CLOSED SIGNUPS Heavy Is The Crown

Silvertongued

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#21
Edel

"Now now, hold still Helena," chides Edel, dabbing at her sisters eyes, brush in hand. "Neither you nor I can possibly be seen with red eyes and tear stained cheeks, let alone in the Dragon's court,"

"Our grief is ours and ours alone," she hums, hiding puffy skin beneath pale tones. "I would not share even a teardrop with our cousins, who have no right to our pain or our vulnerability,"

Pulling back, Edel examines her work, before tucking her brush and powders back within her robes.

"There. Pristine and perfect as always, Helly. None shall approach the shadow of your beauty,"

She holds out a slender, porcelain hand, speaking softly.

"Are you ready?"
 
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#22
Helena

She draws a long, slow breath through her nose, letting it sit in her stomach, filling her solar plexus with a tensile strength.
Once Edel is finished, she sweeps her long fingers through her hair, its swathes of silk swirling away from her face.
A similar motion buffeting out the creases in her long dress and fitted cloak.
A exhale through thin lips, "You're right,"
She nods, tone clipped, "They do not deserve it,"

She exits the carriage after her Uncle, Edel's pale doll-like fingers wrapped around her pitch talons.
 

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#23
Before you enter the antechamber, Solon politely bids you halt and asks that you place any weapons with your escort for safekeeping.

The antechamber is typically minimalist, lit by sconces in the walls and a brazier in an iron cage in the centre. The walls are lined with comfortable seating, though little of it is in use.

The other Houses are present. The crowd large enough you don't take them all in at once. To the right of the doors to the audience chamber, House Lezek stands in close ranks, dressed in opulent finery.
Lezek Apollyon, his features like a statue sculpted in ode to disapproval, stands with his arms folded. He offers a curt nod to Tristran, one soldier to another. He is flanked by his brother, Griffith, the slender and winged scholar. An enormous cat sleeps curled around Griffith's ankles. On the left is Lucas, the House Herald, a callow youth with an easy smile and crown of small, golden horns.

Left of the door are the Olimak, standing in the shadow of the titanic Olimak Talia, who is dressed only in wrappings of red silk. She is symbolically wearing iron manacles; her weapons are restrained.
Beside her are Librarian Asa, like a carved obsidian statue, and the Grudgekeeper Goroth leaning against a stone pillar with handles at the base. The stone is etched with names and crimes that will no doubt be brought up during the meeting with Imperus.

The Dellebron are on the opposite side of the room, to their left House Yrva, to their right Lybar. One space is left for you between the Lezek and the Dellebron.
 
#24
Tristan

After quietly divesting himself of a truly startling number of knives, cords, wee vials of poison, needles, a sling, and a coil of wire, Tristan gives the Invested officer behind him a sober nod, pats the dog and murmurs "Stay, Mollaige, wait." and leads his family into either death or social awkwardness.

Glancing across the crowded chamber, Tristan catches Lezek Apollyon's nod, and returns it without hesitation. A scan of the room shows him the powers of the Houses gathered, and he offers an honest gaze and a sober nod of greeting to any who gaze back. All of this, as he proceeds across the chamber to take the space left for House Hulbrad.

Standing between one House with no reason to especially like him, and another House with very good reason to hate him, Tristan glances to his right, to the Lezek.

"Greetings to the golden host. This is my first chance to acknowledge the courage and the outrage of those Lezekim who sought justice for my own House elders. I thank you for their gesture, and wish that their lives had not been so cruelly spent by...her."
 

Silvertongued

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#25
Edel

A sheepish smile on her face, Edel pulls several three inch long needles from the lining of her sleeves, gently handing them over.

"Careful, they're poisoned," she warns casually.

Edel continues on, following Tristan, halting behind him as he greets the Lezek. Keeping silent, she proffers a slight curtsy to the elder Lezek.
 

Silvertongued

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#26
The Dellebron

The host of Dellebron stand aloof, watching the other Houses with equal parts wariness and disdain.

A pair of slender female twins are at the forefront, one with black hair, the other with white, Dellebron Felicia and Dellebron Maria, respectively. They're dressed in simple breeches and boots, though Maria is clad in a full jacket and tricorn, looking upon the crowd impassively. Felicia differentiates herself with only a plain blouse, and a talon like pegleg.

Dellebron Cines, all long limbs and squat body, stands next to his wife, Vivienne, hastily taking a drink every few minutes. By the look on Vivienne's face and the empty bottles close by, it seems as though he's been at it a while. Their son, Sura, looks on from behind a smiling porcelain mask, entirely wrapped up so that not even a sliver of skin is visible.

Hilda, the mother of both the twins and Cines, sits near the wall. Small, bald, and gnarled, she seems to be dozing lightly. Her enormous toad, Pollywog, squats next to her, fat head pressed against the arm of her chair.

Finally, aloof from even the others of his family, is Dellebron Lars. Wrapped in layers of hellforged iron, he stands head and shoulders over the rest of the Dellebron, hand continually going to a weapon that is not there.

For the most part, they seem to ignore the coming of the Hulbrad.
 
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#27
As Lochlyn approaches the chamber doors after Edel, Solon nods toward the escort. Lochlyn merely opens his arms saying softly, "I carry no weapons save my mind, my shadow, and yours.* If I may?" Saying nothing but providing a curt nod, Solon motioned for him to continue into the room.

Lochlyn's attention is drawn to Olimak Asa and Lezek Griffith both by reputation and by a sense of propinquity, knowing his opposite numbers where he finds them. He takes up a position in Hulbrad's appointed space but watches for shadows crossing from either side in case he might surreptitiously hear more from Lezek or Dellebron.

*"yours" here is a second person plural indicating other people in general's shadows; he's not threatening Solon, just pointing out that shadows in general are somewhat weaponizable to him.
 

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#28
Apollyon fixes Tristan with lambent eyes, and for a moment it seems as if he won't speak at all.
"You have our gratitude, shadowed host," he says, in lilting downland tones, "and our sympathies. But that our blood spilled could have raised your fallen."

Griffith, impassive, gives his brother an inscrutable look.

After a few tense minutes, the doors to the throne room are thrown wide.

Huge braziers fail to fully light the immense room. Seven pillars tower to the ceiling - three on each side, the seventh built into Imperus' dark throne. Each pillar is engraved with the names of Scions who fell in the war.

A discreet row of buffet tables lines the head of the room, just before the dais on which the throne sits, and immaculately black-uniformed staff stand in the shadows. If they are armed, it is with trays of drinks.

The Seneschal gestures for you to come inside. "Be at ease! Enjoy the hospitality of Imperus," he says.

From another door, a group of twelve black-robed figures shuffle in. Mortal, for certain, a mix of rats and humans, and one Orc.

The Houses spread out into gentle mingling orbits.
 
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#29
Helena

Though she technically had no physical weapon on her person when they entered, she chews her lip, deciding it better to be honest when in such company than to forgo the good will they'd fought to get. She slips a hand to her back, fingers tracing the back of her neck, before plunging into the flesh, talons gripping the picture of her hilt of a long rapier, which ran the length of her spine, wrapped elegantly among the thorns and pulls it's form from her skin. It materializes, a long silver guilded stiletto with a flower-like hilt. She pouts, and begrudgingly hands it over.

Entering the opulant room with all it's... colourful guests, she fights to keep her gaze level and not betray the grief simmering gently under the surface. She nods and curtseys briefly to all she makes eye contact with, but when the family takes their place among the pillars and the buffet is served, she occupies her thoughts with reading the names on the pillars, claw tips tracing the artistry of the stonework.
 
#30
Tristan

Hurling a brick is a wonderful way to break the ice.

With a completely straight face and 100% sober bearing, Tristan almost accidentally blunders into the shadow of Olimak Talia. Gazing up at the titan, he nods solemnly.

"You know, of ways to set cousins at each other's throats, I think I much prefer the inciting event which involves punches thrown at a wedding after one's scandalous uncle drinks too much and comments about the groom's dress. As opposed to ripping apart the continent and shattering families."

He offers a bow, and finally allows a his face to relax into gentle, bitter smile, almost like a river finding its bed.

"I...offer condolences for all that the Olimak have lost. Let us be friends. I would not have us be enemies again."
 

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#31
Tristan

Talia offers a short bow - not curt, but not deep.
"That would be best," she says in rumbling tones. "You have our deep sympathies for your own losses. The monstrosity of Kali's crime is outweighed only by its cowardice. I would be glad to offer you the hospitality of Olimak until you no longer require it."

Goroth, looming by his pillar, appears to be trying to set the Dellebronim afire with the intensity of his glare.

Lochlynn

Trailed by his enormous cat, Lezek Griffith greets you with a bow.
"Felicitations and condolences, Archivist," he says, his voice deceptively boyish. "It pains me that our first meeting should be under such circumstances - I have been reading your work with great interest."

Helena

"Those are truly beautiful tattoos," says a voice behind you. A willowy person with bright, acid-green eyes is watching. A Lybar, their clothing uncharacteristically dark and modest, one tendril snaking from their back to hold a glass of wine and leaving their slender hands free.
"Lybar Aphros," they say, offering a hand in greeting.

Edel

None of the guests approach you, though a few steal glances, otherwise engaged with other people present for now.
 
#32
Lochlynn turns to face the approaching Lezek. He curls long shadows from beside and underneath the large cat up to beneath the cat's chin and proceeds to scritch the cat to the point of purring. With a bow, he replies, "Ah, my greetings and my thanks, dear Lezek, though I would imagine my scribblings on magical theory too dull and uneducated for the author of the biography of the Mage Arrouen. Pray do tell me: which of my writings have you been reading of late?"
 
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#33
Tristan

“I thank you on behalf of my family for the kind offer. Depending on how today’s audience goes, well. I truly appreciate your hospitality, while I hope that we will not need to accept it. I intend to get a start on a new roof for my family as soon as possible. They’re getting sick of canvas.”

He offers a broad and genuine smile.

“For a partial change of topic...Talia, how many elders of the Houses do you suspect took advantage of the war to fake their own deaths and are even now lurking somewhere, brooding over chessboards in hidden redoubts in a highly cliched fashion? My money is on at least five.”