Hills filled full of silver and gems and iron rising high. Streams flowing down to meet to form a mighty river that split into three. To the east and south ones flowed further into the mainland to connect what lay beyond. The third flowed west into a natural bay colored gray by gently rolling waves. Life lived within its depths as densely as it did within the woods and meadows of the river lands and valleys between the beach and stones. A land of natural bounty and beauty. Little if nothing was wanted by those who called her home. Everything she contained was wanted by those who did not. Greed and envy always made outsiders wish to make this place their hearth and home. Lord Cedric Silverblood was all too familiar with that fact. Ancient and beautiful was his home. Silverhearth was one of the most important centers of trade in all of Mystmarch and the whole of the Storm Isles. It was the center of Mystmarch's crafting. They all flocked to his hearth, his home, seeking to take advantage of all that the Silver Hills, Graywater Bay, and Riverlands had to offer. His house had watched over it all as guardian and protector since before their culture wrote. Their blood was a part of it and it was where they had gotten their name. He had taken over the seat of his ancient and powerful house several months earlier, but had taken over the duties of it years before. His father had finally past after being ill. His brothers supported his claim and his people rejoiced. Or at least they appeared to. It was impossible to say what was truly on other's hearts and minds. For that reason, Cedric had worried about the letter he had received from an eastern elf not long ago. Returning some of their supplies that had been pirated, or so they claimed, by another Mystmarch house bordering them and an offer of marriage of one of their cousins to his youngest brother. He did not trust it. Flattery was used as a guise to try and hide the true intent. This elf wanted to better their own position while also pushing off an unwanted onto his family. It was the kind of thing lesser houses sought to do. It was the kind of thing his father would have done and tried to do to Kaelen. Cedric was going to be better than that. He had to be. There was a reason they had to maintain such a strong army and navy at all times. Ignoring the eastern elves the length of half the isles away, their neighbors were always looking to strip as much of his home away as they could. Scavengers. Not even the noble kind such as ravens and wolverines that kept the land healthy and clean. No, these other Mystmarch houses could just be creatures of greed and envy driven solely by their base instincts. They saw only the wealth everything had to offer but not the works her people took to create and maintain it. They would strip everything away or take what they could if given the chance. This foreign elf was no different. He saw a chance to gain Silverhearth coin and sword for himself and sent this offer to him. After the response was delivered the letter was cast into the flames. Cedric figured his threat, although somewhat veiled, would be enough to end the matter. If this woman he was willing to use as a pawn in his little game was truly as homely and rotted as Cedric suspected then there was no chance he would risk sending her. Atleast that is what he thought. Then word of a ship from this same eastern lord docking in the port and requesting permission to enter was brought to him. This Lord Nishanti was persistent. Fine. If the elf wanted to test Cedric so stubbornly then he would allow it. At worst it would give him reason to see this lord's ships sank and port blockaded to give their newer recruits some experience and veterans some entertainment. ===== The port of any city was usually the least kept up part of a city. The worst it had to offer was ever present and showed glimpses of the best. Silverhearth city's was no different. But where other cities, even the Mystmarch capital of Stormhold to the south, held squalor and filth and grim Silverhearth was lovely gray stone and brown or reddish wood topped in black slate or red cedar shingles. It had more of the look of other cities market square in how clean and maintained it was. The rest of the city beyond only grew more beautiful on its way to the castle. The city was filled with the sounds of people busy about their work. The clatter of masterfully wielded hammers. Rhythmic humming of saws. Music mixed with voices both loud and quiet. The pattering of feet at both work and play. The smell of spices both local and foreign mixed with that of freshly cooking foods in the air. Bubbling as water ran through public fountains and waterways designed for drink or hygienic purposes. Everything would feel both modern and yet ancient. A place that seemed to embrace both the past and future all at once. People of various races roamed the streets. Humans, dwarves, elves, and beast folk mixed as easily together as any individual race could with their own. The diversity in languages spoke was perhaps even greater than that of the peoples. It was clear no strict racial divide was present here, a feat not many Mystmarch lands could match. It could seem almost dream like or like some sort of utopia. It could if not for the ever present guard or soldier in their armor within sight at all times to remind of that dangers still existed and crime was still committed. The sight of so many could be reassuring however or make one nervous depending on how they viewed such a thing. Despite all of the beauty, the city was purposeful in design to those with the eye for such things. It was defensible and sturdy. All the water flowed towards the sea from the hill containing the castle that stood close by yet far enough away to be a sanctuary and last stand if matters grew so dire. The castle itself rose above the city and matched it in both beauty and practicality. This was the sight that would greet Michiko Nishanti as permission to enter the city and castle was granted to them by Lord Cedric Silverblood. They would be escorted the entire way by soldier diverse in both gender and race wearing the gray sword downcast through a hearth on a field of blue that was the House Silverblood colors and symbol. When she made it to the castle she would be taken along with everyone else in her party to the grand hall. On a throne made of oak and silver sat a tall human with brown hair and piercing gray eyes. He wore expensive yet nearly utilitarian clothing colored blue and gray. Boots of dark leather covered his feet and silver rings with a single, different gemstone each were on his fingers. Bracers made of silver and etched with flowing rivers and branches of trees covered in leaves circling the Silverblood symbol were on his wrists. Around his neck was a simple necklace and upon his head a circlet. Both were made of a metal that looked like silver which had been burnt and contained a dark blue gem the color of the water beneath waves in the bay. Before Michiko sat Cedric Silverblood. On his left was a throne no less impressive than his own. In it sat a beautiful woman with hair the color of amber and eyes as blue as the sky. She was dressed similarly to her husband but around her neck was a simple necklace and around her head a circlet made of silver and containing a sapphire. She had blue pearls from earrings. On his right was stood an armored individual. He was human with a somewhat handsome face marred by a scar down his right cheek. His armor was battle ready with a sword the perfect length to be used in the hall on his hip. A hand rested upon it. His hair was light brown nearly blonde. His eyes brown. After enough seconds had past for Michiko to get a look at the three of them Cedric said in a commanding tone, "You stand before Lord Cedric Silverblood head of House Silverblood. What business do you have with me today?"