Queen Morganae Meets with King Raenilar
(294 Skullcleaver 379)
Were you to have been an insect on the wall in the the Hall of Audiences of the Great Tower of Shard, still looking exactly as it did when the Late Ferdahl held Court here, this is what you would have witnessed on the 294th day of the year in the month of Skullcleaver, 379 years after the Victory of Lanival, the Redeemer.
Although exposed on all but one side to the rows of white benches reserved for observers, this dais, spread as it is with an array of large square pillows for the comfort of both Ferdahl and guests, manages to retain a feeling of intimacy. The doors leading back to the hallway are set in a curving, mirrored wall, and the floor beneath the pillows is covered by a finely woven indigo silk rug.
The Warrior King Raenilar was seated when Queen Morganae and Captain Herrick were ushered into the room by Koromas.
Morganae gazed at Raenilar and asked quickly, “So. Why am I here?”
Koromas bowed to Raenilar, announcing their entrance, albeit a little late, “As you commanded , the Queen and her…what ever.”
Morganae glanced at Koromas with a smirk.
Raenilar chuckled, “Yes why are you here…”Raenilar said, “Because I invited you.”
Morganae said, “I believe it, more that you were to concerned for your own well being to come to me.”
Raenilar chuckled at her response.
Morganae said, “I, decided I could afford to be gracious.”
“Yes you are ever gracious,” then he asked, “Won’t you sit down? or do you prefer to loom?”
Herrick frowned slightly.
Morganae said, “While looming as you so aptly put it, is rather enjoyable …” she sat down on the square pillow.
Raenilar chuckled then looked at her, and stated, “I understand that you have arranged a wedding.”
“Oh yes, I had wondered how quickly you’d have heard that bit of news.”
Raenilar asked, “How does the prince feel about marrying? I would have thought you would keep him close. So you can watch him.” he asked her directly.
“I’ve been wondering how concerned you might be upon hearing of it,” and broke out in a laugh, “He’s been close for far too long. He bores so easily on the mountain.”
Raenilar told her, “What a shame. You could always allow him to do something. Besides be a pretty boy.”
Her response was cold, “You try my patience. However, I’ve wondered what plans you’ve been making since you heard the news of my visit from the Elothean.”
Raenilar smiled and said, “I would think you cultivated paitence at your age.”
Morganae settled herself more comfortably on the pillow. “True, though I can also afford to follow a whim, should I choose to do so. Not many can say the same.”
Raenilar said, “But yes I had to wonder about this deal.You surely must know I am not that easy to defeat. I sent armies packing once.”
Morganae laughed, “Think you so?”
Raenilar said, “Yes I do. The boy Baron is out of it this time. The Prince is all hot wind.”
“It seems to me, your strongest mind when it comes to military strategy has been sent north,” she offered.
Raenilar said, “He was sent there for a reason but the army follows me.”
Morganae inclined her head slightly, gazing maliciously at Raenilar, “Are you still so certain of that?”
Raenilar smiled at her, “And can you really afford to march out of the mountain and leave yourself with less …protection?” adding, “As well loved as you are?”
She laughed countering, “I had thought perhaps you were paving your return to the desert, by sending Yhaman ahead.”
Raenilar said, “The thought had crossed my mind.”
“I have nothing to fear, I assure you.”
Raenilar asked, “I do not fear either so where does that leave us?” Morganae gazed at Raenilar, remaining silent as he continued, “Let us suppose I decide for the good of my people it’s time to go.”
Raenilar continued, “And let us also suppose I wish to do it without a fight from you. My people do not prosper here.”
“Have you come to such a thought? I had wondered if that had yet crossed your mind.”
Raenilar shrugged at her, “The lands and weather are not what they are used to. Being pinned inside walls is not good for us.”
wMorganae nodded to Raenilar, “Wise of you to realize at this late date. Have you done anything to prepare for war here in this location since sending Yhaman off?”
Raenilar said, “I have made some arrangements.”
Morganae said, “I believe the same. You’ve all grown more suited to the warm sands.”
Raenilar asked, “But to be truthful?”
“Oh, by all means.”
Raenilar said, “I have had it in my head to leave for some time. I am torn of course.”
Morganae nodded to Raenilar. “Of course.”
Raenilar looked thoughtful, and asked her, “If I was to take my people back to the desert would you oppose me?”
Morganae keeps her silence. Pondering the matter.
Koromas shifted his weight.
Morganae asked Raenilar, “But why would you actually change your course, now?”
Raenilar asked, “Is it not the mark of a true ruler to put his people’s welfare before his own?”
“Naturally.” she nodded to Raenilar.
Raenilar responded, “As I said they do not prosper here. Oh make no mistake…I could keep and hold this place. The question I must ask myself now is do I want to.”
“Perhaps,” she spoke evenly, “Yes, most certainly that is the question. However, did none of these possibilities occur to you, when you first set out to conquer Shard?”
Raenilar said, “At the time of my tests I was caught up in the revenge and justice of it all. Although some slipped through our fingers.”
“Revenge at times may seem sweet, but one must learn to temper that, and hone the other aspects as well,” she offerred it like advice.
He nodded, “I have decided that these lands and this city is not the home we left.”
Raenilar clarified his statement, “Or the place we dreamed of and plotted to regain.”
Morganae raised an eyebrow, “You’re certain of this?”
Raenilar shrugged, “A great deal of people want to go back to the desert.” He glanced at Koromas.
“That’s to be expected. Though they followed you, and your cause, they were all uprooted.” her gaze followed his and landed at Karomas, too.
Raenilar said, “And I feel that the immortal who has been my guide has left it in my hands now to make the right choice.”
“It must be difficult for all of you,” she nodded to him. “Indeed, the test of a true ruler, is guiding your people wisely.”
Raenilar drew her back to the question, “To that end I must ask you again, will you oppose my leaving?”
“And what reason would I have to believe you’ve truly had such a drastic change of heart?”
He chuckled, “You will just have to trust me.”
Raenilar chuckled again, “Amusing as it sounds.”
Raenilar said, “As I will trust you.”
“I don’t often give my trust so readily. Perhaps you had best convince me, with more than just this sudden turnabout.”
Raenilar looked thoughtful as he spoke, “Regardless of what you do we ARE leaving.”
She gazed intently at him.
Raenilar said, “I am taking my people back to thier homes for their own good.”
“You’ve actually begun plans to that end?”
Raenilar nodded at her, “All the time people thought we were moving south it was a blind. I was moving some north.”
“How so? Other than Yhaman clearing the way to the North?”
Raenilar said, “Koromas here has been seeing to that movement.”
She rested her gaze on Koromas briefly, returning it quickly to Raenilar.
Raenilar said, “When the time comes the rest of us are going to leave by the most expdient road.”
“You’ve absolutely decided on this course then?”
Raenilar nodded, “I have. We have trade with King Arhhdan. And we will prosper in the desert as we always did.”
“While I believe this may be wise, I find it difficult to envision you coming to this conclusion so quickly.”
He chuckled, “Not quickly and not lightly.”
“I rather thought after all your plans you’d be hard pressed to change them.” she gave him a knowing nod.
Raenilar shrugged, “And think of it this way.”
She gazed at him.
Raenilar said, “I will be gone and you will hold the strings to the next ferdahl.”
“I have no concern in that regard,” she replied with a short laugh.
Raenilar laughed, “Oh now please.”
Morganae waved the thought away with her hand, chuckling. “Perhaps you misread my meaning.”
Raenilar said, “Very well then you will umm over see things here again. Is that better?”
“Haven’t I always?”
Raenilar said, “Not while I sit on the throne.”
“Perhaps,” she offered, then said, “Be that as it may, back to your plans. Mine surely hold no interest for you.”
Both of them smiled at each other.
Raenilar said, “I am always interested in the ruling policies of others.”
“I rarely have interest in revealing my own plans,” she smiled evenly. “To any.”
Raenilar explained, “And I have stated my plans honestly.”
“So you’ve said,” she nodded at him.
Raenilar said, “And truly aside from one or two special people here this constant state of hostility is tiresome.”
“I should think so,” she nodded at him, “but it was your choice.”
Raenilar said, “I must either crush them totaly or move on and take my own people with me.”
“Ruling here has become that abhorant?”
Raenilar replied, “Wet landers have no honor.”
Morganae shrugged, “A sense of honor may come differently to different individuals.”
Raenilar continued, “Or rather…They only understand honor when it suits them.”
Morganae nodded slighty saying, “Perhaps.”
Raenilar said, “Again I am doing what is best for my people. I thought coming here was best and all the tests I went through seemed to point to it.”
Morganae gazed directly into Raenilar’s eyes, listening, “Now they point elsewhere?”
Raenilar said, “And now the immortal who guides me is leading me back the way I came. And those few who have opened themselves up to understanding us will be welcome to follow us once we are settled.”
Morganae nodded, “Indeed, if you sincerely mean this. Perhaps..”
Raenilar interrupted her, “I have been honest with you.”
“I am beginning to believe you have. Perhaps we might come to some agreement after all.”
He nodded, “I do not require much of you.”
“What exactly were you hoping to secure from me? Insofar as this meeting goes.”
Raenilar stated, “Do not march against me, do not give troops to the Prince when he comes.”
Morganae gazed at him.
Raenilar added, “Although I hope to be gone by the time he stirs himself.”
“I might be agreeable to offering you aid,” she pondered
Raenilar said, “The Baron is busy,” he chuckled.
“Indeed, he is.”
Raenilar asked the Queen, “Then we have, for lack of a better term, a deal?”
“I should require some agreements from yourself as well, providing I do concede to offer anything.”
Raenilar responded, “We can work out the details.”
“I require more from you now.”
Raenilar replies, “Tell me.”
“Should I assist your.. escape,” she smiled.
Raenilar quickly corrected her, “Relocation.”
“Yes, your relocation. Then I would need to be sure you would follow certain instructions.”
Raenilar nodded, “Go on.”
“Well, you’ve certainly made a number of enemies.”
Raenilar said with a smile, “Yes , you surely understand how that works.”
“My enemies are of no concern for now,” she shrugged. “Your name is now known far and wide, where once it was consigned to mere shadows in the shifting sands.”
Raenilar said, “I think this is a good thng that my people are no longer mere scraps and cast offs. But please go on.”
“If, I secure your safe, relocation,” the queen bargained, “Then I need your word, that you would return to those shadows in the sands. Consigning yourself to anonimity. Until perhaps some time in the future, when you are a mere scrap of lost lore, and old history.”
Raenilar pondered, “We will move into the desert and remain quiet.”
The Queen narrowed her eyes.
Raenilar continued, “We will be content there and not seek other lands.”
“You will not again return south? Nor make war on any of my allies? That is part of my stipulations as well.”
Raenilar smiled, “As I have said. If we are left in peace we will live in peace.”
“You leave my allies in peace, with time to prosper as well. If you are willing to agree to all those terms..”
Raenilar interrupted her, “We will not lay down in the desert to die mind you.”
“I had not expected you to do so. I offer you a peaceful solution to your predicament.”
Raenilar nodded, “Then I agree.”
She nodded, too, “Then I agree as well, we have a bargain.”
“I’ll send word to you as soon as the arrangements have been made.”
Raenilar nodded, “We will continue to prepare to leave.”
“Yes, by all means, continue preparations.” She turned her gaze to Herrick, and smiled.
Raenilar told her, “Koromas will show you out.”
Morganae nodded to Raenilar. Koromas bowed to him, and they left, the Queen and her Captain.