Standing Together...ish

Westley staggered under the weight of Stella words. Her dismissal of his worth to her and the out right threat of what awaited him should he fail. He knew her well enough to sense the maelstrom of emotions that played beneath that calm exterior, though she had not always been able to hide it so well. He supposed she had Edward to thank for that. He spared the dark specter of a man the briefest of glances, but it was enough to convey both his hatred and his resignation in equal measure. Stella belonged to Edward now, if a woman like that could indeed "belong" to anyone.

Enoch stood then and addressed the hall. "This seems good to me. I support our esteemed colleague Ms Corbet in this and offer three delegates from the Red Crew ranks to represent the interests of the working man." murmurs arose at that and Enoch raised his hands to stave them off.

"And also in the interests of the working man... and woman of this City I ask the Corbet estate to carefully consider the dead and wounded amongst the people of the Corbet factory explosion. I know that this is a matter close to the Council woman's heart." The hall fell into heated debate then at the mention of distributing family wealth amongst the people. Enoch had lit another match to fan the blaze that was Dusk politics.

Westley would not fail. He could not. Ellis, his fiance, clutched his arm tightly as if to support him. She was fully aware of the situation, of his past with Stella, as well as the finality of this break from her. He would have no lies in his marriage, there would be no secrets and perhaps, just perhaps there would eventually be true affection between them. She was a young woman, but so far her maturity and good sense had been encouraging.

There came a loud crash from behind and they turned to see the doors smashed open. Was that? Diana Montclaire strode into the room as bold as brass, and she had brought her bloody dog no less. For a moment the thought of Benjamin's face at seeing his daughter flout council protocol like this brought a smile to his face, but that was quickly wiped away by what she did next. She had one of those deadly sound devices used by the Elesian woman. Where had she got that?

"I’ll pay for that door, and your time if need be, but it’s urgent that you hear my plea, now.” Her voice was amplified, but not painfully so. "I am Diana Montclaire, second child and first daughter to the late Benjamin Montclaire. He was killed in this very hall, before the eyes of many of you seated today. I need your help to save what’s left of my family from the Delve, an unlawful imprisonment at the hands of the Regent Bitch, Ines Valkarian.”

The Hall sat in silence for a moment and Westley looked around trying to sense the mood. Benjamin had been well liked and there was a great deal of sympathy for the fate of such a great house. He chose to act before the murmurs began,

"The extraction of Serenity and the recall of young Tate Montclaire should indeed be objectives of this envoy. To that end, if the Hall will allow it I will take Diana under my wing and she will accompany the delegation to Graymire."

For effect he crossed the hall to stand next to Diana and took a small step back when that dog of hers began to growl.

"Two things," he murmured under his breath. "If that dog bites me It will stay behind and secondly, I do not know where you got that Elesian toy from, but put it away before they try to take it away from you." Westley had already marked the eagle eye of Edward fixed on the small white disk.

Together they stood and waited for the Hall... for Stella to speak.

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