This conversation takes place in Erikson Hall, a small building serving as AESOP’s Boralus HQ on the grounds of Proudmoore Keep. It takes place a couple of weeks after “A Grave Chat”.
22:11:06 Ardell sighs.
22:11:26 Ardell: Aris...
22:11:30 Aris: Yes?
22:11:39 Aris grins innocently.
22:11:53 Ardell: Look, don't start... I know already.
22:12:17 Aris: I haven't started anythin'. I'm just here to make ya' feel guilty.
22:12:25 Ardell: ...it's working.
22:12:47 Ardell slumps in his chair and holds his head.
22:13:15 Aris: Need sum medicine? Rephaia gave me sum that's supposed to work fer headaches.
22:14:22 Ardell: No. I'll be fine. Still lingering effects from my ordeal. And Bairem's rather loud rescue.
22:15:11 Aris nods.
22:15:20 Aris: You'll be right as rain soon 'nuff.
22:15:43 Ardell: Yeah. That's what he told me. I'm not so sure I trust him as much as a medic as I do our mechanic, but...
22:16:34 Aris: Nah, I don't thin' I need a medic to tell. Yer fussin' at me. It's a good sign.
22:17:22 Ardell pulls out a sheet of paper from the stack. Blank. He begins to sketch on it.
22:20:14 Aris leans over, her chest pressing against the table as she watches.
22:20:33 Ardell sighs again, but silently.
22:20:41 Ardell: I'm drawing a map.
22:20:52 Aris: An' I'm watchin'.
22:20:58 Ardell: I noticed.
22:21:15 Ardell 's cheeks turn red a moment, then he clears his throat and returns to his sketch.
19:21 Aris flops back into her chair with a grin.
19:21 Rhese eyes the guards on his way into the building.
19:22 Aris says: Didn't ya have an appointment soon?
19:22 Ardell suddenly stops his sketching and curses beneath his breath.
19:22 Aris stands up and peers down the stairwell.
19:22 Ardell says: I did. Dammit, forgot all about it with the recent matters.
19:22 Aris says: Want me to check fer'im.
19:22 Ardell says: Please.
19:22 Rhese pauses inside the room and tilts his head, listening. Huh. Upstairs.
19:23 Rhese says: Hey, whoa.
19:23 Aris says: Oh! Hallo there!
19:23 Aris says: Are ya'...
19:23 Aris thinks for a moment.
19:23 Ardell rolls the hastily sketched map and slides it into a pack tucked beneath the table.
19:23 Aris says: Rhese Silver... Silverwin'?
19:24 Rhese looks the human up and down, a subtle appraisal. "Silverwing. Rhese Silverwing." He gives her a little grin from beneath the fangs of his helm. "And you are?"
19:25 Aris says: Aris Meadowbrook at yer service. Boss' bodyguard and security specialist. Also known as Watchdog.
19:25 Aris grins charmingly.
19:25 Aris says: Yer right on time. The boss loves punctuality.
19:26 Rhese smirks and gives her a little bow. "Watchdog. I may have heard your name once or twice. Ishnu-dal-dieb."
19:26 You bow before Aris.
19:26 Aris salutes you with respect.
19:26 Rhese says: Is he upstairs?
19:27 Rhese glances up the stairs as if he already knows the answer.
19:27 Aris says: Yes, shall we? I'd hate to keep him waitin'.
19:27 Rhese says: Lead on.
19:27 Rhese pauses at the top of the stairs to look around for a moment before stepping forward.
19:27 Aris says: Boss, Rhese Silverwin' is here fer his appointment.
19:28 Aris says: Rhese, this is Ardell Magrave.
19:28 Ardell nods in greeting to the druid.
19:28 Rhese's amber gaze rakes the apparent human up and down a few times before he smirks. "Grave, huh? I thought you'd be... taller."
19:28 Aris ' grin broadens.
19:29 Ardell says: It comes and goes. Good to finally put a face...faces...to the name.
19:29 Ardell motions to one of the seats across from the table.
19:29 Ardell says: Please, take a seat, Agent Rhese.
19:30 Rhese says: I'll stand if you don't mind. I don't fit into the Kul'Tiran chairs comfortably.
19:30 Ardell says: Most of us don't. I'm not even sure THEY do.
19:30 Aris mumbles under her breath.
19:30 Aris says: At least -I- do...
19:31 Rhese does at least wander over to a chair and lean his elbow against the back, grunting. "Then why do they build them so small?"
19:31 Rhese says: Nysse told me that you already met with her and my sister.
19:32 Ardell says: I have. Not too long ago. About two weeks, per my recollection. Things have been...hectic...since then.
19:32 Rhese scoffs. "When are things NOT hectic, Grave?"
19:32 Aris says: I wus out on a mission, so I didn't get a chance. I'm hopin' I get a chance soon.
19:33 Aris rests her arms on the back of the chair.
19:33 Ardell says: Usually between major crises, wars, and military efforts.
19:33 Aris grimaces.
19:34 Rhese says: ... so, that would be never?
19:34 Aris says: It's been more of a mess than usual.
19:34 Rhese glances aside at Aris. "That's true enough. And probably more than enough of a reason that you'll get your chance to meet my mate."
19:35 Aris nods at you.
19:35 Ardell says: We're working on that "never" part. It's an ongoing effort.
19:36 Rhese nods slightly and shifts his weight. "I assume that's why you called me here. What's the situation?"
19:37 Ardell says: I originally called you here for the same reason I called Agent Ghost and your sister: to get to know you. Since taking over global operations, I haven't had the opportunity to actually meet most of my non-eastern kingdoms agents.
19:38 Rhese says: This is a social call?
19:38 Aris says: Yes and no.
19:38 Aris says: We need know know yer capabilities and... we don't have the records. Morthis hasn't been... forthcomin'.
19:38 Ardell nods.
19:39 Ardell says: This is more of an assessment.
19:39 Rhese smirks. "Morthis doesn't like you much. I'm not surprised."
19:39 Aris glances at Ardell.
19:39 Aris says: Do I need to have a gab with Morthis?
19:40 Ardell shakes his head at Aris.
19:40 Ardell says: He still follows the chain of command.
19:41 Aris huffs, but doesn't say anything else.
19:41 Ardell says: When that stops...?
19:41 Ardell shrugs.
19:41 Ardell turns his attention back to Rhese.
19:41 Rhese nods and scratches at his arm idly. "You don't need to be so serious about it. He's used to autonomy. He's not thrilled that you're being more active than your predecessor in his business."
19:42 Rhese gestures to ... himself. "Case in point. We've never needed to meet, before."
19:44 Ardell says: "Need" can sometimes be a matter of perception, agent. With the retiring of AESOP Minor, and the loss of those records due to the Legion's attempted assault on Stormwind Keep, we have a lot of holes that need to be filled.
19:44 Ardell says: Information-wise.
19:44 Aris covers her mouth, but a snicker escapes.
19:45 Ardell says: It's my understanding that you've been operating in the field almost constantly for...how long now?
19:45 Rhese smirks and slants Aris a knowing look before turning his attention back to Ardell.
19:45 Rhese says: ... field work, or field work for AESOP?
19:46 Ardell says: Yes.
19:46 Aris reaches around the chair and slides three folders circumspectly to Ardell.
19:46 Rhese reaches up and tugs off his bear-head helmet as he calculates for a moment.
19:46 Ardell picks up the folders and flips them open without missing a beat.
19:47 Rhese says: Nearly two decades total, give or take. The past ... huh. What are we at? About twelve for AESOP?
19:47 Rhese scratches his head, wincing. "Something around there."
19:47 Ardell says: This iteration, roughly, yes.
19:49 Rhese shifts his feet and hangs his helm on his belt.
19:49 Ardell says: You've remained pretty active, then.
19:49 Aris crosses her arms on the back of the chair again.
19:49 Ardell pulls out a writing instrument from a fold in his uniform and begins to scribble something on a page in the folders.
19:50 Ardell says: What would you say the...erm...nature of your actions have been for the past handful of years. Combat, espionage, influence, all of the above, none of the above?
19:52 Rhese considers that for a moment. "Combat and espionage, mostly. Getting myself and others into and out of trouble."
19:52 Aris says: Into?
19:52 Aris raises an eyebrow.
19:52 Ardell raises an eyebrow.
19:53 Ardell says: Int--
19:53 Ardell looks at Aris and frowns briefly.
19:53 Rhese gives her a smirk, though this one is a little sheepish. "Do missions always go to plan in your world, kid?"
19:53 Aris says: Oh niver. There's a reason why I'm workin' fer AESOP.
19:53 You laugh at Aris.
19:54 Ardell pinches the bridge of his nose.
19:54 Rhese says: Then you understand.
19:54 Aris looks at Ardell.
19:54 Rhese turns back to Ardell. "If you haven't gotten much information from Morthis, you may not know much about the rest of the team."
19:54 Aris says: Team? How many of ya' there?
19:55 Rhese says: Officially or unofficially?
19:55 Ardell hovers his pen over the folder in anticipation.
19:55 Ardell says: Yes.
19:55 Aris says: Official first. Then unofficial.
19:55 Aris says: He'll want to make two lists.
19:55 Ardell nods his head in Aris's direction, as if to say "what she said".
19:56 Rhese grins at Ardell's answer, but only addresses Aris'. "My family and I have... many friends. I know you've met one of them, Kaerryn Smythe, but the rest are... Huh. Loosely associated?"
19:56 Rhese says: Much like my sister.
19:56 Rhese shoots Ardell a complicated look at that one.
19:57 Ardell nods his head.
19:57 Ardell says: Do you enjoy your work, Agent?
19:58 Rhese blinks at that, taken by surprise.
19:58 Rhese says: Of course. This is what I am.
19:59 Rhese tilts his head at Ardell. "What a strange question, Grave."
19:59 Ardell says: You'd be surprised.
19:59 Rhese shrugs his shoulders slightly.
20:00 Rhese says: AESOP. The Circle. Free agent... I'd do the same thing, no matter who I worked with. The strong have to protect the weak.
20:00 Aris says: Sum find it a necessary evil, but hate the work itself.
20:01 Aris shrugs.
20:01 Rhese says: That's where you come down, then?
20:02 Aris says: I'm an informant, but I can't say I like every aspect if I'm honest. Sittin' in a trainin' room wus about the worst, but I can agree that I don't want others to deal with sum of the stuff I have.
20:02 Aris says: After Gilneas...
20:03 Aris trails over and frowns for the first time during the meeting.
20:04 Rhese watches Aris. "You're Gilnean? I'd heard Grave was, but..."
20:04 Ardell looks at Aris with a brief flash of compassion before his regular stern expression returns.
20:05 Aris says: I'm no' a worgen. I wus workin' in the Forsaken mines when all that happened.
20:05 Ardell says: Forced labor.
20:05 Aris grimaces.
20:06 Rhese clenches one hand into a fist, looking between the both of them. "Then you know what it took me a while to remember."
20:07 Ardell expression remains unchanged.
20:08 Aris says: Ah. Yes, that would make sense. This is personal to ya' just like Gilneas wus fer us.
20:09 Rhese frowns, his expression tightening. "Yes. They made it personal for us, too."
20:10 Ardell says: It's been personal for a while. yes. And you have my condolences for Teldrassil. We tried to rescue as many as we could that night.
20:10 Aris nods.
20:11 Aris says: Werds can't say 'nuff. But... it is important to know that ya' can prioritize the job over personal vengeance.
20:11 Aris says: You're rightfully angry, but agent lives are at risk.
20:12 Rhese looks at Aris, eyes narrowing. "You're wondering if I'd risk an agent's life to get a little bit of vengeance?"
20:12 Aris shrugs.
20:13 Aris says: I might have in those early days after Gilneas had I been werkin' for AESOP. Yer no' the same person, but it's worth askin'.
20:14 Rhese snorts, insulted. "I'm not the same person, no. I get my little vengeances on my own time."
20:15 Aris inclines her head.
20:16 Aris says: Much appreciate the cards on the table. Since I don't know ya well, I'm hopin' that we can get on sum better terms so I won't have ta ask sumthin' like that again.
20:17 Ardell says: That is part of the purpose of this meeting.
20:17 Ardell looks over to another sheet of paper on his desk.
20:18 Ardell says: ...and the forty-two more I have scheduled over the next month...
20:18 Rhese nods. "I'll keep that in mind, Watchdog. Maybe it's better to meet up next time somewhere less stuffy. Or on the field."
20:18 Aris says: Maybe somewhere with drinks?
20:18 Aris asks hopefully.
20:19 Rhese grins. "Drinks are helpful. Especially when you start off insulting me."
20:20 Rhese says: Both of you need to get to know me. I understand that. Morthis and I went through the same a while ago.
20:20 Aris snorts.
20:20 Ardell says: Hell, Morthis is on this list.
20:20 Aris says: ... That's gonna be a fun one.
20:22 Rhese chuckles. "Here, an insider tip for you."
20:22 Aris looks curiously at Rhese.
20:22 Rhese says: Make sure you serve coffee. Black. And have some yourself. He's got a soft spot for fellow coffee lovers.
20:23 Rhese smirks and glances from Ardell to Aris.
20:23 Aris says: Oh! Then he'll love Rephaia! She drinks black coffee in carafes!
20:23 Ardell says: I don't mind myself a good cup every now-and-the--
20:23 Ardell says: ...carafes?
20:24 You chuckle at Aris.
20:24 Ardell says: She DOES know it's supposed to come in CUPS, right?
20:24 Aris says: Yup! I've mentioned it and several other things. She wants the carafes.
20:25 Ardell opens his mouth to respond, but, when nothing comes out, he closes it again.
20:25 Rhese says: Morthis may see that there's hope for this organization, yet, at this rate.
20:25 Rhese grins, the tension of the Horde conversation forgotten for the moment.
20:26 Aris says: I prefer beer myself, but I'm... limited in my access.
20:27 Aris picks up her flask off her hip and takes a sip as if talking brought it to mind.
20:27 Rhese says: Huh. Are you the reason Nysse thinks all of Grave's organization is either drunkards or demolitionists?
20:27 Aris says: Nah, surely no'!
20:27 Ardell says: Probably.
20:28 Aris glares at Ardell.
20:28 Rhese smirks and looks between them. "Uh-huh..."
20:28 Ardell says: Our demolitionist is our dwarf. Who's also our mechanic and our medic.
20:28 Aris says: I've niver blown anythin' up, and this is just water.
20:28 Aris holds up the flask.
20:28 Ardell says: What about the flask on your other hip?
20:29 Aris says: For emergencies only.
20:29 Ardell grins, as if he's made his point.
20:29 Aris sighs.
20:30 Rhese shifts the way he leans against the chair, watching them with amusement. "Yes. There might be hope here, after all."
20:30 Ardell clears his throat.
20:30 Ardell says: Agent...Silverpaws, correct?
20:30 You nod at Ardell.
20:31 Ardell says: Agent Silverpaws. There is a recent issue I have come across, and I thought that perhaps your own skills could come in handy, if you wished to make a detour from your current tasks?
20:32 Aris grabs another folder and waits.
20:32 Rhese regards him calmly. "It's possible. Go on."
20:32 Ardell pulls out a map from a pack beneath the table and unrolls it.
20:33 Ardell says: There is a camp that has been identified to me. It was originally said to be a Horde archaeological site, but since it's on Kul Tiran soil...
20:33 Ardell says: ...their claims are invalid.
20:34 Aris says: Huh... I wonder if it's the same site that one man wus gabbin' about.
20:34 Ardell raises an eyebrow.
20:34 Ardell says: What one man?
20:34 Rhese grins slowly, a savage expression, but he just listens.
20:35 Aris says: I went out for ladies' night with Reph and me and two other ladies heard this guy gabbin' about a site and sumthin' he found.
20:35 Aris says: I wus worried because he also mentioned findin' someone that shouldn't be there.
20:36 Aris says: One of the others got a glimpse of someone, but I kept feelin' like someone wus watchin' us.
20:36 Aris says: Then we all got the same son' stuck in her head.
20:36 Aris pauses and glances between him.
20:36 Rhese straightens and folds his arms across his chest, his brow furrowing.
20:36 Ardell says: ...which flask were you drinking from that night?
20:37 Aris says: Neither, but Reph heard it, too...
20:37 Ardell frowns.
20:37 Aris says: Maybe it's haunted?
20:37 Aris says: That's wot one man thought. He didn't hear the son' though.
20:38 Rhese says: The tavern was haunted?
20:38 Aris says: I don't know. We saw someone, but couldn't find him when we looked, but why would a voi-ren'dorei be hauntin' a Kul tiran tavern?
20:39 Aris says: I wus drinkin', but no' that much! And certainly no' enough to make others hear or see things!
20:39 Ardell says: Ren'dorei? The man you saw was a ren'dorei?
20:39 Aris nods at Ardell.
20:39 Ardell 's frown deepens, and he shakes his head.
20:40 Ardell says: I don't remember any void elves. Blood elves, yes. Plenty of them, in fact. And a few humans, likely unaligned.
20:40 Rhese watches Ardell's reaction with keen interest.
20:40 Rhese says: So you've visited this site.
20:40 Ardell says: They answered to someone, but I never overheard who or what.
20:40 Aris says: He wasn't there. He had someone brin' him sumthin'. He had... shoulder length hair and a robe.... which describes a lot of people.
20:41 Ardell nods..
20:42 Ardell says: I attempted to make my way there myself a few days ago. The rocks are treacherous there, on the far side of the Shrine of the Storm. I slipped and fell into the ocean, and was pulled out by a few sin'dorei archaeologists.
20:42 Rhese considers that for a moment, the furrow between his brow deepening. "A few days ago?" He looks displeased, but he just shakes his head.
20:43 Ardell nods.
20:43 Ardell says: I was taken by surprise by a crack of thunder, and lost my grip. I would say it unlike me, but I've never been a great climber.
20:44 Aris frowns at the mention of the thunder.
20:44 Aris says: So, boss, wot are ya' needed him ta do there?
20:44 Rhese nods slightly, his arms tensing across his chest. He slants a glance at Aris.
20:45 Ardell says: Take a look. I suspect after Agent Sparks's rather...noticeable...rescue, that they've cleared out. However, their digging seemed important.
20:46 Rhese says: I can hope they haven't. I'd be happy to "evict" some Horde.
20:46 Ardell says: They were looking for something, and were rather intent on finding it. Not sure what it was, but I want to know more.
20:46 Rhese smirks. "Is that in the mission, if they haven't cleared out?"
20:46 Ardell nods at you.
20:46 Ardell says: Do as you feel you need, Agent.
20:47 Rhese nods. "Oh, don't worry. I always do."
20:47 Ardell says: If you happen to find any items of interest, please return them here
20:48 Rhese straightens and unfolds his arms, saluting instead. "I'll take care of it, Grave. When I'm done, that place will be empty... one way or another. Of Hordies and of trinkets."
20:48 You salute Ardell with respect.
20:49 Ardell salutes you with respect.
20:49 Aris says: That would be appreciated. It sounds like the camp is in a sensitive area. With wot happened at Brennadam, archaeologists or no', it's better to avoid an incident.
20:49 You nod at Aris.
20:49 Ardell hands the hastily scribbled map over to Rhese.
20:49 Ardell says: It's from memory, refined from reports I had received prior to my attempted expedition.
20:50 Rhese takes it and looks it over. "I've never been to this part of that island, before, but I'm familiar with the area. It won't take long to get there."
20:50 Aris says: Are ya' goin' to take any back up?
20:51 Rhese glances up and smirks at Aris. "As if she'll let me leave her behind? I'll have to take Nysse with me. My mate doesn't give me much say in these matters."
20:52 Rhese says: Not after last time...
20:52 Ardell shoots a sidelong glance to Aris without making any other overt motions.
20:52 Rhese winces and coughs.
20:52 Aris grins.
20:53 Aris says: Then it's best that ya' both go fer yer safety. It niver bodes well to anger yer partner.
20:53 You laugh at Aris.
20:53 Ardell clears his throat.
20:53 Rhese says: Didn't you say you hadn't met Nysse, yet?
20:53 Ardell says: Yes, well. Do take care, Agent Silverpaws. It can be dangerous out there, alone or otherwise.
20:54 Aris says: No, but I can... relate.
20:54 Aris smiles blandly.
20:54 Rhese says: Mm. Well, you have the same gift for a dismissal as Morthis, Grave.
20:54 Ardell is specifically not looking at Aris.
20:55 Aris says: Yes, it is quite a gift. Ya' have any questions before ya' go?
20:55 Ardell says: Yes. Questions?
20:55 Ardell says: Please.
20:56 Rhese smirks. "I know all I need for the moment. But maybe when I get back, you can tell me what dots you're connecting behind this situation." He slants a look at Aris. "You're not the first person I've heard talking about a mysterious song."
20:57 Aris says: We can catch up at one of the local eateries or taverns. Maybe I can meet Nysse.
20:57 Aris says: Shall I see ya' to the door?
20:57 Aris smiles.
20:57 Rhese says: Oh, no need. I know the way.
20:57 Aris salutes you with respect.
20:57 Ardell says: Be safe out there, Agent.
20:57 Ardell salutes you with respect.
20:58 Aris says: Indeed. Come back safely, and I'll even buy the first round of drinks.
20:58 Rhese takes a step back, and his form folds into a sleek, silver cat. His parting words are a flicked tail and a mischievous look before he leaps over the banister.
23:58:42 Aris spins around to Ardell.
23:58:49 Aris: Ya' fell from a CLIFF?!
23:58:51 Ardell sits back down in his chair.
23:58:53 Aris: Wot were ya' thinkin'!
23:59:07 Ardell: That my claws could pull me up.
23:59:13 Ardell: Simple enough thought, really, Aris.
23:59:35 Aris: And how many cliffs have ya' scaled?
23:59:42 Aris puts her hands on her hips.
23:59:44 Ardell: Counting that one?
20:59 Aris says: Yes!
20:59 Ardell says: About a half.
21:01 Aris says: How am I supposed to guard ya, keep ya safe, or any of that if ya' won't let me come with ya?!
21:01 Ardell says: You can't bodyguard against nature, Aris. The cliff didn't exactly attack me.
21:02 Aris says: No, but I, at least, have a grapplin' hook.
21:02 Ardell says: I did, too.
21:02 Ardell says: It was on my belt.
21:02 Aris says: ...
21:02 Aris grabs the other flask from her belt and takes a drink.
21:03 Ardell says: I've used it many times to board enemy vessels in my years.
21:03 Ardell says: Just not... cliffs.
21:03 Aris says: And didn't thin' to use it on a cliff?
21:03 Ardell says: Oh, I thought about it quite hard.
21:03 Ardell says: As I was falling into the ocean.
21:03 Ardell says: I thought "Ardell, you should have used the grappling hook."
21:04 Ardell says: "Now you're going to die and Aris is going to be pissed. She'll find a way to haunt you, even though you'd already be dead."
21:04 Aris covers her face and shakes her head.
21:04 Aris says: I don't even... Ya' owe me a night out. Dinner and a drin'. Maybe dancin'.
21:05 Ardell sighs.
21:05 Ardell says: You're blackmailing me into a date?
21:06 Aris says: Yup.
21:06 Aris says: Ya' don't want to know the alternative.
21:06 Ardell says: No...no, I'm sure I don't.
21:06 Ardell rests his head in his hands.
21:06 Ardell says: ...can I at least heal first?
21:07 Aris says: Yeah, yah'd be no fun with a headache.
21:07 Aris grins in satisfaction.
21:07 Aris says: Make sure ya' get sum rest. I'm goin' to go hit the sack.
21:07 Ardell says: Good night, Aris.
21:07 Aris says: G'night, Ardell.
21:07 Aris waves at Ardell.
21:08 Ardell sighs again.
21:08 Ardell says: ...maybe I should have stayed with the sin'dorei.
As Aris makes her way out of Erikson Hall, her swaggering strides carrying her toward the street outside of the square...
21:15 Rhese growls low in his throat.
21:16 Aris spins around, drawing her daggers.
21:16 Rhese stalks out of the shadows, ears perked and tail flicking.
21:16 Aris takes note of the markings and sighs, sheathing her daggers.
21:17 Aris says: Thought ya' left and headed home.
21:17 Rhese reverts, his form flowing back to his handsome native self, and he smirks at her, resting a hand on his hip.
21:17 Rhese says: Well, yes. That was the idea, "body guard". Your reflexes aren't bad, all things considered.
21:18 Aris says: Ardell wouldn't have promoted me if I didn't have the skills.
21:18 Rhese idly sticks a pair of fingers between his lips and lets loose a seemingly random shrill whistle.
21:18 You chuckle at Aris.
21:19 Rhese says: Mm-hm. Good night, Aris.
21:19 Aris raises an eyebrow.
21:19 Aris says: G'night, Rhese.
21:20 Rhese glances over as his hippogryph lands on the wall beside them, and he swings up into the saddle.
21:20 Aris says: Try no' to scare anyone else on the way home.
The druid just gives her a mischievous look as he turns his mount and leaves.