Preliminary Discussions

-Dalen Capital, The Royal Palace, 2 DSTR -

"Hello there, my name is Draken Darkward, this is Shade. He is my..... warden." Shade nodded to them.

"Your warden?" Kalena said, not understanding at first until she recognized the man's face from a wanted poster.

Draken bowed to Kalena, "Who are you, beautiful?"

"I'm Kalena Valade," she said, a faint sparkle of amusement in her eyes. “And your reputation proceeds you, Mr. Darkward, as I do know who you are."

"What reputation does he have?" Hemlock asked.

"Oh, he's a real slippery fellow, who only recently escaped no less than his own public execution in the Verden capital." Kalena smiled at Draken. "But I doubt you'll have much luck breaking out of the Queen's dungeons, which I understand to be magically enchanted."

- Dalen Capital, Valade Estate, Late Night, 2 DSTR -

"What a lovely melody," Lafayette said listening to Zaonna play her harp. "Not many harp players where I am from. I am sorry that you have had to deal with the happenings of tonight. No one should have to deal with that. Trust me I have seen it to many times to count, it never gets any easier."

"Zaonna, that's enough for now," Kalena said brusquely as she walked in with Hemlock. "I would like you to show this woman to a guest room, prepare her a much-needed bath and provide her with some garments, as she has none. But first pour me a glass of brandy, will you?"

Kalena looked and sounded like she was exhausted. All the ridiculous amount of fighting and travelling she had done over the past seventy two hours was more than beginning to catch up with her. She slumped tiredly down on a cushioned divan in front of a mahogany table with a gold inlay and turned to Lafayette. "Perun said you were interrogating the driver when the carriage exploded outside. What did he have to say for himself? Was he aware there was a chemical explosive planted inside it?"

- Dalen Capital, Valade Estate, Mid-Morning, 3 DSTR -

Kline handed the paper back to her. “So we are to create a war council?” He asked and looked at his three men standing by her bar; they had made use of her invitation to have a drink. “You three, ride back to the vineyard, and bring the brigade back. We will need more soldiers then we have.”

"Yes, I am a firm believer in overwhelming force, something we could certainly have used last night when we went after the Emerald Scarves in the Lower Quarter," Kalena remarked, reading the warrant once again. "According to this, you may draw on any resources you need in the name of the Queen, though you're right that it would be best to use your own personal forces, to start with, at any rate. We have no idea how compromised the general army command might be. I have a suspicion that the Emerald Scarves were waved right through the checkpoints into the Royal Quarter. They might have just had written passes from their noble benefactors of course."

Kline said, “We will need other nobles to buy in, to join us. This will not be like the Queen herself asking them, this will be us. They can and may say no to us. Particularly if they are working with or profit from these criminals.”

"The troubles we are facing likely start and end with these corrupt nobles, but I think we can safely rely on Count Soldor," Kalena said. "He is a trusted advisor of Her Majesty and will be the best one to know who and who not to trust. I believe he has already identified certain people as traitors. If you recall, he mentioned yesterday at dinner the need to trim the fat, as he put it, among the nobles."

Kline's men finished the drinks and said a hasty goodbye to Kalena.

"Safe travels, boys," she said, turning around as they filed out of the room.

Laffy paused to give her a wink. “Take care of him, see he does not get his head stuck up his ass.” He gave as a parting comment in the office.

Kalena thought she and Kline shared some similar weaknesses; she could be impetuous and prideful and suffer tunnel vision herself. They had all gone off half-cocked last night, that was for sure.

“And if there is going to be a war, criminals may become less of the issue,” Kline continued. “I can handle the military issues; you will take care of all the spy stuff?”

"I am not without some experience in that department," Kalena told him, with a smile. "And if Lafayette is willing, due to no one knowing who he is in Dalen, I think he could serve as an excellent spy for us. In my opinion, he has all the makings of a first class operative."

“I have to admit, working strategy on the battle field is one thing, working spy networks and such, well, my skill there ends with scouts.”

"Come now, I think you're being far too modest," Kalena said. "The level of timing, coordination and intelligence usage to lure that Verden general into such a successful ambush was all most extraordinary. I don't think it's any wonder why the Queen has so much faith in you."

“Laffy told me about the drive and the bomb last night. He said the guy was trying to kill that woman, Sarx. Perhaps you could employ him to get closer to her. If we take her down perhaps her whole group will just go away?”

"It's possible, and we should definitely attempt to use him to capture Sarx. Once we have her in custody, we can squeeze out of her everything she knows before contriving a suitably agonizing death for the woman. We have every reason to assume she was behind Van's murder; if it was not Sarx's own idea, she at least carried it out, in addition to making fools of us last night, for which she will pay severely."

“What time will we have this meeting?” Kline asked finally. “What time will we tell them, and where will we do it?"

"We need to move quickly," Kalena said. "I thought of holding the meeting here, but if Count Soldor allies with us, perhaps his own home would be best? Chiren has far greater influence than I, and it will set a signal that we are to be taken seriously, and surely help attract more support our way from the various nobles, especially those in key positions of power throughout the kingdom we will need to have on our side."

<Tag: Kline, Lafayette, Zaonna, Draken, Shade, and optionally Hemlock, Eliza and Jack/Chiren who could receive Kalena's message and either show up or dispatch one of his own in return>

(OOC – My posts have been pretty lackluster lately, when I even post at all. But I'll get back on stride soon I hope. In the meantime, my apologies.)

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