Sep 22, 2021 4:41 PM
The night is always darkest...
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"I," decides Raubahn, "do not want to know."

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Merlwyb laughs. "I would not think so. The Monetarist party seems not so fond of the Sultanate of Ul'dah."

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The opening of the doors to the banquet hall catches Alphinaud's eye, then, and he spots the rest of the Scions' arrival. He excuses himself and walks over to greet his friends.

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The leaders of Eorzea talk for a while longer, exchanging constant subtext, but the Lord Commander is well used to this, and feels right at home with the politicking.

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They are friendlier than Lucia had feared, and it's clear that they all are at least trying to make friends. The condescension from the natives doesn't let up, but it's clear they will grudgingly give the political leaders their space. It's likely the various local powers and businessmen will descend for more personal discussion when the political leaders break ranks, but it hasn't happened yet.

As far as starts go, it's very promising, especially in comparison to some of the others that Aymeric's had in the past.

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As the party wears on, the Sultana continues to not show up, so eventually Aymeric calls attention to himself, and the guests quieten to listen.

"Honoured friends!" he starts, projecting his voice almost magically to carry to every corner of the banquet hall. "Pray allow me to convey Ishgard's warmest gratitude for your part in the defence of our lands. 'Tis upon the success of this very alliance that my recommendation to throw open the Gates of Judgement shall be founded. With the blessing of the Archbishop, it is my hope that Ishgard will soon be reunited with her long-estranged sister nations - and that Eorzea shall once more be as one!"

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There is applause, some skeptical (it doesn't seem the Ul'dahns are very convinced by Ishgardian promises)—

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—and some clearly delighted. Kan-E-Senna is beaming.

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Raubahn also seems pleased, and annoyed enough at the lukewarm and mostly feigned reaction of his own city state to directly step in. Without very much tact, but, well, he's trying.

"Well I for one would welcome Ishgard's return to the Alliance! We stand together, or fall divided."

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"Aye. 'Twas fortunate that the Steps of Faith did not fall, and we are glad of the part we played in its defence."

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But it is then that the double doors to the banquet hall are thrown open and a group of soldiers stride into it, led by a diminutive lalafell.

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But three Ishgardian knights are following on the Ul'dahns' heels, and Lucia is at the Lord Commander's side in the blink of an eye.

"Knights from the homeland?" he murmurs to her. "This cannot bode well..."

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Raubahn seems to agree, for entirely different reasons. He scowls and glares at the lalafell.

"What game are you playing, Adeledji."

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The whole party has noticed it by now, and the guests have once more fallen silent. The lalafell ignores Raubahn, though, and turns to Aymeric. "Lord Commander! We have received an urgent missive from the Holy See," he says. "I am grieved to report that your serpentine foes have resumed their assault. Needless to say, your presence is urgently required. These knights have come to bear you swiftly home to Ishgard!"

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"...a surprise attack?"

    Lucia leans closer to him to whisper: "We've had no such word from our men. And the timing is... most fortuitous... to catch us away from the city..."

"Most fortuitous indeed..."

        "Lord Commander!" one of the Ishgardian knights says. "We must away!"

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"Convenient timing, for such an announcement. Through what channels did you receive this missive?"

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"Why, General," says Adeledji, finally deigning to look at Raubahn, "his own men have come bearing it!"

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Another of the Ishgardian knights walks over to the Lord Commander and hands him a recently-unsealed letter. Aymeric frowns but takes it to start reading it.

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"But why burst in, to announce so loudly and with such fervor, so soon after the Lord Commander's announcement? If it is a letter for him, then bloody well hand it to him, instead of this overly dramatic farce."

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"Oh, but bad news is never unaccompanied! Or," and the lalafell lets out an exaggerated gasp, "do you mean to say you don't know?"

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Aymeric raises his eyes from the letter to narrow them at this man.

A part of him wonders how someone can manage to become so unlikeable in such a short time.

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"Know what."

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"Well, General, while you were here having a jolly good time, enemies of the crown were enacting a plot against it! A viper slipped into her chambers to assassinate her - the so-called Warrior of Light has murdered the Sultana!"

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Another soldier comes in, dressed in blue rather than the normal yellow colours of Ul'dah, dragging Otohiko bound and battered with him into the hall. He pushes the Warrior of Light forward, making him trip and fall onto his face.

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