(1876-05-07) Parley at d'Etoile
Parley at d'Etoile
Summary: Elian and his Blackthornes Parlay at d'Etoile.
Date: 2020-05-07
Related: TBD
NPCs: Baroness Melanie d'Etoile (NPCed by Valeria)
Players:
Elian  

d'Etoile Barony
Fields, armies, flags. War…or is it?
1876-05-07

The blackthorns were on the move, dissolving into smaller century's and spears, before heading south over the borders into the northern munito province. A few of those groups meet resistance, for such an infiltration could never go perfectly, but any skirmishes were quickly over, either won or ended, as the ex-argent spear and archers simply retreat and wait to join others. Word quickly travels through royalist villages and knightly holdings that trouble is afoot and by the time the force re-establishes its full strength close to the border of Melanie d'Etoile's barony seat she is waiting.

Its a glorious thing to see two Aequorian armies standing in full banner-decorated glory across the field from each other. Archers ready to fire. Spears side by side in regimented glory. And this was one such scene that would have made artists weep with joy. For the true meat of war, the part that never makes the epics, had yet to start.

Instead six riders leave the lines, three from each side, and meet in the center beneath a flag of parlay.

-

"You have two choices my lady." Elian declared from atop his jet black mare. "You can swear your allegiance to the Stonewall and my men and I will leave things exactly as we find them today. Or. You can resist and we will sack the town and castle, killing and pillaging as we wish. Which will it be?"

-

Melanie d'Etoile was not a baroness of any great renown. She had had the post for only the span of half a year. But she was no innocent child but a season knight who had not been given to falling to fear or folly. And so, she rode out with the two knight she had chosen to support her, her expression cold and simmering with banked anger as the small party drew close enough to engage in conversation, "Do you say so?" He had no title and so she did not give him one. "We recognize no Queen save the Queen in Lyionesse and no King save the one who wears the crown of Aequor. We will not bend to the whims of a child."

-

"Its not my whims that you will be bending too Melanie." Elian tells her in a smoothly reasonable voice. "But," he looks over his shoulder at the lined banners. "Theirs." He looks back to her. "I have gone out of my way to avoid seeing you suffer. I'd really rather not set them loose."

-

"Lying does not suit you, Elian. If you had truly not wished to see those of the kingdom you once called your own, before you turned traitor harmed, you would not have come this way. You would have allowed your common sense and reason, your oaths and sworn allegiances to rule the day. But, it would seem that the apple has fallen far from the tree of your great ancestor." Melanie tugged at the reins of her horse, the small trio turning to make their way back to the forces they had brought to the field.

-

Elian's mouth twitches as she makes that statement about apples. It seems Melanie knew just where to strike. And when she turns its he that calls out to "Are you not even going to attempt to find some compromise Baroness? Negotiating doesn't make you weak. Who knows, whilst we talk, your friends might ride over the hill there and save you the trouble of killing me."

-

Melanie halted her horse, turning back around to face Elian, "What compromise is there to be found on the field, Elian? You have come here to take this land and to force us to submit to a child who only believes she knows what it means to rule. You have given us only a single option. Submit to your control or die. Where is the compromise here? Where is the situation in which you will not try to take this land for your upstart Queen?" She snorted, "Is she even styling herself a Queen?"

-

"Its more complicated than you realise." Elian says to Melanie. "You think this is about my ambition." He holds up a hand before he can be laughed at. "I don't deny that flaw. But, Baroness, I wish to come out of this encounter with the fewest deaths. On both sides. How can there not be some compromise possible in that? Even if the end result ends up being the same. You have family don't you?"

-

"So do you, Elian. And what would they think of you if they could see you now? Scion of some of the greatest and most noble sons of a storied House." She shrugged, "So, let us negotiate. What would be the cost required for you to leave the field and take your men with you?"

-

Elian grimaces. "If I do that then I honestly believe the world will die." he tilts his head, studying her. "I would be happy with an alliance. We can even set it up so that the entire world looks at us and thinks you are being forced into it. It shouldnt be hard - it is the truth after all."

-

"The world will not end today, and it will not end tomorrow. It has seen centuries of war and yet we endure." Melanie shook her head, still studying the a'Callenta, "What lies have you been told to foster such a believe in you, Elian?"

-

"Not told." Elian says to her. "Seen. There is a man who is something more - A great sorcerer at the very least - who intends to summon something disastrous in the region of Elden." he points that way with his polearm. "To get there we need to get through Benide." he looks back to her. "And its for that goal that I'm here today, looking to control this barony. But" he continues, trying to make his words as believable and persuasive to her as they are to him. "its the ability to protect the armies flanks I really need. And that is why there is room to negotiate." His eyes meet hers. "So, rather than surrender, perhaps we could try a mutual promise. If you swear not to attack me or mine then I will swear the same in turn. I'll even bind it with marriage if thats what it takes since I rather suspect you will want more than just my word and I've nothing else I could use as a guarantee." again he tilts his head. A question there. "Unless you have a better idea?"

<DICE ROLLER> Elian rolled 1d10 <10> + 6 = 16

Melanie, her face still hard, listened to Elian's words. And when he was finished, she sighed, "Elian, we have known each other since we were children. But what you are saying makes no sense." And yet, he could see the indecision in her face. That inner turmoil, whether to trust a man she had known nearly since infancy. "I do not know what has turned you to such ends, Elian, but I…I cannot bring myself to believe that you are not the man I have always known you to be." She snorted laughter, "Elian, if I should ever demand a marriage from you, it will not be at the point of a sword." She nodded then, "I will accept your compromise. But I warn you, if the forces of Stonewall move against this barony, then all faith will be broken."

=

A smile wipes away the serious, almost dour, expression that's been dogging Elian's countenance when the baroness gives that snort of a laugh. "You say that like it would be some terrible hardship." His expression goes serious again. "I can only make this promise for myself and the Blackthorns Melanie, just as you can not promise me protection from the Argent. I will ask Princess Atreis to honor it but." For a moment he looks apologetic. "I do not have a great deal of influence with her. It can't be relied on." For a moment he purses his lips before suggesting. "Do you need more? All this will be pointless if mad King Maris has you executed. You need an excuse at least - A hostage perhaps?"

=

Melanie shook her head, "You know me well enough to know that it would be no hardship. But a marriage built on war and politics and devoid of fellow feeling is no marriage I would wish with you." But, for the now, she set that aside. "You cannot promise me that, but what will you do if she bids you take this barony by force? If what we agree to today is not enough for her?" She shook her head, "Yes, perhaps a hostage." She turned away, lifting a hand to signal, "Henri." Sir Henri d'Etoile moved from the line of officer, coming to his sister's side. He showed no sign of anger or distrust. "Henri, I must ask this of you. You will go with the Blackthorns, Elian will treat you well. Aid him, if you can, but take up no arms." Henri only nodded, despite the fact that he was going willingly to hostage. "My blade is not yours, sir." It could not be after all, but Henri's greatest skill had always been his mind. "But I will do as my Baroness demands."

=

"I haven't sworn to her service." Elian tells Melanie simply. "She can't impel me to put an oath I never made above one I have. This is a promise I will and can keep - I will not turn my sword towards d'Etoile during the course of this war so long as you do not interfere with my task." There's a momentary pause as he looks over Henri and casts a pleasant smile his way. "Ah - On that subject." he turns his attention back to Melanie. "I don't suppose we can trade?"

=

"And yet, you are serving her regardless. And no doubt she will press you to harsher ends than this before this war is done." Melanie, just before Henri took his leave, reached out to offer him an embrace which, even in the midst of this almost battlefield, did not look out of place. And then she straightened in her saddle, "And what is it that you would like to trade?"

=

"Tomorrows problem." Elian tells the Baroness simply. "First the sorcerer and the old one he intends to summon. Then the question of the war. Who knows, perhaps, freed from the influence of the cardinal-sorcerer the King will be as he once was and we can all put our swords down." The tone of his voice makes it sound like he doesn't believe that outcome is going to happen for a minute. "Sooner or later we'll want the usual things any army wants Baroness: food, supplies, whores, drink, wives, drink" A quick smile "Food. Normally I'd just source them from the villages but" He gives a little shrug. "I did just make a rather inconvenient promise."

=

"Really only inconvenient for me, Elian, should this trust be discovered by the King. You are not the one who will face his wrath, nor will you come to my aid, for you have his daughter to hide behind, and a man could get lost for years in the wilds of Gendiel." Melanie was not stupid. She had heard the rumours of an alliance between the Stonewall and the forces of Arran. "The stewards will see to offering you what supplies we can."

=

"You're wrong." Elian replies immediately and decisively. "Our deal doesn't obligate it but if the King or my Cousin come for you. /Tell me/. There might be a price to pay for it - But I'll help."

=

"I almost think I will hold you to that, Elian." Melanie snorted, watching Henri move off to join the forces which were arrayed behind Elian, before she looked back to the al'Callenta. "Life was so much simpler when we were children wasn't it, Elian? When we were only playing at war and not being broken down by it."

-

"You might as well." Elian tells her "Who else would offer to take up the field against the forces of Aequor like that?" He smiles to her with genuine warmth. "What I miss is the certainty. I'm not disappointed by war. Not yet." with a sidelong glance her way he adds. "Perhaps not ever."

-

"You were always the more martial of the two of us, Elian. I hope, one day, you will find what it is that you are looking for." A shake of her head cleared her thoughts, which, oddly, seemed to have been wandering, "Call you stewards, we will see that this business is finished as painlessly as possible."

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