Cliffsider Audience - RPLOG
Late morning in Firmament, that tenuous stretch of time in between feeling full from breakfast and the emptiness that starts with noon mass and ends with lunch. It appears that a public audience is just that - an audience meant not just for the Good King, who rests at the head of the chamber in full court regalia and the trademark sword of his line, but for all the people of Firmament as well, who are packed in the viewing galleries.
The mood is set in the grand, optulent audience chamber, the palace guards have been posted, and Mione, the royal scholar, stands in attendance by his liege. Something certainly is up, to make an understatement.
Part of the crowd this morning, Selena waits patiently off to the side. It's evident she's not too pleased with the waiting times, but there's really little to complain about. Schedules are just that for a reason, and so she's busied herself with a book.
That beings said, as more beings begin to arrive the book's closed and slipped into her bag - again, seemingly a little out of place when contrasted to her formal dress for the event.
Emmett seems he may have come directly from the church considering he's in his own formal wear. The goat priest had heard the announcement and seems very curious about what's going on. After all, it helps to be in the know about these things. Emmett offers friendly nods to those he passes as he looks for a place in the viewing gallery to stay.
Dio has never gotten to see King Good in person before. Only paintings and various physical descriptions had served to fill what he thinks of the important hippo. The lion quickly makes his way to the meeting, perhaps just a tad late, wearing his typical Dio-wear of coat and clothes that would usually be seen on a commoner just underneath. "'re we startin' soon!?" He shouts and bounces about in the crowd, obviously quite excited.
Dio's antics draw any number of stares, but is soundly ignored as far as possible. Such uncivilised behaviour is only to be expected from the unwashed masses, after all. Escorted in is a mink, looking a little terse at the crowd up in the viewing galleries, the contrast between that and the actual floor of the audience chamber quite stark. The trip down the carpeted aisle from the entrance takes a little while, but eventually the palace guard stop, salute and depart, leaving the being a comfortable distance before the Good King himself, all eyes in the room upon her as she kneels.
"For the benefit of my subjects, please introduce yourself and state your purpose for arriving upon the Sweetwater's shores."
"Of course, your Majesty," the mink replies. "I am Rhianna Goodhearth, and I represent the interests of a consortium of trade guilds in Cliffside."
Selena chuckles quietly as the lion makes a scene - as always. The wolfess's brow furrows slightly as the merchants make their way in and state their business, moving over to the familiar beings given their arrival. "I have a feeling this is going to have something to do with that smuggling vessel." She murmurs to the lion, if nobody else in particular. Though the focus of the wolfess remains intently placed on the mink and king themselves. "...And by the way, it'd be polite to keep your voice a little lower if we're going to speak during this."
Emmett glares at Dio with the disapproving sort of look a parent might give an unruly child, and thus he shuffles over to be nearer. Easier to keep an eye on him this way, perhaps. "Yes, do settle down and hush," the goat murmurs quietly too, straining to keep a smile on his face. Oh, how hard he tries! He clasps his hands together and seems to take particular interest in this mink Rhianna though, supposing this could shed some light on a few things.
Dio seems completely ignorant of his silly actions, the various stares upon his person merely bouncing off his unnaturally thick skull. Before the lion busted from his position in a ball of energy, it would seem things have finally begun to start. Though he had to wonder, would he ever do something so large of note that he'd get an audience with the king? Hopefully a meeting with good intentions, of course. "Ah! Hello there lass," he says in his normal speaking voice to Selena. "Certainly seems that way." And then another person tells him to be quiet! "Hmph! Fine then," he says, crossing his arms and quieting his voice a bit.
"That is certainly something. Mione tells me your credentials are in order, and you are indeed who you claim to be. So, please begin."
The mink clears her throat, the sound echoing off the grand audience chamber. "Yes, your Majesty. As you know, some weeks ago many coastal nations, Sweetwater and Cliffside included were ravaged by naturally-occurring weather that caused much in the way of damage. Since then, everyone has been engaged in the ardous task of rebuilding, but there are some amongst us who think otherwise."
"Please explain further."
"It behooves me to inform your Majesty that the Council of Elders is currently split into two factions: one headed by the Wirefurs, who believe that Sweetwater's current weakened state makes the time ripe for the resuming of hostilities. The other, which we trade guilds have some influence upon, is opposed to these motions, which they have nevertheless set pushed through. The recent embargo of food staples upon your kingdom, your Majesty, is only one of such hostilities planned. Our operating licenses are being held ransom to ensure our compliance, but this is too much for us to bear."
That bit of news causes murmurs to sweep through the audience chamber, but the Good King is unpeturbed, as always, instead leaning forward in his throne. "You do understand that in coming to us and giving this warning, you are likely to be committing treason against your own nation?"
Selena groans quietly at the news; not surprised, but a little more resigned than otherwise. Despite herself, the wolfess poses a question of her own, likely with an obvious answer, "I don't mean to be rude, but - Do you have any idea why they'd press for this kind of conflict? I don't want to think it's as petty as old hostilities - I'm aware of a few Wirefurs that oppose the war effort; isn't there conflict within the house itself that'd negate some of their authority? Dissent within you're own ranks used to carry some weight, I thouht... But in lieu of the Good King's statement, the forewarning is appreciated."
Having asked her piece, out of line or otherwise, she rubs the bridge of her muzzle and sighs, again with the quieter tone. "Well. It's hard not to see something like this coming with all of the events that've come to pass... Emmett, it's good to see you about; I didn't recognise you for a minute there."
Emmett puts a hand to his mouth, and his ears droop back a little as he hears the news from Rhianna. The goat shakes his head slowly and murmurs to those near him, "Seems it hasn't been so long since the last conflict either. I fear for the villages." Emmett glances at Dio once more, then nods to Selena. "Selena, good to see you again. Quite alright," he says, still trying to keep his voice low.
Dio grimaces a bit under his breath as he listens as well, letting out a gentle sigh a few moments later. "War again, is it? It'd be an awful shame to start such senseless violence again. An' what fer? Just a chance at takin' over Sweetwater fer Promise dominance?" The lion crosses his arms and huffs, but gets a small thought. If war started up again, he had to wonder if he'd manage to run into his old mercenary group again. What an interesting reunion that would end up being.
"Perhaps, your Majesty. I see it another way, though. The faction agitating for war within the Council of Elders is likely to see it that way. I and those I represent believe that attempting to restart hostilities so close to the end of the previous war is quite insane - and one so could could permanently cripple either side. Whether my actions are treasonous or not - that will depend on which faction wins out in the end. Furthermore, the embargo that has been demanded of us is slated to be expanded to trade goods in general, not just food staples. Our pocketbooks cannot hold out for long. If we do not take action, we will be ruined. If we do take action, we may be ruined. The decision, I fear, is straightforward."
The Good King reclines in his throne and considers these words. "And it is only because of the threat to your businesses that you have seen fit to come and warn us?"
"No, your Majesty, but a selfish reason is far more believable, coming from a Cliffsider like me. The reason my superiors insisted I request a public audience is such that the people of Sweetwater, high and low alike, understand that we Cliffsiders do not agree with what our leaders are currently setting into motion."
The Good King thinks a moment over this, then whispers something to Mione, who scurries off into the edges of the audience chamber. Slowly, he turns his gaze up to Selena, in the viewing galleries, then back to Rhianna at his feet. "The question posed by my subject has some merit. Is there any particular reason that they are agitating for starving out Sweetwater?"
"There is some rumour and hearsay going on amongst Cliffsiders, your Majesty, but it is best discussed in a more private setting, for the ears of only both you and your advisors."
Selena coughs quietly, muttering; "Technically, not a subject." before shaking her head - though Mione is watched with interest as he scurries off - then interjects again; "Wait. Wait - I know Eldric was detained and was held in the Solacious house dungeon. I doubt he'd talk any more, but it might warrant looking into. Why would any being wish for a mutually destructive war like this? It doesn't add up at all." She suggests, silently berating herself for her comments - probably better not to let everyone know, even if it really isn't a well-kept secret.
Lowering her voice again, the wolfess continues a little more quietly, "I'm worried about more than just the villages on our side. I've never exactly minced words when I say war is just a waste of life. Senseless is absolutely right."
Emmett twitches slightly at the thought of what another war would cost. The goat priest nods slowly and crosses his arms in front of him. "Eldric?" he repeats quietly to himself with a little shrug, though he seems curious. He doesn't press it. "War is a waste of life. I will agree entirely. Our purpose is in the cultivation of life and stewardship toward our people and our world, not in its destruction," the goat says to Selena.
"Certainly seems strange," Dio agrees, still crossing his arms and looking out into the crowd. "I don' think anyone will be winnin' in a war like that." Eventually, the lion relaxes his posture a bit and takes to tucking at his coat, straightening it out to perhaps help his mood a bit. "War is senseless, yes. However, I'm afraid if it comes down to it, I'll be fightin' right there with 'em. It's unfortunate, but I suppose it's what I was born to do in the end."
Rhinna looks up at Selena. "Eldric's incarceration is not a secret here? Then yes, one of the rumours going about is that they do desire Eldric's release. It is believed by the common being on Cliffside's streets that there is little point to outright war at the moment, which is why I've heard that some more...cladestine activites have been plotted."
The Good King nods. "I have, on my part, received word of saboteurs about the realm, especially in an uncertain time like this. Word being spread amongst the commoners that there is hunger, despite my personal assurances of provision in any lean times we may face. The means of such provision coming under attack. Such terrible times we all live in, when leaders do not see to the needs of their people, and those who do have their efforts hampered. But your message is well-received, Rhianna Goodhearth, and the sentiments of Cliffside's people heard. I, myself, desire that my own subjects bear no ill-will towards the people of Cliffside.
"I am given to understand that a certain smuggling crew was caught attempting to sneak in foodstuffs some days ago and evade the usual tarriffs. As a gesture of goodwill, and considering the extentuating circumstances surrounding their apprehension, the crew - captained by one Vander Goodhearth - and their ship will be released on the condition that they do not attempt this again. But since you have given your message to my subjects, we may speak later. Rise. You are dismissed."
The mink rises as ordered, and bows as she is escorted out of the audience chamber while the Good King continues to speak. "Now, in light of these revelations, it would do good to honour those who have put themselves in the line of duty and protected the realm. I understand that two amongst our number today were personally involved in preventing sabotage upon one of the kingdom's finest granaries, quite narrowly averting disaster. If these fine beings could step down to the floor...?"
Selena quirks an eyebrow as things seem to be winding down, replying directly to Rhinna a little less concerned with interrupting now. "It's a secret there? That doesn't help anyone's position." She replies, tilting her head to the side and noting back to Emmett a little wistfully; "You remind me of a friend I haven't seen for a long time. She went back to Shralesta."
The comment regarding Vander is met with a relieved sigh - then the king's latter request is made, the wolfess reacting with a surprised look, nodding to Dio. "Some things are more important than one being's health." She replies, before stepping forward tentatively and rubbing the back of her neck, saying nothing for herself beyond that."
Emmett regards Selena with a slow, understanding sort of nod. "That's a shame. I hope your friend is in good health," the goat says with a smile. As Selena steps down out of the gallery, he smiles brightly and lifts his chin. "Oh, so that's you. Good work there." He seems curious about who the second person might be. Surely it isn't...?
"Didn' know it was a secret either," Dio comments, taking a moment to scratch under his dense and golden mane. "An' after all the trouble we went through to nab the fellow. That was one adventure I'll never ferget." Well, it would seem the meat of the meeting was taken care of. Perhaps it was time to move on out and have a lovely cat nap or three. But then, he was called upon! By the king! "I'll be right down," he shouts, waving to Emmett before making his way down from the gallery and onto the floor itself. "Dio the Traveler, at yer service, yer majesty. Defender of grains an' orphans when applicable."
Some of the crowd look positively aghast at Dio's absolute lack of decorum and his praticular freshness as the lion makes his way down, and this is not lost upon the Good King's generous bulk.
"That may be the case," the Good King says in reply to the accusatory stares and murmurs, "but a Good king does not shirk the appearance of his tools in his application of them towards his ends. Dio the Traveller, you may be rough on the exterior, but it is undeniable that you have performed the realm a service, and that is the important thing at hand today.
"Selena Hearthkeep, you too have performed the realm of service despite not having been born on its soil, and for that I thank you. Would that more of your countrymen follow your exmaple.
"The both of you have been instrumental in preventing further damage and chaos within Sweetwater, as I have been made aware of in the reports that have come to me, and today you are honoured before all the realm - unfortunately, it appears that your compatriots are not present today." He clears his throat, and Mione, who had been surreptiously absent, shuffles forward with a tray. "In further recognition of your efforts, I present you with a small amount of lunar dust. It is but a token, but please accept it."
For a few moments, Selena looks unsure of how to react to the former comment, simply commenting to nobody in particular; "'Tool' isn't particularly flattering, is it?" That said, though, she shakes her head and replies calmly; "Cliffside was never home. I'm surprised you know my name, though." She comments, nodding as the king continues. "We can't be everywhere. I'm sure you understand."
She looks down at the lunar dust for a few moments, though, before raising a hand in a polite way of declining. "I'd rather see more resources directed to the orphanage or the shanty town than to me. I appreciate the offer, but I just don't need it." The wolfess looks a little awkward thereafter, more than likely unsure of how her reaction would be interpreted by the crowd. Uncomfortable? Well, when you're facing down arguably the most important being in Sweetwater...
Poor Emmett. Poor confused Emmett. The goat stares in shock and dismay, perhaps a bit of bewilderment, as Dio follows Selena down to be honored by the Good King himself. "Dio's one of the good guys?" he mutters, a little bemused clearly. "Huh. Who'd have known?" He strokes his little beard thoughtfully. Selena's reaction to the reward given seems to surprise the goat, but at the same time, it seems to please him. "A gesture of humility. Very nice," he remarks quietly as though making mental notes.
"Ah! Wise, just as the rumors made ya out to be your majesty," Dio chuckles, taking a bit of a joking bow before returning to his typical stance. As the lunar is presented in front of him, the lion shakes his hands and smiles. "From the few months 'r so that I've been in yer lovely town, I've been welcomed by its people, enjoyed its customs, and broken bread with many. For this, I am thankful and need no material reward. Just my room at the inn. I am content." The lion brings his legs together and places a hand upon his forehead for a quick salute! Perhaps not the correct gesture for time time, but it's the thought that counts, right? "Fer my stay 'ere, I shall continue helpin' where I am able."
The murmurs become angrier at Selena's refusal, but the Good King silences them with a raised hand, then whispers to Mione once more, who bows and departs with the tray. "Humility is indeed one of the virtues espoused by the First Text, and it is good to see it alive and well in the beings of today. Very well, the dust shall be sold, and the proceeds distributed to Ironsoul Orphanage. But please, do allow me to thank you once more before you leave my presence.
"Now, it is nearly time for Noon Mass, and hence I adjourn this audience. Before we depart, though, I entreat to all present to only repeat the truth about what has been said here, and not aid our enemies' efforts by spreading further malicious rumours. Perhaps if their intentions are uncovered, they will be more hesitant to move against the interests of both Sweetwater and Cliffside alike. Court is dismissed."