(1874-08-24) Farewell to Candeo
Farewell to Candeo
Summary: Alia and Ludovic meet as the Viscount prepares to depart for Hellmouth. It's pretty well downhill from there.
Date: 08-27-2018 (backdated IC to 8-24)
Related: Generally all logs related to d'Korbina/Imperial relations.
NPCs: None
Alia  Ludovic  

Hellsmouth - Keep Candeo - Keep Grounds
Set on a hilltop is Keep Candeo, passing the earthenworks that look recently dug, one can see two round, barracks-like structures that flank the Keep. On either side the road way leading toward the door are two fenced off areas that make up some kind of training grounds. It would seem the Imperials currently set here, under the command of Princeps Darius, wasted no time in getting settled in. Various legionnaires can be seen carrying both wood and stone about, patching up what needs fixing. If they aren?t tending to area beautification, what spare legionnaires are about are in the training yards drilling this formation or that.

Ludovic is in the courtyard tightening up the various straps on his horse even as the three men he brought with him (One is actually a woman if looked at closely but her gear is basically an exact match of the men's so it's not really obvious) as they prepare to start back towards Steven's pass. (it's the 24th)

Alia had been, as she often is, milling about the yard, reviewing the work being done, though they've been pushing the rebuilding quite a bit, and the keep is nearly as it once was. A nod, as she accepts a rolled ledger, turning back to make her way to the the keep proper, when she spots the three visitors making themselves ready to depart. She's in her armor today, as she usually is when she's at the Keep, but it's light enough that it doesn't slow her, as she moves to approach the group. "Your Excellency," offered as soon as she's close enough to be heard without shouting.

Ludovic makes a gentle hush sound at his stallion as the great horse paws the ground with a massive hoof. Even as he's making the sound he turns his head, smiles at her and says "It's a pleasure to see you Alia. I was hoping we'd get a moment before we left. Tell me something?"

Alia stops a comfortable distance from the riders, Ludovic included. The horses, ready to go, are not anything to be trifled with, especially as they don't know her. Her hand shifts the ledger to settle beneath her arm, a tilt of her head coming at the question, "And you, Your Excellency. I'll try to answer if I can."

Ludovic waves her in closer. It's a bit before he actually comes up with his question though. A bit during which he seems to change his mind about the question before finding the new one. "Have you found any others of your kin amongst the people the Imperials 'liberated' here?"

Alia waited for Ludovic to approach, before she turned her attention to the question posed her, "Not as yet, though these lands are far from d'Meloni lands. On the far side of Paras, and those lands are still under Qatunax control, as you know. About as far as it would be to travel from here to Rykers, which, so far as I know, has not been reclaimed by Galenthia. I have heard no word that any of my family survived the destruction that began at the parlay, though I have some cousins and distant relations still living in Hellmouth City and its surrounds."

"I'm sure the Princeps will decide to claim the d'Meloni lands before to long." Ludovic tells her. "But I had some hopes that you might have had some luck in Paras. It was never a small place." He picks at a bit of mud on his horse's flank and gets a tail flicked at him for his efforts. "Did you hear that we, the d'Korbina that is, are at war with the Empire? Or that we had been raiding or otherwise acting aggressively?"

"Paras is a large place, indeed, and I have not had a chance to question many of the survivors who were liberated. I have some small hope for the commonfolk, as I said…but, to consider things logically…if I were an invading force? I would either eliminate the leaders of a place, or, keep them from view of the commonfolk, least they have the power to incite insurrection among their people. One day, I will know the truth of it when we arrive there, should the Empire choose to rout the Qatunax from those lands." There was a moment of confusion, at that final question, before Alia shook her head, "I have heard no such thing, Your Excellency. And given that this Keep is mine to command, as are its troops, it would have been my forces leading the charge. I have heard no such rumours."

"I'm still sorry it didn't happen." Ludovic tells her. "I keep hoping that some of them lived at least. I mean beyond the handful that were in service to me." He blinks and gives her a slightly guilty smile "My father or the horned knights." The rest he nods and smiles again at. "That concern is a big part of why I came here today. I'm glad to hear it wasn't something widespread."

"As am I, but we were neither of us responsible for what happened that day, save perhaps that we trusted that our folk would be met with peace if we came to the Qatunax with peaceful intent. Perhaps that is a fault of which they have broken us, to believe that they understand the concept of honour and would treat with us fairly, if we offered to do the same with them." Alia returned the smile, "It is not. So far as I know, there exists no such feelings between the Empire and d'Korbina. Among the smallfolk, I do not know. Many of them, some of whom I've met, see the Empire as no different than the Qatunax, and fear often leads people to read the worst into those they fear. Certainly, the Empire has made no attempt to bar their lands from the western kingdoms, nor have offered any aggression to those who have come to their lands. But the people must have an enemy, I suppose, and finding that the Qatunax are not enough, have made the Empire another."

"Darius has always been very pointed about the fact that the people of Paras both feel like the Aequorians abandoned them and that not a one would leave for the west given the choice." Ludovic tells her. "Honestly I'm having a hard time believing that's actually true. I mean, don't get me wrong, Baron d'Mollari was pompous and superior but Darius isn't exactly personable either." He shrugs at her comment about them barring their lands. "There are a lot of things they appear to have done on the surface that doesn't go all that deep. Yet.. I'm not here to debate this. I think it's clear by now what I feel about Darius and the Empire's presence here nowadays." He frowns but then appears to just shrug it off as he goes on to say. "How are your magical studies going? Have you learned much that's different?"

"I cannot speak to Darius' comments, as his perspective on the people are quite different from mine. But I can also understand that opinion, from someone of the commonfolk. Imagine you are living your life, having spent all of it in service to your liege lords. Pledging them your fealty, with the promise of their care and protection in return. Suddenly, you find yourself under invasion from a people such as the Qatunax. You are desperate to be free, and you wait, every day, every night to hear word, any word, or have any sign that the Houses to which you were beholden were coming for you. Two years and some pass, no word, no action, no sign that you are anything but forgotten. That those you have lost were left unremarked and unremembered. And then, when you finally are rescued, not killed or disposed of, but given your freedom…it is not your liege lords who have come for you, but the Empire. Would you not feel sympathy and allegiance to those who did rescue you? And not those who you may have come to feel abandoned you to your fate?" Alia seemed content to leave the question of surface actions aside, "Quite well. I have been studying with Darius, when he is free, and more often with one of the fire sorcerers who has been assigned to the legion. It has been quite different from what I learned at the College in Four Corners. There, so much of the training was about suppression, hiding your ability, protecting yourself from detection. Sorcerers here…are valued members of the legion, and their are trained for combat. And that is what I have been learning. I was lucky at the Keep, that I did not do great harm to our own folk. I cannot continue to trust to luck."

"Two years?" Ludovic raises his eyebrow at that. "Where the hell did you get two years from? Its barely been two years since the invasion and the imperials have been in Paras since the winter. Interfering with my plans to retake anything I'll have you know. Look. I'm not saying that the common folk don't prefer to stay put in general. Doubt one lord is that much different to another to the average farmer when it comes down to it. But this whole thing Darius keeps spouting about us having abandoned the people here." The volume of his voice creeps upwards. "Has always been an outright lie. I was rescuing 'slaves' from the Qatunax right from the start, cept for the space where I went to Mathis to try and finish that, so this front could see help only to see those bloody Imperials turn the whole campaign here from an act of freeing the people into a ridiculous fight over a single city." He stops himself, moves his jaw and then starts again at a more regulated pace and volume. "So no. I've never had any problems with the common folk making the best of things. What I don't believe is that everyone welcomed Darius as a savior and not one of them wanted to go west instead of sitting in the middle of a city that might be retaken at any time."

"I agree that hiding sorcery doesn't work well as a long term solution. This idea of conscripting all the sorcerers isn't much better though."

"It has been nearly two years since the Qatunax took these lands, and from the point of view of the commonfolk, they have seen neither hide nor hair of anyone to whom they were once allied. Only the Empire. Not a situation that is not understandable, given that I would imagine you did not return those you rescued to these lands so that they could tell others of what you had done for them." Alia, despite the fact that the topic seems to be bring Ludovic's temper to the fore, seemed not at all angry herself, despite the fact that they were, in point of fact, discussing the events surrounding the fall of her own House and the possible death and enslavement of their people, "As for Darius' words, what else would you expect him to say? Does not every military leader seek to uphold their own powers and bolster their own successes? Especially when they are in lands which are contested? And so far as I can tell, there is no fight for Paras. It is in the possession of the Empire and will remain so, until the King of Aequor decides otherwise. Attempting to create friction where, for the time being, there exists none, seems to me, to be distracting all of us from the tasks to which we should be attending. As for whether or not the people wished to go west, there are no guards at the gates preventing anyone from coming or going to and from Paras and the imperial lands, in either direction."

Alia shook her head, "I have also not heard anything about sorcerers being conscripted. Those who have such talents are welcomed into the legion and given good trade and good work. It is dangerous, of course, sorcery always is, but it is also an opportunity to use your gifts and to be well-rewarded from it. And to be a part of a cohort which is among the most valued in the empire." She pauses a moment, "Even I, was not brought into the Legion as a sorcerer. I was, and still am, an alchemist. I was offered a place to study and a position as a sorcerer only after Darius discovered that I had the gift, not before."

It would probably more accurate to describe it as passion rather than anger. An angry Ludovic breaks things; he doesn't raise his voice and gesticulate and generally make statements. Most people mix the two states up for some reason though. He stares at her all the way through her speech, steadily looking more and more intractable. When she's done he simply says "It's time to go." And moves to swing up into his saddle. "I've a long ride."

Alia nods, as Ludovic moves to step back towards his small party, offering no other words on the subject of their discussion, heated or otherwise. She only dips her head, offering him a polite bow, in lieu of a curtsy, being dressed for one and not the other, "Safe journey back to your home, Your Excellency." She did offer a smile, though, before he turned away, her voice gentle, "It was good to see you again, Ludovic."

Ludovic gives Alia a dip of the head to acknowledge her goodbye. Then he places his horned helm atop his head and the group rides out.

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