger tapping it in thought as he considered her. "If I gather your plan, then we remove Rilandra and set forth the doctrine that an Aristo Council rules Dena Nehele in perpetuem?

I've no doubt if Darcia were found she would prefer to tend to the people that she loved and leave ruling to others.

I approve of the idea, certainly. It is more sound than what the current system has been."
Truly, he was impressed. "We will need to gather the resources of the others to make this a reality, and must assure that they were loyal to this vision rather than be mercantile with their allegiance like L'Voide."


Offline Catalina Toma

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Re: Promises of liquid gold
« Reply #14 on: Nov 18, 17, 10:39:59 AM »
Catalina shrugged one shoulder gently at the notion of removing Rilandra.

"Remove, or simply neuter. Queens are vitally important to us, and I don't want to give the impression that this is something we should lose sight of. Riley may not be the leader Dena Nehele needs in order to thrive, but her potential contribution to the lands is something worth saving.

"The Blood are emotional creatures, Prince. If we are forthright about wanting to replace the traditional Queen rule, there's a good chance they will clutch their pearls and raise a cry without stopping to consider the intelligence of the choice. This is something we're going to have to change gradually, lest every noble with a Queen in their family raise arms to protect a Territory Queen who cares nothing for them. Your influence will be invaluable there. One only has to listen to you speak of your daughter to understand how much you love her. People will need to understand clearly that our intention is not to harm or restrict our Queens. Just... to free them to do what they were born to do: tend to the land and the people directly."


She sipped at her wine while Lucien spoke again, and she nodded at the notion of having to gather resources and support.

"The only thing to challenge the importance of a noble's bottom line in Dena Nehele is influence. Not only will the freedom to have our Queens out tending the land without fear of assassination increase yields... but moving to a council system opens up room for more nobles to take a more direct hand in influencing the future of the Territory. Let Riley lean on L'Voide. He's a merchant as much as anyone, and when he comes to see which way the wind is blowing, there's a chance he'll shift his investment all on his own. The stronger Riley depends on him now, the more it will limit her later, when he's brought to the other side of the table."

Annnnd if he needed a little help in changing his mind? Well, that certainly wasn't outside of the reach of an enterprising Blood.

"I have been working on the other two on the Council, trying to balance subtlety with effect. Having their support will be critical, as Riley's already publicly conceded to hearing our input. If we spend our time now priming the rest of the important nobles to prepare them for change, it will be easier to gradually expand the influence and size of the Council, and reduce Riley's independent power."

 

 

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