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    Batchelorette Number 1!

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    elanya
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    Batchelorette Number 1!

    Post by elanya on 31/01/13, 09:01 pm

    Vedran had been keeping an eye on his watch and, as the time neared when he was supposed to meet with Ardith Aethlin, excused himself from the card table. Aleyn flashed him an encouraging smile that didn't entirely cover his nerves and concern. Vedran smiled back, but was sure the effect was much the same.

    Ardith seemed kind and interesting, and he wanted to get to know her... He was going to try to focus on that part of things for now. Hopefully the glass of wine he'd had would help settle his nerves a little too. He went to speak to the club hostess, who escorted him back to a private booth to wait.
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    Re: Batchelorette Number 1!

    Post by Josh on 31/01/13, 09:42 pm

    Ardith was glad of the walk down from the Parliamentary Palace. Even though the legislative session hadn't started, each Dovah was keen to position their personal concerns received attention from the start. It was going to be a long few months.

    Ardith took the time to calm down, trying to put governmental matters out of her mind for the moment. Hopefully more pleasant business awaited. Vedran Callais had been perfectly charming the few times they had met, and she was glad to know they shared some similar views on Nerathi politics. She found herself hoping not all of the rumors she'd heard were true; so far he seemed a perfect match.

    Nodding to the doorman, Ardith entered club, stopped to have her coat taken, greeted Rylie, the club hostess. After a few pleasantries, Rylie escorted her to the private booth where Lord Callais sat.

    "I hope I haven't kept you waiting," Ardith offered pleasantly. "Things are quite busy up the mountain."
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    Re: Batchelorette Number 1!

    Post by elanya on 31/01/13, 09:53 pm

    Vedran rose as the prelate approached and smiled. "Not at all - I dropped by a little early to investigate the card tables. Would you care for some wine?"
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    Re: Batchelorette Number 1!

    Post by Josh on 31/01/13, 10:42 pm

    "That would be excellent," Ardith replied, taking a seat. "And how did you find the tables? They're not usually truly interesting until later in the evening."
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    Re: Batchelorette Number 1!

    Post by elanya on 31/01/13, 11:21 pm

    Vedran re-seated himself after Ardith was settled, turning briefly to the hostess to request one of the nicer house wines.

    "I did find them a little quiet," he admitted to Ardith. "But that may have been for the best - I did have other matters on my mind. It's a pleasure to see you again, Prelate."
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    Re: Batchelorette Number 1!

    Post by Josh on 31/01/13, 11:28 pm

    "Ardith, please," she corrected amiably. "Nothing too terrible, I hope. More business on this mysterious endeavor everyone's been talking about?"
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    Re: Batchelorette Number 1!

    Post by elanya on 31/01/13, 11:53 pm

    "More pleasant personal business, in this case," he replied with a grin, "but now I'm curious what people are saying."
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    Re: Batchelorette Number 1!

    Post by Josh on 01/02/13, 12:02 am

    "Well, someone in my line of work should know better about giving away information without some quid pro quo, but I suppose I am trying to get on your good side," she replied with a reciprocal grin.

    "The common speculation is that the Thunderbolts uncovered something on their last adventure, some major resource or site important enough to get the attention of someone beyond the ancillary guilds. So, tell me, did you find something interesting in Ahkas?"
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    Re: Batchelorette Number 1!

    Post by elanya on 01/02/13, 12:23 am

    This was the tricky part - figuring out how much to let out and at what stage. "In Ahkhas? Hmm... We helped out the church there a little, and in exchange we're sort of borrowing, sort of safeguarding an artifact for them. In the spirit of good relations, I like to think, though it is all very unofficial..." He smiled again, knowing he'd been teasing a little, before he gave her a more serious look. "As to what we're working on now - that's an issue much closer to home, and it is definitely important."
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    Re: Batchelorette Number 1!

    Post by Josh on 01/02/13, 12:43 am

    "Well, I'm all for maintaining solid relations with the Ahkasics, so you have my thanks as ardent Nerathi," she replied jokingly. "It must be pretty important if you've got Korasha and Jurvek* involved. Fion Halatir, too, from what I hear, though I understand he has a personal connection to the Thunderbolts anyway."

    Ardith gave a strange look.

    "Sorry, did that sound like I was showing off? Name-dropping is a easy habit in my line of work."

    She paused as a server brought the wine.

    "Thank you," she offered politely, taking her glass.

    "Regardless," she continued to Vedran, "here's to luck in your endeavor, however mysterious it may be."

    *= Chieftain and Grand Shaman of the Grobashka clan
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    Re: Batchelorette Number 1!

    Post by elanya on 01/02/13, 12:52 am

    "Thank you," he smiled, raising his glass with her before taking a sip. "We will definitely need The Lady's favour, along with all the solid allies we can find. Luckily, most of the Thunderbolts were blooded into the Grobashka tribe last year, and the rest of us stragglers should be making a try for the same once the tribe is gathered. It should be an interesting show, if you're interested."
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    Re: Batchelorette Number 1!

    Post by Josh on 01/02/13, 12:58 am

    "Right, I remember that from last year, though none of us knew who the Thunderbolts were then. Quite the meteoric rise, I have to say."

    Her expression grew more pensive.

    "You know, the goliath clan blooding ceremonies are a major contention for my temple. A fair few consider them a barbaric practice which should be outlawed like any other gladitorial exhibition."
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    Re: Batchelorette Number 1!

    Post by elanya on 01/02/13, 09:42 am

    "I think too many people in general undervalue the contributions of the Nerathi nomadic groups. Its harder to see, especially from inside Highmark, how what they do benefits the cities, and how rites like the blooding ceremony help build alliances as well as keeping the tribes strong... But of course, I've lived in Ahkas, so I would say that." He grinned again. "Now I have to wonder just what your compatriots thought of our match against the Adventurer's Guild a few months back."
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    Re: Batchelorette Number 1!

    Post by Josh on 01/02/13, 01:36 pm

    "Oh, the hypocrites thought it was marvelous," she replied, smiling. "Many of my compatriots are enamored of the guild system. Organized, regulated, and largely effective for their role. The Erathin ideal, by some measures."

    She paused to take a sip of wine.

    "Personally, I've always felt there's a marked difference between civilization and bureaucracy, though we, especially here in Higmark, tend to blur that line."

    "As to our nomadic allies, I absolutely agree. On a practical level, they've proven invaluable both in war and peacetime, yet still haven't received PC status. At least, not as a whole. On a more...theological level, I think its easy for Highmark Erathans to forget that any civilization can have merit. The blooding ceremony may seem savage to some, but it has been a part of goliath culture for centuries, and I know for a fact some of our 'civilized' ways seem strange and alien to them."
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    Re: Batchelorette Number 1!

    Post by elanya on 01/02/13, 04:59 pm

    Vedran nodded, taking a drink himself - so far so good. He'd known Ardith would be easy to talk to, at least, and they seemed to have a lot of opinions in common. "You don't even have to go out of the city to find that, I've found. There are plenty of undervalued NPCs here, and even just the lower classes, who find the ways of the houses....strange, at best."
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    Re: Batchelorette Number 1!

    Post by Josh on 01/02/13, 06:44 pm

    "Oh, we're plenty strange, all right," Ardith answered with a chuckle. "Though I guess we both have some opportunity to interact with those on the periphery of our system. The people I meet with just tend to have a bit more means, I suppose. I hope this won't come off as a loaded question, but how is living in Undertow?"
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    Re: Batchelorette Number 1!

    Post by elanya on 01/02/13, 09:20 pm

    vedran smiled and shrugged. "Well - its interesting, in pretty much every way that can be taken. I can't pretend like I belong, but I've learned a lot and, I think, made some good connections. People have gotten used to me being there - some of them are very accepting, which is encouraging, and most are at least tolerant. It's convenient for dealing with Union matters, and most of my teammates live there... less when I have to come up the hill for anything. I also think it's been good for Macen, even though he is still very young, to have that broader cultural exposure."
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    Re: Batchelorette Number 1!

    Post by Josh on 01/02/13, 11:30 pm

    "I can imagine. He's what, nearing two now? And dragonmarked, I hear. That must be...well, also 'interesting' at that age."
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    Re: Batchelorette Number 1!

    Post by elanya on 01/02/13, 11:42 pm

    "He'll be two in Ostrinus - the seventh." Vedran smiled, and took another sip of wine. "His expression of his mark is a little... unique, too. He animates things, mostly his toys at this stage, almost like little constructs. We... We hired a tutor to help look after him, and work with him. Mostly it's just adorable, but it can be a little concerning at time. When he was very small we couldn't leave him alone at all."
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    Re: Batchelorette Number 1!

    Post by Josh on 05/02/13, 08:32 pm

    "I can imagine. That must've been fairly difficult, especially given your career."

    Ardith took another sip of wine.

    "What made you decide to sign up with the Explorers' Union?"
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    Re: Batchelorette Number 1!

    Post by elanya on 05/02/13, 08:42 pm

    "Do you mean why did I decide to become an adventurer, or why did I wind up at the Union?" He smiled, though his nerves were slightly more on edge now that the questions were turning more personal. "Or perhaps both?"
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    Re: Batchelorette Number 1!

    Post by Josh on 05/02/13, 08:50 pm

    "Well, I'd meant more the second, but I'd be happy to hear about either," she clarified, smiling back. "I know adventuring is a fairly old tradition for nobles, but I didn't think your background was particularly martial."
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    Re: Batchelorette Number 1!

    Post by elanya on 05/02/13, 09:06 pm

    "Not martial no - but then I'm a bard. It isn't a particularly martial class." He took a sip of his wine, glad that he'd at least been anticipating some of these questions and has some idea of how to answer diplomatically. "I was looking for exciting something to do with my time that would give me a chance to travel. I'd done some trading for my father, but having friends who were much more successful at it than I was, I knew it wasn't really for me. My half-sister is an adventurer, or was when I was younger, and though we've never been close, it always seemed exciting. She's also part of the reason I wound up at the Union - her and her uncle. My father thought it would be good to foster relationships with other guilds in Highmark and, as for myself, I thought they would be an interesting bunch to work with. I don't think I could have picked a better team to work with than the Thunderbolts, though, and I count myself very lucky in that regard."

    He paused to give her a moment to absorb the answer. "And yourself? What drew you to politics?"
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    Re: Batchelorette Number 1!

    Post by Josh on 05/02/13, 10:47 pm

    "Well, I've just been raised around it, I guess. I don't say that to mean I'm not passionate about what I do. Quite the opposite in fact, but I know that exposure to the system has likely been the reason for my continued interest in politics."

    Ardith's expression turned strange, wistful or possibly shy.

    "There's this speech, one that's stuck with me for a long time. I was five at the time it happened, and I've read it so many times, I don't know how much is memory and how much is imagination, but there are parts of that day that are so clear."

    "My grandfather, Ceneric Aethelin, was vehemently opposed to the war in Ahkas by that time, and public opinion had started to swing sharply in that direction. My mother just happened to bring me to his offices near the Parliamentary Palace to see him the day they were voting on making overtures for a peace agreement. Apparently he insisted my mother and I come along for the session; he had a speech prepared."

    "There are always spectators when the Dovah meet, so we just settled down with the regular citizens in the balcony seats. There were some procedural things, stuff I could rattle off in my sleep now but seemed pointless to a very young me. Eventually, my grandfather was called to speak."

    "He had a great voice, quiet but powerful, and you know how great the acoustics are in the Hall of Dragons. He talked about why we went to Ahkas in the first place, and, more importantly, why we stayed. He talked about how the war had brought Nerath together, the heroism of our soldiers, and the debt we owed them."

    "Then he began to speak about Nerath losing its way. How we'd become one people to end war, and, however good our intentions, we had forgotten the lessons of our forefathers. How, if we truly wanted to help Ahkas, that task would not be achieved at swordpoint."

    "He said, and I will never forget this as long as I live, 'The greatest wisdom a people can show is the humility to admit when they have done wrong, and the greatest strength, the willingness to correct it.'"

    "Since that day, I wanted to do what my grandfather did, to live up to his vision, and try to make sure Nerath does the same."

    Ardith stopped, looking self-conscious.

    "Sorry, is that too...saccharine? The system is very rarely that high-minded, but, like I said, it's something to strive for."

    She punctuated her last statement with an almost apologetic smile.
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    Re: Batchelorette Number 1!

    Post by elanya on 05/02/13, 11:18 pm

    "It's not saccharine at all, I don't think. Your grandfather was a wise man. I remember sitting through a lot of those sessions myself - but I think I was a little too old to be awed and a little too young to understand exactly what was happening, other than it was important, and my father wanted me to pay attention..." He shook his head, dismissing the memories. "More than that, though, I believe that the vision of a united Nerath, that takes care of all its people, is important. It's something I want to continue to work towards."

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