Rafael: "I will personally see to it that Francesca has not a single opportunity to break that truce," "I will be in attendance to her throughout her entire stay in the People's City and I can assure you, Your Majesties," "that she will not cross me."
Malia's lips pursed into a bit of an amused smile. She knew the General's son to be a skilled hunter and quite knowledgeable, but she doubted he - or any of them - could understand the vast power of witchcraft that Francesca wielded. Malia knew a fraction of it - she could not, nor would she, command creatures, but she did know that the affection for the quite handsome and imposing husband that she felt… would wilt quickly with any promise of more power.
She was both sure that James knew this and yet didn't know this. It was an unspoken agreement between them. One that made them infinitely stronger than the witch who had only subhuman creatures as companions at best, not partners like she and James had in one another.
James: "Don't be a fool, General. She has crossed you... and I, and will do so again" "We will not allow it again. We trust you over Rossi, and will hold you to your word"
The NorthEastern Queen rose to her feet when her King so decisively wrapped the negotiation, lifting her heavy skirt as she descended the steps to take his massive arm as he invited their guests to dine.
Her eyes lingered on the pale young girl who called herself the leader of what was once King's City… and found herself mildly impressed that Kyrilis of the Peacekeepers of Eventyr seemed to see the substance of her silence. Of course, it was likely easier to meet a Queen's eyes with a two-thousand pound bodyguard at her side, but still. What "Kyky" saw, Malia didn't know, but it did make her wonder…
James: "Where are my manners? You must be tired and hungry from your journey. Let us sit... Bastard Kings have no need for extreme formalities". "You can tell us what you hope to gain in these talks aside from the obvious..."
Hungry! Formalities! Oh, that had been easier than Kyky had expected, and she restrained her smile to Rafael at their success but she knew that when she turned her gaze to Manny that he saw every ounce of joy and relief through her eyes. They would have a summit!
How much more progress could they make? For all the horrific rumors about the Green Duke and the Duchess of the North, they seemed reasonable to her. Maybe a little distant, but they were running two regions with success (even if some might debate what "success" exactly meant). The Peacekeepers had a list of things a mile long! And the King's words even implied he was open to more talks…!
The Peacekeepers followed as they were invited into a lavish dining room that exceeded even the grandeur of the one at King's City. There was obviously a reason that the Northern Castle was lauded as the most beautiful in the realm - with its high ceilings and crystal windows that sent rainbows cascading along the stone walls, themselves embedded with glittering stone and jewels…
Distantly, Kyky had to wonder how long the people would suffer before storming this grand palace and claiming broken bits of its wealth out of equal parts desperation and wrath.
As they settled to dine, Kyky offered a pleasant smile and opened her mouth - pausing ever so briefly for a breath because (especially in the absence of privacy to consult) she expected Rafael would bristle at her words. "We have heard that the NorthEast has - understandably - become a refuge for those Eventyrians fleeing the West," Kyky began. The Peacekeepers had not only discussed but in fact seen the myriad of problems that had come out of this - peasant Westerners put into the dangerous work at the mines, if they had any work at all. Some were being recruited by the werewolf bands in their desperation. Dragons seizing the small fortunes of Westerners of means who made the journey, thus thrusting even nobles into destitution…
Kyky spared a glance at Rafael, and it was too quick to guess his reaction to her turn of conversation. "In what ways might the Peacekeepers be able to support your efforts to integrate these refugees?" Which subtly implied, of course, that the NorthEast was not yet doing enough to integrate said refugees...