Lady Elay Mythricane; Marcher Lord Artyr III Mythricane; and Lord Erik Krast, Archduke of Westmarch
A collab between moi @Cohors and @sly13
A collab between moi @Cohors and @sly13
Kays Maron was a bit like a mule: docile, submissive, reliable and, if appreciated's too strong of an adjective to describe his presence, then bearable better fits the bill. Elay's long-term predictions tend to unravel in unexpected twists but marrying Kays was a decision she hit the bullseye. The man's as loyal and enamored of the coveted Lily of Mythricane as he was when they first met years ago, in great part thanks to how well she manages to constantly woo him, his wealthy lineage is an excellent tool for legitimacy to House Mythricane, and his austere competence is a very welcome contrast to Artyr's unpredictability. So it was natural when the Marcher Lord and the Lady went to Coronation to pay respects in their lieges' funeral, there was an implicit but collective sigh of relief when they realized a stable temporary regency under Kays would reign, even if for a short while.
In Coronation, things were a bit less formal and jejune than Elay expected.
While Artyr prayed solemnly in behalf of the admirable Daymian, a warrior of valiance and fierceness he deemed surpassing even his own, and had a flame of zeal kindled with Anyamara's masterful expression of respect, Elay saw two people who seemed keen - far too keen - to garner attention and support. And with the throne vacant, she soon guessed their cause. The question she started to wonder about was... a king, or a queen?
A queen. That way, my claim can have a contemporaneous precedent.
Besides, Anyamara seemed to be fairly more eloquent and functional than Sharles, whose subtlety was left at the door with his fervorous speech.
Elay knew she had to make a move quickly. She saw from Artyr's gleaming eyes Anyamara had already won her brother's heart, so her next obvious step was to check on her liege, Erik. She had two plans in mind: should the Warden's choice converge with hers, they would form an alliance of some kind; should it not, she would quickly prompt Artyr to storm Edoras. Artyr's Partitavan levies could not hold a candle to the force of an entire Archduchy, but they were an elite squad and Elay had full faith they could capture Castle Drachenfel in a surprise blitzkrieg.
After the funeral, she explained her plans to Artyr, who simply replied,
"Yeah, I'm on it. Can't wait to see if Erik's really that good."
Artyr preferred the second choice of action, regardless of the possibilities. But he felt he should trust Elay on this one.
And like that, they set motion to Edoras, with a raven dispatched beforehand to let the Warden know of their visit.
Artyr arrived in Drachenfel two days earlier than Elay. Accompanied by four or so equally veteran horsemen, he rode his own horse, like a true son of the steppe. "I ain't a pompous, ratty bastard", he claimed, to be carried around in an escorted carriage. Her sister could barely swing a sword, so fair enough in her case, but a Westmarch Lord worrying about scrawny Eastern highwaymen? Certainly deserves to die for being a coward.
Erik stood leaning over the map sprawled across the large table. Various wooden pieces were placed around the board symbolizing the various keeps and troop locations around Adanion. His gaze first looked over the border to the great steppes before looking at the north of his lands. Just on the Northern side of the border stood a long line of keeps signaling the end of Eriks lands and the start of the Mistlands under Lord Engelhardt.
“I always did hate those damned keeps.”
The other attendants within the room nodded in agreement as they looked over the map. Regardless of the steel they wielded or the skill of their warriors, they were not well suited for a siege. That wasn't including the fact that in order to make up for that weakness he would need to pull men from the steppe. Something he refused to do for a variety of reasons.
The declaration of the Northern Alliance had the potential to be quite worrisome. Best case was they were simply trying to support Sharles and had no intention of actually doing anything more drastic. Of course letting the boy Sharles be in charge was definitely not what Erik had in mind. Anyarama on the other had what it took to become the queen that could keep Adanion together and orderly once again.
Erik's thoughts were cut short as the door swung open revealing a young boy who bowed quickly in both respect and apology for interrupting the meeting. “Apologies my lord, but lord Mythricane has arrived.”
“Very well then. Shouldn't keep him waiting should we? Ensure that he is brought to the throne room”.
As the boy left the room in a hurry Erik turned once more to the map and the several men in the room. “We’ll continue this later. For now keep your ears to the ground and see what other news comes out. But do nothing else, the steppes are still the first priority.” receiving a nod of acknowledgement from the men Erik left the room making his way to the Throne room.
Compared to the pale fortifications scattered in Western Westmarch, Edoras’ walls were a sight to behold. The scale of the bastion would always woo Artyr and this time it was no different. Still amazing this whole Drachenfel concept, he thought, with its castle inside a castle premise. Erik’s a fine host. Artyr was impressed by the courteous treatment he received from the Warden. Had a vassal of his visited him in Partitava, he certainly wouldn’t be so kind as to send a subject to escort them to the throne room. And my throne is not… this interesting. In fact, his was a dimly lit chamber with a few glittering trinkets here and there, and not a respectfully large hall with wondrous decorations enhanced by natural lightning and a two meters wide skull of a literal dragon staring right at the front door. I should put some horse skulls next to my throne as well. But they wouldn’t be as cool as this. No, they wouldn’t. Perhaps Erik would have some fossils lying around.
“The Archduke of Westmarch will arrive shortly”. The young escort made a hurried bow gesture before making his way outside the room.
Remember, Artyr: be subtle. I know you like to be straight to the point, I know you don’t care for talking, but these people do, and if you’re too crass in your ways, they won’t listen to you.
Artyr didn’t like his mission too much, but the possible outcome of having to assault Edoras was an exciting one. His speciality strayed far off sieges, let alone double sieges, so it would be quite a novel experience. He felt his tongue tingling to antagonize Erik and make it happen, but he felt if he was going to completely ignore Elay’s plans he should at least do it to her face. So, no matter how disappointingly, the better thing to do was feign diplomatic interest.
As he wondered about his course of action and was wondered by the mesmerizing gallery, he heard echoing footsteps growing closer. Until, soon enough, entered the gallant Archduke.
Artyr begrudgingly reverenced Erik the moment he entered the room, muttering, “Milord.”
“Ah yes, lord Mythricane, welcome to Edoras.” Erik studied Artyr for a second as he took his seat on the throne. “So what is it you wanted to speak about? I assume it was something important given our face to face meeting.” Erik kept his eyes steady as he spoke, doing his best to gauge the lord before him. The last thing he needed now was more bad news coming to his ears.
“Thank you, Erik.” Artyr replied. Oh, shit, I’m not supposed to call him by his first name. He clearly broke etiquette. Eh, at this point, the hell with it. Not needed in a warrior-to-warrior chat.
“Straight to the point. Good. Well, my babbling sister ain’t around, so I’ll be short also. I’m pretty sure you’ve noticed the whole shtick during Daymian’s funeral. Y’now, the throne is vacant, and both Anyamara and Sharles want it.” Up to this point, his voice was serene and calm, but it suddenly changed to a graver, stark tone. Almost like it dropped an octave. “Who would you rather see on it?”.
Erik snorted a bit under his breath at the question. “Ah yes. The question on everyone's lips it seems. Who will sit on the throne and call themselves king?” Erik looked around the throne room for a moment. “I Still support Anyamara as I always have and have said so publicly.” Erik gave a pause before leaning forward a bit more. “Still though, we are called to defend the pass from raiders and that is what we shall do. The other lands are of no concern to us.” Erik returned to leaning back on his throne with a more relaxed posture. “We will not be involved in any squabble that does not affect us, should anyone deem it necessary to challenge us, then they will be met with the might of dragon steel.”
Artyr smirked shyly at the corner of his mouth. “Good sense, it seems. I don’t mind the petty Eastern problem either. My sister does, however. I’ll apologize in advance because she’ll still bother you… and me… about this.”
Still, Artyr had a fantasy he had to entertain. “Although I assume should a full blown war break lose, we shall ride in support of Anymara, correct?”. His smile turned into a grin. “There would be no point in protecting the East if the East has no legitimacy.”
“Should our ruler call us to march then we will have no choice. Until then we shall remain here and continue our job as our forefathers before us.” Erik stood from his seat and descended the steps towards Artyr. Reaching the older lord Erik placed a hand on his shoulder as his demeanor became more friendly. “But enough of this talk for now, you should rest after the journey.” Erik lifted his hand off the shoulder and stepped past him motioning for a servant to step forward. “Young Erwin here will show you to your room.”
“Aye”, Artyr replied, hastily adding, “... um, milord. … Thank you”.
On the corridor out, he whispered to the young boy, “Kid, where do you folks usually go for a hunt around these parts?”. Erwin remained silent before reluctantly muttering usually the northeast has plenty of antelopes. Since Erik seemed in no mood for war games, Artyr figured he should entertain himself. “Get me someone to accompany me there, yeah?”
The two lords of Mythre, Artyr and Elay, pay a visit to their liege Archduke Erik Krast of Westmarch to gauge which pretender he supports. Erik himself is concerned with news of the Northern Alliance, analyzing strategically the situation, but when questioned by Artyr of his allegiance, reiterates his support for Anyamara and brushes aside any further conversation on the topic, affirming a neutral attack only if attacked stance. Artyr then goes hunting and Elay is expected to arrive two days later.