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Old February 11, 2018, 07:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
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[Legion Camps] Goodwill Missions Willing Good (Sliucha)

Timestamp: Melora, Era XXV Post-Fractum

It had been a long time since she had been back to Lauryl, and Tiyribi Andares wondered how much of that had been entirely by choice. She sat back, her head resting uneasily along the headrest of her carriage, and for a moment, let the gentle rhythm of the horses’ thudding feet relax away the worst of her trepidation. It had been eras since she’d last been in Mystique, after all—a lifetime ago, really. And beyond that, the city was utterly gone, said to be destroyed by the Black Fog and the Xet so there would be none to remember the woman that had visited here before, lost as she was in darkness of the mind and forgotten by the world that had so completely abandoned her at her weakest.

But now it was all different. Now she was arriving in Lauryl as the Lady Governor of the Administrate, the Duchess of the Heartlands—a regnant lady in her own right with the laurels and accolades to prove it. If rumor alone wasn’t enough, the ceremonial guard and impressive entourage that followed the ornate carriage would have turned heads as it was. No, this was a far cry from the woman that had spent those long eras within Mystique’s walls, and even further from the young petitioner who went searching out her ancestral background under the shadows of Ethgan’tor.

There had been long discussions about the necessity and the repute of bringing such a group to the war-torn lands of Lauryl. The first had been answered by the lady’s opinion that her eldest, Iliviana, would be accompanying her on this trip. The girl was still young and inordinately precious to her mother, but she also was poised as heir to two separate provinces with the intelligence and maturity undue her age that spoke well to her readiness for such a task. Protecting Iliviana had taken a slightly different tact over the recent eras and rested now in preparing her, and her mother believed that seeing what had happened when the Xet had attacked and the legions valiantly defending such a land would be an appropriate lesson.

The repute, however, was more complicated, and that Tiyribi could not much help. That Centripax had fared better than many of her sister provinces was a point of pride for those in the Administrate and resentment for those outside of it. Lauryl had been relatively abandoned and ignored by the rest of the Empire, too. While their presence here this cycle was meant to rectify that problem, Tiyribi also recognized that it was belated at best and the volume of resources brought with them small compared to Lauryl’s needs. And yet, at least it was something.

That had to count…to someone.

They had sent word to the Governor of Moonstone to meet, if she was available, at the appointed time. After all, it had entirely been Sliucha’s prompting that had brought them here in the first place. And the united fronts of Centripax and Moonstone were more powerful than a singular Behind them were a few wagons of food and some carts of weapons gathered from the dwarven blacksmiths in Primus Gaudeo and through trade with Zerdargia. Leading it came the lurching carriage that held both lady governor and her daughter, the latter of which had been fastened to the window throughout the journey from the Centripaxian capital, watching the landscape flurry by. Their youngest had been left in the care of his trusted governesses and staff, a fact that pained his mother far more than she’d ever admit, but Tiyribi did at least cherish this special time with her daughter.

And for their purpose?—well, perhaps a smile from the Har’olothian princess could help ease over the worst of it too with that infamous charm of hers.
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Old February 13, 2018, 01:47 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Sliucha had requested that her group rendezvous with Tiyribi's near Lauryl's jade mines, as she felt having a bit of a discussion prior to their proper meetup with the Legions would be useful. Namely, a fair amount had happened in the time since their last meeting, and getting the other governor up to speed would probably assist with the discussions to come. The overall plan was for the two groups to meet up and then head due west, as the Lauryl Turbines area was another focal point of Legion activity along the border, with Taber Keep as the other. That one was much further south, however, and it seemed simpler to head for the one that was closest.

So! Well, uh, yeah, the Centripax delegation was definitely way fancier and stuff. From Moonstone there was just Sliucha had her group of dorin bodyguards, mounted sure, but not like a ceremonial guard or anything, and there definitely wasn't a nice carriage. They did have a fancy standard now, though, that was neat. One of the dorin carried the heraldry of the Marchioness' House Sindosa-Aenelis, a mixture of the heritage that Sliucha had only recently discovered. A mixture of the Sindosa and Aenelis heraldry, old elven houses that had apparently been among the first to arrive in the Empire from Trelore. Purple and white, split with the right hand side as per cross and the tree motif on the left hand side being rendered via escutcheon, a combination of fancy and practical set side by side on the same Coat of Arms. Ultimately it looked both very fancy, and like something that one saw when upon a concoction of Sliucha’s various narcotics - or perhaps a distorted image that when one’s eyes defocused just right - caused a three dimensional pop-up to appear of a boat or a cat.

It was really very exciting for Sliucha and she was happy for a chance to get to show it off.

For now, though, Tiyribi's group got a lot of enthusiastic waving from the governor, who waited for them to approach so that they could figure out what the heck they were going to do from here.
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Old February 13, 2018, 09:41 PM   #3 (permalink)
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“Mama?” The silver-haired girl had finally pulled herself away from the carriage window after having caught sight of the elder elf’s distant look. The girl’s brows furrowed, and Iliviana moved closer to rest her hand on the lower half of her mother’s arm to gain the latter’s attention. “Where are we?”

Shocked out of her brief reverie, Tiyribi took a moment to adjust before her focus pinpointed on her daughter. The slight inevitably elicited a smile and she gently covered the smaller dusky hand with a pale one of her own. “Lauryl, darling. The Lady Governor of Moonstone asked us to meet near the mines.” It was the first time Iliviana had ventured that question despite their long trip from the Centripaxian capital and her mother was pleased enough to oblige. The young princess’s education was slowly beginning to expand past the books and blades and arcana that had surrounded her since birth. It was needed, Tiyribi knew, but it also made the other instinctively fear, remembering just how often that same world had threatened to destroy the girl just for the blood of her birth.

But such was the necessity that their position demanded, Tiyribi reminded herself for another innumerable time. She flashed another smile at the young girl and said, “Your Uncle Malkaer served here in Lauryl for some years as a counselor to Ethgan’tor as well as the eventual lieutenant and governor of the province.” It was a lifetime ago. Iliviana Kitrye’veresi hadn’t even met that particular brother of her mother’s. And yet somehow it seemed obligation, if not always a pleasant one, to remind her eldest child of the heritage that her sharpened features and lightening of skin carried past her Vysstichi half.

The girl absorbed the name and nodded, but said nothing. The name meant very little to her though she knew the titles academically from her books. For the moment, though, her attention was stolen again by the sights outside the window and then more fully by the more completed scene of the Moonstonian contingent awaiting them outside. “That’s Sliucha!” the girl shouted, her finger first pointing at the foxy elf before it turned into a most vigorous and hearty wave. She hadn’t forgotten just how much she had learned from the woman when she had paid them a visit in Primus Gaudeo and in her youthful exuberance, had yet again decided that Sliucha would be one of her very best friends for as much as Iliviana could assure such a thing.

“Her Excellency,” her mother gently chided, but said nothing more as the Centripaxian carriage pulled up to their appointed meeting and began to slow before them.

Iliviana didn’t wait for the footmen or the soldiers or anyone, really, to help with her exit but instead pushed the door open herself and nearly ran down the steps. She stopped for a moment to bobble a motion that could only have been considered a curtsy with the greatest measure of imagination and then beamed a bright, wide smile in Sliucha’s direction. “Hello! We’re here!” she shouted, still waving brightly at the other lady governor.

Behind her, the girl’s lady mother was much slower to extricate herself from their traveling accommodations, using the provided stepstool and the gloved hand of the footman providing his service to at least one of his charges. Her pale lavender eyes were fastened on the sight of her daughter and betrayed her unease with the latter’s behavior, but Tiyribi kept to her peace. Instead, with hands folded delicately in front of her, she drew up behind her daughter and tilted a slight, polite nod in Sliucha’s direction. “Your Excellency, thank you for meeting us. As you can see, Iliviana as well as myself are quite pleased to see you again and in good health.”
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Old February 14, 2018, 06:51 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Strictly speaking, it was a lesson that children should not always believe their parents, or any adult for that matter, as they were still technically in Moonstone and not Lauryl proper. Unless one argued that Lauryl proper was the Lauryl of old, and this was a lesson in the now outdated geography that would have included Enamoria and Carmelyn. Strictly speaking it was still good to know, considering that not much time at all had passed since the partitioning of the provinces into their current state, and the histories that had come along with the lands of old. Just because the places carried different names now didn't alter the stories and deeds that had occurred here.

In the meantime, Illiviana's return wave got a furious double-handed wave from Sliucha in... double return! The contrast between the two contingents could really probably be summed up with just that, actually, Sliucha really only just barely stopping herself from scooping up Iliviana in a big hug after she'd dismounted. Instead she returned a surprisingly proper curtsy in kind to the young lady, before returning an equally bright and cheerful grin. "Hello! You are! I hope the trip wasn't too boring?"

Gods, Tiyribi was cool, though. Sliucha straightened up just a little as the governor descended from her carriage, bowing her head towards Tiyribi in greeting. "I should be the one thanking you for taking the time to come here all the way from Primus Gaudeo. As previously stated, I had hoped that we could take some time before arriving in Lauryl to discuss how the state of the Legions has evolved since our last proper discussion." The exact logistics of that was just a little bit lost on Sliucha, though, she hadn't quite thought that one through. Would they just stand around and talk? Would they talk in the carriage? Would they have everybody just wait as they talked, or would they talked as they traveled? But what if they managed to get there before they were done talking? Was that even possible? Was there that much to talk about? How far was it to the border, really? Not too far, they were already more than four-fifths of the way there from Primus Gaudeo, but decently far.

So, instead, Sliucha just broached the topic and proceeded to stand there awkwardly to see how Tiyribi wanted to deal with that particular issue.
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Old February 16, 2018, 09:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The Andares charm had clearly skipped a generation, Tiyribi noted again as she watched the rather familiar and friendly exchange between the Moonstonian leader and her eldest daughter. Iliviana Kitrye’veresi had already managed to put the entirety of the upper echelon of the Western City in her pocket as well as the majority of Har’oloth’s councils and generals, too. It was not terribly surprising then that Iliviana also was making in-roads with the delegates from the Principality. Gods, her daughter certainly had her way of making her lady mother’s obligations that much easier. Perhaps she deserved an appointment to Centripax’s cabinet more than the grey beards currently occupying the seats.

Still, the girl’s natural resistance to her mother’s better attempts to groom her into a noble lady was obvious enough and still caused irritation in the elder elf. “A little boring,” the young grey-skinned girl admitted, proving her mother’s internal point, “but we’re glad to be here now. What is here, again?” she asked, looking around with a hand across her forehead to keep the worst of the light out of her discolored eyes.

Tiyribi waved a hand at Sliucha’s later comments in an attempt to shrug such away. “It is a more than worthy cause and I thank you for bringing it to my attention. I am only sorry that it has been so belated.” The mention of new developments in the legions’ status drew another nod from the lady duchess and she gently inclined her chin toward the entourage of wagons that had followed the official carriage. “Would it be better to send them ahead, then, while we discuss?”

Another glance was sent around to their current surroundings, curious as to the layout and state of the land given the great changes wrought here due to both war and political upheaval. “Here? As we travel? What are your accommodations, Your Excellency?” she asked, her tone impeccably polite though lacking the sincerity of her daughter’s.
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Old February 17, 2018, 05:47 PM   #6 (permalink)
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"Well, currently we're in the Principality of Moonstone," Sliucha explained, "just about in the bottom third of the province, north of the River Laroo. This area used to be part of the province of Lauryl some years ago, and nearby are where the region's famous jade mines are situated." Did that explain it?

As for the wagons full of supplies? It probably didn't really matter either way, but the gesture of sending them ahead could help. The implication, of course, being that making sure the supplies got there rather than having to wait for the governors to catch up? Well, that was probably good in the eyes of the legionnaires, to help ensure that the politicians weren't just trying to help to make themselves seem more charitable, and because they actually cared and all that.

Ah, wait, nuts. How had this gotten turned back onto her? "This region isn't too heavily populated but there are a number of small inns that have cropped up to help service travelers on the supply route that runs nearby," Sliucha explained. The land nearby, while relatively arid, was definitely recovering well from what Tiyribi could see. Not quite like the plains of old but definitely containing enough greenery to suggest that in some years time perhaps it would be close. "The rivers are an easy guide west into Legion territory, after all. If accommodation is necessary than I am sure they would be more then capable of providing hospitality."

She thought about it for a while longer before speaking again. "Hmmm. Let's talk as we travel, then." Okay! Decision made! Sliucha would just do her best to be concise.
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Old February 18, 2018, 11:28 PM   #7 (permalink)
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“The jade mines?” Iliviana repeated, her mismatched eyes brightening with the very thought. She spared sideways glances between the Moonstonian governor and her lady mother, obviously intrigued by her new surroundings and the possible adventures with which it tempted her. “Can we see them?” The question was posed as equally to Sliucha as it was to her mother. State business, after all, was just as much for forming in-roads in diplomacy as it was to satisfy the young princess’s curiosity and adventuresome spirit.

Tiyribi managed a sideways smile at that, crooked as it was, and she rested a hand on her daughter’s shoulders. “In time. For now, though, other things must be seen to.” The elder elf diplomatically ignored the pout that she knew was inevitably forming across the girl’s grey-skinned face, though it was markedly less than it had been in past eras. For all her maturation, Iliviana had also begun to sense when a battle was futile and more effort than it was worth and had clearly decided that this was one of those times. Still, Iliviana put that away to bring up at a later date and very much not forget.

The elder elf’s inquiry about the wagons didn’t seem to elicit much discussion. Thus she opted to follow her own instincts and sent the supplies on ahead with a portion of the guard while the rest discussed whatever news Sliucha had gathered since their last conversation in Primus Gaudeo. The Moonstonian’s mention of inns brought a wry look to the pale elf’s face and she demurred ever so politely. “I suppose we will see to that when it becomes necessary.” While Tiyribi certainly hadn’t expected the easy luxury that typically surrounded them in the Centripaxian capital, there was a touch of unease with being so spread amongst the general populace—and one that had been ravaged so thoroughly by war, Fog, and every terrible plague it brought and only just recently resuscitated back to life.

Yet the idea seemed to be much more to Iliviana’s liking, and the girl’s eyes shone again in eager anticipation. She knew better than to press the issue with her mother, particularly when she still held out hopes that she could convince the lady of the absolute need to visit the jade mines before they left, but the girl also recognized that her mother would have to be bowed by the onset of night and the choice between the open wilderness and civilization.

They still had some time before that particular decision had to be made, though, and Tiyribi gestured with a small nod of her head back to the carriage when Sliucha suggested they continue their journey in the interim. “Yes, that would be more sensible. Would you care to join us?” the lady duchess suggested, eyeing the fox-tailed elf’s singular mount to explain the rest of her reasoning. Already her hand was turning her young daughter’s shoulder back around to reenter the same.
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Old February 19, 2018, 04:18 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Not today, it seemed, would they get to descend upon the jade mines. The province had managed to get the production facilities back into running order shortly after the liberation of the area from the remnant Xet forces that had infested it, but even so it was still something of a fledgling operation. Enough to allow for an influx of crowns into the treasury thanks to jade export, maybe a little rough for a visiting diplomat or politician to get a tour of, though. Practicality had definitely won out over aesthetic in that regard, as it had been far more important to get things working over making them look pretty.

So Sliucha just apologetically smiled at Iliviana as Tiyribi shifted the focus onto other matters. Perhaps the governor's daughter wouldn't have minded the rougher appearance of the mines, maybe even been enamored by it a bit? All in due time. A tour of the jade mines, and perhaps the local silk trade? That, too, had only recently been refurbished, and was probably... well, actually, harvesting silk could be rather morbid. But at least the end products looked nice?

More apologetic smiles. Outside of Ziel Aerca, well, there wasn't really much development at all in Moonstone. Small towns, hamlets really, had begun to crop up in the more invested southern regions, but they weren't going to run into anything that was more than a roadside inn way out here. Sliucha felt like they could get to the Legions before they'd need to hunker down for the night, though, so it was probably going to be okay. On the trip back they could always divert towards a stay in the capital if needed.

Uh, hm. Yeah, Sliucha would probably have to join them in the carriage, huh? Unless Tiyribi and Iliviana wanted to ride. Which didn't feel quite right. She'd just spend a moment to have a word with her bodyguards, make sure they watched over her mount, before nodding back at Tiyribi. "I would be most honored."
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Old February 21, 2018, 10:31 PM   #9 (permalink)
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The youngest girl was the first to enter the carriage. Her bounding leaps were quick enough to avoid any unwarranted help and the quick swing of her hand toward the footman that did dare to try to extend a support sent it back rather rapidly to whence it came. Despite his dismissal, the appearance on the man’s face was ever so thoroughly stoic either as a credit to the thoroughness of his training or the regularity with which the princess sent most of the ducal staff packing.

Behind her stepped her lady mother who was far more accommodating and appreciative of the help, and both elves opted to sit on the padded bench that faced forward. It was a pleasant enough accommodation, with plush seats and extra pillows and blankets that had been provided for the comfort of the ride. There was another bench left unoccupied that faced backward plenty wide enough to have fit three adult-sized humans comfortably and given the two on the ends a wide view of the world outside the windows. The curtains had been fully drawn back and tied, leaving the glass panes unfettered.

Tiyribi gestured toward the other seat with a wave of her hand. Her daughter, meanwhile, had made herself comfortable again amongst her nest of various comforts and had even retrieved a small rectangular box from the side of the seat. “Candy?” Iliviana offered, opening the lid and revealing a mismatched set of treats that appeared to be all different versions of sugary concoctions. She herself took one from the corner and tossed it quickly into her mouth in a single bite, matching the few other missing spaces from the fellows that had been devoured earlier in their travel.

“You wished to discuss the Legions?” her mother spoke, ignoring her daughter’s antics for the moment as her attention turned instead to rest evenly on Sliucha. “Have matters altered that much since we last spoke?”
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Old February 23, 2018, 01:01 AM   #10 (permalink)
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"Yes!" Sliucha happily popped one of the offered candies into her mouth, demolishing it admittedly quickly, if only so that the conversation with Tiyribi could continue in earnest. She probably should have thought about that before taking it, actually, but why refuse candy? Candy was delicious.

"The Legions have made some good progress in the province, yes," Sliucha continued once she was done with Iliviana's offering. "The fighting has been hard but the Legions have been steadfastly advancing through, fortifying, and securing the land." The further west one went, the more sparse information seemed to become. Her relationship had always been most cordial with the Sixth Legion, given the fact that they were garrisoned along the border between Moonstone and Lauryl, not to mention there was probably a degree of confidentiality surrounding what exactly the Imperial Legions were up to.

"Mystique and Melodia remain secure and the Legion is focusing on reinforcing the western borders, it seems. Setting up fortresses, clearing out what remains of the Xet... although I've not heard any word of Eth'gantor." Sliucha couldn't do much besides offer a sympathetic nod of her head towards Tiyribi. Whether the Legions were just tight-lipped, or whether they'd just yet to find the city? Things were still rather up in the air.

Ultimately, the wartime situation in Lauryl was a matter that concerned mostly the Legions. What was more important to the two of them, what they could more directly assist with, was the logistical side of things. Sliucha shared with Tiyribi what she had learned when she had gotten into contact with them a few months ago, closer to the start of winter, as well as what she had already done to assist. "It seems that the legionnaires could use some assistance when it comes to surviving the winter," the governor spoke, rubbing her hands together and blowing hot air into them. "Wool blankets were among the chief requests that I got from the Sixth and Tenth. We did what we could there. Foodstuffs seem to be relatively stable, fortunately. We also fitted out a few icebreakers so that the Legions could clear out Lake Melody and the River Lylles, make sure they had fresh sources of water. There've been reports that the roads in Lauryl are in disrepair so I've hired surveyors and former legionnaires to look into fixing them, too. Supply chains will hopefully be more efficient thanks to that." Even if it was coming out of Sliucha's pocket. Sometimes it felt like she was supporting the Legions all on her own, which probably wasn't entirely fair to whoever was bringing the supplies from out east, bare essentials that they were.

Oh, oh, something to gripe about! Sliucha made something between a wry smile and a sour expression. "It also took an annoying amount of time to assist the Tenth Legion in securing a new commanding officer. You know they went almost two and a half years without? I had to bury the Viceroy in the capital with letters for them to finally send a replacement out. Do you have any experience with Threllius de Lylles at all? I can't help but wonder what I could have done to further expedite that or if that's just how things... are." The governor of Moonstone had learned a lot about the navigation of Imperial administrative bureaucracy - that is to say, annoying Imperial viceroys.
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Old February 24, 2018, 01:36 AM   #11 (permalink)
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The smile that appeared on Iliviana’s face was ever so sweetly genuine. Her mother had capitulated on the matter of sweets during their trip in light of the amount of time it was expected to take to travel from Primus Gaudeo to the border of Lauryl. Yet still no matter her attempts, the young princess had not been able to get her mother to actually try them. In truth, Iliviana couldn’t remember if she’d ever seen the elder lady partake in anything particularly sugary at all—which managed to support the girl’s hypothesis that her mother was extraordinarily boring.

That Sliucha had so eagerly taken one absolutely thrilled the Kitrye’veresi, and most particularly because she was already determined that they’d make a better and thicker friendship than the one they had already started when the Moonstonian had first visited their home. There had been that unfortunate incident when Sliucha had called Iliviana a lady, but the girl’s memory was still rather slippery with her youth and she opted instead to recall how the fox-tailed elf was far more forthcoming than any adult had ever been with Iliviana throughout her entire life. That was enough to earn the princess’s favoritism forever. And now it was obvious that they had plenty more in common, too.

Her lady mother, on the other hand, was more concerned with matters of state than how many treats Iliivana had stashed in the sides of the seat. There was comfort to be found in Sliucha’s first affirmation that the Legions’ presence in the province hadn’t entirely been in vain. “Are there still Xet here then? Or a different enemy?” Once Sliucha’s superior had sought to end the fight forever by dropping the very moon on the Xetan capital. Now Shei’yein was gone and their struggle seemed to have fallen back to more conventional methods at the last.

The lack of news about Ethgan’tor unsettled her, and Tiyribi wasn’t entirely sure whether it was comforting or upsetting. Still, she said nothing about it and focused instead on the reality that Mystique and Melodia, the latter a name she didn’t recognize, were stable and safe. A small nod tilted her head to one side as she continued to listen to the younger elf’s recounting of Lauryl’s current state and the series of problems that had beset them over the eras they had been relatively forgotten at this far corner of the Empire.

“Winter ought to be over soon, so I fear we may be too late to help with that regard.” The mention of the roads, however, spurred a thought. “There are still many refugees scattered throughout the Administrate and other provinces. Mayhaps we might encourage them to seek employment in the rebuilding of the roads or whatever other areas still need manual labor to assist them.” It would be solving multiple problems with a single stroke, if they could be convinced. The unemployed masses that had fled Enamoria and other lands had caused strain on the natives to which they had emigrated, both culturally and financially.

And that led to the next thought. “Is the Crown still providing the Legions’ wages?” There had, after all, been that cryptic letter that Threllius had sent both her and her husband in their capacities as governors. The couple had opted to keep the information shared within to themselves out of caution as well as a desire to see what powers remained since so many had fallen. But how had the decentralization affected Lauryl then? “Mayhaps we can see too that whatever Lauryllian refugees remain in other provinces are told that some areas are safe now—if, that is, the Legions are ready for civilians.”

The mention of the Viceroy was a bit too close to the trajectory of her previous thoughts for comfort. Tiyribi managed something of a wry expression to shirk off her unease, but nothing more. “The Imperial Viceroy is…fraught with obligation,” Tiyribi remarked, electing for the most diplomatic answer she could muster. “Prime has not been as untouched as many believe and the court, I hear, is unruly. I believe that at this juncture, it may be best to do what we can under our discretion and provincial authorities without waiting for particular approval from the Crown.” There was ever so much more the lady could have added to such sentiments, but such was not the place nor the time.

“Has the Lady Arctic been heard from at all?” she added, intending to divert the subject to another rather unpleasant point of discussion.
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Old February 25, 2018, 02:36 AM   #12 (permalink)
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"As far as I'm aware, the primary concentrations of Xet that were left in Moonstone were in the Lylles Palace and the jade mines, both of which have since been cleared out. I would hope that there are none left, but they are a tenacious foe." If the Xet were still here they were doing a rather good job of not making their presence known. Granted, with so much of Moonstone still more or less rarely-traveled wilderness, that probably wasn't all too difficult a job. Small pockets could likely hold out and remain undetected for quite a while - large gatherings tended to attract attention far too easily. For now, though, the primary enemies that Moonstone faced likely weren't any different from any other province in the Empire.

"Perhaps? Moonstone engaged in a similar project already, encouraging refugees to settle in the southern province in exchange for government support in setting up farming communities." The Third District, as it had been called by Shei'yein, had attracted several thousands of refugees, who had since experienced multiple successful harvests and helped relieve Moonstone's reliance on food imports. Things really were going quite well for the people who had come here. "Perhaps the variety offered by more public works projects will attract even more."

Sliucha couldn't do much more than shrug when it came to Tiyribi's question as to what exactly the Crown did. Actually, she couldn't answer that question in general, never mind what it did in respect to the Imperial Legions. "I haven't heard any complaints about pay," was pretty much all the governor could say there. No, it seemed that Prime was chugging along sufficiently to be able to ensure the bare minimum was needed to keep the Legions in Lauryl going. As for whether or not Lauryl was ready for resettlement? Indeed, that would be up for the Legions to decide. Introducing civilians into the mix could easily prove a recipe for disaster if the province was not secure enough for them. Defending civilian settlements would only stretch Legion resources even further.

And, well, excuses excuses. Inefficiency and bureaucracy - Sliucha was sure that by now Prime should have managed to pull itself together again, but to know that it was potentially lagging likely wasn't much of a surprise. The Empire was a monolith and it moved ever so slowly. Some of them was perhaps inevitable but Sliucha felt that there was likely plenty going on behind the scenes that was only worsening that condition. There was enough on her plate looking after Moonstone, though, that she doubted she'd ever really get the time to try and unravel that particular knot - if she even had the stomach for such an unsavory task to begin with.

"Only rumors." If the Commander of the West had still been present Sliucha doubted the Imperial Legions would be suffering as much as they currently seemed to be. "A contingent of Ancients was extracted from the Pit where Zinn'Sinn once was some time ago. Numerous months, maybe a year or two." The exact time frame eluded her. "Perhaps she was among them, perhaps not. But there has been no word."
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Old February 28, 2018, 10:28 PM   #13 (permalink)
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“Indeed.” Was it ironic that the seat of power of the ancient family that had so long ruled this now-desolate land played home to the very enemies that had been their destruction? Another individual in another lifetime may have even laughed at the misfortune that had so deeply befallen the once-great house, but Tiyribi Andares could not. She had, after all, stood at the very gates of her own beloved city when the insects and their innumerable slave hordes had come to threaten the very same annihilation on everything she held dear. Had fate been different, it may have been the Lauryllians coming to pick up the pieces of the Centripaxians after the first rage of battle had finally settled.

That Moonstone had sent on their refugees to Lauryl was comforting enough news—at least for the sake of the Lauryllians and the legions that now encompassed its security. The issue of settling the large influx of immigrants had been a pressing one since the first wave from Enamoria and other provinces had arrived. The tensions caused both culturally and financially had been a struggle, to put it lightly, but turning the fleeing civilians away had also not truly been an option either.

Still, it presented an opportunity to return at least some. “Then I will ensure it is publicized that there is a Lauryl that needs reconstruction by its people.” The lady paused for a moment. “Unfortunately the more skilled craftsmen in the Administrate are controlled or controlling of the merchants’ guilds. They are not particularly fond of foreign aid projects. Even this,” she gestured vaguely in the distance before them, “was funded from personal coin as my councilors were rather against the idea of expending any resources to help.” The last few eras had merely exacerbated the Centripaxians’ natural tendency for self-preservation first and foremost.

The news that the capital for all its anarchy was still sending coin to Lauryl to pay its loyal soldiers was comforting, albeit confusing. The relief, however, was palpable to the lady duchess as she had very little liked the idea of having to discuss making that currency appear out of Centripax’s coffers. “Good,” was all she said, and it was answer enough to suffice for that as well as Slicuha’s news about the possible whereabouts of one imperial viceroy. To be honest, Tiyribi hadn’t been certain whether Arctic’s loss or return would prove better news, but at least the matter had seemingly solved itself for the moment.

A soft sigh escaped Tiyribi in pace with her thoughts. “The Administrate is wary of sending any resources beyond their borders. To them, the war is over and has been for quite some time. All they wish is for the rest of the world do leave them to their peace.” She frowned. “It is my hope that my presence here would change their opinions, but I doubt it will happen overnight. What aid we can offer Lauryl is then, unfortunately, limited to what we have brought now.”
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Old March 1, 2018, 03:26 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Yeesh. The way Tiyribi made it sound, it was... well, it was pretty much the way that Sliucha had experienced things ever since she had started getting involved in politics. They were less like an Empire with a strong central authority and more like an amalgamation of states that paid homage to a puppet figure in Prime. No particular collaboration or camaraderie between them, beyond acts of charity or goodwill - or failing that, a call to arms through political and blood alliances.

Perhaps that was just the nature of things. A great deal of the recovery of Ziel Aerca and Moonstone had been funded directly from the state treasury and Sliucha's own pocket. Complaining was easy. Paying to help fix complaints was apparently difficult.

"Were the provinces always so... scattered?" Sliucha steered the conversation in a new direction, leading off what they had previously been talking about after deciding that there wasn't much else to say in that regard. "Or is this something that has only arisen recently? I wasn't involved in this sort of thing at all when Constantine was the Emperor, for instance. The provinces of the Empire seem to be rather insular, staying in their own silos. Such surely cannot be conducive to the survival of the Empire as a whole."
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Old March 2, 2018, 08:29 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Had it always been this way? Tiyribi wasn’t entirely sure. It was odd to her to imagine that she had now become something of a senior figure on the political landscape of the Empire, given that her service had spanned just a few years beyond a decade. To her elfin-blooded senses, it had been a mere blink of a moment. But in the greater view, imperial officials had a habit of being appointed and then disappearing within an era like revolving doors, and the current set had been dwindled down to just a bare handful of what had once been.

“I was first appointed by Audrey de Lylles at the end of her civil war with Julos the Mad Mage.” It was a lifetime ago, truly, and she and Telath had been a far cry from what they were both now. “The provinces had to fend for themselves to survive. Many of the old prejudices and histories came back then, though in truth, I doubt that anyone had forgotten the lines that had once divided the ancient kingdoms forced under Aelyrian rule.”

The lady frowned slightly.“Some of that attitude changed under the Regency, although I would attribute most of that to the Regent himself. He had a habit of appointing his favorites to provinces with no regard to their individual cultures or histories, quite often leaving them in the hands of total strangers that would inevitably run their provinces into ruin or disappear within a fortnight.” She had served only at the tail end of the L’Evienne rule, and that had been particularly stilted after the events occurring during the Sherian Rebellion and Archalen’s involvement therein.

“Now, though…” she paused for a moment, collecting her thoughts. Was it time to share the contents of Threllius’s letter an era ago with Sliucha? Even then Tiyribi had advised caution and now was truly no different. It was dangerous, that information, in the wrong hands and used for divisive purposes—though from her comments, it was easy to believe that Sliucha Sindosa was neither of these things.

“The lands were forced into one empire not by choice, after all. Their histories run far deeper than the times they have been called ‘Aelyria’.” Moonstone was an anomaly in that regard, having been created and developed in the recent paradigm out of lands already ravaged relatively empty by war. “’Survival’ can often be a matter of the people within them rather than salvaging any pretense of authority from the Insula Coronae.” Tiyribi eyed the younger elf carefully. “Does that concern you?” Her predecessor had not been particularly silent about his intent to achieve provincial independence and the destruction of the Crown. How much had that same feeling followed to Sliucha?
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