You are Lieutenant Richter Von Tracht, officer of Panzers by the authority of the Archduchy of Strossvald, and you are on a long, arduous mission to rescue almost three hundred hostages from deep in the lawless lands of Sosaldt, one of these hostages being your fiancée, Maddalyn Von Blum. You are currently engaging in a training exercise with a local warband turned allies, some members of a group morbidly called the “Guillotines,” specifically, a mechanized task force equipped with a broad mix of grody trucks and tracked vehicles. They were members of a confederation of settlements united under your acquaintance Signy Vang, called the Vang Republic, although Signy had insisted that it wasn’t her idea to name the nation that. You had been helping her, as well as her enigmatic assistant in nation-building, Loch, since you arrived in Sosaldt. Ostensibly this was because they would help you in attacking the Death Heads gang that had kidnapped the Strossvalder hostages in the first place, since the Death Heads were far too numerous to conquer on your own, even with your platoon of tanks, Bat Company’s picked men, and what you had captured on the way here.These were still mere gangsters and militiamen and hardly a true force, though, so it had fallen to you and your officers to try and make soldiers out of these men. From what you could tell so far, you had a long way to go. A simple in theory long range maneuver had quickly revealed the vast holes in the Guillotines’ coordination as formations drifted apart rapidly, despite what was presumably the best efforts of the appointed commanding officer of the demi-battalion, Hiedler.Resigning yourselves to simply going forward to the goal of Glockenblume, you and Von Metzeler had struck up conversation. Conspiracies had been the main topic, but you had moved on to the troubles of your class, and spoke of academy days. “I was angry at my defeat, of course.” Von Metzeler said, referring to the final exercise in the academy where you vanquished his group, causing him to challenge you to a duel that night. A duel you had refused. “The true purpose was because my honor had been challenged by these people you hold so little regard for. Understand, Von Tracht, that I wish to distance myself from my family as much as you wish to defend the honor of yours. These hoity toity ponces are my best route to escape from my own ancestry’s dishonor. I could weather their mockery of my family, but not their slights to my own integrity. I assure you now, that the matter was nothing personal.”Of course, you thought, if fighting with swords was nothing personal, you would have hated to see what Von Metzeler would have considered the appropriate response to a serious personal offense.
Such thought did not leave the sanctuary of your mind, however, and what you said instead was; “I can respect, and forgive, that. Hopefully you don’t consider my bowing out of that matter an insult, as I did not mean it to be. I just don’t like losing. I’m terrible at fencing, you see.”“I think that it is plain to see that I hold no spite for your action,” Von Metzeler said offhandedly, “But I do hope that it did not teach you the wrong kind of lesson, that you were able to avoid a contest.”“The lesson that if I have a mighty cohort, that I can have them fight for me instead?”Von Metzeler pinkened slightly at the mention of being beaten into the floor by Malachi back then, but did not appear to be overly annoyed. “No. Surely you know that you cannot simply flee from every match that is not in your favor. Not if you keep your rivals’ feelings on the matter in mind. Most would bear a grudge against you if they didn’t become familiar with how selective you are when it concerns your noble integrity. From the place of most, they would indeed see a refusal to match against them as a grave insult, especially considering your name’s present stature.”…That may have explained a bit how often you found yourself clashing with some nobility.“I’ll try to keep that in mind,” you said. “You said I was selective, though?”“To be frank, you are either selective or there are gaps in your manners.” Von Metzeler said bluntly, “There are a few things that I am surprised that I had to explain to you. I have learned to assume that, when it comes to particular matters, that you are almost completely ignorant.”“Ignorant?” you sniffed, “I may take offence to that.”“Perhaps you would like to challenge me to a duel.”…Was that sarcasm coming from your dour Lieutenant? “Don’t be silly,” you scoffed, “What in the world could I be said to be ignorant of?”“From your scores in the Academy, quite a few things.”Well now, that stung somewhat, and it stung more that you really couldn’t argue against that truth.
If nothing else, losing the majority of the Guillotines in the Sosaldtian wastes let you focus on educating yourself on the surroundings. You noticed, actually, that when you were passing through the territory of the White Eyes, quite a few settlers had taken exception to their locale being referred to as a wasteland. You would have known this even if you hadn’t been looking; your path had taken to zig zagging often due to the sudden increase of homestead farms, each with a thin white flag whipping atop a pole placed near its corresponding fields, which were rarely large, the size of most of the farms you passed being two acres at most and barely half at smallest.What you had been told about the White Eyes, by one of their gang members no less, was that they once cultivated poppies and traded in opium and morphine. The land here must not have suited poppies; instead, you saw rows of turnip tops, stalks, plants you didn’t recognize but appeared to be the sort harvested for their roots, and varying sorts of hardy beans, some of which you recognized as a wild sort; notably the Dust Bean, whose fruit was chalky and bitter, but grew most anywhere. The White Eye you spoke with said that their group mainly profited from smuggling. This was understandable, considering the pitiful profit to be made from sustenance farming, especially the cultivation of crops the likes of turnips and beans. It did make you think about where the food to feed all these people came from. The population of Sosaldt’s communities was higher than you thought, after all. Considering the relationship of the two towns you had run into on your brief scouting venture outside of the territory of the republic, it wouldn’t be a surprise, you supposed, for some places to simply import the majority of their food. Was the White Eyes’ territory the breadbasket of the Republic like Altoss was for Strossvald? You had no idea. You weren’t any sort of expert in agriculture.“It is strange to think,” Von Metzeler said suddenly, “I thought that this place would be worse than this.”
The journey had only taken several hours. It could have been made much faster, in the case of your vehicles, but Von Metzeler, without any advice from you, had kept the tanks going slow both to reduce strain upon them and also to not leave behind your newfound allies. You didn’t particularly mind that the journey took three to four, maybe five times longer than it could have. Sosaldt would never have been your choice for a holiday location, but in the circumstances you found yourself in, Signy’s newborn republic was probably the safest and friendliest location you could find yourself in.You didn’t know if this was more bizarre, or sad, and didn’t think much about whether it was either or as Glockenblume became more and more clear in the distance.Even though most of the settlements in Sosaldt you’d seen had been referred to as “towns,” you had presumed that Rosting’s small-city sized proportions had been an exceptional case. Glockenblume was just as large, if not larger, however, certainly by population standards. It was a pitiful sight. Unlike the run down but relatively civilized place you had come from, the Blue Barb Band’s central settlement was a place that had grown more like a fungus than a city. In the center there was a ruin of an old castle, and some semblance of the normalcies of a typical town, but far and wide around that center a carpet of ruddy shacks spread over the rises and depressions like a mold of misery. The ramshackle constructions were made of many things, old planks, beaten brick of clay or mud, heaps of stone and even assemblages of rusted scrap. All sorts of things leaned against one another to form the sad angular huts, and all of the homes, the buildings, and even the once mighty castle were covered in a blueish-black grime that coated the place like a colossal inkwell had been upended over it. It collected on the bottoms of the buildings, in the cracks, under roofs and in allies, diminishing in the light and dispersing with the shacks as the crude constructs that seemed to sustain it grew thinner the further from the castle the city got. The wind shifted southwards, and the smell of the place washed over you; it stank with a damp decay that depressed more than it offended.What stood out about the place was how illogical its existence was. Unlike the other places in Sosaldt you’d been to, where there had often been at least a clue that a town did something, Glockenblume appeared to merely be a vast slum, whose only resource was sheer mass of humanity.“What a hideous place.” Von Metzeler summarized your thoughts in a few words, “The sight of it alone is motivation enough to turn around and flee to whence we came.”
Naturally, the decision was made to not meet the Guillotines Demi-Battalion within the slum city. There was a main street and square, of sorts, an unmarked barrier where the shacks and messy piles cut away sharply to make way for a worn stone path, wide enough to fit the breadth of three of your m/32s. Quite a vast road, considering the lack of infrastructure throughout most of the place.Much to your relief, you hadn’t been the first of the exercise to arrive here, but the amount of Guillotines that had made it ahead of you was pathetic. Like you, they gave Glockenblume as wide a berth as they could, and were waiting. From atop a small rise, you and Von Metzeler scanned the surroundings for the many, many latecomers.Curiosity soon turned your attention from looking over the horizon for telltale dust clouds of tanks, to the city behind you. Through the lenses of your binoculars you looked in gaps between the swarms of makeshift hovels, whose masses often congealed together in what could only be described as the architectural equivalent of malignant tumors, and these places predictably had the greatest amounts of wretched looking men, who wore tattered rags and the faces of those who had no reason to continue living, but did so anyways out of spite for fate. You were not surprised to see such people in this place.What you were surprised by was the peculiarly large amount of children.
Every settlement you’d visited in Sosaldt had had a similar lack of juveniles. You might have seen one, maybe two, but no more, and you had heard good reason for that. The territories were simply unfit for raising children in due to their lack of security. Yet here, it seemed almost as if there were an equal amount of young ones to adults. There was a pair of distinguishing characteristics, though. You saw no adult women; even though men tended to outnumber women in Sosaldt, as far as you could tell, there were still inevitably streetwalkers looking to ply the world’s oldest profession, yet here you saw none. That wasn’t to imply that the only women in Sosaldt were prostitutes; you’d seen more than a few who weren’t, but it was fair to say in a country of rowdy young men, it was a wise, if undignified, career choice. The children were equally of either sex; there may have even been more young girls. You wouldn’t have been able to distinguish them, of course, if it wasn’t for the other standout trait that made the children different from the typical man here. All of them were much better dressed, and were rather healthy, and dressed like you would have expected any common child of any other country would be, with even some with faded clothes that were clearly handed down. They all, without exception, wore a small chain necklace that hung loosely from their necks, of varying colors of metal. One girl you saw was quite well dressed and groomed, even for a normal child, and certainly noticeably moreso than most around her. Even from far away, you could tell by the gazes of all around her that she must have looked particularly bewitching, like a rose bud that hadn’t opened, but would obviously be beauteous indeed when it unfurled. The blonde young girl wore a bright blue sundress, and had a gleaming brass chain that you hadn’t seen on any other child. She couldn’t have been older than twelve, but she walked with the straight backed gait of nobility, and every ratty looking elder she crossed hurried to move from her way, while a small procession of less picturesque children, presumably friends if not young sycophants, followed around her. Perhaps she was some lord’s daughter..? You had heard that there was no nobility in all of Sosaldt, let alone a place as poor as this looked, though, so that was impossible.What a puzzling place this was. Your curiosity concerning Glockenblume’s mysteries drove you nearer almost as much as your disgust for the city forced you away; a wreath of contradictions.>What else were you doing anyways? Have a wander about the city. These people were to be your allies, after all, you couldn’t go on knowing nothing about them.>The city was unhygienic and suspicious. Hardly worth knowing more about. If you wanted to know anything further, you would ask somebody about it.>Other?----->past threads pastebin @ https://pastebin.com/UagT0hnh>twitter for announcements is @scheissfunker
>>1920484>>What else were you doing anyways? Have a wander about the city. These people were to be your allies, after all, you couldn’t go on knowing nothing about them.
>>1920484>>What else were you doing anyways? Have a wander about the city. These people were to be your allies, after all, you couldn’t go on knowing nothing about them.I am curious to know the significance of the chains and the lack of more mature womanDeep down im pretty sure its got to do with the slave tradeHowever, moving around in Strossvald Tanks, talking with a Strossvald manner and with a nobles speech patterns and accent... We really dont need to give Liemanner anymore clues to where we are. He already knows we were close to Todesfelsen from the courier and working with the Vang Republic, he dosnt need to know were leading them on a training exercise. So it might be best to ask the locals participating in the march.Actually, our armor is pretty fucking remarkable. We really shouldnt be using them to often considering the unnecessary strain on the engines.
You decided that there really wasn’t anything else you were doing anyways, besides taking in the sights…and smells. Something about the children too, gave you the feeling that there was something more sinister about this place that you felt compelled to find out more about.“I’m going to visit this Glockenblume,” you said to Von Metzeler, who gave you a funny look like you had just declared that you were going to turn into a mushroom.“I cannot imagine why you would do that.”“I would prefer to know as much as I can about our allies,” you explained, “Distasteful as they may seem, they are still potentially ranks behind us that would otherwise not be there.”Von Metzeler’s mouth turned slightly more down than it usually did, clearly disapproving of going down into the wretched city. “You know of what my family does…perhaps rather, is rumored to partake in, yes? Criminal activity. Links to the underworld, to the darker aspect of Strossvald, perhaps even the lands beyond that. Some parts…are not to be spoken loudly about. Activities that would draw the ire of all who hear about it, and thus are not revealed if possible. I believe that it would be a better idea to not find out too much.”“We are in Sosaldt, Von Metzeler,” you pointed out, “I do not expect to be surprised.”“…Very well,” Von Metzeler eased off, “Surely you will at least not go alone. The last place we came from, Rostig, was quite well behaved because of its draconian enforcement of laws concerning minimal decency of society. I would not expect the same of other places, this Glockenblume city least of all, if its appearance belies the character of its inhabitants.”>It’ll be fine. You’d be the least noticeable alone, and you’d been practicing your more rural accent on the way. Not perfectly, but there was no need to occupy anybody else with your investigation.>Perhaps taking an officer or two would be good? Maybe you could hide in plain sight, if Liemanner was concerned.>Take some of the crews. You would not stand out among them and their common Strossvalder accents if you tried, especially if you let them speak for you.>Draft some of the Guillotines to help you. They blended in here well enough, did they not? So long as they proved to not be too troublesome…>Other?
>>1920901>>Take some of the crews. You would not stand out among them and their common Strossvalder accents if you tried, especially if you let them speak for you.
>>1920901>>Other?No one from around here part of the march who can tell us whats up?Metzeler is pretty cryptic. We should see if we can find out what it is in private.Otherwise I'd prefer>Draft some of the Guillotines to help you. They blended in here well enough, did they not? So long as they proved to not be too troublesome…So we can listen in on their speech patterns and how they talk but im not sure if there are any particular grudges or rivalries between the Guillotines and the residents of Glockenblume we should be concerned about.So just go with>Take some of the crews. You would not stand out among them and their common Strossvalder accents if you tried, especially if you let them speak for you.
>>1920933>No one from around here part of the march who can tell us whats up?You can ask the Guillotines, I suppose. Not that they're likely to know everything, but they'd probably know at least the basics, and rumors. I can go ahead and do that to help this choice if wanted.
>>1920946I just dont want to walk in there and ask something obvious that would get us jumped by the local enforcers.
>>1920901>>Take some of the crews. You would not stand out among them and their common Strossvalder accents if you tried, especially if you let them speak for you.I don't think we'll ever break the Strossvalder accent, but we can try with a more rural one. Having tankers natural in it will help us keep to the tune maybe.
>>1920901>Take some of the crews. You would not stand out among them and their common Strossvalder accents if you tried, especially if you let them speak for you.
“I’ll take some crewmen from here,” you replied, “I doubt any here could impose their will on four Strossvalder soldiers, not even if the odds were three to one. I’ll also ask the Guillotines who’ve arrived what they know about this place, so I won’t be going in completely blind.”Von Metzeler nodded at you, which you took as him understanding that you were going out. Which you did; your choice of who would go with you was obvious, not that you figured that Bat Company’s representatives expected to be used this way, but they did not object when you came to them.You took four of them, including the NCO who had been sent with you, one Gefreitor Adel. You’d seen him more often than most in Bat Company, having first met him the morning of the raid that kicked off the war between Strossvald and Valsten so many days ago. You guessed that Honnrieg gave him more tasks than others because of Adel’s youth; he looked to be your age or younger, which in truth would have still made him a seasoned infantryman if he joined at the minimum enlistment age of eighteen. You then went downhill to where one “platoon” of Guillotines was milling about. You assumed they were a platoon, at least; there were only two vehicles, but the amount of people hinted at this being the result of a breakdown or two along the way.“Hello,” you greeted them, and they all looked at you attentively. “I wanted to know something about this Glockenblume.”“Uh,” one looked to another, then they both looked to a man who you recognized on the officer roster. The Lieutenant equivalent had close cropped hair, bleached white, with a sharp face and thin lips, with uneven eyelids, one drooping further than the other. Both of them widened to the same state when he realized with a start that with his new authority came the expectation that he was responsible for dealing with whatever the rest didn’t want to talk about, and answered you.“Well…whaddya want to know? I only know what everybody knows.”“Then tell me that,” you prompted him.“Er, right,” the leader scratched the back of his neck, and started.The Blue Barb Band were known as thieves and raiders, although they didn’t steal and raid nearly enough from their neighbors to support themselves. It was suspected that they merely did this to maintain appearances, and perhaps to intimidate their neighbors. As you’d heard before, they did raid Strossvald, but they did so as burglars rather than as a warband, avoiding the attention of the vicious bordermen by limiting the vileness of their crimes. They had vast stores of manpower relative to the region, which was easy to see upon looking at Glockenblume, and it was well known that anybody who was looking for replacements to casualties or for some reinforcements could find the Blue Barb Band readily interested for a price.
When you asked how the Blue Barbs felt about the Guillotines, all of the men looked at each other with knowing dread.“Ah, they don’t like us.”“Why?” you asked.“Well, we didn’t do nothing to them,” the leader said hurriedly, “It’s because of their women. When this Republic thing started and we opened up travel between everywhere, a shit load of girls from Blue Barb territory came down, hell, more than we even know what to do with. Funniest thing about them, more’n a few were pregnant.”“Is that unusual?” you pressed further. It certainly wouldn’t be anywhere else.The leader gave you a glance that hinted that he thought you might have been joking. “Have you ever seen anybody who’s been knocked up around here? Hell, even the babes back home only started talking about it when the Republic got started, and Guillotine land’s the safest place around to settle down. It’s pretty god damn unusual. Anyways, the Blue Barbs are pretty salty about the whole thing. Say we’re stealing all their women and doin’ things to them. I say they can keep their women, honestly. I ain’t raising some other bozo’s runt.”You could certainly understand the hostility that would come from the Blue Barbs’ women all abandoning their settlements for better pastures; especially since it sounded like none of them took any men with them, not that marriage seemed to be popular in this part of the continent. You finally asked if there was anything you should avoid doing.“Yeah.” One of the Guillotines who wasn’t the leader spoke up, “Don’t ask about the kids.” When you asked why, he said, “Hell if I know why it’s so touchy. I heard from somebody who heard from somebody that there were tons of kids in Glockenblume, so recently, I was talking with a Blue Barb traveler, and I brought it up, said that there must be a lot of new blood at least. He got all weird, saying he didn’t know where they went, and I didn’t say nothing about them going nowhere. Stinks like shit.”
With that out of the way, you made your way, with your escort, towards the town. The shanty shacks grew thicker as you went in, but you noticed now that you were closer that more than a few were old structures that had become old enough to necessitate messy repairs; these were usually the larger buildings. Some brightly colored buildings around the square, which you reached following the large path, had names and suggestive advertisements that left little to the imagination what sort of business they practiced. All of those establishments were closed tight, and their windows were dark, with small signs on the doors that meekly announced that any carnal business would tragically have to be practiced elsewhere.Besides the empty bordellos, there were also more personable places around the square and seemingly around the square only. Restaurants, inns, even what appeared to be a souvenir shop. Noticeably, none of the ragged, wretched inhabitants were anywhere near these places. Since these people made the bulk of the population, that meant that the square was eerily empty.The proprietors you could see all looked eagerly at you and your party, expectantly, far too glad to see you by your reckoning.You decided that you’d have to pick some place to start asking questions.>Go to one of these store proprietors; the restaurant certainly called to you, with its scent that hid the damp stink of the city under the promise of hot food.>Find one of the many less-well off peoples. Maybe they would have loose lips.>The most interesting thing about the city had been the bizarre children with chains on them. Since they were the strangest thing, maybe they’d be the best place to ask about the strange goings on?>Go up towards the castle and nicer neighborhood. Relatively nicer. You’d probably find some of the militant faction who would recognize your significance, and you could throw your influence and connection to Signy around.>Other? (You can write in if you want to look for somebody or some place specific)
>>1921086>>Go to one of these store proprietors; the restaurant certainly called to you, with its scent that hid the damp stink of the city under the promise of hot food.They're clearly eager for our business so that might at least give them some incentive to tell us some of what we want to know. No one else has any reason to so much as talk to us.
>>1921086>Go to one of these store proprietors; the restaurant certainly called to you, with its scent that hid the damp stink of the city under the promise of hot food.Check that they don't serve human meat first.
>>1921086>Go to one of these store proprietors; the restaurant certainly called to you, with its scent that hid the damp stink of the city under the promise of hot food.
>>1921086>>Go to one of these store proprietors; the restaurant certainly called to you, with its scent that hid the damp stink of the city under the promise of hot food.Do we have enough for take out? We should bring some to the rest of Metzelers crew.
lmao, rereading the archive, the fist time we ever encountered radiant pearls their were piles of them on the floor we were kicking around, we even had the option to pocket as many as we could. If only we knew then what we know now.
You found yourself, as well as your companions, naturally drawn to some of the out of place establishments of entrepreneurship; specifically the restaurants. Whether this was because the smell of food brought joy to your empty stomachs or because the same smell obscured the damp stink of the slums, who could tell? In either case, the shopkeepers were the first friendly faces you’d seen here.A mind less taunted by their belly would have done more reconnaissance of the options available, but the savory scent of roasted pork called you to the first restaurant you passed in front of. The owner’s smile broadened further and further as you came closer until you were sure his jaw was going to tear away from his face and fall to the floor. He was a middle aged man with a high, thinning hairline, skinny and bent over and bowlegged.“Welcome, yes, welcome!” he nearly cried as soon as you followed him through the door to the place. It was a fastidiously clean place with warm colored lighting and décor that looked foreign to you; perhaps some styles from the southern port cities? Their culture may not have been as spited as their militant puppets were. The grill was a stark opposite to the city it resided in, right down to the number of people in it, which was incredibly few considering the space available. It was a small eatery, but the only other occupants were a small band of children and a pair of grim looking men with blue scarves; presumably members of the militia. They stared at you and your escorts through squinted eyes while the kids gossiped and cajoled. Like you had observed from outside the city, there were clearly different classes of child, and the center of attention was another beauteous young lady with a brass chain, different from the one before in being a brunette with shorter hair, who you noticed now had different mannerisms as well as superior appearance; the way they ate was in conspicuously noble fashion, like you had been taught to before you had been the girl’s age.
“So what will you be having?” the shopkeeper grabbed your attention again, grinning as he presumed that since you had entered you would be doing business, “Whatever way you think you can eat a pig, we can make arrangements. I enthusiastically recommend the crackling roast. If you think our prices unreasonable, we can always discuss it…”“Give us time to think about it,” you said, “Can we take it out?”The owner’s smile faltered a bit before regaining strength. “O-of course! Is there… ah,” he looked with sudden caution over to the thugs and the children they escorted, “It can be arranged, easily! I would have you wait though, over…come with me, good sirs.” You were led to a seating place as far away from the other patrons as you would have thought possible, and upon being seated, the owner stood between all of you and the view of the others. “Now, if you would like to inquire…”You were sure he meant in regards to the food, but you had other ideas.>This place seems a bit empty. How do you stay in business? I didn’t see many people who looked like they could afford this treatment on the way in.>What’s up with all the kids around here? Being led around by militia, too, it seems incredibly strange to me.>Do you get many visitors? Not that Glockenblume seems to be a tourist trap, but it seems you cater to a specific crowd.>This isn’t Long Pork, is it? (If this place has any legitimacy this would probably piss him off)>Other? (You can ask anything you can think of, but you should probably be careful about asking certain questions…)
>>1921271>This place seems a bit empty. How do you stay in business? I didn’t see many people who looked like they could afford this treatment on the way in.>What’s up with all the kids around here? Being led around by militia, too, it seems incredibly strange to me.>Do you get many visitors? Not that Glockenblume seems to be a tourist trap, but it seems you cater to a specific crowd.
>>1921271>This place seems a bit empty. How do you stay in business? I didn’t see many people who looked like they could afford this treatment on the way in.>Do you get many visitors? Not that Glockenblume seems to be a tourist trap, but it seems you cater to a specific crowd.>What's with the blue grime everywhere?>Does anyone live in that castle?
>>1921271Were new around theese parts, there dosnt seem to be much a crowd in the city center.This place seems a bit empty, how can you afford to stay in business with an establishment and menu this fancy.>Imply that the kid and her entourage are the resident nobles kid.Do the nobles kids always go around town escorted like that when she's eating out with friends?
>>1921271This town has a ... unique architectural style. Has it always been like this?
Doing your best to imitate the rural Strosstadt accent your radioman had coached you in, and that you had been practicing quietly on the way up, you barraged the store owner with questions.“This place seems a bit empty,” you noted idly, “Are things usually like this? Didn’t see too many people who seemed to be in any sort of money on the way in.”“Ah,” the owner’s broad smile ran away from his face, “It is no problem. Enough money comes in, from travelers, especially the mob who come every month or so. Truly, it is them who keeps us all in happy profits, although enough like you come around in between, I suppose…”Vague as you expected, though you wondered who this “mob” was, and why they’d come in regularly enough for an economy to be based around.“So these visitors come in monthly? How many ”like us” come in?” one of your Bat Company fellows asked. You had told them to feel free to ask anything that they thought you would be interested in, both to divert attention from you and also to get a better feel for their accent.“Oh, you know…” the restauranteer was not very thrilled with this line of questioning, “A few every week or so. Just enough. Now,” his smile returned suddenly and shockingly, like a shark’s maw erupting from a calm sea, “Can I interest you in-““In time,” you held up a hand, ”We’re in no hurry. I had a few questions about this town’s…unique architecture.”The owner’s smile vanished beneath the waves once more. “Perhaps if you ordered…”“I promise I will. While you’re at it, what is the blue stuff all over the place?”
“The, ah, Blue Blush…” there was some strange relief in the store owner's explanation, “A lichen that is just slightly edible, if you were driven enough. This city is built above a colony of it, one of the few places where it thrives in the world. A very selective creature, and arbitrary. It makes a magnificent blue dye.”“So why is it still around?” one of your cohorts asked, “Should be all scraped off, yeah?”“Oh, no, I’m afraid the dyemakers are long gone, ever since…well, I shan’t go into depth. Suffice it to say, they found greener pastures. Bluer, I should say.”“Did all those ragged poor out there come to find bluer pastures as well?”“No, they simply…” the owner rubbed his hands together, “Had nowhere better to go. They are well off, truly, even if they do not look it. There are few places even here where one can survive doing nothing until asked to.”This place was only growing stranger the more you learned about it. Maybe a more direct line of inquiry would answer more.“Does anybody live in the castle?” you asked, referring to the monument in the center of the city that was less the fortress it once was and more a collection of half-ruined walls and a single disheveled, if still mighty, tower. “The local lord, perhaps?”“Lord? No, none of those, I’m afraid. That is where the leader of the Blue Barbs lives, as well as the representatives…they are…wealthy investors, shall we say.”“Wealthy investors, you say,” you said, pondering if that may as well have been the equivalent of landed nobility here, “Do they have family here? Are they escorted about whenever they are, for example, eating out with friends?”One of the blue scarved men stood up and stepped quietly over, putting a hand on the owner’s shoulder and shoving him aside. “You’re asking a few things, aren’tcha-fella?” he said with a nasally voice through the scarf over his face, “Who are-ya? You’re pretty strange and suspicious-like. Maybe dangerous? Somebody who wants to cause trouble-like.”>Trouble? Me? Oh no, I was just hearing about some wealthy investors, and I was thinking of…investing, too. (This bluff may require some backup to make it go more smoothly)>You’re one to talk about being strange and suspicious. Am I not allowed to ask innocent questions?>I’m a representative of somebody way over your head, blueberry. Back off, or Cyclops’ll have your head on a spit.>I don’t recall asking any nosey babysitters any questions. Piss off and let me continue my chat with this fine gentleman. >Other?
>>1923085>>Trouble? Me? Oh no, quite the opposite in fact. I'm an associate of Cyclops, and as one of the people responsible for protecting this Republic of ours I feel it prudent to learn as much about its cities as possible. Perhaps you could be of service and answer some questions for us, while the good restaurateur goes off and prepares our food.
>>1923209I support this but it just needs a good peasant drawl added to it.We don't want to flash our wealth here unless we want to get mobbed. Lack of prostitutes or not the rumors of us are out and about.
“Trouble?” you asked innocently. “Me? Oh no, I’m no trouble.” You put one eye on your comrades to see if they approved of the accent you were putting on; the looks they gave you back didn’t give much hope, but you soldiered on. “I’m a friend of Cyclops, and since she’s asked me to help protect this Republic thing, I think I need to know as much about it as I can. Maybe you could take a load offa this guy’s back so he can get us food, and you can answer us our questions instead.”“Yeah?” the Blue Barb sneered, “You don’t gots to know everything. Let me tell you whats the you need to know-thing is. Everything’s up and up, and Cyclops has an understanding-thing wit that. See?” “What if I don’ts see the see-thing?” you mocked his speech pattern, “I don’t need to know everything but I want a bit more than a bunch of brush-offs.”“Cyclops knows the deal-thing,” the Blue Barb snapped, “We helpeds her to get at where she’s the now-thing.”“Excuse me?” you asked after that round of near-Malachi levels of abuse of New Nauk.“We’re the big-thing, and the Guillotines were bigger-thing, we helpeds her with the-thing and she leathes uth to our-fing. You gefts?” The more agitated he got, the less comprehandable the Blue Barb became. It didn’t help that he had started unintentionally chewing on his scarf as he got louder.“Is there something Cyclops ought to know about?”“Cyclops already knows the thing-deal-thing is what the what I’m saying-thing! You getoff-thing, “Cyclops friend,” or you’ll be in a real trouble-thing, one eye bitch’s snot the queen, we’re in-thing cause she owes-us-thing.”>Refuse to back down. Demand to know why they’re so evasive concerning the children.>Relent. It’s not worth agitating these people for whatever secret they have if you can ask Signy instead.>Who does this joker think he is? You outnumber his people here more than two to one, and they’re probably wimps. Beat the stuffing out of both him and his friend and ask the kids themselves what’s going on.>Other?
>>1923656>>Relent. It’s not worth agitating these people for whatever secret they have if you can ask Signy instead.
>>1923674Supporting, anyway we can wait until the rest of the battalion ambles their way into town before doing anything.
>>1923656>Relent. It’s not worth agitating these people for whatever secret they have if you can ask Signy instead.Or at least a different person, maybe someone who isn't clearly having an aneurysm.
You looked the Blue Barb dead in the eye. “Yeah. I “gots your thing-thing.””“Good,” the rude blue scarf sniffed, turning right around and going back to his charges.Whatever. You didn’t have to press them on this if Signy could tell you what was going on anyways, though you had the feeling that she wouldn’t be very willing to talk about it either, if it was what you suspected it of being. In any case, if you wanted to act more forcefully, you could wait until the entirety of the Demi-Battalion made their way here, from wherever on the trail they had ended up. You ended up simply getting a random picking of half the offerings to take back to the rest of your people; perhaps not the wisest decision, but the restauranteer grew less comfortable with your presence the more you pored over the menus, so you found it more convenient to keep things quick.“This place stinks, Early Bird,” Adel said warily. “I am well aware. I thought I told you what I thought of that sort of name, did I not?”“Not that sort of smell,” Adel said, tipping himself to keep the tower of boxes he carried upright, “And from what I remember, you only told me what you thought of Veal Pounder.”You must have given the rest of the Bat Company men quite the face when they started snickering, since they stopped fast as soon as they saw the way you looked at them. Adel waited to follow up until you were out of reach of any prying ears; once you were in a place where the shacks wore thin and the limp bodies were thinner, he continued. “Call me mad, but it seemed to me that those kids weren’t having a bad time at all. Compared to the rest of these louts, they’re practically spoiled. Fishy doesn’t begin to cover it. They aren’t kidnapped, obviously, and why would they treat ‘em so good? Makes me wonder if it’s just some big nursery.”Obviously you had suspected slavery, but you didn’t have a proper answer to the particulars of what was going on yet; there was simply too much unknown. As of now, the children didn’t seem to be slaves to anybody; if anything, everybody else was servants to them. Yet there was also the matter of the band of rich folk who came every month that the tiny middle class of this place eagerly awaited, as well as the “investors” who were apparently foreign as well. Perhaps it was something less sinister than you thought. Political exiles, maybe? You had heard many of the Grossreich’s nobility who had been set against Kaiser Henrik, for example, had fled the country when their plot against him had failed. There was also similar goings on across the world. Maybe these were merely wealthy refugees?
That would be the most innocent case, but you had a feeling you would have seen the adult members of such families if that were really the case. Perhaps hostages? Then, there was that ominous rumor the Guillotine man had heard; about the man he spoke with “not knowing where the children go.”Then again, was this really your problem in the first place? You were far from some crusader for good throughout the world. If the Blue Barbs had made a deal with Signy and Loch, and both parties had come to terms, maybe whatever they were doing was worth letting lie in exchange for their cooperation…That cooperation had better have been damned good, you thought.-----“You are back,” Von Metzeler said as you returned, eyeing the greasy, steaming boxes you carried, “And with better findings than I thought you would come back with.”“This turned out to be the only material thing we could conjure,” you admitted, “Has anything happened with the demi-battalion?”Von Metzeler pointed to a cloud of dust that ran in the distance. “A courier on a motorcycle arrived and confirmed that we got here. Despite the colossal mess, it appears that there is at least an effort to correct these circumstances.”That was a bit of a relief, at least. You thought about the amount of firepower the demi-battalion had available to it, combined with your own resources, and about how the Blue Barbs didn’t seem to have much in the way of resources to oppose you with. Could you impose your will upon them that way? No, that wouldn’t be an option. Even with a chance of victory and of not being overwhelmed by the city, you knew how much Signy’s Republic would be damaged if you sparked a civil war so early in its lifespan. Maybe it was better to leave things lie?>Any proper nation wouldn’t survive corruption such as this in its heartlands. Loch had contrived a way to remove Bad Rott from the head of the Guillotines and put Signy over all of their lands, perhaps you could do the same thing with the Blue Barb Band if you planned cleverly?>You would see Signy about this, and not judge her decision. Some choices were necessary, even if they were difficult to make. You wouldn’t create chaos if you could help it; you were not obligated to help anybody but your own countrymen.>You could handle this with a gentle touch, not a rough one. If you dug deep enough, you were sure that you could get to the bottom of this relatively peaceably, and find out what lurked under all this muck. There was too much that was too desperately hidden to let remain covered up.>Other?
>>1923945>You would see Signy about this, and not judge her decision. Some choices were necessary, even if they were difficult to make. You wouldn’t create chaos if you could help it; you were not obligated to help anybody but your own countrymen.I doubt it was actually Signy making the deal and just Loch himself simply lying to her about the real deal.>Other?Ask Von Metzeler if the courier mentioned how much time it would take for everyone to arrive?That will really determine if we should stick our noses in. We've got to make sure we make it back for the ball and sending out the decoy.Also the odds that Liemanner or his bosses have their sticky fingers in this is just too damn high. You folks really want to potentially interfere with him again?
>>1923945>>You would see Signy about this, and not judge her decision. Some choices were necessary, even if they were difficult to make. You wouldn’t create chaos if you could help it; you were not obligated to help anybody but your own countrymen.To be fair, I still want to return to Strossvald after this and not play kingmaker in the Vang Republic when were done.Having a dirty secret like this could lead to some sort of legitimacy when the archduke decides to squash the Vang Republic. That is if there truely is somesort of dark dealings going on here.
>>1923945>You would see Signy about this, and not judge her decision. Some choices were necessary, even if they were difficult to make. You wouldn’t create chaos if you could help it; you were not obligated to help anybody but your own countrymen.It's Signy's Republic anyway, she gets to decide how to govern. I'm pretty sure Richter hates Sosaldt too much to bother setting himself up as some warlord here anyway.
What ever happened to the three guys following Signy around when we left her in the Blumlands?It seems strange that they arnt with her anymore
>>1923945>>You would see Signy about this, and not judge her decision. Some choices were necessary, even if they were difficult to make. You wouldn’t create chaos if you could help it; you were not obligated to help anybody but your own countrymen.
>>1923945>>You would see Signy about this, and judge her decision with all of your might, especially if it turns out to actually be Loch's decision.
>the kids have noble mannerisms You don't think... It can't be, right?
>>1925216That the children are space aliens being trained to infiltrate the noble houses of the continent and become their children's doppelgangers so in a generation or two the whole earth will have been silently conquered by the extraterrestrial menace?Yeah I don't think it's likely either.
>>1925504I'm glad you guys don't think I'm crazy or anything.
You weren’t obligated to help anybody but your own countrymen, you thought cynically as you looked at the ugly city, and you felt it stare back. You wouldn’t pursue this matter any further. If Signy knew, you’d talk to her about this, and if she knew about what was going on here, you wouldn’t judge her decision to ally herself with the Blue Barbs. Some choices were necessary, after all, even if they were difficult to make. You wouldn’t throw a wrench into her plans if you could help it.All you could justly do was what you had been asked, for the sake of the mission you came to fulfill.“Von Metzeler,” you addressed your lieutenant, “Did the courier say about how much time it would take for the entire demi-battalion to arrive?”“I asked him that, yes. He could not give me a definite answer.” Von Metzeler frowned and looked to the horizon with binoculars held in one hand, “I would say anywhere from two to four hours, since I find it likely that large portions of the formation lost their way here.”You threw up your hands in exasperation. “Great. I suppose we’d better get used to sitting around in this dump, then. Do we at least know where Lieutenant Colonel Hiedler is?”“It appears that he is trying to figure out where many of his men and vehicles went.”“Well,” you threw yourself against the side of the tank Von Metzeler was perched atop of, “I certainly hope this crapshoot was educational.” For Hielder at least, you hoped. Somehow, you had found yourself looking for answers and only coming away with more questions. The only thing you had an answer for was the question of how much more work the Guillotines would need to become a true fighting force; the answer to that being depressingly obvious.
To Hiedler’s credit, he managed to reestablish contact with most of the stragglers and have them all headed towards Glockenblume within an hour and a half, and the demi-battalion was mostly accounted for just short of Von Metzeler’s estimated time. Anybody who wasn’t there’s location was known; evidently, there had been a large amount of breakdowns. fifteen tanks had broken down, nearly half of the available armored tracked vehicles. Eight of the trucks had broken down too; at least you were in friendly territory, so every vehicles could be retrieved and repaired, but it was a much higher attrition rate than you anticipated.The Guillotines were also, thankfully, acutely aware of their own failings and had already been hard at work discussing how to avoid embarrassing themselves once more. You would save your analysis of the exercise for when you got back to Rostig, and present it to Signy and Loch. It was prudent that you did this, because despite you keeping the demi-battalion close together on the way back so you could return before nightfall, five more tanks broke down, and six trucks gave up the ghost, leaving the motorized infantry almost entirely without transports. Even your own platoon’s vehicles had to pick up some passengers because so many vehicles had had mechanical failures.Thankfully, these were problems that you deemed easy to amend. The lack of coordination would improve over time with more drills, communication had already been improved by Hiedler who increased the size of his courier core and having his officers start to learn Morse Code, to be communicated through mirrors. To your surprise, few Guillotines knew how to do basic maintenance work on their vehicles, which was likely the reason for so many losses. Questioning revealed that almost a third of failures were due to thrown or broken tracks that the crews simply did not know how to fix, and a full half were mechanical failures simple enough in nature to be dealt with by an on-site mechanic. For now, this problem could be eased with the establishment of a dedicated maintenance section, which you figured you really ought to have figured to include in the first place, considering that even on the company level Strossvald Armor groups had at least one Wrecker standard for the company headquarters to deploy; the Silver Lances apparently had a whole maintenance company attached to their two armor battalions. There were no wreckers or anything like them to be found here in Sosaldt, but you figured you could at least gather the mechanically inclined into a single group.
Overall, you concluded that if you hadn’t done this exercise, any attempt at anything but the most basic of operations would have been an abject disaster. It was fortunate indeed that the problems could be addressed here; after taking the needed steps to make amendments to their organization, the Guillotines’ mechanized force would at least be able to make it to the fight intact, if not necessarily all at once in proper concentration of force. One problem at a time, you decided.You went through the usual channels to get to Signy, whose base of operations had moved from the Red and White to the town hall, and when you found her, she didn’t look happy. Her mood turned outright foul as you told her the results of the exercise.“Damnit Richter!” Signy snapped, “What does it prove to have so many tanks break down in the middle of nowhere?” She softened somewhat and brushed her hair out of her face. “Sorry. I’ve just had a lot of…shit to deal with. More delays on the telegraph cable we ordered, stupid delays with getting weapons, even stupider disagreements on who gives what, who has what position in what’s to come…” Signy dragged a chair over to her with her foot and collapsed into it, “And on top of all that, the dumb dressmaker and that fruity Emrean ponce…” she leanied so far forward her chin almost rested on her knees, her hands between them. “I only turned twenty a little over two weeks ago. I’m not cut out for this…but what can I do other than my best? Is that good enough?” Signy looked up at you and went from being doubtful back to annoyed. “Never mind. You’ve got things you wanted to tell me, didn’t you.”>It sounds like you have plenty to tell me, first.>Just that, despite how awful it sounds, everything will be made better. The exercise was only a bit of bad news, and we’ll take steps to make sure nothing like what happened, happens again. It’s all good.>I think you should tell me about Glockenblume and the Blue Barbs first. There are strange things happening there, and I don’t like it. Neither would you, I think.>Other?
>>1925551>Other?Because you agreed to this you may have very well saved lives that would be lost to similar stupid reasons. Think of it as saving headaches later too.and>>It sounds like you have plenty to tell me, first.Well if we had known it was her birthday we could've gotten her something. Still might be able to maybe.
>>1925565You gave her a rejection for her birthday.
>>1925551>OtherYou can safely assume that we just saved the lives of everyone crewing the machines that broke. Had this happened in a real battle you'd fight at half strength, lose, and the stranded and stragglers mowed down with ease in the enemy's mop-up operation.>Just that, despite how awful it sounds, everything will be made better. The exercise was only a bit of bad news, and we’ll take steps to make sure nothing like what happened, happens again. It’s all good.>I think you should tell me about Glockenblume and the Blue Barbs. There are strange things happening there, and I don’t like it. Neither would you, I think.
>>1925551>I think you should tell me about Glockenblume and the Blue Barbs first. There are strange things happening there, and I don’t like it. Neither would you, I think.
>>1925578Shiiiit that's right. Well turns out it was a good gift to give her considering we're probably going to die within the week.
“Think of it this way,” you offered, looking for a chair but finding none. You sat on the desk instead. “Since you agreed to this, you very well may have saved lives that would have been lost to similar stupid reasons. Dealing with these things saves worse headaches later on.”“It’s frustrating ‘cause I can’t think my way around this petty nonsense the way I normally would,” Signy sat up and crossed her legs and arms, looking pensively at the floor, “I want this place to be a republic. To become a bastion of free thought, where people have control over their lives, where the authority serves them and not the other way around. But as things are now, if I tried to make something like that here, these people’d just tear themselves to pieces.” Signy crinkled her nose and scowled, “It’s very annoying.”“Speaking of annoyances, the exercise with the tanks.”“Sure.”“Even though the exercise might seem like it went poorly,” you explained, “You can safely assume that we just saved the lives of everybody crewing the machines that broke. If we’d gone into a real battle not knowing what we needed to fix, we’d have fought at half strength, lost, and the stranded stragglers would have been mopped up in the rout that followed.”Signy cringed and grimaced. “That would have been awful.”“Everything will be made better, though,” you reassured her, “We’ll take steps to make sure nothing like what happened, happens again.” Before Signy could comment on that, you went on, “We marched up to Glockenblume, and while I was idling around there, I saw some things that made me uneasy.” Signy’s face fell, not a promising sign. “I think you should tell me about Glockenblume and the Blue Barbs,” you said seriously, “There are strange things happening there, and I don’t like it. Neither would you, I think.”Signy squirmed and pushed a lock of her hair behind her ear, stroking her head twice after, “I…know what’s going on there. But!” she looked worried, “I just want to say before anything. I hate it. Don’t breathe a word of this to anybody, but the first chance I get, I want to stop them. I can’t right now, though. I don’t have a choice.”
“I won’t judge,” you said, “But tell me what they’re doing. Are they slavers?”“They are. They engage in the most evil thing a person can do. But they’re not like what you expect them to be.” Signy’s eyes burned as she said this, “There’s a rotten sort that hides all over the world, who have a lot of money, and pay out the nose to get what they want. What they want, that the Blue Barbs give them, are child slaves. Worse than that, they’re not even aware that they’re slaves. They’re brought up, trained, to be nothing but toys. The things these ugly, evil people do once they have these children…the slimy garbage in Glockenblume don’t care, they’re in the money. They’ll defend it too, saying they need the money to live, but they’re the ones who messed up their dyeworks in the first place! They’re the ones who forced themselves to do what they do, and from what I see, they don’t much regret it, either!”
“As I suspected.” You muttered.“The worst part is that,” Signy went on, “they open their doors to political refugees, people who have nowhere else to go. Then they take their children as the price, have them have more children, because the scum they deal with will pay more for famed bloodlines, like they’re trophies!” Signy trembled and bit down on her lip, stroking her hair again, “But I can’t do anything about it. What am I supposed to do? Arrest them? Try and replace them? They’ve got their people following them in lock-step. They’re all rotten. They give me too much power for me to let them go, let alone for me to try and destroy them. They helped me get to where I am now, too, since if they hadn’t agreed to join up with the White Eyes for us, we’d never have gotten the Guillotines to join with us and form the Republic in the first place.” Signy pointed a stiff hand towards you, “I’m sorry that I’m talking your ear off about this, but you see how stupid and annoying this is? A couple of weeks ago, I’d take my friends and go shoot the bastards, but now I deal with them, telling myself it’s for the good of the Republic. It pisses me off so god damn much, I want to scream.”>Hey, calm down there, save that rage for when the time is ripe. You’re right, you can’t do anything about it, but that doesn’t mean they won’t ever pay for their crimes. Just bide your time and use them while you can.>If it makes you angry, then why not destroy them? It’ll send a message to all about what sort of place you intend to make. You can’t possibly make a “bastion of freedom” where slaves are bred.>That system is probably too deeply entrenched for you to even begin to attack. You’re best off just forgetting about it. They certainly do their utmost to keep things secret, you don’t have to admit to anybody that you know. This is something that has to be eliminated slowly, like chipping away a stone. You’ve set up shop in the scummiest place in the world, turning it into your dreamland is impossible to do anytime soon.>Other?
>>1925852>Hey, calm down there, save that rage for when the time is ripe. You’re right, you can’t do anything about it, but that doesn’t mean they won’t ever pay for their crimes. Just bide your time and use them while you can.Maybe we should be more pragmatic but child slavery and grooming is really fucking disgusting.
>>1925852Option 3.Any overt attack would likely see the Vang Republic torn apart internally as the coalition sees one of it's founding members attacked by a person they propped up, aswell as externally as the rich and possibly powerful benefactors take notice.She's gonna need time to consolidate her position, we just proved that we can't bring the bulk of her forces to Glockenblume without breaking down and disorganized and moving now without any armored support and with the tenous hold she has on the republic would just make it collapse right now.
>>1925852>Hey, calm down there, save that rage for when the time is ripe. You’re right, you can’t do anything about it, but that doesn’t mean they won’t ever pay for their crimes. Just bide your time and use them while you can.
“Hey, calm down there,” you held a hand up palm down.“I am calmed down,” Signy grumbled.“I’m sure you are. Save the rage for when the time is ripe. You’re right, you can’t do anything about it, but that doesn’t mean they won’t ever pay for their crimes. Just bide your time and use them while you can.”“If I use them, doesn’t that make me a hypocrite?” Signy asked, her face still a show of frustration, “I don’t like what I’m having to do now. If I slant my principles on something like this, who knows what I’ll do in the future?”“You’re worrying too much about it,” you interrupted Signy before she could go on a tirade, “Either you use them and eventually be rid of them, or you try to get rid of them now and lose everything, and they likely go right back to what they were doing. Isn’t that how it is?”“Maybe,” Signy admitted, “But I still hate it.”Goodness, you had to get her away from this topic.>You got back from the dressmaker’s, right? You didn’t seem happy about that either. What’s wrong with that? Shouldn’t you be in finer dress by now, actually?>Tell me about something, then. You shouldn’t be in this mood at the upcoming social. (Write in)>But did you really have to? Leave her alone, it’s probably for the best that you wrap up your business so you can have everything ready for the rapidly approaching evening, when you’d be at Lord Wossehn’s ball.>Other?Sorry for the rinky-dink update, but I tried to think of a way to move things further, but in the end it would have proven to be too much without inputs so there's an in between here.
>>1926424>>You got back from the dressmaker’s, right? You didn’t seem happy about that either. What’s wrong with that? Shouldn’t you be in finer dress by now, actually?
“You went to the dressmaker’s in Geniburg, right?” you asked, to change the subject of Signy’s anger to something less heated, “You didn’t seem very happy about that. Was there something wrong? Actually, shouldn’t you be in finer dress? I believe we’ll have to leave soon…”“Bah,” Signy puffed, “I look ridiculous in it, and I feel like a strudel. Wrapped too tight and covered in powdered sugar. It’s not enough that the dress has to…ahem, leeft ze boussum, the Emrean dandy claims he has to have me drowning in powder and paint, do awey weef ze country blemishes, show off ze woman eenside!” Signy pointed to her face frantically, “What’s wrong with having freckles? Why do those have to be hidden away, while…tch.” Signy crossed her arms tightly and eyed the other wall with spite, “Maybe it’s a pretty dress, but I don’t look right in it. If I weren’t, well, whatever I am here, I’d never wear something like it in my life. Loch insists that it’s for proper appearances, but I don’t think it’s a proper appearance for me.”>I don’t know, it sounds like I need to see it to make a proper judgment.>You’re in charge, aren’t you? Wossehn, whoever he is, can get stuffed. I'll support you being yourself.>I’m sure you’re overreacting. Makeup and low necklines’ve been typical of court fashion for centuries, and it doesn’t look bad at all. You honestly should be thankful you don’t have to wear any of the actually ridiculous looking stuff.>Other?
>>1926610>>I don’t know, it sounds like I need to see it to make a proper judgment.
>>1926610>I don’t know, it sounds like I need to see it to make a proper judgment.
“I don’t know,” you itched at your chin in mock thought, “it sounds like I need to see it to make a proper judgment.”Signy gawked at you. “No! I’m not going to put that thing back on until I have to. I look silly in it.”“Who would it harm?” you asked, “I certainly can’t get a picture in my head from you just describing it. If you actually look silly, I promise not to say anything.”“No…” Signy grit her teeth and looked bashful, “Can’t it wait? Until I’ve thought more about it?”>Quit being chicken and get into something more comfortable for once.>Better to rip off this bandage all at once, you know. You’ll get used to it faster the longer you have it on anyways.>Well, if you’re really that bent out of shape about it…>Some other action/cajoling?Yes I am stalling for time, I think we already know which of these outcomes isn't being picked.
>>1926709>Better to rip off this bandage all at once, you know. You’ll get used to it faster the longer you have it on anyways.Besides if there really is a part of it you hate, you can command them to change it. Or it's more likely you look really good in it and are just twisting yourself into knots over nothing.
>>1926709Bossman don't sweat the small stuff, if you want to draw it, just draw the best parts of the girl.If you know what I mean...Her EYEBROWS.
>>1926709>>Better to rip off this bandage all at once, you know. You’ll get used to it faster the longer you have it on anyways.>>1926791>it's just a disembodied pair of eyebrows wearing an intricate dress
Just about ready
“Better to rip off this bandage all at once, you know,” you said sagely, “You’ll get used to it faster the longer you have it on anyways.”Signy loosened somewhat, but still frowned deeply. “I guess…”“Besides, if there’s a part you hate that much, you can just command them to change it, can’t you?” you theorized, “Although, it’s more likely that you look really good in it, and you’re twisting yourself into knots over nothing.”“Parts of me do get twisted into knots in that thing.” Signy whined.“Stop stalling and get dressed, young lady.”“…fine,” Signy stood back up and went towards the door, “I’ll be back. I’m keeping it in here, so…it won’t be long until one of us is wrong.”You waited. Waited a bit more. Then, Signy came back, her arms crossed in front of her chest.
“Well,” Signy said, already sounding defeated, “It’s awful, isn’t it.”>You and I both know there’s something wrong with that pose, don’t we?>I don’t know. I can’t see all of it.>Oh please, if anything, it needs to be racier.>Other?
>>1927006That eyepatch clashes terribly, doesn't she have a black one? And has she considered doing something with her hair? Putting it up, maybe? Or back? Or growing more of it? Or less of it?
>>1927006tanq, with these options you're killing me. I want to push the big red button.>You and I both know there’s something wrong with that pose, don’t we?>I don’t know. I can’t see all of it.>Oh please, if anything, it needs to be racier.
>>1927028She has a black one. Apparently somebody thought a red one would stick out more.
>>1927006Just because you don't like dressing up doesn't mean you look awful when you do, you know.
“You and I both know there’s something wrong with that pose, don’t we?” you asked Signy. When she stared at you blankly, you pointed to her hands, and gestured downwards. “I can’t know for sure how it looks when I can’t see all of it, you know.”Signy looked alarmed, then flushed scarlet, before slowly letting her arms down and tucking them behind her back. “Don’t stare,” she said firmly.You looked her up and down. “Oh, please,” you concluded, “If anything, it needs to be racier. Just because you don’t like dressing up doesn’t mean you can’t look something when you do.” The lack of coverage was about average for any courtroom dress you were aware of. This wasn’t something often seen out and about on business, but at proper dances like you’d been dragged to, some noble women made much more daring fashion statements. Such fashion statements were the main concern of your adolescent mind at such events, in the times when your family tried to integrate you into higher society, failing miserably.“Racier?” Signy echoed, ignoring the latter part of your comment, “How could this possibly be any racier? I look like a harlot!”>No, you look like a princess. There’s an important difference. You don’t have anything to worry about.>You don’t look like a harlot. Proper harlots have their hair and rouge done up. Speaking of, you really ought to put that mess up somehow.>You look in character for a party of fancy-pants. I’m sure Lord Wossehn will be impressed.>Other?Had to take care of something, sorry for the delay.
>>1927456>>You don’t look like a harlot. Proper harlots have their hair and rouge done up. Speaking of, you really ought to put that mess up somehow.
>>1927456>You don’t look like a harlot. Proper harlots have their hair and rouge done up. Speaking of, you really ought to put that mess up somehow.>You look in character for a party of fancy-pants. I’m sure Lord Wossehn will be impressed.
>>1927456>>You look in character for a party of fancy-pants. However you ought to put your hair up to properly impress Lord Wossehn.
“You don’t look like a harlot,” you said.“Mmf.”“Proper harlots have their hair and rouge done up. Speaking of, you really ought to put that mess up somehow.”Upon hearing you say this the color drained from Signy’s face, and she turned her back to you, revealing that the dress scooped down to the small of her back. “So much for not saying anything,” she almost spat. “You can’t tie your hair into a tail or something?” you asked.“Whatever.” Signy said dismissively, “You’d probably just say it looks like a…I don’t know. Something crap.”“You look in character for the party you’re heading to,” you tried to steer the boat another way, “I’m sure Lord Wossehn will be impressed.”“Impressed with the stupid whore that says she’s the leader of anybody, yeah, I’ll bet.” Signy said bitterly, “It seems like I’m impressive no matter what, especially when I'm busily playing at things that I'm not. Tracht. You’re taking your tanks and escorting us to Wossehnalia. Be ready in half an hour.” She said this more forcefully than usual, and definitely in the tone of an order rather than the usual request. “I’m going to change out of this piece of crap.”“Hopefully not right here.”Signy stopped, looked as if she was going to say something, but stepped off again to push her way through the door.>Stop her>Let her go>Other?
>>1927656>Stop her>Other?You do not look like a stupid whore, you look like the same Signy who almost shot me in a bar defending her friends, was part of a daring raid which destroyed the Dawnseekers and now is in charge of the only republic in Sosaldt I've ever heard of.And yeah, that is pretty damn impressive.
>>1927656pretty much what i would have suggested aswell>>1927698
>>1927517>>1927518>ITT: anons try to talk to girls.>>1927656>Stop her>Apologize>Explain that we aimed for some friendly banter and went too far.
“Hey, hey, wait,” you said hurriedly as you reached out and grabbed Signy’s shoulder. You pulled her around, and as she gave you a withering glare, you managed to get out, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for you to take it that way. It was just banter, I didn’t mean to actually insult you.”Signy still scowled at you, but realized she wasn’t going anywhere as you kept your grip on her shoulder, and looked into your eyes, obviously still in an ugly mood, but waiting for what you’d say next anyways. “You don’t look like a stupid whore. You look like the daughter of Sigmund Vang, who was willing to sacrifice herself to save her friends, who went along on a raid to take vengeance on an enemy of her principles, who came out here and is doing her best to do what’s right for people who don’t even deserve it. I think that’s pretty damn impressive, if you ask me.”
Signy's eyes went from furious, to flickering, and then the fiery light inside burned out entirely, and she sighed. “It’s really not. Not impressive. No, it’s not your fault. I just...need to be by myself for some time.” She pushed your hand off of her bare shoulder, “Wossehn’s ball…it’s not just his attempting to be a celebrity, it’s also where the locals make deals and alliances, a place where they can all come together under the protection, and watchful eye, of Lord Wossehn. I’m a young woman, Richter, and I’m not a smart one, but even I know that going as I am means that every person there is a potential suitor. That, and everything else…I might have to commit to something I don’t want at all, for the “good of the republic.” This good republic where child slavers do as they please and figures who supposedly stand for justice during the day, stalk the streets at night to rape people. But…” Signy looked down, and awkwardly tried to push the top of her dress up with her fingers, bound tightly under her gloves. “I know that I’m here for a reason. I can make a difference here. It’s just so…difficult.”Signy backed away from you. “Tolerate me while I’m learning how to deal with it, is all I’m asking. I don’t have your…never mind.” Signy cut herself off suddenly, but before you could ask what she was going to say, she asked, “Do you think anybody believes in me? I won’t be upset with whatever answer, I promise. I just want to see if…well, if I’m wrong again.”>I don’t think the people here know or appreciate what you’re trying to do, but I’m sure they’ll come to in time.>Does it really matter? This is a land of fools and louts. They’ll believe in any other fool if they say what they like. The best thing that could happen is for you to become queen or something, these people aren’t deserving of self determination.>I think if you pull that dress further down again you’ll have twice what you’d normally have. They don’t have to believe in you. Just wrap them around your little finger and lead them by the hand.>Hell if I know. I’m just an exile who shoots things and does his best not to mess up. I don’t know what it’s like to be a nation builder or a ruler. You ought to ask somebody who’s on your level.>These Sosaldtians might be foul natured, but they are a people in distress no less. I think you represent a rare beacon of hope. Also, unlike the usual cynical philosopher or raving demagogue, you’re cute. That helps, I hear. (Maximum suckup)>Other?Last post for tonight. Will return tomorrow at 3PM EST, and will try to keep that schedule through the week more or less.
>>1927896>I think they're too ignorant and/or narrow-minded to understand what you're doing. They will certainly believe in the results though. When people in this town start having kids, it will be thanks to you.If Loch is forcing Signy to undergo this for some nefarious purpose, we ought to push his shit in.
>>1927991Seconded. No one said ruling was easy but we have to do our best for those we can yet save.
>>1927991Works for me.
“I think they’re too ignorant or narrow minded to understand your ambition,” you told Signy, “They will certainly believe in the results though. When people in these lands are considering raising families and living for a future, they will have you to thank for that.”“I’d like that,” Signy said softly, “Hopefully. Eventually.” Signy turned around and opened the door, “Thank you for that. I’m going to get all…painted now. Because important people aren’t allowed to have freckles.”With that, she left you, and you soon left the same way; Signy hadn’t released you from her command to assemble your tank platoon, after all.-----Quick as a flash, the tank engines were turned over, and your line of grey-painted Strossvald tanks had been assembled; you wanted to leave the m/32s behind to not test their endurance, but you figured that you would as well have them ready in case you had to take them anyways.Loch came out to meet you, flanked by a three larger men with eyes that darted to and fro.“Lieutenant!” he called up to you, “I suppose you know why Miss Vang is having you take such luxurious transportation?”“A show of force?” you guessed.“Indeed, and one with equipment most of the local kingpins could only dream of having. A few throughbreds are always a better demonstration in this case than a pack of asses.”“About this party,” you called back to him, “Signy has her costume, but it doesn’t seem like you or I have any…”“There is no need. We are her servants, not her escort.” Loch smiled up at you, “If you wanted to dress for the occaision, you should have made yourself a larger part. Poor Miss Vang will have to suffer not having a hand to dance with.”You sincerely doubted Signy knew how to dance anyways, and even if you took up Loch’s silly proposition, the truth was that you did not know how to dance proficiently either.
“Speaking of that, Loch,” you said curtly to the enigmatic “captain,” “You are not planning anything surreptitious, are you? Signy is concerned about the amorous attention she’ll be receiving. I should remind you that it is hardly gentlemanly to coerce a lady into making decisions she does not want.”Locke merely closed his eyes and shook his eyes, still smiling in his way, closed mouth with only the slightest upturn of his lips, and raising his hands palm up, “I haven’t the faintest idea of what you are referring to, Lieutenant. Miss Vang’s decisions would be her own, and I guarantee that, with ten of my men watching over her, none would dare try to use forceful influence.”“So you say.”“Please, Lieutenant,” Loch shook his head again, expression the same, “You are hardly in a position to question my gentlemanly nature. What was it, proper harlots have their hair and rouge done up? Cutting and cruel enough to be a rival lady, good man.”You sighed and frowned at him, “I had hoped she would appreciate that brand of humor.” You didn’t bother asking how Loch had heard about that. You presumed he had men always listening whenever Signy was concerned.“Considering that she is having her hair and rouge done right now…” Loch eyed you and shrugged provocatively, “Despite my best efforts, it seems you still do not trust me. Have I not done you great favors? I hardly require thanks, but I would hope that since you and Miss Vang are acquainted, you would at least appreciate my efforts to keep her healthy.”>I can’t trust you as far as I can throw you. You know who I am, but I hardly have the faintest idea of who you are. Maybe if you told me, I’d bother being friendlier.>I don’t know what you want, but I know that you’re using her. I promise you, if you do anything but keep her in continued good health, I’ll have your head. You’ve only been barely adequate when it comes to appeasing me.>Would you prefer for me to put on the same overly friendly mask that you put on? Sorry, but I prefer to wear my own face when dealing with others. >Your efforts are quite appreciated. Your enigmaticy is not. How about you at least tell me where you’re from? Not Delsau, for damn certain.>Other?
>>1928717>Your efforts are quite appreciated. Your enigmaticy is not. How about you at least tell me where you’re from? Not Delsau, for damn certain.Trust is slow. While I'd like to threaten him to not use Signy as he clearly is going to, we don't really have much to back it up with. Empty threats are worse than saying nothing.
“Said efforts are quite appreciated,” you said, “Your enigmaticy is not. How about you at least tell me where you’re from? Not Delsau, for damn certain.”“For certain?” Loch asked innocently, “I see no reason why I couldn’t be from there.”“This sort of coyness about your identity is why I’ve been keeping one eye on you.”“I suppose I’m not as charming as I thought,” Loch chuckled, “Most ladies keep both eyes on me.”You could tell you weren’t going to get anywhere. You had your suspicions, of course, but you neither had concrete proof, nor any way to get Loch to admit it. For now, he would have to remain a mystery…until, presumably, he no longer found hiding his true self entertaining.-----Soon enough, Signy and her entourage had come out, and been placed into a freshly painted, fancy looking car that looked far too well maintained for where it was coming from. You had been assured that the presence of your vehicles would mean nobody would even try anything funny, even in the hours of twilight, but just in case, the car was quite bulletproof anyways. With that, the convoy was lead off by some of Loch’s men in an open topped light car, and you were on your way.You had been given a prepared dossier to read on the way to the so-called city of Wossehnalia, whose titular owner was the host of the social you were taking a heavily armed party to.
Evidently, Lord Wossehn was immensely wealthy, with invesments and net worth rivalling that of many cities. The city of Wossehnalia itself was a recent construction, as was his castle-villa. The self proclaimed lord was said to be fascinated with nobility, and consistently wrote invitations to all houses great and small that he knew of. Most of the time, these were thought to be pranks, and when they were not sorted out with unwanted mail by servants, the letters’ recipients refused either due to Wossehn being of the newest of new money and of no old blood at all, or because Wossehnalia lay in the heart of a lawless and dangerous country. Thus, Lord Wossehn made do with inviting the closest thing to nobility he could; the local bandit kings, although he never ceased writing hopeful letters to the rest of the world.The document itself admitted that while this behavior was certainly proof of the man’s eccentricity, it warned that Wossehn was a dangerously intelligent businessman and entrepreneur; none of his money had been inherited, and it was only reasonable to assume that a man merely thirty nine years old, being one of the richest in the world, was a sign that “Lord” Alphonse Wossehn was not one to be trifled with in the realm of finances.Although you expected to find nothing about the nature of his business, which would indicate the usual shady, immoral dealings of a Sosaldtian, you were surprised to learn that Wossehn’s means of earning, as well as his rise to riches, was also known and scribed. It was all of course too long to properly summarize and you skimmed most of it, but you gleaned that he profited most from the nefarious trading of…stocks.The most fascinating aspect, however, was Wossehn’s obsession with monuments. He himself had apparently constructed a few, or rather, attempted to. His own castle had been one, and then he tried to build a great adjoining tower, which had fallen. Undeterred, Lord Wossehn had begun to build an even greater tower, which he claimed would dwarf even the skyscrapers of Zeissenberg, Strosstadt, and Gildrhafenm, while being many times more elegant. Having dubbed this grand monument “The Lichtenspire,” work had been going on for but a year, and while great progress had been made, Wossehn was an impatient man, and many speculated that the reason his first great tower had fallen was because he tried to rush the project, the same way he rushed this one now…You hoped that this Lord Wossehn wasn’t hoping to host the ball inside the more precarious sounding by the moment Lichtenspire.Although you had read through what you deemed to be the bare minimum, when you looked out, you found yourself passing through Ashen again; there was still plenty a ways to go before reaching Wossehnalia.>Try to find out anything else from the dossier?>Discuss something with the crew on the way?>Just nap until you’re there. You’ll need it, if bandit lords are like nobility when partying.>Other?
>>1929480>Try to find out anything else from the dossier?Any idea of Blood Sun presence around Wossehnalia? Since we're much closer to Todelfelsen it might be a good idea to gather some intel from there.
>>1929480Just nap until your there.I get the feeling this is gonna be a long night. Considering Liemanner is less then 10km away, when we get made, and we likely will. There is nothing stopping him from dropping by and possibly forcing our hand.
>>1929480I had no idea it'd be so close to our objective. >Try to find out anything else from the dossier?Is he invested in any local warlords?Connections to Strossvald?Defenses for his castle?I doubt he's particularly sympathetic to our plight, BUT! we have over 300 hostages just down the road, many of them with noble connections most likely. And even if none of them had connections, Maddy is a goddamn Von Blum. If this guy is seeking nobles for his clientele or wild sex parties or whatever we might have an opening to get his help. His castle is veeery close to Todesfelsen.Also calling it now Liemanner didn't want our bastards as figureheads or celebrities he wants them to send to Glockenblume for expensive child slaves.
You knew that, apparently, outside of Todesfelsen the influence of the southern cities was weak here in central Sosaldt. Was that the case with this Wossehn? Everything seemed to indicate, yes. Wossehn’s economic start had been in the south, but apparently dissatisfied with the lower section of Sosaldt, he had moved north. He still had ties there, but then, he had ties all over the world from the looks of it,a dn there wasn’t any indication of particular favor. You got an idea of how little regard he held for your enemies down south in the mention that Wossehn never bothered to invite any of the merchant princes from the Southern cities, or any of their cronies. That meant, you guessed, that he did not associate with the Death Heads as of late either, or their masters the Blood Suns.While Wossehn did not have great military power, from any account the dossier gave, his true strength was his insurmountable position in the region of regulating and drawing incoming trade. Wossehnalia, after all, had to be fed, and the dossier even mentioned that it was not a significant manufacturer of anything save for limited cottage industries; most of the economy seemed to be geared towards being a gem in Lord Wossehn’s imaginary diadem, being a destination for rest and pleasure for far around. The largest defining monument towards what the true profit was, however, was shown in a clipped on photograph of the Wossehnalia Flatiron. An unofficial name, of course, but the significance of it was that it was a flurry of financial activity and speculations, a sort of war room for the great battles of money and trade that Wossehn engaged in to fund his extravagancies.A token police force existed, of course, and they were impressively armed, but none would ever dare attack Lord Wossehn; destroying his headquarters would mean the collapse of the country, and all knew that. Since the Lord did not entertain fantasies of anything but perfecting the sculpture that was his palaces and legacy, he was merely left alone and paid respect when necessary.You had never heard of him, of course, but the dossier stressed that he had spread his investments far and wide. You were certain, therefore, if you looked deep enough even in Strossvald, there was probably a piece of Wossehn somewhere.With all of your wonderings taken care of, you left everything to your officers and crew, and leaned back in the turret to nap until you arrived. If the warlords of Sosaldt were anything like High Nobility when they partied, you would need to be well rested.
You didn’t dream, and were surprised when you were awoken to the sight of Wossehnalia.It was a scramble of a town, of course, but it was not run down or slovenly, like one would expect from Sosaldt. Over one of the hills was a slum of sorts, but it was all dark over there, so you could see none of it. Lit up brightly was what was obviously Lord Wossehn’s imperial home, his castle, which was flanked by an oddly stubby tower; presumably a salvage of the botched attempt at a great tower listed in the information on him you had been given.The Lichtenspire, at least, what had been constructed of it, was grand indeed. Even far away, it towered over the landscape, and from the looks of it, even at night as it was right now, great lamps lit it up and work continued after most would have put their time on the clock.Wossehnalia looked like a contradiction, but not in the way Glockenblume had. It was as clean as any Strossvald city, if rather smaller and more compact. The mix of architectures bespoke of the strangeness of the man who had patroned everything about this city, like it was a place constantly evolving in leaps and bounds in an attempt to create hundreds of years of history out of money and haste alone.-----The road was metalled, and clear of any crowds or debris as teams of gaily dressed professional police patrolled up and down the sidepaths. They looked as if they wore Netillian uniform tunics, slightly modified, with gleaming breastplates over them that were certainly more for effect than for protection. All of them had the dour expressions of seasoned veterans; certainly, Wossehn would not skimp on the quality of his security, even if said security looked quite archaic as they carried glaives in their hands, submachineguns not so subtly slung over their backs. Unlike every other place in Sosaldt where your tanks had been regarded with awe, these guards seemed to consider your appearance to be nothing out of the ordinary. Either they were unintimidated by armor as a result of their past service, or Lord Wossehn had had some wild guests indeed.
The music of a small orchestra echoed over you as your party went down the swerving, wide, metalled road up towards the castle villa, and you paid more attention to the music than your surroundings as you were all admitted through the iron gates and directed to places to put your vehicles. It was classical, respectable, and nothing of the new genres of music that Lord Wossehn must have thought was distasteful to the nobility he wished to please. No nobility was like to be in attendance, though. Well, besides you and your officers, you supposed. In any case, his usual guests would probably have been more pleased with more contemporary bands that played brass instruments and guitars.Very few were outside, of course. The main event must have been inside; only lewd things happened in the courtyards, you had heard (albeit from the rumors of other adolescent boys at the time), and from who you could see there were precious few women to do lewd things to. Lord Wossehn truly must not have understood his guests, or simply denied that they were what they were. picture was supposed to accompany last post, whatever.
You and the rest moved quickly through the foyer (beautifully decorated in stark tones, and split by grand staircases that looked as if they were inspired by operahouses) and entered the ballroom, trailing behind Signy who strode with confidence that had been boosted by a quick shot of moonshine just prior to getting out of her vehicle. The dance space was massive, seeming even bigger inside than the whole castle had been without, and gleamed with bronze and glass and alabaster. Rococo designs swirled up shining white pillars and meandered around the walls, which were decorated with countless paintings of scenes of classical mythology and landscapes of famous places, none of which you thought most Sosaldtians would recognize. You saw Strosstadt and its great factories in one painting, the Archducal palace on top of its hills a stark contrast to the rest of the city. In another, you saw Blumsburg, a far perspective of the city that framed it as a quaint but royal settlement with the black and grey crags of the Imperial Gate looming over it. It was an epic showcase of culture, whose purpose was to please a sort of person who would never pass through the lacquered ebony doors you had so blasély stepped through. Chandeliers a story above blazed and sparkled like galaxies, and it was so bright you had to shield your eyes for a moment, having come in from the dim foyer, and even before that, the night outside.You quickly saw that Signy would not have been the only one uncomfortable here. Every warlord’s presence was obvious from the strongmen who orbited them, and they swarmed about the food tables for lack of want to converse with their fellows, and lack of women to dance with. As soon as Signy had entered, every eye had been on her. Whether this was good or bad, remained to be seen.Signy was ringed herself by what looked to be Loch’s most fearsome men, Loch himself isolated slightly away from her outside of the ring, with his own much more subtle protective ring guarding him. You supposed you could free yourself for some time.>This ball is immense and you could probably find nearly anybody who is important in Sosaldt here, as long as they weren’t like to be pawns of the South. Who do you want to find?>Do any other things that come to mind; write in.
>>1930183Sign the guest book
>>1930183S-should we have a protective ring?> you could probably find nearly anybody who is important in Sosaldt hereSo, nobody? I mean I'd like to find Liemanner but somehow I don't take him for the social type.
>>1930183See if we can find any weapon merchants, might as well see if we can both get newer/unique gear and make connections for the Vang Republic to get proper arms and armor.>>1929646Somebody approaches Tracht and leads him to a room with a Radio, on the other line is Maddalyn and Liemanner."Kill Wossehn or an eye wont be the only thing she's missing"Richter mumbles, "Poltergiest I am lost and you are bound" as the line goes silent
>>1930261There was interest in trying to get contact with the Iron Hogs mercenary group earlier...although if you don't want to do that anymore, that's fine, I guess.If you just want to move on you can do that too.
>>1930274Oh yea and that to
>>1930274Try to pursue that line of inquiry thanks.
>>1930183Phew, this Wossehn does not fucking skimp, that is really pretty.I wonder if he's compensating.This isn't right German probably but maybe it should have been the Lichtenschwanzspire huehueAt some point we should try to talk to Wossehn himself. I think we should introduce ourselves as proper Strossvald nobility and then stick to the decoy plan after this party. Assuming everything goes well.Goals:WossehnTalk to the Iron Hog Rep about contracting work or at least giving them a heads up about Liemmaner's plans?Cruise through the crowds and see if any prominent foreigners are here? If only to report to Intelligence later.Anybody else in particular anons?
>>1930183Besides the thing other anons have posted above, a general idea of the other warlords as well as their military compared to our besides the Iron Hogs.
>>1930336See if Blood Suns or Death Heads have any emissaries here.
>>1930364It was already mentioned in >>1930103 that Wossehn doesn't invite anyone from down south. Whether there are spies in town is another but there shouldn't be any offfical emissary at the ball.
We should try to find out if he's likely to support us and our mission. If he becomes known as the man who aided a strossvaldian folk hero I'm sure he will have an easier time to join the noble social circles
>>1930336Supporting this;also did we manage to get any news from home when we were up near Glockenblume? If not, maybe see if there are any other Strossvalders or Valsteners at the ball.
I'll be back around in a bit.>>1930558To make it more clear, nobody foreign really comes to his events, nor wants to. There might be expatriates but they wouldn't know recent events.
Left to your own devices, you thought of ways to best occupy your time here. As fun as the idea of marking down your name in the guest book would be, tragically, no matter where you looked, there didn’t seem to be one that you had access to, the security officer with an appropriate looking tome keeping it tight under his arm when you came near. Apparently they didn’t bother to record the rabble for posterity.Given the pitiful state of equipment, you had the mind to see if any weapon dealers were about the place. You remembered that Geniburg, the newest addition to the Republic, had been said to have gunsmiths, but when you had inspected the equipment you found it lacking in certain elements. Particularly machine guns, which were mostly devoted to being used on the shoddy mechanized forces. The Guillotines certainly had enough weapons to equip their forces with the basics, but they were also supposed to be the most powerful faction in the Republic, which indicated that there wasn’t enough stock of ammunition and weapons to equip a coalition fighting force.So you made yourself useful looking for arms merchants; you looked for anybody who looked in sufficient gainfulness to look the part, since it didn’t seem likely that arms merchants would go hungry in a land like Sosaldt. It didn’t take long, since despite that many of the guests were rough looking warlords looking completely out of their element, some were about as round and pompfully decorated as the Burgomeisters who visited court. You could presume that any settlement here reigned over by a Burgomeister instead of a warlord, must have some sort of business.The first Burgomeister you approached pretended not to notice you and instead struck up conversation with the nearest warlord, who continued the chain of passive aggressive slights by ignoring the Burgomeister. The second clammed up at the subject of weapons while shooing you away, and the third said plainly that he didn’t deal with anybody but the client themselves, assuming (correctly) that you were a representative. The fourth you approached turned out to be the Mayor of Geniburg himself, who helpfully informed you that he was already supplying the Republic with arms.
That left three appropriate looking people.The first was an old, thin man whose mustache and beard were tied into decorative braids, with spectacles so thick a normal man could observe the planets with them. He himself was bothering warlords, who often directed him to please go elsewhere, judging from the hand gestures they made. He was unescorted, unlike most of the guests here.The second was a similarly smartly dressed middle aged man with a wide but not expansive belly and grey streaks in his hair, escorted by two brawny rough folk in forest green tunics that reminded you of East Valstener uniforms. You had seen him approached by a few people, but he had dismissed them rather quickly. It didn’t take long to notice that he was orbiting Signy, who herself had been approached and was speaking with somebody so dandily ornamented that there was no question it was Lord Wossehn himself. The look he was giving Signy as he observed her every angle was discomforting.The third was not somebody who was dressed for wealth or occasion, but a suitably obese short man in a pale khaki greatcoat and a wide brimmed felt hat. He was slowly going up and down the long tables with food upon them, picking two or three things off of each offering and stuffing them into his mouth. You couldn’t get a good look at his face, but something notable was that few seemed to even notice him, and when they did, they moved away from him slowly, as if being slowly pushed away by his presence.You supposed you could talk with all of them, but who would be the best to go for first?>The old thin bothersome burgomeister>The orbiting stalker fellow>The fatso ripping apart the hor d’oeurvres>Other?
>>1931943>The old thin bothersome burgomeister
>>1931943>The old thin bothersome burgomeisterThe desperate meeting the desperate. We'll see if his rates are any good or if he can even supply the product.
The old, thin, bothersome burgomeister became your target. You were both wanting, so the chances of you helping each other out seemed great indeed. You intercepted him after he had been rejected by yet another chieftan.“You,” you stood in front of him, “Hey, you. Glasses man. I have some questions.”“Ooh, finally,” he said with an eastern drawl, “I knew that somebody would be interested, mister, err…”“I represent Signy Vang,” you said, figuring that your own name wasn’t necessary. “I wanted to know-““Ah yes, ah yes,” the man adjusted his glasses and drew out a thread of doodads from his coat; they seemed to be a chain of little silk sacks. “The young up and comer. A substance for keeping concentration? Perhaps Maiden’s Salt to delay her cycles? A cleaner cut than most ladies about here taste, I assure you, and the extra expense is worth the purity. Even if her tastes are more basic, I have a slew of recommendations…”“…no,” you said flatly. What was a man this rich looking doing trying to push drugs? “First, I would like to know your name and trade, if you would.”“Ah, ah, Tib of Tatter, is who I am.” The old man known as Tib pulled a dainty pink handkerchief from his pocket and rubbed his spectacles while they were still on his face, “I am a merchant of bibs and bobbits, of whatevers. Of course, most prefer to buy vices, but I have many things. Many!”“What about guns?” you asked, “Ammunition?”
“Oh, all they ever want are the guns…” Tib moaned pitifully, “Yes, yes, I have weapons, though my selection is admittedly scarce. I would much rather present-““Miss Vang,” you used the title most seemed to call Signy, “Is not interested in having her mind clouded, nor anybody else’s. Tell me about your arms.”“If you insist,” Tib said disappointedly, rubbing his spectacles once more, then wiping the sweat from his head with a different, blue handkerchief. “My workers in Tatter have tools for producing Model of 1894 Kabbi Rifles, Model of 1911 Automatics…”“The pistol?” you asked.“No, not the pistol. Goodness, Fohlen Arms hardly let those go for cheap. I am referring to the rifle.”The Fohlen 1911 Automatic Rifle was a commercial failure, and for good reason. Its mechanism was so open that filth was likely to enter in any battlefield condition, and the tolerances were too fine for the weapon to tolerate dirt at all. You were surprised to hear anybody at all was still making them.“Why on earth are you making 1911 Rifles?” you demanded, “Those are…not good.”Tib made an unconcerned syllabalization. “The presses and tools were cheap, and most here care little for the quality of the weapon.”From the sound of that, as well as his listing of the 1894 Kabbi that was a single shot weapon (a “modernized” version of the 1884 to utilize smokeless powder munitions), this man’s arms business relied on procuring manufacturing tools that nobody really wanted any more.“1900 L’Tolaix, 1928 Von Muse…” Tib listed off, though the last caught your attention, being the standard light machine gun of Strossvald’s infantry. You had no idea where he would have gotten the tools to make those. “Tatter tragically has arrangements precluding any other orders for ammunition, but we do have arrangements with some scrappers for reloaded brass…”“Right,” you said, thinking more about what it would take for this to be worth it, “What are your prices?”“Negotiable.”>Unfortunately for you, Miss Vang doesn’t want garbage. We’ve already got enough of that.>How about I get you a meeting with Miss Vang? We need guns, and we don’t mind where from or what.>Can I just get one of those things?>Other?Other updates tonight should come quicker, sorry.
>>1932506From the list so far I'd assume that the only useful thing he has are the LMGs? Does Geniburg produce enough rifles and other small arms to supply our forces?
>>1932506The lmg might be of interest, however if Geniburg Lready produces most of Vangs small arms (though dubious quality) we might want to look for other merchants who can supply other war material, maybe someone who has connections to a proper steelwork so we can get them actual armor and not bolt on armored cars.
>>1932519>Does Geniburg produce enough rifles and other small arms to supply our forces?You don't know their rate of manufacture, but it doesn't seem likely considering that the formation of the republic happened pretty recently. They likely could, over time, but not nearly as quickly as would be desired.
>>1932529Well we can always get back to this guy to help supplement Geniburgs output after shopping around
>>1932506>Unfortunately for you, Miss Vang doesn’t want garbage. We’ve already got enough of that.I dont think Signy would appreciate us getting her literal scrap metal. Unless there were someway to aftermarket mod the rifles so they would jam less.The LMGs might be of interest though.
>>1932529>>1932552Tell him we need to consult with Signy first and get his contact details.
>>1932586I don't think anyone is considering the 1911 Automatic Rifles (because they're shit), but the M1894s may be a adequate second-line rifle
“I need to get Miss Vang’s opinion on this,” you muttered, “Where is Tatter, exactly?”“Travel straight north of here for a touch more than twenty kilometers,” Tib walked his fingers up an imaginary line, “You won’t miss it. I would not call it the equal of Wossehnalia, certainly not at lord Wossehn’s party, but it has a quaint charm to it.”“I’ll get back to you on this business, then,” you said, starting to back away, “It’s not something wrong with you, I’m just being an educated consumer.”“Don’t forget the specialty!” Tib waved a silk baggie at you, which you quickly turned away from.Truth be told, any consistent weapons supply would be an improvement over the current situation. Most of the small arms were different models from one another, although some thankfully looked, when you inspected them, to have been re-bored to more accessible munition types. The inconsistency of type, nevertheless, gave you visions of guns wearing out and being unable to be repaired, attrition of equipment and supply being the bane of any side in a war behind attrition of manpower and will to fight.Even the current situation that served anarchic bands more than a real fighting force, was better than outfitting Signy’s soldiers with trash. 1911 rifles would be unacceptable for any purposes besides being an easy target for mockery. Well then, with that taken care of, you considered who next to go after.The burgomeister flanked by the green guards was further along in his orbit of Signy, and you saw him make a comment to one of his escorts, who looked sideways and made a gesture with a flat hand tilting side to side; he must have thought something was subjective to opinion.The fat man who had been pillaging the food tables had ceased his assault, and was leaning against a pillar. Oddly, he seemed to not be staring at Signy like most other with nothing better to do, but at you.>Get the orbiter’s attention on something more productive.>Another willing audience, how simple. Approach the glutton in the greatcoat.>Other?
>>1932688>>Another willing audience, how simple. Approach the glutton in the greatcoat.
>>1932688>Get the orbiter’s attention on something more productive.>Oddly, he seemed to not be staring at Signy like most other with nothing better to do, but at you.Batten the hatches we are at risk of getting our booty plundered!
>>1932702Really Signy's only getting attention because she's the only feminine thing in the room on top of basically exploding onto the scene, and not necessarily the sort of attention that one would appreciate for the latter reason as well as the former. She is rather plain looking, after all; she's an unusual sight is more the point for many.Anyways I'm writing now.
In a party full of standoffish sorts, you felt drawn to the people who wanted attention, and considering that you probably looked like one of Signy’s goons rather than somebody important, you wondered what this fat man could possibly find interesting about you.The short and wide man had a strange face; stout, fat, and wrinkled, like a hog’s. His nose was short, fat, and round with large nostrils, which only added to his porcine appearance. He wore a khaki greatcoat that stretched taut around his belly, and a wide brimmed felt hat, and round, dark tinted glasses covered his eyes. Underneath his nose, a bushy moustache obscured his lips, and drooped around the corners of his mouth.You couldn’t see his eyes, but you knew somehow that he was trying to get a better look at you.“Well well,” the pig man said as you approached, his voice rough and scratchy like heavy bricks rubbing against one another, “Not many people see me and want to come closer.” He tilted his head all the way up towards your face and tipped his sunglasses forward, revealing round eyes that could have once looked friendly, had the warmth not been sucked away by experiences you could hardly fathom. “I s’pose you came over for a good reason.”“Well, you were staring at me, you know.” You said, “That has a way of capturing somebody’s attention.”“You look familiar is all,” the hog man pointed to his glasses, “My eyes aren’t so good, couldn’t get a proper picture.”“Who do I look like?” you asked.“Nobody you’d know.” The pigman put a short leg over the other and leaned more on the pillar, “So anyways, you didn’t just come over to find out why somebody’s looking at you. There’s something you want.”“Guns,” you said quickly, “a lot of them.”“I’ve got quite a few guns,” the pig said, drawing an old cigar from his pocket and holding it between his teeth as he pulled a lighter out of the same pocket with the same hand, “Could say I’ve got the best guns around, long as you can pay. Probably should know who I am at some point, shouldn’tcha. I’m Schweinmann. Suits me well, I hear.”“That’s fine,” you said, “what sort of guns?”The pigman paused, lighting his cigar and taking in a long breath, “Seems we misunderstood each other. The sort of guns I’m talking about are the sort you have do the shootin’ for you, not the sort you shoot.”>Sorry about the misunderstanding, then. I’ll be on my way.>I’m still interested. Who are you? What’s your price?>Surely I could take the guns you shoot off your hands for enough money?>Other?
>>1932747Just to clarify is he talking about mercenaries or like hitmen?
>>1932749Mercenaries, though around here, there isn't much difference besides the quantity of them in a single place.
>>1932747>>1932751>I’m still interested. Who are you? What’s your price?Must as well see what he can offer.
>>1932747>>I’m still interested. Who are you? What’s your price?Oh shit is this the Iron Hog man? Physically a hog man with ribs of Iron.
>>1932747>>I’m still interested. Who are you? What’s your price?I doubt Signy could afford their price, but we might have a job for them or twoOur stash is safe and secure right, I cant help but feel that Loch is gonna rob us at some point
>>1932761It's secure.Really Loch probably wouldn't even know you have it. You haven't given any gold or taken it out the whole time you've been here.
>>1932747So basically this guy?>I’m still interested. Who are you? What’s your price?
>>1932764With the way Loch has eyes and ears everywhere, im paranoid someone could end up snooping around and overhearing somebody blabbing about our warchest, also with the way we were throwing gold bars around earlier on, im sure word would spread of a Strossvald noble with gold bars to hand out.
“I’m still interested,” you insisted,”What is your group called?”Schweinmann blew smoke out of his wide nostrils, and fanned it away with a broad hand. “Nobody too special. Hell Gitt’s Iron Hogs. Well, just Iron Hogs, now.”“You’re the leader of the Iron Hogs?” you asked.“Me? Nah. I’m the paperwork and planning guy, whatever you call that. Position’s never had a name since I’m the only guy who’s ever done it.” Schweinmann took the cigar from his mouth and shoved a meat pie into his craw, where he pulled it from, you had no idea. “Contracts, requests, favors, that’s me. I’m supposed to be here for that, but really, I just come for the food.”“I see.” What luck. A mover and shaker for the powerful mercenary organization, supposedly the one that had defeated the Blood Suns, and the Death Heads with them, years ago. Could Signy afford to hire them? Probably not, but you had to ask anyways. “What’s your price?”Schweinmann finished chewing the entire pie and swallowed it loudly. “Whaddya want done? It ain’t gonna be cheap, whatever it is.”>Nothing much. Just a distraction in Todesfelsen.>I need to destroy the Death Heads, and I heard that your group did that. Care to repeat history?>Do you give discounts?>Other?>>1932765More or less, to be honest. Except Porco is noble and pure, while this guy...well, he doesn't seem very generous. Basically don't judge the book by its cover.
>>1932766>I need to destroy the Death Heads, and I heard that your group did that. Care to repeat history?We always can dial back if the price is too high.
>>1932786Supporting for now, need to see what the prices are.
>>1932777Wanna repeat history? I hear the Iron Hogs got famous after defeating the local power around here some years ago.I dont really want to name drop, ears everywhere
>>1932777>I need to destroy the Death Heads, and I heard that your group did that. Care to repeat history?
You looked around to make sure nobody was listening in too closely, and then leaned forward and said quietly to Schweinmann, “I need to destroy the D-…some local power around here, and I heard that, some time in the past, your group did just that. Care to repeat history?”Schweinmann said nothing, swallowing once more and returning his cigar to his mouth, puffing at it contemplatively. “That was a different time,” he rumbled, “Different men, different circumstances. We had Hell Gitt, and it was do or die. People’ll tell you we beat the hell out of them no sweat, but at the time it sure as hell didn’t feel that way. The battle even came close more’n a few times.”“It’s just them this time, and not the whole Southern Cities against you,” you encouraged him, “They’re weaker now, aren’t they?”“We’re weaker now too, y’know.” Schweinmann said to that, “After Hell died, lot of our best scattered, and a lot of their fans went with ‘em. We’ve been building back up since the new boss came around, but going all out against somebody as big as the fellas you’re talking about…and I know exactly who you’re talkin’ about, that’s a big risk. Big risks need to be backed up with big money.”“Well-““Let me finish, son.” Schweinmann puffed at his cigar again, “That’s assuming we want to do it. I run all the requests by the boss, and we only do the jobs we want to do. We don’t particularly want to go kill all the Death Heads. We’ve got no need to do that. The Southern Cities took a big hit when we beat the Blood Suns, and they aren’t going to try something like that again.” Schweinnman pulled on the cigar enough for it to burn almost to the end, then spat it onto the ground and stomped on the embers. “This’s about the hostages, isn’t it.”
You didn’t see any point in hiding it. “It might be.”“It is.” Schweinmann corrected, “That’s the only reason I can think of for you wanting to mess with ‘em. Nobody likes ‘em too much, but the Death Heads haven’t done anything too bad in the neighborhood since way back. So they’re tolerated. Now all a sudden, they’ve got a bunch of prisoners from Strossvald, and some guy I’ve never heard of comes with a lady warlord I’ve never heard of, and he wants to ruin the Death Heads’ day. Guessing the lady does too.” He said this while clipping a new cigar, “Am I about on the money?”“Maybe,” you admitted.“Now,” Schweinmann sighed and coughed, “You’d’ve had better luck with Hell. He’d say somethin’ like, we’re going right out there and teaching those shitheads a lesson, mount up, Hogs, nobody kidnaps innocent people on Hell’s watch! He’d see your lady warlord and say, She's cute. ’Ey, Schweinmann, if we help her out, you think she’ll sleep with me? Then he’d do it hoping it’d just happen because he wanted it to.” Schweinmann lit his new cigar while shaking his head, “Just cause it worked that way one time, he thought it’d work all the times after. Never did.”“So…” you asked hopefully, but Schweinmann just pushed his glasses further into his face.“So, Hell ain’t around no more. I’m older and fatter now, and I don’t have no best friend to go on adventures with just because no more. I need some money motivation, and so does every other man and woman in the Iron Hogs. Going and putting it all on the line to fight some bunch of guys? Needs a lot of money motivation. Maybe if you had some buried pirate gold, you could afford it. Otherwise, you need to lower your expectations. The Boss ain’t Hell, in more ways’n one. He won’t do something just to be nice, or for favors. Money or nothing for something like this.”>I get the message. Fine, what if I made it a little distraction instead?>…you know, I might actually have some buried pirate gold somewhere. How does that sound?>Would you do it for…Hell’s nephew? Old times’ sake?>Other?
>>1932809....you know, I might actually have some buried pirate gold somewhere. How does that sound?Also out of curiosity, does Hell have a grave or something here in Sosaldt?
>>1932809>>I get the message. Know anybody with a grudge willing to help?Well shit, if the other local merc bands dont mind the death heads presence around here, im not sure where else we can go to quickly supplement our forces, considering the state of Signy's forces.I dont want to put to much faith in the Iron Hogs in holding the line, considering they arnt what they used to be. They might just cut and run if it gets to tough, with how little respect he's giving their current leader, and if their elite core is spread to the winds, then I dont see any reason to pay up.
>>1932809Assume I could pay your price; what kind of forces would you be able to make availible?
>>1932809>I get the message. Fine, what if I made it a little distraction instead?
>>1932845This. Would like to know more about what they can offer first.
>>1932845SecondingAlso can we stop by and chat to find out just exactly our uncle was up to during the time he was here? Seems interesting and all that.
>>1932809>I get the message. Fine, what if I made it a little distraction instead?I don't think we should tell him our heritage, while he himself may be sympathetic if word gets around the Iron Hog boss might see us as a threat, and it sounds like this guy doesn't have much pull.I see our plan as something along the lines of having the Iron Hogs and Vangs Republic distract the majority of the Death Heads while we pay Riverman to extract Maddy safely while Von Tracht and co. either sneak or storm the tow to rescue the rest of the hostages.Outright buying the Hogs would be great but we don't know how reliable they are even with pirate gold. I figure if we pull this off we can then let this guy know who we are.
Sorry, but I'm pretty off schedule today. I won't be running til evening.
>>1932809>>I get the message. Fine, what if I made it a little distraction instead?
“Assume I could pay your price,” you said slowly, “What kind of forces would you be able to make available.”Schweinmann lowered his glasses and peered at you with his unobstructed eyes. They squinted suspiciously, in a telling sort ofslant that immediately told you that there were cold, calculating depths beyond their otherwise wide and simple appearance. “You’re saying you can pay it.” Schweinmann said contemplatively, “I don’t know how you could possibly…hm, doesn’t matter. Five companies tanks and cars, one of footmen, tanks are in toons of fours and fives. That’s if we pull everything up and throw all we’ve got, which is damn hard. We get our living wages from keeping a quarter, sometimes a third of our guys in the city of Gusseisenholz, to keep the mayor sleeping easy. Also to discourage any of our rivals from making any smartass moves.”That meant, from the sound of it, they wouldn’t be able to field a force par to the Death Heads’ home guard in numbers. The Iron Hogs probably had much better equipment, but quality of equipment wasn’t everything in a fight.>I get the picture. Alright, what if I had you do something more limited? A distraction, maybe?>I understand. If you’re not interested, though, can you tell me about anybody who might be?>I don’t need everybody you have. If you can cut your price accordingly, we’d appreciate whatever you could send when we do the thing.>Other?I know this is sort of a repeat of the last vote, but I figured the information given here could affect some opinions.>>1932962>Also can we stop by and chat to find out just exactly our uncle was up to during the time he was here?>Seems interesting and all that.Stop by? Like you're doing now, or like at some later date? I can let you grill this guy (well in a matter of speaking, he's still long pork and not real pig) but right now he probably wouldn't get why you would be interested.
>>1934642>I get the picture. Alright, what if I had you do something more limited? A distraction, maybe?Maybe we should also inform him that the Blood Suns are not entirely happy about their outpost in case they get too complacent about the lack of threat from the south.
>>1934642>>I get the picture. Alright, what if I had you do something more limited? A distraction, maybe?
>>1934642>I get the picture. Alright, what if I had you do something more limited? A distraction, maybe?>Other?If we need to sweeten the deal we can also inform him of a Southern city plotter that has ill intentions towards his company.
>>1934642I don't need everybody, whatever you could send when we do our thing would be fine. Of course we'd pay according to what you do send.Do you know of anybody else who could be interested, maybe send some discreet missives out to those who have left the Iron Hogs who might hold a grudge against the Death Heads/Blood Suns/Southern Cities?
“I get the picture,” you sighed. “Alright, how about this. What if I wanted you to do something more limited? A distraction, maybe?”Schweinnman blew more smoke out of his nose, slowly and deliberately. “Well, that’s not much to go on. How about a bit more of an idea?”You could only peer from side to side in quick thought at that. How the hell would you know what to do? Your attempt to scout out the area had been aborted. “I was thinking that would be more your decision.”Schweinmann thought for only a moment, then said, “A company could make a good enough mess. Take the box of pirate’s gold you have and reduce it to one eigth.”“That’s still really expensive,” you hesitated, “Maybe I could sweeten the deal a bit, with a good reason why you ought to not think the Southern Cities are letting things lie as much as you think.”“Oh?” Schweinmann’s eyes narrowed further behind his dark tinted glasses, “Really, now? Where did you hear that sort of thing? Somebody named Mr. L, or whatever the hell they call themselves now?”>Does it matter? The southern cities want your outpost on the other side of the river gone, and that’s a fact.>Mr. L? Who is that?>I get the feeling you can tell me more than I can tell you about this. How embarrassing.>Other?
>>1935092>I get the feeling you can tell me more than I can tell you about this, if we're talking about the same person
>>1935146Sure,Otherwise combination of 2&3
>>1935092>the real Liemanner is actually Schweinmann and he tries to subtly trick people into attacking the Iron Hogs so they can grind XP and become strongerIt all makes perfect sense.
>>1935092>Mr. L? Who is that?>I get the feeling you can tell me more than I can tell you about this. How embarrassing.>>1935365>the real Liemanner is actually SchweinmannIf this is actually Liemanner I'm out. I can't play his 5 dimensional chess anymore. We should just settle down with _m/32_ and gtfo of the country.
>>1935784>thinking there are only 5 dimensions to this gameOh you poor fool
“I get the feeling you can tell me more than I can tell you about this, if this Mr. L is who I think it is,” you said warily.“…back here,” Schweinmann pointed behind himself, “You probably don’t need any rumormongers overhearing what you have to say.” You followed him into the shadows behind the pillars, where lamps dramatically lit portraits and little else; the classic place for courtly plotting, and perhaps a bit too obvious. It was also where amorous couples went to get to know each other more intimately if they were too impatient to wait for after the festivities, but it was doubtful that Schweinmann was leading you here for that sort of thing. You were surprised to see Schweinmann continue forwards to the wall and push on it lightly, causing it to tilt. “Wossehn uses this when he wants to see himself out discretely,” Schweinmann said in a hushed tone, “Nobody’ll notice you or I will be gone.”You followed him through, and it turned out that the secret passage merely went into a less noticeable bit of the foyer, behind some potted trees. “So.” Schweinmann turned to you again, “How bad are you off?”“Bad off?”“With Liemanner.”Oh. “Well, he sent me my wife’s eye in a box.” You said, thinking that you should just get straight to the point.“Well then, good news,” Schweinmann waved out his cigar, crushing the embers against a gloved palm and stuffing the half burned roll into a pocket, “and bad news. The good news is that, around here, our guy L can do remarkably little outside of Todesfelsen without pissing people off, so that should take a load off you. Everybody’s got one eye on the Death Heads, and they aren’t so stupid that they’ll risk a dogpile that’ll finish off what Hell started. Bad news is that he’s got you screwed if he has somebody important to you. ‘Course…” Schweinmann tipped his hat, “Unless you think she can take a bit of abuse.”“Unacceptable.”“I see,” Schweinmann frowned and pushed up his glasses with a pair of fingers. “I’m supposing he wanted you to do something about our project on the west bank. Gusseisenholz is too hard for you to even think about taking out.”“That is the case.”“Figures.” Schweinmann leaned back and looked towards the ceiling, “Course, he can’t do anything about it. Not if you aren’t willing to try, of course.”“I’ve heard that’s a bad idea.” You said sardonically.
“Damn straight. So, I suppose you want to get rid of this particular Liemanner, then.” Schweinmann said firmly in reply.“This particular?” you asked, “You’re implying there’s more than one of him.”“Because there is,” Schweinmann continued to look pensively at the ceiling. “I’ve killed him twice.”You could hardly conceal your surprise. “I only did it once,” you admitted.“Killed Liemanner? Nice.” Schweinmann looked down and at you with what looked like genuine humor. “But, yeah, unfortunately for us, turns out killing him doesn’t help that much when you don’t even know how many of them there are.”“They’re body doubles, aren’t they?” you asked.“No. More than that. They each genuinely believe they’re the original. At least, that’s how it was with my two.” Schweinmann looked at you expectantly, “How’d you do yours?”“A lot of guns, from a distance.”“If you did it up close and personal like I did,” Schweinmann said, “You’d have a different experience. I was confused when he popped up after the first one, and I finally understood after the second time. They don’t just act the same, they look the same, think the same. Wasn’t as if I wasn’t sure both times, either, unless you know anybody that can come back from being burned to ash.”You weren’t sure if even a Soulbinder could do that. “Why were you going around killing him…them, anyways?” You asked.
“Cleanup. After the Blood Suns got beaten off, they left a few presents. Thankfully, though Hell didn’t think there’d be time bombs, I knew they were a certainty. Don’t get me wrong, either, each of them was a pain in the ass to track down, but it’s not like the Southern Cities can just crap out Liemanners whenever they please…from what I can guess. I’ve made sure there’s none around here, so he’s probably just talking crap through some Death Head mouthpiece.”“What you just said was…educational,” you said, slightly disheveled by the thought that your enemy was, in a way, immortal. “Since you told me all that, are you going to help me?”“I just helped you.” Schweinmann said roughly, “Any more will cost you. I’ll give it to you straight, the cities are no threat to me, or the Iron Hogs. The only way they can do anything is through you, and that’s because they’re cutting bits off your sweetheart. To be frank, you aren’t too tough, definitely not tough enough to make me need to risk the company on a hail mary.”“I think I’m pretty damn tough.” You said sorely.“You’re small time, kid. Remember who I used to ride with.” Schweinmann tipped his cap smartly, “Although, I will say this. Our investment on the west bank’s still small. He wants you to get rid of us, right? We take cash for all sorts of odd jobs on top of merc work. I’m sure you can use your head for this one.”>You want to feign your own rout? I suppose that will cost me, won’t it.>Would something like that really work? I’d think Liemanner would see that sort of thing coming if he knows who he could be dealing with. I’ll think of something else.>Odd jobs? What sort of odd jobs? Maybe…rescues?>Other?I've got the "does anybody hold any grudges" question on hold, I'll have it addressed.
>>1936918>You want to feign your own rout? I’d think Liemanner would see that sort of thing coming if he knows who he could be dealing with.>But do you do, say, covert ops? Infiltrations?
>>1936918>Would something like that really work? I’d think Liemanner would see that sort of thing coming if he knows who he could be dealing with. I’ll think of something else.>Odd jobs? What sort of odd jobs? Maybe…rescues?I'd think he'd see through it pretty easily, even with somebody who's dealt with Liemanner before on our side.Just suddenly out of the blue we decide to attack the Iron Hogs, after clearly going to Wossehnalia with a likely Iron Hogs rep at the party and take few to no losses. Better that we use them to help us rescue folks alongside Riverman.Although maybe we can stage a skirmish to show Liemanner we are trying as we sure as hell aren't going after Signy.
>>1937653You want to feign your own rout? I suppose that will cost me, won’t it.>Odd jobs? What sort of odd jobs?
“Would something like that really work?” you asked, “I’d think he’d see that coming if he thinks about who he could be dealing with.”“Nah,” Schweinmann agreed, “It wouldn’t work for long. Maybe a day at best, and that’s if every ruse was pulled. Cast skeletons and pigflesh can only take you so far. If that ain’t enough time, ‘won’t blame you for not trying.”Cast skeletons and pigflesh? You had expected spare corpses to be used around here. In any case, considering that you would have to pay a substantial dividend regardless of whether the trick worked or not, you had deemed it not worth going for.“I was more thinking about your odd jobs,” you moved on to another subject, “What sort of odd jobs do you do? Maybe…rescues? Covert retrievals?”Schweinmann snorted. “Covert tank operations?”
“Well, no,” you said uncertainly, “Not like those are impossible anyways, but you said you shot Liemanner, twice. I’m just going to guess you didn’t do it with a tank.”“I wouldn’t say the Breach Platoon can do subtlety.” Schweinmann scratched loosely and slowly at one of his chins, “You don’t want us to do that, anyways. Unless you want to pay more and wait a long time.”“How long?”“A month at least,” Schweinmann said, “To source everything right and make sure it goes off without a hitch. Yeah, I can tell by looking at you that that’ll take too long.”“It would.” You doubted Liemanner would be happy with you twiddling your thumbs for that long, even if he somehow didn’t suspect you were up to something. That, and you absolutely didn’t want to stay in this country that long. Strossvald called you back west; home, where the Archduchy reigned wisely, the people were respectful, and prostitutes didn’t assault you. “You don’t happen to know anybody that has any grudges against the Death Heads, do you? We’re trying to get all the help we can.”Schweinmann beckoned you to walk forward with him back towards the ballroom. “Don’t count on it, unless you’ve got a lot of backup. The Death Heads are still strong, and even though they’re not popular they’re no pushovers either.”“Would they be persuaded if, for example, the Republic went after them?”“They’d play it safe,” Schweinmann said, “Nobody’s seen your Republic in action, after all. They’d have to be…persuaded. But hey, you could probably persuade them, instead of paying them.”“I see.”“Speaking of,” Schweinmann rubbed a finger and a thumb together in front of his face, “I want to hear if you’ve got business for us or not. I’ve got food to get back to and I don’t like talkin’ with my mouth full.”>Yeah, yeah. The distraction thing. Can I get you to get ready for that? To start doing when I need you to.>Not yet, but I’ll think of something. I can reach you if I send a courier to…whatever city it was, right?>Are you sure you need a load of money to help? I’ll let you in on a secret, the Republic’s going to smash the Death Heads and take over Todesfelsen, very soon. Sooner than anybody would think. This country’s changing, and I think you’d be better off siding with the winners, you know?>Other?
>>1939226>>Not yet, but I’ll think of something. I can reach you if I send a courier to…whatever city it was, right?
>>1939226>Not yet, but I’ll think of something. I can reach you if I send a courier to…whatever city it was, right?
>>1939226>Not yet, but I’ll think of something. I can reach you if I send a courier to…whatever city it was, right?>Other?How much warning do you need ahead of time for this distraction?
Sorry things have been slow, I'll be ready to start up again in an hour, though I probably won't be going at proper speed again til evening. I don't really have an excuse besides things not being as well planned as usual.
“Not yet,” you decided, “But I’ll think of something. I can reach you if I send a courier to…whatever city it was, right?”“Guisseisenholz.” Schweinmann said, “over the big river to the east. And yeah, it’ll get to us. As long as the courier doesn’t get domed and buried, that is.”“Does that happen often?”“Only if they aren’t careful,” Schweinmann shrugged, “Dangerous job, but work for it’s always open.”“If I wanted you to do a distraction, though,” you noted, “How much warning do you need ahead of time?”“Always have one company open for work on demand,” Schweinmann held up one finger, “Two when work is slow. Like it is now. We could move out in a couple hours, but I’d prefer a day. Boss and I share a flaw where we actually like to think about what we’re doing.”“Alright then.That’s all I needed.” You bid Schweinmann farewell, “Keep an ear out, then.”Schweinmann tipped his hat once more in passing, and left you to your wandering.-----After Schweinmann, there was really only one interesting party left to speak with before tackling the host of the party, and the ruler of this city, himself. The middle aged burgomeister, flanked by guards in green and keeping a close eye on Signy. Signy herself was still occupied by Lord Wossehn, who from what you overheard from his loud, bombastic, and overly verbose speech, was more interested in hearing himself speak than he was in whether or not Signy was actually listening. The latter’s helpless expression indicated that she hadn’t quite given up on that yet.
Determined not to go into whatever negotiations could be next at a disadvantage, you approached a fierce looking warlord with tattoos of flames and teeth on his face and neck, his chest laid bare by an open flannel shirt, a wolf hide about his shoulders. You expected some interference from his entourage of four, but they paid no mind to you. Wondering shortly about whether they cared that little about the potential of assassination, you noticed quickly that Wossehn’s security kept close eyes and presumably arms at the ready for if any guests seemed troublesome, even those not close to the Lord himself. Mostly, you had noticed this because more than a few were now keeping an eye on you. Your flitting from here to there must have looked suspicious among this antisocial crowd.“You,” you addressed the warlord with the tattoos and the wolf hide, “I want to ask you something.”“You wanna ask something?” one of the warlords’ goons got up in your face once you had the gall to say something, but a gnarly, long nailed hand gripped onto his shoulder and threw him aside.“Aw, piss off,” the warlord admonished his man, “You’re gonna make me look insecure.” He looked back to you, “I’m Wolfgang, of the Moonshiners. Yeah, the name came before the skin,” Wolfgang lazily lifted the head of the hide, “Whaddya want.”“I wanted to ask about that man right there,” you pointed to the middle aged burgomeister, “Who is he?”“That bloke? He’s…uh,” Wolfgang scratched his scalp, then remembered, “Uh, Garson. Garson, head man of Nordenstelle. It’s not that far north, name’s misleading, but he does get a lot of shit coming from up there. He’s a smuggler, gets guns and all sorts of things from the Netillians up north. Ever since the coup, you see, whole lot of corruption in their army. Bad for them, but good for us, you know?”“I get you.”“He’s giving the Republic Girl sleazy eyes,” Wolfgang said spitefully, “Like she’s a piece of meat. Not like I would, I tell you. Can I say something about her? I know you came in with her, so you gotta wave guys like me away, but I have to say. I took one look at her? I want her to be my wife. Some girls you look at, you want to bang em, but her? I want to take her home and-““That’s alright,” you excused yourself, “I’m really busy right now.”You absolutely weren’t, but you knew where this was going and if you stuck around much longer he’d think he could use you as a way to get closer to Signy. You might not have had a vested interest in her romantic life, but you supposed she could do better than that.>Speak with this Garson character. Netillian arms smuggling? Sounds like something the Republic could use.>Cruddy as they were, you preferred the sourcing from Tib, who was in all likelihood cheaper while also being probably closer. You didn’t need to speak with Garson.>Other?
>>1940608>>Speak with this Garson character. Netillian arms smuggling? Sounds like something the Republic could use.Might as well see what he can offer
>>1940608Aww, he wants to protect her smile!>Speak with this Garson character. Netillian arms smuggling? Sounds like something the Republic could use.
>>1940608>Speak with this Garson character. Netillian arms smuggling? Sounds like something the Republic could use.>>1940652Not gonna lie if that's what he was about to say I might've been willing to introduce him. That dude just wants a family of adorable tattooed kids wearing wolf-plaid and well endowed eyebrows.
>>1940608>Speak with this Garson character. Netillian arms smuggling? Sounds like something the Republic could use.
As sleazy as he seemed, the possibility of higher quality arms smuggling was alluring to you. You went to discuss such matters with this Garson character, whomever he was.Netilland, one of Strossvald’s eastern neighbors, was once ruled by a federal council not unlike a republic, but a coup by its military had installed a dictatorship that held substantial power over the former government. As far as you knew, nominally, there were no changes in governance besides the new office being born, but Netilland’s foreign policy had certainly changed for the more hostile. The coup had been six years ago, in 1926, after an unsuccessful invasion of the Kingdom of Baou, which had broken away ten years before that. Since then, due to the newly founded Army Council’s hold over the government, Netilland’s ways of making war had been made much more streamlined. As a country run by warriors, its economy became based on war. Netillian armies plundered where they trod, and their cheap but reliable weaponry flooded export markets even overseas. None respected this, but even those who turned their noses up at such practices were said by their rivals to be incensed by envy rather than moral indignation.Of course, as functional as such a strategy might have been in theory, conducting war instead of supporting it proved to be difficult for the Netillians. Their soldiery proved more often than not to be unmotivated, their officer corp distance, and their non-commissioned leadership either inept or selfish. Strossvald planners found, even, that they could reliably predict when Netillian will to fight to broke. This was often when great resistance was encountered and progress halted. Netilland’s commanders knew of this flaw, as well, but the problem was more easily recognized than solved. Netillians were simply unwilling to risk their lives for the sake of a nation most considered illegitimately ruled by a military dictatorship, and the only thing that kept Netilland’s borders where they were was its propensity to initate war before others could declare it upon them. That being said their equipment was quite serviceable, and cheap.
“Hey,” you called to the man called Garson, who had looked to you as you were approaching, even before his guards did. “You’re Garson, right?”“I am,” Garson declared. He was a slightly overweight, broad man, with chiseled features that were the opposite of his slight paunch. The roots of his hair were grey, his well groomed, cowlicked hair a deep brown. His eyes squinted with an inquisitive determination, eyes that, upon beholding something, immediately set to work figuring out how to conquer it. “Who are you?”“…I represent Miss Vang of the Republic of Vang.”“No, no,” Garson’s voice bubbled like a spring of magma, “Who are you, my friend?”“Richter…berg.” You thought up on the fly. “Tell me, Mister Berg,” Garson thankfully presumed the better option of the possible names you could have said, “You seem to be a recent arrival, judging by your dress. One without an allegiance, a sort of identity that does not last long here. Surely though, even in your short time here, you have realized that this is a land of vices.”“That isn’t very hard to figure out, no,” you said dully.“Nobody of a pure and noble sort comes here. This is a land of those who do not fit. Many because they are human trash, but many also because they cannot escape from the grips of their vices, and isolate themselves this way. Only here do they share in the company of fellow degenerates. Tell me, Mister Berg, what vice has drawn you here?”Obviously, you thought, you hadn’t come here because of a vice, but you couldn’t very well say that.>What the hell are you even talking about? Look, I’m just here to talk about the guns you can get.>All of them. Sorry that I’m not so philosophical, but I don’t really think that hard about why I do what I do.>Well gee, smarty pants, if you’re so sure why don’t you tell me what I want?>Other?I would have had this out much earlier, but some errands came up.
>>1942103Ambition (if you can call it a vice).Let's humour this guy for a bit, we want his weapons after all.
>>1942146>>1942103Ambition works, and what better way to achieve it than with weapons?
>>1942309>>1942146>>1942103Ambition is aptRichter certainly hinted at it during the WWYD exchange with the crew
>>1942103>I like women that look like little girls!>Actually, it's ambition.
“Ambition, I suppose,” you said. It had been the first thing to spring to mind, which made you uncertain; how much of what you said came from truth?“A somewhat vague sort,” Garson said a little dismissively for your tastes, “But not a bad one. Indeed, a vice terribly lacking in these forsaken expanse.” Garson curled his lip as he looked around at the rest of the attendees to the gathering, “Mister Berg, some are so foolish as to claim all men are equal. Take a look around even this place, where what could pitifully be called the best in these lands is found, lurking like cockroaches. Trash! Garbage! They are unfit to be called men. Their hearts are full of vice, but none that make them rise above the heap of manure they and their fellow excrement wallow in. They satisfy themselves with their dust and ruin, squandering precious youth merely surviving, in a world that has already exiled them, denying them the privilege of merely consuming.” Garson squeezed the wine glass in his hand, and a crack in its lip became a split in his grip. A blood-red drop of the wine within trickled out, and down his finger. “This is a place, Berg, where even the most wretched has the potential to become a king, look upon all these people who think they are kings but are happy with their singular towns, their little bands of people somehow more pathetic than them. It disgusts me.”“I suppose.” You agreed halfheartedly, wondering if you should nod your head like a child being read to.“Oh, there is no need to be lenient in your feelings towards trash.” Garson almost laughed, “I can see it in your eyes. You spite these people as much as I do, and you have an ambition that drives you towards an uncertain, but certainly brighter, future. It is easy to tell from the company you keep.” He sipped from his wine glass, and frowned at the crack he had put in the crystal. “I suppose I should get to my point. You came to me with business, after all, but I do feel that I must make my beliefs clear, for what I am to say.”
“No, no,” you said considerately, “Continue.” Not that Garson needed any prompting.“I came here with nothing, I thought, long ago.” Garson said wistfully, “But I found out, in time, that I in fact had great potential. Fortune smiled upon me, and unlike these fools, I was quick to see it. I rebuilt a life for myself, fulfilled the desires I had, back when I was a naïve officer of Netilland, after enduring a foolish war for profit and losing faith in my home, nearly twenty years ago. How ironic it is that said foolishness and warlike nature have made me rich. I achieved my lowly ambitions, after gaining some power. I bought extravagances, I married a slut that caught my fancy, had children that I grew to despise as their natures rotted in this pit. Even my iron will, however, begins to rust and corrode in this abominable Sosaldt, and the only way to keep my strength is to soak in the radiance of those I admire, so rare about here.”The bitter man swirled his wine in his glass. “Wossehn, I do admire. I would not come here if I did not, although he seeks to appeal to but a different sort of trash. The trash that is nobility, who value themselves above any station they deserve.” Garson stretched an arm out towards Signy, looking to her, palm up. “Look upon her, though. This Signy Vang. You arrived with her, yes, but have you looked upon her? No? Do so now. She is preciously young, possibly not even in her second decade, yet she leads men such as you. She draws eyes both lustful and jealous, and has a character that is a diamond in mud here. Watch.”Signy turned her head, looking for a distraction from her host’s ramblings, and noticed out of the corner of her eye that Garson was staring at her back, which was exposed down to the small of in a deep, scooping cut stopped just below the crest of her hips. She shifted uncomfortably, turning so she was at a less flattering angle.
“That movement alone, sets her apart,” Garson said, as if in a trance. “The men in Sosaldt are trash, and the women are trash as well. This lady, however, knows that she is valuable. That she is not some slattern so lacking in dignity that they give themselves away to anybody mildly interested, for naught but coin, perhaps a promise of affection. She wears a costume she is not used to, that proclaims, look at me! Yet she does not wear it out of pettiness, but rather, because it is the only dress suitable for her status here. Her power, as well. She may put herself as some shirking shrew, hiding from the sun, but I have heard of what she has done. How remarkable that a young girl has cowed so many men who would say that they are mighty and brave, no? The burning ambition, to, to create a new land from this trash pit. Knowing all this and looking at her, it is invigorating in a way that I have not felt for many years.”Garson noticed that you had returned his ejaculations with silence, and turned back to you instead of Signy. “So, she has sent you for my weaponry. Not only do I smuggle weaponry, I smuggle uniforms, provisions, all manner of goods from under the noses of the Netillian Army Council, directly into my vaults. I have many customers, and I am making tidy profits, but you have probably figured out that I no longer glean any joy from mere accumulation. To be frank, from a business standpoint, I would not be able to fulfill your demands with what I currently gain and sell to others. However, unlike those who wait for their turn at my stores, you and Miss Vang are in the unique position of having something I find myself wanting desperately.”
“Said thing being..?” you asked, more out of courtesy than ignorance.“The sunlike eminence of such a woman shines most dazzlingly in intimacy, when one knows her as closely as a man possibly can. I wish to make her my mistress.” Garson declared with finality, “It is humbling indeed that I am beneath her notice, but we both desire one another, though for different reasons. I was, and am, quite the lady killer, you know. Our relations may lack passion at first, should she acquiesce, but they would blossom into something powerful indeed given time. So, my proposal to you, Berg, is this. I will gift her whatever she likes. I will shower her with weapons, treasure, anything she desires, but only if she agrees to romantic rendezvous, tonight, and whenever desired thereafter. Inform her of this for me, so that she comes to me wanting. She has the right to refuse, of course, but then I will be forced to do my best to forget her…and she will languish without her precious war materiel. Perhaps you could get a pittance from that snake oil salesman, Tib of Tatter, but I already know that settling for such scraps is not in this lady’s character.”>I will not have Miss Vang selling herself to some curdling walking superiority complex. I’m afraid that you will have to try and forget as soon as you can.>Very well. I will inform her of your…proposal. I make no promises that she will agree.>You say we have a choice, but do we really? I will do my best to make her see your way. There is no other option.>Other?
>>1943358>Very well. I will inform her of your…proposal. I make no promises that she will agree.I mean we should Signy decide formally, even though I'm pretty sure what her reaction will be.
>>1943358>Very well. I will inform her of your…proposal. I make no promises that she will agree.Simply so that he knows she refused him, not us.Wolfgang best husbando
>>1943358>Very well. I will inform her of your…proposal. I make no promises that she will agree.Well that whomps. Guess we'll have to settle with Tib.
“Very well,” you stiffened your back and your lip, “I will inform her of your…proposal. I make no promises that she will agree.”“She will if she knows what is good for both of us,” Garson raised his glass, “Tah tah.”You left Garson hurriedly, and hoped that you wouldn’t have to come back to him with what you were sure would be Signy’s answer.A few hushed murmurs and gestures between you and Loch’s assigned bodyguards later, Signy excused herself from Wossehn’s company and came to you.“Richter,” she whispered, “This ponce…he said things that I don’t like the sound of. Concerning your…wife. He talks on and on, but what he said about this…I don’t like it at all. You said you needed me, though?”>Yes. I have a message directly for you, first.>Really? Tell me, quickly. This other nonsense can be put on hold.>No, what you said sounds more pressing. Have Wossehn recount it to us both. You said he likes to talk anyways, right?>Other?Short update for "I'm awake" purposes
>>1944873>>Really? Tell me, quickly. This other nonsense can be put on hold.
“Really?” you asked in a quiet voice, “Tell me, quickly. This other nonsense can be put on hold.”“Alright,” Signy brushed a strand out of her face and looked around warily, despite being surrounded by guards who kept anybody else five or more paces away. “This Lord Wossehn guy, he goes in disguise to a lot of places. He thinks he’s an adventurer of sorts, I guess, and he went to Todesfelsen this morning because he heard that there was a noble hostage. I’m sure it doesn’t need to be said why.”“He wanted to invite Maddalyn to his party?”“Something dumb like that, probably. He said that, being incognito, he couldn’t produce enough money on the spot, or promise enough, to “liberate” her. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that he didn’t want to buy her as a slave…Don’t look so angry, please, I’m just saying. What was disturbing was what he said that she said, to try and get him to get her out.”“Go on, then.” You urged Signy, “What did she say? Or, what he said she said.”“First,” Signy said, “He said that she only had one eye…isn’t that-““I know about that part.”“Okay. That’s…uh. Anyways. Um. She said that her father would reward him greatly for getting her out. He didn’t bite for that, since, like I said, he said he couldn’t. She didn’t give up there, though. She said she could offer her hand in marriage, that he’d want for nothing if he was a member of the Von Blum family…”A bluff, you thought. It wasn’t as if she had much to offer in her current position, and you said as much.“Maybe, but the last thing…after Wossehn laughed that off, he said she got weird. She started saying things like not wanting to do something she’d regret, or that she could destroy everybody in the city if she was forced to, that she’d rather suffer the worst fate than be blinded…do you think..?”>I have no idea what she could possibly mean by that. It must be the stress of captivity.>If she means what I think she means, we really don’t have much time before something bad happens. (What?)>If she’s planning what I think she’s planning, it might actually save us quite a bit of trouble. Good on her.>Other?
>>1945015Option 2She might try for another DemiPhantom
>>1945015>>If she means what I think she means, we really don’t have much time before something bad happens. (What?)So, if the reason he couldn't buy her was that he was incognito, does that mean someone else could buy her, if they theoretically had the money to do it?
>>1945015>If she means what I think she means, we really don’t have much time before something bad happens. (What?)
>>1945075Presumably the amount of money being asked for is ludicrous; they do have a good idea of how much a hostage like her would be worth.
>>1945015>>If she means what I think she means, we really don’t have much time before something bad happens. (What?)Trundled through the archives, I think she's going to fuck up a persons Prescence and turn them into a phantom since that what she did before to find out the 'memory' of working eyes.Also I found this tidbit:> Soulbinders do it just by being around people, they slowly turn people into copies of themselves, never all the way since the body and mind are reflected in the soul, or so these philosophers say, but they still do it.COPIES! I knew Liemanner was a Soulbinder! Fucking wizard shenanigan bullshit!
“If she means what I think she means,” visions of shadowy giants filled your head, their heads eeries suns that shone with eldtritch light, “we really don’t have much time before something bad happens.”“Something bad?” Signy asked, not seeming to see the same threat you did, “Like what? She can’t…you know, blow things up, can she? I really don’t know what she can or can’t do…”As far as you knew, no, Maddalyn was incapable of blowing things up. She was, however, plenty capable of creating monstrous ravenous vampiric creatures, whom could only be temporarily destroyed by a secret weapon whose inventor had gone mad, and that there were only two of, both of which were in your possession. Needless to say, the creation of such a fiend where Maddalyn was right now would likely spell the doom of the city.You went with the short answer. “No. But I don’t want her to start getting creative, either.” You kept the bit about the Demiphantom to yourself. Maddalyn had told nobody but you where it had come from, and probably for good reason, since that act had led to the deaths of dozens, if not hundreds of people, who would probably be summarily written off as “mysteriously disappeared.” You didn’t need any antagonism from your allies muddying up the waters, especially now.“If she got creative,” Signy tapped a finger against her cheek, looking up, “What could she do? Do you know?”“No.” you lied, “And I don’t want to know.”“What’ll we do, then?” Signy asked. “I’ll think of something. All we need is more time.” You could have this addressed right now if that damn ghost were here. She’d vanished after you’d tried to squeeze a confession from her, and you hadn’t seen her since. You could have hoped that she’d stowed away on a vehicle here to come to the much talked about ball, but you figured that you would have seen her by now if she had done that.On the other hand…Wossehn had managed to see her, from the sounds of it, relatively easily. Maybe…
Signy interrupted your thoughts. “If I can’t do anything about that right now, then that’s that. What did you come to me for at first?”First, you told her about your talk with Tib of Tatter, and she did not seem impressed. Then, you told Signy about the deal that Garson had proposed, and though you expected her to be repulsed, the look on her face after you had finished was crestfallen, some realization creeping from below that was tugging the corners of her lips down. “Is that so…” Signy said quietly, “I…don’t know.”“You don’t know?” you spat incredulously, “It’s unthinkable!”“Maybe from your point of view.” Signy held her hands together low and in front of her and squeezed them thoughtfully, “But…it’s true that we don’t have enough guns. Geniburg…they have gunmakers, but there’s too much that we have that’s old, or held together with glue and tape, and more that we just don’t have. I don’t have an Archduchy to back up my fighters, Richter, and I’m going to ask them to fight and die. What sort of leader to them would I be if I sent them into battle without proper equipment, and I could have gotten it for what’s basically nothing?”“But,” you protested, “Your dignity-““My body isn’t worth that much. I don’t believe rulers who are unwilling to make sacrifices for their people would be wanted, and I believe in a system where the people of a country are led by somebody whom they want to lead them. What worth would my dignity be if I lacked any honor? Any integrity? However…” Signy looked spitefully at Garson, far to your flank, “If it were merely my body he wanted, he could have it. I’m not so dumb that I’ll let him have the Republic, though.”
“The Republic?” you asked, “Why do you think he wants that?”“Loch has taught me some history that was…interesting,” Signy explained, keeping a disdainful eye on Garson, “There were more than a few courtesans in history who gained great influence through their lovers, sometimes, they became more powerful than the kings themselves because of the grip they had on the king’s heartstrings, sometimes, not even that, because they found themselves in places where they knew so much, and held restricted knowledge over even their lover. Most leaders in history were men, but do you think the same couldn’t be done to a woman?” She looked back at you, “I’m sure somebody would think that you and Loch are doing something similar, but we know the truth of that. This Garson wants to manipulate me into doing his bidding, if I were to submit, where would it end?” Signy’s spite softened as she grit her teeth and sighed a hissing, frustrated sigh through tight lips, “Even so…am I just making excuses? I could easily take him and set him aside, after all, before whatever plans he might have could take hold…if I had time to think I could decide, but you said he wanted me tonight…He’s putting me on the spot, to try and make me make a rash decision.” Signy looked straight at you, “What should I do? If you don’t want to say anything, that’s fine, but I don’t want to go into this darkness alone, wondering if I’m making a stupid mistake. Tell me what you think.”>It’s not worth it. If anything, what you said made it even less worth than before. We don’t need masses of top quality equipment; believe in me, and your soldiers, and we will win it for you. A leader has to let their people make sacrifices, too.>You think he’ll manipulate you, but couldn’t you manipulate him? You’re smarter than you think you are, you know, and he could be underestimating you.>Other?>>1945946How perceptive of you. Although, you could still stand to ask somebody and make sure.Also don't forget that Soulbinders can't be killed like a normal person
>>1946206Do we still have our Hellfire shell?
>>1946253You have two, yes.
>>1946206>You think he’ll manipulate you, but couldn’t you manipulate him? You’re smarter than you think you are, you know, and he could be underestimating you.Also let's go find Loch and get his opinion as well.
>>1946206>You think he’ll manipulate you, but couldn’t you manipulate him? You’re smarter than you think you are, you know, and he could be underestimating you.>Other?There's no guarantee that he will even give you what you want. He is trying to force you to do something rash, so don't be rash.He may follow through but all I know of him is what his gluttonous tongue spewed forth. You should beguile him if you wish. If he truly wants you then he'll play your game, and if not then you've saved yourself from his manipulation.
“You think he’ll manipulate you,” you pointed out, “but couldn’t you manipulate him? You’re smarter than you think you are, you know, and he could easily be underestimating you.”Signy frowned at you, “Maybe. But he’s definitely been here longer than I have. I’m flattered by your praise, but be realistic. Even if I were smarter I’m too inexperienced to play these sorts of games. Loch’s certainly careful to not let me get too confident, from the battle games alone…”“All I’m saying is that you’re not an idiot. You don’t have to go straight along with him the way he plans, elsewise he might not even give you what you want.”“He would have to,” Signy corrected, “Ripoffs that bad don’t stay in business around here.”“Fine. But he could cut wherever he could, and just keep you as a toy. Instead, you could beguile him, play the slow game. If he’s genuine, he’ll play, and if not then you’ll still be safe.”Signy frowned further, “I expected some more protest from you that that.”“I’m considering what you want,” you said, “Were it my choice I’d have that Garson man thrown out of here. If you’re still not sure, then we can ask Loch.”
Signy nodded in agreement, and turned to find Loch, who had replaced Signy in entertaining Lord Wossehn. You had figured that she would call to him or something similar, but instead she grabbed Loch brusquely by the hand and started pulling him over to you, much to his surprise, and especially to the surprise of Loch’s bodyguards, who both jumped up and reached into their beltlines before seeing who was dragging Loch away and relaxing, but only slightly.“Milady,” Loch laughed, “You are supposed to ask permission before a dance, you know, not only for courtesy’s sake but so that the other party can be prepared.”“You wouldn’t dance with me if I asked anyways,” Signy said sullenly, “Richter came up with something that I…need help with.” Signy explained Garson’s proposal, and Loch’s normally cherubic look washed over with a dreadful fury, but only for a split moment, as she elaborated upon how he desired to make her his mistress.“Unacceptable,” Loch said firmly, “and unreasonable. None can be allowed to summon you. If anything, they would come at your will. This man seeks to place himself on the same step as yourself, and if he is allowed to do so, he will use you as a stepping stone to climb higher still.”“But!” Signy protested, “He has so much, everything we’re lacking, he could give! It’s not good, but isn’t it at least-““The daughter of Sigmund Vang,” Loch said lowly, and with such commanding presence the ground itself would split even from his quiet menacing, “Will never be some merchant prince’s bedwarmer, no matter if he offered the world.” His face was that of the devil for more than a moment, until he realized how frightful he looked from Signy’s shocked silence, her hand covering her mouth. Loch relaxed, closed his eyes, and smiled. “Trust in me, both of you. We have no need to pay such a price for mere goods. Our trails of destiny are dotted with victory marches. Now, let me introduce you, Lieutenant, to Lord Wossehn. He is quite a character, and Miss Vang needs a respite from his pomp.”>…Fine, sure. I’ll go see this Wossehn.>Now wait a moment, I think you should let Signy decide instead of dictating what she will do. Are you not her servant?>I think after such a fierce display, you owe this poor girl a dance. I'll go talk to him once you've taken her in arm.>I’d rather not speak with this man. I too, grow exhausted, and would rather excuse myself. I have to go…soul searching. (Look for Emma OR go to Todesfelsen)>Other?
>>1947377>I think after such a fierce display, you owe this poor girl a dance. I'll go talk to him once you've taken her in arm.If we want we can confront him later in a more private setting.
>>1947377>>…Fine, sure. I’ll go see this Wossehn.
>>1947377Wow, Loch seems to be motivated by more than just his Imperial masters.>I think after such a fierce display, you owe this poor girl a dance. I'll go talk to him once you've taken her in arm.
>>1947377>>I’d rather not speak with this man. I too, grow exhausted, and would rather excuse myself. I have to go…soul searching. (Look for Emma OR go to Todesfelsen)I think we need to step up our timetable. Or finally get proper word to Maddalyn that were here.
>>1947377>>…Fine, sure. I’ll go see this Wossehn.>I think after such a fierce display, you owe this poor girl a dance. I'll go talk to him once you've taken her in arm.It's a party! Someone go fucking dance.>>1947991I agree but Wossehn has already seen Maddy once before so if we can't find Emma then we can hopefully use him to pass on a message.If Liemanner actually does have connections to practitioners of magical mayhem then Emma might not be safe to utilize.
I'll be back around in a couple of hours, going out for lunch.You'd best hope that Loch is a good enough dancer to make up for Signy being inept at such a thing
>>1948611If Loch is a terrible dancer then we can rule out Imperial High Society background
“I will go see Lord Wossehn,” you said to Loch lightly, nose turned up towards him, “but on one condition.”“Oh? A condition? Speak it.” Loch asked your terms as if they were going to be something predictable. Perhaps it was, but you didn’t have spite on the mind right then.“After such a fierce display,” you spoke of Loch’s sudden change in temperament a moment earlier, “You owe this poor girl a dance. What sort of man takes a girl to a ball and would let her leave without a dance?”Loch peered at you coyly and laughed evilly, “Wouldn’t you be a better fit for such a priviledge?”“Oh for heavens sakes!” Signy cried out, stomping forward and grabbing Loch’s arms, “You men having to make things so difficult! Shut up and dance with me!”The surprise in Loch’s eyes was only visible for a second, before they changed to glint with amusement. “What choice do I have now? I can’t very well refuse her excellency in front of this crowd, but…” Loch twisted his hands out from Signy’s grip and took hold of her hands, drawing a small gasp from the latter as their roles reversed. “You will not make a fool of yourself. There is some time before the next song, so a small lesson. Firstly, your hand on my shoulder, no, the other hand. I will put my hand on your waist, and our two hands here remain entwined. Push out your chest, keep your neck straight, and do not press too close unless you want to appear as lovers; do not do that, if you would please. Listen to the end of this song; do you hear the rhythm? One-two-three, one-two-three, that is how the steps are timed in this sort of song.”Signy looked as if in a trance; Loch was stuffing her head with information too quickly for her to ask for any elaboration.“Just follow my movements and all will be well. Ah, one more thing,” Loch moved Signy’s hand to the right slightly, then lifted her arm up by her hand and took his hand off of her waist, “What does this mean?”“Er…” Signy looked puzzled, “That I’m showing everybody my armpit?”“No, no, as tantalizing as some around here may find your underarms, you take that opportunity to turn around; the whole point of wearing a dress is so the dress may move with you. Try turning around, pivoting on the axis formed by our hands.” Signy did so, clumsily. “Oh well,” Loch shrugged, “We can learn better through practice. Lieutenant?”
“Yes?” you snapped your attention back to the situation at hand.“Tell my men to give the lady and I some space, if you please. It is time for this party to stop being such a bore.”You rolled your eyes at Loch, and he laughed at your annoyance as you turned to relay his words to his men, who were greatly amused indeed, though just as cautious in every muscle save the ones about their face. You suddenly wished you had Maddalyn right now to show that pompous pretty boy a thing or two. Not that you supposed either of you could dance, but you desired a competition nevertheless. Actually thinking about it, Maddalyn would need quite a set of heels to assume the same sort of stance.“Ah!” you heard a flamboyant syllable from behind, “Finally, a proper display! You would not imagine how long I have waited for something that one would think so simplistic!” You turned around, and saw the dandy form of Lord Wossehn smiling broadly behind you. His suit and vest were elaborately embroidered with silver thread and floral patterns, adorning purple satin that gleaming like a sunset. Wossehn was young looking, for how much wealth he had amassed; he couldn’t have been older than his later-mid thirties. His face was made of square angles, not the least of which being his gleaming white teeth which he showed at the slightest opportunity to do so. He stook straight with his arms bend and hands on his hips. Wossehn was also a towering figure, standing a head above you. His own head was a carefully groomed wave of platinum blonde, done up in a slight pompadour. The grinning face seemed almost set in such an action, as even when his mouth closed his cheekbones stayed up, harshly bordering his eyes and making them appear like flat bottomed semicircles.“Oh, how onerously inconsiderate of me! Salutifications, my fellow. Perhaps you were already informed, but I am Lord Alphonse Nicholas Edsel Wossehn. I wish to welcome you to my splendiferous oasis abode. I trust that you have beheld my many spectacular edifices? Oh, my manners, once more! What do you style yourself, my Republic friend?”>Richter Berg. It is…a pleasure?>I am Richter Von Tracht. I appreciate your hospitality in this exquisite setting.>I’m nobody in particular, but thanks for asking.>Other?Also>This man seems quite long winded, and would probably talk about whatever you wished him to. Ask him anything or propose anything?
How committed are we to hiding our true identity?
>>1949135If we reveal our identity, we cant ask about his visit to Maddy, since, well, this guy will talk about his chance meeting with a noble asking about another noble held hostage. And of course, he'll blab to everybody that a Strossvald Noble was at his party, and with L only 10km away thats gonna end well.
>>1949135I dunno either, I guess we could make up another noble name but having actual nobility show up to Wossehn's party will probably make him much more amenable to us. The thing is whether he can be trusted to not blabber his mouth to others. Then again if Liemanner is a frigging Soulbinder it might not matter anyway if he can track is using supernatural means.
>>1949155are you trying to tell me that Emma is working for L?It would add another angle to her pushing our rape.
>>1949164Nope, but there might be other ways he can track us; sensing our Presence and other stuff like that.
>>1949093Anyways im about to take off for dinner, but im against revealing our true identity.Just say were Rondo von Metzeler or something
>>1949201I guess we could say we're Maddalyn's relative or something like that.
>>1949218Maddy is the third daughter of Barnabas, and Mathilde is the 4th.What do we know about the older 2 and does she have any male siblings? I think this is stuff we would already know in character anyways, even if it wasnt brought up before.And I feel a male relative would just pay the ransom in Barnabas name anyways instead of slumming it up over here. Actually what is the official response anyways to the hostage situation. Itd be unfortunate if Barnabas has already told them to fuck off and never ever paying and then we come along saying were authorized to pay for the ransom.
>>1949093Tough call, one of the reasons I wanted to the decoy to wait and leave for his mission was so we could use our identity here without Liemanner getting conflicting reports. But at the same time, Maddy already tried to entice him with both marriage and a debt to Lord Von Blum.On the other hand if he ever wanted an IN with nobility he may never get a better chance than by helping us.>I am Richter Von Tracht. I appreciate your hospitality in this exquisite setting.If Liemanner is a Soulbinder he knows everything and there's no point in delaying, or he isn't and hopefully reports of our decoy will be enough to satisfy him once we leave here and until we try the rescue.>Questions?Ask about his family history, title and noble aspirationsCompliment his taste in decor and attempt to bring culture to the wastelandAsk if he's ever been to a party in Strossvald or how he feels about it in particular. Ask what it would take to invest in his stocks. (I dunno anything to make him friendlier towards us and we are sitting on a pile of gold.)Depending on how he answers will help me at least decide if he can be trusted any further than our name.
>>1949093>I am Richter Von Tracht. I appreciate your hospitality in this exquisite setting.
>>1949093>>I’m nobody in particular, but thanks for asking.But make sure to talk in our usual cultured and noble strossvalder accent
Pretty late in answering this but eh.>>1949240>What do we know about the older 2 and does she have any male siblings? I think this is stuff we would already know in character anyways, even if it wasnt brought up before.You've heard of, but never really seen or met, Maddalyn's two older sisters. One is Lillian, and the other Hanna, but you don't recall which is the eldest; they're both married to...well, somebody. You didn't bother learning too much about them.Maddalyn has two older brothers, one which you may have seen. At a council meeting held by Lord Von Blum, you might have seen Count Heinrich Von Blum, the heir to the Von Blum name; at the time of seeing him, you thought he could have been a nephew instead of a son, but in hindsight, you've realized that this is because Barnabas Von Blum has been twice a widower, so differences between children are only to be expected. Maddalyn and Mathilda are rather obviously from the same mother, of course. The other brother is Edwad Von Blum, a Baron rather than a Count like his brother. Why this is, you don't know. If you wanted to impersonate one of the family, it would be important to keep in mind that most of the main family have red hair.>Actually what is the official response anyways to the hostage situation. It'd be unfortunate if Barnabas has already told them to fuck off and never ever paying and then we come along saying were authorized to pay for the ransom.Normally, negotiations over hostages are handled by a trusted servant under heavy guard, since most noble families of particular note in Strossvald have a personal guard at the very least. They will not come with money on hand; this is something only established after meeting and negotiating. Usually this is so that a force can be readily prepared to smash the offending kidnappers shortly after regaining the kidnapped relative.Outright refusing to pay ransoms is rarely heard of, and usually only even considered in the case of a disgraced relative. After all, there is the loss of prestige to be considered when letting a relative go to the wolves.I'll let this sit a while to see if it affects anything then write.
>>1949571 (You)>they're both married to...well, somebodyTo specify, they're married to different people. You just don't know who either person is, likely because their spouses aren't important in Strossvald's politics.Also, the other brother is Edward, not Edwad. I don't know how that slipped through.
>>1949093Voting for >I am Richter Von Tracht. I appreciate your hospitality in this exquisite setting.I think it's true that we don't have much to lose from revealing our identity right now that Liemanner couldn't find out anyway, and it'll probably really help ingratiate ourselves with Wossehn by revealing ourselves as an actual noble.
>>1949600Out of curiosity, I would have expected that Lord von Blum given is his status and wealth would most likely be able to marry his daughters off to more "distinguished' people per se?
>>1949663That would be the case, yes. Territorial Lords quite powerful and influential, so Barnabas Von Blum could theoretically marry his daughters off to anybody, but marrying up or even across isn't usual for Territorial Lord families, since they tend to prefer to shore up smaller alliances rather than make bonds with equally prominent and powerful people. This is not only due to rivalry in the courts, but also because of an explicit decree of the Archduchy that families in control of large territories cannot combine, and the unite their holdings into a larger state.
>>1949720Ah,okay. All things considering though it's still kind of amazing how Richter's father managed to arrange the betrothal in the first place,considering the von Trachts are literally almost nobodies as far as Strossvalder nobility is concerned.
>>1949751It is unusual, isn't it?But not unprecedented; troublemakers tend to purposely be misdirected from the path to power in the military, perhaps the same goes for the courts?
“I am Richter Von Tracht,” you revealed your true identity to Lord Wossehn, “I would like to say, too, that I am grateful for your hospitality in this exquisite setting.”“Von?” Wossehn froze, then, thought, “Von Tracht…Von Tracht….Ah, yes! From Strossvald, the once-commanders of the storied Silver Lances! I beg your pardons, yours was surely a line deserving of invitation to these festivities, but I was under the presumption that your line was…extinct.”“An exaggeration,” you said dismissively, disturbingly accustomed to how insignificant you had become by now, “I am flattered still.”“Yet, with you informing me of this, in your current state of dress and preeminence…” the gears in Wossehn’s head visibly bit into one another, “I understand, you wish to keep your titles a mystery to the common observer. Unusual, from my point of view, but I will not coerce or cajole for you to answer the ulterior motive behind it.”“Thank you for being so understanding,” you said, the relief in your voice genuine, “I actually wanted to ask you about yourself.”“Oh!” Wossehn looked as if he could melt, “It would be my most ingratiationable pleasure! Ask whatever you will.”Ingratiationable..? You did your best not to think about it. “If I may ask, where does your family hail from?”“Ah,” Lord Wossehn’s face fell, “My origins are rather inglorious. My father was a moneylender, and my mother one of his debtors that he took a liking to. It is not a history that deserves elaboration. Suffice it to say, one gave me her love, and the other gave me his money, albeit only after he met his demise and there were no other legal takers.”“I am sorry to hear of that,” you gave your condolences, meek and ceremonial as they were, “What of your title? You call yourself Lord, do you wish to be of nobility?”“It is my greatest aspiration.” Wossehn smiled distantly, as if having a fanciful daydream, “Some may scoff at the idea of God-given right to rule, but it is an order that our world could never have developed without. Nobility is something bestowed, only given to the worthy as a reward both to them and their descendants, as you surely know. Nobility that is only declared has no value, elsewise why would every man not call themselves king, and every woman name their own person queen? It is an identity that requires recognition, and that is what I seek. Recognition, by the greatest of peoples on this planet, once I have done whatever they see deserving. Perhaps, you could say, I wish to become splendiferous, but only justly.”
“Splendiferous…” you repeated, rolling the word over your tongue ponderously, “From what I can see, you certainly have brought something of that sort to this desolate country. Your sense of décor is high class indeed, it cannot be argued otherwise.”Wossehn chuckled appreciatively. “It is good to hear that from one who appreciates it, but I fear that this is merely a facsimile of what I hear are tastes of the courts as of recent. Oh, how I labor to refine my tastes as to truly understand, but I have come to the sad realization that true nobility is something one must be born and raised in…Perhaps my children will be able to be raised in such grand fashion.”Well, you thought to yourself, if nobility required being raised in a palace and living among beauty and glory, you certainly couldn’t be called noble. You let Wossehn linger without contradicting him, though. It might be better, after all, for his faulty image of what a noble was make him believe you were greater than he was. “Have you ever been invited to an occasion?” you asked, “Perhaps one hosted in Strossvald by the courts?”“Oh, goodness, no,” Wossehn became distraught, “I would dare not appear without invitation, and…one can definitely infer the likelihood of a man of Sosaldt receiving an invitation to the realm of the Archduke. Many have made habit out of appearing uninvited, certainly, but those have always been people who were certain they would be welcome. I would not be able to bear the embarrassment, the scorn, of appearing in a place where I was entirely unwanted.”The Archduke, you had heard, was quite fond of showing up to parties uninvited. You took very little interest in the drama of the courts, but his invasions were such that they were commonly dicussed anywhere the nobility was- places you had constantly found yourself whether you liked it or not.
The whole time you had been speaking with Wossehn, of course, your mind couldn’t help but wander to monetary concerns. Investing in a financial genius was never a poor move; you had to see if you could strike while the iron was hot.“I have heard that you are a very successful stock broker,” you mused, as though it was merely a proposal and not the desperate leap that it really was, “Would I be able to invest in your company? From Strossvald, ideally?”Wossehn’s face fell, then he frowned, then sighed and put a hand in a vest pocket, “I am afraid that I have no branches in Strossvald. The Archduchy does not like dealing with the East at all, I am afraid; they would rather take their business north. If you wished to do me the honor of investing in my business, your best chance would be to look to the Union of Free Valstener States. My branch there is Palace Estates Investment and Loan. I would warn you, that that is a rather precarious dealing to invest in compared to an investment made here in Wossehnalia. After all, the Free Valstener Council of High Governance can freely confiscate foreign holdings if it feels it must. I would recommend that if you were to invest, you do what many…less reputable sorts do, and come here directly with your funds.”…Well, there was a big box of gold that was starting to grow awfully heavy back in your tank, carefully hidden away. Maybe later, though; you still needed your war chest intact, just in case.>Any other matters to address?>Any other people to look for while you’re here?>I’ve done my part and I haven’t seen my wife for too long. Get me out of this place.>Other?
>>1950549Ask him if he has any other dealings in Todesfelsen;maybe we can sneak von Neubaum and gang in undercover.Also any other details of his meeting with Maddy.
>>1950549I think he's really the last person we want to see here.>Any other matters to address?>>1950577plus>Other?Then after he figures out or we outright tell him Maddy is why we're here we should ask for his help.He doesn't seem so bad, and given that he wants to be recognized as worthy for nobility and has a streak for adventure he might actually help us.>Other?Other?Don't say this to him unless other Anons agree with my suggestion it but I think we should tell him about our mission to rescue the noble hostages.If he ever wanted to gain Strossvald recognition for valor and honor then helping us rescue them. Maybe Intelligence will always deny our part in saving them, but they have the clout to whisper in a few ears about a capable and helpful ally in Sosaldt that deserves Archduchy friendship.
>>1950824I agree, he seems nice and could definitely be helpful. We could even offer to invite him to one of our parties back in Strossvald some time, once we build our house back into one that's prestigious enough to throw a party worth coming to.
>>1950843Regardless. I think we should consider investing once we're on our homeward journey. Might not be a bad idea to make money besides just keeping the gold bars.
>>1950549>Reveal our mission>Ask for help
>>1950549Ask for his help
>>1950549Also how much gold bars do we have remaining?
“Do you have dealing in Todesfelsen?” you asked, “It’s quite close, after all, and I heard you went there recently.”“Ah, Todesfelsen,” Wossehn said, edging about the word, as if he were talking about an embarrassing relative, “No, they are firmly aligned with the Sea Families. They accept casual business, but local ownership of properties in their territories is out of the question. I am certain you have heard of my connections in this region, but Todesfelsen and its Death Heads are one venture I have no part in.””Why did you go there, again?” you asked, not trying to hide the fact that you already knew, but wanted to hear it in his words.Lord Wossehn took a deep breath, as though he were about to tell a long tale, and to the surprise of none, he did.“I came by word of a collection of hostages that had been steadily accumulating in Todesfelsen. Not unusual people, merely the unlucky citizenry of bordering lands whom had been in poor places at poor times, but the concentration of personage in and of itself was remarkable. It may be cruel to say, but those people were too transient to be of true interest. Such a mass was to controversial to simply be rid of in the simplest fashion, yet not profitable enough to keep for the long term, so I did not concern myself with them. They would likely be steadily absorbed into the population and become people of Todesfelsen, willingly, given time. What was far more interesting was one particular hostage, flown in on a light aircraft; such an elaborate transportation indicated that whatever was being moved was deserving of particular attention indeed.”So they had flown her in on a small plane; you certainly knew that light utility planes of the sort used for, for example, reconnaissance, could land and take off on any land flat enough, even without proper facilities. You hadn’t seen anything resembling an airfield in Sosaldt, so you presumed any air traffic at all would be of the sort that required no permanent support. Wossehn went on. “Of course, my presence is one that would be felt, especially so close to my monumental abode, so I visited under the guise of another, to see who could be so important as to require such careful communications. As distasteful as I find the trade of individuals, the most efficient identity to take up was one who dabbled in such markets. After all, I make such disapproval quite public, so the best place to hide my own light would be in the appropriately opposite shadow.”
Wossehn straightened his collar uncomfortably, “Of course, the Death Heads were unwilling at first to parlay with an unknown customer, but money has ways of loosening the tolerances of even the strictest; finances are quite apt at isolating weak links. The price being demanded for the hostage was appropriately exhorbitant, but I was at least given the opportunity to visit her, and speak with her. Imagine my surprise when she turned out to be a daughter of the Von Blums, the preeminent family who rules the Imperial Gate! I was quite excited at first, but…” The lord frowned, then grimaced, then quickly moved on. “After meeting with her, I made my departure. The price they were asking for her was fitting for a territorial lord’s family member; even if I were to purchase her, it would devastate a significant portion of my spare income, income that is necessary for potential emergencies concerning my ambitious architectural projects.”“Tell me more about your meeting,” you demanded of Wossehn.“Nothing of importance was exchanged, I am afraid.”“Tell me anyways.”Lord Wossehn eyed you with a mix of curiosity and suspicion, “It really is irrelevant, unless…”There was no more time to let this secret fester; you just hoped that this gamble wouldn’t land on snake eyes.“My entire reason for being here is to rescue that girl and the other hostages,” you said quietly, but loud enough to rasp, “Tell me. Her well being is something of great interest to me.”You had expected Lord Wossehn to act surprise, but his concern only appeared to deepen. “I am still more uncertain, then, to speak my mind truly.”“Just do it,” you insisted.Wossehn withdrew his hand from his vest pocket and tapped a finger on the side of his chin, thoughtfully, still staring you down. “I suppose the first thing to mention is that she is in good health, unless she was not missing an eye beforehand. Such is to be expected, though. What I did not expect at all was for such an innocent looking girl to be…conniving.”“You make that sound like it is a bad thing," you remarked with false puzzlement.
“In this predicament, no, it is completely understandable,” Wossehn backed up and changed his tone, “But…perhaps it is best to explain a trait of humanity that you may not have encountered often. You see, in these lands, arrogance abounds and more often than not, violence is used as a means to an end. In such times and places as the one we are in now, violent action reigns supreme, but what many do not realize is the power those who are less inclined to warfare wield. In the least physically able, one can find the greatest ability to strike at the weak points of others that they may not even think they have. On a personal note, my mother was a master manipulator, hence why she won over my father despite the latter having no reason to do anything but use her. Growing up with her, I learned to recognize her means of attacking when it seemed as if she was doing anything but. To bring this long aside to an end with the point: throughout our interaction, the Lady Von Blum was doing her best to find where I was weak. Such a conversation is not pleasant to recount in detail.”“Elaborate.”“Her first ploy was to feign patheticness,” Wossehn readily explained further, “Perhaps hoping to win over a feebler, softer heart. I would normally be quite taken by this, but under the guise not only physically but mentally and spiritually of a cruel slave taker, this did not work. I would have suspected nothing, had she not gotten sloppy with her manipulation. She changed personas too quickly, to one who would tempt me with greed, then to one that was surprisingly threatening.”“Could you be more specific?” you asked, as if you didn’t already know what had taken place through Signy.“She begged for her release,” Wossehn recounted, “Then offered the reward her father would offer for her return, then her servitude in addition to that. When the identity I had assumed failed to be tempted by either thing, she threatened in ways that she could not possibly execute even if she was not a prisoner in a cell, and was instead three hundred armed men. The strangest part of this was, that though the words themselves would have seemed like the bluster of a madman from any other, from her, she seemed entirely confident and genuine, and I had no reason to doubt her mental integrity. Finally, she did not become despondent as I left, as her initial character would have demanded her to be. There is somebody disturbing beneath the veneer of a helpless girl.”You supposed that was only natural to suspect, for somebody who did not know of Maddalyn’s abilities and physiological quirks. That, and she would have assuming that Wossehn was an enemy to exploit. Perhaps if you introduced her to Wossehn later, he would realize that there was nothing disturbing about-
“Did I offend you?” Wossehn said with sudden concern, “Forgive me, if this lady is somebody close to you, be assured that I had no intention-““It’s nothing.” You brushed him off, “More important, I want to ask for your help, in rescuing all of these people of Strossvald that have been kidnapped. I cannot promise anything, but I know that such a show of support would go far with the nobility. The Archduke has certainly granted titles for less.”Although you had expected Lord Wossehn to be shocked by this proposal, he did not seem surprised at all. “Be patient, my good sir Von Tracht. Lady Vang already has a plot brewing for that purpose. You already have my support, though you were not aware of it.” He stretched an arm out and swept it across all of the guests in a circle, “This grand meeting…was concerning a future. A future I cannot let word of spread readily, but that I can promise you may end in glory or in ruin, but most certainly will be an adventure. At the end of the evening, I and the other leaders here will have a meeting, which will decide our grand plot afterwards. I urge you to wait some days, perhaps a week, before demanding aggressive actions of any sort.” As Wossehn finished dropping this bomb upon your head, he held up his hand, “However, if you wished to do something small…I have my ways. In pretending to be a slaver, I used one of three dummy companies that I prepared long ago, in case I would have need of them. To say more than I should, I do not see these of being much use after events that will occur, one way or the other. If you wish to merely observe, then I can make…arrangements.”>That is fine, I will be patient, instead…if you tell me of this Grand Plan.>I would certainly appreciate such a thing. What do I need to do? And when can I go?>I thank you, but none of that will be necessary. I will watch and wait, expectantly, for now.>Other?
>>1952836Tell me about this Grand Plan first before I decide.
>>1952836Actually we can also find out from Signy if he doesn't tell us
“Before I decide what to do,” you said with unconcealed intrigue, “Tell me about this Grand Plan, first. Even if you do not want to speak of it, if you don’t tell me, I’ll have Signy…Lady Vang, tell me about it, anyways.”Lord Wossehn frowned, and, not even caring to look around for any listeners (not that there were any; his guards made sure few stayed in close proximity to him), began to mutter the Grand Plan. “Sosaldt has been a wild land since the Kaisers loosened their hold on the territories. It has been a long time coming, but in this modern world, no place can endure in a state as this place does for all time. Even before the Republic, the Sea Families in their Southern Cities united to form a confederation, and when the Netillians invaded from the north, the northern warbands readily formed alliances, and remain ready to become one in the face of foreign opposition. The Guillotines to the west were building an empire before the Republic absorbed them, and to the east, Hell Gitt of the Iron Hogs was responsible for indirectly expanding the influence of Gusseisenholz. Unity will come to this country, whether all of its people are ready for it or not. Lady Vang has proposed to me that the city of Todesfelsen cannot remain a colony of the Southern Cities, and while she has not revealed it to all yet, she intends to destroy the Death Heads and expand the Republic’s circle of influence all the way to the Umkehrung River. This will be an upheaval, and likely a conquest the Southern Cities will find intolerable. Were this any other place in the world, the Families could simply wage war economically, but...” Wossehn let a prideful smirk show, “They have no influence over me. If it were to come to a battle of finance, I am confident that I would win. I hold stock in many of the shipping companies that engorge their ports; if I were to desire it, I could, temporarily, strangle their trade with a single stroke of the pen.”“So they will make war more openly,” you guessed, “That is the reason why all of these warlords are here? To support Lady Vang?”
“It is still an uncertain matter,” Lord Wossehn admitted with a slight quiver in his lips, “No decision will be officially made until the Death Heads are defeated. After all, if Lady Vang fails in that endeavor, none would dare rally behind a defeated cause. All that is being agreed upon tonight is a promise of ceasefire so that Lady Vang can devote as many of her forces as possible, an agreement to let her forces travel unharassed through territories, and then finally attack from near this location. Should she fail, the understanding is that all involved will claim that she intimidated them into cooperation, and Lady Vang will likely be forced to either go into hiding or be killed. It is a daring gamble, but one that, I believe, could work if she was to be clever. If she wins, she will almost suffocate in local support, but before that she must accomplish the initial stipulation using naught but her own resources.”“That sounds…extremely ambitious, perhaps recklessly so.” You observed. “It would normally be ludicrous,” Wossehn agreed, closing his eyes and nodding, “But Lady Vang has numerous aids to make the expansion of the Republic become a reality. Notably, myself. If Todesfelsen is taken, I have agreed to throw my financial weight behind the Republic. I am the heart of this territory’s economy; I am sure you can figure out the rest.”“Would the rest of Sosaldt agree with that?” you wondered, “More importantly, would the other nations agree?”“Absolutely not. Something that is still being planned for is the immense war upon the horizon, either against the Southern Cities, or against another nation. I believe we can engage in politics with Valsten and the Archduchy, but Vynmark, to the southeast, will likely not like it, and the Netillians will smell weakness as a new nation struggles to form. Indeed, I foresee a conflict at least the size of the Emrean Liberation brewing, fermenting, producing volatile gas until a match is set near it, unless careful action is taken. However…” Wossehn sighed hopefully, “Perhaps even the worst case then will create a better future for this place.”>That sounds too risky to be reasonable. Is it really worth supporting a massive powder keg? The republic should stay small; work with then, leave all these other clowns out of it, that’s what I think.>An all or nothing throw of the dice. I love it. I won’t breathe a word of it, I promise, and I wish you luck in the future.>Other?Also->Accept Wossehn’s proposal to disguise you and a small party to infiltrate Todesfelsen>Decline the proposal and return home with Signy after the ball has finished>Any other things you want to do
>>1953322>An all or nothing throw of the dice. I love it. I won’t breathe a word of it, I promise, and I wish you luck in the future.>Accept Wossehn’s proposal to infiltrate Todesfelsen but send von Neubaum in our stead.
>>1953322>>An all or nothing throw of the dice. I love it. I won’t breathe a word of it, I promise, and I wish you luck in the future.>Accept Wossehn’s proposal to disguise you and a small party to infiltrate Todesfelsen
>>1953322Also the Umkehrung River is the river directly to the east of Todesfelsen on the edge of the local map posted right?
>>1953371That is the case, yes. The "Inverse" River because it goes up then loops back around south.Also, in case it wasn't clear, getting you in the city also implies being able to get you to see Maddalyn, purportedly to try and buy her. Not necessary, of course, but that is an option that you can only do if you're in the city itself, obviously.
>>1953383Oh okay, then I'll change my choice for going personally.
>>1953322>Other?I won't speak a word of your ambitious plan, but I cannot condone or condemn it. >Accept Wossehn’s proposal to disguise you and a small party to infiltrate TodesfelsenI am very afraid that we'll be caught by wizarding bullshit, and I really, really hope that Riverman finds us soon.But if we can convince Maddy to hold on a little longer then we'll have the best chance to free her. Do not bring her eye with us.>Any other things you want to doEither send a message back or when we head back send out the decoy party during our departure to Todesfelsen. If we really have to wait a week then Liemanner has to believe we're starting down that path.
“An all or nothing throw of the dice,” you grinned maliciously, “I love it. Not a word of it will escape from between us, I assure you, and I wish you the best of luck.”“I am glad that you understand.” Lord Wossehn didn’t share your enthusiasm for this plot, though he undoubtedly supported it, he had much, much more to lose. He displaced his wistful expression with one of deep thought as he looked past your head, to where Loch and Signy were dancing. “You said her name was Signy?” he asked, “A rather northern name. Combined with that name…I wonder…have you ever heard of Sigmund Vang?”“Her father,” you answered the question, “He was an advocate for democracy, no?”“He was, and an influential one,” Wossehn beckoned to one of his guards, who were standing a dozen paces away, and asked discretely for wine. The guard nodded curtly and marched off. “Her assistant’s name, Loch, as well…it is far too great of a coincidence for those two names to come together once more.”“Once more?” you asked dumbly, “What ever do you mean by that?”“Sigmund Vang and Edmund Loch were close associates. Ah, thank you kindly,” he took a glass of pale white wine, that bubbled merrily, from the attending guard who had returned. “When the Republic here sprouted seemingly from nothing, and I heard of its name, I had researches compile information upon whatever they could find of the name, in case this new power held an unseen significance. It is poorly documented, yes, and not widely known, but in the days after the War for Emrean Liberation, Sigmund Vang evidently journeyed over from Naukland to do his best to shape the new Emrean Republic in a manner he thought would be most beneficial; he has been sent with recommendations by a close friend, the eminent liberal thinker of the Reich, Edmund Loch.”“That is…quite a coincidence.” You agreed. “What a teasing mistress fate is, who wears her robe so loosely,” Wossehn sighed, “that robe of sheer material called chance, that seems so transparent, but hides away all nevertheless.” He sipped at his sparkling wine and gestured for you to turn about. “What a pair they would make. A young lady like her should be far from the stresses of policy making and war; she should be spending her youth like that, and not waste her youth doing the work elders ought to. I suppose it is a superior fate to that of most youth in this poor land of Sosaldt.”Loch was turning with Signy like a wheel, in perfect tune to the music being played. When Loch raised an arm and Signy spun around under it, you saw her face awash with laughter afterwards, and every time you caught a glimpse of her, she was beaming. It was disappointing, though, to see how glad she seemed, since you and she also must have known that Loch would never return any affections that were not gestures demanded of him by the situation at hand.
“Anyways,” you said after watching that for a minute, “I wanted to accept your plan to disguise me. I would very much like to…visit, Lady Von Blum, and reassure her that help is coming.”“I would have expected you to have sent one of your cohorts instead,” Lord Wossehn thought aloud, swirling the wine in its glass before lifting it to his lips and sipping some of it, “Considering how valuable you apparently are to Lady Vang’s forces. This Von Blum must be of greater value to you than you let on.” You would have objected, but Wossehn shook his head, “It is none of my business anyway. As to this plan…I beg your patience until the ball is over, and the matter of the Grand Plan is addressed by those attending. The attention that is required of me to aid you cannot be given until that has been cleared out of the way.”That would take some time, though. You bid a short farewell and thanks to Lord Wossehn, then saw Tib out of the corner of your eye. Considering that the matter with Garson had seemed to fall through, you saw few options but to either take Tib or leave him.>Go to Tib and tell him he might have a deal, as soon as you can get him in with Signy.>Try at Garson again; Loch would be obstructing this, if he found out about it, but the effort to avoid Loch would be worth the profit…>No weapons merchants would be needed. Loch asked you to trust in his knowledge, could you not spare him at least that?>Other?Also>Emma could be around here somewhere; this sort of thing seems like something, at least in concept, that she would adore. Where would you look for her if she was here?>>1953694I'll put the "other" you put there in the next update, since there'll definitely be time to arrange that.
>>1953714>Go to Tib and tell him he might have a deal, as soon as you can get him in with Signy.Just take the light machine guns and call it a day I'd say.
>>1953714>>Go to Tib and tell him he might have a deal, as soon as you can get him in with Signy.
>>1953694Just a thought, if Liemanner is actually a Soulbinder, I'd say he's probably been around the block more than Riverman has. This might be someone we need Poltergeist's help.
>>1953714>>Go to Tib and tell him he might have a deal, as soon as you can get him in with Signy.With a little luck maybe we can get Loch to convince Wossehn to fork over some starting cash to put towards better arms sales. Even Tib might be able to find something if he had some extra money to throw around.>>1953742You might be right, but I want to hold onto that favor until we absolutely must use it.
>>1953714>Go to Tib and tell him he might have a deal, as soon as you can get him in with Signy.Maybe we can retool his workshops to make decent weaponry? Or he can at least supply ammo.>Emma could be around here somewhereEither near the biggest concentration of muscly men, or wherever she thinks lewd things could occur. Or, alternatively, in the tower.>>1953742Soulbinders are nigh unkillable, so why go for the whole doppleganger scheme?Regardless, I think we should try to meet Poltergeist and ask him for info.
>>1953714>Go to Tib and tell him he might have a deal, as soon as you can get him in with Signy.Also would like to check how Loch exactly intends to lead our rag-tag Republic to victory given the lack of general quality in our army. That way we know what to look out for in Todesfelsen besides maybe meeting Maddy.
>>1953714Option 3AndFind EmmaProbably on the lawn somewhere where it was purported that lewd things might happen
>>1953714>Go to Tib and tell him he might have a deal, as soon as you can get him in with Signy.Might as well see if we can score on those lmg's. Also ask as >>1953923 suggested, see if extra cash would get his suppliers to giveMight also be a good time to see what sort of narcotics he has available. Could come in handy when we infiltrate Todesfelsen, either as bribes or something to be applied on the guards.>Emma could be around here somewhere; this sort of thing seems like something, at least in concept, that she would adore. Where would you look for her if she was here?Check outside on the grounds
>>1954061Personally I dont think its gonna be a frontal attack. Their in no position to come out ontop without substantial planning, help and luck. Atleast not without suffering substantial casualties, and at that point whats stopping the other warlords from reneging on the cease fire and taking the top spot for themselves.If anything I think itll be a rerun of the borderfort attack where Loch and his highly specialized blackops commandos infiltrate Todesfelsen and just run amok inside the city. I guess this is where a frontal attack could work, when the leaders have been assassinated, the mustering points and motor pools compromised or maybe they just come in at night and slit everyone's throats in their bunks.Whats vital is that we secure Maddy before Loch or his men can. I do not trust him to hand her over, he may not necessarily need us, our armor or expertise to train Signy's fledgling armored core once he has the Iron Hogs, but he could still use us for something.
Having broken away from Wossehn, you made your way back over to Tib of Tatter; since a climactic battle was on the horizon, more weapons would certainly be needed, and Tib had at least one thing you were interested in.“Excuse me,” you waved him down. The frail looking elderly man was quick to notice you, beard braids swinging about as he hobbled over. “I wanted to speak with you again about your wares.”“You..er, rather, Miss Vang, is interested?” he stammered hopefully, “Excellent! Would you rather-““Hold your horses,” you held up both hands as if to prepare to push the excitable fellow away, “I won’t be doing the negotiating, I just want to tell you what not to waste Miss Vang’s time with.”“Ah…ah.” Tib’s face fell, “Then, what..?”“The Von Muse machine guns,” you said, “Are all we’ll be interested in for now. Unless you’re able to find any tools to produce more…standard weaponry, rather than either ancient pieces or failed concepts.”“How much time would you want these standard weapons in?”“Less than a week, ideally.”Tib peered at you through slit eyes, a smile creeping onto his face, but not the sort you liked; it was one that tried to preempt awkward laughter at a bad joke. “Be serious. It takes near that long to finish a first batch proper, let alone comb the markets, find a seller, especially for anything that is profitable to purchase for the short term…”You did your best to look tragically disappointed. “Not even if you had some…additional funding?”“Not even then,” the old arms dealer said with firmness, the former smile running away from his face, “I am a merchant, not a miracle worker. I have my stocks, and what is about to be finished, not a magical lamp that I can rub and conjure whatever you wish with. You will have your machine guns, not any heretofore unmentioned equipment I cannot even produce.”
“Sheesh, sorry,” you bristled at this sudden change in attitude, “Stay the course with the machine guns and whatever ammunition, then. If you go talk with Miss Vang, tell her Richter sent you, and she will hear you out.”“My thanks, my thanks!” Tib’s demeanor reversed once more, and he tried to scurry away, seemingly seeing no further need for you. You sighed haggardly as you reached out and stopped him with an arm. “Wait,” you interrupted his movement forcefully, “I actually wanted to ask about your drugs, too.”Tib was only happy to stay after you said that. “Good, good! Was there…anything you had in mind, for particular vices? I assure you that I have samplings of many things…”“Some sort of knockout drug,” you said off the top of your head, “a few popular things, too, I suppose. None of these are for me, I’m more thinking something that can be used as, perhaps, a bribe, or for trade.”“I…see.” Tib was disappointed once more. Truly, he rode a roller coaster of emotions through his daily life. “I suppose…for the former, you are looking for an anesthetic, such as chloroform or ether. I do not carry chloroform, but I do have ether, it being less potentially…deadly, and thus more marketable. I should warn you, that Ether is quite flammable, so you should be quite careful in handling it. Also, if you are intending to use it as an anesthetic, it takes a significant amount of time for its fumes to induce such an effect. Chloroform is more suited to quicker work, by involuntary ingestion of it with alcohol, for example, but…in any case, in my honest opinion, unless you are giving doctored drink to one who would normally trust you, it would be more efficient to slap the intended victim with a blackjack. I would have the hideously effective Vixen’s Persuasion, but it was not profitable to make. Lack of buyers, you see.”
“I see.” You had the feeling you knew at least one buyer of Vixen’s Persuasion.“And the popular drugs? I don’t know much about the hobby, I’m happy to say.”“The masses like cheap, less refined things they know and understand. Opium and similar products of the poppy. Blackflower, but only in spit form; try smoking it near a brothel and you’d be like to be escorted violently out of the area, and the ladies of the night very much mislike being drugged as well, so most shy away from it for the sake of keeping reputable. As I am sure you know, predating upon prostitutes is a poor idea given their contributions to economies…”You didn’t think anybody cared about reputation here, but if it was a bare minimum to avoid being stuck like a pig, then you supposed it was decent enough motivation.“Aside from that, I suppose there is Liverrot, not that you would buy it when you could scrape it from the ground…”“What an ugly name.”“For an ugly intoxicant.” Tib said darkly, “Only slightly less of a death sentence than Hourglass, but instead of destroying the brain, it destroys the liver, and more slowly. A favorite of the most poor and wretched.”“So Opium, then.”“There is one more thing. A draught for…endurance, if you understand what I speak of. Called Long Night.”“Like Pilot Salt?” Upon Tib’s clueless expression, you specified, “Pervitin.”“Oh, no, not that sort of endurance. More of like…vah-voomph.” Tib gestured helpfully to his groin. “Ah. Right.”“None would admit they take it, but there are more who are lying when they say they do not than those who are satisfied with themselves.” Tib said, amused with himself. “…I do hope that, if you are demanding more than mere samplers, that I can be promised some sort of payment…”>Sure, just put it on Miss Vang’s tab. She’ll understand.>I don’t think that’ll be necessary. Hook me up with what I can have for free, piddly as it might be.>Never mind, I find myself not interested anymore. Sorry for the bother.>Other?
>>1955077>no marijuanas>>Never mind, I find myself not interested anymore. Sorry for the bother.
>>1955077>Never mind, I find myself not interested anymore. Sorry for the bother
>>1955077>Never mind, I find myself not interested anymore. Sorry for the bother.
“Never mind,” you excused yourself, “I find myself not interested anymore. Sorry for the bother.” This time, it was you hurrying away from Tib. You supposed that you hadn’t exactly expected to be impressed, but to be frank, nothing seemed worth the bother of carrying around. You were to be a slaver, anyways; not a drug pusher.You wanted to talk with Loch again, to see what his plan might have been since you were going to Todesfelsen anyways. With how little confidence the Republic’s fledgling army inspired, you hoped that he had a damn good plan; somehow, though, you got the feeling that if he was so confident in his plan, whether the Republican Army succeeded or failed in their own fight mattered little, and that the true fight would be decided with Loch and his band of terrifying henchmen.The enigmatic ponce was still pushing Signy around the dance floor, and though normally you would not have minded interrupting him if he was with any other woman, your sense of pity made you loathe to put Signy back into business so quickly. You still had a matter you could take care of before you required Loch’s attention anyways. The ballroom had gotten quite stuffy, you felt arbitrarily, and you turned on your heel and walked out the doors, then out to the greenery in front of the palace.The courtyard, with its gazebos, fountains, and pale lighting beneath the stars, was a classical romantic setting at any court party. That combined with its privacy made it a scandalous place to take any female company; Signy had been the only woman at the ball that you saw, but if Wossehnalia shared even a remote resemblance with the rest of Sosaldt there was guaranteed to be whores, even if they were expensive, classy ones. Indeed, you were surprised that no well-dressed hired women had been decorating any of the warlords; not that you could think of why they wouldn’t, it wasn’t as if there would be a loss of prestige among scum. Perhaps Lord Wossehn had prohibited such behavior.
You weren’t going outside to have a rendezvous, of course. You hoped however, that your spritely familiar Emma was familiar enough with courtly intrigue to know that such activities took place in this environment. If she had come along without you knowing, you guessed that, hormonal pervert that had been preserved in undeath as she was, she would be hoping to peep on a coupling here. Thusly, you hoped that you would encounter her, and regain an important if untrustworthy ally before diving into enemy territory.Either that, or her curious nature would draw her to the grand tower, but the courtyard was closer so naturally you wanted her more perverse side to win out this time.“H-hey, wise guy, where do you think yer going?” a thug in a woolen winter mask that covered all but his eyes demanded of you, “Konieg’s having some private time, you’d best turn around and leave. Come back with whatever babe you’re hiding after they’re through.” The thug looked back skeptically, “Though between you an’ me, that ain’t gonna be long…”“Alright,” you agreed, for the moment, going back up then analyzing your plan of approach. Close to the quaint, open air hut where you were sure you weren’t supposed to go close to, you could swear you saw a slight blue glow. It was difficult to tell, being close to the yellow lamplight of the hut, but…>Attack the thug so you can get closer; he couldn’t be too tough, and you’d be in and out.>Sneak in around a longer way, and see if you can at least find out if that blue light is what you think it is.>It would be unspeakably rude to knowingly intrude on other people’s affairs. You could go to the tower and come back, could you not?>Other?
>>1955357If it's not going to be long,we must as well just wait.
>>1955357>Sneak in around a longer way, and see if you can at least find out if that blue light is what you think it is.
>>1955357>you’d be in and out.I don't think we're the only one who's going to be in and out.
>>1955357>>Other?Can we use the spooky eating magical creatures in a can to detect her? Or was that just for Soulbinders?