(1876-08-14) A Trip Down the Salt?
A Trip Down the Salt?
Summary: Thomas attempts to induce the Imperials to better relations.
Date: 14/08/18
Related: Unwelcome News, An Unexpected Arrival
NPCs: None.
Darius  Pompey  Thomas  

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.
14 Aout, 1874 IE

This morning, the recently arrived Viscount Chandus, his small Galenthian entourage and Lady Chessa Sokar had been ready to depart Candeo Keep to venture out to Paras. The Viscount was sorely disappointed when, as he looked over the kit and provisions they'd need for a trip and the Spear of legionairies that Tribune Alia d'Meloni had leant him, he was approached by a rather amused looking Centurion who told him that, no, the Princeps was in residence, and he can see you later this afternoon. Disappointed because he'd wanted to see Paras! And why not, the first Imperial settlement in the West in a very long time? But, one takes things as they are, not as they wish to be. The Viscount busied himself by seeking out the keep's small library and pouring over what was there, though of course pickings were scarce.

Some time after lunch, it was time to see the Princeps. He dressed in his court finery, a loose, long sleeved cobalt tunic with grey stripes and geometric patterns, the silver sun in splendour of his house prominently sewn into the chest, its face smiling magnanimously. A thin, silver diadem on his head with sapphires in the front. The antique attire of a late Vir Sidian Comes in the West circa 500 years ago. He prepares to ascend to meet Darius.

Darius is not in his finery.

Standing before a window and sipping a goblet of wine (red of course). He wears a simple blue tunic and black trousers. As the Centurian opens the door Darius looks over his shoulder to see who it is and then looks back out the window. Silently allowing the small group to enter the office. He takes a sip off his wine and then swirls the red liquid around in the glass.

He keeps watching out the window for long moments before he speaks. "The West. It is said that my ancestor first came here for the simple objective of conquering. It's not the truth of course." He takes another sip off his glass. "The West was a collection of kingdoms and tribes of barbaric peoples. Including his own people, there were near one hundred such groups. Fighting and killing each other." He shakes his head. "He came over for the simple act of unification. One People to stand against the Sidhe." He sips his wine again.

As he finishes his sip, he turns to regard Thomas in his finery, and the individuals he brought with him. "Now. I am in the West." He snorts. "Make of that what you will. Why are you here Viscount? You're hundreds of miles from your lands to do what? Full fill some fantasy of what you think the Empire is?" he shakes his head. "We evolved. We're not the people you have written down in your books from 500 years ago. Or is there some amount of diplomacy you are aiming for? Come to ask me for troops like the other nations of the West have so far?"

Pompey enters from a side door with a few scrolls in his hands, though he takes note of who is here and frowns. He sets the scrolls on Darius' desk and takes a step back to listen for now, though he judges Thomas, and his attire. Pompey himself is wearing imperial colors and a toga befitting his office.

The consul turns and whispers to his aide and the youth nods and scurries from the room, and turns to reguard his cousin and the Viscount. "I'd say it was a pleasure to see you again Viscount, but the last time we met you cost me 15 golden doves. But let's put that fact behind us." He says in crisp imperial.

"A worth objective. My ancestors came here with perhaps less lofty goals. Service to the Empire. We were from the capital, once, your Highness." Thomas says, bowing his head to the most important person left in the Vir Sidus Empire in a courteous but not obsequious manner. He steps aside to let others come in. A small smile graces his features. "Diplomacy begins with conversations, your Highness. My people are also not those of five hundred years ago. We are an independent kingdom, successful despite our problems over the last century. Last fifty years, really. Hardy, committed, proud of our accomplishments but not blind to our shortcomings. But I tell you that near all of us look to our past with pride. The pride of unity." He gestures to the old design of his clothes.

"Diplomacy begins with a conversation, as I said. And perhaps with a gift or two." Pompey gets a dip of Thomas's head just as fit for a man of his station. "I would say that that particular incident ought to be behind us, wouldn't you? No, Galenthia doesn't want your soldiers, though I've been very impressed with their turnout and efficiency. But what we in the West need to do is speak, at the very least. You are, thus far, the only successful force against the Qa-tu-nax." He pronounces the name slowly, as if he is unsure of it. "We too lost land. My Duchy itself. But you are not a petty Baron ruling a successful city, Princeps. You are the heir to an Empire which may rise again, and this too is why we see you."

Darius sips his wine then sets it on the desk. "I'm also a soldier Viscount. I was one well before I became the heir apparent. It was my duty to my family to serve in the legions and learn the art of war. So I did. You sir, are a soldier if the rumors are said to be true of you "Firebrand." He smiles slightly. "An interesting byname you have earned yourself. I hear it is something gifted from the survivors of Marinor to Generals who have earned their respect."

He dips his head in acknowledgement. "Therefor, let us be to the point. What is it you want from me Chandus? I'm very busy, and I don't have time to play nice with the Colonials, especially when more than half of you want me dead." He nods to Pompey and gestures to the pitcher of wine and glasses there. The wine has been chilled and the pitcher sweats in the afternoon heat.

Pompey frowns and tilts his head. "There was an attempt at diplomacy, but we were greeted with accusations and mistrust, you see Viscount, as my cousin has stated, we are fighting the qatunax, and thus far we have received very little in the way of help with a common enemy." Pompey says as he moves from around the desk to stand before Thomas. "The fact that Galehtnia is an ally to Aequor, which has all but proposed war against us once they can pull their head from their rear, has not escaped us, so, as my cousin stated, what do you want?" Pompey says as he has the poise of someone who is very used to dealing with other diplomats, he does have to admit, that thomas is being more propperly diplomatic than others of this land, but still, facts are facts.

"I cannot lay claim to a byname that others use for me, particularly one that compares me to an illustrious man who I do not count amongst my ancestors. But. There was a man who called me this, yes." Says Thomas, coyly. "Well, I don't want you dead, for the first. You seem an eminently sensible man who has an aversion to nonsense. I wanted to see how you've fought the savages, if you've produced reports about this. I also want to discuss trade. At some point, this will be over, or the battles will move on. Galenthia traded with you up until twenty years ago when your honourable father decided to close trade - other than through Rhone. My own fief was very much affected by this. But you and your cousin the Consul both said at the Senate in Juin that trade would be opened. We have ways to do this - the Great Salt."

Thomas shrugs at Pompey. "I wouldn't say that. I'm told by Brigadier Xavier Arkanin that there are several thousand of his soldiers and those of his nephew holding the south and thus preventing you from being outflanked on a strategic scale." He pauses for a moment. "Galenthia has not declared war on you. Don't be absurd."

Smiling slightly, Darius looks to Pompey, "He has you there cousin." Then he looks back to Thomas. "I will open Trade, but that is once we have the means to do so. The Pentarchy holds the Great Salt, some of them controlled by the Qatanex, others likely to be pleased to be free from the Empire's yoke." He gestures slightly. "So. The Great Salt is a wonderful idea, if those states come back into the Empire."

Pompey shakes his head. "I meant Aequor, but if you say Galenthia has no motivations aside from trade, I'll take you at your word until proven otherwise." he says as he turns to his cousin. "He said no ancesrtry, I wonder if he knows the extend that the origional firebrand had with spreading his 'ancestry'." Pompey says with a smirk as he moves to the other side of the desk. He does pour himself a goblet of wine and one for Thomas as well, offering the man the glass, before taking the first sip to show that it's not poison.

"As a gift," Thomas turns a quarter face to his side and his handed a small sack in Tarris colours - is that velvet or silk? "and perhaps in that vein, I've brought two books. One is by an eminent Galenthian historian who wrote of the battles in the Thirty Years War and the First Succession War. It is biased, of course, but I'd say fairly true to the experiences I heard in the former and had in the latter. I am fond of military history, and have garnered numerous lessons from this. Perhaps you might as well, or at least you might find it entertaining. The second is an abridged history of the West, written by a man of the Church and so dispassionate of the concerns of each Kingdom. It begins in the twilight of the age, somewhat before Emperor Anastasius withdrew from the West, and continues until the formation of Four Corners." The bag is handed off to a functionary.

Thomas arches an eyebrow. "Would you like them to be back apart of the Empire? Though you've limited resources, it seems to me as if the Empire was bisected by the savages. But it IS possible to contact your erstwhile provinces again, if you move down the river. I could not see that being a problem. A stable and friendly Empire is in the interest of Galenthia and the West as a whole. Why not explore the Great Salt east of our lands, and see if this is possible?" He chuckles at Pompey. "As far as I know, Consul, my family was not seeded by the illustrious first Emperor. We were middling soldiers given responsibility for the city of Strannaeus on the edge of the Colonia of Firen and the old Imperial lands, and then ennobled. In a different time, of course."

"The Great Salt is a little bit out of my sphere of influence at present Chandus." Darius says with a smile, nodding in thanks to the gift. The book on his desk, something from the library in this keep, is clearly being read, just, not quickly. He picks up his glass of wine and sips it casually. "I could not spare the men to go all the way to the Great Salt, through Galenthia by the way, to go and speak to the Pentarchy. At least until this fight is over." He gestures to Pompey, "As much as my cousin would enjoy such a trip through such scenic Colonial lands," there might be light sarcasm in that voice, "He is needed here. To organize and plan lands that are freed from the Savages, but primarily to try and convince Aequor that we are not the enemy."

Pompey smirks. "You can only convince someone who is willing to listen cousin." He says as he turns to Thomas. "But as my cousin says, there is much work to do before any of that can be set into motion, we have the Qatunax, and aequor does has a small savage problem west of us, and from what I'm to understand, you are expecting a problem from the south as well?" He asks with a smile. "On top of green skinned folk and in-fighting. You see, the best option Chandus for all this to be rectifyed is for a united front, everyone under one banner. Unity breeds strength, and merit breed quallity." he says with a smile as he takes a sip of his wine. "Half of your 'nobility' could easily find a place within the empire, granted, the other half would probably be basic soldiers or scribes, at best, I'm sure you have noticed the disparity of such?" He offers. "Your nation has, to my understanding, raised more skilled individuals to the nobility than your contemporary has, and you do put a higher emphasis on skill than some one forsaken 'blood right'."

"It is not under control, but the lands of Galenthia aren't enemy territory. I understand that you cannot spare the soldiers at this time to mount an expedition of their own. What I am proposing is for you to use the Great Port of Duval, if you so desire. We've no reason to dissuade and every reason to encourage, I would say." Thomas considers this for a moment. "We are currently awaiting invasion from the Parthians, as you say, Consul; why they've delayed I know not, perhaps to get the harvest in and thus secure their supplies. Were I them, I'd have invaded earlier and simply seized our harvest, and then used mine to reinforce."

The Galenthian Viscount shrugs. "But, once they are defeated, I am interested in funding an expedition down the Great Salt to do just as you might like to. Contact friendly lands. At that time, you would of course be invited to send representatives. If you do, then you can coordinate with your separated brethren, which might prove tipping point for your 'mainland' possessions, so to speak." His hands clasp behind his back. "And as for Aequor, is it a problem with the entire Kingdom, or with the most local representative? I understand that they are quite occupied with matters to the West."

Another shrug from Thomas. "I cannot speak to Aequor, but blood matters. Surely you know that, or your Princeps would not be a blood descendant of the first Emperor and you a descendant of your ancestors. Ancestry speaks to the ability contained within blood. Great deeds also speak to the future ability of blood. I acknowledge that you are making a case for our integration into your Empire, and I am certainly not empowered to answer for such on behalf of my sovereign. I do note, however, your Empire's long history in relations with client kingdoms and allied kingdoms. The Pentarchy is an excellent example, or at least it was. In truth, I know much less of your history since the Empire withdrew than I like." There is a glimmer in Thomas's eyes. Perhaps he is seeking something to rectify that?

"If I had brought any books with me pertaining to history I would give them to you Viscount, sadly I came bearing only my field kit." Darius says with shrug. He sets the wine glass down. "I will consider your offer Chandus. That is the best I can tell you now. Though. Let me ask you this." He leans forward on the desk, "Why do you think the Pentarchy did not travel along the Great Salt and perform trade with Partharia, or your Galenthia? Surely they would have made money.

Darius speaks not waiting for Thomas' answer. "They can't get home. The Great Salt flows," he mimics waves with a hand moving left to right "One direction. While you are capable of traveling as you see fit, despite the current, there is a portion of the Great Salt that prevents travel. It's current and the rocks are too dangerous. Your Naval captains who ply those waters might know if it. We call it the White Death. The water froths white and roars so loud you can't think. Once you reach a certain point your ship will be pulled in, and destroyed. On your side, my guess is you simply just won't make any headway." He shakes his head.

Darius sits down and steeples his fingers. "I wish I had something to give you Chandus. Something more, for I know what you want. You want connection and to make profit off that connection with the Empire." He holds up a hand. "I mean no insult. It is diplomacy. I however have nothing I can give you right now. I am the Heir to a land splintered and it will be …. a decade at the earliest before I can reconstruct it and push the savages back. Longer is likely the answer. I have to reconstruct my Ancestor's march and bring Unity, only this time not to defeat the Sidhe, but to defeat the Qatanex." He sighs. "If you want to help, convince your Queen to marry me. Bring Galenthia in to the Empire as a Colonia again. Otherwise I fear eventually Chandus these Savages will over run us all."

Pompey rolls his eyes at Darius' offer to have the rose queen marry him. "Your mind flows in one direction as well cousin." He states before looking at chandus. "Marriage offers aside, which you should ask simply because it is an offer to her, it will take quite a long time to secure and rebuild our empire." He says as he takes a sip of his wine. "So your questions and offers have been heard, and as of right now, we do not have the means to move forward with them, when such a time as we DO have the means to move forward, we can re-open this dialoge with you. Also, once your parthian problem is taken care of, if -you- would like to offer up auxilla to our cause against the qatunax, then I'm sure my cousin would be willing to meet and discuss this with you."

"Two possibilities." Thomas ponders. "They are too busy fighting the savages, or they are too busy fighting the savages and others along the Great Salt do not want them to travel." As Darius imparts knowledge about the White Death, the Viscount looks surprised. Clearly, this was not something he knew. "Truly, has it always been that way? Perhaps a canal could be built…" More surprise follows. Marry the Queen? He is silent for some time. "I will relay your message, Princeps." He nods at Pompey. "That, I'm certain, we can discuss when it comes to it. We've lost lands to them too, though of course they pale in comparison with the sacrifices you've endured. From a personal perspective, I am interested in how you have fought them." He reiterates this point. "Most importantly, we have begun a conversation. So I hope to continue it in the future, and that is all I ask for now."

Darius nods to Thomas. "We'll see what happens in the future Chandus." He says and leans back in the chair. "If we find ourselves capable of continuing a trade, then I'm sure we'll be content."

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