Mini Event Greet Your Queen
Rexanna Reyes
Messenger / Diplomat ☆ Artist's Sanctuary Guild
Age: 26 | Height: 5'4" | Race: Abandoned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 4 - Strg: 15 - Dext: 14 - Endr: 20 - Luck: 9
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in the right heaven-yellow light,
As those in the group bicker and decide, to err on the edge of caution or flat out refuse, there is a small amount of pride at Kiada’s words – her eyes flickering toward the girl when she suggests it – and she, too, can remember another life where being governed was easy and prosperous. Her eyes flicker toward Deimos with those same thoughts in her mind, until Kiada’s tale is done and Zariah turns to speak. Deep down, she hopes that Kiada’s suggestion isn’t one to offend the Queen; Rexanna already imagined she was in enough of a bind with only Bastien (let alone adding a few more names to that list), but what she didn’t expect, was to hear her full name come from Zariah’s lips.

As she’s named the Outlander representative, she turns slightly toward Edrei and Zariah, dipping her head in acceptance. “Thank you, your Grace.” She murmurs to the Queen. She’ll take on the role, if only to keep the contract she’d signed with Zariah in line, if only to be sure those that are like her are safe. But she knows nobody else will like it, she can see the slight sneer in Kiada’s face and she refuses to look toward Deimos and anyone else. Instead, she stares straight ahead over the crowd as Edrei speaks. She doesn't even dare a glance toward Bastien, afraid the bit of her stomach might drop further.

Rexanna accepts the role while refusing to look at anyone LOL
anything could be holy enough
to save you
Rexanna has glamour magic that's always on!
"She will at all times look strikingly beautiful. Dirt, mud, sweat, etc will all seem to repel off of her as well."

No permission needed for power play!
Feel free to use magic/force on Rexanna, without killing her <3

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There had been a growing divide in the room for sometime, those speaking out against the Queen had been growing bold, defiant but as ever in situations such as this there were those who seemed to like the messages Zariah was talking about, unity, safety, security, the women who had chosen to lead was clearly one of action, and that's what they wanted, a leader of action, someone who could see the Hollowed Ground prosper and make it safe for their children by getting things done. For too long progress that been halted by different arguments, debates on exactly how things should be run, what she proposed was an end to that, an end to squabbling and bickering.

Suddenly a man stood up, he was middle-aged, a man who had seen perhaps a few too many Deepfrosts in his time. He coughed loudly, clearing his throat for all to hear, a serious expression resolute on his face. "I don't care how many know me, I am no one of significance, I am no educated man or a man of high-esteem, but what I am is someone who WANTS this place to grow and to prosper, a man who sees that woman standing up there and nods his head at her ideas, who says 'YES, that is what I want.' 'YES, that is how things should be run!" His words made a few mutter, giving their approval, even getting a few of the naysayers to listen. "We have been fragmented for too long, I don't care who makes the decisions, as long as decisions are made, so I can work and live in peace and safety, and so can my wife and child. You hear Alice over there, taking about how her order isn't needed, hogwash! What I hear is tribalism, someone scared of change, and what this woman can provide is the coming together of all! A clear direction we can take advantage of and most of all progress forward. He nodded firmly, truly believing what he said as more of the room nodded in agreement. "I say we show our support, and back her! Allow ourselves to venture into the future together so our way of life will not be torn apart and our children can survive, healthy and safe. I implore you all, give her a damned chance, because Caido knows leading isn't easy, won't get you friends, but it's something that must be done, damned what people think." he finished, inhaling deeply as he looked to Zariah and dipped his head respectfully. Applause struck like thunder, a lot of the room agreeing with the man's sentiments, a good portion angrily muttering to themselves, looking annoyed at the man. The room was truly divided at this point.

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”Sit down, son,” a grey-haired man whose shoulders were still broad boomed, his deep voice commanding respect and instant silence in a way Zariah’s cooing had failed to do. ”Ye know damn well yer not the only one who wants things to improve.” He snorted, a bass rumble of noise from a man who might not have taken the title of leader, but seemed to have the respect of much of those gathered. "Th'only leader that doesn't have friends is the one that's too rotten at diplomacy to keep any, and leading without that won't get you very far. Sure, it's not easy, but that's where the work comes in, I reckon. And if ye don't want to put in the work for that, it's no wonder ye think there's goin' t'be war with everyone we meet."

”So far we’ve been hearin’ ye flop like a landed trout, lass,” he continued, arms folded over his chest and eyes narrowed as he turned his attention to Zariah. ”Alice was right. Ye invite us here to air concerns and ask for candor, but when it’s given ye flinch and snipe like my granddaughter, a lass barely into her teens. Ye speak like a child, acting like just because you say somethin’ that makes it true. But that’s the view of a spoiled youth, not a seasoned leader. Ye say ye’re not ‘forcing ways’ on anyone, and in the same breath that ye’re ‘forcing order’ which is the same thing, given that it’s  your idea of order, not ours. Ye admit that ye’ve not spoken with anyone outside the Hollowed Grounds, and then ye act proud when the Fae command ye t’come running to their lap like a dog to its master, and nevermind that it’d be Maea they’d be asking were the lass well enough to be leading. But I’ll reckon they’ll learn soon enough that though ye call yerself ‘Queen’ and have a score or so – less, is it, from what I’m counting here? – a half dozen or so hangers-on? That there’s not enough folks there to keep eyes on a couple thousand people and their comings and goin’s at all times of day and night, whether we’re gatherin’ together or gatherin’ food from a place where it’s fresher. Ye only have the power we choose to give ye, lass… and most of us are choosin’ to hold it for someone who isn’t aiming to breed us like cattle if’n we don’t win the wars ye sound so eager to wage with folk ye haven’t even met yet.” The silence of the crowd shifted, mutters rising again as people nodded, and many of those who had begun to be swayed by Derek’s belligerence tallied the rationales presented and found them changing with each response the Queen made, seemingly based on who spoke up and whether they were in her favor or not. Certainly the idea of the women being used as breeding stock no different than farm animals to make more little soldiers for Zariah went over poorly in an audience that was largely women and children.

”She’s a strange one, that Maea, and her ideas might’ve come from books, but they were a far sight better than what I’ve been hearing today. A different idea of ‘order’ than what ye’ve been spouting, but of more merit than this. Ye might not have paid attention, but some of us did, and she had a sight more support than ye do amongst us. Ye might not think much of her but, lass, we don’t think much of you, either. I say, if Maea’s too ill to be governin’ at the moment, let her council step up and do the job for her, until she’s ready to return.” He finished by pointing a thick finger at Roana and Rory , polarizing figures, to say the least, but ones Maea had endorsed.

The suggestion wasn’t met with raucous cheers or loud support, but with thoughtful nods and words passed between people. ‘One of us’ and ‘known her for years’ were spoken more than once. ‘A good heart,’ and ‘blessed by Ludo’ echoed as well, though with more respect than approval. Whatever they had thought of her before, Zariah’s actions had certainly made the albino girl much more palatable by comparison.
Jigano Silversmith
Provost / Lorekeeper ☆ Loreseeker's Guild
Age: 28 | Height: 6'2" | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 7 - Strg: 14 - Dext: 30 - Endr: 30 - Luck: 25
ISUMA - Mythical - Gryphon (venomous)
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Jigano had thought (hoped, prayed) that Rory was too busy at the farm to come in for this farce today. His heart froze when he heard the familiar voice speak up, gruff and calm, though the bard thought he could pick the threads of the hunter’s frustration out. Or perhaps that was just memory of their recent conversations, coloring things in a way he expected. Because the last thing he expected was for the quiet, diligent farmer to volunteer to get bound up in this mess, as Rexanna had already done (why, why, why Rex, you knew better, you’ve lived this before, you left it behind and freed yourself from it)

Edrei ,” Jigano said, speaking again, voice calm and without the sly humor that was all Zariah had gotten from him. He didn’t bother looking disappointed; he knew it wouldn’t work. She had made her choices (or they had been made for her, long ago), and he wasn’t going to change her mind now, that he knew. Listen for a minute. It’s not that people don’t want change, but Zariah’s way is madness. This place is changing and will continue to do so without your cousin giving herself airs. But from what I’ve heard, Northhaven had its share of problems, too. Trading the problems of here for there doesn’t actually help people, it just changes the yoke. At this rate the only “allll of us” being driven out of town is Zariah and her supporters. There are plenty of other bridges that have been mended between Outlanders and Naturals before she drove a knife into the wound and starting sawing at it again in order to create a problem just so she could try to claim she was ‘solving’ it by banning words that will only morph and change and go underground and fester all the deeper for it.” Trust a bard to know a thing or two about words, after all. Both their power, and their weaknesses.

”But just as importantly, what you accuse the Naturals of goes both ways. The people from Northhaven have been here for nearly a year. Some have set themselves to helping others, creating for the good of all,” he nodded to Ronin and Remi . ”Others have shown courage, saving lives and hope,” and he nodded at Edrei, for all she stood at Zariah’s side. It didn’t make her contributions less valid – or less her own, rather than any reflection a family name that meant nothing in the lands of Caido. ”They have worked hard to earn respect and trust, going among the people, letting their actions speak more loudly than her words. But what has Zariah done to earn anyone’s respect? Loyalty? Trust? As you say and in her own words she has taken, like the thieves her own laws condemn, because in the past four seasons she has done little enough for these things to be given to her freely.”

He knew what he was doing was dangerous, but Zariah had lashed out at him harder and with more vitriol than at anyone else. He was already a target, and if it meant keeping her attention on him and off innocents like Emmett, then so be it. He knew her guards by sight now, had watched those standing guard over the draft change and change again through eyes that were not always human, nor a body always maned in striking white. Zariah had her informants, but there were others always glad to gossip to the local talespinner and songster about what they had seen outside the jail or the manor, and Jigano nodded his head at the man who had spoken earlier.

”Maea might not have lead for long, but she made a proper place for governing, for one. You’ve made yourself a personal fortress – as much to protect you from us as anyone else. That doesn’t help the people or the Hollowed Grounds, though” he pointed out. ”Just you and your current favorites.” And how people could fall in and out of favor more swiftly than a juggler’s balls in a tyrant’s court! ”Even the jail has been used not for thieves or murderers, but for those who defy you, personally.” He nodded towards Bastien , whose exploits at the draft board were still spoken of with glee. ”We’ve been watching who goes in and out, and that place is more like your private dungeon, a threat you hold over the heads of people who dare to disagree with you than a place that has helped the community, at least the way it’s been used so far.” He arched a silver brow at the woman who would be a tyrant, his demeanor calm and confident as he crossed his arms over his chest. ”You asked for questions and concerns and candor, but you don’t seem to know what to do when you don’t like the questions being asked, or the concerns your behavior has caused. You lash out like a petulant child, all insults and snark, but very little substance. You talk of war like it is inevitable, and speak of the people you would rule as if they were pawns on a board, not individuals… but that is because you have never taken the time to get to know them. Why, then, should they listen to anything you say? What have you built for the people of this land, Zariah – for them and not yourself? What have you done, in your year of living here, to prove to anyone that you have the skill or disposition to lead? What Guilds have you started? What battles have you fought to protect the people you would seek to rule? You defied the will of a hundred or more of the Naturals to breach the Spire, doing so not at anyone's request but for your own designs. But in the end it was 108 who brought down the Barrier, not you, because they were willing to sacrifice for their goddess, for something beyond their own self-interest. It is hard to lead others, yes, but you cannot lead without the respect of the people who follow you. And I have yet to see you do anything for anything other than the sake of your own personal power.”

Blue eyes swept the little group at the front of the temple, from Rexanna’s turned head to the guards to the Launceleyns, and he shook his head in disappointment. ”We’re not saying that a leader is a bad thing, but we are saying that you aren’t it. Or at least, you have done nothing to earn the title you have stolen from Maea. I grant you that we have waited long enough for her to recover and return, and it may be time to look for another, but if you want it you have a great deal of work ahead of you to earn it, and that work starts with the basics, and treating your people with courtesy, not with foolish demands.” Jigano shook his head in frustration, eyes roving the Temple full of women and children, the oldest and the youngest. ”That draft proclamation, for one. From what I’m hearing you never had to deal with something like this in Northhaven because your population was so much larger, but here you can’t tell all the men to sign up for military service and report for training in Leafchange. This is the harvest season, and you want to take half the farmers off their fields to play around with swords and spears? The crops will rot before they can be brought in, and half of the people you want to rule will have starved to death by Flowerbirth.” He raised a brow. ”Not to mention the logistics of it. As Ronin asked, who will do your training of these hundreds of men you want to sign up to fight for you? Who on your current staff is trained in logistics? Strategy? Tactics? Quartermastery? That they might pass those skills on, as they are skills that haven’t been used here in three hundred years. Who knows how to fight in phalanx? In tortoise? In triple line, and can teach that to others?” He uncrossed his arms, shaking his head. ”So think of the consequences of that. You need people who can train your soldiers. The ones who have experience and skills fighting wars against other people are all Outlanders. So your officers and command staff are Outlanders and your rank and file are Naturals. And of course, the only way to get battlefield experience involves plenty of your soldiers – mostly those rank and file – dying while the officers stay back and protect their knowledge, so there’s another barrier to Naturals surviving long enough to become one of the experienced officers themselves. Ban the names all you want, but the very approach you’re using creates a stratified system where Outlanders accrue power and authority over Naturals and you widen those rifts further by your actions.”

And oh, the Naturals in the room did not like that point of logic, not at all.

”So there you are. By your own request, I bring you questions, concerns, and candor,” he finished, giving the dark-haired woman the shallowest of bows; less respect than he would pay a seamstress in the settlement, for at least the seamstress had proven to have a useful skillset.
Only simple tables without images or background colors when threading, please. It's much appreciated!
Zariah Launceleyn
the Merciless
Queen of the Hollowed Grounds
Age: 25 | Height: 5'7" | Race: Abandoned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 6 - Strg: 10 - Dext: 21 - Endr: 25 - Luck: 10
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I don't give a damn 'bout my bad reputation
Zariah remained quietly for quite some time. She simply watched and listened as the din in the temple grew to a fever pitch. Edrei and some Alice woman having it out, a few others in attendance voicing support, only to be once again shouted over by dissenters, including Jigano. It was the sort of chaos that was the bane of her existence, the sort of uncontrolled, untampered, undisciplined childishness that ran rampant through the Hollowed Grounds like pigs looking to root for scraps through their own shit. It was repulsive and stank so strongly even the Fae wished nothing to do with them. And yet, these pigs were so accustomed to the smell of their own refuse they sloshed through it without hardly a thought.

But order would be had in the court of the Merciless.

”Enough.” she said, her voice booming and echoing over the crowd. She wasn’t yelling, so much as projecting her voice, chin tilted up so it carried through the room without the need of her to strain her voice. Instead, her tone held the resolute command of one whose very person exuded control and power. It was the voice of a leader, with the hint of disappointed of a mother quieting squabbling children. She remained ever calm in appearance, but those closest to her might see the fire burning I her gaze. In years past, Zariah would have snapped much earlier, and even now, as her patience dwindled, she did not yet break. ”We will not be reduced to a bickering flock of hens, for it accomplishes nothing.”

Wide hazel eyes fell on Jigano, predatory and focused. ”You’ve quite a lot to say, Jigano. I hope you will indulge me as I attempt to answer and clarify.” she stated, lips slightly pursed. ”I did indeed ask for questions and candor and concern – and what I received by and large, yourself included, was not intended to add richness to the content of discussion to better this place, nor to give me your ideas or wants or wishes for what the Hollowed Grounds becomes, but instead, your personal complaints about the injustices of my rule. My leadership of the Hollowed Grounds is not a subject for debate – it is a reality that you’d be better off accepting sooner rather than later so you can find some way to exist without constant bitterness in your soul.” she said with an air of finality.

”Now, to address some of your points; I have stolen nothing from Maea. She never completed her arrangement of power. Her court never came to fruition. It was never a viable government. I have made my court a reality. My leadership and government are viable. I have taken the seat that no one before me has claimed. This is a pure, simple, fact, Jigano; stop attempting to twist history to favor your ideals when it simply does not.

“To reiterate, since you clearly did not understand when I answered Ronin in regards to the military, there shall be two main contingents, the standing military, and the minute ready force. The standing military will consist of those who currently have similar guarding or mercenary-like professions or did in their homelands or those who wish to make that their profession. The minute ready force will consist of those whose actual jobs take up the majority of their time, but will now have the training necessary to fight and defend the Grounds should thread come. It is this force that will have farmers and merchants and others whose work day to day sustains the people of the Grounds. Their training will not take up all or even most of their time – because as you said, it is harvest time and I am actually aware of the importance of this time for the sustainability of this nation.

“As far as who will train them, yes, more than likely Outlanders will bear that burden to start. But I do not doubt the capabilities of the Natural population. I am sure there are those who will have a knack for picking up this information – and those of talent will be awarded promotion. I personally will see to some of the training having been raised for military leadership since I was but five years of age. Edrei has similar training and she will also assist in this. I would also call upon Ronin for his years of experience. That is for the standing military who need to be in top form. For the minute infantry, should he wish it I would have actually considered giving Rory an intensive course of training since he clearly has a knack for leading groups of people given the gathering he inspired at the spire. If not I would find someone with similar capabilities, but in any more detail than that I can answer nothing until I’ve had the chance to assess what exactly it is we are working with skill and talent-wise.

“Regarding my so-called fortress – I am not certain you understand what a fortress is. A fortress is a heavily guarded, near impenetrable structure built for the purposes of surviving warfare. The Launceleyn Manor, is mine and my family’s personal residence. On occasion, yes there might be a supporter or two of mine to ensure that people make their way to the meeting room with ease, to make sure that I am aware of when guests arrive to take audience with me, but the walls are no different from the walls of this building. There is not a battalion of guards stalking the halls and grounds. It is a house, where I conduct the business of the Hollowed Grounds so as not to remove another structure from the use of the general population.

“And on that note, let me clarify exactly what I have done in this place and for its people, and clarify a few falsehoods you are spouting about the events of the Spire. I was one of the individuals who assisted Remi with testing the strength of the barrier – I believe you were actually in attendance that day, writing notes? I have, with my family, sought out and killed a bogart in the Labyrinth, dispatching a dangerous creature from these lands. I have already begun acts of diplomacy with the Fae, who I will note hold very little affection for the people of the Hollowed Grounds from a historical standpoint as well as from current infringement upon their sovereignty.

“And, to add in the events of the Spire, I shall expound for you, because now the two points are inextricably linked. I did not siege upon the Spire against the wishes of those native to this land. The Spire itself was opened by a group of Ascended, consisting of mostly Naturals and led by none other than Wessex who has been nominated as a representative that breached the Spire. I did, as did you, enter the Spire and I lent my powers to those who went up it. You speak of 108 who sacrificed themselves for their goddess – a sacrifice they could not have made if I had not first willingly stepped forward as sacrifice to Mort, so that all who followed – including 108 – could ascend the Spire freely and without harm. And for it, I received Mort’s blessing.

“Just because I have not been the center of your attention, Jigano, does not mean I have done nothing for the people of the Hollowed Grounds.”

The room fell silent as the Queen, still standing tall and proud too fell silent, eyes never leaving the white haired man. Even then she stared, ignoring the quiet muttering as people whispered about what she declared. Finally she looked away from the bard, scanning the room again, face only slightly conveying her frustration with the firm set of her lips. ”I offered to take a Natural advisor, and only two of you offered suggestions. Thank you.” she said, nodding to Deimos and Rory. ”But it seems this is not what the majority wanted, for the loudest voices spat upon it as placation. So I rescind this offer for the time being, as it clearly will do nothing to build bridges. If you have thoughts about things I might implement to improve the Hollowed Grounds, and your lives here, I would be welcome to hear it. But for now, this meeting is adjourned.”

The ME is concluded per order of the Queen. She has revoked the offer for representative advisors, so Rexanna will not receive appointed title at this time. If you wish to have further dialogue with the Queen, please DM Grant to set up a thread.

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