Thalerith Town Hall: The Watchers of Sands
Our Warlord Sylindra Filinnar is holding a kinship-wide conference at the Meeting Hall in the Warlord's Spire to discuss the Watchers of the Realm of Sands. It is her intent to organize a diplomatic mission to the Watchers in the hope that a peaceable agreement between us can be found, but she wishes to hear opinions, questions, and concerns from the Thalerith as a whole, so that she may better lead us in this time of crisis.
Zymandi walks in, a little slouchy, a sand cat pattering at her feet to keep up.
A herald steps up and announces to the gathered crowd. "The Warlord, Sylindra Filinnar!" The announced comes down the grand spiral staircase from the upper levels of the spire and up the dais to stand next to her throne. "Welcome my fellow Thalerith! As you all have heard, the Watches of the Realm Sand have been found to the southwest of Nasherat. If you have any questions, suggestions, or concerns, this is the time and place to bring them up." She then takes her seat.
As the Thalerith were called to gather, so Lyandra made her appearance, still in the process of unfastening the cloak she had needed to manage the chill that still lingered in the air in Thelos. As the room was already quite full, she did not make much of an effort to make her way towards the front, instead, seeking for a free space on the floor along one of the outer walls. She waited to sit, while the Warlord was announced, settling onto the free space only once Sylindra had taken her seat.
Zaltar slips in silently and finds a place a bit removed from the crowd to settle in for the meeting
Kalagos is standing off to one side of the room, halberd tucked in against his side as he simply looks about those that have gathered before his gaze shifts over in the direction of the Warlord.
Belstrom also lurks against an external wall, silently watching. His leather cloak flicks once as Lyandra passes him, but he doesn't meet her eyes, watching the warlord and her throe instead.
Zymandi makes her way lazily to sit on the dais right by the throne of bones, crossing her legs and watching the gathering with murky green eyes.
While some gravitate toward the edges of the Hall or the perimeter of the crowd, Joran ambles toward the front-center of the space, settling onto folded legs on a rug before the council chairs and the bone throne.
Joran has joined the Thalerith Woven Rugs.
Zymandi has joined the Warlords Throne of Bone.
Zymandi says, "What do they want from us? What do they look like?"
Ragna turns his attention to the Warlord as she arrived. He was with the party that found the Watchers, and Ragna is currently silent about the call to come to the stand. He notices others arrive, Kalagos, Zaltar, and Lyandra. After a moment, Ragna rises to his feet and looks like he might be considering going up there, but then Zymandi does it first. Brave one!
Aganor has quietly found himself a spot near the rear of the room, as his daughter joins him he smiles at her, nodding and meeting her eyes, before turning his attention back toward the Warlord.
The Warlord speaks, "I have made the following information publicly available, but for those who have not availed themselves of it: The expedition that found the Watchers was lead and organized by Zenandra Aynarr, as I said southwest of Nasherat. The two emissaries who made diplomatic contact were Zaltar Aynarr and Azariah Devrien. The creature they met was large, and capable of flight, with head of a hawk. It summoned a massive storm to engulf the exploration party until called in Celestial, then it introduced itself as the Sage of the Realm of Sand. The Sand Sage threatened us with eviction or destruction, but was convinced to allow for diplomatic talks. The demand is that within three months the Warlord of the Thalerith go back there to meet with the General of the Realm of Sand, who the exploration party did not see, but was descripted as less forgiving and more brutish by the Sage. If I do not, they will raise their elemental army and march on Nasherat. It is this meeting that will decide whether we shall be at peace, or at war."
"Actually it was one month and you are to meet with the sage and the general," Zaltar replies softly
As Lyandra settled beside her father, she reached out to twine one of her arms with his,her free hand settling on his. Her gaze shifted from person to person, both those members of the kinship she knew well, and those less well than she might like. Zymandi's question brought her gaze to the bladesworn first, and then to the Warlord. Once silence had once again fallen, she leaned in to speak softly to Aganor.
Zymandi plays with her hair. "Do we know the cost of peace? Or just that it's a possibility?"
"We do not know for certain the cost of peace, matters were tense enough that our emissaries decided it was best to withdraw before asking the Sand Sage for terms," the Warlord explains. "That said, we have the example of the other four kinships and their Watchers to go by. It seems they are creatures created for the sole purpose of guarding and protecting their respective realms, and they will place doing so above all other concerns. Every effort at peace with the Watchers has thus far succeeded on an Oath from the neighbouring kinship to assist the local Watchers in defending said realm. That is to say they would not submit to any force or entreaties, but they will agree to an alliance. I see little benefit to destroying the Watchers, the cost would be steep and the gain small, so an alliance with them is what I intend to pursue."
Belstrom calls from the back of the room, "Defending the realm from what? Vultures?"
Zymandi smirks and glances down at her hands.
Zaltar falls quiet again, he is watching the others as he listens to the Warlord
Ragna takes a deep breath as The Warlord makes things VERY clear for everybody. His eyes even narrow just a little bit. But then he speaks up. "What tools do we have to fight their elemental army in the event that peace doesn't become an option? I don't know if we can fight air, or even the very sand that the possible enemy can bring to bear." Ragna speaks up then, perhaps unpopularly, but he likes going into fights with some kind of advantage and it looks like they might not have one in his own perspective.
"Do we have mages," Zaltar questions. "Maybe the could counter act against the elementals, that or try and flank the watchers and take them out," he suggests
Aganor says, "If guardians were created to defend the realm, there must be some great threat out there that they are to defend the realm against, it is possible the gods will only reveal that threat once all the guardians have been found and dealt with. If so it would behoove us to have allies and not enemies when the new threat reveals itself.""
Lyandra spoke quietly, her expression mild enough, though she did, for a moment, turn to find Joran in the crowd, though from her place on the floor, it was not vision that allowed her to find him. There was an intensity in her gaze, despite the fact that she could not see her twin, as though she could pass on a message by sheer force of will. Ragna's question and the one Zaltar followed with, finally brought her voice into the flow of the conversation, "There are those among us that can both fight with the elements themselves and defend against them. We are not without resources, though ours might be lesser than the other kinships have to offer."
The Warlord tuns her gaze to Belstrom, "Right now, they are prepared to defend the Realm of Sands from us. A critical component of negotiations will be convincing them that they do not need to, not because we are no threat, the Thalerith are anything but harmless, but because we have no intent to despoil their domain. As for what else besides us, I do not know, but anything that threatens the Realm of Sand will necessarily also threaten the Thalerith, so an alliance is to the benefit of both them and us. Convincing them of that will also be necessary to achieve peace. We must also consider the possibility that the Host may come across the sea to hunt us some day, having the Watchers and their elemental armies at our side may prove vital in defending ourselves against us. As Aganor says, it is also possible the Gods have enemies we do not know about, who will reveal themselves in time."
Belstrom raises his eyebrows, glancing at Aganor and gives a small nod.
After listening for a moment, Kalagos is merely giving a nod of his head, only to then add his voice to the mix, "And where is the General through all of this? Preperations should be made, regardless of whether peace or war lingers on our doorsteps. After all, this could all be a gambit. Sue for peace and then strike when the Kinships least expect it."
Joran rises from his spot on the Hall carpet, casting a resigned glance toward the back of the room. He then offers a dip of his head and a clasped fist to his chest in salute to the Throne, before inquiring, "Warlord, barring the birdbrains cawing, and setting aside the potential defensive measures we may need to have prepared regardless, if alliance with them is the intent, to what extent will we bind Thalerith to them to ensure a peaceful alliance?"
Zymandi murmurs just loud enough to be heard, "The Lorandi didn't swear their oath, and because of it their land is wracked by silver golems coming out of the ground now, and I've a cousin lying dying because of it. If the Watchers fortify against us entirely, that alone could hurt the land. And us."
Zymandi says, "It must be peace or a total victory. Not a stalemate."
Then to address Ragna's concern, the Warlord says, "We have a sizeable enough army, slightly larger than the one the Lorandi deployed in their successful defense of Torendaar, and we enjoy a much more defensible position. The steep walls of the valley leading up to Nasherat, and the cavern of Nasherat itself, should provide protection from the storms. As Lyandra says elemental magic can counter them, and I believe cutting and chopping weapons such as swords and axes will separate their bodies and cuase them to crumble. The Watchers and their elementals can be faught, and have been fought by other kinships. There is thus plenty of reasons to have faith in our ability to repel an assault if need be."
Then to Kalagos, "General Karagoth will indeed lead the organization of the defences of the city, so we can be prepared for anything. However the other Watchers thus far have not engaged in any sort of deception, we do not know if they are even capable of it, so there is some reason to believe they will not attack until after negotiations fail. Even then after some delay, as summoning an whole army of elementals seems to take some time."
Joran corrects Zymandi idly, "It must be what our Warlord decides. But we have the opportunity to bend her ear."
"Whatever happens however, we will have sentries posted on the edges of the Watcher's domain so we are not caught unawares," the Warlord adds.
Belstrom points out casually. "We believed weapons and elemental magic could wake the portal sentries, but that proved false. We have almost no other option here. The warlord is wise to negotiate a surrender."
Aganor clears his throat "Peace and alliance is not the same as surrender"
Zymandi shoots a look at Joran, and then slowly looks at Belstrom and finally Sylindra.
Sylindra glances at Belstrom and speaks dismissively, "If you want to call having ancient, powerful, knowledgeable beings on our side a /surrender/ then suit yourself Belstrom. It's not the term I would choose." Then to her First Blade, "You are indeed correct Zymandi, if negotiations fail we must plan to destroy the Watchers and their army, not merely fend them off. Fortunatley the valley leading up to Nasherat gives us the perfect location to trap the Watchers and their army, and annihilate it, should it come to that. I hope it does not, as the price of war is bound to be steep, but I will not in fact surrender - by my definition Belstrom, not yours - this city."
Joran adds following Belstrom, "If only we could all be so." A brief pause, and a look back toward the Throne. "Warlord, do you intend to allow our kin to seek time amongst the Watchers, should an /alliance/ be negotiated? There could be much to learn from them."
Zymandi strokes the ears of her purring sand cat, watching Joran with a sleepy look.
Lyandra patted her father's arm, before she slipped herself free and rose to her feet. Dressed as she was for her position at the Acadeum, she looked as far removed from the Thalerith with their desert garb as it was possible to be. Moss green dress edged with snow-white fur, nearly as pale has the platinum of her hair. She looked a slender Faenor flower, caught up in the heat of the scorching expanse. Belstrom's words brought a smile to her lips, but not to her eyes, "Such a way with words, High Priest. How well you have learned how to manipulate and bend others to your will. The Warlord speaks of peace while you quietly attempt to incite violence." Lyandra's tone did not change a whit, as calm and collected as her expression, as she glanced around the room. "We Thalerith call this land ours, and perhaps we have some right to do so. But this land lived long before us, and will continue on after. We have been here barely half of a century. A drop of time in the grand ocean of eternity. There were others here before us, there will be others after. Those of us, young and old, who remember the coming of the Host, I think, can fully understand how quickly the known world can become a nightmare. We cannot afford to charge into the world shaking out shields and brandishing our weapons with no thought to victory, not for ourselves, but for future generations. It is not by arms along that we Thalerith will not only survive, but thrive. It is by our strength of will, our strength of mind, and our vision for the future."
Ragna seems to take a breath as he listens to all of these individuals speak. Eventually, he looks upon Lyandra as she stands up to speak to those gathered. A smile crosses his face. "Here, here."
Belstrom tilts his head as Lyandra speaks, and half-smiling, dips his head. "Well said, lovely Lya."
Zymandi says, "And by the wisdom of our Warlord. I wish her luck on the negotiation to come."
Aganor watches his daughter proudly, smiling at her words.
Joran Joran glances over his shoulder, then fully pivots in her direction as she continues, before dipping a firm nod to his twin in approval. "Vi Achareth, Thalien.", is all he replies, even if the cant of his expression may say more.
"They called us tresspassers, our best bet is to argue we had no idea till recently of their existance, we hear storys from the other Kin of their possible existance. We had no idea what to expect when we went to meet them and this is why the Army was sent along. Then see what Oath they want us to agree to, then we can decide what to do from there," Zaltar suggests quietly
Zymandi says, "The rest of us will prepare for defense, if the talk should fail. Is that correct?"
Belstrom receives a message and steps outside the hall quietly.
"Seems to be so." Ragna tells Zymandi with a light nod. "Our primary concern and option is Peace. We should act like it. We can't afford distrust of them, or peace will never be an option."
"As Lyandra says," declares the Warlord. "I have a vision of a future in which the Watchers are our firends and allies, in which Thalerith blood was not spilled across our valleys defending Nasherat in an avoidable conflict. We will face this challenge, and we will emerge stronger for it." Then continuing as if to answer Zymandi's question, "I want all our efforts concentrated on this diplomatic mission. Researching all available information on the Watchers, workshopping possible diplomatic approaches, praying to the Gods, hell deploying our troops in ways that say defense rather than offense, any angle that can be worked on, any resources that can be comitted, anything at all that might of assistance should be committed into this effort. By our combined will and effort we shall ensure we succeed."
A low chuckle begins to hint in the back of Kalagos' throat at the conversation and it's followed by a little shake of his head, "Let us not forget that we are Thalerith and that we thrive from the struggle of things. It is who we are." A pause and then his gaze settles on Lynandra, "I'm sure the High Priest's intention was not to incite us to violence. But in a way, he is not wrong. What we previously thought and believed has come to be proven false. On several occassions." There's the hint of a pause before he's following that up with, "But an Alliance is certainly in our favor. Though it should be taken lightly. We know nothing of these Watchers or what they truly desire and we can not afford to be lulled into a false sense of security by the prospect of an Alliance."
Joran turns back toward the Throne, addressing Sylindra, "Warlord - per my earlier question, will you be preparing any conditionals or alternative offers to whatever the Watchers request as oath, or do we have any among us who are familiar with the specifics of bindings that the outkin have chosen with their counterparts?"
Zymandi rises with a small nod to Sylindra and pads out of the hall, a moment after Belstrom.
Zymandi has left the Warlords Throne of Bone.
Barfolemew, a small sand cat leaves, following Zymandi.
Ragna nods in agreement with the Warlord, though Joran's own question gains his attention. It was a good question. What if the Watchers provide a deal that the Thalerith simply cannot abide by? Ragna looks to the Warlord with a look in his eye that depicts his strong interest in the answer.
"I know," Zaltar says, speaking up. "The other Watchers wanted an oath to protect the other realms," he explains
Lyandra had not yet reclaimed her seat, turning to each of her fellow Thalerith before she looked to the Warlord and then to Kalagos, "I am sure that you are sure. Such is the skill of the practiced manipulator." But that seemed all she was prepared to say on that score, "I have a few contacts among the other kinships, I will see what I can discover about the negotiations between the other kinships and their watchers." She glanced back to Sylindra, "With the settling of Victory Bluff, we have opened the way to our distant kin, and they may prove to be an unexpected boon in our negotiations."
The Warlord replies to Joran, "Working out the possible space of demands the Watchers may make and our responses to that is one of the many things our diplomats and researchers should spend their efforts on doing, that way myself and our emissaries can have responses ready for anything. On the balance however, I am looking to deal with the Watchers as equals, the Thelerith will not make themselves subordinate to anyone. However an Oath to protect the Realm of Sands is in line with that, like I said any threat to the the Watcher's domain is bound to be a threat to us as well. However as my Blade Sworn Kalagos points out, Nasherat will in fact be prepared for siege, and our army drilled and primed for war. We will be ready in the event negotiations fail."
Joran dips a nod in reply to Sylindra's answer. While it does not appear he has fully voiced his mind, no further question follows, and he settles back down upon crossed legs, forearms upon his knees.
Ragna watches as the conversations still roll on. THe suggestions given, Ragna grins to the Warlord, and to Joran. Seems it might finaly be settled.
Aganor leans his back on the back wall, listening silently, notating all. Apparently as a diplomat he has much to think on for the upcoming negotiations, and anyone watching him closely will notice his eyes close and his mouth move in quiet prayer.
Lyandra switched the skirts of her dress as she saw not one, but two of the Devrien depart the room, others trailing behind them. She moved to blend into the crowd, returning to claim her space of floor beside Aganor. She was at least polite enough not to interrupt him while he was praying.
Lenore, the ebony raven have been dismissed.
Joshua, the tree elemental have been dismissed.
The Warlord looks around the room and asks, "Are there any further questions or concerns anyone would like to raise? Any need for clarification on what has already been said?"
Lyandra says, "No, Warlord, nothing from me."
Joran offers clearly, still seated. "Thank you, Warlord, for opening the Hall to our voices. I look forward to yours speaking for all of us soon, and doing it well."
Zaltar just shakes his head quietly as the meeting seems to wrap up
Nodding to all assembled, the Warlord spreads her arms and smiles, "Very well then, this conference is concluded. Thank you all for coming and lending your voices. Vi achereth, thalien!"
Joran intones in reply to Sylindra's call, solemn in comparison to her jovial demeanor, "Vi thalien, brunar." If anything, he seems like he's settled in to sit for a while right where he is.
Lyandra reached out, a light hand settling on Aganor's shoulder, before she rose to her feet, offering a bow to her mother before she retrieved her cloak, slipping it back around her shoulders before she turned to join the others who were departing the meeting hall.
As the meeting concludes, Kalagos is merely offering a slight incline of his head in the direction of Sylindra before beginning to make his way towards the exit.
"Vi thalien, brunar." Ragna says as he rises to his feet and salutes to the Warlord before making his way out of the Meeting Hall.
Lenore, the ebony raven, Joshua, the tree elemental leave, following Zaltar.
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