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Seems neat.
Jandar Varan

“I will, of course, join, My Lady,” Jandar affirmed with a polite nod. He grimaced behind Sybl’s back, horrified at the foolish love-sick act, frankly. Thankfully, Fatima was ignoring it for now. They’d deal with the youthful Warlord Prince eventually. Despite his reservations, he let the spy escort Fatima, while he himself walked to her other side and a couple of steps behind, ever watchful.

Well, the only silver lining so far was Dareen’s dryly humorous reply to Sybl’s offer, her brand of sarcasm enough to draw a slight chuckle out of him. “Perhaps you should spice up your wardrobe with shades of marigold yellow or a dusky orange,” he replied just as dryly, directing a ‘what can you do’ sort of expression her way.

Their journey through the town was smooth, but Jandar detected the wary and outright frightful glances directed Sybl’s way. The shopkeeper of the dress-shop seemed caught off-guard as well, and the establishment was rather desolate and not entirely well kept. The Warlord deduced that most of her orders were from nobles or those of high status who could afford to hire her or her workers and invite them to their homes. Fatima was an outlier in that way, which would mean immediate rumours. But that was a given; it would have happened sooner or later. The question was how to use it to their advantage.

Unlike Dareen, he entered the shop, mainly to keep an eye on Sybl. His infatuation was a boon in the sense that he was likelier to be less observant, but it could lead to inappropriate behavior on his part. Besides, when he was able to, Jandar would approach the tailor or perhaps one of her other employees – if there were any present – and engage them in pleasantries.
Ah, well. I mostly wrote it on a whim, and I don't really feel like changing that much. So, good luck and happy RPing to the rest of you.
Jandar Varan

Jandar almost chuckled at the contrast between Fatima’s thoughts and her assumed act. “Ah, perhaps going quite so far to emulate Alice’s behavior might not be necessary. I might have,” there was a mental cough as his initial amusement turned to a slight awkwardness, “described you to her as…mercurial, brash, willful, and young. I had hoped doing so might offend her sensibilities enough to not want to do anything with you.

“Either I was wrong or she wants to sway me. She had that covetous glint in her eye I didn’t like…”
he confessed. Of course, it wasn’t something he was at all sure of, but he’d got a strange feeling from that Queen. A feeling that would prompt him to stay away, if he could. Unfortunately, it seemed that something was preventing them from going to Kaeleer, though Fatima was a bit to busy to tell him what.

As such, he directed a careful tendril of thought towards Mikhail, a very, very cautious and questioning one. If the other accepted the connection, Jandar would converse with him mentally; otherwise, he’d simply step closer and whisper. “Prince, you went with our Lady to enquire for the route, correct? I assume there is a condition, obstacle, or price we must fulfil or overcome before we are able to go?” the Warlord questioned.

Before the other could answer, Jandar was interrupted by Faeril, and so he rose a hand, imploring Mikhail to wait nonverbally. “I understand. I will be careful,” he replied to the Black Widow before the connection was broken.

He then turned back to the Prince, lowering his hand. “Excuse me, I just received a message,” he offered. Once again, either quietly or via a mind link, he said, “Did you know our new spy could be one of hers? Though I was warned he could be under certain influences,” he said, frowning at the thought as he eyed the unknown and possibly bewitched Warlord Prince.
Jandar Varan

“It was the kind of invitation where your acceptance was already assumed,” Jandar replied to Fatima. “So, unless you feel like making an enemy…” he trailed off with a shrug. Telepathically, he sent her the message of: “Unless we can escape to Kaeleer before noon tomorrow I’d say playing along would be prudent. But this Alice is a selfish covetous bitch, so we should be careful.”

Before he could continue, Mikhail approached him with another question. “Hm, she’s rather concerned with her own image,” he murmured. “Yes, I do realize, but I had to obtain certain information,” he matched the whisper. “And I have some other matters to report to our lady, so if you want to know more, you know what to do,” the Warlord stated.

He did approach Fatima, but rather than say anything out loud, he continued communicating via their minds. He didn’t doubt Mikhail could listen in if he so wanted.

“If you’ll recall, I visited the Queen to find Xandar…However, it appears they have already captured him, and may have already handed him over. Even if not, I don’t think we’ll be able to get him back at this point. As for the matter of lunch, well, either we accept or get rid of this hanger-on Warlord Prince and get the hell out of here. The final choice is, of course, yours.” Jandar explained to Fatima.
Jandar Varan

The walk back to the inn was leisurely only in the sense that their walking pace was slow and casual, and that the silence between Jandar and his new attachment did not feel particularly straining. However, the Warlord himself was deep in thought. He’d secured an invitation to Alice’s court with Fatima, but was it worth for his Lady to take upon? And could they afford for her not to go? The only way to avoid it would be to escape into Kaeleer before the next day, which may be difficult at best, impossible at the worst. It did also not escape his notice that Sybl did not have a good reputation within town; or rather, people most likely avoided him simply due to his association with the local court.

He entered the inn with a mild frown upon his face, but his face smoothed with relief as he noticed that Fatima was present with the rest of the group. “Ah, convenient that I’ve found you so gathered,” he commented despite the fact that not everyone was present. He eyed the posturing Gennar with a sigh. Jandar really wasn’t in the mood right then. Nonetheless, he uttered with a cool politeness, “I was about to explain that, Prince.” After saying as much, his gaze naturally fell upon his Lady. “As you know, I went to visit the local Queen for a bit of a chat. The short of it is that you were invited to lunch with her on the morrow,” he stated smoothly and with an odd monotony to his tone. However, his gaze was fierce and focused on Fatima. Some things, he’d rather discuss with private…or at least after they managed to deal with the little spy tailing him. “Sybl was sent as a guide, to show you around the town,” he added with obvious distaste – whether at the idea in general or the man in particular was unclear.
Kendra Damyar

Kendra was at the Scorchland Pass, replenishing what little supplies she’d used so far, and gathering information. Most people didn’t recognize the names Dusk Tiedine or Ivorydawn Company, but when mentioning “You know that rare gem…” or “The mining business some northerns meddled in…” she got some more helpful reaction.

“Well, if it’s mining and northern folk, then it’s gotta be the Highlands,” said one.

“Oh, deary, you’ll need a better coat and blanket if you go there, here, have a discount…” added another.

“What are you saying, why would anyone from the Highland go all the way to the south to mine, you idiot!” the first one.

“Oh, what, so you’re saying Midlands are the answer? Sure, you have all sort of businessmen there, but-” a third one chipped in.

“Midlands ain’t that far north-” contested the first one.

“Well, they’re north from here, aren’t they? If it isn’t there, at least they’ll know where to look for sure-” argued the third.
“Oh, but you must bring something with you for the Celebration! How about this…” cajoled the second one.

“None of those snobs would bother listening some crap about gems and scamming during their festival, and if we’re talking north, might as well go to the Snowlands-” a fourth one meddled.

“Oh, for-” the first one.

“That is quite far, you should get more waterskins, and look-” the second one.

“Hey, I’m a water mage, how about me? Hire me and I’ll get you all the water-” some fifth young newcomer added.

“Hush you, lad,” the first and second one replied almost simultaneously.

At this point, Kendra really had quite enough ‘information’, and endeavored to stop the chaotic conversation that developing into a mindless and rather loud conflict. “Alright, alright, thank you, THANK YOU, everyone, and yes ma’am, I’ll take that and that, no, no NOT that…Yes, that’s all. Very helpful, of course, but I must be on my way, you see…” It was with a sigh of relief that Kendra left the premises, now with a new woolen cloak and extra blanket.

A few hours of rest later, she and her mount were refreshed and ready to go, and so they went. Though Kendra has no wish to seek out the church’s help – not yet, not until she was truly desperate – she’d go to the Midlands first, to try and get some more accurate information; or if nothing else, to take a rest from the long journey across Scrublands. Afterwards, she’d travel to the Highlands.
The meeting with Alice in Winton

Jandar stepped into the room, gaze immediately meeting the village Queen’s boldly. “Queen Alice,” he announced his presence. Very briefly, he looked at her other companions. “And friends,” he uttered politely, though almost dismissively. He promptly refocused on the main person of informance, the local Lady, and introduced himself. “Jandar Varan, but you may call me Jean if you so please.” He smirked charmingly, and approached, observing. Blonde, fluffed-up, and almost swallowed by her recliner, the Queen reminded him distinctly of a poodle. But the eyes of all the females were sharp and glittering like a vulture’s, so the Warlord would not underestimate any of them.

“It seems you have terribly desired to meet the notorious Black Jeweled Prince, but I’m afraid I’ll have to disappoint, ladies, for it is but I,” he uttered, with a sarcastically raised brow. “As keen you are for news of him, I’m certain you’ve already heard he resided in Shalador for a bit,” he continued blithely, though intently focused on the women’s reaction. If they hadn’t known, that would be already a point in his favour.

“But what you could not have known,” and here he paused shortly for emphasis, “is that I and some others happened upon him quite coincidentally. And what an encounter it was!” he chuckled lightly, fondly. “Ah, but let me not bore you with such inevitably sparse accounts too much,” he continued shortly after, just when their interest in the topic might have peaked. If his present company was as starved for the so-called Sadi, his attempted deflection would incite them all the more to know as much as they coul. “You must have been preoccupied with some rather riveting events, I am sure, to have thought my visit such a paltry thing,” he concluded, a brief forgiving smile stretching his lips.

Alice gave a delicate smile as her ladies gave soft mutters of approval. This was a rather bold fellow and most likely served in the court of a queen. Perhaps he was low enough in rank to feel slighted and tempted to break the contract with whomever he served? Oh, that was a daring thought, but one she would need to be careful about. “Lord Jean, it is a pleasure to have such an elegant man stop by. You spoke to the infamous Warlord Prince, or claim to? A truly marvelous feat to see you came out in one piece. He tends to be very temperamental from what I have heard.” Alice let a slight tone of doubt and amusement color her voice. She doubted the Warlord had ran into Saetan, the Black Jeweled Warlord Prince was elusive. “And you claim your visit is not paltry? On what pretense? You certainly did not imply otherwise to my Steward or make the proper arrangements.” The tiny queen chided, her ladies looking a bit curious as to what important news this man came with.

Sybl sauntered along behind, always behind. Once they entered the room he found his way to a nice quiet patch of wall where he could observe the goings on of court. He had to raise his eyebrows at the grand way "Jean" made his entrance. All charm and wit. If the man so desired, if he played his cards right, the Queen might be tempted to steal him away.

“I’ve felt the results of his temper for three days,” he drawled, then shrugged lightly. “Though I understand it’s a preposterous claim.” He lowered his eyelashes, curling his lips as if privately amused at a joke he wasn’t sharing with anyone. “The visit was rather impromptu, yes. Mainly due to the mercurial nature of the would-be-Queen I serve. She wishes to forge connections, though she can admittedly be a bit brash and willful due to her youth. So, I was sent here on a rather short notice, as you can see. Regardless, she is powerful. She is also familiar with Hayll, which I presumed might interest you,” he answered smoothly.

Alice perked up sitting a bit straighter as she considered the man before her with a shy smile that looked all too much like a cat in the cream. “Oh, you poor man. I do hear that the Black can be an utter brute.” Alice shook her head in disappointment. “Goodness knows it’s my day to deal with brutes. We just were forced to arrest an Eyrien for our good friends over in Askavi, a brute of a man. A handsome brute of a man. But being so well off and infamous as the Reaper is…” She shrugged in dismissal of the topic. “We couldn’t let him harm anyone in Winton! It just wouldn’t do at all!” There! Alice was giddy with herself. Let the man stew with that particular thought! Oh, he’d see her strength now! Though the tiny Queen did not care for this other Queen stretching and tenuous claim over this ‘Jean’. “But you were speaking of a young Queen? We would gladly seek to aid any sister from Hyall! Why it is curious why a man so polished as you would seek such a young and brash queen rather than looking for who is rising to be the province!” Alice fluttered her eyes as she heard Elle give a polite cough. A pointed warning she was stepping a bit far. “Well, perhaps when I myself have more polish.” She admitted, looking bashful while she mentally promised to scald her beloved cousin for the interruption. Why couldn’t she be the provincial queen? Who would be better than she?!

Jandar did not have to fake his astonishment. “The Reaper?” he asked in surprise. Inwardly, he was horrified. “I did not realize the likes of him wandered these is admirable that you managed to subjugate him, however. Anyone would commend you for such excellent work, Queen Alice,” he said with a nod of regard to her. His expression and voice had soon smoothed back into polite neutrality after the initial shock. “Let us just say that I am acquainted with some of my Lady’s relatives. I am not too dissatisfied with my position - call it an investment, if you will. Though perhaps in a few years, if the gains are not satisfactory, I may reconsider,” he offered. He did not miss one of the other women cough in warning when Alice was bragging too much, and briefly glanced at her. A sensible one, who would have thought. As he refocused back on the Queen in front of her, he couldn’t help but wonder if one such as her appreciated sound advice.

“Ah, surely you jest, when you are so charming,” the Warlord smiled obligingly. “You have a nice place here, and you are more attentive than most. I’ve heard you described as very dear to the town,” he paraphrased a comment he’d heard, not mentioning the negative tone it’d been said in. “You frequent some establishments to show your presence and promote the business, do you not?” he enquired rhetorically. “You ensure a good catch and harvest, which is essential, as such resources are rather scarce in the East, as you may know,” the Warlord complimented. “Beyond that, I would perhaps advise that you attempt to make the town even more inviting than it is; plenty pass through, but few seem to linger, if I am not mistaken,” he suggested carefully and politely. “Perhaps a local speciality, such as seafood cuisine? I am sure you know your town the best,” he added. “I do believe you might spread your influence if the people travelling to Chaillot were willing to mention Winton as a pleasant experience to others,” he explained. “Ah, but see how much I’ve rambled; a businessman’s habit, I’m afraid. I hope I haven’t bored you too much,” Jandar chuckled. He did wonder what Alice’s reaction would be, though.

Alice beamed in delight as the man was pleasantly surprised by her capture of the rogue Reaper. “A challenge, though one my Court could meet and defeat.” Though it had taken the lives of some of them and left a mess of her private garden. “Yes, I am rather grateful that the Queen of Askavi will deal with him. For such a lovely man, he is a Warlord Prince and they can be so difficult. Except for you, Sybl. You are just darling.” She directed a smooth wink to the servant. Oh, this man was so very sharp! Alice was delighted by the thought of adding him to her court to replace her fallen men. “Such a talent, why we could put you to use.” And your queen in the grave, though she kept the last bit to herself.

It was then Elle spoke up, studying the tea within her cup. “Cousin, I believe he was here on behalf of a Hyallian lady. Perhaps we ought to see about welcoming her to our festivities? Why not send Sybl to help the dear girl become acquainted with the local customs?” Her smirk at Jandar was nothing short of a challenge to see how he reacted to the jab.

Alice, picking up on her beloved cousin’s game, beamed as though it was the best idea she heard all day. “Yes! Why don’t we just do that! Have a feast prepared to welcome her tomorrow for lunch? That will give Sybl enough time to assist you with the local area which you may not have noticed. I know minor details can get missing in the towering cities of Draega.” The tall buildings of the capital of Hyall shut out nature even as they shut in Hyall’s Hundred Families. The noble houses of true aristo Blood in that particular Territory. It was a odd and, widely considered, snobbish tradition. One that had the rest of Terreille looking sideways and tutting.

“Thank you, Queen Alice. That was but a preview of the benefits of our surely mutually benefitial future alliance,” Jandar replied smoothly. He noted the jab Alice’s cousin directed him, but did not deign to respond beyond a mockingly raised eyebrow. What was it to him to have a falsely presented image of his true Queen maligned, after all? Nothing at all, of course, so his hackles weren’t stirred in the slightest. “Yes, I do believe that would be helpful. It is very kind of you to offer, and I am certain she will be eager to accept. The sights of this quaint town shall be quite the nice prelude to a small luncheon,” he answered oh-so-sweetly, accepting the invitation with a regal nod.

His self-pleased smile showed he was completely aware his two descriptors of the town and Alice’s property would make it seem as if he saw them as but a small if pleasant trifle. He had fun imagining he’d manage to incite her into trying to impress...only to be left hanging on the morrow when no-one showed up. Of course, he and company would have to have vanished by then...but he’d think of that later. For now, he made his goodbyes. “If that is all, I will ask to take my leave. We have much to prepare before meeting anew, after all,” he bowed curtly and fluidly, not too shallowly to come across as crass but neither so deep he’d seem obsequious. He arched an expectant eyebrow at the so-called Sybl before taking his leave, urging the man to get on with it. Silently, and on the way out of the manor, he was already considering whether it would be too presumptuous to ask Mikhail to dispose of the man discreetly.
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