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/tg/ - Traditional Games

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So about this time almost two years ago I started a writefagging on /tg/ about a Knight who wound up in an adventure involving dragons, maids, harems, and a dark artifact from an ancient wizard. I managed to keep the story going until life interfered a few months later. I've picked it up a few times in between now and then but it hasn't really took off like it did before.

Is anyone still interested in the story?

First Thread: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/27693404/
Other Threads: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Knight%20of%20the%20Realm
I'd never thought I'd see the day you would come back.
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>Despite the fact that it's been over a year, I'm just going to pick up where I left off. Feel free to brows the archives if you want.

"I'm glad to see you up and moving," Eva's voice said from my left.

I turned to look at her, startled and she laughed. "Sorry, I didn't mean to surprise you."

"No, its fine. I just didn't see you there. Er… how long have you been there anyhow?"

"Not long, a few hours. You clearly needed your rest. You slept through half the day already. We've taken turns keeping an eye on you, I'm technically supposed to let the others know as soon as you wake up, but I think I'll wait until that commotion dies down outside before I try that."

"Good idea. I'd been meaning to give you something since yesterday anyways. Is my bag nearby?"

Eva nodded and handed me my bag. I rummaged through it a little until I found what I was looking for. "I meant to give this to you yesterday, but well… events caught up with me."

I said that I would finish this and I'll do it. Even if it takes an age.
Welcome back ser knight. I remember this from wayyyy back. This anon is happy to see how the story continues
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With that I pulled out a new training saddle and handed it to Eva. "This was meant to be for you yesterday. A little shame, right?"

Eva looked surprised, "This is about that story with the saddle, right? You actually remembered it?"

"I did. Is that so surprising?"

"A little bit. I only mentioned the story in passing on the way to the library that one time."

"I still remembered it. I needed something for 'a little shame' and the story just came to mind."

"Fair enough. It sounds like the commotion outside has died down. Want to bring the others in now?"

"That would be great," I said.

The others clamored into the room, after the expected greetings and inquiries into my well-being we settled down to talk.
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I spoke first, "Before I bother you all with questions, let me give you your gifts for today. It's not much, just a few charms, but they might be helpful in time." I passed out the charms I had picked up, "I really couldn't think of much for 'a little ice' but hopefully these will do. Now can someone fill me in on what else has been happening?"

Rina spoke up, "In addition to the raid on you yesterday, there have been several other sightings of Golden Saber scouts in the area."

Felìcita elaborated, "Currently it only looks like small scouting forces, they've been keeping away from us so far, but they've been moving their forces."

Sieghild continued, "They've been moving their main forces around too, consolidating the smaller garrisons into their larger ones in major settlements. While this means that many of the surrounding areas are going to be well fortified when we are ready to advance, it at least gives us some breathing room and enough space to work for ourselves. That man from the Realms, Colonel Peyton, has been working with the men more and has been helping with training. In addition to his help, the Albero Città forces have been providing good reconnaissance and intelligence for us."

Siegbert cut in, "Don't forget Uncle Wolfgang and the rest of Clan Wache. They're helping too."

Sieghild sighed, "Yes, I was getting to that. They are helping with improving the fortifications right now."

Thanks. It's nice to be back.
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Eva added in, "Lady Uliana and her entourage are still here. The other noble families of Omrachena Zemli are still planning to meet with us at the end of this festival."

I smiled with relief, "That's good. I was worried that the attack might have caused them to have second thoughts."

Eva nodded, "Undoubtedly it did, however most of the nobles are too opportunistic to turn you down without at least hearing you out."

I shrugged, "At least that's something."

We chatted away the next few hours amicably before most of my companions had to leave for their other duties for the day. I was left alone with Eva and a small stack of books and maps to pour over. As I still wasn't quite well enough to move, even after Martina's healing magic, we spent the rest of the day there chatting and working out plans for the future.

The next day Martina's ministrations and spells were able to fully heal me. As I got out of bed I turned to her, "Thanks again Martina. I don't know how long I would have been laid up without you."
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Welcome back you magnificent bastard you
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"Don't mention it. Just try not to get hurt like that again."

"I won't. And while I have you alone here, I got something for you."

"Oh? I have to admit, I was looking forward to this a little bit. A little flame, right?"

I handed her the novelty harness that I had picked up the other day, we had a good chuckle over it before I cleared my throat, "I also have something else that I want to give you early. It's technically for the 'a little gear' day but I feel that I should give it over to you now. I found this for you the other day at a magic store in town," with that I pulled out a small box. From there I removed two rings.

"More rings?" Martina asked inquisitively.

"Yes, but these ones do something different. They are another form of telepathic magic. When we each wear one of this pair, we can communicate with each other over any distance. If we focus, we can even send mental images to each other. It was the best way I could think of to ensure we could always communicate in the future."

Martina smiled, "It’s a great idea. It’s a pity we didn't do this a few days ago. It would have helped a lot."
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"Agreed, but at least that's something we won't have to worry about again."

"Thank you for this gift, Knight. I'll have to pay you back for this later tonight…"

"I look forward to it Martina."

With that we parted ways for the moment. As I headed down into the castle, I was surprised at how many of the serving staff stopped to express their pleasure at seeing me up and about. Evidently some word about what we were intending regarding Omrachena Zemli had spread throughout the folk in the last few days and my companions and I had become rather popular.

Continuing on, I found Aimèe relaxing in one of the castle libraries. I greeted her and she stood up to give me a hug, "Hey Knight! It's great to see you up again! We all were worried about you!"

"I gathered. What have you been up to lately?"

"Me? I've been busy keeping things tidy around here. Old habits, you know?"

"I suppose I do. I got something for you by the way," I pulled out a box from my bag and presented it to Aimèe, "It's not much, just something fun for us."

Aimèe removed the maid's costume from the box and held it up to her body, "Ooh, I'll have to wear this around the castle, see how Eva reacts."

Thanks. I've missed this board.
"I think she's more okay with it than you would think, but feel free."

After some more small talk I left Aimèe to her own devices. Deciding to handle some business affairs that had inevitably accumulated over the time I was out, I spoke with the assembled military commanders, gave a few necessary but minor instructions. Afterwards I headed into the depths of the castle to check on Lieutenant Faina again. As I approached her cell I overheard Boniface speaking, "And then of course I told my father that I would be damned if I followed in his footsteps…"

Sure enough, I found Boniface in the middle of a speech about himself, a bored and mildly disgusted Lieutenant Faina at his mercy, "Boniface…" I began.

Not hearing me he continued, "and then we took our swords and came to blows! It was a fierce battle…."


"We were fighting all over the ship, from bow to stern, from decks to the masts!"

Losing my temper I shouted, "Boniface!"

Startled Boniface turned, "Oh, Sir Knight, I didn't see you there."

I sighed, "Boniface could you not try to impress the prisoner? It's just not a good idea…"

Boniface chuckled, "Well I suppose if you insist."

As he left Faina looked at me amused, "Glad you stopped him. For a moment I thought you had changed your mind about using torture."
Before I could respond she looked beyond me for a moment, "Hey you! Sailor boy!"

Boniface turned to face her and she continued, "Did you really do that? Turn on your father like that after he raised you?"

"I did indeed."

Faina shook her head, "Unbelievable" she muttered under her breath.

I escorted Boniface out of the room, "What was that about?" I asked him quietly.

"Do you know about my father? "

I had heard part of the story from Siegbert, "Yeah, he was a pirate of some kind, right? Trained you to be his successor."

"Yes. I wound up disagreeing with him about my future vocation. Disagreeing violently. I wound up killing him, taking the ship, and becoming a merchant."

"Odd. I wonder why Lieutenant Faina asked about it."

"I couldn't say. Perhaps she just liked the story?"
"Perhaps. Oh before you go, I got this for you."

"A new spyglass? I'm touched."

"I figure that you'll be in charge of a ship again and you could use one."

We made our farewells and I returned to the jail cell. Studying Faina hard before I questioned her, I wondered to myself if I could recognize someone else's features in her face. Perhaps something in the eyes....

After another unproductive questioning session I left the Lieutenant alone and returned to more personal tasks. I gave out the rest of the gifts for that day; decorative steins and beers for Siegbert and Sieghild, spent some time training with Nadja like I promised, gave Felìcita a small collar, fishnet stockings for Rina, and some body oils for Veila. Gaël was particularly pleased when the invitation from the local bardic college seemed to impress the sergeant he had been spending so much time with lately.

The most impressive gift of that day probably went to Eva. I had found some old portraits of Lady Eva's family and ancestors. I noticed a certain pattern in the weave of the dress that manyof her ancestors wore and the last time I was in town I comissioned a gown with that pattern. I should have known from the way the dressmaker looked at me that there was something special about the pattern but I didn't think much of it at the time. However Lady Eva's reaction to the outfit was something to behold. I found her in the castle solar with Lady Uliana. When she saw the dress' white and gold pattern, Eva turned bright red and Uliana gasped.
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After a few moments of silence Eva managed to stammer, "Wh-where exactly did you find that pattern, Sir Knight? "

"I saw it on several portraits of old family members. Why do you ask?"

"It's just… nothing never mind. Thank you for the gift, it is quite generous."

At this point I began to put two and two together, "Eva," I asked, "exactly how close was your family to the royal family?"

Eva stammered out something unclear about not being too important but was interrupted by Uliana, "Lady Eva, in a better time, would be seated on the throne of Omrachena Zemli."

While I had suspected that Eva was higher ranked than she let on, finding out that she was still suprising. In hindsight I suppose that I should have seen it coming, but at the time I had suspected that Eva's family was merely an important part of the royal court, not the central focus of it.

"I'm… I'm sorry to hear that. I don't know what to say…"

"It's fine Sir Knight. Its in the past anyways."

For now at least I thought to myself. Instead I told Eva, "It's not your fault that the Vsevolod family betrayed your own. There's no reason that your family couldn't return to power."

Eva walked over to the window and sadly looked outside, "To do that I would need another noble family to nominate me. And where would I find that?"

I made eye contact with Lady Uliana and quietly mouthed the word "later" at her.
Later that evening I spoke with Uliana, "You would support Lady Eva's bid for the throne right?"

Uliana nodded, "Of course, Lady Eva has been my friend since childhood and she has my loyalty. However if she's convinced that she cannot do this job then I'll not risk my house's reputation on nominating a woman who won't serve. The restof my house wouldn't stand for it."

"I'll talk to her about that, you should just make sure that the rest of your house is willing to follow you."

"They will, Sir Knight. I'll start to talk to them soon. When will you approach Lady Eva about her end?"

"I'm thinking in three days."

Uliana smiled, "Something that will bring a tear? Well I hope everything on that front works out for you."

Wondering exactly how much she knew I smiled and thanked her for her concern.

The next two days were fairly peaceful. As the present of the first day was "a brand new tool" I wound up giving everyone journals of their own. Hopefully they'll enjoy them as much as I do you. The next day was "a little gear." I wound up getting everyone minor things such as armor oils, whetstones, and the occasional set of thief's tools.

The sole exception was with Lady Eva. On the pentultimate day of the festival I gave her a messanger pigeon. Confused she asked me, "What is this for, Sir Knight?"

"Look, in the coming few months we're going to be campaigning a lot. Its likely that it will be difficult to keep in touch with each other, and while magic will do the bulk of the work, this messanger pigeon will ensure we're never out of touch."

Lady Eva rewarded me with a bright smile, "Thank you, Sir Knight. It is a sweet gift. Hopefully I'll be able to accompany you throughout the main campaign, but being able to stay in touch with you when I'm not means a lot to me."
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The final day of Zimneye Solntsestoyaniye was a joyous day. I awoke to find the castle adorned with festive decorations, wreaths, and candles. I thought that the meals we had over the last few days were extravagant, but today they pulled out all the stops. Throughout the morning we had meals of almost any kind of meat you could think of, swan, rooster, ducks, ham, and even peacock all lavishly prepared and lovingly served. There were candied fruits, cheeses, tarts and pastries, and several pottages.

As we dined, I noticed a stranger amongst us, a man in a dark coat standing off to the side and not joining in the festivities apart from a small tart he had claimed for his own and was eating slowly. Cautiously I leaned over to Eva and asked, "Eva, that man in the corner, have you seen him before?"

Eva frowned, "No, Sir Knight, I have not. Do you want me to send the guards after him?"

"Looks like that won't be neccesary. He's heading over here."

The stranger approaced us and bowed slightly, "Hello Sir Knight, my name is Valerius. I'm a representative of our… mutual friend in the Dragonmoot."

Eva frowned, "Who -" she started to ask before I cut her off.

"I'll explain more later, Eva." Turning to Valerius I said, "Good, tell me where to meet him."

Valerius nodded, "He'll be arriving with the requested aid shortly. I'll send for you when he arrives."

He then left to prepare for his master's arrival. I turned to Eva, "Do you remember the people who sent me on this quest initially?"

"Yes, you said it was Regulus of the -" Eva's eyes widened, "Wait… are the dragons coming here?"
"Some of them are... I may have demanded a favor of Regulus. We'll have to see how it playes out."

Eva looked torn between being awestruck and horrified, "You made a demand of a dragon? A demand?"

"Yes, I suppose I did."

At this point Valerius returned to the halls and nodded to me, "He'll be here this afternoon. Bring your companions Rina, Veila, and Martina when you come."

We spent the rest of the morning with a calm (and well guarded, thanks to Lady Eva) ride into town. We first stopped by the messenger bird service where Siegbert and Sieghild received a letter from their father where he said that he missed them and is proud of them. Siegbert was particularly pleased with the postscript where he learned that the Rusted Anvil would now be stocked with lager.

When we returned to the castle I gathered together Rina, Veila, and Martina as requested. W met together in a private courtyard. I recognized several faces from the Dragonmoot council there, including Regulus and Maximus. Before I could say anything however Regulus spoke up.

"Humans and other humanoid creatures, please listen briefly. Your companion, Sir Knight, has requested a boon on your behalf. I have heard through Sir Knight that several of you have lost loved ones recently as part of this campaign against Isocrates. I have brought several of the High Priests with me today, perhaps they can offer some of you some closure."

>Anyone still here?
Still here ser knight. Keep going
[The following pages are in a different writing and have been added at a later date]

Hello journal,

I suppose I should give a proper introduction since this is the first time I've written in you. My name is Rina, I'm a guard captain with the Albero Città city watch, although I'm not serving in that capacity right now.

It all started a few months ago when I was working at the city gates one afternoon. I was chatting with my fellow guards when suddenly a dark figure came through the gate. I should have suspected something was wrong when he showed up without any guards seeing his approach, but I assumed that we were distracted with small talk and careless. The stranger claimed to have business with the King and asked directions to the castle. The next day the news pamphlets announced that the King has appointed a new royal advisor, Mr. Aldric. Several days later am order from him allowed a small troop of mercenaries called the Golden Saber to enter the city. I still remember thinking that their leader's smile was more predatory than friendly, even then. My father, a Captain in the warch, didn't care for any of them and often complained of their behavior and seeming impunity but refused to act on his distaste saying "I'm sworn to obey the King's decisions, not make them for him." Gods I miss him.
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A few weeks later new orders from the palace were flowing. Princess Felìcita was appointed to a position with the Border Guard, the rumormongers always claimed that she was too spoiled and arrogant to get such a position but at the time I assumed that she must have matured a bit. Other changes included the Golden Saber taking charge of palace security and the King's personal protection. It was then that I learned the name of their commander, General Zinoviy, it's strange to think of how little the name meant to me then when today I can't even write it without shuddering a little on the inside.

The next few weeks were filled with a flurry of strange and alarming news reports. Evidently some grave threat was approaching the city, rumors had it as anything from a band of brigands to a deathknight attacking us. Evidently whatever it was had kidnapped Princess Felìcita. What it was doing to her varied from rumor to rumor but it was invariably something unpleasant.

Suddenly one day we got a tip. The palace evidentaly found out about a back entrance to the city that our quarry might use. They directed my father to set up an ambush at that point. They also sent a dwarf from Hammerburg to help with the ambush.

Much to my surprise, the villain we sought was a Knight. He turned himself in after one of his companions was injured by the dwarf. His only demand was medical aid for his friend. At this point Father began to doubt the story that the castle had been putting out, particularly when it turned out that Mr. Aldric was the person behind all the charges against the Knight. When Mr. Aldric tried to use torture to force a confession from the Knight that only cemented my father's beliefs and he threatened to arrest Mr Aldric if he came near the prisoners again. That night two things happened, first the Knight's friends broke him out of jail, and Albero Città lost the services of Captain Rinaldo, my father.
I know it was Mr Aldric who killed him. The only explanation for what happened that night was magic, and Aldric was the clear suspect. The only consolation I was able to get was ruining a lead for Aldric by pouring water over it. That dealt with I rounded up whatever guards I could find who weren't preoccupied with the Knight's escape and went up to the palace to confront Mr. Aldric.

I don't like to think about what happened next too much. We were met at the palace by a Golden Saber commander named Kuzma, I still remember the way he leered at me when I approached. I demanded to see Mr. Aldric to arrest him and that’s when we were attacked. My fellow guards were cut down quickly and I was captured. I soon found myself pinned to the ground struggling as General Zinovey forced some circlet over my head, a circlet that subjected my will to that of Mr. Aldric, or Isocrates as I later came to know him as, General Zinovey, and the Golden Saber. I won't dwell too much on what happened next, I remember it too often as is, but my ordeal finally ended when the Knight rescued me.

We wound up driving the Golden Saber out of Albero Città and in the weeks that followed I wound up becoming a… companion of the Knight. When he finally left the city to continue pursuing Isocrates and the Golden Saber I followed, as much out of desire for his company as for revenge. We came to a new land called Omrachena Zemli, allied with a local lady, and have begun to raise an army to defeat the Golden Saber once and for all.

There's more to this story of course, I could go into more detail about the Knight's other companions, the minor detours we took, or even this silly festival that's been going on all week, but that's not why I came to write in you today. I came to write here because today a dragon offered me the chance to talk to my father again.
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"I have brought several of the High Priests with me today, perhaps they can offer some of you some closure," the high dragon had said, and sure enough several priestly individuals had accompanied him. One stepped forward, "Greetings humans," he began, my name is Cato, High Priest of the Draconic Lords. With my help, you should be able to pierce the veil between life and death, and have a few moments more with some of those you hold dear. I understand that this may be a bit of a surprise, so I'll give you some time. Please come see me when you're ready."

I sat there still for several moments. What would I say to Father if I had a chance to speak to him again? Would I tell him about the Knight? Would I confess my doubts about our arrangement? Would I even tell him about it?

After a long time sitting there thinking, I felt a hand on my shoulder. When I turned around Sir Knight was there, looking concerned. "Rina, are you okay? You look torn," he said with a frown.

"I don't know, Sir Knight. Its just a lot to think about out of the blue. I don't know what to tell him, what to ask him, or… well anything really."
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Sir Knight was silent for a moment before continuing, "Would you like me to go with you?"

"… Yes," I said quietly.

We went together to the old priest who only silently nodded and escorted us into one of the castle cellars. The floor had been covered with a dark liquid the pool being several incehs deep. Cato nodded to us and guestured us into the pool, "Please stand in the center of the room as we begin."

We found the designated spot and the old priest began to chant, as he chanted we found ourselves sinking in the pool deeper and deeper, as though the stone floor beneith our feet was replacedwith quicksand. I heard the high dragon, Regulus, call out, "Don't panic. The spell is working."

It was hard not to worry as we sunk deeper and deeper into the liquid, it was icy cold, thick as oil, and had an otherworldly sensation when touched. As it reached my neck and head, I had a moment of panic wondering how I would breath but as it reached the top of my head I felt my feet touch solid ground. I found myself on flat plane filled with featureless shadows and mist.

"Wh-where are we?" I asked with a tremor in my voice.
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"I spoke with Martina a little bit about this. Evidently it is supposed to be the proverbial other side." Sir Knight said with a frown.

Suddenly in the distance we could see a figure approaching. A figure wearing the armor and uniform of the Albero Città guard. My father, Captain Rinaldo.

He looked at me quietly for a moment, staring as if in shock and then quietly said under his breath, "Rina?"

Its almost hard to remember in perfect detail what happened next, it was all a blur of tears and raw emotion. I wound up telling him everything, the Knight, the other girls, the journey, how much I missed him, and how I wished I could keep running to him for advice like I used to. We held each other close for what felt like ages before he responded.

"Rina," he said calmly, "you're my daughter, and I'll always love you. I raised you well, and although I can't quite approve of some of the decisions you and this Knight have made, I still trust you enough to know what's best for yourself. If you feel what you did is right, then I'll never gainsay it."
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We embraced again and after a few moments Father turned to Sir Knight, "Knight, I may have been wrong about you when we met, but I swear this. If you hurt my little girl, break her heart or anything, I'll find you. I don't care if I'm dead. I'll drag myself to the river of the dead, punch out the ferryman, and cross back over myself if I need to."

"I understand, Sir. You have nothing to fear from me."

"Good, I'd better not."

Father turned back to me, "I think our time here is almost up, remember that I love you and that you are more than capable of deciding for yourself what's right."

With that we sat in silence, holding on to each other untill I felt myself dragged upwards. With a start of light and fresh air I found myself laying in the dark pool with Cato dragging me and Sir Knight up out of the water.

"Hello, I see you've returned to us."

I nodded mutely and indicated that I wished to be left alone. After speaking with Sir Knight a little about what had transpired, I returned to my rooms to rest briefly. After a few hours of thinking I decided to copy the Knight's methods when dealing with life, I decided to write in this journal.

It's about time for dinner, I'll write more later.
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[The following pages are in a different writing and have been added at a later date]

Hello again, it's Veila again. It hasn't been long since I last wrote in you, but today was a… momentous day. I got the opportunity to… well I'll just explain as I go along.

Today several strange individuals came to Eva's castle. Sir Knight introduced them to us as being dragons, the same ones who had originally sent him on his quest. What they offered was… well… what they offered was a chance to get some closure.

I asked one of the dragons, a priest named Cato what exactly was going to happen. The dragon, in the guise of an old man in a blue and white cloak, turned to me and said, "I intend to open a portal between here and the netherworld, where the dead travel to their judgment. From there your own soul should call out for the people you need to see."

He lead me to a basement room with some black oily liquid pooled up on the ground. "Please enter the pool. You may experience the sensation of sinking into the pool, this is nothing to worry about. Don't try to keep afloat or worry about holding your breath."

Sure enough I was soon submerged fully inside the pool and found myself in a dark featureless plane. In the distance I saw several familiar figures approaching.
"Its been a while. Veila," Agata said to me with a smile. Besides her Catriona and Amyas smiled too.

I leapt into their arms, "Girls! I missed you so much!" tears came to my eyes as I continued, "I… I never even got the chance to say goodbye…"

The three of them smiled, "It's okay Veila," Catriona said, "We understand."

"Look, I don't know how much time I have here, I just want to say that I'm so sorry for getting you… getting you…"

"It's okay Veila. It's not your fault," Amyas said with a grin. "We had our run, and it was fun while it lasted."

Agata mewed with laughter, "We did have fun, didn't we?"

Catriona snorted, "How about this, finish killing those Golden Saber bastards and we'll call it even."

I wiped away a tear, "I'll do that, Catri. I'll do that."

Agata nodded in the distance, "There's someone else who wants to see you again too. He's been waiting."
I turned to face the direction Agata indicated, an elf was standing there waiting.

"Hello Donato, its been a while."

The girls gave us some space to talk. Donato spoke first, "I'm sorry. When those Golden Saber thugs broke into my place down in the slums I didn't realize what they were after. I would have destroyed everything that could lead them to you. I - "

"Donato, it's okay. It isn't your fault. You did everything you could to keep me safe. In fact, I should have been there for you. I should have known that the Golden Saber would seek revenge. I should have - "

"No, no! You were right to be laying low. If you were at my place they would have found you faster."

"No, I'm to blame. If I was there I could have helped you - "

"No, really you're not at fault. I - "

We stopped interrupting each other for a moment, staying in silence. Finally Donato spoke, "I've missed you." He said simply.
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"I miss you too. Life hasn't been the same without you."

He nodded slowly, "You've moved on though." A statement, and partially an accusation.

I nodded as well, "Yes. I'm sorry I didn't wait longer."

Donato smiled at me, "It's okay. I'm not angry. Is he at least nice?"

A small smile appeared on my face as I replied, "Yeah. Nice, kind too. A literal knight in shining armor."

"Good. Let him know he's got some big boots to fill and make sure he treats you well."

I laughed, "Don't worry, Donato, I will."

The girls rejoined us at this point and the five of us spent the remainder of our time conversing and saying all the things that we never had time to say in life. When our time was finally up we departed sadly, but somehow comforted by the knowledge we'd meet again someday.
[The inserted pages end here and the Knight's Journal resumes]

At this point one of the dragons accompanying Regulus stepped forward. "Greetings. I am known as Cato. I am the High Priest of the Draconic Lords. I understand that two of you have lost several of your companions in this journey. I have prepared a rite that will allow the transit of a small group of people to the netherworld. There you will be able to make contact with the souls of your loved ones.

I won't go into the exact details of what happened next as it's something personal to Rina, and I don't feel that divulging it would be appropriate. To summarize we had the opportunity to contact our deceased loved ones briefly. Rina had me come with her, Veila went on her own after us.

When we emerged, Cato was there waiting for us, "I trust that your time was… should I say theraputic?"

Rina nodded slowly, "Yes. Yes it was." Turning to me she continued, "Thank you for being with me for that, Sir Knight. It was appreciated."

"You're welcome, Rina. Any time."

Cato coughed, "Sir Knight, if you're done here, Regulus would like to see you in the upper chambers regarding Martina."
>>Anyone still here?
I'm stuck at work so can't read along until I get home, but you've still got my interest and them some
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I took my leave of Rina who wanted to retire to her chambers to write, I was rather pleased that some of my companions had taken up journal writing on their own. It's rather therapeutic. I then went upstairs to meet with Regulus and Martina.

I found them in the same upper chamber I had met Regulus in before. He nodded as I arrived, "Good you're here. It feels appropriate that you be present for this, as it is primarily your doing."

Martina looked at us quizzically, "What is this about exactly?"

Regulus handed her a small sealed scroll. "Sir Knight has made it abundently clear that it will be necessary to make certain… guarantees. As such, I, as head of the Dragonmoot Council, have decreed that you Martina the Younger are not to be held culpable for the loss of Isocrates' Rod." With that, Regulus handed Martina a small formal scroll with intricate seals placed on it. Martina accepted it with a small smile before replying to Regulus.

"Thank you. And while you're here… there's something I'd like you to do for us. Sir Knight, I'd like to repay you for everything you've done for me. Regulus, I'd like you to perform the Rite of Draco Bellator."
Welcome back. It's been a while so I'm going to have to reread the archives before catching up here.
Cato gasped, Maximus smiled, and Regulus raised his eyebrows in surprise before agreeing, "Very well, Martina. I trust that you are sure about this? Absolutely sure?"

Martina nodded, "I am."

Regulus nodded solemnly, "Very well. Sir Knight, are you willing to go along with this?"

Martina nodded at me quietly so I answered Regulus, "I am."

"Very well. We'll leave to prepare the ceremony. There is a mountain range to the west of this castle. We'll set up there, come tonight and we'll perform the ceremony."

With that the dragons left. I turned to Martina, "What is the Rite of Draco Bellator?"
Thanks for the heads up.

Thanks. Its nice to be back.
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Martina blushed slightly, "It's… It's a rite that bonds a warrior to a dragon. I should have told you earlier about this. It's a lifetime bond between the two that binds them together, granting the warrior long life, good health, and good fortune. However it makes it… difficult for the warrior and the dragon to part ways…"

I smiled at Martina, "Well… we don't have to worry about that. Do we?"

Martina returned my smile, "No. Not at all."

"I'll see you tonight. I have a few more things to do before we set out."

We parted ways and I left the room feeling good about the future.
Outside the room, I was surprised to find Maximus waiting. He motioned me over before whispering, "Look, Knight. There's something you should know before you undergo the Rite. It's about that sword. Its proper name is the Gladius Amor, the Sword of Love. I'm not too sure about the magic inside it, but the magic inside it is supposed to inspire love."

"Wait, are you saying that my relationship with Martina and the others is-"

"No, no. Not at all. I said inspire love, not mind control it into existence. What I was trying to tell you is that that sword was given to Martinus by Regulus himself. This isn't unusual, but Regulus seems convinced that you are part of some sort of Prophecy of Vengeance. Now I tried to find out what the prophecy entailed exactly, but our current Prophecy Keeper couldn't be bothered to look at them for me, however the one detail I did get was that the sword and Isocrates were somehow linked. Now, Regulus is a fair ruler and I wouldn't say anything against him, but he tends to be a bit on the manipulative side. I wouldn't put it past him to have orchestrated some plot to have some prophecy or another come true."

"So what should I do? If this is all part of some prophecy I doubt I can get rid of the sword."

"I don't know. I just wanted to let you know. You're a decent guy, Knight and I felt you should know about this."

"Thank you for that. I'm still not really comfortable with the implications of this sword. I'll have to ask Regulus about it tonight.

"Yeah, if you can deal with the sworded truth."

"Yeah I suppose…. Wait was that a joke?"

"Yeah, not one of my better ones I'll admit."

"Well thanks for the effort anyways, I appreciate it."

"You're welcome, and good luck tonight."
Oh lordy lord
We parted ways and I left to find Eva. On the way, I suddenly had to brace myself as a small elf threw herself into my arms.

"Thank you! Thank you! Thank you so much!" Felìcita cried with a beaming smile.

"I take it that you got your present?"

The elven princess nodded, "Father gave it to me this morning."

She held out her hand and I could see the gleaming badge of the Albero Città Border Guard in her hand.

"So it looks like you're official now." I said with a smile.

Felìcita nodded happily, "I am! Thank you so much again Master Knight, none of this would have been possible without you!"
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We parted ways and I headed up towards the upper floors of the castle. I reached the balcony overlooking the castle gates where in the courtyard below a ceremony was beginning. The castle was decorated for a festival and the guards were at attention. At the edge of the balcony Eva and Uliana stood overlooking the proceedings. Eva turned to me as I arrived, "Good, you're here. The guests are about to arrive."

With that trumpeters atop the castle walls began to play, the gates swung open and the noble families of Omrachena Zemli began to arrive. The first to arrive were the remainder of House Rada. The entire House came mounted and rode through like they were charging something. The family nobles nodded and waved to Uliana as they entered carrying their red and blue banner of a steed through the gates.
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The Rada were followed by the Zakhar family. Instead of riding, most of the delegation came on foot, slowly chanting as they walked. The entire group seemed to consist of clergical members and knights of some sort. I saw their patriarch, Lord Svyatopolk, at the head of the group carrying a holy tome above his head and chanting. Behind him rode his standard bearer carrying the families Grey and red banner of a bear.

The next noble family was House Timur. Lord Gleb rode towards the rear of the column, his retainers in front of him. The entire column looked like it was made of merchants and their guards. I could see him looking around warily, trying to calculate if the risk of meeting here was worthwhile. His standard was a black and lilac crest with an hammer and anvil on it.
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Finally came House Stanislava. Lady Lidiya was in the center of the mass, surrounded by her guards. She was pleasant enough to look at, I suppose but the sneer of contempt on her face just made her look ugly. However I had to admit that the family certainly looked important, retainers were wearing fine clothes, the guards looked well equipped and trained, and the family members themselves were draped in jewelry and practically oozed refinement and class. They strode in like they owned the place with their banner of tenné and purple crest of a majestic firebird.

The main four noble families were then followed by a host of other small families that slowly filtered into the courtyard. I was able to pick out a little about the families, or at least what they were supposedly known for, form the symbology on the crests, but most of the Omrachena Zemli heraldry was foreign to me.

Lady Eva then gave a small speech, welcoming the visitors to her castle and hoping to enjoy their support in the days to come. I noted pleasantly that no one seemed surprised about this, evidently word of our intentions had spread some and that would ease the negotiations to come. Worryingly however, no one seemed pleased or happy to hear Eva's words, evidently there were still significant doubts about our success. None of them left yet though, so we had to take what we could get.
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After the ceremonies, the castle servants began to show our guests to their quarters. I managed to get Eva alone for a few minutes and asked her, "What do you intend to do about political leadership in this alliance?"

Surprised by my blunt words, Eva stammered her response, "What… what do you mean Sir Knight?"

"I mean, what do you intend to do about leading this band of people?"

"That seems a bit premature. We haven't even got their agreement to act yet…"

"True, but we need to get them to agree to a plan. We can't just expect them to sign on to a vague intention and then act on it. We need to present a reasonable plan for the future, and that needs to include a leadership candidate."

Eva looked uncomfortable before speaking, "You've talked to Lady Uliana, haven't you?"

There was no point in denying it, "Yes I have. While she has her own suggestions for how to handle the leadership issue, I wanted to check with you first."

"I know that she wants me to… to…" Eva faltered here.

"To take charge?" I suggested gently.

"Exactly. However I don't know who in this nation would back me."

"I would for one."

Eva looked surprised, "Thank you, Sir Knight, but what good would that do?"

"A surprising amount, I'd think. Foreign recognition of a political arrangement can easily sway the minds of domestic players. Knights of the Realm are supposed to serve as the eyes, ears, mouth, and sword of the King of the Realm. That means to a certain extent, I am capable of offering diplomatic recognition on behalf of King Charles. I would need to check with Colonel Peyton to be sure, but I think that I can make you the official Queen of Omrachena Zemli, at least in the eyes of the Realm."

Eva looked pleased and surprised for one moment before she recovered, "I won't become Queen without the support of the people of Omrachena Zemli! I'm not going to be a ruler installed solely through foreign support!"
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I raised my hands in mock surrender, "Of course not. I wouldn't dream of setting you up that way. However, from what we saw in that town we passed through, you have more than enough domestic support. We'd only really be useful in talking around some of the nobility."

Eva nodded slowly, "Alright. You have my tentative approval for now. Please let me know when you decide to announce your support."

I agreed and we parted ways for the moment.
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Later that evening I met up with Martina. She looked nervous, as I suppose I must have.

"So… what exactly does this Rite of Draco Bellator entail?"

Martina took a deep breath before answering. "It’s a… a bonding ritual. It ties a dragon and a warrior together for their lives. The two will wind up sharing certain traits as well."

"Certain traits? Such as what?" A sneaking suspicion took a hold of me, "Would immunity to fire be one of these traits?"

Martina nodded, "I suspect so. From what I can tell, we already have begun to form a bond of our own. The ritual at this point is a formality, but one I'd like to have done nonetheless."

I nodded. "Okay. So what exactly do I need to do?"

"Mostly just be there. There will be a brief bit at the beginning of the ritual where Regulus confirms that we agree to this, and then he'll begin the ritual."

With that we left the castle. Martina transformed into her draconic form and we took off for the mountain that Regulus mentioned earlier. We landed and Regulus, Maximus, Cato, and several other dragons met us. As the dragons began the preparation for the ritual, I found Regulus standing apart from the others.

"Can we talk for a moment?"

Regulus nodded and walked away from the crowd. "I take it that Maximus told you about the Galdius Amor?"

"He did. Does this sword…"

"No. It doesn’t make people fall in love with you. It merely… facilities what is already there."

"Good. I wouldn't feel comfortable if it had any overt coercive power, and to be honest I'm still not easy with it. However I already learned that from Maximus, what I was going to ask you is how I wound up with a sword that is tied into some prophecy I'm supposed to be fulfilling."
"Simple. I arranged for it to be available for you."

I have to admit that I was surprised at the blunt admission, "Care to elaborate?"

Regulus shrugged and sighed, "It's not a particularly long story. The Chairman of the Dragonmoot gave Isocrates' Rod to Martinus, Martina's father when the archmage was defeated. Many years later I became the Keeper of Prophecy for the Dragonmoot Council and I discovered a prophecy that foretold that one day Isocrates would return to have his revenge. The prophecy also mentioned that a sword of love would somehow be key to defeating him and strangely enough amongst the artifacts recovered from Isocrates was a sword that enhanced love. I simply used my influence with the Chairman at the time to arrange for the sword to be given to Martina in the hopes that when the rod caused problems, the sword would be at hand for someone to use in resolving them. After all I couldn't be sure I'd still be alive when the prophecy came to pass."

"And you just set me out into the world with this? It seems a little irresponsible."

"I'd have warned you but people who find out that they're part of a prophecy tend to do really stupid things, like try to fight it. Nothings worse than someone who zigs because they were told that they were destined to zag, and I didn't exactly send you without any safeguards."

"What do you mean?"
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"Remember the oath I had you take? The one that forced you to undertake this mission? It also had a minor effect of making you focus on the mission to the exclusion of all else. Unless I miss my guess, I'd say you really didn't start responding to the girls' advances until after the oath was removed by Isocrates, then the sword was free to work its magic on you too."

I stood there shocked. "Wait you mean that I was-"

"Affected by the magic?" Regulus chuckled, "Yes you were. Did you think that somehow you were exempt from magic? That only the feelings of those who cared for you risked being invalidated? No. If they're victims of some coercive magic, then so are you. Tell me, do you think that your feelings for the girls are false?"

I blinked, "Well… no. No I don't. But if there's nothing unnatural about the love, then why did you feel the need to obstruct it with that oath?"

Regulus sighed again, "Because the prophecy was rather specific about who you were supposed to fall in love with, and I didn't want to risk the sword activating for the wrong person. However that doesn't look to be an obstacle right now. After all you don't seem to have problems keeping multiple women around you."

I was about to ask more questions when Cato called over to us, "The ceremony is ready when you are."

Regulus nodded to Cato, "We'll be there shortly," turning to me he continued, "I'd advise against asking too many questions about the prophecies. They are vague at best and there are multiple interpretations that can be true. Even I couldn't say for certain who the prophecy refers too. You should focus your attention on your mission and do your best to succeed."
With that the two of us returned to the ceremony. The other dragons had erected a makeshift altar at the mountain summit. Martina was waiting there in her draconic form, the rest of the dragons formed a circle around her and the altar. As I entered the circle to stand next to her, I marveled again at the sheer power contained in her body. She lowered her head to touch mine and I could feel each breath buffet my body.

Cato turned to us, "Are you two ready?" he asked in a sober tone.

Martina and I looked at each other, "Yes," we said in unison.
Wow, I remember two years ago you didn't properly tag your threads so it could be filtered with the other shit.

I guess some things never change, huh?
The dragons around us began chanting in a deep growling tone that shook the earth. In a loud booming voice, Cato spoke above the din "Knight, do you pledge on your sacred honor to protect Martina? To safeguard hearth and home? Heart and hoard?"

"I do."

"Do you Martina, pledge your life to this Knight? To see him safely to his duties? To honor him as one of our own? To pledge your life to his?"

"I do."

Cato nodded solemnly, "Then you are one," turning to the surrounding dragons he continued, "The Ride is concluded! Rejoice and celebrate!"

The dragons roared and took off into the night sky, I turned to Martina a little surprised, "That was it? I expected something longer."

Martina smiled, "Normally you'd be right, there would be a period where you stood vigil for a night and a much more elaborate series of celebrations and rites, however we decided to… expedite the process a little. After all we have so much to do. Now come, it’s a few hours before dawn and I believe that I once promised to show you the sunrise from dragonback."
Dear Journal,

The next day the festive mood was gone as the negotiations for the future of Ormachena Zemli took place in earnest.

Having spent the night and early morning with Martina, I arrived somewhat late to the meeting, earning myself a rebuking glare from Eva. I made my apologies and took my seat at the massive table that we were hosting the meeting at.

From what I could gather, while Lady Eva had the support of Lady Uliana and House Rada, very few of the minor nobles and princlings that dotted the land supported her; the royal family lost much of its supporters and influence with the rise of the Golden Saber. The other major noble families each had a host of minor supporters, making all their claims for the throne roughly equal. We managed to make it through the entire morning without making any progress.
Hey. I'm out for tonight, I have work tomorrow. I'll be back at around 6:00 to 6:30 AZ time.

Don't worry I still have a bit to post so you won't have to wait another few months for an update.

Also feel free to ask me any questions that you may have.

Thanks again for reading!
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Bumping before bed.
Missed the Thread, glad to see you back.
Holy shit, the knight's back! Awww yeah!

Now if only I could recall what happened last time? I think I need to archive binge, because the last thing I remember was a hot springs orgy and that doesn't seem right...
Just finished reading through the archive. That was really good.
Holy shit you're back. This is the best news ever holy fuck.
I'm gonna archive binge and then read this whole thread

Welcome back, dude.
Aw shit man he's finally back let's fuckin' do this!
It's great to see all of you again too. I'm at work right now and can't post outside of breaks but I'll be back this evening in about eight hours.

How's the story going? Still good I hope?
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Bumping to keep the thread alive.
You even need to ask? Feed us more, man!

God it's good to see an old writefag make a return!
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I'm still at work. I'll be writing again in about three hours.
Fancy shit.
Nice to see you alive.
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I'm back! Posting will resume shortly!
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Over lunch I was able to find Colonel Peyton eating in the main hall.

"Colonel, could I have a moment of your time, no please stay seated."

I took a spot next to him and turned, "As a Knight of the Realm, I am capable of establishing diplomatic relations on behalf of the King, correct?"

Peyton nodded, "Yes. Are you thinking of trying to use it to recognize Lady Eva as queen?" I nodded in conformation and the Colonel shook his head, "Don't. If by some chance someone else takes the throne, recognizing a rival will only earn us an enemy rather than an ally. Save it until Eva has the advantage then use it to forestall further debate."

I nodded, grateful for the advise, "So we'll need to talk around the nobles then."

"Yes. I'd recommend trying the major noble houses first. Trying to get enough of the minor houses to make a difference will take forever. I can at least start some rumors that we favor Lady Eva and are interested in trade, that way you'll have a bit of an easier time with some of the merchant families."

"Thanks. That would be appreciated."

I left Peyton to his meal and returned to the upper chambers where the nobles and their servants were relaxing for their meals. I was able to find Eva and explain to her what Colonel Peyton told me.

"Good. That will help immensely. Unless I miss my guess, it won't be long before House Timur hears that the Realm would be interested in trade with me. I'd approach them first."
I nodded in agreement and took my leave to find Aimée. Eventually I succeeded in tracking her down to the servant's quarters where I found her with several of the other castle maids.

Seeing me beckon her over she came over and asked, "Hey. What do you need?"

"Can I ask you for a favor, Aimée?"

"Of course."

"Great. We're starting negotiations for the upcoming alliance today. I'm going to need to sway the various nobles but I need to know what they're thinking."

"And you need me to keep an ear to the ground for you? Gladly."

"Thanks. If you can, perhaps you some of the servants could be trained to help too."

Aimée smiled, "Sure, but it may not be necessary. Servants tend to keep informed of their masters' affairs and love to gossip. I'll see what I can dig up."
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It wasn't long before I was able to get a basic overview of the political goals of the various noble families. The good news was that everyone seemed on board with the goal of defeating the Golden Saber and everyone seemed to believe that it was possible, but no one wanted to yield control over their own forces to another. Everyone believed, with relatively good cause, that the leader of the alliance would eventually rule the nation.

Of all the noble houses, House Rada was the only house who would willingly yield any power, and then that was only for the Lady Eva. The others seemed somehow convinced that it was somehow her family's fault that the Golden Saber came to power. House Timur was the most flexible on this, their interests being primarily financial in nature. Lord Geld was convinced that the other Lords didn't care for his House's merchants and craftsmen and wouldn't give his businesses any chance to prosper. House Zakhar was a different matter, Lord Svyatopolk seemed to believe that the royal family fell due to divine providence. He seemed to be unwilling to change his mind, but was evidently close friends with a Lord Alexi of the minor house Seemya. It could be possible to reach Svyatopolk through him. The final major house, House Stanislava was my biggest obstacle. Lady Lidiya was the least enthusiastic about the alliance, and the most power hungry as well. The rumors that she was trying to cut a deal with General Zinoviy had already reached my ears via Eva, but Aimée's report only added to them. The entire delegation would bear watching.
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I spent the afternoon avoiding the official meetings when possible and running to and fro amongst my allies to work out exactly what leverage we had and what exactly we could offer.

Later that evening I caught up with Lord Gleb. The patriarch of House Timur was lounging with several retainers in one of the antechambers. When he saw me enter he sat up, "Ah, you must be the Knight that I've heard so much about."

I nodded, "I am. I was wondering if you had a moment to talk."

Gleb nodded and dismissed several of his retainers, "What's this about, Knight?"

"I was hoping to talk to you about securing your support for Lady Eva."

Geld poured two shots of a strong local drink that I never got the name of and offered me one. I took it and drank it, resisting the urge to cough.
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"You're rather blunt, aren't you?"

"I suppose I am."

He nodded before continuing, "I'm sorry but I can't see how she can be of use to me. Her father let a lot of the roads fall into disrepair and allowed bandits to take up residence along their paths. I'd never allow that. Besides, if I were going to back anyone…" he paused and looked around conspiratorially, "Well, I hear that House Stanislava needs an official supplier for their armies."

I nodded slowly as though thinking it through, "That is a good offer," I admitted, "but I think I can do one better. From what I heard, while smithing was the heart of your business, you've also developed quite the merchant network. I'm thinking that you might just be interested in obtaining some business connections around the world. How would you like to handle trade between Omrachena Zemli, the Realm, Hammerburg, and Albero Città?"
Lord Geld sat back and thought for a moment, "The dwarven goods would eventually prove to be competition for my own smiths."

"True. However even if they do, you'll still be earning money off of them for trading them."

"You can arrange all of this?"

"Yes. I can offer trade permits for the Realm myself, my companions Siegbert and Sieghild can call on their clan to help pave the way for you in Hammerburg, and the Albero Città royal family owes me a few favors. There's always been small scale trade between these lands but a full scale merchant company has never existed before."

"I'm mostly land based, I'd need some rivertine merchants at least."

I could tell that Geld was interested, his objections were increasingly minor, but I thought back to Boniface and said, "I know just the man to help you get started. I'll introduce you to him once this business is done."

Geld was doing his best to look uninterested but I was sure he was in, "I'll definitely have to give this some thought. I'll get back to you on this."

I took my leave of him without any firm promises, but Aimée's friends reported that Lord Geld and his aides began drafting price lists that night.
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Who's here and listening by the way?
I'm pleasantly surprised that you're back.
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The next day's meetings went somewhat better, Lord Geld didn't throw in entirely behind Eva, but he did take her side in several contentious issues, much to the evident displeasure of Lady Lidiya. However any progress this might have made was blocked by Lord Svyatopolk who doubled down on his protests. However now that I'd been tipped off by Aimee, I could see that Lord Alexi was definitely influencing Svyatopolk somehow. The lesser lord mostly sat in the corner with a pile of notes and papers, but at a nod or a shake of the head from him would signal Svyatopolk either objecting to a given proposal or acquiescing. A little bit of research into the two houses revealed the source of this relationship, Lord Alexi was a distant cousin of Lord Svyatopolk and the two evidently grew up together. However no amount of research would reveal why the two were conspiring to disrupt the alliance from forming. I decided to ask him myself.

Finding Alexi when he wasn't at Svyatopolk's side wasn't easy, but I eventually caught him taking tea that afternoon.

"Good afternoon, Lord Alexi."

The minor lord looked mildly nervous as he replied, "Good afternoon yourself, Sir Knight. I must admit that I'm a little surprised you know my name."

"I was paying attention. Can I ask you a few questions about your cousin?"

"What would you like to know? I'm sorry that he's not the most cooperative in meetings but there's nothing I can do."

"I suspect that you have somewhat more influence than most do with him. Can you tell me what this is about?"

Alexi sighed, "Look, neither me nor my cousin hold anything against Lady Eva, the problem that House Zakhar controls several lesser houses through a patronage system, and recent years have been rough for us. We simply can't afford to both deploy and army and support some of our vassals. Normally we'd be tempted to cut them loose, but unfortunately they hold most of our agricultural land and our people need to eat."
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The next section is handwritten and needs to be typed up. It'll be a little bit.

>Hey guys, if you like the story please give me feedback! Hearing you guys talk about the story is a good way to keep going!

Nice to see you again too.
"Hmmm… if we could get you a new supplier of food, would you be willing to help support Eva's cause?"

"I'll talk to my cousin, but I think that we might be willing to support that."

After we parted ways, I left to find Felìcita and began to ask her some questions about Albero Città and its agricultural industry, and whether or not they might be interested in giving some foreign aid. Felìcita seemed surprised, but was reasonably sure that the elven kingdom could support House Zakhar, at least throughout the war. A private message to Lord Alexi later and House Zakhar gave us their private assurances that they were on board.
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Later that night, I was resting in my bed when I heard someone unlock my chamber door. In the dim haze of sleep I could see a feminine figure enter my room. My amused speculation as to which girl wanted the late night rendezvous turned to surprise and shock when the woman turned out to be Lady Lidiya.

Now Lidiya was a very beautiful woman, and he lovely outfit she was wearing would have set any man's blood aflame, but something seemed wrong, little voice in my mind was screaming, "She isn't your friend, she's not concerned with the people you care about, don't touch her."

Lidiya, oblivious to my internal dialogue, leaned over me and began to climb into my bed. As her lacy red shift began to slide off her shoulders, she whispered to me. "Hello Sir Knight, I believe that its long past time we became acquainted."

I tried to politely slide away from her, but she followed and grabbed my wrist, "Come now, Sir Knight," she said with a purr, "Consider making an alliance with me instead of little Eva. I promise that it would be far more… fruitful."

I got out of bed to leave, but the persistent woman was hanging on my arm. "Come now Knight, surely this isn't the first time you've arranged a little alliance like this?"
Doing great! I Remember the thread where this got started, glad to see you're doing alright.
Attempted seduction detected. Counter seduction or knightly diplomacy?
I am also enjoying the tale. An interesting twist would be if the Knight is wearing the telepathy ring and Martina picks up on Lidiya's assault.
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"I don't exactly behave like that miss…" I said as Lidiya started leaning against me.

She was beginning to whisper something else in my ear when the door burst open and Aimée ran in. She gave us a look before exclaiming, "The Golden Saber prisoner has escaped!"

I turned to Lidiya and said in a sterner voice than I felt comfortable mustering up earlier, "You need to leave right now. Aimée can you help me with my armor?"

Once Lidiya was safely out of earshot, I turned to Aimée, "Hey, I know that that looked like -"

Aimée smiled, "Don't worry. Several of the servants saw her on the way to your room and told me what she was up to. I trust you."

"Thank you for that. It means a lot to me. Now what's this about Lieutenant Faina escaping?"

"Her cell was found open and two of the guards on duty are dead."
Aimée and I ran down towards the soldiers' encampment where we split up. Each of my companions would take a small squad of soldiers and fan out to search for Faina. Meanwhile I would search from above with Martina. Each team would remain in touch with the others through the telepathy spell Martina crafted. It was a good plan, it probably would have worked if it wasn't for Kuzma and his damn birds.

We first caught Faina's trail when Felicita spotted a series of tracks matching a very fast woman of the appropriate build. After alerting the rest of us to this she took her team into the woods to follow the trail. The rest of the ground teams followed suit. A few minutes later Siegbert's team, still in the castle, reported that the little escape artist managed to retrieve most of her equipment, including her speed enhancing armor.

Noting that Faina would be able to move much faster than we expected Martina and I began to fly ahead of the rest of the group in the hopes of catching her.

Suddenly Martina looked uneasy, "Dear, I don't mean to alarm you, but several flocks of those giant birds that the Golden Saber use have appeared on either side of us. They appear to be heading towards the others!"

"Quick, can you spot Faina? Look for something golden amongst the forest."

"No. There's nothing there - Wait! I see something! There she is!"

"Great. Drop me off in front of her. I'll try to stop her, you go help the others deal with the birds!"

"You're going to go after her yourself? Did you learn nothing from that warehouse?"

"Yeah. No heroic sacrifices. I'm not going to take any unnecessary risks. I'll call you the second I have any trouble."

"Be careful, dear. I love you."

"I love you too."
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Alright, I have work early tomorrow, so I'm going to call it a night. I'll be back tomorrow with more though.

Thanks again for reading!
Good stuff ser knight! Have a good night and looking forward to more

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