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TVC - Chapter 53 - The Council and the King

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Disciple of Nagash

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#1
As Brower's ship came into the dock Lesa stood there waiting, the light breeze rippling through her hair. She had managed to convince Simon to move the waiting wights back a little, their weapons lowered in a show of peace. Glancing over her shoulder she caught site of the glowering form of Mircea, as well as other vampires and knew that the situation could however change in a moment.

It seemed that the Council had not come entirely unprepared however for she had seen here own ship holding position out in the river, seemingly inconspicuous. However she knew her ship, and cannon port latches had been released, only just being held closed. That meant if things went wrong there would no doubt be a barrage of cannon fire a moment later.

The gangplank thudded to the dock, and looking up Lesa caught site of the armoured form of the Duke walking down first. Close behind him was his adjutant Aubervillier and then a slow procession of the rest of the Council. They all looked wary, and in fairness she could not blame them. She was wary herself as there was enough powerful beings here to kill anyone of them, even the newly resurrected Vlad.

Nodding to Simon who stood a few paces behind her, Lesa approached the Council.

"I am most glad to see you are all ok," she said of way of greeting, "and I have no doubt that you all have many questions, especially to the occurrences in Nuln. I assure you they will all be answered to your satisfaction, but first I must ask whether you come to make peace.....or war? The Carsteins have agreed to peace and reparations, so the decision lies with you."
 

Trevy the Great

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#2
Vekarin stood back from the rest of the council, his balefire eyes following them as they made their way down the gangplank with an air of solemnity bordering on reverence. His eyes flashed as he watched Victarias eagerly followed the Duke and his escort like some sort of mistreated puppy who has found a new master. She joined the procession with a slow speed that belied her sincere relief to be off of the swaying ship... and get away from others on board.
Vekarin was not as short-sighted as the others of the council would believe. He saw the nascent romance between his brother and his daughter in darkness blossoming, and his feelings about it were admittedly mixed. Now, however, he had more important matters on his mind. He spat disgustedly as the council walked to meet the representatives of the bastard Carstiens.
 

Sweeney Todd

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#3
As Todd marched down the gangplank with a razor hidden in a clenched fist, he kept his face carefully neutral at Lesa's words, purely out of caution and civility. The others in his retinue however, did not bother with such a pretense. Mrs. Lovette raised a hand to cover her mouth as she giggled with derision.

"Peace and reparations? No doubt the reparations would be to shove eternal peace down our throats." Geralt said softly, but not softly enough to not be heard by the keen ears of a vampire.
 

Count Darvaleth

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#4
Drake watched the Council cross the gangplank; and what a sight they were indeed. There were many, very powerful vampires, and should a battle ensue there could be a problem. Bloodfang fingered his Wolf Stone absent-mindidly; it was charged and ready for use, should the time arrise.

Mighty though they were, they could not match the magnificence of Vlad, Drake thought. He was their master, the lord of the Vampires; the first true von Carstein. Why this Lahmian spoke for him eluded Drake completely, although some of his earlier suspicions about her melted away; if she was trusted by Vlad, then she was trusted by Drake. Mostly.

As Lesa spoke her words, Drake could not help but smile. They were incredibly diplomatic, and delivered perfectly so as to sway the weaker of the Council's members into thinking they were the war-mongerers, and make the Carsteins seem peaceful and un-aggressive. "Very clever." whispered Drake, inclining his head in Lesa's direction.

What he heard next, however, had the opposite effect. Another vampire, a woman of the Council, began to laugh manically at the honest diplomacy that faced her. Even then, this swine did not stop, making mockery of the von Carsteins and their proposition, which was fair and true. Drake's ire rose, and it took and extreme amount of will not to draw his blade.

"I would not dis-regard this gracious offer so flagrantly, miss...?" Drake said, cooly, "This is not the time for petty and, if I may be so bold, distasteful mockery of what could be very beneficial to us both." said Drake, not without an edge of venom in his tone, his hand firmly gripping Mortus Draconis in it's sheath.
 

MasterSpark

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#5
Venom. Sugar-coated and subtle, but venomous none the less, mused Helena to Lesa's words as herself and Ashlotte followed the others off the ship.

How obscene was the damage caused to Lesa's psyche at the loss of her beloved Milosh? What promises had she been given to make her lead herself in such a way?, she continued. I had onced consider her and Milosh to be close friends of my own, but now...

Helena then turned her attention to Drake's greeting.

”While miss Lovette does not necessarily speak for all of us,” she began, politely,”we have been given a first-hand lesson to not be charmed by mere words.”
 
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#6
Vaskatchi Shot a glare at Drake the impudent new blood had angered Vaskatchi more than he could stand.
"I would ask that You curb your tongue whelp and input to matters you know of or have any say in!"
He then walked down the gang plank and to the rest of council members gathered at the docks looking directly at Lesa as he continued "
I would also ask that you refer to the 'Occurrences in Nuln' for what they really are betrayal and abandonment of your allies, perhaps you view Us as Pawns to keep your backs guarded as they turn tail and flee. Which by my recalling is precisely what happened and caused the capture of my sire into the hands of the God dam Sigmites, who are no doubt planning for a war against Sylvania with all the destruction Caused on Geheimnisnacht."
Vackatchi's words cut like a venomous blade into the tenuous meeting as hands drew close to their blades and looked to the opposite side grimly as their grip tightened on their blades.
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Jason sat perched high on the walls of Darkenhof his seances eavesdropping on the gathered council below him as he biding his time to see how the meeting would turn.
But betrayal or not Jason knew its eventual out come and stood to feel the winds rip through him as he touched and played on the winds as the rippled through his veins, smiling as he did a dark visage of power and fury as the skies howled past him.
 

Count Darvaleth

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#7
Drake heard Vaskatchi's blindingly arrogant words, fuelled by agression. This ape wanted no agreement.

Through an extreme force of will, Bloodfang spoke as calmly as he could to Helena. "Of course, miss. I would expect no less from individuals such as yourselves," said Drake, courteously. Here was somebody who could be civil. "And I must agree with you again; certain persons do not speak for you all." said Drake, casting a venemous look at Vaskatchi.

"I do not believe we have ever met," said Drake, directing his speech at Vastkatchi, "Therefore I do not believe you have the pre-disposition to simply cast me aside as a ... what was the word you used? Whelp, was it?" said Drake, shooting a smile towards Helena. Drake had twisted the situation using only his wit; making Vaskatchi seem over-agressive and brash, whilst making himself seem more innocent. Even though he had only reacted to foul language in the first place.

"My name is Drake Bloodfang, sired by Argolath Iceblade, at your service." said Drake, dropping into a bow. "Might I ask for yours? I believe names would be a good place to start, rather than us playing acussation tennis?" said Drake, smiling. He knew the only way this was going to go well was for good first impressions, then careful diplomacy. Also, all these vampires would need a place to conduct the talks. "Somewhere that is even ground for both parties," Drake thought.
 

Gree

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#8
It should be said that Mircea was not a negotiator.

Instead he really was on hand to provide security, in case anything wrong He kept his features reserved, but he watched Vekarin and the Duke, the strongest warriors of the lot. They would be the ones that must be watched most carefully. A part of Mircea's soul hoped they would try something. Then he squashed that absentmindedly, wondering were that thought had come from.

So he let Drake speak, studying for the fist time the new vampire that he joined them. He was a strong looking man, with crimson armor. Let the new one handle this..........rat. Mircea's red eyes flickered briefly to look at Vaskatchi.

Yes that would work.
 
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#9
Viktor had followed with the rest of the vampires to meet with the council for what he had hoped to be a pleasant encounter. Unfortunately, a few bitter words had turned this diplomatic meeting into something of a duel of words between some of the vampires.

Viktor spat in disgust. These were meant to be some of the most intelligent creatures in the Old World, yet they were behaving like a bunch of spoilt children despite the generations most had lived. Already he grew impatient with this meaningless argument, instead he contented himself with what he had been doing before he was distracted, which was far more important in his eyes.

Casually, Viktor drew his gaze back to the stunningly beautiful woman who was serving as negotiator for the Von Carsteins.
 

Gree

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#10
Mircea turned and realized that Viktor was here. He mentally groaned with agony.

Not him.

He had almost forgotten that Viktor was here. He had honestly hoped that annoying Blood Dragon had gone and gotten himself killed. That was a thorn in his side he did not need at the moment.
 

Knightofni

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#11
Grinning facetiously, Saul stood back from proceedings, thoroughly enjoying this farcical pantomime... he remembered the first time that he had met the Council, at first their combative nature had daunted him but now it was amusingly like watching children squabble over the last morsel... to Saul it seemed that somethings were just destined to be as resolutely unyielding as a vampire and said vampire's pride.

Beside him, Trinity stood, hands on pistols... ready and coiled, waiting for the action. Her edginess was justified but Saul paid it no more heed... here and now he felt more sure that there would be no bloodshed.

That said, the pair of them stood close to the back of the dock... just in case.
 

Disciple of Nagash

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#12
The Duke was was pleased to hear Lesa words, it seemed that Simon had meant the message he had conveyed to him on board the ship. He was less that impressed by Vaskatchi's outburst however, nor the young vampire who had addressed them. Helena's many years of experience showed through, as shown by her diplomatic answers.

"If you two intend to fight, then do so on your own," his stern voice cut across the collected vampires, his eyes fixed on Vaskatchi, "we agreed on a course of action before we disembarked and until the more experienced among us decided otherwise you would do well to keep a civil tongue."

For all his words the Duke's visage was grim as he turned to Lesa,

"His questions are just though. Why was we betrayed in Nuln.......even more surprising, why did you betray us?"

"I have done no such thing," Lesa replied, holding her hand up as some of the Council looked to object, "however the situation may seem. As far as I am concerned I am still a member of the Council, not just an ally of the Carsteins, and I acted what I believed was in the Council's best interests. When you see why the Carsteins acted, perhaps some will see why I thought their plan was worthwhile.

However there is one thing I do agree with you all on, and I have made this clear to Simon as well. What happened in Nuln was entirely out of order and unnecessary, and I must stress I knew none of what they were planning to do at the ball. Thus far all my actions have been in support of the Council, and I have kept my word and alliance to you all. I would hope you all take it into consideration before you judge me to harshly." She said the last part loud enough to carry to Vekarin, "some of you I count as my friends and I assure you I would not risk such hard gained relationships so easily."

"They are truly pretty words," the Duke replied, thought whether he believed them he gave no indication, "but yet you stand here as the Carsteins negotiator, and we still do not know what all this treachery was committed?"

"I am not negotiating this for the Carsteins, I am doing it for all of us," Lesa replied softly, "you are a tactician Duke. The Council and the Carsteins must work together if we hope to defeat Nagash. I seem to be the only one who still retains some kind of alliance with the Carsteins, and I hope membership of the Council. So it seemed the best idea for me to speak to you all first......would you have listened to Simon as you have I?"

"Perhaps not," the Duke admitted after a moment.

"So there you have my reasons," Lesa said, "and assure this offer of diplomacy is honest, as so far as I have been led to believe. I know you all still fear treachery again, and I full understand why. But if you talk more, directly with the Carsteins, then perhaps we can work together once more."

"The decision is not just mine," the Duke said, "I for one would listen further." Turning to the rest of the Council, the Duke looked at the questioningly, "what say the rest of you?"
 
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#13
Vaskatchi nodded his approval and looked towards the Carstiens once again glaring daggers drake, vanishing as he spoke smoothly and hypnotically, in a light and calm tone as he bowed to the assembled vampires.
"Harrindir vaskatchi, Son of Jason Nightwere and lord of Vaskatchi manor in Luccini and if I would repeat my self in more diplomatic composure... Be quite grown up's are talking."
Vaskatchi then shot a glance to the duke contemplating his Idea for a moment and proceeded to turn back to the Von Carstiens.
"I second your view lord Duke, I have been wondering why you betrayed us in the first place and what you would risk the council on? So please do Go on Count Simon?"
 
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#14
Slowly,, but certainly, Tybald and Phillibert snuk from the main hall. Not as thieves, but among
the curious who made their way to the dock. Tybald had no intention to visit the dock however.
Eventho, he noticed no guards, nor Nar-Zuul where following them, the place was heavily guarded.
Most likely due the amount of visitors Tybald tought. But he made his way towards his chamber,
hence none of the guards made any intention to stop him. Both Blood dragons walked relatively quiet,
their eyes trailing over weaponcrests, weapons and portraits that decorated the ancient walls.
And there it was. The vampires stopped gently in their tracks as they passed an arrow loop, giving
view to the spectacle at the docks. For a moment, Tybald stared at the strange faces and the
squabling. But the scene was nothing that could hold his interest. But just as he turned to leave,
a word reached his ears, a word that rang above all others. A name: Nagash
Tybald stared intensly at the beautifull maiden with sparkling eyes whom was adressing the two
groups below. It was she who spoke the cursed name.
Nagash? Hah. Those fools never have a chance. Just look at them. Like a childrens playground.
Tybalds toughts briefly turned between his masters' and Vlad.
Over Tybalds' shoulder, Phillibert was stealing a few glances as well to the dock beneath them.
"Oh my Monsieur, she really is pretty huh? Like one of the damsels of home." Phillibert grinned
wide. Tybald, lost in tought due the sudden interuption, bursts into laughing. In a more
enlightened mood, they made way to their quarters.

***

Both Tybald and Phillibert where sitting comfortably, sipping a goblet of blood they brought along.
One of their servants, the larger of the two was standing nearby, jar in his hands at the ready to
re-fill their goblet at a mere whim. The other peasant, slightly more scarred was polishing
his masters' boots. Neither vampire payed the servants any attention. They where involved in a light
discussion, deliberating the situation and their given task against those that hold power here.
"So Tybald, will we help them against the Usurper?" In private, and certainly after a few thick
goblets, the formalities between get and master dropped usually, but a pretence that could change at
a moments notice however. "I doubt it Dutroille." Tybald always used last names, it was a habit due
a life of formalities. "A pack of jackals and low peasant scum." Tybald took another sip from his
drink and continued. "Perhaps this Vlad may change this, but quite some heads should roll perhaps.
They seem more busy bickering and picking fights then form a strong alliance. There is no solid base."
"Not to mention honour." Phillibert tossed in.
Tybald raised his goblet at Phillibert and smiled to concure.
"I don't even know them and already rather stake half the heads here on spikes." Tybald took another
sip and caried on. "I doubt our master would dissagree, but, we shall give it another chance."
Lest he stakes our heads on spikes..., Tybald tought to himself.

"And if nothing comes of it?"

"Then we take our leave, back home, to Bretonnia. If ill news, that fool, DeVriess can bring it to
the master."

With a sly smile Phillibert interjected a last comment: "She was pretty, right monsieur?"

Tybald laughed amused and raised his goblet once more before emptying the cup wholy.
 

Simon von Carstein

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#15
"I am no longer Count nor do I lead the von Carstein faction." said Simon "I do not consider the events in Nuln to be a betrayal but more of a safeguard against the more hardline members who would have tried to stop me." he continued eyeing Vekarin with suspician. "In any case my plans have suceeded and can't be stopped anymore and if any of you are unhappy about this then I suggest you take it up with the new Count."
 
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#16
Lucia stepped forward, "The new Count?" she asked.

Peter sighd. He had hoped that he would be able to keep her rescue a secret from the Carsteins for a little while longer. They would no doubt wish to use their family member against the Council.
 

Simon von Carstein

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#17
Simon focused his attention on Lucia "Is that you big sister? I haven't seen you for many lifetimes. You could have visited in that time you know. I would have done the same if it wasn't for my exile."
 

Sweeney Todd

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#18
"That wasn't betrayal; sure, and you're a tree-hugging Wood Elf who rides a glittering pink pony." Geralt mumbled to himself, too softly to carry beyond the assembled group of the Council. Sweeney Todd finally had enough and shot a stern look at Mrs. Lovette and Geralt. Censured, the two of them coughed loudly once before going silent. However Lovette did not stop herself from giving Drake Bloodfang a fleeting look of disdain for having overreacted to her bait.

Todd sighed to himself before collecting his composure again. He arched an eyebrow in slight surprise at Simon's words

"Hardline elements? Hardline against what? And if you are not the Count any longer, than who is? Perhaps he should speak to us himself?"
 

Count Darvaleth

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#19
Drake smiled at the error Vastkatchi had made.

"Sir Vaskatchi, I do believe you are mistaken if you believe Imperator Simon to be the Count. He has graciously stepped aside and passed on his title, an act which I think many of us would find impossible. I will not presume to announce the new Count, for I am sure he has a suitable entrance planned," said Drake, with a smile, "So please, Sir Vaskatchi, be quiet on subjects you do not have up-to-date knowledge of and, what was it, let the grown-ups do the talking." said Drake, with a contented smile. He was enjoying the wordplay.

"Now, if you will all forgive me, I don't think this stand-offish duel of language in the middle of the docks is quite the setting for such a historical moment, is it? I am sure the new Count will interest you greatly with what he has to say, and that his identity will also come as somewhat of a surprise. Do you honestly think that standing here, out in the open spitting filfth at each other, is really the way such a momentous occasion should be conducted? No, I think not." said Drake, speaking on inspiration, "I believe these talks should be held somewhere even to both parties. I must admit, my knowledge of the political history of the vampires is somewhat stunted" said Drake with a smile, "So I do not know where this should be held. However, I believe Miss Lesa should decide. She is both a favoured ally of the Carsteins, and a member of the Council." said Drake, turning to Lesa.

"Where would you propose?"
 

Simon von Carstein

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#20
"Well said Drake. Very well said." Simon remarked clapping politely. He gazed at the Council "The Count is ready to see to you all you have to step forward."
 
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#21
"I would have come to visit, but the walls of the Temple of Sigmar were a little bit restraining, little brother," said Lucia with a cold smile.

"But you have done rather well for yourself in my abscene, or so I have been told."
 

Disciple of Nagash

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#22
"I would propose firstly you address me by my proper title," Lesa replied coolly to Drake, "it is Mistress Lesa. Secondly I would you suggest that you do not hand out insults, however slight they may be to those we are trying to make peace with. Remember you are a newcomer to the Carsteins, as well as possibly the Council, so such grandiose remarks when you have little knowledge of the preceding events are hardly welcome."

The blunt words were spoken directly in front of the Council, and Lesa turned back to address them.

"I do agree however that the new Count would be the best person to explain the current situation. The most obvious location would be Drakenhof itself, if you will all accompany me?"
 
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#23
Peter was warey.

"Drakenhof?" he asked.

"I know that you are not a Blood Dragon, Mistress, but surely you can see that that would be a tactical folly on our part. Would you make peace with a Manticore in its nest?"

The Blood Dragon gestured for Brower to step forward.

"This is Captain Brower, of Lord Grand Comador Harkon's fleet. He has sworn alliegance neither to the Council or the Casteins, but he owes both his freindship. If he has no objections, I propose his ship as a neutral place to hold the talks."
 

Count Darvaleth

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#24
Drake's earlier inspiration was quickly doused by Lesa's words. Had he not only said what the other vampires had said to him? Had he not tried to calm the assembled vampires, and given Lesa the glory of choosing even ground for the event; and she chose Drakenhof? "That was exactly the opposite of what I thought she would pick," thought Drake. Then, just what he hadn't wanted to happen, a squabble had broken out over where it should be held. Drake was stung.

"Of course, Mistress Lesa" said Drake bitterly, "I was wrong to presume such an occasion deserved an honourable meeting place," said Drake, before turning on his heel. "I shall take my leave. I hope your meeting goes well." finished Drake, marching towards Drakenhof.

Once inside, Drake headed for the stables. He saw one horse which stood out, but not so much so that it was any of the Lord's steeds; a black stallion, saddled and ready. Swiftly mounting the horse, Drake set off at a gallop away from the castle. Towards the Forest of Shadows.
 

Sweeney Todd

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#25
"I second Peter's suggestion. It would be more prudent for us to negotiate in more even ground, in case of...physical inconvenience." said Todd, eyeing the assembled regiment of Wight honor guards.

"Would the most august personage of the new Count care to join us in our humble retreat?" He continued in the manner of Cathayan court speech, keeping his face and tone carefully neutral.
 
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