Cutting Cordiality

When she is not dancing with her dark haired love or tracking Juliette, several times when alone Kiara can be found gazing out one of the windows at nothing in particular with an expression that some will recognize from the years after her return to Amber — a mixture of troubled thoughts and wistful longing.

At one of these points, her reflection in the window is joined by the young Chaos Lord's. "Fair Turn, m'lady," he says quietly.

Kiara startles at being drawn back to the here and now and she turns, arranging her features into a pleasant expression before facing him.

"Good evening….Kendall, wasn't it?"

Kendall bows deeply when she turns, then nods. "Yes, that is my name. The ball is indeed grand. King Eric is most gracious in his welcome to his guests."

Kiara glances over to the Crown and smiles. "Eric and Gana are both quite gracious rulers."

Kendall nods. He pauses, and perhaps something like nervousness appears very briefly, then is gone, his expression once again graciously neutral. "You are the General Kiara, are you not?" he inquires.

"Yes, I am," she replies, looking back him appraisingly and waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Kendall notes her look and hesitates, looking briefly uncertain. Then, "Have I said something to offend? I was merely confirming that I remembered correctly. Though I was told the names of many of the people I would likely meet, I do not know what they look like."

"I have many titles, mostly useless. Usually when someone uses that one, if they aren't in our Army, it's for military reasons. I was waiting for the question," she explains.

"One question in particular or any question?" Kendall inquires curiously.

"Any of them," she smiles a touch ruefully.

"Do you dislike questions, General?" Kendall asks.

She looks amused. "Your fourth question in a row is to ask me if I dislike questions. You're an amusing fellow."

"My purpose was not to amuse, but I thank you nonetheless," he answers stiffly.

"My turn." The amusement fades from her voice. "I'm not a ruler or a diplomat and this isn't my party. Honestly, I'm sure they expect me to be rude, considering the shape Julian was in after we got him back from your people. In fact, it is only last night that he returned to himself from the horrors inflicted on him, the wanton destruction and vile rituals done by forces of Chaos in Arden. Arden that took the brunt of it while Amber remained safe behind that creepy barrier Gana put up. It will be years before the forest and the people there recover and that's assuming there are no more attacks and we have routed them all out. My question for you is, what are you doing here?"

Kendall doesn't seem at all surprised by her rant. In fact, he relaxes a bit when she begins. He listens carefully to her all the way through, then nods. "To learn," he answers simply while she gets her breath back. "Is that not the way to greater understanding, General?"

"Why?" she asks. "Why on god’s green earths should we trust you? I think that's asking a hell of a lot."

"Indeed." He thinks on her answers for a moment, his gaze going to look at the dancers. "I found your first dance quite fascinating, General," he remarks. "The King's Dance, I believe Queen Morgana told me it is called?"

Kiara is not in the least surprised that he hasn't bothered answering her question and she sips her wine as she scans the room to locate her daughter and her young friend. "Yes," she answers finally in a tone that does not reflect the smile she is giving to her daughter across the room as she waves at her.

"Amber seems to have more than just that dance to owe to Chaos. I am not certain with what viewpoint I should proceed." He turns back to her. "You are not sure if you should trust me, General?" he inquires then. "Or Chaosians in general?"

The stem of the wineglass in her hand comes a hair's breadth to breaking and she keeps her eyes on the on the children. "Any of you," she says in a voice dangerously quiet. "There is only one come in recent years that is an exception and those circumstances were extraordinary. Oh, I have met others and even call them friends but they no longer consider themselves of Chaos and haven't for a very long time. If I owe Chaos *anything* it is more of the same that I gave them in Arden."

Kendall remains calm, hands still in his sleeves, watching her with interest. "I do not believe that you understand, General," he says at last. "There is very little to the sense of owing Chaos as a whole. Chaos is made of the Houses; the Houses are what drive action. Hendrake and Sawall are the ones you owe for the war, General."

Kiara gives an unladylike snort. "And I suppose your House is entirely different. Frankly, that sounds like a disaster in the making.”

"But that might lead one to inquire whether the House of Amber is entirely different," Kendall remarks, tone eminently polite, even deferential. "The dances, language, and structure are the same. Yet it seems that ties to Chaos are denied."

"Anyone old enough to read a history book knows that's where we came from," she says archly. "But there was a reason they left. You will have to take that up with Dworkin for it's his story to tell-assuming he can be found.”

Kendall pauses a fair moment, consternation showing faintly in his demeanor. Finally, he shakes his head a little. "I ask your pardon," he says, bowing slightly. "I do not wish to antagonize you. Only to speak with you and learn what I may. About this place, and its people. What may I do or say to earn enough trust for that?"

Kiara exchanges her empty glass for a full one from a passing servant. Peering at it, she finds it is not what she was wanting and she passes her hand over the goblet, changing the drink within from a pale gold to an explosion of swirling colors.

She looks at him briefly and then over to where Julian dances with some noblewoman. "When he was abducted, Juliette was just a toddler," she says conversationally but with a chill to it, that gets stronger as she continues. "She's almost a teenager now. She grew up while he was being tortured and abused and his memories taken from him and perverted, distorted and shown to him while they laughed at his reactions and pain. Your 'countrymen' did that to him.

"I was in Avalon when the Hellmaids swept through there. I saw friends suffer and die horribly, and had to kill more than one of them when they had been taken and turned by those pale bitches. Wherever they went, the land twisted and died. Your 'countrymen' did that.

"In Arden members of a vile cult of Ancient origins from your homeland snuck in and performed perversions on people of Arden, using them in their rituals, leaving their bodies for us to find or turning them into something evil meant to hunt me and mine down and kill us. Parts of Arden are dead and may never return. Yet here you stand wanting trust from me? Oh, I know you say it was not your House but, frankly, that's just too much to ask of me in the near future."

"Then is that the answer you will accept, General?" he inquires. "Hendrake and Sawall may be considered vile for the acts which they have committed. And war seems to be considered a less than desirable outcome for you. I would suggest that peace will not come to you or yours with blind hatred. Chanicut may be able to help you, if you desire to avoid such events in the future. Sawall and Hendrake still remain threats. Yet you risk raising all the Houses against you if you plan to attempt to wipe out the two that trouble you. Will you ignore them, and wait for them to come back?"

"My hatred is not blind. It is very specific," she says as she steps to one side to let a page past. "And I am quite sure that whether I ignore them or not, they will try again." And then, for some reason, she starts looking a bit more agitated and turns to watch Morgana.

Kendall blinks, nonplussed, turning slightly to look at the Queen as well. Seeing nothing out of the ordinary, he looks back at Kiara. "Your pardon, General, but that is my point," he continues after a heartbeat, trying to get her attention back. "When the other Houses move against Amber, as surely they will, it would be most helpful to have some allies in Chaos to assist you."

She looks at him after a moment with a faint scowl. "And just why would you do that? You would be opening yourself up to retaliation by them, wouldn't you? And what is it that your House is getting out this arrangement with Amber?"

Kendall gets a strange expression on his face, as though he isn't sure if she's joking with him or not. "Why surely of course Chanicut would have the benefit of alliance with your House. Alliances are far stronger and more profitable in the long run than conflict. Sawall and Hendrake are already at odds with many Houses. Their retaliation would be as nothing against Chanicut."

"Sounds like a lovely place," she mutters sarcastically into her wineglass, still with only half her attention on the conversation at hand.

Kendall nods gravely. "Chaos holds beauty and wonders beyond comparison," he agrees. "And Chanicut is the greatest of all the Houses, and would prove a valuable ally." He pauses briefly, noting her distraction, then adds. "And those of Chaos are taught the courtesy to pay attention to even their most hated enemies when speaking with them."

Kiara turns and arches an eyebrow at him after setting her glass down carefully on a handy flat surface to keep from throwing it in his face. "The fact that I am talking to you at all instead of tossing you out the window is a remarkable enough thing and as Her Majesty can tell you, is far more than anyone would have expected out of me after this last year and is only because Morgana is my friend and she has seen fit to make you her guest. I think we're done here," she says coolly before turning sharply on her heel and heading for her daughter.

Kendall watches her for a moment. Then with a small sigh, he turns to find other entertainment.

Back to the list of Kendall's threads.
Dance with a Queen

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