Council of Kingdoms Transcript

This is what Luvanar saw/experienced when he decided to go to the Council of Kingdoms meeting on October 29th, 2011 and made a speech. If you don’t think that you would have talked with Luvanar about this and don’t want to metagame, don’t read it.

The Council Chamber is a roughly ovoid room made of white marble and polished hardwoods about 300’ across at its widest part. The bulk of that is taken up by tiered comfortable seating- enough for perhaps 1,000 people, looking down toward the center of the room, like an arena. The wall of what would be the fighting pit in such a place is set with archways covered with red velvet drapery. In the center of this space stands a raised platform on a three-step dais, at the center of which is a round table.

As the assembled people find their places, the lights in the room, (save those that shed light on the arena space) go lower, and two liveried female humans step through the northernmost archway, one carrying a bowl, the other, a bag.

“Good Afternoon, Citizens,” the bag-holder greets the crowd, “and welcome back to the Fourth Day of the Council of Kingdoms for the Year 1028.” She reaches towards the bowl, and draws what looks like a small token from it. “Announcing the rulers of the lands, in random order,”

“Just Lorgen, of Tok-Fultaar”
An older orc, dressed richly in skins with a tall feather headdress steps through a curtained archway and mounts the dais, standing proudly, as he faces the politely applauding crowd.

“Duke Grinnash, of Lotash”
A slightly taller-than-average, but lean human dressed richly in green and black silks and velvet strides through the curtains, clearly used to the procedure and even grandstanding a bit, much to the delight of the crowd. He vaults the final step and stands smartly, clicking his heels together with panache.

“Queen Jardeth Kathaor of the High Elves of Moonwalk Valley.”
“A beautiful elfwoman dressed in many layers of gossamer fabric strides out, her gaze is icy, and seems to slide over the other rulers as if they were not there as she takes her place to the sound of polite applause and some whispered conversation. With your likely absurd Listen check, those of you who choose to can hear coins being exchanged and wagers made.

“King Meleus of Iugosantio”
A balding gnome with deep frown lines wearing a deep purple cape over light blue robes walks out and takes a seat.

“Lord-Commander Ashtenther of Volkerhaast”
A human of some advanced age, but still hale and hearty, dressed in the blue-and-white of Volkerhaast’s flag with her coat of arms emblazoned on the left breast, marches smartly out to louder-than-modest applause. With military bearing, he marches directly for the nearest open seat, which puts him at the left side of Queen Jardeth.

“King Therithnin Evtriahel of the Sky Elves”
A pale elf in a deep blue kimono glides out and stands by a chair.

“Seltimar Burningtongue, of the Dragon Isle”
An adult green Dragon walks in, taking a seat off to the side of the table, as none of its seats will accommodate him. The crowd makes sounds of awe.

“Jarl Fungohar Garkosson of the Giant Country”
A frost giant lumbers in, ignoring the crowds’ mixed reaction entirely as he seats himself at the northernmost seat, which expands (or perhaps he shrinks? It’s hard to tell) to fit him.

“Saint Glorianna Fey of Itzilopo”
A beautiful auburn-haired human woman in a stylish, but not-too-revealing dress walks out gracefully to the sound of appreciative, but still respectful applause, and one catcall. Nervous laugher ripples through the crowd, but Saint Glorianna seems to ignore it, instead favoring the crowd with a dazzling smile.

“King Kakarek of Hellzapoppin”
A goblin wearing the finery of a king, including a crown that must weigh fifteen pounds at least if it’s solid gold, along with an ermine-trimmed red velvet cloak, shuffles out to the loudest applause so far. Duke Grinnash puts on a show of being offended, which only makes the crowd applaud harder. Kakarek hops up the final step and sketches a curtsey to the Duke, holding the edges of his cloak as if he were wearing a dress, before finding an open chair.

“Queen Quekinves Reevryn of the Seven-Rune Hills”
A haughty-looking grey elven female walks out, managing to look down her nose at everyone in the room while still wearing a polite mask of serenity.

“Prince Bennu Simurgh of the Kingdom of Good Oak”
A young male human with dark skin and hair, wearing a cloak of green feathers over a tunic and trews of red linen trimmed with gold thread in fiery patterns steps out. He could not be more than twenty years old, and that’s being generous.

“King Durango of the Red Kingdom”
A somewhat grizzled, but still regal older man stumps out. His close-cropped beard is more gray than black, but there is an undeniable… something about him, the way that he walks and carries himself suggests that he is still hale and hearty despite his somewhat weather-beaten appearance.

The announcer pulls a token, pauses, and flips a coin before continuing.
“High Priestess Shiana of Cardinnia, and King Folir of Cardinnia”
The crowd mutters, some people comment that this is the third day in a row that the priestess has been announced before the King- an omen if there ever was one. The two of them walk out side-by-side, the priestess, a tallish, sturdy-looking but handsome woman with sandy brown hair and a stern expression, the lightning bolt of Hieroneous covering her ample bosom, walks a half-step behind the king, perhaps out of deference to this turn of events. Folir, by contrast, is young for a king, not looking a day over twenty-three, and looks like he has as yet to grow into the role. His walk is practiced, almost painfully so.

“King Tarkond of Thürn”
A dwarf steps out, pointedly ignoring the goblin and the giant present, makes his way to an open seat as far from either of the two as he can.

“Empress Amalthea III of Valdar”
A middle-aged, slightly doughy-faced human female with faint traces of elvish lineage emerges. She wears a red-and-blue tunic and trousers, her hair drawn into an ornate, but not distracting headdress. She waves as she recieves some of the loudest, albeit still very polite, applause, and takes a seat.

“Silmeara of the Sunset Wood Elves”
An ancient male Wood Elf dressed in green and blue comes forth, his back unbowed although (for an elf) he is clearly advanced in years. He carries himself like a hunter, and takes a seat.

“Magister Emteon, of the Mage’s Consulate”
Emteon is a small, wiry half-elven (probably wild elf, by the color of her skin) female of advanced age, wearing functional black and gold robes, and leaning heavily on a staff. She mounts the dais, waving off offers of aid, but nods politely at Lord-Commander Ashtenther as he pulls out a chair for her before she can stop him.

Once all the leaders are seated, a hollow voice speaks, apparently from everywhere and nowhere at once.

“The Council would like to begin discussion of the ascension of Prince Bennu Simurgh of the Kingdom of Good Oak.” With your absurd listen checks, you can hear coins exchanging hands and soft muttering as the Prince rises, clears his throat, and begins to speak.

“As you all likely know by now, due to the traditions of my kingdom, I have not been able to fully assume the throne in the wake of my father’s unexpected demise. Rest assured; I have been taking steps to remedy this,” King Meleus looks up at the prince briefly, his face an impassive, almost stony mask.
“Saint Glorianna would be an excellent choice, but there is the matter of her vows, which I am pretty certain would get in the way of my naming a successor.” He pauses for polite chuckling to make its way around the room. “King Durango’s only daughter has been pledged since before my father was taken from me, therefore, based on geography, the choice seems obvious at this point, if her father will agree to the match.”
Prince Bennu turns smoothly, looking right through King Meleus, and bows deeply to King Tarkond. “Your Majesty, once the Council is dismissed, I would bespeak you about courting your lovely daughter further, that I might undertake the Ritual of the Holy Fire.” A shocked murmur ripples through the assembled as King Meleus’ mouth tightens, and then draws into a scowl. Tarkond nods once. “Aye, she’d be willing to put up with ye, I think.”

The hollow voice speaks again. “The matter of the ascension of Prince Bennu Simurgh of the Kingdom of Good Oak has been settled until after the Council is dismissed.” Prince Bennu takes his seat again; apparently unaware of the betrayed look that King Meleus throws his way. “The Council will now hear the grievances of Duke Grinnash, of Lotash concerning the Cardinnian Invasion.”

(Annnnd… this full prose writeup is taking too long. In a nutshell: )

Grinnash expresses concern about something called “the Black Velvet Legion,” pointing out that even vendors here are selling flags bearing their insignia, that the army is largely comprised of Cardinnian deserters, and that both nations are at risk because of what Cardinnia has done. More often than not, it seems that he is playing to the crowd than addressing any of the rulers at the table, and some of the older ones seem to know it. He asks for help from those kingdoms closest to him. Silmeara, the only representative of Blue Tree, politely turns him down. Fungohar, the frost giant offers tentative aid (following discussion with the other giant leaders) in exchange for land in the mountains bordering Cardinnia and Lotash. Lord-Commander Ashtenther asks if the rumors about the black-winged and this army can be confirmed, but Grinnash cannot verify them to his satisfaction. Nevertheless, Ashtenther says he will take the matter back to Those Who Came Before for consideration. The Council decides that the matter is settled until after the Council is dismissed.

The emissary from the Dragon Isle demands that the Empress pay a “tariff” to the Dragons, because several of the recently (as dragons reckon time, anyway) founded colonies of Valdar’s intrude on dragon-held lands. When questioned, Burningtongue openly admits that this is not the will of the entire population of the Isle, but casually points out that the Empress is really in no position to argue, for as mighty as her navy is, the interests that he represents are more than capable of “breaking her precious navy… theoretically speaking, of course,” and pointing out that there would have to be “more than three times the number of airships than the Empire is rumored to have in order for them to prove any sort of threat… that is, if there were to be any difficulties arising from this little chat that we happen to be having, of course.” The two of them dicker back and forth, and the Dragon agrees to discuss it further after the Council is dismissed, but only gives her a week after that to come up with an answer, “else things may turn theoretically unpleasant.” Magister Emteon looks like she might want to say something, but keeps silent.

King Meleus spends the remainder of the Council session with his arms folded across his chest, glowering at the table. There is talk of less sinister or dramatic affairs, keeping roads paved, trade agreements and treaty extensions, things that don’t need to be written up here. It takes another hour and a half, and is about as exciting as I’ve made it sound.

Finally, the floor opens to the audience. Before any of you can make impassioned speeches, an old (late 60s) human in well-made but outdated and slightly worn clothes stands with his hat in hand. His thick accent suggests that he comes from the foothills of Southern Cardinnia. He speaks slowly, perhaps from fear.

“Yer pardon, Yer Hoighnesses, but if oi can, oi would loike to arsk uh quarstion ov yew. Moi woife Rubella is awl oi hav’ lef, on account tha’ me son done run off some toime pass. Naow, she gone an’ cot a narsy wastin’ sickness, the loike o’ which our hedge-witch ain’t ne’er seen afore- our village’s too small fer a proper priest, y’see. Oi called upon all the priests nearboi, oi did; oi e’en took moi par Ruby ter see sum o’ th’ clerics in Brie, oi did; an’ none a one of um could do a thing for er- one of um, a preist of Pelor, ‘ee woz, said that ‘ee couldna do nothin’ fer ‘er, as his ‘powers’d fled ‘im,’ an’ a fair peck of the res’ just plain say they ain’t seein’ no one on account as they cain’t.”

A few other people start standing up. Saint Glorianna pales slightly. High Priestess Shiana takes a sip of water, and their eyes find each other for less than the span of half a heartbeat. You notice that a low murmur his wending its way through the crowd up as the old man starts winding down with his rambling question, his voice becoming a little harder as he does. Due to the strange magics of the Council chamber (or perhaps just really good acoustics) you can hear him as clearly as if he were sitting next to you, despite the other noises in the room.

“Naow, oi serpose moi quarstion is, is ow is anyone supposed ter get on in this day an’ age if’n there ain’t no proper clerics willin er able ter do th’ healin? Moi woife’s tarrible sick, Yonors; oi don’ even know if she’ still loive naow, tho’ oi prays thet she is, oi do, but if’n the godly folk cain’t do no well by moi woife, whut’m oi payin’ texes fer? So’s sum priest ‘oo’s ‘bayond judgin’ naow’ can call up demons ter invade some other country or summat?”

As he finishes, the murmuring changes to muttering, then to a low growl. One or two other voices call out accusations of state-funded priesthoods not being able to carry out their appointed tasks to their flocks. Shiana stands, raising her arms for quiet, her head bowed. Finally, the gathered crowds subside enough for her to speak.

“Goodsir- what was your name?”
“Morgan, it were, Yonor. Morgan Dowbury of Thilmot Glen oi am.”
“Goodsir Dowbury, I am terribly sorry about your troubles, and am even sorrier that you have had to travel so far from your sick wife to tell me of them. Once today’s session is concluded, I will do everything in my power to personally see to it that our most powerful Healers attend to her. Failing that, I will see to it that you are recompensed for your pain and suffering.”

She pauses, trepidation heavy on her face. “It… is true that some less experienced members of several holy orders have lost their powers to help the smallfolk. However, the clergy of the Invincible is as strong as it ever was, as a whole. I cannot speak for those of you who have complaints against other churches, nor am I at liberty to discuss the particulars of this happening as it relates to mine; but you may rest assured that we are doing everything in our considerable power to rectify this situation as quickly as we can, so that you and yours may in fact ‘get on.’ “

Several other people have similar complaints, some about the Church of Hieroneous, some about Xia, and even other churches that are not state relegions, but still prevalent in their domains. Saint Glorianna admits the same problem that High Priestess Shiana has, as well as the same lack of ability to explain why.

There are other complaints and speeches from Normal People, about tariffs and taxes, border disputes and other whatnot, but nothing that causes quite as much of a stir.

Council of Kingdoms Transcript