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RP:Hope's Congregation

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Part of the The Whisperer In Darkness Arc

Part of the What You Leave Behind Arc

Summary: The meeting Khitti's been planning for months finally takes place and the reformation of the Paladin's Guild is decided upon. With a new evil brought to light, the new members of the guild (and those closely affiliated with it) pool their ideas together in order to stop it before returning their attention towards Kahran.

The Spring of Vitality, Kelay-Sage

Khitti || In the days since Khitti finished speaking to those she could track down for this meeting, things had went from bad to worse (don’t they always?). The situation in Venturil was becoming worse than she thought, if only because she hadn’t heard a single thing yet about it. Khitti was dwelling on it again, and the worry obvious--it was something she only allowed to be see away from home, when she didn’t think anyone was paying attention. She didn’t want to worry Brand, after all. “It’ll be alright, Khitti,” said Ulah, the Warrior’s Guild’s resident paladin trainer, as the blonde high elf put a hand on the redhead’s shoulder. “We’ll deal with it soon enough. It’s not something we could do alone--you know that.” Khitti grimaced at Ulah, “The worry’s that noticeable?” The elf smirked somewhat, “You’ve been pacing and muttering things to yourself all day since we arrived.” The templar-in-training coughed somewhat awkwardly and the katana on her back glowed a deep amber, the sprite inside Tenbatsu Kaji agreeing with Ulah. “Alright, alright. I’ll stop. Or… try to anyway.”

Khitti || The place they arrived at only hours ago was none other than the Spring of Vitality, as per Hildegarde’s suggestion. Quite unlike the meetings Lionel held at the two Warrior’s Guild headquarters, the spring didn’t boast much in the way of seating. A small collection of pillows, large enough to be sat upon, was brought and laid out for those that might need it on northern side of the spring. There were even refreshments as well near the seating area: a few large bottles of ale, wine, and whiskey, with small glasses to pour them in, and a platter of bite size pieces of cakelog. While the meeting was likely to be brief, the journey for some of the participants was long and likely tiresome and Khitti wanted to make up for that somehow. It didn’t help that this was her first official meeting--this sort of thing didn’t come naturally to her like it did her brother Lionel.

Khitti || As those that said they would attend began to gather, Khitti put the final touches on the area. Tenbatsu Kaji was removed from its sheath and the blade thrust into the ground, much like Khitti had in the desert when she was awaiting the return of those that went with Lionel to the Shadow Plane. The sword’s aura, still that same amber hue, projected outward around the seating area, creating a protective bubble not unlike the one the witches had made for Cenril--it was safe enough for those allied with Khitti, but not so much for those that might dare ambush them. “Thank you for coming everyone,” Khitti said, motioning to the pillows and food and drink should they wish for it, Ulah taking a seat as well while Khitti remained standing. “As I told most of you, I wished to form a group of those that could help restore hope to Lithrydel. Long story short, I did some research after speaking with some of you and found that a group like this existed some time ago.” The redhead paused, putting her hands behind her back in an attempt to keep from fidgeting nervously. “I want to reform the Paladin’s Guid and I’d like you all to be a part of it. It would be ‘paladin’ only in name, however. I’d very much like those like Hildegarde and Leone to be there as well, hence my asking them to be here. Whether we wield holy magic or not, we’re still a voice for our gods and people listen. We need them to listen now more than ever or all will be lost, just as Kahran claims.” The redhead fell silent, looking between those gathered, awaiting their thoughts.

Lionel || Rain pours down on a southern wind, confirming the wisdom in Lionel’s decision to enlist the aid of an Alliance carriage for his journey with Valrae. Spring rains have dotted the plains, but the fires of war have hardly been quelled. The war has reached a standstill, a lull, the eye of an evil storm. The fighting continues, but Kahran has taken his armies into the shadows where once they had roamed freely. It’s a momentary pause, an effort to regroup, and it hasn’t brought life back to the land. Shrouded in discomfiting mists, the plains are only visible in patches of light where the overcast sky is cracked to let in focused rays from a red and swollen sun. But what little can be seen is lined with broken barrels and rotting corpses, shredded tunics and ruined dresses, shattered steel and mangled limbs. Esche, hooded and heavily robed, drives the horse while Lionel and Valrae are kept safe and dry inside the buggy. His nose twists disdainfully as the rank scents of the battlefield assail his heightened elven senses. Raindrops pitter-patter upon the roof of the buggy in a steadier rhythm than Lionel could ever hope to feel. Not while Kahran yet draws breath. “You look nice today,” he says to Valrae, desperate to take his mind off of the thousand-and-one problems plaguing Lithrydel if even for just one fleeting moment. Is abrupt compliment the proper course? Is this how men are expected to behave whilst in romantic relationships? Like all that lies hidden just beyond the Milous mists, Lionel hasn’t the foggiest clue.

Lionel || The Southern Sage Forest is a welcome respite from the rain. By the time Esche has steered their horse a kilometer into its scenic expanse, the party has escaped grey skies in favor of something far more serene. Sunlight crests through the canopy, flickering when the leaves sway. Where there are openings in the path -- where the forest burnings have yet to be mended -- there is still peace and warmth to be found. It’s a good feeling, a better feeling, a feeling that can’t be erased even when they make past the wreckage of the late General Qybek’s war camp. It helps that Gilwen and Beldur and Kreekitaka had the chance to bury their dead; only the corpses of orcs, trolls, and abominations lay sprawled for carrion now, and Lionel has fewer qualms with seeing the corpses of brainwashed butchers. The path continues, until at last they arrive at the Spring of Vitality where Khitti has gathered several of their allies. It does Lionel well to dwell on his sister’s rise to prominence. She has assembled a crew he can trust to do what must be done. She has reignited the Paladin’s Guild. He nods to himself thoughtfully as he hops out of the buggy, taking Valrae’s hand in his. Tenbatsu Kaji’s amber-colored protective barrier surrounds the pillowed seating area, warding off threats; it’s an astute decision, but there’s a sudden pit in Lionel’s stomach. What if Khitti deems Valrae as such? He bites his lip and steps gingerly ahead, ignoring the plates of cakelog but having a harder time ignoring the wine. Trepidation works as hard to tempt him as to keep him wayward. Finally, Lionel decides to pour wine into two small glasses and hand one to Valrae. How can it be a symptom of alcoholism if he’s so willing to share?

Lionel || Listening to his sister’s words, Lionel sips the wine. It’s a good vintage. Enchantment, perhaps? He hadn’t bothered reading the label. Once she’s paused, he takes a brisk step forward and tilts to address those gathered. “I don’t have to tell you this, and you hardly need to hear it, but we need this. The Alliance Against Kahran will never be victorious without as many specialized groups as is ethically conceivable working together toward a common cause.” He’s chosen his words carefully. It is not, in Lionel’s worldview, ethically conceivable to ally with Macon’s Larket. “But Lithrydel has fought against all manners of darkness besides the big one, for far longer than any of us have been alive to see it. Kahran or no Kahran, evil is always lurking, watching, waiting. I’m no paladin, but I’ve known my fair share of them in my time, and occasional stuffiness aside, I couldn’t imagine more stalwart and dependable allies. Alexander, Donovan, Kelovath,” he winks to the man, “they’re storied names. There’s a reason for that. I couldn’t be happier to join forces with you folks. You’ll be champions of the light, stemming the tide against the rat bastards who’d sooner drown us all. In a word: thanks.” He nods, pausing briefly to mull over the men and women ahead of him, before returning to Valrae and Esche somewhere in the small crowd.

Hildegarde had promised Khitti that she would attend this meeting of paladins and like-minded individuals when they last spoke in Frostmaw, a short while before the birth of her child. Lisbeth had assured the Queen that she had sent a package off to Cenril for the newborn and the new parents, a mixture of human goods and some traditional Frostmawian gifts such as baby’s first club, little wooden beasts and warriors and a cuddly toy mammoth made from genuine mammoth fur! Very soft (somewhat musky smelly). The Queen of Frostmaw took the easiest route to the meeting, a mere blot of glinting light in the sky and soon a shadow cast across the earth as she flew towards Xalious and landed in the meadow of Xalious with her High Priestess upon her silver back. The dragon tilted to allow Leone to gently disembark before resuming her humanoid shape and proceeding to walk from Xalious to Sage with Leone in tow. The knight had been talking quietly to Leone, just general chat, before entering the meeting that seemed to already be just about underway. A polite and apologetic nod is offered to the speaking Lionel, the Queen lapsing into a respectful silence as she appraises the area and those who are in attendance.

Rorin since being released from the inner workings of the Guardian Blade, Rorin had returned, seeking his long ago childhood home of the temple here n Kelay. He repented, the wave of sorrow leading to naught, for in the end it was he who had to give himself before he could be truly free of his sins. Once returned to the path of light Rorin found that his abilities were gone, his powers drained, and the gift of the gods but a small fraction left within him. Even the knowledge of his prayers and the memory of his gifts were gone and so Rorin set about to study and meditate until he could embrace such power once more. The gravity of their meeting here felt nearly lightened by the pillows and alcohol set about and Rorin found himself smiling and enjoying his time here at the spring while they waited for others to arrive. The young man fell silent as he listened to Khitti and waited for the position to speak. "Smaller groups have existed at different times in the past, all of them sanctioned to do good, but I feel as if none of them had a roster quite like this. Its a fantastical goal, to unite those who would rise against reveal regardless of belief, and once more I believe this is a good sign that it is heading in the right direction." There was power here between them all, deep connections, and the idea that there was a gathering of good people committed to thwart the evil of the world made him both hopeful and nervous. What lay waiting in the shadows for a single moment of weakness where they could strike? What darkness lay so far and so close beyond them?

Leone arrives with Hildegarde. The priestess looks haggard - though doesn't she always these days? Dismounting the dragon, the farrier's feet meet the ground with a crush of grass and a sharp snap; old ankles, aging joints, announcing her presence for her. A moment is taken to shake out the sting of impact, one foot raised and wiggled as if she were a cat fresh out of a litter box. Then the farrier walks proudly beside her Queen, the conversation pleasant, though not pertinent. She aids in carrying whatever packages the Silver does not have enough arms for. Like the Warrior-Queen, a nod is offered to Lionel, along with a brief smile, before her focus is shifted entirely on Khitti. At the mention of her name, a hand is waved toward the new mother. The smith stands quietly, her chartreuse gaze filtering through the assembled people, landing on some faces before continuing on to find the next familiar visage or interesting set of features.

Valrae occupies most of the time spent in the carriage ride picking at the threads of the thin cushion on her seat and trying to keep her eyes from straying beyond the slightly fogging glass of the windows. The quiet that fills the small space she shares with Lionel is comfortable and somewhat familiar. When he breaks it to compliment her a girlish smile springs to her lips. “Thank you,” The witch answers, tucking a dark curl behind her ear in sudden shyness. She decides to fill the rest of their travels chattering to him about Astrid, who owned the prettily embroidered dress and the deeply green cloak, and her worries for Esche’s health. She doesn’t seem to particularly mind if he has little to say in return. She’d done well until the last few moments to hide her nervousness for leaving Cenril and for meeting Khitti in the flesh. Her memories from her time as a spirit, coupled with what she’s heard from Lionel himself, have given her the distinct impression that his sister was a woman Valrae would very much need to leave with a better impression. She takes his offered had to step down from the carriage with skirts rustling faintly as she moved. The same fear of the barrier runs hotly through her. Lionel moves her forward though and she steps through with him. The wine he offers is accepted but remains untouched in her hand as moves to stand close to Esche. Only a guest here, she watches both Khitti and Lionel speak, ignores her wine, and does very little else.

Zahrani silently steps into the protective dome of amber light, the panther's fur glistening in fractal patterns as the paladin's spiritual aura intermingles with Tenbatsu Kaji's. The feline follower of Cyris is clad in a grey hooded robe that rests over a modest suit of platemail armor. Her ears tilts every which way as others join her, her tail swishing idly behind her form. She is not alone either; a wizened human male accompanies her, garbed and armed similarly. His salt-and-pepper hair is carefully braided and tied back, his beard cleanly trimmed and short. This was Rani's foster father, the man who invested over 20 years of his life shaping her into who she is today. Zahrani herself remains quiet as she listens to Khitti and Lionel. Her father speaks first, his voice a rough baritone, "We would be honored to join in reforming this guild. The order we come from has emphasized traveling separately or in pairs, guarding the most unfortunate from darkness and tyranny, but in light of recent events, the time for such disjointed work has come to an end, I feel."

Kelovath arrived alone and quietly. The days have grown longer and his body could feel it. The traveling became tiresome, but it was a necessary activity. Hearing about the location for this specific meeting brought a bit of light to his attitude. He knew the elves would welcome them and the spring was...Well, it was a god-send. He needed it and more so, it would be nice to see his friends again. The barrier was passed through and the Robed Paladin greeted Seika shortly after. He stood and kept his distance from the wine and whisky as Khitti addressed the gathering allies. The entire time he nodded his head in agreement. A quick smirk was given back to Lionel when his name was mentioned. After the brief silence, Kelovath thought that maybe he should say something. Thankfully, Rorin said something first and the disappearance of his nerves came quickly. He stepped forward and spoke to Khitti. "Lithrydel needs this right now. And, with this being the land we are all familiar with and know, she'll need us in the future as well, after we've dealt with Kahran. I look forward to building this Guild and becoming a true beacon for those that need us."

Gilwen ||Beyond the protective barrier that shielded the spring, the elves of Sage gathered in groups for short moments of time. Many carried with them baskets filled with offerings for their gods, and presented with the barrier and cluster of strangers, watched critically for a few moments before leaving- some muttered mild complaints under their breath as they left. Among these handful of groups who came to pay homage to Lauria, where the elder leaders of Sage. Mild surprise lingered across their expressions at the unexpected sight, but after ensuring that no harm was being done to a place of worship for them, left. Throughout the meeting, elves would come and go, some curiously staying to watch.

Rorin tried not to be surprised at the people gathered here. They were paladins, adventurers at heart, always gong where they were needed the most. Hildegarde and Kelovath, and Lionel of course, were people of legend. If they stood behind a cause then surely it was a good thing to do. He tried not to feel too out of place as they were discussing the future of entire countries here and frankly he wasn't certain being a half elf with a sword and some attitude would make much of a difference.

Khitti || Lionel’s voice was the first to hit her ears and it nearly startled Khitti because she’d almost entirely forgotten that he was to show up! Her line of sight lingered on him as he spoke, before trailing behind him, off towards where Valrae and Esche stood. She fixated on the blonde woman, silently quizzical as to just what exactly she was doing here. Khitti tried to not let it show that it bothered her. She tried so very hard. It wasn’t even the fact that the woman was a witch. Khitti had so much in common with Valrae, having formerly been a necromancer, that it wasn’t even funny. No, no. It was far more complicated than that. She was the object of her brother’s affection and it entirely boggled her mind that this relationship was even a thing in the first place. Lionel? In love? Things were always fraught, but now things were fraught -and- the Hero of Hellfire was distracted. Khitti would shake her head to clear her mind and then nodded knowingly in thanks to Lionel when he was finished. As everyone else either spoke their piece or nodded in their agreement, Khitti couldn’t help but beam proudly. Something she did was actually going to pan out in a positive light? No way. That -never- happens.

Khitti || “Now that that’s out of the way, I’ve got the guild’s first order of business.” Here’s where Khitti’s worries seemed to leak through a little, though perhaps not so much on the outside as it was in her words. “There’s a bit of a problem: a recon mission that Lionel sent a bunch of us on not long ago, including Zahrani and Rorin here, to an island just off the coast of Chartsend that turned into a rescue mission, with the end result of us dispatching a high priestess of Vakmathras and a high priest of Delisha who’d started a cult and were sacrificing their own people left and right as well as the original denizens of the island. To make matters worse--these were not Lithrydelians. They were from the Shadow Plane. Not everyone and everything in the Shadow Plane is as dark as the realm itself. These people had turned to madness and needed to be stopped. Unfortunately, the entire group had to leave the island in a not-quite-favorable state, simply because this meeting had not taken place yet.” Khitti frowned, feeling quite guilty. “It is not how I wanted things to be done, but we had no choice. The dark magic was too potent for the survivors of the island and the rest of us to stay there without proper protection. The island -needs- to be cleansed and soon.”

Khitti wrung her hands a bit, brows furrowed in concern, “To make matters extra worse, something has started to befoul the ocean nearby in Venturil. I’ve had… reports--” Khitti purposefully failed to mention the fact that her reports came from a mermaid--the mermaid that rescued her upon her rebirth. No one would believe her or at least would think her crazy. “--that there’s tainted blood in the water, leaking from the nearest town, Aedrebyrg, into the river and the river into the ocean. The sealife there is suffering and the symptoms of this plague I’ve seen before--it’s absolutely dark magic and it needs to be stopped. I sent a few members of the Warrior’s Guild to this byrg two weeks ago and I’ve neither seen them nor received written word of the goings on there. Very soon, however, I’m going to go check on this situation myself, with a proper stealth team this time around. But, I need you all to prepare for the worst. Whatever this is could make its way elsewhere before we can contain it.”

Kelovath wasn't one to shy away from a battle or dark magic or even the possibility of an alter in time. But, the man did have a weakness and unfortunately, both of the missions Khitti spoke of included some form of that. The sea. He couldn't handle boats, rough waves, or massive bodies of water. This time around, he wouldn't speak up about assisting. The fear, although minor in reality, was too much for Kelovath. The man hung back and simply waited for someone else to speak up.

Leone presses a hand into the air, two fingers extended while the rest remain curled into her palm. "Well, both things do sound like my area of influence; sacrifice is akin to War, and blood in the water certainly hints toward another sort of slaughter, if not the very same. Do we have a Priest of Selene available? Perhaps if we team up and create inter-disciplinary rituals, rites, and ceremonies, develop blessings, wards, exorcisisms, et cetera, we'll be able to lift these afflictions more easily. I am available for collaboration," the Aramothian priestess states in her trademark sand-on-satin timbre, an attempt made to lift it above the din of the crowd.

Hildegarde listened to what Khitti had to say and offered a thoughtful grunt. The world was falling apart. Darkness picked away at the realm and it was beginning to feel a little bit impossible to go up against it. But Hildegarde had done the impossible before, hadn’t she? Or at least that is what her Queen and her predecessor had told her. “I cannot offer much in the way of cleansing,” the Silver was, after all, no paladin or priest, “but I suspect the shamans of Frostmaw would be keen to lend a hand where they can. Always relish a good fight,” she said with a little smile towards Leone. Hildegarde, however, cannot help but reflect on the words Aramoth had imparted upon her during the holy summoning. That darkness was coming. Was this that same darkness? Or was it something different altogether? “Aramoth warned of a darkness coming. I could not say with confidence that this is that same darkness or that this is a different darkness. But the days grow dark,” she said with a glance at those assembled, “and the wolves are beginning to howl their hunting song. We cannot police this world – nor do I seek to do that – but we need answers. We cannot hope to conquer evil if we do not find the source of it, otherwise we are simply wasting resources and time on minions. Minions that, aye, harm our world but minions all the same. Why cut the head of the hydra when you ought to aim for its heart?”

Rorin thought this was where things were going to get interesting. Complicated, even. Khitti listed off plenty of problems for them to deal with. "So blood from a town is polluting the ocean? How much blood- where or what would it even come from?" And then there was the matter of an other rescue, if possible, to deal with. The question of whether the last team was evens still alive lingered heavily on his mind. "We could set up quarantines along the coast, give out warnings, have people come n if they see any signs or if they get sick. We'd need a, well, a somewhat preposterous amount of people to pull off spreading that far before someone gets hurt." There was likely something specific they could do about the island but it would have to wait.

Lionel returns the nods to those with whom he’s familiar, which, as it happens, is very nearly everybody. His nod is more prolonged toward Queen Hildegarde, a sign of respect to the Crown. For Rorin, he offers a gentle pat on the shoulder. It is good to see the young man more corporeal again. “I’d heard what happened on the island,” he whispers, “but I’m glad to see it confirmed.” Rorin’s feelings of anxiousness standing beside people for whom he applies greatness and glory do not seem to faze Lionel in the slightest. The key to overriding such habits of hero worship is to remind the hero-worshippers that each of us is just a person. Afterward, Lionel remains close to Valrae, as much to help her feel less out-of-place as because he wishes to be by her side. Unfamiliar with courting rituals, the Catalian opts for the simple and omnipresent method: holding hands. Not for an overly long time, though, because this is a meeting of monumental importance, not a quaint picnic-and-stroll summer day. Besides, for many of the land’s denizens those days abruptly ended the instant Kahran made his declaration. It’s right around the time that Khitti is explaining the need to cleanse an entire island that that magical heartwarming hand-holding moment feels -particularly- ill-timed, so he withdraws, clears his throat, and ponders. The island, the tainted blood in the water, and most of all the missing Warrior’s Guild members, have all reached Lionel’s ears in recent days. It’s a lot to weigh, even without a war on. “I can’t decide if the fact that these incidents are seemingly unrelated to Kahran makes me feel better or worse.” He chuckles cynically. “I imagine several of you feel similarly. Kahran is a known element, albeit a horrendous one. The fact is, evil goes by many names, and not all of ‘em are family members. Whatever’s going on, we can take solace in knowing that we’re -at least- somewhat familiar with the -concepts-. The Shadow Plane’s become rather a hot topic ever since portals started popping up from one corner of Lithrydel to the other, and Vakmakthras and Delisha ain’t exactly strangers either. We have our clues. It’s a start.” He grimaces thoughtfully. Leone’s offer of aid snaps him out of that grimace, prompting a slight smile. Not one of appreciation; it is not for Lionel to appreciate aid here, as this is Khitti’s turf through and through, but out of gracious acknowledgement that the High Priestess of Aramoth is ever-willing to do what must be done. Hildegarde’s offered counsel elicits much the same reaction. This is good; it’s all coming together. “Needless to say, the Alliance’s resources are yours as well, Khitti.” With that, he moves closer to Valrae again and gulps down more wine. It really is quite pleasant.

Zahrani and her father listen quietly to the others, their eyes turning back to Khitti as she brings them up to speed on more recent goings-on. The feline glances over at the familiar faces - Rorin, Hildegarde, Kelovath - before speaking to the elder human. "The Chapel has a cleansing ritual that meshes well with other holy rites. We could head north and acquire copies of information that the Guild could use." Her father Falion nods, then responds carefully, "Yes, but discretion is key with the current...political situation in Larket. As paladins of Cyris, we may draw unnecessary attention from that king of theirs." To Khitti, the panther says, "We can send word to our clerics north of here, and ask them to deliver information that would help with cleansing. Is there a specific place they should go?"

Leone nods toward Hildegarde's confident assertion that a fight's a fight, and that the shamans would be more than happy to help. "We can organize something soon. Perhaps some of them even have a blood specialty. The shaman that helped with the mammoth sacrifice had one, I do believe," the farrier asserts to the dragon-lady.

Hildegarde said to Leone, "Rutborg? He's been thirsting for a fight, he'll gladly go."

Valrae was no paladin and had no place to speak. The witch remains quiet, offering Khitti a shy smile when she catches her eye but little else. Her attention is momentarily pulled away to beyond the barrier and to the elves that sometimes move beyond it. While the rest talk of the poor state of the world she studies anything else. The dark surface of her wine, the profile of Esche’s face, the color of Lionel’s eyes. The Hero of Hellfire suddenly takes her hand she smiles at him in surprise before giving his a small squeeze. When Queen Hildegarde offers help beyond the paladin’s to purify the island the thought to offer the assistance of witches flitted through her mind. Valrae pushed it aside to listen to Lionel speak again and watch him drink deeply from his own wine. She offers him her cup, her emerald gaze glittering with mischief as she muttered the quick words of a spell. The witch is careful to hide the playful smile on her face as she gently relieves him of his own. He’d find only water with his next drink.

Khitti || “This stealth team, I should add, will be comprised of myself, Encara, Meri, and anyone else with ranger-like capabilities. When I say proper stealth, I mean it. I’m not taking any chances of a ship being found out again like last time.” Leone and Hildegarde both spoke up first and she addressed them one at a time, respectively, “I don’t personally know of any followers of Selene, but I can send Ulah here to Rynvale to try to seek someone out immediately,” a hand gesturing towards the Temple of Light’s teacher amongst the crowd. “Your help would certainly be appreciated, Hildegarde. This may not be Aramoth’s darkness, no, but it’s just as bad. One of the survivors of the island--someone that did not come to Chartsend with the rest of us afterwards--was a man. No… A preklek, in a human’s disguise. I’m certain he’s the one behind this. I have as much respect for Vakmathras and Delisha as I do the gods that all of you follow, but this isn’t right. We are all free to worship as we choose, but there -is- a line and that line has been crossed.”

Khitti || To Rorin and Lionel then she diverted her attention, the younger of the two getting the first response, “A quarantine would be a good idea and would work well with what Leone’s suggested,” her words followed by a nod to Lionel in thanks. And finally, to Zahrani, “Cenril. The Warrior’s Guild headquarters there. For now, anyway, until I find us all a suitable building for the Paladin’s Guild.” Khitti paused, taking stock of those gathered, even the elves as they came and went. Was this really happening? Khitti couldn’t believe it. Something she did truly worked and it was working well. “I will meet with you all separately in the coming weeks, after my recon mission, to see what more we can do and how things are coming along. With that said, that concludes the Paladin’s Guild’s first official meeting.” Despite the dark nature of their conversation, Khitti offered them all a smile. They were going to do this. All of them.Together. Hope would certainly be here to stay and Khitti could finally breathe again.

Rorin wondered if he should offer his hand. "I was trained here beneath the local rangers," always were more of them than swordsmen around, "I may not have access to the amount of power I did before, but my retraining is going well. I'm more than capable without it," though he had always been short on the bow skills crossbows were definitely where it was at. "Besides, I wouldn't be much help securing the coast. I lack experience in leading those sort of numbers."

Zahrani could be discreet if necessary. It had become something of a standard practice when she visited the Chapel for study and prayer. She and her father approach Khitti and Ulah, and the panther speaks first, "If there is room available, I can help either prepare and/or execute this stealth mission you have planned." Her race was naturally inclined towards sneakiness, and that aptitude had only grown with her other abilities. Falion offers a kind smile to Khitti, revealing laughlines and crowsfeet on his face as he says, "I can see why Seika likes you." To both Khitti and Leone, the old man adds, "I will ensure that the knowledge of our cleansing rite is made known to those who need it." With a polite bow, the male prepares to leave, offering polite nods to other paladins should they meet his gaze. Rani remains nearby, watching the others leave and making herself approachable to any who would speak with her.

Lionel takes a hearty sip of water; is summarily disturbed for life. The thought of wanting wine and tasting water is almost enough to convince the Catalian that Hellfire will be needed before this meeting has ended. Something’s not right here. Evil has infiltrated this gathering, just as it has often done. Valrae’s impish gleam forces him to twist his lip and fold his tongue against his cheek to escape the headache of thick revelation. She’s prevented him from getting drunk at his own sister’s inaugural get-together. Nevermind the fact that it’s a celebration of holy gods and righteousness; Lionel has never associated purity with sobriety. “Wow at you,” he mumbles, nodding his head as if to feign a deep and unflinching understand of the way this game is played. Meanwhile, important things are happening. Khitti has finished her speech, which seems to have gone over rather swimmingly with their allies. Plans have been announced, folks have declared their intentions… is now the right time to inform people of his own plan? The search for Mulgrew’s first dungeon, and all that it entails? The full extent of that strange woman’s meddling, and why Lionel O’Connor is convinced the war with Kahran can only be won by following a cryptic vision and a map deciphered by Valrae herself? He pauses, shaking his head. No. Let them focus on this. The time is almost upon the Alliance to be told how the next chapter of their saga shall be written.

Hildegarde continued to hear mentions of this ‘Alliance’ but she didn’t comment on it. Her stance shifted ever so slightly and Leone might well pick up on the change in Hildegarde’s mood, given their storied relationship. “I look forward to the report,” she commented with a nod to Khitti. “I shall be travelling to Cenril, however, to visit the Temple of Aramoth,” she announced, letting her peers and newfound guildmates know where she might be in the next few days. “I think I have some studying to do! Besides, if I stay here too long, one of you might try to convert me into becoming a paladin," she said in jest.

Leone snaps her fingers and points at Hildegarde. "Yes! Perfect," the petite plover pronounces, "And he's sure to rile some interest in others as well." As others present ideas and interjections, the smith's teeming sights swing toward them, finally landing on the Head Pally In Charge. A nod is shaken toward Khitti, affirmation that she'll await word. Next, the smith turns to Zahrani. "Excellent. I look forward to working with you on this. You can expect a progress report from my end by the end of this week, just to keep us informed and moving forward."

Kelovath felt useless. Almost defeated, but there was motivation now. Sure, the elves and Gilwen needed help with the forest and eventually a move will be made in Vailkrin, but the man lacked resources to truly aid in the large scheme of things. He had experience and for the moment, that would be his main assistance with the Guild. Until something he wasn't crippling afraid of came up, that is. He'd remain behind though, seeking to take advantage of the Spring before continuing his march around the land. With Hilde's comment though, he couldn't help himself. "I've taught more stubborn folk than you, Queen Hildegarde. I'm sure you could be converted." Followed with a quick wink.

Leone mummbles to Hildegarde, "I've been trying to do that for years; it just never takes."

Leone reaches across to lay a hand on the Queen's wrist. A quirked brow is presented to the Silver, along with a frown. "Are you free tonight? Dinner, perhaps?"

Hildegarde offered Kelovath a scoff and a wry grin, “And you’ll never succeed, Golden Boy,” she said playfully before finding her smile falter somewhat. To think they could laugh and joke right now with such impending doom. Was that the meaning of being human? Was that the sensation of hope? It was too big a question to answer. With Leone’s fingers touching her wrist, the Silver looked down to look at Leone, “We could eat at the temple. I do not wish to waste time and stray too far from Frostmaw. Given the climate of the world, it does not seem safe to leave for too long.”

Leone nods in acceptance of this compromise: dinner at a temple. The miniature metallurgist then promptly pulls a little glass raven from the folds of her leathers, whispers into it, and holds it aloft in both hands. Amazingly, the tiny glasswork comes to life, glinting and flitting about before taking off toward the north, northwest. "Bertram will meet us in Cenril with a hamper," the smith states to the Queen.