Oct 22: Sir Steinhardt meets with Lord Steinhardt in the Parliament
(Chronotopia) (Landsknechts) (Nordika)
The City of Clocks. Everywhere in this city of towering architecture, clocks dominate the daily life of the citizens. Decades of work by master craftsmen have overcome the difficulties of technology through tight tolerances, precision and maintenance. Occasionally, a distant explosion of a 'regular emergency' can be heard. The clocks however, from the smallest Chronotopian Egg to Great Gretchen, tick away the seconds dutifully. They are a constant reminder, that following the rules, and doing things precisely and properly will result in a secure, predictable future. The clocks give order to the chaos that surrounds this land.

The Parliament Buildings
The seat of government for Chronotopia, a long, wide, and tall building, with many towers and gables. The most significant tower of course, is the one that houses Great Gretchen, the largest clock in Chronotopia. Her four faces watch over the city, protected by two massive lighting rods, and Gretchen's hourly chimes can be heard far out into the countryside surrounding the city. All other clocks are set by her hands, and she counts the seconds, minutes, hours, days and reigns of the empire with unerring accuracy. Her precision is the pinnacle example for all that pass through the main gates beneath her.

Standing just inside of the main gates is a Page, wearing livery that identifies him as one that serves in the Lord's chambers. The young human is leaning against the stone wall, watching the street with the bored gaze of someone who has been doing it for some time. He snaps to attention, and strides purposely forward as he sees a Landsknecht approaching.

"Sir Steinhardt?" The Page asks, approaching the knight.

The Cervani Landsknecht draws to a halt as he reaches the young page and gives a quick nod of greeting, "Fair day. Might I inquire if the house if lords is currently in session?"

"Yes Sir, it is." The boy bows, "Lord Steinhardt has instructed me to wait for you, and inform him the instant you arrive. Come quickly please, this way."

Steinhardt's eyes narrow slightly. The pause before he nods to the page is nearly imperceptible. "Then lead on."

The Page leads the Landsknecht into the Parliament, and down the hall to one of the Libraries adjacent to the House of Lords. Asking the knight to wait, the young human disappears through the serving door at the back. A few minutes pass, then the older Steinhardt enters through the main doors. "Greetings Sir Steinhardt." He robes flow around him as he strides over.

"The house is still in session, however Lord Elim has had a rare waking moment, and seen fit to put a question before it. I daresay that old Korv will still be asking it when I return, he is as loquacious as he is old." The older brother comments.

Steinhardt bows in greeting, a faint smile apparent, "Fair afternoon brother; I had not expected to be able to meet with you with such little delay; perchance I should thank the eld Lord Elim for his timely… 'intervention'."

"Indeed, I was expecting you earlier," says the Lord. "Had you arrived an hour ago, we might have spared the house. Still, it does provide me the opportunity to get organized. The heir is with you?"

Surprise evident, Steinhardt pauses for a moment, watching his brother. He then shakes his head slightly and sighs, "Were it not for the laws the Landsknechts uphold in our Chronotopia, I believe I should happily hunt and severely chastise each member of our postal service here."

Surprise shows on the face of the older Cervani. "Why is that? Sir Silberglascht's message arrived promptly this morning. Was there a second one that I should have received that would have told me of your delay?"

Sir Steinhardt regards his elder brother for a moment, then shakes his head slightly. "Perhaps, then, the fault is mine. I fear I have not been at the keep this morn; I have had other matters requiring my attention. If I could ask of the message I should have received… ?"

"This is most odd, and disturbing." The Lord says, rubbing at the jowl under his chin. "Sir Silberglascht's letter told me he had located the heir, and would be sending him to me just past noon. He also said you would be escorting him… so, the Kaizer's son is not here?"

Steinhardt's eyes narrow slightly. Several seconds pass before he trusts himself to speak, "As best I know, nay, brother." {At least, I pray the it'un is not here… } "Rumour itself has little to say of an heir or his location."

"It would appear that Sir Silberglascht was unwilling to impart even to you the details of what he found. Do you recall that letter you delivered to me several days ago? It confirmed many of the rumours." Lord Steinhardt explains. "Our Kaizer did indeed have a concubine, and an illegitimate son. Sir Hehner had located the mistress, none other than the Mage Talia who was implicated in our leader's death, and was seeking out the son."

The Landsknecht nods slowly, head spinning, and waits for his brother to continue. He tries to convince himself that Phelan's words implicating his brother are untrue…

"I received a second letter this morning, saying both would be arriving at the Parliament under your escort." The elder brother observes a nearby clock, "It is far past the time he said you would arrive."

The younger Cervani does not have to feign the expression of worry that crosses his face, "I wonder," he muses quietly, "if this is indeed so, if the two would be sent via another, or if my absence… " Another shake of the head, "What then, do you require of them?"

Lord Steinhardt seems genuinely confused at this question, worry crossing his face as well. "Why… to restore order, of course. If the Kaizer indeed had a son, he should not be denied his inheritance. There are those among the Lords who can vouch for the relationship Kaizer Heinrich had with the mage, illicit though it may be, and she can identify her son." The older stag pauses, listening to the ticking of the clocks, "I hope Sir Silberglascht did not decide to send them without you."

Sir Steinhardt just shakes his head slowly, {Have then, these squabbles been merely the lords and knights mistaking each other's endeavors? But what of the attempt on Lord Ruthven… ?} He sighs heavily. "Forgive my doubt, brother, but much has happened lately to offer cause. Whatever the outcome, I hope it arrives soon; there are too many stresses on this land."

"The existence of the heir must be revealed, this is not a matter to be decided in secret meetings behind closed doors. It should be done in public by the elected Ministers and inherited Lords, who are loyal to Chronotopia, and not some clandestine group whose motives may be doubtful. This does not bode well… " Lord Steinhardt stares out the doorway, as if will and wishing would make an heir appear.

No heir appears, despite the elder Steinhardt's desire. He looks back to the knight. "I'm sure there are some who would benefit if this information remained secret, as well Chronotopia's enemies would profit from our continued instability… I think you should speed back to the keep and discover what has transpired."

The knight nods slowly, and refrains from mentioning anything of Jael to his brother; the it'un's secret is not his to share. "I shall not be the means by which news of the heir's existence is spread. . And aye, like as not I should return to the keep and see what, if aught, chances there. . Although… "

"What are your thoughts brother?" Lord Steinhardt asks.

Sir Steinhardt grimaces, "My reason for being here. I came hoping to gain information from one I could trust." {Which I have… but can anyone be trusted?} "Know you aught of the attempt upon Lord Ruthven's life?"

"Some foul agent of Bosch struck at him in his chambers. That indicates the degree of instability present, that the cursed land could reach so far into our Motherland's heart. I have heard naught else except that it was foiled by… " The stag's eyes widen, and he stares at his younger brother, "… Landsknechts who were present. You?"

The knight nods slowly and sighs, eyes slightly unfocused, "I had hoped you would know something more than what we have found, or confirm a guess. The party responsible must be caught. ."

"Indeed! I wish to question you on what happened, I have many. I think Chronotopia would be better served if we did not delay further however, your first priority should be to ensure the heir is safe, then we can seek out the flaws. Return to the Keep my brother, nothing is served by us prattling on now." Lord Steinhardt puts his hand on Sir Steinhardt's shoulder, and walks for the doors.

After saying his farewells and leaving his brother, Sir Steinhardt makes his way back out of the building, mind in turmoil. How can he bring Jael and Talia to his brother without breaking a trust? And how can he not without breaking another? {Great machine help me, but I know not what to do… }


GMed by John

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