Old February 11, 2018, 08:03 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, 02:47 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, 10:41 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, 07:51 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, 10:50 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, 06:47 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 19, 2018, 12:28 AM   #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, 05:18 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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