Lorandi General Helene Tenlindil has put out a call for the military leaders of the other Kinships to come together on neutral ground and discuss what they know of elementals and formulate strategies for dealing with them.
While the Hunter's Lodge might not be the most conventional war room for an assembly of generals and commanders for the Kinships, it does offer an arguably more relaxed environment for fighting folk to enjoy instead of something more formal and rigid. No special arrangements have been made to bring in any refreshments or special seating. Instead, those tables and chairs that exist in the Lodge have been turned slightly so that the small assembly can face one another while being seated in their own space.
Helene's seat is not already chosen, as she stands near the door so as to greet the generals and their commanders as they arrive... and, possibly, prevent anyone who is not among the invited from stepping in before the meeting begins in earnest.
Dahsk, a wolf pup arrives, following Alethia.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Alethia before departing.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Alethia before departing.
Lathia enters on foot, wrenching off her horned helm and cradling it under one arm. "Do be seated." The young general strides across the lodge, making to find a place nearest the fire.
Lathia has joined the Fireside Chairs.
Alethia walks in and looks around at the Generals curiously, with a small dip of her head. The Faenor ranger is dressed lightly, as if she just came from the shrine, but she has a bow and quiver with her. Entering with Lathia, she takes a seat next to her kinswoman.
Arminel strolls on in, pulling back the hood from his byrrus, making his way over in Helene's direction. He's likely here more for want of knowledge, rather than to share any personal military experience, and so takes a seat sidelong from the Tenlindil, content to observe and listen as the elfess runs the show. "Afternoon, Helene," he greets, flashing a polite smile, resting one foot atop the opposite knee. "No cheese platters? I thought you soldier-types were a hungry bunch."
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Lathia before departing.
Elleth strides in to the Lodge looking as she always does, slightly annoyed, but focused on the task at hand. She gives nods to faces she recognizes and finds a seat at the table. She folds her arms and leans back in the chair, eyes closing for the moment as she waits for the meeting to begin.
"My king," comes Helene's slightly stiff greeting for Arminel's arrival. "This will not be hungry work," is the very tall elf's reply to his observation about the lack of cheese or any other food for nibbling. Her head turns and she addresses the other arrivals in an equally stiff tone, "Please, sit where you will. This is likely to be all of us... the Duindar and the Thalerith did not respond to the call."
Lathia looks at the passing faces, and then at Helene. "What brings you down from your gilded towers?" Her voice drips thick with contempt. "War, is it?" The white-haired elf blows gently on the fire, and the flames whirl higher. She leans over and warms mailed hands over tongues of flame.
Next to Lathia, the second Faenor studies Arminel and Helene, and then Elleth with a degree of curiosity. Alethia's amber eyes are solemn but curious in a less icy way. She seems withdrawn, but offers a quiet, "We are honored to be of service to our fellow elves. Of course."
Elleth opens an eye and quickly looks about. After a moment it snaps shut and she lets out a small annoyed sigh. The Admiral once again could not be bothered and so it falls to her to handle the Aeran representation and the report back. He really was testing her patience.
Arminel flashes a faintly amused smile back to Helene, but there's a small nod in agreement to the Tenlindil's words. The Serannar busines himself with picking at a few small pebbles lodged underneath his bootlaces. "I wouldn't wait up on them," he comments to the second Lorandi, before looking up from his work, glancing at the elfesses gathered here in the Lodge. "I would've liked to have caught Talien again, Captain Alcaldia," greets the Lorandi royal, dipping his head in greeting to the Aeran. "Thank you for filling in from the Aeran."
Hawk, a mischievous ferret arrives, delivering a message to Arminel before departing.
Rather than bristle at Lathia's thorny demeanor, Helene appears to find some measure of strange assurance in it, as the young General nods to the Faenor and replies simply, "Yes." In the beat that follows, Helene assumes her own seat, likely next to or else very near Arminel. "The Faenor have already gained a glimpse of the sort of force that opposes us all. This is the time for us to set aside ego and share what we know so that the elves under our protection might remain safe. It is my understanding that Alethia Reid was present when her people faced the entity known as the Ice Watcher. What can you tell us about that encounter?"
Elleth eyes pop open as she is addressed, teals orbs flashing slightly. A faint smirk appears on her face as her arms unfold and she gives a slight nod to Arminel. "Apologies your Highness the Admiral seems to have much that occupies his time as of late. I would never shirk my duty and hope I can glean some information from this gathering as I am preparing the Fleet for our watcher." Her head turns slightly as she listens to Helene begin.
Alethia sits forward, touching the end of a dark gold braid of hair as she sort of takes stock of the other elves, and of herself. She says simply, "Yes. I scouted a few times during the crisis we faced, and I've spoken with the Ice Watcher as well. She surrendered to us, in a fashion, after the battle, and we had an opportunity to question her at length."
Elleth raises a brow at the mention of surrender but holds her council.
Alethia says, "We learned about the nature of the Watchers and their servants, but I admit that the encounters have given me more questions than answers, in some ways. The Watchers are strange, alien to us. Their concept of everything from names, to the gods, to time- everything is different."
Rimesong, Gizmokes arrive, following Talrin.
Alethia glances at Elleth and pauses. She seems to notice this, and gives the Aeran woman a chance to speak.
Elleth offers a shrug as she sees eyes on her. "All the Admiral thinks is possible is fighting a losing battle or a truce. He never thought being able to defeat the watcher was an option. It's interesting to hear is all."
Arminel turns quiet now, following a polite nod back to Elleth's reply, his attention shifting over to the speaker for the moment. He leans forward a bit, palming a few of the pebbles that he's dug from his boots. "And why is that?" asks the Serannar, speaking up. "Given the Duindar's...relative success, and the Faenor's weathering of their own Watchers. I should think, if anything, that would show that these things are very much capable of being defeated."
Alethia hesitates- or at least it seems like she's hesitating. Her composure is practiced. But she seems a little uneasy. "Maybe I should start at the beginning. Our initial scouts, myself included, stumbled across an army of elementals already being built, practicing military formations. We assumed we would have no choice but to defend Khelgar. We hadn't yet learned what Watchers are."
"Do you know if the Watchers seem to yield more readily to a show of force, or are they better swayed by more diplomatic means?" Helene directs her inquiry toward Alethia, but it's just as likely that anyone could chime in if they felt so inclined, especially when the Faenor begins to tell her tale.
Alethia says, "Looking back, there should have been a better option. We could have tried to seek out the General and negotiate, speak with her, but it did not seem worth the risk. We've since learned that the Watchers themselves are not without reason, and compassion, and purpose. And their elementals are... not simply beasts."
Alethia nods at Helene in a small acknowledgement before looking to Elleth and Arminel again. "But yes. Our Watcher responded to our show of strength. It seemed to gain her respect. But she had also lost her Sage- the creator of the army. And she needed us as well. We learned that later."
Talrin enters the lodge in her normal disiplined mannee offering a polite bow to all there. She over hears the conversation and says, "From my understanding had the Dundir not set trees on fire and causing anger they could have reached a peaceful end but it is always good to remain on the defensive just in case."
Elleth scoffs and rolls her eyes leaning forward on her elbows. "Because the Admiral is paranoid and has trouble listening to people of more reasoned nature. He seems to think the Aeran's troubles are far greater since the Fleet is on water and this elemental we encountered was water itself." She pauses and listens to Alethia. "I think that is where the difference is in our findings. The Aeran have only found Sirens - strange shrieking beings in the water - and a water elemental which we are calling our watcher. The water elemental wants one thing - a sword that was found by one of our kin returned to them." She shrugs again. "I asked that the weapon be closely examined to ensure we weren't handing over something that cold then be turned against our people. So far it seems that all findings have come back negative."
Alethia sits back, stroking her heavy braid in a sort of slow fidget, maybe, and she glances up at Talrin, and nods to Elleth. She seems to think for a bit.
Arminel quiets once again, turning to Elleth as the Alcaldia speaks. There's a slight nod, as he takes in the elfess' words, before he leans back to consider. With no reply voiced, he taps his first two fingers along the edge of his boot.
Helene's head turns abruptly as an unfamiliar voice chimes in. For what might feel like forever, she stares at Talrin. After a time, the young Lorandi General even slowly stands to demand, "Please... introduce yourself."
While Helene is talking to Talrin, Alethia leans forward, toward Arminel, Elleth and Lathia. She looks a little more engaged, like this is a small puzzle. "So you are wondering if your Watcher is deceitful. I am almost certain ours is not. The Watchers care for almost nothing but the defense of their domain. The land itself."
"Lady Heir Talrin Keir, Grandmaster of the Argent Knight at your service and you," Talrin says, returning the question back remaining a respecful tone and manner in her words
Alethia says, "Though it seems strange one should be interested in a -sword-."
Elleth nods and returns with a simple. "Yes I agree, it's very odd."
Alethia studies Elleth for a moment and offers a subdued but rare smile. "I cannot say what your Watcher's intent may be.. only that I suspect this sword is very important to defending the ocean, somehow. It must be crucial. They are not.. political. They're capable of making alliances- the Ice Watcher entered into a pact with a few of the Faenor houses, my own included. But they have no concept of.. mm, personal glory. Their entire focus is restricted to their dominion."
This time, it's Lathia who ends up burdened with Helene's scrutiny as the newest arrival appears to be one of the Faenor and, so, it's their General with whom the young Lorandi looks to quietly confirm either identity or intention. It's not that Talrin is outright blocked from entry, per se, as Helene remains standing near her seat. That is, until she returns to it a moment later and looks to resume the conversation in earnest. "I can share what the Lorandi have learned of the Rock Watcher, as it has been called..."
Alethia sits back again, visibly curious as she nods to Helene respectfully.
"Well if the sword truly belong to them prehaps they simply just wish it to be returned. I am not sure I would take kindly to my sword being taken. But then again your real talk should be with the Watcher to ensure an understanding is reached. It is always good to be ready to show force but prehaps not the first or only option," Talrin says calmly, not hinting at any emotion shown in her features. She stands tall and proud. "We knew little going into our battle and we set up to strike thinking we must defend out home and people. Had we known more of what we where dealing with prehaps we would have handled things differently," she explains further
Arminel contineus to listen, a nod given here or there, a curious look afforded at the mention of this sword that the water elements seem to be seeking out. He turns in his seat, looking back to Helene, then.
Elleth leans forward more, resting her chin on the tops of her fists as she listens intently. "Yes well we hope to understand what they mean of /their/ dominion since the Aeran rely on the water for...well almost everything." She pauses and listens as each elf speaks in turn, trying to take in as much information as she can. "The sword was found in a rather harmless manner - it's not as though we stole it. But I agree it should be returned as it is showing, at least to our magical capabilities, to be harmless." She shakes her head slightly and purses her lips. "I am not sure if our watcher is someone or something else. Our only interaction has been with this water elemental so we named it 'watcher'."
"Why should we trust their word?" Lathia snorts back laughter and leans back against her chair. After settling, she gives an irritated shrug. "I trust the Watchers no more than I did before our battle." The Faenor general screws up her face in a scowl. "My good lords commanded I fight a war to defend ourselves, and fight we did. Over twenty of my warriors gave their lives. . ." Suddenly she pounds her leg with a sharp blow. "That I could never forgive.""
Alethia sits quietly, listening to them but contributing nothing. A small furrow appears between her eyebrows and she rubs at a small scar on the back of her wrist. Contradicting Talrin or Lathia is probably a little above her station.
Elleth sighs and rolls her eyes. "I am not saying we should be doing anything, as I am not the one in charge. I am telling you what the Fleet has been commanded to do. As /I/ control the Fleet I hope that my soldiers make it back - all of them - as also I won't forgive any losses. " Her teal gaze shifts over to Lathia, a look of understanding on her face before her attention shifts again. "I am only giving out the facts and knowledge that I know."
Listening to Helene speak, Alethia then sits up again slowly, looking thoughtful. She only says, "Their natures must reflect the land, the elements. Ours was quite icy, her entire demeanor is poised and-" there's a quick uncertain glance at Lathia, "Honorable, in my eyes, though not nearly as talkative or outwardly passionate as the Duindar's Watchers were said to be."
"Cousin I agree we did loose many fine warriors we can never truly be prepared for any outcome but for now peace has been reached and we should try to move on to learn from these experiences," Talrin says calmly to Lathia, not at all mirroring her outburst. She remains calm and collected
"We knew little going in I myself came right at the Ice Army was at our doors and tried my best to get answers but at the time my main focus was defending our home and people," she explains a moment later.
"After what I heard concerning the Durndir I reconsidered many things, could peace have been reached sooner and lives spared had we done things differently. It is hard to say how each Watcher differs but clues from the other encounters should help," she concludes and looks at the others
:does not so much wait for the mild bickering to cease as she just abruptly begins to tell the tale of the Lorandi expedition into the Forest of Armanor; quieting is apt to come as a matter of course. The young Lorandi General is not here to weave a yarn, however, and the report is offered not as some story to be told around the Lodge's hearth fire, but rather a military report as received from one of her commanders.
Helene does not so much wait for the mild bickering to cease as she just abruptly begins to tell the tale of the Lorandi expedition into the Forest of Armanor; quieting is apt to come as a matter of course. The young Lorandi General is not here to weave a yarn, however, and the report is offered not as some story to be told around the Lodge's hearth fire, but rather a military report as received from one of her commanders.
"A general's duty is to the safekeeping of their kinship," Lathia says coldly. "We do not enjoy the luxury of putting our trust in those who attempt to do us harm." She lets out a deep sigh. "As to the matter of making peace or war, war is what I know best. I did not come here for to teach the art of making an uneasy peace."
"Not the least of which, when our Watcher has already spilled Lorandi blood," Arminel interjects, after an extended silence. "Peace may have worked to end the Duindar's conflict, and may have resolved yours, after the Faenor fought, but it may not be a foregone conclusion for the Lorandi," comments the King, with a nod towards Lathia.
Alethia says, "The Watcher of Stone does sound... uncompromising. But we learned from the Duindar that the Watchers do not always agree with each other. They are susceptible at least to breaking with orders, or falling victim to their passions. The Faenor had the advantage of only treating with a single Watcher. Because the second, the Sage, had been killed."
Alethia pauses, but plows on anyway with the thought, "I am concerned that there is a second Watcher in the Aeran lands. Hidden. This sword business seems the most strange."
"Any peace made with the Rock Watcher will come at the tip of a sword, one way or another," comes Helene's follow-up to the King's words. "It seems that there are two of these creatures in each land; the Watcher and their... Sage, was it? If the Aeren have only encountered one, then the other may be near... watching."
Lathia nods in agreement.
Elleth gives a slight nod. "As far as I know, there has been no loss of life or out-right fighting. Just the encounter with the water elemental that it seems we are wrongly calling a watcher." Her gaze shifts again and she purses her lips. "Yes the sword has been the cause for some unrest among the leadership. Though if the Admiral were here he could give you better insight." She can't quite hide her disgust. "Nevertheless we are preparing to fight in case our, however misplaced, peace attempts go awry."
She focuses in on Helene. "This is something I will put before the Trident. I will ask if there is a way we can look for the /Sage/ so to speak. Or even if we can request an audience when we speak with the water elemental."
Alethia nods as well. "The Sage is what we.. called him, the figure we saw, making the army. I think the Duindar people labeled theirs The Archer."
Elleth nods slowly, looking thoughtful and worried.
Helene is filled with questions now, and unabashedly asks, "Does anyone present know if the Duindar were presented with the same manner of overture as the Aeren have been offered? The return of something lost or some other seemingly bloodless price to be paid? Or the Thalerith?" Beat. "I think it's clear that there is no universal tactic for contending with these creatures, but any knowledge that we have of the others will inform our decisions."
Alethia says, "One other thing I learned is that the Watchers do not worship the gods. They are familiar with them.. they likely have observed their movements, they seem to, well, watch, everything. But I do not think they're part of the Wheel as we are. They almost seem like manifestations of the land itself."
Alethia shakes her head, continuing quickly, "The Faenor were not offered an overture, but we know that it was our exploration and building that angered the Watchers. They see it as an encroachment."
Elleth tilts her head to the side. "I heard the Duindar had an elf that they thought dead was with the /Archer/ as they are being called. It could have been a rumor but it seemed that most were whispering about it. As to if they handed over anything, I don't know." She sighs and rubs at her temple. "Perhaps it is past time I request and audience with the First or at least the person who leads the Amethyst Order."
"I am not fully sure how you should deal with your personal Watcher only what I know from our encounter and what I heard from the Duinder about their encounter. You should prepare to defend yourselves. Not always will every angle be known going into battle. Be prepared for the unexpected," Talrin says calmly, not flinching and remaining stoic
Elleth nods again. "Yes as I said that is our plan. We have a diplomatic solution but are preparing for all outcomes. Including having to evacuate citizens to Thelos." She frowns slightly at the thought but continues. "The Trident knows not to believe it will all go according to plan."
Alethia says, "If you must fight, we had particular luck with elemental magic. We decimated a portion of the elemental army with a wall of ice before they reached the city. They aren't invincible."
After an almost contemplative pause, Helene wagers one last inquiry: "Does anyone else have any information to share about the Watchers in their lands or have any other questions for those assembled?"
"We also flanked the troops and took out the Sage conjuring the army to begin with. If it is battle tatics you seek well you need to know where the force is coming from, how many and where the Sage is. Formulate your stratagy based on all that. It seems in my opinion you are as prepared as can be for your upcoming challenges," Talrin says calmly and shakes her head in response to Helene's question
Elleth shakes her head at Helene's question. "I want to offer my sincerest thanks at all of the information that was willingly offered today. It means a great deal to me that I am now better armed and equipped to serve my people." She offers a respectful bow of her head as she speaks.
Alethia remains silent, and nods to Elleth politely.
Arminel speaks up in agreement with Elleth. "As are we," the Lorandi echoes, looking to the Faenor in the room. "Thank you for sharing with us. This information will save Lorandi lives."
Alethia says, "Good luck with your encounter. I hope none are lost at all."
Elleth gives a solemn nod.
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