Players: Azradi, Yildirim
_-' Throne Room `-_
This room is the embodiment of the power and majesty of Farside, made darker and more mysterious by the onset of night. Above and behind the white marble throne, the stained glass window of the Tower's standard, a black raven with wings spread against a purple background, glitters in the torchlight. Shadows play across the room, the flickering light reflected back from the criss-crossed longswords mounted on the walls, taken from defeated Gondorian foes.
A roll of thick purple carpet covers the approach to the throne from the west, ending at the feet of the dais where the throne sits. Pillars line the sides of the aisle, standing ten paces apart. The marble throne itself shimmers in the torchlight, catching the highlights of its carving and bathing whoever sits on the throne in shadows.
The walls are acoustically sound, and both echo and amplify all noise within the chamber so that even the softest whisper can be heard aloud.
Night has fallen and the throne room of Farside is cast in a play of light and shadows from the torches affixed to the wide pillars. This the first night Azradi has received her people since her return. The lady sits upon her carved throne, perched on a velvet cushion. She is clad in the colors of the Tower, deepest purple and black. Seated, her swelling abdomen is made all the more obvious. Her unbound hair cascades over her arms and chest, glittering with the jewels pinned within it. On her right, her naked sword rests on a display rack, the hilt toward her, and on her left stands a glowing brazier to chase away the winter cold.
Also to her right, a cluster of scribes and servants stand below the dais, ready to attend her. Others fill the room as well, those who live within the Tower or fill important roles in its hierarchy. Ministers stand with Corsair Captains Healers stand with Soldiers. They mill about, watching when one among them seeks an audience with their lady whispering or laughing among themselves when none has requested her attention.
Servants walk among the courtiers and Tower dignitaries, serving drink and tasty morsels.
Yildirim is absent though, at least up until he steps into the Throne Room. Two golden threaded bags in his hands, each weighed down by their contents. His lips twist as he considers the room. And then decided, calls, "Lady Farside, may I speak?"
No other stands before Azradi at the moment and the lady is speaking to those clustered at her right a healer and a servant, it seems. "No, no wine," she says firmly, "Bring me the juice of guava."
The healer scowls and opens his mouth to speak, "Yes, I know what your mother believes," responds Azradi, cutting off whatever the man intended to say. "But /my/ mother, and my brother too, have adamantly insisted I forsake all stronger drinks until the babe is born." The conversation is not overly loud, but even a whisper can be carried to unexpected places within this chamber and heard as clearly as if the speaker were near.
Lady Farside turns her head when Yildirim makes his request. She shoos the healer and servant away without looking at them. She smiles warmly at the Fleetmaster, beckoning him forward. "Of course, Yildirim, of course!"
"I have prepared gifts for you... but I must admit they are of a grim nature and not of the sort I have given before. Do not expect jewels and gold, though you deserve them so, Lady Farside."
Yildirim takes steps to stand before her. From his belt he takes a scroll and opens it upon the ground, it is unmarked and plain. "We have been cursed for some time by a particular bent of our enemy. A personal revenge taken upon by myself and a small group is but the first step upon our road to the retribution that is due you... that is due Umbar."
Lady Farside lightly grips the ends of her armrests and leans forward slightly to better see what has been laid out upon the floor. She glances up from the blank scroll to Yildirim, curiosity clear upon her features. "Speak on," she commands.
Hers is not the only attention firmly caught others move closer, mirroring their lady's curiosity.
"I had sought the Gondorian Knight - Imrakhor Bragollach," Yildirim spits the name, "But he has died. As a disgrace and a coward, from my reports. Such serendipitous outcomes do not bring satisfaction, thus..."
He unties the first bag and heaves its contents across the scroll, a fine black powder splays out across the parchment, small chunks of charcoal interspersed within. "I give you, the Bragollach family manor."
Azradi receives the news of Imrakhor's death with a look of profound displeasure. She frowns, her brow furrowing. "A pity he escaped my wrath. I wanted his head severed by my own blade."
She leans back against her throne, regarding the Fleetmaster. A slow smile curves her lips, a cruel smile. "But the manor pleases me, Yildirim. It pleases me very much."
"Was this accomplished with great difficulty?"
"No more difficult than this..." and from the other bag he drops the head of an older woman into the ashes. Yildirim looks not pleased, nor proud, a seriousness come about him. "She was the Lady of the Manor and from her words, of the family now. Sister to an Indilzar... but I know him not. This is the price I extracted from the Bragollach for their transgressions against us. It is certainly not enough but... they have not slept soundly for some nights now." The earrings upon the head glitter in the lamplight.
Lady Farside's gaze falls on the severed head. Her regard is idle and she begins to tap the finger of her right hand upon the marble armrest. After a few moments of musing, she shifts in her seat, her left hand unconsciously resting upon the swell of her belly. "A woman," she observes, "It should send a deep shock through Gondor. They will see her as an innocent."
"Though they burned Lord Karim, his wife and daughter alive and that does not appear to have perturbed them overly much," she adds grimly.
"Tell me about the death of Imrakhor? Was it by the hands of his own people? Was he executed for his crimes at Caldur?" Her features darken and voice lowers to a dangerous tone, "Or was he welcomed as a hero?"
"I know little. Though I heard no stories of crimes or a trial. Only that he was made into some sort of disgrace for his failure and the many many we killed of his order," Yildirim replies. "And do not mistake the woman as a goat I brought for the slaughter. She fought to keep her life, both in blade and treachery of words. Par for her and her kin, apparently."
"Gondorian honor is a farce and a lie!" exclaims Azradi, anger flashing in her gray eyes. A murmur of agreement rises and falls, undulating through those gathered in the chamber and now rapt to the conversation between the Lady and her Fleetmaster. "As is their justice."
"But you, Yildirim, you have taken us on the first step towards justice. Our justice."
"And I am pleased," she finishes, smiling cruelly once more. She turns to a guard, "Have the head placed on a spike and displayed upon our walls. Make a sign and upon it write 'Umbar's Enemy'. She turns her attention back to Yildirim. "Tell me of her death. I find it curious that a woman of Gondor fought with blade...and treachery."
"But a dagger... and there were a great many offers of tea and talking before it was drawn. Or so I was told. In truth, Lady Nisrin could give a more detailed account than I. But at the first chance to strike and have a chance to take the life of Nisrin, it was taken."
Yildirim scowls at the dead woman, "She was younger than she looks, the salt has aged her face, but she was not a young woman. A spider... easily crushed but with fangs that can poison."
"Well," Azradi admits grudgingly, "I have always known Gondorian women were stronger than we often assume." A well-dressed Aglarramean woman, Narika, hides a smile behind her hand.
"Is there aught else to tell of this tale?"
"Only that, unless foolish tongues have spoke of it, save for the crew you are the first to learn of it. The gift for you to savor alone first."
"Welcome home, Lady Farside."
A kinder smile lightens Azradi's features. She stands with as much grace as a woman in her condition can. "It is a noble gift you have given me, Yildirim," she says. "In a few days we will have a feast to celebrate your victory and to honor you."
"And too, I would thank you for your loyalty and service. By all accounts you governed things well in my absence."
"After my child is born, we will exact more retribution upon our enemies to the north," she vows. A few shouts of support and scattered applause rise in the chamber.
Yildirim again politely bows his head, but to a keen observer, perhaps Azradi's words do not excite him. He politely removes himself from the focus of the room, moving towards one of the windows, which he gazes from alone.
A servant comes to the foot of the dais, below where Azradi stands. He speaks to her briefly in a low voice. The lady nods, then lifts her eyes and her voice to the throne room. "Let us repair to the dining hall the cooks assure me they have prepared a fine meal."
Lady Farside descends, beckons to her cousin Narika, and follows the red carpet towards the grand doors, two guards following behind the women in escort. No one in the room moves to leave until the lady does. Only when she has passed the lintel do others begin to file out.
Yildirim is the last left in the room when another calls his name, snapping him from his thoughts. He follows out to dinner.