Chapter 1.2 The Aberhaven Estate.   Posted by Guildmaster.Group: 0
Guildmaster
 GM, 22 posts
Tue 9 Sep 2008
at 15:59
1.2 The Aberhaven Estate


Resting atop a hill surrounded by a lightly wooded forest and a wall of stone is the Aberhaven Estate. Within its confines lie the Duke's Mansion, the houses of his family and closest aides and some of their business headquarters. Inside, contractors and organizers of the fair were busy with their decorations and preparations for the Charity Ball. Streamers, banners, colourful paper lanterns and other paraphernalia were in the process of being put up while a small group of builders busied themselves with setting up a large stage for the night's performance in the middle of the empty field.

After passing through the checkpoint at the foot of the hill, Rhollin and his squire Tyr start their trek up the flight of stairs leading into the Estate. When they finally arrive at the the Mansion gate, two sentry guards ask for Rhollin's name and sent a runner to announce his arrival. After disarming the duo, although Rhollin got to keep his standard issue official Savann weapon, they were invited into a large room that could only be the audience chamber.

At the head of the room, upon a marble dais, was a high backed throne. Though the chair was empty, at the foot of the dais sat a young man who immediately snapped to attention upon Rhollin's arrival.

"Sir Rhollin Grail of Savann!" the young man called out.

Striding in from a door to the left was a man whose heavy set features and large frame indicated that he could be the one and only Duke Dorian of Aberhaven. Casting his dark eyes on Rhollin, the large man took his seat on the throne and called out, "Sir Rhollin is it? Welcome to Aberhaven!" Despite his serious features, his voice was warm and personable. Smiling, the Duke beckoned for Rhollin to approach and he waved for the young page to retreat.

"How are things in Savann?"

This message was last edited by the GM at 16:07, Tue 09 Sept 2008.

Rhollin Grail
 player, 16 posts
 A savage heart
 a gentle heart
Wed 10 Sep 2008
at 02:28
Re: 1.2 The Aberhaven Estate
Rhollin and Tyr walked carefully through the streets and were given a wide berth by most. In this way they arrived at the Duke's mansion looking as clean as one who came hundreds of miles on foot ever could.

The knight respected Duke Dorian's sincere friendliness, but that didn't keep him from following Savann courtly custom. They greeted the man will all due pomp and circumstance.

Tyr stepped forward first, and knelt, offering introduction with head bowed. "I present Sir Rhollin Grail, Second Warden of Fangspire Keep, direct descendant of the Old Houses which first grasped the Grail in treaty, Knighted after the Battle of Three Rivers."

Tyr backed away with eyes diverted, and Rhollin stepped forward, his head also bowed at first. "Your servant arrives with all the honor of Savann and all the courage of the Leonyr. Blessed be your house."

With the greeting done he rose and looked the Duke square in the eye as he stated his purpose.

"I come on behalf of the Grail line to secure diplomatic relations between Aberhaven and Fangspire. Our House seeks a permanent arrangement of mutual benefit whose terms are to be discussed during my stay."

If the Duke was cultured he would understand that as a polite of saying the knight fully expected to be treated as an honored guest for a length of time that he saw fit, and that the Duke would comply. Fortunately, this imposed hospitality also came with benefits, for Tyr stepped forward with gifts as Rhollin spoke - a silver scepter, an obsidian spearhead, and a fur and feathered cloak, each made by Leonyr craftsmen from minerals and animals native to Savann, and each worth more gold than most men would see in a year.

With the formalities out of the way, the Duke was welcome to resume his more casual banter.
Guildmaster
 GM, 29 posts
Sun 14 Sep 2008
at 03:03
Re: 1.2 The Aberhaven Estate
"Such formalities," the Duke said with a chuckle. He waved for Rhollin to approach and said, "Knight of Fangspire, I believe that your Kingdom is in constant turmoil. I have many questions for you regarding this diplomatic treaty you bring me. But for now, it is nearly time for tea. Perhaps you will join me?"

Turning to one of his servants, the Duke ordered them to fetch Rhollin's belongings and assured the knight that the weapons he surrendered at the gate would be returned together with his luggage. "You will stay in one of my villas here at the Estate," the Duke proclaimed, "It is the least I could do to help make your stay at Aberhaven as comfortable as possible."

----

Outside, the sky was a clear blue and a gentle breeze tickled the leaves of the giant birch trees that dotted the landscape of the Duke's estate. There were various other flora and shrubbery within the premises but birch, and a few oak trees were the most visible. Rhollin and the Duke were served with cakes, tea and other refreshments promptly and in a moment, a young boy probably the age of 10, was led by a middle-aged woman, came to join them. "Sir Knight, this is my son - Roric." The young boy, trained in the ways of politics and formalities bowed before the knight, "It is an honour and pleasure, sir. May I join you father?"

With a smile, the Duke nodded and the four of them started their tea session. "So, what is this diplomatic relation you were seeking, Sir Grail? Do the other tribes in Savann know of this meeting between Aberhaven and Fangspire?"

This message was last edited by the GM at 03:04, Sun 14 Sept 2008.

Rhollin Grail
 player, 21 posts
 A savage heart
 a gentle heart
Sun 14 Sep 2008
at 23:51
Re: 1.2 The Aberhaven Estate
"Turmoil? Hardly. Turmoil speaks of chaos, unrest, instability. Such things do not exist in Savann. Please do not confuse war with turmoil. Our wars lack the sour element of skulduggery with which you may associate the wars of your lands.

However, I am sure we can both expound on the virtues of our people over tea. I will gladly join you once properly arrayed."


Rhollin took the time to retreat to the assigned villa, which he found perfectly acceptable in all ways, except perhaps sheer size of furniture. Still, it was an early sign of respect, and that was not taken for granted. His exploration of his potential new home was brief; he used it only to remove his armor and don a clean tunic, this one a lovely white and blue with the family coat of arms repeating in tiny patterns.

"Word of the meeting will spread soon enough - and we certainly wish this. If I may be frank, it is our hope that this relationship will set an example for our tribes and yours. Much can be gained for the small kingdoms of Savann to consider trade and alliance outside the plains, and much can be gained by the kingdoms of men to Savann as a rich political landscape, and not just a battlefield."

Sir Rhollin paused a moment for effect, then got down to the nuts and bolts of the agreement.

"A military alliance between Aberhaven and the Grail family at this stage would be premature, I think we'll agree. However, a permanent courtier in each castle will ensure a constant flow of cultural information, early news of foreign wars, and favorable trade agreements. Establishing that much will occupy us for quite some time, I should think.

But I carry on while the ball approaches. All I ask now is an agreement to house me while we discuss this arrangement, with hopes of enacting a more permanent, beneficial treaty as I described."

Guildmaster
 GM, 35 posts
Sat 20 Sep 2008
at 10:39
Re: 1.2 The Aberhaven Estate
Throughout the afternoon, Rhollin and the Duke conversed on a variety of matters - politics, religion, women, food, drink, politics, war, boyhood, politics. It seemed time was stretched while the two got to know each other better. And the Duke agreed that the matters of agreements and treaties could be discussed throughout Rhollin's stay.

Rhollin was no stranger to being an ambassador to his country, but he had to be honest and admit that he was still a fledgling compared to his seniors at Fangspire.  The relations between Humans and Leonyr was something that Rhollin still had a lot to learn about - and his first test was from the curious blue eyed son of Duke Dorian Aberhaven.

The youngster, though well schooled in the ways of the court and perhaps more knowledgeable than most of his counterparts on the affairs and workings of the world, was nevertheless still a child. And given his age, most of his insight was by way of books and not of first hand experience.

To young Roric, Rhollian Grail - Knight of the Grail and of Fangspire, was a specimen. An illustration from his textbooks who had come to life. And it seems at this moment, the young one had let his childishness get the better of him, "Sir Grail. You have great big teeth. Do you ever use them in battle?"
Rhollin Grail
 player, 26 posts
 A savage heart
 a gentle heart
Sun 21 Sep 2008
at 16:53
Re: 1.2 The Aberhaven Estate
The afternoon proved incredibly enlightening to the knight-errant now entrenched in strange lands. Every fact Rhollin committed to memory hinted at a hundred more to yet discover, and every emotional reaction to new body language was surely one of a thousand more to come. It was fortunate that the Grail Knight saw these challenges as opportunities.

Rhollin knelt down before Roric, a knightly gesture that also served the more mundane purpose of evening their height, and responded by flashing his teeth in a beautiful smile.

"My lad, I much prefer to use my teeth for eating and smiling and conversing. Perhaps your father will allow us time to do these things after the ball? I am sure we both have much to learn from each other."


Rhollin of course was making a friendly political gesture, but the knight saw an advantage in this. Surely the child would offer insights he could never gain from the controlled face of a master of bureaucracy such as the Duke.

"And, of course, if and when your father should allow it, I have a battle story or two you just might find intriguing."
Guildmaster
 GM, 45 posts
Sun 21 Sep 2008
at 17:16
Re: 1.2 The Aberhaven Estate
At Rhollin's suggestion, all manner of formality and lessons from etiquette classes were forgotten - Roric was a boy once more. "Oh, father! Please, please say yes!" the young lad pleaded. The Duke merely laughed and shrugged his shoulders, "Sir Grail, it would be by your discretion should you decide to entertain this boy. He can be a handful."

"Now, you go on and bother the good knight later. He and I have some very important matters to discuss..."

-------

The rest of the afternoon and evening went well for Rhollin. The Duke and Rhollin agreed to discuss matters after the Charity event and the Duke extended his invitation to Rhollin for him to attend the Masquerade - formally. Upon the Duke's instructions, Rhollin was given a hawk feather.

"You'll need this to get into the Mansion on the night of the Masquerade," the Duke explained." And you shall have a place at my table."

And so now, Rhollin had two hawk feathers. Surely this must be the Luck's way of sealing the Knight of Fangspire's fate, or rather attendance at the Aberhaven Masquerade.

This message was last edited by the GM at 17:18, Sun 21 Sept 2008.

Rhollin Grail
 player, 29 posts
 A savage heart
 a gentle heart
Mon 22 Sep 2008
at 03:55
Re: 1.2 The Aberhaven Estate
"In some ways I am a child too, when in this land. I am confident the boy will be a fine conversation partner - when you and I decide there is time for it."

The evening then proceeded like a political feast for the beast-blooded courtier. Each course of exchange complemented the next, spiced with etiquette, friendship, and a dash of intellectual sparring that suited the Leonyr's tastes just fine.

Back in the villa, Rhollin offered Tyr one of his two feathers and gave the squire leave to attend the ball of his own accord, without any duties of his station. It might have constituted a breech of etiquette but also amounted to quite the display of trust and friendship on the knight's part.

With no more meeting and no more squire, Rhollin's only company was the wardrobe carried to this far land, and that didn't have much for costume options...