While all the talking is going on, Grimm is just happy that the unicorn seemed to take a liking to him. Laughing softly, Grimm feeds the mystical beast and gives Niji a small and unsteady bow. When the royal Entourage appeared, Grimm simply rolled his eyes and mumbled something incoherent under his breath. Grimm was very much an absentminded drunk, with the attention span of a goldfish to boot.
Searching his many pockets for more treats to give to Niji, Grimm does not notice King Richard approach. Looking up from his unsuccessful search, Grimm frowns as he realizes the unicorn's affection has been stolen by the well dressed man. At that moment, King Richard is just a gaudily dressed man in Grimm's eyes. It was probably for the better, as Grimm would have been liable to do something offensive if given the chance. When the king talked to him, the drunk Grimm smiled widely and nodded in agreement.
"Yes a wondro...wonder...pretty horse! Like from the stories I was told as a child!" Letting out a hiccup, Grimm gave Niji one last pet then wandered back over to the food table. "Wheresa meat? I like meat...yummy meat.." His attention now on his still not full belly, Grimm clumsily searches through the various platters. In the process knocking several pieces of fruit and bread to the ground.
Once the royal family entered inside Benjie ceased from playing further songs. He watched with quiet interest with how the King dealt with his would-be killer. To his astonishment the Filipino watched James Dean sentenced to a lifetime of servitude to the kingdom. He had half expected a call for execution. Richard apparently wasn’t like he expected of a medieval ruler to behave with dealing with prisoners.
Very curious indeed. When the samurai woman drew closer the rest of their small group, Ben looked away from her. While they were technically on the same side, it was a hard thing to stomach for the Islander. Being in a new world doesn’t mean the scars of the old one go away if at all. Trying to ignore Yuzuki as much as possible Ben continued listening to the exchange between the others. He nodded when King Richard spoke about his brother up north begrudgingly allowing the mission discussed back to council. Of course Anne, Zuki, Harry, Grimm and Leonidas did not know about that yet.
They will soon. Benjie noted, not thinking there could be anything else the royal family wanted to say.
Burton backed into the crowd after talking briefly with the two ladies. He noted Genessa's attitude and expression. It seemed likely now that Genessa was doomed for further disappointments and he felt badly about that. Chize on the other hand was achieving her plan. The Rose Kings seem to have gone along with the idea however grudgingly.
Burton was curious how Grimm would take to the plan, the man was completely drunk. Burton felt fortunate that he himself didn't have so much of the fruit. The adventurer was getting the vague idea that perhaps the problem of the Samurai would solve itself. She didn't seem to be interacting much with these people at the moment.
When his Majesty arrived, Burton bowed as he would with complete respect due a foreign king in his own realm. It was not kneeling or a full bow. Taking in the visage of his Majesty, Burton was impressed. As the idea of a meeting was mentioned and all of those not part of that council decision were ushered away... Burton had to agree with Anne and gave Benjie a knowing look.
Harry was enjoying Benjie's guitar playing for as long as it lasted. Anne proceeded to assure him of Yuzuki's intentions and good will. She moved towards them ending up very close by. Harry remained doubtful, perhaps due to Benjie's own easily read body language regarding the young woman. At any rate, Harry clammed up just to be safe.
About then the Royal's came out of the castle. King, Queen and Princess and another man who seemed important among the red guild. There was then some tension as the King declared Dean's punishment for the attack. Miss Orlock became rather incensed at what she determined to be a light sentence. Something about that bothered Harry a bit, and he wasn't sure why. Something to think about later. Mister important Red Guild guy told Miss Orlock to stop making an argument with His Majesty. Then that guy noticed Dean wasn't the same as earlier. One of the Red Guild guys who had helped Harry with Dean earlier pointed at Harry and explained. Mister important Red Guild guy looked at Harry, mumbling something and rubbing his chin like an overdone Vaudeville villain.
This gave Harry the creeps. There was some talk among the Royals and Chize and the soldiers and everyone but the Royals and the Strangers were sent away. Suddenly there were alone with the King and Queen, their daughter and Chize. Anne said something about this not being a simple talk and Harry couldn't agree more.
"Yes, it is only right you would be present for this." Queen Gweyr says to Chize then looks at Benji and Burton. "Though it is you two who will have the floor now."
Evidently this man wasn't aware of how to properly imbibe the fermentali. King Richard thinks watching Grimm and petting Niji. He looks down at the fruit and bread that fall to the ground, and then around as a flock of colorful birds emerge from the trees and shrubs of the garden to pick their prize of the fallen. They look like sparrows but have iridescent feathers of green, blue and orange. He gives Niji one last pat on the snout, and walks over to watch the birds peck away at it all. "Apologies, I did not think to include meat in my orders. But patience good man. Soon this will be over, and you'll be taken somewhere with meat aplenty." He assures the rough man then rejoins his wife and daughter.
All the while this happens Leonidas watches King Richard as he moves around, although the man himself is not bothered by this. He awaits whatever it is Benji and Burton have to say why they are being given the floor by the royals.
"Oi now!" Anne speaks up raising her hand and standing up. "I got something to say to King Richard, before anything else, as I been waiting long enough!" This makes Leonidas roll his eyes because of course this woman wants to speak first. Dean meanwhile sits quietly, waiting for all things to be revealed.
"What is your query, Miss Bonny?" King Richard asks.
"I come a ways, been through a lot in a few days," Anne begins walking over to look King Richard in the eye. ", on behalf of my Barbin. They be kind folk, do nothing more than worship the sun and live simple lives, and they were attacked by some Scotsman and his band. We came all this way to ask they be sent some protection. They got some help we found along the way now, but from what we saw, there be more happening in those wilds than one village can bear." She puts her hands on her hips and fixes her gaze on King Richard.
"Hmm." The King considers what she's said. "I commend your dedication. However I cannot send help." He answers and it looks like Anne is about to explode but he raises his hand in a calming manner. "I would, but I cannot as the forests of the Barbin are outside the borders of Gatecia. Such a gesture could be misconstrued as an attempt to...take over new lands. Which could spoil one of our oldest and strongest treaties." He gestures at Chize. "It is possible, in fact highly probable, Lady Chize could use her influence to extend aid to your Barbin. And for your assistance today, I am willing to offer financial assistance to make that possible." He asks of Chize. "Is that possible?"
With a soft snort Niji takes a little trot backwards as the little birds suddenly impede on her territory. She lets out a soft indignant whinny, and the birds glance up at her… and then goes back to the foraging of what rightly is her food. Even if she wasn’t actually going to eat it, it was still hers! She bobs her snout up when the King Richard gives her one more pat, and as he moves away she does also. Her body turns and she trots towards the outer edge of the crowd, her dark eyes still in the direction of the Strangers and Royals.
When Anne announces that she is next to speak, Yuzuki almost perfectly mimics Leonidas’ eye roll. She sighs so discretely and now moves closer to Anne as she addresses the King. She really hopes Anne is halfway respectful of the King, even if her patience is stretched very thin at this point. And hen Anne tells her tale, Yuzuki feels the need to add what she knows. Maybe it would further help Anne get what she is requesting. Or at least make it seem more authentic, maybe offering a calmer tone at the same time.
“If we had not happened to be there, the whole village would have been murdered. The men, women and children. There were 11 attackers in all I believe. The leader she speaks of was named Wallace. I executed him myself. And” She reaches towards her neck and pulls her medallion up for them to see “I took his understanding stone” she doesn’t know the actual name for it… but it’s a stone and lets people understand her “as my trophy." She replaces the medallion upon her neck as the King speaks… as Anne’s head almost explodes right there on the spot.
Yuzuki leans in closer to Anne and whispers after the King’s explanation “Most would see a Gatecia military envoy as an invading force into the forests…” She does wish she, herself, could do more to help the Barbin. Or any other of those that were victimized by Wallace or any of his compatriots.
Chize had also moved closer to Anne and the King, hearing her speak of one of the villages. Her ears are perked up as she listens to what Anne and Yuzuki says. When she is addressed, her ears flick a few times as she speaks. “The Council had received word of the attack.” She looks to King Richard a moment as she continues. “It was one of the outlying villages, one of the fisheries. They have no real defenses to speak of… so…” now her gaze moves to Anne “I would like to personally thank you for the lives saved that day. Those of the village spoke of you with love and admiration. Now as for what now…” her ears dip back a little as she thinks, her arms folding behind her back. “I shall consult Osgarika. She can get into contact with some of the travelling Veda caravans. Perhaps” she glances towards the King “with proper compensation and incentive, the Veda can act as guardians of the forests… of the Barbin there left defenseless. It would perhaps give the Veda something of a purpose, and they are widespread...”
Grimm simply gives the king a half-coherent grunt as his search for meat fails. While everyone is talking Grimm wanders away from the table and watches the colorful birds enjoy their meal. Unfortunately the booze fruit seems to hit hard and fast. Grimm quickly goes from pleasingly buzzed to dizzy and nauseous. Staggering his way over to some well trimmed bushes, Grimm groans in discomfort as he lowers himself to the ground. "Oohh my head...why is...urrp...everything spinning?" Crawling into the comforting shade of the shrubbery, Grimm lies down and pulls his fur hood over his head in an attempt to block out the nausea. Of course this does not leave a good impression for anyone with higher standards of etiquette. Letting out the occasional belch, Grimm let's his legs splay out from underneath the bushes as he rests.
Ben was momentarily concerned when the King told Anne they can’t help her people. But fortunately he explained why and instead had Chize give support. Hope, they keep their word to her. Like General MacArthur did for my people when he finally returned to us. He thought remembering how much that promise meant when it was fulfilled.
Realizing the Royals actually want him and Richard explain the council’s plan Benjie briefly closed his eyes. No rest for the weary. Placing the guitar down the guerrilla fighter pushed himself up and walked in front of the others to make sure they can see him. In the back of his mind, Ben couldn’t help but feel a bit of similarity here to the briefings he had attended before missions during the last war. Clearing his throat, the sergeant began.
“The council is secretly assembling a team of warriors, agents and trackers. It’s purpose is to hunt down Hitler and his allies or the very least sabotage their efforts.” Pointing to the English explorer, he continued. “Sir Burton and I have volunteered to join this team. Officially we’ve be the team’s advisors, but our role will involve combat, make no mistake.”
Benjie made sure to look at every other stranger present in the eyes even the samurai. He waited long enough for them to take in those words then resume.
“No one else is to know of this mission, not even the Red Shield or the White Guard. If anyone wishes to join us step forward but understand there is no going back from it. The enemy is both powerful and brutal, as we all are now aware of and who knows what else awaits in the journey ahead. Think carefully before you decide.” Finally the Islander fell silent, letting Richard Burton speak if he had anything to add.
Burton steps forward from were he had been listening.
"None of us have been here long I think, a few days at most, some less than that. The situation here seems to be more complicated than you might think. Thus the need for secrecy. It doesn't help that our enemy is said to have a strong, charismatic presence and magical abilities in addition. It might well be that there are allies of his in a lot of places that you wouldn't suspect. "
Burton speaks with a very faint English accent. For those who can ready body language, he seems to be in earnest.
" Personally I am doing this because I feel this is the right thing to do. I had a long life during the places and period on our world. Few times did I do things for the right reasons. I intend to take a bite out of this man's plans If I can. For those of you who don't know me, I was born the year of our lord 1821 and the last year I remember was 1890. I was a soldier, a translator, a person who studies men, and religions and cultures. I can fight with rifles, pistols, knives or swords. I am comfortable in the wild and civilization equally well. I speak near 30 languages and another 18 dialects. I have studied a half dozen religions some of which to a point where I understand them as well as most of their natural born practitioners. I ended my career as an author of six or seven dozen books and a diplomat for her Majesty Queen Victoria. "
"There are people in this place who hate us strangers, simply don't approve, don't care, generally approve of us and believe we are the gift of the gods the follow. This world will be a worse place if our enemy wins, it's simple as that. "
"Thank you for putting up with a diplomat's long boring speech. "
Harry steps up. He is considerably shorter than Burton, who stands around 6'2" He is middle aged but in good physical shape & is about 5'6". He is dressed in a fancy tuxedo that shows the wear of the day he's been through. It was never meant for much action or movement.
" I don't know much about this place or these people. I was never a scholar really. I was during my life, an entertainer. I was for my time extremely successful. I married the love of my life and I miss her dearly right now. My birth name was Erich. I was born in Hungary. My family moved to Wisconsin when I was very young and later to Milwaukee. There were several of us kids and my family was not very successful. I took lots of little jobs to help out. At the age of 9 I worked in the Circus on the trapeze. I was a long distance cross country running champion and ran for my health regularly. I became a stage magician, someone who does tricks on a stage to entertain people. I took the name Harry as my folks used to call me Ehry for Eric. "
" I have told people, I am not much for guns or knives. I might be able to toss a punch but I am far from a warrior. I spent a lot of time traveling. I like to think of myself as a decent fellow. I liked doing things, I learned how to fly airplanes. I built most of the parts of my better shows. I am a studier, a worker. For a while I went about trying to expose fraudulent phony psychics."
"When I was working on Mister Dean, I could see the spell put on him, looked rather like smoke to me. I really only tried that because my friend Benjie thought I might have some sort of ability in that regard. "
" A couple of things occurred to me, that have bothered me a little. I don't mean to speak ill of anyone mind you.. But as I said... I study things and people. The older noble who came in on the .. griffons ? I noticed he reacted poorly to the Unicorn. From the stories I remember, Unicorns prefer people who are noble of spirit.... Another oddity, the fellow who leads the red people, when he was told what I did with Dean, looked at me rather like a poorly played villain in a stage play rubbing his chin as if he had discovered a fine new weapon. "
"I trust Benjie, I trust Anne, I trust King Leonidas. I can't promise you that I will be completely useful mind you. But I can promise you that you'll have my best effort. That and I don't think I want to be left behind. I don't think people around here will care much about an old guy doing a stage act. "
While everyone speaks, a few of the birds see Grimm lie down on the ground, and flock over to investigate this new pile in their garden. A couple fly over to perch on Niji's back, and inspect her for any parasites. One green bird flies to Anne and rests on her right shoulder as the woman listens paying it no mind, and it does not mind her slight sway.
The woman smiles as Chize tells her the Barbin speak of her in a loving manner, and holds her head high as it is explained in so many words that she is now successful in securing protection for her village. While she is unaware of who this Osgarika is, or what a Veda is, she feels confident these are people of their word. They seem too legitimate to deceive her. That could be the booze talking, but it is what she feels nonetheless. The pirate's mind wanders for a moment about how to negotiate for a ride back to the village, but is brought back by the words of Benjie illuminating everyone on what had come of their meeting with that council.
Leonidas pours himself a cup of ale while he listens, and leans back on the table taking sips. Dean likewise leans back on the bench he's sitting in and knows this is how he'll be utilized. Which is all fine and dandy for him, and he is the first to speak up when the floor opens to responses.
"While I know I have no choice in the matter, I want you all to know I also have no qualms about being part of this." He looks around and even cracks a smile. "I just hope I get a chance to knock off old Adolf myself. Teach him to make me a puppet."
"Aye!" Anne exclaims, bumping her fists together. The bird has since closed its eyes and looks to be sleeping even with her movement and raised voice. " I was gonna ask fer a ride back to my village. But if they be in safe hands, and this Hitler out there with Albert in his camp, I think it best I put my strength on him the same he tried to put his on my people." She puts her hands down. "So count me in, Captain!" She says to Benji. She looks aside at Yuzuki "How bout you Zuki? I'll help ya with that other Oriental fellow what gave ya trouble last time. If ya rather stay here, I'll bring his head back."
King Richard, and Queen Gweyr look at each other when Houdini expresses concern about Count Orlock and Overseer Germaine.
"Count Orlock? There must be some misunderstanding." King Richard says looking at Niji and then Houdini "Count Orlock is my most trusted advisor, and a man of the people."
"And Overseer Germaine, while he can be shrewd, I am sure meant nothing untoward by his...peculiar reaction to your power." Queen Gweyr says in defense of the other man. "I am certain that was just a matter of his curiosity as to how your power works. It is an essential part of the Red Shield Guild, after all, to be curious and determined."
Leonidas is the last to speak of the Strangers. He finishes his drink, looks around.
"You have been a good friend, Burton, in this short time I have known you." He sighs and shakes his head. "This is not my battle." He looks off in the direction of the courtyard where Genessa said she would be waiting. "I would prefer to stay by Genessa of Red's side. The two men you, Houdini, said concerned you are her father and superior. I think this old man is better as her shield than your foot soldier for now."
Niji’s tail only flicks as the birds land upon her strong back, her head raising a moment. Her head then bows as she sniffs for more food, which has been placed right there for her. But at this moment, it isn’t food that really gets the sum of her focus. Her ears perk up as she hears Grimm’s belch.. well one of them.. and with a soft snorting sound she moves towards the bush he has decided to share with the little birds. That’s nice of them, to share their spot with the oddly scented man. Niji would look back in the direction of the group as they speak amongst themselves, and she notices her human (Yuzuki) only glancing in her direction every once in a while. Whatever they’re talking about, it must be very very important for the 2 legged furless ones to not pay more attention to the unicorn. So Niji paces slowly towards Grimm’s resting place and lowers herself down caaaaaarefully, not wanting to further disturb the birds there. It’s there territory, and she goes slowly, not wanting to offend any of them further. She even makes eye contact with each bird, her ears flicking, as if in silent communication with them. As if using their own special language, Niji asking permission to stay there with them for a while. So in the grass she lays, her front hooves partially folded under her body, the bush barely brushing against her side. Every few moments she leans her head forward, sniffing at Grimm’s boots and lower legs. But she also minds the little birds, which she considers now her friends. Because… who doesn’t want to be friends with the unicorn?
Yuzuki just stares at Anne nearly this whole time, more specifically the bird upon her shoulder. A bird Anne doesn’t even seem to notice. It’s almost a bit comical to the Japanese woman, a small grin upon her lips as she watches the bird spread its wings just a little to help keep its balance.
And as Benjie starts to speak, her attention is drawn to him. The tone of his voice.. it speaks of a serious nature. She seems surprised to hear the plan… the ‘secret’ group. It’s been a long time since she was part of such a group. The last one she was in, they went to meet the warriors of a rival clan and kill them. She enjoyed it, working with others with just as much (if not more) skill than she had. But this.. mission… it is very different, isn’t it? None of them are samurai… none of them really seem to have a code (that Yuzuki recognizes)… and those they go after are even more different. Using futuristic weapons… and magic…
Burton then steps up and speaks… and Yuzuki finds herself a little lost with all of the words he uses. He is obviously very intelligent, far more intelligent than she. But 1821.. so far in the future… she can hardly imagine what kind of world his is. But she could say the same for any of those around her. She’s hardly ever been beyond the bounds of her own clan’s borders, much less around the world. She can’t even imagine what she would find beyond the ocean.
Her eyes are now cast down as Harry speaks, and then the others. Anne is very excitable, but Yuzuki keeps her gaze cast down. Seeming lost in her own thoughts, her hands resting upon the sash bound around her waist. And as Leonidas falls silent, there is a moment of silence, and then Yuzuki’s soft and calmed voice comes forth. She still looks down, lockes of straight hair framing her features. “Thank you, Anne… but I must face him myself, regain my honor. I must also deal with Albert.” She looks towards Benjie “You may object to my very presence for your mission, but I must accompany you. I’ve much experience with this kind of thing. I will be of benefit to you.” She looks towards the other Strangers, even Dean. “I will do everything I can to be of use to you all.”
Overhearing the conversation, Grimm experiences a brief moment of clarity. "I have..urp...sworn allegience to Genessa of Red! I go where...oourgg...she goes!" His voice slightly muffled from the shrubbery, Grimm waves a hand about to show he means business but soon returns to wallowing in drunken self pity. Trying not to throw up, Grimm looks down his body to see several colorful birds perched on him. "This place may not be so bad..." The bearded hunter mostly mumbles to himself, feeling a little bit better that at least the local animals seem to like him. Making sure not to disturb the birds, Grimm lets his head drop back into his hood and let's out a long yawn.
Honestly, Ben had not expected Harry of all people to volunteer for this dangerous mission. Granted he had not known the escape artist for very long but the fellow wasn’t exactly one would call a soldier or warrior. Then again Houdini had an ability that can come quite handy in a pinch and courage to match it. We have to keep him safe and find other means he can help as well. Benjie quietly decided before listening to the others.
As for Anne Bonny, she was welcomed as far the guerrilla was concerned. A proven fighter and with motivation to match it. James Dean would be useful as well and maybe he’ll remember information about their common enemy along the way. Benjie nodded in acknowledgment accepting their willingness, but he bit his lip when Yuzuki stepped up, declaring her intention to go as well. Ben frustratedly squeezed his right hand into a fist.
Guess it was too much to hope for that she chooses to protect the royal family instead.
Yuzuki had fought to beside him on two different occasions with great skills and did help others that were not Japanese. Even so Ben in his heart still found it hard to stomach being in the samurai’s company. While the others like Grimm and Leonidas declined for their own reasons, the sergeant let out a weary sigh and said. “It is settled then.” Turning to the warrior woman he added.
“I don’t understand why you would want to fight that Imperial officer but that’s your business. Make no mistake though, if given the opportunity I won’t hesitate to kill the bastard first and others like him.”
Anyone paying slow attention to that last part would note the utter contempt within Benjie’s voice when referring to the Japanese army officer with Hitler. Anyone with common sense and sharp eye would realize this is more than a mission to him it was personal. Done the resistance veteran turned focus toward the royal family waiting for their respond.
Harry listened to the Royal couple defend the two men. He turns to her Majesty bowing his head to her.
"Your pardon Majesties. You might be right about the red cloak. Perhaps here in this place a man in such a position might well be innocent and forthright to his friends and allies. I just felt for that brief moment very uncertain of his motives. Likely just my own culture and upbringing. I apologize for an possible unintended slight"
He turns very briefly to Leonidas now..
"As for the other fellow Orlock, of that I am more certain of what I saw. He reacted with a great deal of unease to the Unicorn and she to him. With the quality and quantity of our enemies, I would be cautious."
He looks at the legendary King of Sparta for only a moment more, certain he saw Leonidas react to Orlock as well, but he cant be certain.
Having heard Benjie's passionate little speach, Harry goes to stand by the sergeant.
"Take a deep breath Sergeant, it's going to be just the beginning of a long journey I think!.
"Would you consider Madam, making an honorable peace with this all too wordy old brit who can claim some Irish on his mother's side and a head full of red hair as a baby?"
Then, while the others are talking, Burton makes his way to Leonidas. Talking to the other man in low tones in Greek.
"I am glad you return to Genessa my friend. My own instincts tell me to trust you completely. I think highly of young Genessa and I noticed your expression upon meeting her father. This world seems thick with uncertanties and subtle twisty allegiances. I think your sword will see action sooner than you would like. "
Burton extends his hand for a grasp with a small note addressed to Genessa that will slip into the Spartan's leathery hand.
He moves next to Dean.
"Mister Dean?, my congratulations on being relieved of his influence. We met once you and I, outside Doren a couple of days back. You ran by and captured a woman and ran off. I want you to know, I will hold you to a clean slate. "
Burton says nothing more to Dean. The implication and body language promise harsh retribution should the American prove false.
He moves then to Yuzuki, the young Japanese woman. He gives her a short bow, eyes not leaving hers.
"Lady Yuzuki, I must tell you my regrets at having spent so little time in what my people call the Orient. I would ask you fpr a favor. Could you perhaps help me refresh my skill with the blade. It has probably been over a decade since I regularly used a my sword. Though, in my youth I was well known for my skill as a fencer. "
" I be leaving him to you should we see that snake again." Anne tells Yuzuki. When Burton comes to Anne's other side and asks for an 'honorable peace' and the drunken pirate scratches her head about what kind of offense could have been committed in the very short time they've known of each other, until she hears 'Brit' and makes an 'Oh' motion with her mouth.
"Seein' as you done me no wrong, no issue wit me yer a tea sucking Brit." Anne tells Burton, smiling at him and tipping her hat as he walks away. During this exchange she sees the little bird resting on her shoulder.
"Oi, bird." She says and the bird opens its eyes, looks at her. "You comin' along as well?" She asks and the bird is silent a moment then utters a chirp and tweet. "Huh. Ain' that the darndest thing, I understood ya." Anne comments and clicks her tongue. "Well den, Imma call youuu....Fergus." Fergus chirps, flutters up to rest in the brim of Anne's hat and resumes his nap.
This whole scene is seen by King Richard, who only smiles and treats it as just the most normal thing in the world.
Dean was visibly surprised by Burton being so ready to give him a clean slate. He wishes others would be so willing. "Thanks for the benefit of doubt." He says to him then gets to thinking about that woman he had captured, the memory coming back to him in fragments, and he hopes she's still alive, even if he doesn't recall who she was.
Leonidas responds to Burton "Sooner than I'd like? What an odd expression." Leonidas accepts the grasp of camraderie and raises a brow at the note he's given from that action but seeing it addressed to Genessa from the outside, keeps it stowed in his hand for now. He's not too subtle as a warrior or King, but he was no dullard.
"Appears we have most the Strangers on board." Queen Gweyr comments.
"Yes, most is good." King Richard affirms rejoining his family with Shalana behind them. He taps his nose looking around at them all. "However, they will need a guide to our world." He turns to his wife "Who should we send with them?"
The Queen hums in thought. "Would have to be someone who not only knows the lands."
"Yes yes, they need to be able to stand with these warriors of another world." Richard nods and hums likewise. "Someone with a lifetime of experience, and a mind for diplomacy."
"So someone of a royal line, you are thinking?" Gweyr asks.
"Yes!" Richard snaps his fingers then grumbles. "But who do we know that could be available? I'd like to not have them wait too long or have to meet up with said guide."
A silence hangs between husband and wife with child in the middle for a few moments.
"Ah-ha! I know just the lady for the task!" Queen Gweyr turns to their daughter. "Shalana." She says to get the girl's attention if she wasn't already paying attention or not. "Come along with me. You will observe me convincing Overseer Germaine to give Genessa Orlock a leave of absence for a special project of ours. A lesson in being cordial, but firm, when you are the one holding the purse strings. " She holds her head high and the two walk out of the gardens to the courtyard. "We shall return momentarily."
In the time for a couple conversations, The Queen and Shalana indeed return with Genessa behind them, the hat of her uniform off and Gweyr looking pleased.
"Everyone, I have retrieved Genessa Orlock as a capable guide for your mission. We did want to keep Red Shield out of these operations, but she has taken leave of Red Shield for a time and instead is acting in her capacity as a member of the gentry serving The Throne." Gweyr announces.
Leonidas looks at Genessa, and at the paper in his hand then over at Burton. "So be it. You have my shield, sword, and body as well." He says in a rather amused tone.
Genessa bows to those assembled, and looks around for Grimm before coming to him. "Mr. Grimm Mann." She addresses him in a sorry manner. "I will not force you to come along with me on this mission. You have served me well, and deserve your share of land I promised." She closes her eyes a moment and puts both hands together in front of her heart. "But if you would continue to be at my side, I will be grateful for it."
With a raised eyebrow Yuzuki looks towards the shrubs where Grimm’s voice comes from. Her eyes divert in Genessa’s direction then at the mention of her name, a skeptical look upon her features. He has sworn his allegiance to her.. but he isn’t representing her very well. Or keeping himself in a condition to be of use to her.
A small smile is on her lips as she looks back in the direction of the Grimm sounding shrub, and then it’s Benjie’s voice that gets her attention. He says he doesn’t understand her intentions… which is fine. He doesn’t have to. But the more he speaks, the worse it gets. While her smile has faded, her features seem unphased. Neutral, utterly calm. She speaks in an almost eerily calm tone. “When first I faced him, I was taken by surprise. I thought him my father, but it turns out he is actually a distant descendant of my clan. And he has the sword that I forged with my own hands. So, understand this.” She now takes a step towards him, her dark eyes staring into his. “Seek to come between myself and this man, between myself and regaining the honor I had lost… and I swear to all I hold dear that my blade will bathe in your blood. I care not who you are, or why you wish to be in conflict with me. Test me, and I will end you.” She falls silent as she stares at him, her anger baaaaarely held in check.
Harry comes up to Benjie, and Yuzuki immediately turns her attention away from him. Not caring how many of the others heard all that. A smile is suddenly on her lips as she looks towards Richard. She had heard foreigners refer to her lands as the ‘Orient’… someone explained it once to her, but she had forgotten exactly the reason. Her head tilts a little to one side as he uses another term she isn’t familiar with. She knows what a ‘fence’ is… it’s a barrier. Does he build fences? Repair them? In his world, is it necessary to use a sword in order to make fences? She has a sort of lost look upon her features, and she laughs awkwardly and gently as she speaks to him. And he would notice every few moments she glances in Benjie’s direction. “Sir, I am afraid I am not familiar with the ‘fencing’ styles. I’ve never actually heard of such. But it would be my honor to show you a little of what I know.” Of course, her style of swordsmanship (swordswomanship?) is literally an ancient one. And it’s very possible that not many from Burton’s world actually practice her style anymore. When the samurai died out… much of their genuine arts were gone with them. “And as payment, you can show me how it is you fight in your world.” She says in a genuinely curious tone. Until now, it hasn’t really donned on her to try and learn other styles. Styles of combat from worlds and times she can never imagine of.
And then a problem arises. A real problem. Niji the unicorn suddenly dashes right towards Anne, skidding to a stop behind her. She leans towards Anne and bumps her hat with her snout, huffing loudly. The unicorn then rears up a little and lets out a loud whinny, and shakes her head rapidly as she lands on her front hooves.
There is a bird in her (her as in Niji) hat. A winged creature has made a resting place of one of Niji’a favorite (and tasty) playthings. Anne’s hat.
She snorts loudly again, blowing air against the bird as she stares at it with wide eyes. The bird reacts with a few quick tweets and flapping her wings… and Niji reacts by bolting. She jumps a little and darts away from Anne, galloping at almost full speed for the distance of 20 feet. She then goes into a trot and comes about face, letting out another loud whinny. From a safe distance.
Shalana stands dutifully near her mother, her hands folded into the sleeves of her gown. Her eyes are half open as she watches with seeming disinterest, but in all reality she is eagerly and discretely studying the Strangers. She has never seen a group this big of them at once. Her cousin, Magda, would be envious of this opportunity.
When her father joins them, her attention moves back to her parents. And then.. he mentions that they should have a guide. Despite her want to seem neutral and uninterested, her eyes do widen a little.
Someone who not only knows the lands… Shalana has most of these lands memorized from her ‘research’ trips… and knows a bit about diplomacy!
She can stand with the Strangers, of course!
She has a lifetime of experience!
She is of THE royal line!
She stands between her parents, the King and Queen of these lands, looking between them with expectation. Her toes curl and uncurl with excitement…she has to do something and not give away how happy she is with what she is about to be asked!
Her smile now widens and the excitement just spreads over her young features, not bothering to be subtle anymore. Yes, she is the lady for the task! “Yes mother!” she says the moment the first syllable of her name moves passed Qweyr’s lips. “I would be thr--” At this moment, if you could take the heart scanning device used to show just how the Grinch’s heart had grown 3 sizes and apply it to Shalana’s heart… well you would see her pretty heart just crumble. The disappointment is TO obvious on her features. She stares wordlessly as her mother turns, and then she looks towards her father. Are… are they serious?
But she obeys, of course. She walks with her mother then, her cheeks and nose and the tips of her faintly pointed ears as red as a firetruck.
Queen Gweyr, Shalana and Genessa approach the group now, Shalana looking veeeeeery unhappy. One of her handmaidens approach her from the side, wanting to ensure she was okay and to perhaps offer aid. But Shalana just glares at the handmaiden. If her eyes were capable of it, the handmaiden would burst into flames with the strength of Shalana’s angry gaze. Fortunately the handmaiden is okay. But she needs to see that look on Shalana’s young face for a mere moment… and she immediately turns with a bow and skitters away from the group. Shalana looks back towards the group… well the general direction of the group. In reality as she walks behind the Queen, her eyes are on the back of Gweyr’s head, as if trying to see exactly what the hell she is thinking. Sending Genessa instead of herself?
Feeling a little better from his short rest in the well maintained shrubbery, Grimm carefully extracts himself so as not to accidentally crush any of the small birds. Standing up, Grimm takes a moment to regain his balance and brush off his clothes. Facing Genessa, Grimm puts on his serious face and nods respectfully. "I have sworn to stay by your side as to repay you for your generosity. I am a man of my word. Should you decide to go to the edge of the world I will be by your side till the end." Looking around, Grimm realizes just who is there. Royalty, the worst kind of people (in Grimm's opinion). Seeing the heavily armored guards, Grimm manages to restrain himself from doing something that would get him killed. Taking a calming breath, the hairy hunter decides to try and weather the proverbial storm.
Taking his place by Genessa, Grimm's mood quickly sours to it's usual surly self. As long as the royals did not talk to him directly Grimm predicted he could make it out in one piece. Looking around Grimm held back a snarl at all the extravagant trappings of the garden. "Damned fruit..." Grimm mumbles to himself as he makes a mental note to never eat any foreign fruit again. The pleasant alcoholic buzz had turned into a dull throbbing headache, making Grimm pray to the gods that he could make it out of this cursed palace without incident. The Norse man was well aware of the consequences one rude comment to the royal could cause. Deciding to try and keep himself occupied, Grimm settled on admiring the young unicorn. In his opinion animals were much better company than other people.
Standing still with a resentful glare at the samurai, Benjie did not flinch when she took another step closer. Instead, his left hand gripped the sheathed bolo, listening to Yuzuki’s respond. Each word from her kindled the fury burning inside Ben’s soul all the more. The Filipino’s eyes narrowed when threatened and his grip on the blade handle tightened. Every fiber of Ben wanted to scream at Yuzuki what he exactly thought about the Japanese concept of honor.
I’m sick and tired of hearing this shit.
Only a hand on his shoulder and a few words by Harry gave him pause. They did indeed had a long road of ahead and he didn’t need to waste time here anymore than necessary. Without saying another and eyes still on the swordswoman, Ben spit to the side in contempt. It was his silent way of saying he had no intention of listening to Yuzuki’s warning. Subsequently, Ben whispered to the escape artist without looking back.
“You can let go of me, Harry.”
Not in the mood to interact with anyone at the moment, Benjie stormed away from the spot. Retrieving the guitar, he sat back down at the tree from earlier. Trying to clear his mind looked at some flowers nearby and it gave Ben an idea. Nodding, the resistance fighter began to play an old tune he learned from his maternal grandfather named Emilio.
Music is life my boy, never forget that! Benjie quietly smiled to himself, remembering what Emilio once said. He can still vividly see grandfather’s wrinkled face beamed with amusement and pride, as they both practiced together. “Salamat sa mga lolo sa aralin.” Muttered Ben in gratitude and closed his eyes cherishing those memories.