RP:Rolls Royce of Carriages
Summary: Hudson runs into Kelovath. Literally. A discussion of the past, present, and a speck of the future takes place.
Kelovath had spent most of his time after arriving back in Cenril walking along the beach. He'd already ran into an interesting few people and decided that maybe the city would provide some additional guidence or even excitement. So far, neither had been found and the robed paladin took some time to hang around the local wishing well. The fantasy of bribing a stone structure with coin seemed ridiculous and in his mind, all he could think about were Fermin. He knew they still lingered underneath cities just like Cenril. They were brutal, dangerous, and smelled awful. And seeing a well only brought back memories of slaying those beasts when they attacked Larket. He leaned over and looked down into the deepest part of the well. He saw nothing, obviously, and smelled nothing but water, and yet he knew they were down there. Somewhere. Poor guy is probably just paranoid more than anything. Even during the peak of the day, like it is now, it would be highly unlikely Fermin would attempt to attack. Kelovath sighed loudly and shook his head. "Get a grip, man." He said aloud and stepped away from the structure.
Hudson's out and about, coming back from a business lunch, when he nearly collides with a robed figure stepping away from a wishing well. "Excuse me," he says, in the brusque manner of a guy who's going to keep going on his way. Except that's not what he does. He recognizes Kelovath, and his feet stay planted. "Holy Sven. Kelovath," he speaks the other man's name, and then gestures for a nearby carriage - his personal ride - to come approach. Crime kingpin or no, Hudson yanks the door open himself. "Better to catch up in private. Get in," he tells Kelovath. It's not a request made menacingly by any means, but it's not a question either. It's spoken like a man who's used to telling people what to do and it working out fine. Assuming Hudson's ask isn't met with any resistance, he climbs in after, pulling the door shut behind him. He wastes little time in getting down to business, "You are looking less homeless, congratulations, I assume you've figured out you're an enemy of Larket?"
"Sorry." He said in passing, thinking nothing of it as he planned on just continuing with his day. Hearing his name aloud was cringe worthy and he planned on defending himself. Instead, he saw Hudson and wondered if he should still consider the possibility of a fight happening. Things were crazy lately, ya know? But, it seemed the man wanted to catch up, so why not go along with it. He didn't resist the offer and climbed in. "A weak moment and a poor suggestion made by a friend. But yes, less homeless. Better smelling, I think. And a traitor to Larket." He gave a quick glance around the inside of the carriage and then switched back to Husdon. "Word on the street is congested with talk of you. Mostly rumors, I'd like to assume, but from my experience, when the same rumor floats around for days and day, it is much more than a simple rumor." He wasn't sure if there was a negotiation to be made in the future with Hudson and possible asisstance with later goals, but it feels as if the world is changing. And pieces are moving. "I think a congratulations is in order for you, my friend." And cue the small smile and nod of the head.
Hudson makes himself comfortable but eyeballs Kelovath as they sit opposite one another inside the carriage. After all, Josleen had sold the world a pretty good story. But Hudson's also willing to look critically at that story. Out of curiosity but also self-interest. (But also, if his self-interest is to leak the whereabouts of Kelovath to the Larket monarchy, then... well... that's just business. Anyway, for now, we're not quite there.) Kelovath is for the moment smartly keeping the conversation away from the inflammatory allegations against him. "No need to beat around the bush," Hudson answers him without missing a beat. "Happy to confirm the rumors: I run the city. Thank you." He extends a fist to bump into Kelovath's. "Well, Mayor Abelin runs the city, I just have her ear," he adds a beat later, with a knowing smile that suggests a purposeful downplay. He considers Kelovath anew. They'd had some moments, Kelovath had been to his bachelor party. That feels like an eternity ago. "Alvina and I keep it friendly with Josleen and Macon, you know," he says, carefully, "but Cenril is considering sanctions against Larket for human rights violations."
Kelovath returned the fist bump, awkwardly as always, and listened. When the mention of Larket was made, the paladin spoke. "For Val. I heard. And the breaking of the treaty between Frostmaw and Larket. Between Hildegarde and Josleen." Truthfully, he wasn't sure how Cenril would gain him any advantage, but Hudson's strong position within the city was refreshing. It was so long ago that Kelovath was barely a speck within the political ties of the land. It was different now, rebuilding and having the chance to become something once more. If it were so easy. "I must say, Josleen was rather surprised to learn I was still alive. I've ran into her already. In Frostmaw. I expect to be hunted down, once Macon learns of this. You get that that man, The King of Larket, is crazy, right? And he's brought Josleen into whatever pool of crazy he has going on? She is not the same woman I brought to Larket. That stayed by my side after the Frostmaw War. I understand she is a Queen now, but..." He shook his head in frustration. "To get down to it, Hudson, I need to protect my people. Larket is my home. And I have been spun into a monster by the King. And the Queen believes it, even though there is evidence proving my innocence. Some of which Josleen was clever enough to figure out." His voice grew stronger the more he spoke, "Kahran is the enemy right now. He is a disease sweeping through the lands. But when the time comes, I will return to Larket. Whether it be my blood or Macon's, a decision will be made on the future of the Hard City. My innocence accepted or my death for what I believe is right."
Hudson sucks in a bit of air through his teeth as Kelovath refers to Valrae Ivy Baines Older, celebrated rebel witch and convicted terrorist, as 'Val' simply, full stop. Is everybody on a chill first name basis with his ex-mistress? Dang. His eyes grow as Kelovath mentions he's bumped into Josleen. Hudson is here for this instant replay. He's not sure Macon is 'crazy,' because there are too many parallels between himself and the guy, but he does identify Macon as someone who's lost his way, who will do anything to cement his grip on power. He does however agree with Kelovath's assessment of Josleen. "She's as ride-or-die as they get now," he fills in the rest of Kelovath's sentiment. As Kelovath keeps talking, Hudson drapes his arm around the back of his couch. His personal carriage is as comfortable as they get, the Rolls Royce of carriages. That's mostly Alvina's doing, she has strong views about upholstery. Hudson is silent for a moment spilling out after the end of Kelovath's pitch. Of course a displaced ruler is passionate. No doubt Kelovath has been practicing this part for all potential 'investors'; anybody in his shoes would, otherwise one must accept exile, which is a hard pill to swallow. But right now, while intriguing, Kelovath seems a big risk to go long on just yet. Hudson's preferred play right now is to be a silent partner, make no enemies, and hedge all his bets. "You seem to understand that you should bide your time, which is good," he advises Kelovath. "Kahran could either decimate Macon's popularity or build it up, depending on what happens and how his propaganda machine - and pleasant, normalizing wife - spins it." Spoken like a man who also has a pleasant, normalizing wife. He continues, "Right now, though, Larket's the black sheep of the anti-Kahran alliance. Your best bet, my friend, for now, is to rebuild your reputation so that you're an unkillable hero of the realm." He wouldn't be the only one doing it: Valrae, too. "You need to speak to Lionel O'Connor and offer your sword to the cause. I'll tell Mayor Abelin that you're to be low-key supported as a man on a redemption tour, we need all the help we can get against Kahran, yadda yadda."
Kelovath listened and nodded. He wasn't exactly sure why he needed the Mayor of Cenril's support if Hudson was doing the shot calling. 'Have her ear' is how it was put. Honestly, he wasn't sure if that was such a good thing. But, there did seem to be more organization throughout Cenril. The Gods know that this city has always been left behind and forgotten. Beggars, thiefs, corrupt priests, and who knows what else all thought they ran the city. Things have changed, for the better is seems, so maybe having some sort of support coming from Cenril was ideal. Plus, they were a rather large trade partner. More access to the coast than what Larket had, no doubt. "Thank you, Hudson. I do appreciate it." A slight pause, then a sudden thought. "How are you doing?" He asked softly. It was a genuine question. The man was now married, but it didn't seem long ago that Alvina and himself were having issues. Along with the marrige, there were kids. So, the question was asked and, like most holy men, he hoped some assistance could be offered.
There's still crime in Cenril; it's just organized now. Their carriage slows into some traffic in time with Kelovath's question. Hudson, observing the source of the slowdown - appears to be everyone rubbernecking over an overturned carriage - smiles mildly into the window. "There's a lot going on but decent," he answers truthfully, his gaze falling back to Kelovath. "Some days I think the realm's gonna beat back the bad guys, some days... I dunno. It's surreal." He continues to study the other man. It's not lost on him that Macon's life was almost Kelovath's to have. King, married to Josleen with a kid. A moment spills out, during which Hudson reflects the way his own life hasn't become his anymore. "It changes everything," he tells Kelovath. "The kids do. When it's just you and a woman, you might love her, but you're both adults, you can handle yourselves for the most part. Kids aren't adults. And the love you have for your kids isn't like anything else. You'll destroy anyone and everything if you have to, for them, or their mother. Your family becomes like a castle, and it's you guys against everyone else." Hudson smiles mildly again. There's a point to him telling the other guy this. He bangs on the carriage wall, signaling that they should slow down. Evidently their meeting is coming to a close, per Hudson, Kelovath's to be dropped off randomly here. "Careful with Larket. They'll destroy you first if they can. Get with O'Connor," he advises Kelovath, nodding at the door.
Kelovath understood all too well in regards to beating back the bad guys. He was quite present and active when Vuryal unleashed his new pets upon the land. The paladin was damn-near close to getting turned into one himself. Strange Days back then. The experience with children however was an all new experience. Only a few times had he even been close enough to observe how a child acts. But, he was a solider and knew how the other men fought their battles, not for their city or leaders, but for their family. Their wives and children. The motivation behind that was more powerful than any speech given by a King or Queen. He waited until the carriage came to a stop and again, "Thank you, Hudson." The door was opened and the paladin stepped out onto the street.