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  #2116  
Old Sep 17th, 2022, 01:37 AM
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House Baliss, Receiving RoomGlenn glances his sister at the side and pats her hand on his shoulder. He otherwise listens contemplatively to the outline of resources from each in turn. It is not all that encouraging. "The soonest you can get us those numbers, Viceroy, the better. We need to know what we yet lack."

The baronet shows some surprise by Kahlan's funding proposal. He gives it a second thought and finds himself much less so. The glances toward him prompt his thoughts aloud, so he obliges them with a smile. "This is news to me, but I can't say it unexpected from a major house. Frankly, knowing her, funding or no, I could easily see Princess Kahlan making a fine Councilor. If we did not use her talent in such fashion, we could hardly blame observers from questioning our wisdom." He cannot comment on her accounting talent.

Glenn takes a slow sip and sets it down after Mozara's account. "A sobering caution, m'lady. A sustaining trade route must needs be a top priority after setting up our position on the island. Of course, keeping regular tradeships unnoticed will be tricky over the long term, a challenge we will have to examine once we are present on the island." The baronet casts his eyes toward Bell with some interest. "Our erudite mage was sharing briefly something of the terrain we can expect for the site of our future colony, including fortuitous systems of caverns."
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  #2117  
Old Sep 25th, 2022, 11:55 PM
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House Baliss, Receiving RoomGlancing only momentarily at her brother's hand on her shoulder, Viconia looks back on the group of nobles after having presented her figures. The words of her brother, as well as her own gaze travels to look the way of the future viceroy.

Gerard answers Glenn briefly, "It is the nature of this particular beast, Baronet, that I cannot estimate the numbers for supplies for forces outside of my own counting. Especially forces that I am only recently made familiar with." He says, glancing the way of Lady Vena as he does.

The rest of the talk goes without need of Gerard's commentary, nor any of the others at, or around the table. However, it was soon becoming Bell's turn to speak, and Glenn brining attention to her rouses her from her mediations at the table. Her eyes glance upwards before looking at each drow in turn, "Erudite being astute flattery, though flattery nonetheless. Yes, I had some associates that were skilled in divination look into the island that we sail toward. The terrain is rough, and would be mountainous, were the land mass itself not so sunken. What little flatland there is, is dominated by pines. The blessing of this island is that, aside from obvious coastline, there are caverns provides a natural, shady ingress into a couple regions of the island. The tunnels are not so wide and cavernous, but they can serve as an immediate staging site. If I am as read up on colonization as I believe I am. As for what House Xavius is bringing at their disposal-" She pauses, then looks at the number of nobles at the table, "Ten mages, and a host of apprentices. Among them are budding experts of spatial magic, divination, alteration, geomancy and abjuration to accommodate for any lack in enthusiastic manpower or self-sufficiency. Others were called for, but those of sufficient skill in illusion or charms to keep many humans from looking too closely at the island are seldom open to being out in the wilds. The ones I bring have loyalty in the family, if they are not family themselves, and to my knowledge, for our immediate goals, their skillsets are more suited to this task than an enchanter or prideful battle mage."

"A blessing from House Xavius that I, and all present are doubtless grateful for." Gerard speaks with praise in his tone, "Good casters are difficult to come by, as is the gold to coax them from comforts." He claps his hands together, "I will not pry into how skilled they are at doing their tasks, and I will redouble my efforts in providing dry foodstuffs for the journey, after meeting with the Princess at a later date to get solid numbers. Now, our host-" Gerard looks to Mozara, "Wish to proceed further looking at details, or think now is the proper time to break some bread?"
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  #2118  
Old Oct 6th, 2022, 04:36 PM
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House Baliss, Receiving RoomOf the initial four noble pillars being tasked with establishing the colony, Mozara had the least exposure to Bell Xavius. For Harkon and Reinhardt, through a combination of exposure, expectation and rumour she had a very measured estimation as to what they might be bringing to bear upon their shared task. House Xavius and their capacity were more of a mystery and it was difficult to determine what fraction of their over-all might Bell had accumulated for the journey. The mage's not-so-subtle jabs at the magical specialties of herself and Glenn's other sister fall on the practiced shield of her own bemused expression. "Excellent additions, one and all. I look forward to seeing them exercise their power for the good of the collective colony." Mozara remarks, pleasantly*enough, her tone one more of practiced politeness than true sincerity.

At Gerard's prodding, Mozara gestures to the dishes already present before those seated. "I encourage you all to partake in the excellence of the Baliss kitchens. The difference in the quality of our future meals will be noticeable I think to one and all." She looks about the room, adding physical gestures to words to encourage her guests to indulge, avoiding doing so as host first out of a sense of etiquette and propriety.

After a short period of either consumption or awkwardly exchanged looks, Mozara presses forward on what she believes to be the key issue. "I do recall, future Viceroy, that you had spoken very encouragingly of the opportunities in trade this particular endeavour will afford us. Since establishing a trade supply of food as quite high upon the list of nearly everyone seated here, I wondered if you had anything promisingly concrete on that front?"
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  #2119  
Old Oct 15th, 2022, 10:16 PM
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House Baliss, Receiving RoomA weary sigh passes the baronet's lips, and he gestures back to the viceroy, "If you don't have that supplies info now, there is not much we can do to supplement. To better assure us, will you ... (& your friends) be able to take care of the needed supplies for your contingent, whatever required?"

The baronet flashes a brief grin at the mage's comment on flattery. He had already heard most of the intel about the island's terrain. It serves much to reassure gaining a foothold enough to grow their presence. Rising from his propped elbow, Glenn listens more attentively to Bell's summary of her accompanying mages. He chuckles near the end. "Somewhat resembling that battle mage, I am pleased to hear the magical repertoire you assemble the personal loyalty. Few better bonds when plans are tested."

The Baronet Harkon regards the laid out dish and takes a deep sniff. Nodding appreciatively, Glenn has a hearty morsel. He enjoys the rare experience of fine dining. The occasional appreciative hum sounds while Mozara makes her own inquiry of the viceroy. The talk of a trade route readily piques his interest. Glenn's gaze snaps to Gerard, little effort made to veil his interest in the answer.
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-G.K. Chesterton, Tremendous Trifles (1909), XVII: "The Red Angel"
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Old Nov 25th, 2022, 12:28 AM
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House Baliss, Receiving Room"I will be able to, Baronet Glenn." Gerard responds, waving away any precise details on how he would be fulfilling supply needs.

Bell, equally skilled, it seems, in the art of courtly demeanor, despite the jabs. She, herself laughs along with Glenn and smiles with Mozara, "They shall prove that one good caster is worth tens of artisans. In time, my entourage might be worth hundreds each once their skills are well exercised." She then glances the way of Glenn, "Though I certainly hope preparation keeps plans from being tested, so loyalty is not even within the bounds of being a question."

Servants walk in, each bringing dishes of elegance and flavor to laden the meeting table that the nobles sat at. Plates of porcelain, laden with engravings of Baliss symbols are laid out before each head at the table to fill at leisure to sup on the foods provided at Mozara's word.

As the minor feast is distributed, Gerard answers Mozara, "On matters of trade, I myself have engaged with deals of trade with many peoples. Though a great number are residing within the Desert Aryn, which is on the other side of the continent from Valosia. But to my knowledge there are a few peoples that had been inconvenienced at least by the recent political shifts in Valos. Not unlike our own people." He then gestures to Lady Vena, "My confidant on such matters has assured me that there are two states that border Valosia that have had recent conflicts with the Silver Flame. Blackguard agents are present within their regions and can speak on our interests until such a time that we can present ourselves."

Last edited by Vaerdis; Jan 15th, 2023 at 02:09 PM.
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  #2121  
Old Dec 9th, 2022, 01:01 AM
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House Baliss, Receiving RoomThe baronet raises a glass to Bell. "May we see their growth and never have need for their testing, Lady Xavius."

Eating slowly, Glenn considers with a flat expression the viceroy's dismissive assurance. It delivers the minimum he sought, but it lacks any of the encouragement he hoped for. It looks that such won't be forthcoming. The thought threatens to sour his mood over the otherwise delectable meal.

The baronet perks up at the discussion of Valosian neighbors. 'Finally, something we can make progress.' He is far from comforted by the Blackguard presence speaking "on their interests." 'Tentacles like a squid,' he muses. Harkon lord drinks deeply from his glass. Swirling it, he looks to their hostess. "Hm. Lady Mozara, I suppose this about our target's neighbors new to you? Mayhap, we might a little more about these potential allies?" Which ally he is discussing, the lordling leaves just a touch ambiguous.
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-G.K. Chesterton, Tremendous Trifles (1909), XVII: "The Red Angel"

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  #2122  
Old Jan 12th, 2023, 08:42 PM
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House Baliss, Receiving RoomOnce assured that her guests were eating with some enjoyment, the hostess herself liberally partakes of the food placed in front of herself. The cleaner her plate becomes, the more thoughtful and perhaps even melancholy the woman appears.

"Potential partners in trade are nearly the same as potential partners in arms, such is nature of our proximity to Valos." Mozara answers the Baronet, waiting a few seconds to swallow some pastry-wrapped meat and dab her lips delicately. "Denizens of the Desert Aryn, including Orcish ones. Grippli from the Great Swamp and Vishkanya of the Emerald Jungle. There have been reports of the last two in conflict so some delicate maneuvering ought to be considered for those two in particular." The details, dry as they are inspire a thirst in the woman who turns to her wine glass -refilled a second time already- to parch it. "It would be so lovely if such barbaric creatures would dance to the tune of persuasive silver tongues, we seem to be rife with them after all. Alas." Placing her cup down, she looks at Glenn with an easy smile and heavy-lidded eyes. "No doubt such efforts will need to be coupled with a display of strength, to which my eyes and expectations fall quite comfortably upon you and yours. Or perhaps the good Lady Xavius might deign to lower herself or one of her arcane retinue to impress upon them their inferiority through magical means." Mozara shrugs here, after giving Bell a respectful nod for her point of prowess.

"There is one additional trading partner that we haven't talked about. Valosia itself." Mozara adds, looking particularly sly. "Presuming we can conduct business behind enough suitable facades to ensure our safety, it tickles me greatly to think of the country we intend on toppling aid in doing so." Mozara looks across the table thoughtfully at Gerard. "Risky, to be sure, but our chances improve significantly with competence. What do you think my dear Baronet? Does such subterfuge grate against your protective instincts or might you have cunning enough a mind to shepherd a move like that? Do you faith in your fellow schemers?" Mozara looks back to Glenn, amusement writ clearly across her face beyond just a playful smirk before popping a small piece of sliced melon into her mouth.
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  #2123  
Old Jan 15th, 2023, 02:27 PM
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House Baliss, Receiving RoomGerard and most of the other table occupants are quiet and enjoying their meal during Glenn and Mozara's discussions. Bell does eke out some nervous-sounding laughter at Mozara volunteering her or her retinue as some sort of force demonstration. Clearly it is complimentary to magical prowess, but someone of refinement like the noble lady did not appear to foresee exchanges with many savages in the diplomatic sense.

Gerard had a joyed smile on his face as Mozara mentions trade with Valosia itself, "How bold." He simply exclaims, while, for the first time since the meeting began, in the corner of the room one could hear a buxom servant choking back a laugh. Gerard offers, "It would be tricky, no doubt. From what I hear, most underground connections in Valosia itself are snuffed out, so trade with local mayors or merchants would need be done under the table, lest the priesthood and Valosia's military catch wind of foreigners of dubious origin. Of course, with proper magic guise, we might be able to pass as some foreign surface cousins of ours preparing for a great journey. But the amount of supply will need be low for that purpose to avoid drawing attention."

~~Hours Later~~


Large and small topics being exhausted, and meals shared, the table soon clears one party after another. First to dismiss themselves is the Quoran Judge, then Lady Shadesoul on some immediate business concerns. Tens of minutes after, Lady Kahlan announces that she needs to return to her family to make arrangements, Lady Xavius then takes the opportunity to leave with her.

The table being so thin of personages, Gerard suggests to the host, "Perhaps we shall all retire for the evening to properly make last individual preparations." He glances toward Glenn, Viconia and Scarlet, "Unless there is something further needed, of course."

At this que Mozara's handmaid returns to her side and bows her head to receive orders.
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  #2124  
Old Jan 21st, 2023, 11:43 PM
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House Baliss, Receiving RoomThe baronet receives with some pleasant surprise Mozara's well researched intel. Sipping from a glass, he raises his brows. "Well, someone is amply informed. If as you say, then we have plenty of options for a securer foothold." Details of interacting and negotiating will require much further study, but certainly feasible. The Harkon commander's grin stretches. "Aye, m'lady, strong arms do much to ensure good neighbors ... which we will blithely supply."

Glenn starts at their hostess' latter suggestion. He strokes his chin contemplatively. "Bold indeed. I'm not against it. Anonymous deals are the very reason for middlemen. It might even be a slow way to win over some of the factions within Valosia. As the viceroy cautions, we will need to tread carefully all the same," he observes with furrowed brow.


As the meeting winds down, the Harkon baronet bids polite farewells to each of the other guests, some far more tenderly than others. He thinks of saying something about the Blackguard agent once she departs, but he decides against it before the viceroy. Gerard's suggestion is well taken. Glenn nods and rises from his chair. "I concur that this a good place to close, Lord Reinhardt." Other business that evening draws nearer. He bows cordially to the viceroy and then to their hostess. "Lady Mozara, the hostess and venue were both delightful and inviting. Many thanks."

Pausing a moment, the Harkon lord adds, "Actually, if m'lady will indulge me a quick word as we step out into the hall?" He signs to his own entourage to go on ahead of him.
 

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  #2125  
Old Jan 25th, 2023, 11:39 AM
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House Baliss, Receiving RoomIn regards to her daring suggestion, there was more caution on display than Mozara had hoped for and more especially on the wrong faces in particular amongst the group. The hostess shrugs all of it off by imbibing yet another healthy portion of her cup her suggestion had been made, the idea planted and this wasn't the time to push.



With readily apparent enjoyment, Mozara partakes liberally of the food and especially the wine if the building blush in her cheeks were any indication. Despite this, her role as hostess to this meeting is still attended to with a hawkish seriousness. With a glance here or a small gesture there, her servants scurry about to ensure that none of the attendees are left wanting for even a moment. Those that are the first to leave are given a servant escort through halls the manor, but Mozara does indeed stand to give Lady Bell Xavius a proper farewell.

This likewise when Gerard signals an end to the evening himself, Mozara stands respectfully once more and clasps her hands in front of herself in preparation to bid the other nobles farewell. "We are all aligned on what shortcomings there are to shore up." She nods in ready agreement to the Viceroy then turns to Glenn and performs a shallow curtsey to accompany a smile. "It pleases me greatly to know you have enjoyed your time here, my lord." Her eyebrow quirks when Glenn requests an additional meeting. She raises her hand with an open palm and turns her head slightly, commanding patience for the servant who quickly came to her side. "Of course, my Lord. Should the rest of you depart in my absence please accept my forgiveness for not bidding you a proper farewell." Mozara addresses the remainder of the party before moving to the hall with the Baronet, a servant or two of hers following from a healthy distance.

The pace is a languid one as the pair walk the upper hall of Baliss Manor, and Mozara's eyes travel in the same fashion across every door and corner. "Mmm... I most certainly intend to ask you the same, but as you did inquire first..." The lady blinks her eyes a few times in gathering her thoughts, taking more time than usual. "I think she, and they, will be quite the boon to have aiding us as needed. In my experience they are every bit as resourceful and connected as they boast. I place more faith in their connections than I do the Viceroy's." The next few lazy steps are taken in silence. "All will be well while their interests coincide with the Dread Council... though should that ever cease... " Mozara shakes her head. "I have done my best to steel the Viceroy such that Lady Shadesoul's hooks might not find ample purchase, and the Lady herself has been provided firm reminders to whom we ultimately answer. We shall see. She gives me the impression of a woman not inclined to impetuousness, should there be a cleaving, we ought have warning enough with the eyes to see it." Mozara tilts her head and her eyes slide over to look sidelong at Glenn expectantly.

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  #2126  
Old Jan 25th, 2023, 11:29 PM
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House Baliss, Receiving RoomThe baronet smiles at his hostess' acceptance. The two take a private walk down the hallway. He chuckles to himself at her musing about the question. "Well, great minds think alike, m'lady," he quips.

Glenn keeps his silence to let the enchantress explain her thoughts on the shadow-touched agent. His visage remains impassive through her description, save some encouraging nods. He catches her expectant look. Glenn flashes a mirthless smile. "I confess more distrust, though more of her organization than herself, to the point that it prodded our nation into doing its dirty work for it." Folding hands behind his back, he shakes his head. "Little than mere speculations for now. I do not question their resources or far reaching influence. I am even less worried about a gross divergence between Olomak and the Blackguards. I am concerned more for minor 'favors' or 'conditions' demanded in exchange for continued assistance on which we rely." He gestures to one side and frowns. "The factions agree to toppling Valosia's regime, but I wager much disagreement in what Valosia shall look like in the aftermath. "

The Harkon commander sighs and tucks his arms behind him. "If I were you, I would keep close to our viceroy. You wield far more influence with him than I, whatever respect he holds me. Whatever aid we accept, nothing we cannot lose; we need avoid becoming reliant upon the Blackguards. Reliance while in a hostile land, they will surely use that against us."

He glances to the side. "Is the lady versed in magics? Know you her personal talents?"
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-G.K. Chesterton, Tremendous Trifles (1909), XVII: "The Red Angel"
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  #2127  
Old Jan 26th, 2023, 12:31 PM
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House Baliss, HallwayMozara titters a little at Glenn's remark, but is nodding agreeably throughout. "I would be quite surprised, my lord, to find that even our own visions for Valosia reborn were very similar. Your point however is well-taken, just exactly what differences we imagine may have a great deal of importance." She tilts her head from side to side in almost child-like manner as she takes another thoughtful pause. "Your chief concern is well-founded too, but we ought take each of these requests on their individual merits and the Viceroy is a business man above all things. For every way that we may rely upon these sudden allies, we must take great pain in quickly using their resources to create our own connections and remove a potential knife they may hold to our throats." Mozara gives Glenn a pointed look. "Speaking of such savage things, I confess to be properly surprised by the size of the force the Blackguard intend to bring. Quite a lot of mouths to feed and I heard no mention of them intending to attend to that particular need and that is just one of many. It was a number that I noticed exceeded the size of your own force. Veterans too, apparently, whatever meaning that might convey. You are concerned with a conflict between those that serve the Council and the those that do not. What confidence do you have in prevailing in a very direct confrontation?"

Glenn's next suggestion elicits another reaction, escalating to a giggle this time. "I will do my best to keep his ear, but I fear your estimation of whatever sway I hold over the Viceroy is sadly exaggerated. This may be an occasion where it would be best for ourselves, perhaps even with the inclusion of Lady Xavius to present a united front. Together we can provide a more effective counterweight speaking on behalf of not only ourselves but the Council as well rather than a whisper here or suggestion there. Ah, I can already foresee our hushed conversations in dark corners to prepare ourselves already." Another giggle, stifled quite late with a delicate hand to her lips.

At the last question Mozara merely shrugs. "All I know is that she is not of this world." She shakes her head. "Even so, her resolve to the cause is unwavering and she answers to another who would undoubtedly supply her replacement should the need arise. Supernatural, I believe. A frustrating term to apply given the myriad talents and vulnerabilities comprised within." Mozara gives Glenn an apologetic look, delivered sidelong as has most of their gazes been exchanged thus far.
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Old Jan 27th, 2023, 10:38 PM
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House Baliss, Receiving RoomGlenn chuckles. "Surely not so different among us. Divvied portions of lands, slain leaders, puppet government, ample tribute, but otherwise minimal day-to-day changes to our vassal nation. I imagine the Blackguard having strong opinions on additional changes."

He gives a pleased nod and echoes, "Yes, ply their lent strength to grow our native strength else we become the puppets."

The Harkon commander scowls to himself and snorts. "Likewise unpleasantly surprised, m'lady. Our viceroy gave an assurance, albeit paltry, that he would handle the necessary resources for his force. I can only guess what veteran means to them, but nothing assuring. Of course, I am concerned with a rival force; that does not inure to colony's security." He lets out a slow breath, his cloak rustling behind him. "I have only the numbers of a vague force to go on. Assuming them even half competent at their art, a battle would hinge upon tactics and the stock of lieutenants. I know mine but not theirs." The answer is not particularly uplifting.

Glenn nearly scoffs at Mozara's bout of humility. "My lady, unless his mind overthrown or you enact some terrible treachery, Viceroy Reinhardt fancies you. I am sure direct pressure from his peers will cure many ills; I will see to their defense as surely as from a rampart. And we can whisper plots to your heart's content. I merely do not want this newcomer weaving a subtler but more constant pressure on him." He shrugs and grins. "And if I keep my counsels of what will lend you and him greater happiness, what of it?"

The Harkon lord sighs and looks upward. "Frustrating but not unexpected. Much like playing a game where the enemy pieces of wholly unknown properties." He shakes his head. Halting, he turns. "My curiosity is sated, m'lady. If you have naught else, I shan't keep you from the plenty we both have to attend."
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-G.K. Chesterton, Tremendous Trifles (1909), XVII: "The Red Angel"
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Old Jan 28th, 2023, 02:32 PM
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House Baliss, Upper HallwayWhere Mozara, expectedly, does not seem overly pleased by Glenn Harkon's estimation of how a battle between the Blackguard and his own forces might unfold, she retains a relative poker face of mild amusement when the commander asserts that Gerard Reinhardt desires her. "Well, at your behest my lord, I will endeavour to become... indispensable to our dear Viceroy, for the sake of all our necks."

A few more paces down, Mozara turns to face Glenn squarely. "If that's really all that I can sate for you..." She's replies, eyes full of suggestive promise. So quickly as to make Glenn wonder if she had not always comported as such, Mozara snaps quickly into a prim and proper posture and expression having presumed Glenn's likely response. She beckons one of the servants trailing the pair closer and waits until they stop close by, bowing their head respectively and clasping their hands in front of themselves. "You. You will escort the Baronet to the rest of his party and waiting carriage. My lord, once again, thank you for gracing my ancestral home with your presence." Mozara performs another graceful if shallow curtsey for the armored Drow. "I bid you farewell and wish you luck in your preparations. We shall all be getting overly acquainted with each other soon enough."
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Old Feb 6th, 2023, 01:25 AM
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House Baliss"All our necks will thank you for it," replies the Harkon lord with a grin. "And no loss if you find the mission ... pleasant." Whatever the Reinhardt lordling is waiting for, Glenn hopes the man get on with it.

Glenn rolls his eyes at Mozara's suggestive quip. His impassive mien suggests one no stranger to such flirting. The baronet straightens himself in similar decorous posture. He takes her hand and returns a bow to her. "And kindred luck for your own, m'lady. A delightful time and productive. Yes, we shall be seeing much more of each other. Until then, Lady Mozara." Standing to his height, the Harkon baronet takes his leave and follows the servant toward his carriage outside.

OOCAlmost sad for the unsecreted session to finally close.
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"The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon."
-G.K. Chesterton, Tremendous Trifles (1909), XVII: "The Red Angel"
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