Wooden pieces were moved over simulacrums of terrain by long pushers, dice were rolled, and referees watched over tables, dictating whether certain moves were legal, whether certain possibilities were likely or if they were political or doctrinal impossibilities, exploiting metagame factors. To the unenlightened eye, the hall would seem to be a collective of men merely playing games, and at some level, this was the case, but these halls were of Strossvald’s High Command, and the men playing were generals of the army. Representatives of the air force were also in attendance, though mostly out of a need for their expertise, and certainly not out of a sense of camaraderie. These games had ever fluctuating rulesets, statistics, in order to account for the evolving battlefield, and this set of scenarios had been freshly produced from data gleaned from Strossvald’s latest conflict. A short term war against the southern rival, Valsten, that had been from a strategic and tactical view, a complete success. The diplomats despaired at the renewal of hostilities after three years of peace, claiming their efforts to rebuild relations had been carelessly cast to the wind, but the outcome had been victory, and relations despite said “efforts” had been, by the military’s view, chilly at best. So the diplomats’ opinions were ignored, and possibilities laid out to be examined.More than a few rules had been changed, and statistics updated; a seemingly subtle change that caused much headache and frustration amongst the side of the players who were representing their home nation in the games. Underneath the shuffling of pieces, clattering of dice and clicking of tiles, there was an off lack of boisterous enthusiasm that oft accompanied these events, as even the opposing side carried little joy in their fresh upper hand, an advantage that hadn’t been noticed at first but had become obvious as the games had progressed. The implication was ominous, and none were willing to put forward a satisfactory explanation to reassure against said looming truth, since it was particularly unpleasant; that in spite of the easy victory, in spite of the plans that had been made, Strossvald was not ready for the war to come.
What could be done, though? History was being set in motion regardless of whether anybody was ready for this war. As the last vestiges of exhausted but resolute Ellowian resistance were being crushed to the east, spies and observers had reported disturbing news of Twaryian formations that made little effort to disguise their origins; Caelus, far across the ocean, was throwing its weight behind its Vinstragan descendants, and it could only be concluded that Ellowie would not be the first to fall, nor the last. In the meantime, the Grossreich loomed to the west, ruled by the young and clever Kaiser Henrik, who made every indication that his intent was to restore Zeissenburg to its former grandest imperial glory. Would both close in at once like the jaws of a vice? All in the room sincerely hoped not, in spite of the fact that many were recreating exactly such a scenario in miniature.-----“Lieutenant Richter Von Tracht, your trial will commence now.” The judge said; he, as others, were dressed in full military regalia, as was typical a court martial. The jury was made up of officers, as well; you could only hope that they would be sympathetic. Your defense, who was also your father, had warned of the possibility of a biased jury (or rather, board, technically), but had also noted that he had heard rumor of your story spreading, as well; as much as those who would like you to lay down and take your sentencing might have wished otherwise, this case had quickly turned into a subject of discussion; in no small part due to strategic gossip among your free roaming feminine allies. “The prosecution may make their opening statement.”“Yes, your honor,” the prosecution rose; it was a man you didn’t recognize, and neither had your father, which must have meant that he was rather small time. An easy case to bolster his reputation, your father had theorized. “The prosecution would not imply that the Lieutenant is a dishonorable, or that the rescue of so many is to be frowned upon, but the fact is that he committed a crime, a crime that must be addressed and punished, for the sake of military justice.”“And the opening statement for the defense?” the judge prompted.
Your father, both your defense and family patriarch (a grand title for what only consisted of one rather empty house, truth be told), rose and cleared his throat before launching into his own levelly toned opening. “Gentlemen of this court, allow me to ask a simple question. Does this young man sitting before us act in such a way to be branded with the accusation of high treason? Or is this a spurious label, brandished for the sake of expediency rather than justice? Knowing the defendant’s actions, and the fact that he is here before us today, I proclaim to all of you that while indeed headstrong, selectively irreverent of authority, and delinquent, no person whom ventured so far to save his countrymen and returned with full confidence of having served his seniors and ancestors well could be titled a traitor.”With your particular knowledge being elsewhere than the procedure of court, it all blurred together. The prosecution brought in several witnesses, but they were all party to your departure- not relevant to the angle of attack your father had chosen. Regardless of that, he viciously cross examined each one, sometimes with questions that…were not exactly to the point. Several times, the judge asked what the point of such questioning was.“There is no point,” the prosecution said indignantly, “Sir Von Tracht is stalling. I would request that he cease badgering the witnesses about irrelevant details!”“But the court has heard so much that the prosecution would rather we not pay attention to!” your father said smugly, pushing his hair back. “Indeed, the witness states that Lieutenant Von Tracht announced himself that he was going to desert…”You cringed at that. Perhaps a better choice of words would have been better, but you were enthusiastically playing a role. Who could have thought it would turn against you this way?“…But what sort of soldier deserts in the direction of the enemy, especially to fight them? What sort of deserter, especially, returns? Already we have a development; desertion is treason, indeed, but no desertion has taken place! What Lieutenant Von Tracht would be guilty of, besides poor statement of intent, would in fact be unauthorized absence. A crime that is, without a doubt,” he slammed a palm on the table, “Not treason.”The numerous officers of the board, serving as jury, murmured to one another before the sharp reprimand of the gavel silenced them. “What does the prosecution have to say to this?” the judge asked.
“Well,” the prosecutor had clearly lost some of the wind in his sails- perhaps he hadn’t been expecting to be truly fighting for this. “Be that as it may, all witnesses agree on one thing; they have no idea what happened after Lieutenant Von Tracht went off, fought the enemy mercenary leader, and then promptly disappeared, onto to reappear only the other day. This significant gap, is why the prosection believes the accusation is still quite appropriate-““Incorrect. There are many witnesses that we can gather that will corroborate the Lieutenant’s side of the story. Not only those among the hostages rescued, despite the prosecution’s insistence at denying their significance because of their late role in the sequence of events,” Geraldt Von Tracht raised a paper, one that you and him had composed the other day, of people who would be able to support your story, and locations full of witnesses; for a secret mission, your presence was quite difficult to hide, after all. He had busily gone down the list, and was scarcely halfway when the prosecution lost patience.“Your honor!” the man cried, “This is facetious! Sir Von Tracht, you could not possibly be suggesting to call these witnesses to testify! The inhabitants of a mountain village in East Valsten? Inhabitants of a country that we only recently brokered an armistice with? Your honor,” he addressed the judge again, “It would be ridiculous to serve summons to all of these foreign “witnesses,” who for this court knows may not even exist! The defense’s delaying tactics are proving quite tiresome, I am sure you agree!”“Even so,” your father tapped on the paper, still calm, “Any claims of my holding the court in contempt with these requests could be easily proven as wastes of time, or otherwise, if the witnesses were summoned…”
“As the prosecution has said,” the judge pointed out, “calling multiple foreigners to this court would be quite an investment of time. The arrangements in the first place could take weeks, if not months. Therefore, this court requests that the defense select one witness.”One witness. You didn’t share your father’s confidence that he was displaying in response to that- this would depend on how much significance you placed on certain events you’d told him about…it should have been simple to call in the hostages that you and your men saved, but they were being exempted for the same reason your crews and the others who had come with you had; suspicions of complicity, “unreliable testimony” or something as it were. Surely it was simple politicking of the court, but it made it so that the one person would certainly have to be somebody you hadn’t trotted back in with.>Were you allowed to call in the Republic, namely its youthful leader? No one could better elaborate your temporary term as Kommandant of the Republic, after all.>The box given to you by Loch, as well as Loch himself. Perhaps you couldn’t drag him in here, but your father had said that Maddalyn had given him a good idea of whom he could get in, which combined with your suspicion of the box’s contents, could prove quite decisive…>The elder of the mountain village you had ambushed the Death Heads near; who could doubt your motives when presented with testimony of not only the battle, but the aftermath? A mysterious way of committing treason, to obliterate an entire enemy formation.>Other?----------->https://pastebin.com/UagT0hnh>past threads in pastebin. Twitter is @scheissfunker for announcements and some other bullshit>https://pastebin.com/k8yuNeuS>Miscellaneous information pastebin. None of this is need to know, and if you have questions then feel free to ask in thread.
>>2713631Hmmmmm.Calling in Signy could lead to us being accused of serving as a mercenary abroad or joining another nation's army. The second option could result in us being connected to Grossreich. The third witness has too limited a scope. This is hard.>Okay, a question to the QM first:Since the prosecution is not disputing that we saved the hostages, on what exactly basis are they accusing us of desertion? Or is this just a question of the interpretation of events?
>>2713631Another question, did we decide what we'll say about the source of our gold?
>>2713713>Since the prosecution is not disputing that we saved the hostages, on what exact basis are they accusing us of desertion? Or is this just a question of the interpretation of events?The basis that you up and left the military and went gallivanting off into another country entirely without authorization and in complete disregard of commanding officers. The Intelligence Office did not in any way inform anybody that there was any arrangements taking place to facilitate this.>Another question, did we decide what we'll say about the source of our gold?No, though the IO did indicate that it was yours now. It hasn't been brought up in court, so it's safe to assume that they aren't concerned with it, though if you wanted to bring it up it might be an awkward subject. However, directly antagonizing the IO and putting them on the spot in particular would likely be unwise at this time.
>>2713753Okay then, what would make this NOT desertion?
>>2713759Basically, the determination of whether or not it's desertion, per se, is whether the party being accused intended to return. The court at the moment is operating off of the (rather flimsy) presumption that at the time of departure, there was no intent to return. Basically, the best way to prove otherwise would be to show that from early on the intent was there to go all this way and then return. It's a rather convoluted affair as a result of Richter not going along with the bargain to just plead guilty and take the slap on the wrist sentencing lying down.
>>2713807If so, the best witness for us would be someone from around the time of our departure.Like someone from the Bat Company who didn't go with us.I just don't remember whether we told them that we intend to return.Though it's not like it would be hard to summon those witnesses, so I suppose we're talking about someone abroad.I'll need some time to maybe trawl the old threads.
>>2713631Maybe we could call on the good Colonel of the Armored force we lead in the Republic? Signy may be busy, but he could testify that we refused overall command as well as that we built up and trained the Army of the Republic with the intention of leaving it.
>>2713631I looked in the archive, and Signy seems to be the first person we really explained our intentions to. But she has been our friend since the debacle in the Blumlands, and the prosecution might know it and use it to negate her testimony.The mayor of the village where we ambushed Death Heads thinks we're from Blood Suns, so he's probably out.Loch might simply refuse to be found.Let's maybe go with >>2713908. I have no better ideas.
>>2713631>>2713908Supporting this. Is there a way to have witnesses give testimony via radio or letter?Damn I found this thread late I don't think there's time to go diving in the archive. We met some people before we left. The bat company guy, the supply guy we bribed with gold, Hilda's brother.Riverman. It would've been funny if he could be present and testify how we told him our side was gassing an entire town only to find out that they had bombed the place with paint.
>>2713908That's beautiful anon, yeah that'd work really well. A mercenary would seek glory and reward, a solider of the Archduke declined his justly deserved honors for service to his countrymen.
“During his time in the east, the Lieutenant trained and temporarily fought alongside a Sosaldtian army of sorts, one that backed the newly formed Republic of Mittelsosalia. Perhaps you have read of it in the news? The witness I would like to call is one Colonel Adolphus Hiedler, of the Army of the Republic.”“I thought it to be a rumor.” The judge said, “In any event, is that a wide choice of witness? Most of Sosaldt has no telegraph or telephone lines. Calling this person to court would be rather difficult, not to mention actually getting them to come here if they did not want to testify.”“It is a delaying tactic,” the prosecution accused, “This is ludicrous. Is this really a proposal to send a courier into Sosaldt of all places, to retrieve one who is in all likelihood is some jumped up brigand?”“Colonel Hiedler was a military man before,” your father corrected, “And is in a position of leadership in the Republic’s military whether you like it or not. In fact, he served alongside Lieutenant Von Tracht, and would know quite well whether the Lieutenant planned all along to leave, or if his operations were extended because of necessity. Think of it; would one who had been intent on deserting truly surrender a position in another army? A position that, given the current dynamic of its host nation, would present much opportunity for a deserting officer?”Geraldt Von Tracht had left out the fact that Hielder had been but a corporal before his promotion to leadership; probably for the better.“The defense seems to be conjuring tall tales and telling them as fact,” the prosecutor grumbled, “What was the second choice in line for witnesss? The Kaiser’s long lost twin brother, or something equally as fantastical?” He looked sideways to the judge, “Your honor, this is a waste of time and the defense knows it.”“The judge allowed me one witness.” Your father said firmly.
The judge sighed, and waved a hand. “Very well. We will call this witness. In the meanwhile, court will be adjourned, if the defense believes the case cannot progress otherwise.”-----It took several days to bring the wayward corporal turned colonel to court; though the court itself had doubts on the ease of his procurement, he was quite simple to get a hold of, as it turned out. Though in the meantime, despite the judge’s earlier call for adjournment, the prosecution soon found excuses to drag you back into the courtroom. Your father saw it for what it was; where his own tactic was partially to painfully extend what was meant to have been a short trial, true enough, the prosecution’s new order of the day was to not allow the defense any rest. Your position didn’t require much action, thankfully, but entire days in the courtroom wore you out rather quickly. Often, the mind drifted to places as points were reiterated and speculated upon from different perspectives, testimonies from the same witnesses were given on different events, all manner of ways to keep you from using any of the time freshly won. Meanwhile, you’d drift off and think about how long it had been since you’d touched Maddalyn, or spoken with a friend in length, since you no longer resided at the camp, but instead, in a well-furnished room in the courthouse; that for all its decorations could not hide its identity of being a cell. The court was no warzone, it allowed its people, even the accused, to rest for the night and return in the morning, but the length of the courtroom sessions was exhausting, and what little time there was to yourself was often spent half-planning maneuvers with your father.Eventually, after four long days, Hiedler finally arrived. Geraldt Von Tracht coached him well on what to say, what not to say, and you could feel his hope that the scruffy officer had the nerve to hold up in court. Hiedler had never had an enormous amount of confidence that you could recall, and he seemed quite uncomfortable to be back in a proper country again. It was even less comfortable for him to finally take the stand; he wore his dusty, beaten Republic uniform, which compared rather poorly to the room full of pressed suits and well-groomed dress uniforms. It was as though a homeless man had wandered into court, and all parties knew it.“May the witness state his name and occupation,” the judge prompted after clearing his throat.“Ah, Colonel Adolphus Hiedler, I’m the commander of the 1st Republic Armor Battalion.” The former Netillian officer said with a surprising amount of iron in his voice. Iron that was quickly undermined with a snide remark from the prosecution.“I already dread what the enlisted man looks like if this is a Colonel of the Republic.”
The judge was professional enough to clear his throat to that and silence the mockery. Colonel Hiedler did a…relatively good job at testifying what you did, as well as a few theories on motive that had been fed to him by the defense attorney. The prosecution also found him oddly difficult to assail during cross examination – and where would he break? Really he was telling nothing but the truth.“If you have a problem with my, uh, testimony,” Hiedler said after one particularly rigorous line of questioning, “There’s about a few hundred fellas back home that won’t tell you anything different. Maybe a few ladies. One lady, at least.”“Yes, no thank you, the court hardly needs to be introduced to the Lieutenant’s paramours, thank you very much!” the prosecution said testily.Damn it all to hell, you were about ready to have not had any more of that sort of talk. Your father elbowed you rather stiffly, and you hissed a short objection to both that and the other slander.…Of course, the prosecution still did their best to discount Hiedler’s testimony. Speculation on whether or not this wasn’t just some dusty middle aged man picked out of the wastes (technically true) who wasn’t part of any army or nation at all (particularly untrue) and was in fact just some barbarian Netillian who’d proven too much an outcast for even them to tolerate (not enough knowledge to judge on that front). Resistance was stiff, though, and if the court was biased against you what Hiedler had said had been in detail enough that yet more witnesses would have to be called- especially if he had, as father had instructed him to threaten, gone to speak with his commanding officer over it. Unknowledgeable as the members of the court may have been about the Republic, they did know it existed- and they hardly wanted this case to become an international incident. Once more, links to links spiraled out of control, and once more the court was called to be adjourned. Afterwards, in the lobby, the same member of the prosecution team that had approached before with the plea deal, appeared again. He wasn’t the prosecutor, though the airs he put on indicated that he may have been better suited than the man picked for the job.
“Congratulations, Von Tracht,” he bowed slightly, “You certainly have managed to find a way to throw a wrench into this matter. The court was hoping this would be handled within a few days, but this is looking like it will take months to resolve.”“I take pride in my ability to cause mischief.” You said confidently.“Indeed. Though, you are on somewhat a limited schedule, are you not?” the man asked, “You have one week left, I believe, before your next assignment? Do you really want to spend all that time in court? I do not want to seem like I am making threats, but we do have work to do. Progress can be made, even the tiniest bit, before you have to leave.”“Get to the point.”The man produced a new paper. “Perhaps a deal more to your liking. Complete exemption towards any pay reductions. The only sentence served for this plea bargain will be one day’s disciplinary confinement. Surely that light of a sentence would be quite appealing, no?”“Yet I am still found guilty of high treason.”“Lieutenant, do understand. Such an accusation is what is being passed down from higher.”Did you want to spend another week sitting in a courtroom, too exhausted to do anything afterwards, your brain rotting in its skull the whole while until the Intelligence Office sent you along to Judge Above knew where? You’d seen Maddalyn, but not spoken more than a few words; ever since the trial began, you’d been held in solitary confinement at the courthouse. You hadn’t kissed, embraced, or done anything, and if you were to be held in court for the duration of your “break,” how long would it be until you had the next opportunity? >Fine. You’ve beaten me. I’ll take your bargain, but I won’t like it.>Absolutely not. I refuse to be found guilty of a treason. Think of another crime to hit me with if you want me to surrender.>Maybe we can come to a compromise. I’ll accept the dock in pay, but you’ll put off this inexorable trial until a later date. Find me guilty on something else and keep the treason part in the air.>Other?Sorry for the delay, I really shouldn't abuse my sleep schedule like I do, it results in me falling over and dying right after starting a thread.
>>2715767>>Absolutely not. I refuse to be found guilty of a treason. Think of another crime to hit me with if you want me to surrender.No blinking in the face of treason, besides Richter is too prideful to take this lying down.1st option makes all of this pointless as it was never about anything but the charge of treason itself and the third option gives them too much time to make it stick. If we're off in Netilland or Pliseau then we have no way of fighting this than through our father staying behind. And who knows how that could get sabotaged with the spooks snooping around.>Other?>Maybe we can come to a compromise. A more severe penalty but lighten the charge, demotion, 1 years dock in pay. Hell, put the lash to me but I am no TRAITOR.
>>2715767>>Absolutely not. I refuse to be found guilty of a treason. Think of another crime to hit me with if you want me to surrender.Assholes
>>2715793Shit to add onto this:Wouldn't anyone investigating this find it incredibly strange for someone to be found guilty of high treason yet only given a single day as punishment? If the IO wants to keep it's involvement in the rescue at a minimum then it'd be better to make this seem more routine with a lighter charge and harsher sentence.
>>2715810The general idea being gone with is that the sentence is reduced in light of more than two and a half hundred people being rescued - the question is more what the crime technically was in the first place, and whether it should be called treason, or something else. The defense would hold that there was no treason, of course, based on there being premeditated intent to not only come back but in taking actions that would be uncharacteristic of a deserter merely fending for themselves.
>>2715767>Absolutely not. I refuse to be found guilty of a treason. Think of another crime to hit me with if you want me to surrender.
“Absolutely not,” you said, unwilling to budge, “I refuse to be found guilty of treason. Think of another crime to accuse me of if you wish me to surrender without a fight. I am accepting of more severe penalties; demotion, greater penalty in pay, even the indignity of the lash, but I am no traitor.”“Hm.” The man pushed up a pair of spectacles on his nose that weren’t actually present, “I see. Well then, good sir, I will be seeing you in the courtroom once more soon enough, unless you change your mind.”The bailiff soon arrived to escort you back to your room; your small, furnished, honestly rather comfortable room. The quality of it was a privilege of your societal status, naturally, but the furniture and what diversions there were could hardly distract from that you were indeed locked in a box. The barred windows, whose iron lengths extended out and around the window and its sill like a cage, were proof enough of that, a wide branched venerable oak tree being the only thing close in the view out. Thinking of locked boxes, you thought of Loch’s gift that you’d left with Hilda, as you stretched out on the bed; a basic thing, though far from a cot. If you were going to be kept bouncing between this confinement and the courtroom for the next week, the box would probably open out of your possession. Hopefully whatever was inside was something Hilda would know to hide. In the meantime, you kicked your feet up with a book in your hands; one you’d read before. It had been in the academy that you’d been required to page through this particular volume, a not particularly in depth overview of the countries of the continent of Vinstraga; the continent you resided upon. It was the name bestowed upon the land by the Nauk, when they first arrived from across the sea, before they became Nauk Imperial of old. They had thought it the other eye of a titan whose body made up the world, and named it as such in their old language.
You flipped ahead to the sections on your possible destinations, Plisseau first, to refresh your memory on the subjects. To call Plisseau a nation in and of itself was a bit of a misnomer, although all including itself referred to the collective territories by that name. The place was similar enough to Strossvald in that it was made up of constituent states, but said states were much smaller, less connected to one another, and often fluctuating between alliances and rivalries; oft of the sort involving trade. City states formed small unions that dominated the trade of the region, and even of some neighboring regions. Centrally placed between Sosalia and the rest of the continent as it was, there were much tariffs to grow fat off of. Armed conflict between and even within the substates was hardly unusual, but they were often of small order, and for the purpose of interdicting trade, sending messages, and the like; the contests were more shows of force than anything, though Plisseau did have a few proper wars in its history; rather, parts of it did, though there was apparently stipulation that they would all band together in the face of a greater foe. Plisseau was, after all, an echo of what much of Sosalia had been like before Kaiser Alexander took it all over; masses of smaller, disparate states that proved easy prey to the ambitions of the Kaiser. There were larger nations, of course; Valsten was a state that had preceded the Reich, but had been swallowed by it, but Strossvald for example was a product of the Kaiser’s conquests; unity between formerly clashing aristocracy that had banded together underneath the Archduchy to collect the strength needed to throw off the Reich’s rule. The nature of Plisseau’s battles had been unusual to you, though they were convenient wargames for small scale tactics. The closest comparison to them really were battles between Sky Pirates far to the east, where the Caelussian Federation’s hold over its eastern territories was tenuous, and a situation similar to that of Sosaldt’s existence had occurred, but over islands and archipelagoes. Apparently similar things happened in its southwest, thanks to the influence of otherwise benign states like Rourmark and Vynmark meddling in sea trade, along with the Southern Cities of Sosaldt.
Sky pirates were a fascinating subject, truly, as they cropped up along islands and seas where Great Gales precluded any attempts at firm, permanent establishment of bases for security, and pirate clans made their holds in old subterranean fortresses, made to weather the storm and to be returned to in the next age, as airship and seaplanes curated by ne’er-do-wells wrought havoc both on traders and upon one another, as they ranged far and wide only to fade away when concerted military effort came for them. These days, with the apparent turmoil in the south of the core of the Caelussian federation, they had been allowed to wax; some said, on purpose, as they served to punish the rebellious subjects of Caelus.The distraction of your train of thought to Sky Pirates, especially the media you’d consumed on them, had made you unconsciously get up to see if you could find something in the limited selection of books that might mention them, when you noticed something on the windowsill, pushed past the bars. You opened the window and picked it up; it was a small box, about the size of your hand, made of papier-mâché with a decorative, silver sticker on it, with a rose emblem in a heart shape. You opened it, and inside was a small collection of chocolates.You looked around, saw nobody, sighed, and took them back inside. You’d wonder who your secret admirer was, but considering that you were on the second floor of the building, there was really no doubt as to who it had been.The search for sky pirates proved fruitless; this room had been made to be comfortable on a basic level to the general audience, not to be a hole for you to study in, so the other book was returned to, and Netilland reviewed. Ah, Netilland, what a mess it was. It was only surpassed in belligerency by Twaryi, but unlike the easternmost country on the continent, it had far more neighbors to antagonize. Its borders fluctuated obscenely like some ever shifting pseudoform creature in all directions, and its population was disproportionately high enough compared to its territory that its manpower could absorb the stress of such easily. The country was another post-reich formulation, but it had been founded by disgruntled Czeissan governors, administrators, and soldiers, who united in an oddly progressive government in the form of a democracy.
Netilland would use the expansion of said democracy as a casus belli even where it was ill-applicable (for example, warring against the once democratic Ellowie to its south), and despite the glory days of its original inception, the republic had grown more and more corrupt until finally, in recent years, a military coup unseated the government and a junta still ruled, the senate a token offering to the people with no actual power. However, admittedly, this new authoritarian government was seeing much success in the aspects of rulership and war that the government of the past had been largely criticized by its people for lacking in. You wouldn’t want to live there, of course, but visiting as a military attaché…might not be terrible, you supposed.It was getting into the evening, when you heard a tapping at the window. A bird? You thought as you went over, but instead you saw Hilda, with a stick, reaching over from a thick arm of the old oak. You opened the window.“…Hey.” Hilda said.“Hello. You’re….here?” you didn’t really know what to say about this. “Did something happen?”“No, I just…wanted to see you.” Hilda brushed her hair out of her face; she didn’t have her hood up, but a bandanna still covered her face from the eyes down. She seemed nervous. “Did you…get the box this afternoon?”“I did.”“Oh…did you…errr…” Hilda looked down, “…Never mind.” She adjusted her seat on the branch, and it swayed. “…If you wanted to talk about anything, I guess, or if you wanted me to get something…”“Hilda…”“I know,” the scarred woman coughed, “I know. Doing that, giving that thing, makes me feel better. Better about myself, better about what I am, all that’s happened. I’m happier if I get to pretend I’m somebody I thought I once was. Just…let me.” There was a moment of silence between you, when she asked again. “So did you want to talk, or anything, or if I could get you something…”>I wouldn’t mind at all if you kept giving me candy, really.>I’d like you to get something/tell somebody something… (What?)>You should probably leave. It wouldn’t be any good if you got in trouble for some reason doing this.>Other?
>>2716114>Sky Pirateswtf were in the wrong army, get us a Zeppelin command stat
>>2716118After this quest ends maybe?
>>2716117>>I wouldn’t mind at all if you kept giving me candy, really.So, what do you know about sky pirates and airships?
>>2716117>The candy was delicious. Thanks.>Ask how the things are on the outside>Ask what does the public opinion says about us>Ask her to get us Loch's box.We aren't being searched daily, are we?
>>2716132>We aren't being searched daily, are we?No, though you couldn't exactly stop anybody from doing it if they felt it was necessary.
>>2716132Also supporting this
>>2716117>>2716132Supporting, ask her if it’s opened yet. It might be too dangerous to repossess the box.
>>2716132This works, just curious what's inside but for her to hold onto it.>>2716118Yeah if this whole Strossvald thing doesn't work out then it looks like there's opportunity to pluck a crow with the Southern Sea merchants.
“I wouldn’t mind at all if you kept giving me candy, really,” you leaned on the side of the windowsill and smirked at Hilda, “It’s a welcome treat. Thank you.”“They are good, aren’t they?” Hilda gained some energy, though she seemed to get irritated at talking through her mask, so she slipped it down, though she kept a hand over her face; it was an odd pose to take, really, though she remained…relatively upbeat? Hilda’s tone was capable of shifting, but it was like trying to tune the strings of an old instrument, you supposed; at some point they could only flex in so many ways. “The Captain gave me some money, and I thought, well, that I’d get those after I saw a store for them…If you like them, I’ll get more, I think…hrmf…” What in the world was that noise? Did Hilda…laugh? “I think they give special deals for ugly women, though when I first came in, I think they thought I was going to rob them, because of the mark, hmf…”“You shouldn’t call yourself ugly,” you admonished.“Richter,” Hilda looked at you through her hand, though she then used it to trace her scars, “Even before all of…this, and this, I wasn’t good looking. I’m ugly. I’m used to it by now.”It didn’t make you feel good to hear Hilda call herself ugly, though, even if it was true that she certainly wasn’t fair. Perhaps it was because a fair number of new scars and wounds had come about because she’d come with you. It’d been her choice, of course, but still… “So how are things outside?” you asked.“…Fine, I guess.” Hilda said. Her hand was still in front of her face, though it seemed she was tiring of that, as well. “Nothing bad’s gone on. Your fiancée and the other woman, Anya, though…I don’t stay around the place much, even to sleep,”“You sleep outside?” you interrupted.“Sometimes, your fiancée locks the door, and she won’t let anybody in for a few minutes after knocking. It’s no trouble to me. I’d rather be outside anyways. Though it makes Anya mad. She…really does not like Anya.”
You supposed that Maddalyn must have been using the time for experimentation and rituals; things she couldn’t let people walk in on. Although one could only wonder at what a person who didn’t know what she was probably doing, would think she was up to…“So how about public opinion of yours truly?” you put a prideful hand to your chest, “I certainly feel like a celebrity in court.”Hilda shifted uncomfortably. “I don’t talk to people. People don’t want to talk to me. I don’t really know. I’ve heard of a few newspapers talking about it.”“Heard of? Not read?”“I can’t read or write.” Hilda said flatly.“Oh. Right.” Though you were pretty certain you recalled Hilda being able to read and write, albeit in a different language. How proficient she was at that, you didn’t know. Maybe she was really functionally illiterate after all.“How about the box I had you hold onto? How has that been doing?”“I have it.” Hilda said simply, turning her head downwards as she had to use both hands to pick the box out of the satchel, and show it to you. “It hasn’t opened yet. It was a time lock, right.”“Right. Keep holding onto it, and when it opens, I’ll probably not be out yet. So keep it safe.”“I will.” Hilda said, as she packed the box away again. “I suppose…that’s it then.”“Well, unless you wanted to stay and talk.” Hilda came to attention again; she seemed interested, even though you hadn’t announced the subject you intended to discuss. “Have you ever heard of sky pirates?”Hilda shook her head, so you launched into your spiel. She was a captive audience, and though her questions weren’t often very detailed, you had her attention to the point where she let her hand fall away from her face, to help support her on the branch she sat on. Evening turned to night as you talked to her, though when she noticed you peering at her face to note any progress towards healing (there was a concerning lack of such), her hand shot back up. It was actually getting late; you wondered how long you had been rambling about sky pirates, not only their history, but the movies and books you’d read about them, what you thought they did, really you kept yourself talking since Hilda never showed any signs of losing interest; usually when you went on like this the other party stopped you.So you stopped yourself out of courtesy.
“It’s looking rather late,” you said, the sky being plenty dark. “I should probably stop keeping you here.”Hilda was gazing at you with her hands on either side of her face keeping her head up, elbows on her thighs. “Oh, I don’t mind,” she said airily.“You should be getting back, shouldn’t you?”“This place feels safe at night. Not that I haven’t been in worse places anyways.” Hilda said, “…If you’re tired, though, then…”“I am.” You said quickly, maybe too quickly, but you didn’t want Hilda getting tired while being stuck up in a tree. “Oh…well, then,” Hilda adjusted herself to start climbing back down, “…Oh, did you ask your fiancée about..?”“I did.” Thankfully, you had remembered to now. “It turns out I missed our wedding date anyways. We’ll have to plan a new one.”“I see…” Hilda shuffled over, “…You know, if…If you…” Hilda looked down pitifully, “Never mind. I’ll…I’ll get more candies for you tomorrow. Good night.”“Good night.”You watched her shuffle off back down the tree, before retiring back to the bed. For a bit, you idly wondered what Maddy was up to.-----An odd chattering sound at the door woke you in the dead of night; it was a dark night, and you could see nothing inside the room, the shades drawn over the window as they were. The lock turned over, and you heard the door open, ever so slowly, before being closed just as quietly. Somebody had broken into your room…who? In the middle of the night, too, and they had no lights with them, so they were almost certainly sneaking in, attempting to avoid detection…The mind leapt to it being an assailant. Why, though? Perhaps they weren’t, but…they were too quiet, they hadn’t tried to get your attention, and they most certainly weren’t supposed to be here, especially at this hour…what to do?>Leap up and attack this intruder in the night!>Wait and see what they do.>Demand to know who they are, and shout for the night watchman.>Other?
>>2716687>Wait and see what they do.
>>2716687>>Wait and see what they do.Grab the sheets and be prepared to net 'em
>>2716687>Other?Pretend you are having a nightmare and roll off the other side of the bed.
“Heeeyyy, midget!!” Anya shouted at the top of her lungs before the locked door of the hotel room, “Quit rubbing yourself off in there and open the goddamn door!”There was a sound of clattering within, and the redheaded runt opened the door in a much more tolerable amount of time than usual.“Are you insane?” Maddalyn hissed at Anya, “What in the world is wrong with you?” Anya blew a condescending raspberry at her and pushed past, into the room. It was completely dark inside, and she touched around for the light switch. “Gets you to the door within the decade.” “I was not, as you say, rubbing myself off. What a crass implication.” Maddalyn continued to bitch. It was really annoying to listen to her bitch, because the tiny thing had a tendency to talk out her nose, but Anya had heard worse kvetching from other women in the past. “There’s nothing wrong with doing it, we’re both girls, it’s not like we’re twelve years old or something. Everybody does it.” Anya only made the most casual attempt to defuse the matter as she laid sideways on one of the two beds, the bedroom being combined with the study. “What the hell are you even doing in here that you lock the goddamn deadbolt anyways? Even with the key me and the ugly broad can’t get in if you pull that shit. There’s only one thing you could be doing by my reckoning and it’s this.” Anya made an extremely crude down and up motion with her hand near her groin.“How foul.” Maddalyn crossed her arms and snapped her head away. “You have a disgusting mind.”“When you won’t say what’s going on, I have to let my imagination do the work. All your fault.” Anya sneered. “No need to get all fussy about it.”“At least don’t shout it out to the world,” Maddalyn whined. “At the very least.”“Seriously, what else could you be doing?” Anya pointed to the lights, “With the lights turned out? Really? You hate having naps interrupted that much?”“I-I…” Maddalyn stammered.“Seriously. It’s fine. I’ll knock, just don’t lock me out. That fucking pisses me off.”“It’s not like that…” Maddalyn grumbled and crossed her arms as she sat down on her bed on the other side of the room. “Sure.” Anya leaned back and put her arms behind her head. “You’ve been away from your boy toy awhile. Every time I saw you with him you were stuck on like a friggin’ flea.”“And?”“So,” Anya looked across the room and smirked, “You doin’ it?”“Doing what?”“Eh, whatever.” Anya didn’t actually want to know. “You haven’t gone out, like, at all, either. Aren’t you at least going to go see him? Since you’re getting married and all.”“I’m not allowed to see him.” Maddalyn said sorely.“And that’s stopping you?”
“I went a couple of days ago. The door to the room he’s in was locked, and I don’t think he can open it from his side either. I couldn’t talk to him because I didn’t want the guard to hear me trying to get his attention.” Maddalyn said with frustration, “It was scary enough going out so late, and if I got caught…I don’t know. If the door’s locked, it’s locked.” She thought a bit more, then looked at Anya. “…You’re from Sosaldt. Were you ever a thief of any sort? Do you know how to work a lock open?”Anya stirred slightly. “I don’t think you’re phrasing that the right way.”Maddalyn bit her lip, and looked at the floor. “…I need your help.” It was like she choked out a hairball.“Sorry, half pint,” Anya said with mock enthusiasm, “I don’t think I can pull that stick out of your ass without pulling some of your brains out with it.”Maddalyn’s face turned red. “You…you..!”“Calm down, ironing board, I’ll help. Just let me get a few things.”-----You watched the darkness, and waited for what the intruder would do next. They came closer, closer, their steps ever so light, and you gripped the sheets, ready to throw them over this person should they do something…A hand slipped under the covers, a small one, and pulled the covers back- you let them be pulled, and the person in the darkness knelt down and threw their arms around you. The scent of their perfume told you immediately who it was- what was Maddalyn doing here? Well, that was obvious. How did she get in? You didn’t recall her knowing how to pick locks, though you supposed that the fact that her vision was unimpaired by darkness must have helped her sneak here.Maddalyn let you go, and stood over you; she must have thought you asleep, and was probably wondering what she should do next. Maybe you ought to take the initiative.>Tell her that she should leave; the watchman might come around at some point and find the door unlocked. >”It’s a bit late for visiting hours, you know.”>Yank her into bed.>Could you really be sure it was Maddalyn? There was only one way to know for sure. Slink a hand around and see if the posterior matches your theory.>Other?
>>2716923>Could you really be sure it was Maddalyn? There was only one way to know for sure. Slink a hand around and see if the posterior matches your theory.
>>2716923>Could you really be sure it was Maddalyn? There was only one way to know for sure. Slink a hand around and see if the posterior matches your theory.Heh
>>2716957She's going to yelp or scream.We're fucked
>>2716923>Yank her into bed. Just don’t make too much noise, I gotta feeling we’re gonna find a certain somebody with washboard abs.
I fell over and died. Sorry for the delay and the briefness of this.-----Could you be certain that this figure in the dark was your fiancée, though, you thought slyly. There was only one way to be certain, wasn’t there? You sneakily extended a hand outwards, hoping that Maddalyn, who could see in the dark, wasn’t looking in its direction. She must not have been, because your hand arrived at the perfect striking position, and you swiped inwards and got a lovely handful of Maddalyn’s taut, round rear end; it was unmistakably hers, not that you were well referenced in how women's behinds felt. “Eek-!” Maddalyn squealed; she would have jumped through the ceiling had she not been tethered to the ground by your fierce, bestial grip on her behind. “Richter!” She hissed in surprise, “W-what? St-stop!” It had been too long since you’d felt up this butt, you thought as you reached out and pulled her in, sweeping your other arm around her waist and yanking her forth. You hadn’t intended on burying your face in Maddalyn’s upper thighs, her dress not being sufficiently thick in construction to prevent their appreciation, but it wasn’t a bad circumstance in the slightest. It would have been a scandalous sight, considering you were rubbing your head on the very crowns of her thighs, her crotch, really, but this was in the dark- who would see?“Stop!” Maddalyn wriggled against you, but faltered. “…Okay. Okay. I’m…glad to see you too.” She huffed this as you continued to nuzzle her below the stomach, one hand kneading her bottom and the other running down her hip, armed wrapped about her waist. “…Get your face out of there, though.”“Mmno.” You responded.“What do you mean, no?” Maddalyn whispered indignantly, pushing at your head, “This is far beyond what I will accept as acceptable perversity!”You continued to defy Maddalyns wishes, though you freed your mouth from her thighs to say, “You aren’t in your pajamas. You’ll have to get changed, won’t you?”“Don’t being ridiculous.” Maddalyn shifted her efforts to trying to pry your hand off of her bottom. “Don’t be even more ridiculous than you’re already acting. I thought we could kiss, maybe, but I’m starting to not feel like you’re going to let me!”>I’m sorry, dear, but it seems I’m stuck. >Fine, that was enough messing around. Maybe you shouldn’t risk actually making Maddy angry. Though she probably wasn’t in a kissing mood, and you were fine with that penalty.>Of course, though you didn’t just want to kiss; you wanted to do a few more things. [What?]>Other?
>>2717935>>Fine, that was enough messing around. Maybe you shouldn’t risk actually making Maddy angry. Though she probably wasn’t in a kissing mood, and you were fine with that penalty.
>>2717935>Fine, that was enough messing around. Maybe you shouldn’t risk actually making Maddy angry. Though she probably wasn’t in a kissing mood, and you were fine with that penalty.
Fine, that was enough messing around, then. You released Maddalyn from your clutches, before she turned from frustrated and annoyed to legitimately angry. Maddalyn still felt the need to push you away- she probably wasn’t in a kissing mood anymore, but you were fine with that penalty at this point.“Honestly,” Maddalyn complained as she sat down on the bed by you; you could still hardly see her, her shape only being dimly silhouetted in what light penetrated the shutters that barely illuminated the room beyond pitch-blackness. “I’m…flattered that you think I’m desirable. I really am. It makes me…really happy. But not when you do things like that. It’s uncouth. I intend to marry a gentleman, not a drunken sailor.”“I’m sorry.”“No,” Maddalyn sighed, “You’re not really.” She paused a moment. “No, it’s alright, I don’t mind if you paw at me…I paw at you, as well, but just…don’t mess around anywhere like where you put your head, please. I don’t like it.”“Alright.” You’d have liked to have heard why, but Maddalyn didn’t like it, and that was enough reason to not do it. “Thank you.” Maddalyn breathed out, and she put a hand on you. “So, er, how has the trial been?”“Circuitous. Boring. At the very least not humiliating.”Maddalyn steadily laid her head on top of you. “How much longer will…all this be? Where you’re either in that court or in this room, and I’m not allowed to see you.”“Another week or so,” you said mechanically, “I’ll probably be stuck up in here right up until the day the Intelligence Office sends me on my next assignment.” “But the Intelligence Office’s assignment for you is in a week or so…”“It’s all for a good cause, though. I refuse to be named a traitor. I’ll stay in here months, a year, however long this trial drags on to prove such.”“I see…” Maddalyn said wispily, “…You were never a traitor to me.”“Mmhm. Yet I would be declared as such to the Archduchy, even if the punishment for such would be so light as to be a stern admonishment, it would still be a label I could not bear.”
“Ah…” Maddalyn said nothing for a minute, only lying next to you and curling her fingers, letting them splay, then doing so again for a time. “I was…thinking…maybe, while you were back, before you had to go again, and you’d leave me behind, because…why wouldn’t you…but, I-I thought, maybe, we could be married…before you left…There’d be time for it, if…” Maddalyn’s choked on her words even as they tumbled out, and her last few words were so quietly muttered you didn’t even hear them properly.“We can always be married later, can’t we?” you pointed out, “I’d just be leaving right after anyways, wouldn’t I?”“We-well…” Maddalyn sputtered, “I, it’s, well,” She fell silent. “I just wish, if there was something you could do that this place would let you out, I really, really want to be married. I want to feel a ring on my finger, I want to think of you and remember you carrying me down the aisle, instead of thinking about how you might perish before I even get the chance to experience that.” She put both her arms on you, “I lost my mother. I lost my father, my younger sister, because…because I made mistakes. I don’t want to make another mistake and lose you too.”“There is no possibility of you losing me.”“It’s unkind to say something so insincere,” Maddalyn murmured.You didn’t know what to say. Maddalyn had every right to want what she wanted, but you couldn’t just accept guilt, could you? This was worth more than all of that…and both of you were capable of enduring, no? Who said that Maddalyn wouldn’t see you again, she had nothing to be concerned about. Were you not a Von Tracht? A proven champion of Strossvald? And yet…you couldn’t help but feel uneasy.>It’ll be fine, dear. I promise that we’ll be wed as soon as my name is cleared.>I’ll take you with me on my next assignment. Unconventional, perhaps, but could I be told I couldn’t? (Putting her at risk again like this is against your better judgment)>Even if we can’t be married anytime soon, we can be just as good as wed, if you like. Hopefully you know what this implies>Other?
>>2718228>>It’ll be fine, dear. I promise that we’ll be wed as soon as my name is cleared.
>>2718228>It’ll be fine, dear. I promise that we’ll be wed as soon as my name is cleared.
>>2718228Find us a priest and I'll marry you as soon as I step out of this place
>>2718228>It’ll be fine, dear. I promise that we’ll be wed as soon as my name is cleared.>This is your future name as well. I can't let you join a shamed family.
>>2718411This>>2718510>>2718332>>2718289>>2718250>>2718230>putting off getting married WHHHYYYYYY
>>2718531Because we're not stepping out of this place until our name is cleared?
>>2718534Just get a slap dashed marriage before we go on the IO's assignment, put the penis in the vagoo then when we have have time do all the ceremony shit.
>>2718542when we have have time do all the ceremony shit do it*
“It’ll be fine, dear,” you said, “I promise that we’ll be wed as soon as my name is cleared.”Maddalyn sighed slowly, disconcertingly. “Right. As soon as your name is cleared. Whenever that is.”“I’m certain it will be soon enough.” You said, trying to be reassuring, but knowing that you really couldn’t be when concerning this trial. “It is your future name as well. I couldn’t bear to let you join a shamed family.”“Richter…” Maddalyn said softly, “There’s…so many things that I’m ashamed of. Things I regret, that I don’t know if...if I’ll ever stop thinking about. Something I could never be ashamed of is being married to you.”“It’s only a matter of time, dear,” you put your arm around Maddalyn’s back and stroked her from the back of her neck to the small of her back, then back up again. “I’ll give you not a reason at all to feel anything but pride. This slight is intolerable, especially if it will besmirch you and your children.”Maddalyn was silent, and you couldn’t really think of why. Finally, she said, “I think I hear the night watchman…” she rose from beside you, “…I should go before I get caught.”“I’m certain I could hide you, you’re tiny enough that it would be simple.”Maddalyn bent down and kissed you on the cheek. “…I’ll be back around sometime. Good night, Richter.” Despite your proposed plan, she went out and left the door. Maddalyn had more attuned senses than you when it came to things such as hearing and feeling, so you hadn’t doubted her suspicion of the watchman coming. Perhaps he was too close for comfort. Yet the rest of the time you were awake, you didn’t hear him come around at all.-----When Maddalyn returned to her hotel room, feeling melancholy and hopeless, she unlocked the door and pulled on it, only to find it bolted. She bit her lip, blue feelings turning into fire, and she rapped a furious fist on the door.“Who is it~?” Came Anya’s voice from the other side, with an air of mocking false sweetness.“You’re very funny,” Maddalyn said with a shaking voice. She wasn’t in the mood for this tripe at all. “Let me in.”“Oh, could you give me a few minutes?” Anya responded from within. “…Let. Me. In.”“I don’t hear a please coming from the young lady. Nor a thank you for teaching her how to play a lock.”Maddalyn glowered at the door with fury such that if looks alone could affect the world, the door would crumple and melt away. “If you truly provoked me,” she muttered darkly to the door, “I could do such awful things that you couldn’t even fathom to you.”
“Ooh, scary,” Anya sneered back, keeping the door well shut, “Yeah, no. You’re not a guy, so I’m not gonna get off on you threatening me. You’re only gonna piss me off. As for what awful things that I couldn’t even fathom?” Anya said this last part in an unflattering imitation of Maddalyn’s voice, “Sorry, but the most awful thing I could think of you doing to me, you’re already inflicting on somebody else. Can’t even take a little joke. I don’t have to let a scrawny little bitch into my room, go and fucking soak your head. I’ll let you in when you’ve decided to stop sharing your cramps with me.”Maddalyn wondered if this was what seeing red was like, before giving the door a savage kick and turning around and falling to the ground beside it with a despondent sob, wrapping her arms around herself as she sat on the ground and smoldered with hate as she wondered where on earth Hilda was. Maybe she could try sleeping outside if she knew the places best to do it, though just like the past four days nights had been even in a proper bed, it would be distractingly cold, and lonely.-----The week spent sitting in the courtroom hearing and seeing all the ways a case could utterly fail to go forward felt like the longest week of your entire life; you felt like counting the very minutes you had left before the Intelligence Office freed you from this slow and steady torture, but you had to give your father credit; for all the new angles of attack the prosecution tried for the sake of finding cracks in the defense, for all the witnesses they dredged up while refusing to bring in anybody other than Hiedler, your father did not budge one bit. As much as you would have liked otherwise, Maddalyn didn’t end up seeing you in the night again; the watchman noticed that the lock had been messed with, and he adjusted his patrol route in response. Your fiancée wouldn’t have another opportunity to break into your room. At the very least, Hilda continued to deliver candy to you, though she didn’t always deign to share a conversation into the night.Eventually, the last day passed, and the judge made his tired statement; your trial would be, for now, suspended, in order to serve the Archduchy once more, though at the end of your assignment, it would resume once more. With a final hit of the gavel and dismissal of the court, you were once again a free man…technically. For now. Though it wasn’t long before you were swept back up by what was unmistakably an IO agent, who caught you as you were approaching your father to celebrate not being sentenced quite yet.
“Hey, Lieutenant,” the heavy glove tapped on your shoulder, and you turned to regard the oddly plain man in spectacles who stood before you in a black coat and pants, “We’ve got things to discuss. Come with me.” You obeyed, of course. As you walked, the agent spoke to you. “I bet you’re real proud of yourself, huh, wasting everybody’s time like this?” He wasn’t the head spook; apparently this event didn’t call for such.“If you could call it that.”“Yeah, I do. Anyways. You’re getting put on the next train to Strosstadt. As soon as possible. We’d let you come on your own terms, say your farewells and all that, but you’ve spent the time you could be doing that sitting around in a courtroom. We need a list of people you want to take on your next mission. Except your crew, they’re coming. At least one functional tank is needed for either thing, otherwise, you choose who comes with. Everything else will be provided for.”“Does the functional tank include my m/32?”“No. Though your fiancée apparently raised some issue with that. We came to an agreement to send all your vehicles back to the Blumlands. She’ll look after them, don’t have to worry about some other schmuck getting in your vehicles. Not that I think that’s an issue, but what do I know, I’m not a tank commander.” The spook shrugged. “Anyways. Don’t worry about whether anybody you ask for wants to come or not. You finger them, and they’re in the big band of folks we’re holding from your last thing, including those broads you’ve got for whatever reason, they’re going. Unless they’re Captain Honnrieg. Other plans, you see, he’s already taken.”
“Wouldn’t it be better if I went and collected my people myself?” you asked.“No. Didn’t you hear me?” The thug said testily, “Next train to Strosstadt. You’re getting on it. Heading straight to Operations, you make your choice, get your briefing, your crew and your crap get packed, and you head right out. The time where you got to make your own schedule is over.”“At least let me say my farewells? It wouldn’t take long.”“I’m not repeating myself again.” The IO man kept leading you along, outside, towards a car. “Give me a list. If you don’t, I’ll just say you don’t want anybody but yourself and your crew.” He stopped before the car, opened the door, and waved you in.”“…What if I need more time to think about it?” you asked.“Then give the driver a list. Don’t worry if you aren’t specific, we can figure out who you’re talking about easy enough.”>Name who you’d like to take with you. You have access to anybody close to you, as well as your platoon, and whatever elements of Bat Company returned with you, save for the Captain. Keep in mind that you haven’t selected where you’re going yet; this is just the people you want.>One could just drag along everybody, one could suppose, but keep in mind that the next mission may require some finesse as far as numbers go; trimming any fat would be ideal, but there’s also the case of some people not being satisfied if they were to be separated from you.>If you’d like to handle anything else, or try to plead for the right to handle it, go ahead and write that in too.
>>2718570I don't know about the people now, but what we really should do is write a letter to Maddy.
>>2718570We need someone good with underhanded business, so I choose>Metzeler and Alek the former banditAlso:>No Anya or HildaBecause a) Maddy will be jealous even against her better judgement and b) we really have to stop dragging Hilda around with us, it never ends well for her.Other matters: where's Emma? I hope we didn't forget her in a can for literal weeks. Let's take her along. And Loch's box as well.>Ask for a permission to retrieve certain personal effects of ours, or to pass a request to someone we're taking with us to bring them along.
>>2718570Metzeler and Krause but only if they volunteer to come, since I don't think we have any right to drag them around to other countries if they don't want to. Anya and Hilda, and we should leave a note for Hilda to bring Emma. >>2718652I'm pretty sure we told Anya we would bring her along on our adventures as the reason for her to come with us so it doesn't make a lot of sense to leave her behind. And as miserable as Hilda always is she would be even more depressed and lost if she can't at least come along and protect us since that's the one thing she seems to enjoy doing.
>>2718751Anon, we're friendzoning Hilda ultra hard at this point and not letting her get over it.
>>2718652>Other matters: where's Emma? I hope we didn't forget her in a can for literal weeks.No, she's been out and about. Mostly with Hilda. Without the threat of roaming wizards she's less compelled to be treated like sardines.
>>2718570Do we have a list of exactly who came back with us? Numbers and such? If we can roll around as an armored platoon with one logi truck and tank riders as support we'd be pretty self sufficient if it comes down to it. A recce jeep or motorcycle would be icing on the cake.
>>2718766I think a platoon might be too much.
>>2718766As for numbers, you have for practical purposes a platoon minus for armored personnel, since a few guys were injured and are thus out of action for this next op, but you went out with reinforcement anyways. Bat Company went out with about a squad, and they're minus, not counting the engineers and medics, who aren't really infantry in any case in the first place but I digress. Without making careful tally, I would say you'd have about a bit more than thirty people if you took all. Of course, you're not taking any equipment; that stuff is being sourced on site, or assigned on the mission itself.None of your officers got whacked so they're all around.
I just want to add that Anya comes, as this was the entire reason of her hanging around. Hilda needs to stay before we completely fuck her up emotionally. Some distance should help... somewhat
>>2718774I think we can cut down the number, definitely. A squad really isn't that large, neither is a platoon. How about this: For personnel we take Metzeler and Krause with their crews, the squad from Bat Company, maybe two engineers and one medic. Plan for three tanks, one jeep. Crews in the tanks, infantry on the tanks, specialists in the jeep with a crash course pamphlet on how binoculars work. Anya can come too I guess. All easily sourced vehicles with a total footprint of three and a half and enough personnel to adequately deal with at least an equal force.
>>2718822I think it's a bit excessive to bring that many people. We don't know what our job will be or what it will entail and it would be a huge pain in the ass to bring along an entire fighting force that we have to account for.
>>2718570Tonks:Metzeler and Krause definitely depending on the operation we may want more, but three tanks is a good start.Non-tonks:It would be a good idea to have some spare infantry or specialists of some kind. Not necessarily a full truckload, but we're going to need more muscle then just Anya, and more scouting then just Hilda. This could be procured on site or from volunteers but I think Bat Company has done their job adequately and can be freed from the IO.Regardless of where we go, we are going to be fighting in some capacity. If they wanted quiet work then a tank commander is the wrong person to send. It's going to be loud, violent and involve tanks. >HildaFor those deciding to leave behind Hilda, consider both the ethical and very real magical danger that entails. We have tried multiple times to get her to leave, in the honest attempt of freeing her from temptation and her unhealthy fixation on us. All those times she has said no. If we were to force it she probably would leave, and then immediately start stealthily tracking us down.She has exactly one living friend: Richter. She dislikes her brother, distrusts everyone else and most of all unreasonably hates herself. She has nowhere to go, and no other purpose in life. Someday we should help her let go, but we need more opportunities to do so and help prove to her she is worth something more than just a bodyguard.And if that isn't enough, her and Emma can combine to make a Wizard Abomination. She has not done this mostly due to our influence. We really oughta not give her a reason to do that. Abandoning her would not lead to good life decisions. Or magical ones.
>>2718570I just want to make sure we bring Metzeler (if he wants to come) Hilda and Anya.
>>2718822>>2719099>tanq: keep in mind that the next mission may require some finesse as far as numbers go; trimming any fat would be ideal>anons: let's take a full tank platoon! With an infantry platoon riding the tanks!
I vote that we request Maddy. She can speak foreign languages and understand politics. She has magic to keep us all safe. Plus she's got abandonment issues that I don't want to exacerbate
>>2719694To be fair anon, the smallest element to maneuver on an enemy would be a platoon. The key is reducing the footprint of the unit to acceptable levels. Plus, it was an infantry squad, not platoon.
>>2719969Anon, a tank platoon plus an infantry squad isn't a reduced footprint. It's literally everything we have.
>>2718570>Don't forget to bring along a mechanic.
I'll be updating soonish. Would have been earlier, but I continue to wake up too early and get impaired by sleep deprivation.
You wrote down your selections with a provided pad and pen, and gave them to the spook. He peered over it, and raised an eyebrow.“Tell Hilda to bring can and box? What?”“She’ll know what it means,” you said. “So two of your officers and their crews, your crew by default, squad, medic and engineer, and…a couple of women?” He looked at you, then back at the list. “Whatever. I won’t judge.”One of those women had been a difficult choice to take. Not Anya, though if Maddalyn knew that she was coming with you…well, she had nothing to worry about anyways. Hilda, on the other hand. Was it good for her to remain around you? It might’ve been better for you to take this opportunity to keep Hilda out of the line of fire, and away from you, where she wouldn’t be tempted to enact fruitless displays of affection, or destroy herself in trying to keep you safe. On the other hand, her one wish that she’d asked of you was to let her protect you- would she be satisfied if you went back on that? So it had been with incredible uncertainty that you’d written down her name- and you doubted your choice even as the paper had left your hand.“So I’m just heading to the station? I can’t go and get personal effects? Luggage?” you asked in vain.“No. You want anything other than whatever the can and box are, write them down. All the stuff in your tanks that isn’t military materiel has been accounted for, holding those too. You can ask for them at headquarters, in case you think you need it.” The spook was referring to the gold, clearly. Whether that would come or stay you weren’t sure, though you’d much rather it be kept here unless absolutely necessary. “As for luggage, who you kiddin’? You’ll get better clothes wherever you end up going. We checked out your stuff, all your clothes were ratty and frayed anyways.”
You couldn’t argue with that, so you didn’t, as you got into the car, and the spook shut the door on you. The car split off, and after a drive, with a skid to the side of the road like you were gangsters ready to rob a place, the driver stopped at the train station, and gestured for you to get out, not saying a word. From there, you were shuffled along by another agent onto the train, which was puffing and chuffing even as you wandered onto the platform, waving a newly acquired ticket before jumping onto a car. The IO really had put you on a tight schedule, as the train lurched and left while you were still looking for your room. After switching through a few cars, you found the sliding door to your place; a cramped little room, with a folding cot for rest, and a stool that either tucked under said cot, or was placed in front of a fold out desk. You’d probably want that cot; this train was going to Strosstadt, smack in the middle of the country, a good two hundred twenty kilometers away or so. Not being given any opportunity to grab any books, what else was there to do besides look at the landscape as it went by?A good fifty minutes later, while the train was worming it was through mountain tunnels in the worn but still lofty Altossian heights, you heard…a knocking at the window? What the hell? You got up and looked out your window, that should have been facing right and towards the downslope of the mountain, and outside it…was the masked face of Poltergeist, peering in, while tapping his finger on the glass. He didn’t seem to be holding on to anything- how was he staying on?You opened the window, and demanded with a shout over the wooshing wind and the rattle of track, “What in the world are you doing here after all this time!?”“Hello, little boy,” Poltergeist said at his usual level; his voice perfectly heard in spite of the other noise, as though he spoke to other ears. “I’m a fairy. May I come in?”
Poltergeist didn’t wait for a response to his facetious question. “I have a delivery for…I think it was, awful husband who was going to leave without saying goodbye to his wife to be? I need you to sign here.” Poltergeist lifted the window up the rest of the way, and before you could object, he had tossed something in your face, heavy enough to catch you on the chest and knock you down in a heap. The thing he had dumped through the window…was Maddalyn, who was breathing hard and looking quite disheveled indeed; probably from being on the outside of a train on a mountain railroad. “Now where is my thank you, young lady?”Maddalyn looked to the window, and sighed. “…Thank you, you utterly bizarre…thing.”“I will be waiting outside for when you want to take off,” Poltergeist said in his wooden chime-like voice, readying a hand to shut the window again. “I really don’t want to watch the two of you do whatever indecent things you plan on doing to one another after all.” With that, he closed the window and seemed to fall away.Maddalyn still sat on top of you, until you cleared your throat and she scampered off. “…Sorry.” She dusted herself off; she was wearing different clothes today; a tighter fitting long sleeved shirt (that suited her slim, taut figure much better than her usual loose wear, in your opinion, though you had learned to look at her with different eyes) with a skirt that fell to the middle of her calves, a lighter one than the one she often had in Sosaldt; she had managed to expand her wardrobe, it seemed, unlike you.You both looked at each other for a moment; you weren’t sure how to process Maddalyn’s sudden appearance, especially being carried by Poltergeist. So that was the first thing you asked after. “How did you get him to take you here?” You asked, “Isn’t he…you know, a bit much of an obtuse nut to do favors like that?”“He’s very strange, yes,” Maddalyn curled a lock of hair around a finger, “Some time after you left on this train, and I heard, after it left, of course, he simply…showed up, and asked if I wanted to see you.” “I see.”“…So,” Maddalyn scooted the stool towards her and sat down on it, across from the cot, where you put yourself, “Is there…anything you wanted to talk about? Do? I didn’t think I’d be able to do this at all, so I’m…not sure.”>Have a completely normal conversation. It’s a pleasant train ride through the mountains and countryside; your last time together for a while can be something relaxing. [What to chat about?]>Maybe she didn’t know what to do, but you did. [Attack!]>Sure, but if Poltergeist was here, you were going to bother him, too. Demand that he come in here.>Other?I wasn't sure if take Hilda was a slide win or a tie, if anybody's not alright with it, I can have a re-vote with clearer differentiation.
>>2721514I'd be interested to get Maddy's opinion on this whole conspiracy; given that she knows her politics any idea what the IO ultimately wants to achieve.
>>2721514>>Have a completely normal conversation. It’s a pleasant train ride through the mountains and countryside; your last time together for a while can be something relaxing. [What to chat about?]Hilda
>>2721514>Ask if she wants to come with>Tell poltergeist about the oblitares
>>2721514>Apologize for leaving so abruptly>Apologize for not marrying her>Cuddle>Blame IO for everything>Talk about IO, conspiracies and politics>Talk about the wedding plans.>Tell poltergeist about the oblitares when he comes to take Maddy back
>>2721804>SAN lossShould we tell her that the IO kidnapped them?
>>2721844Not right now
>>2721514>>Have a completely normal conversation. It’s a pleasant train ride through the mountains and countryside; your last time together for a while can be something relaxing. [What to chat about?]Ask her what she's going to do while we're gone and if she'll be alright.
>>2721514I’ll side with taking Hilda with us, she’s useful and sneaky
>>2721804Supporting gAlso yes to bring Hilda
You snapped forward and caught Maddalyn behind her knees and around her back; she squeaked in surprise as you picked her up and sat back down with her properly enthroned on your lap, pushing her hair back to show her round, flat ear, which was given the treatment suited to it for a few moments. Even after you pulled away from her to speak, you still squeezed her as hard as you could.“I’m sorry that I left so abruptly,” you said in her ear, “If it’s any comfort, I had no say in the matter. I’m also sorry that we aren’t married yet, but I’ll do my best to amend that when possible.”“Could you…” Maddalyn whinged, “Kiss my ears some more?” Of course you could. “Could you…” Maddalyn’s voice was somewhat hesitant, “…go deeper?...please?”What? You broke off. “Excuse me?” You must have let your confusion show more than you had intended, because your fiancée immediately backpedaled.“Er, I mean…never mind, this is good…”Deeper? You thought as you went back to nibbling on her earlobe. What, did she want you to put your tongue in her brains? On top of that, Maddalyn kept herself fastidiously clean, but you didn’t really want to find out what her earwax tasted like. Eugh. “…okay. My right ear, now?” Maddalyn requested. As you went over to it, she kept speaking. “I won’t get to have this for a long time. Is it…is it weird?”“It’s hardly the strangest thing about you.”“…Well. Yes.” Maddalyn huffed as you tugged on her ear with your teeth, “But…hnn.” She let you have at her a few more minutes before pulling away. “Okay. That’s good enough.”“All of this, though,” you switched gears to less amorous pursuits, “I don’t know why the Intelligence Office is doing this, but they have made things rather inconvenient for us. All I know is that they do have a reason…that they’ve not deigned to share with me. For good reason, presumably.”Maddalyn squinted at you as she turned sideways, her rear planted firmly on your lap but her legs laying on the cot. “Presumably?”“Yes. They are an arm of the Archduke. Their methods may be inscrutable but they work for our good.”Maddalyn blinked at you, and frowned. “…The Captain told me you might bring this up. He also said it wasn’t good to talk about it with you. Especially not right now.”“Why not?”
Rolled 8 (1d10)“Do you really want to do something even when you shouldn’t?” Maddalyn asked, “I’ve gone down that road, done something even though I knew what could happen, knew what the worst case scenario was, and did it anyways. It wasn’t worth it.”“I just want to know what you think of the matter,” you said defensively, “I thought that from your place of high nobility, you might have a clearer idea of what the plans and motivations might be. It’s frustrating to be kept in the dark, even if it’s for the best.”Maddalyn shifted in place, looked at her knees, and spoke without looking back. “…From my position…Alright. What I think is, what if the Intelligence Office isn’t actually interested in working for our good? Or for that of the Archduchy?”“But they are.”Maddalyn looked at you and put her hands on your shoulders. “…Fine, alright. They are. But what if they weren’t?”“They are, though.” The response was automatic. What use was there in thinking about this? You already knew the answer to such a scenario.“Work with me here, Richter!” Maddalyn tried to shake you back and forth; unsuccessfully. “If you actually want to talk about this, then consider it. Consider why you keep saying that they can’t be doing anything but good. Wouldn’t it be ideal for them if everybody thought of them that way?”Maddalyn was knocking on that wall in your head, that part that had always been coldly logical, that had kept you calm and collected even when you should have been terrified, and you didn’t like the feeling. Eventually, though, you did think.That would be useful for somebody with malicious intents, wouldn’t it?For a moment, such a conclusion was simple, easy. Why was it so uncomfortable to think about, both mentally and physically? You didn’t think yourself a simpleton, what was this pain behind yours eyes?1d10 Trance Damage
The iron strength of Archducal Elan has bent, its silver glamour, tarnished. Cracks in the walls hold monsters of doubt and uncertainty, and the faith that they shall never tumble has been weakened. Perhaps the walls were never invincible, but beholding their flaws has shaken thine confidence, and confidence is powerful protection beyond physical reality. Over fifty per cent trance damage has been inflicted upon the psyche.“Richter?” Maddalyn said, seeming oddly distant, “What’s wrong?”“…I don’t know.” You said hollowly. A curtain of doubt had seemed to smother your better mood, and you felt your mouth hanging slightly open, a feeling of unusual loss, like a piece of yourself had been worn down, and you couldn’t recall what it felt like. You wanted to be distracted from that. Part of you knew what it wanted to be distracted by; your fiancée, sitting on your lap. The sweet, sugary scent of her perfume, her breath against your neck, her arms around you as she embraced you, trying to reassure you while she asked questions that did not reach your ears. At the same time, though…there was the other distraction. Her ever so slight bosom just through that deep blue fabric, that you’d hadn’t the privilege of touching. Her round, taut bottom, her alabaster thighs and stomach that were hidden from the eye, but that you knew were there. The fold in her skirt where her legs pressed together, leading a line up her thighs to the place between…it was a bestial distraction, but a better one than the thought it was doing its best to lead you from.“Won’t you speak to me, Richter?” Maddalyn’s voice broke through again, and you felt feeling again, as you rubbed your head.“What?” you asked, still feeling dazed, “I’m listening. What did you say?”“This was a bad idea,” Maddalyn murmured, “I shouldn’t have done this. Are you alright?”“I’m fine.”“Richter.” Maddalyn did her best to look straight into your eyes; she was off target, but the intensity was still there. “No, you’re not alright.”“I just feel really strange. I don’t know why.” This was the truth, even if it was a frustrating one.“…I’m sorry,” Maddalyn hugged you again, “I wish I could help, but I don’t know how. But…take your time. I can wait for you to feel better.”
There was a way she could help, that depraved distraction pushing its way to the front again. It wasn’t anything more than casual observations, but the way it had wriggled forth disturbed some part of you that you were trying to grasp back down to the earth. In the murky swamp your head had melted into, base instinct was what was keeping its integrity the best. No, focus. Why were you having such trouble focusing? It was never something you’d had trouble with before…What, were you in puberty again, that all you could think about was sex? Maddalyn wanted that to wait, at least until marriage, and you had to respect that…Marriage. Something to latch onto, finally.“What did you want to do for our wedding?” you asked groggily. With that latched onto, there was an anchor for the detritus to flow towards, a beach for it all to come washing up once more, to drag itself out of the mire. “…Oh.” Maddalyn leaned back and thought, a finger brought slowly to her chin. “…I don’t want there to be many people. I am a Von Blum, but…I don’t want things to be a spectacle. I want it to be quiet, close, not some fair where all the people attend but only out of obligation. And afterwards, I think I want to take a holiday to…someplace warm. I liked Valsten, when I visited long ago, but I suppose that’s not really an option these days…Maybe Vynmark. I’ve heard that has a nice climate.”More threads pulled together. Knowledge. It was like your mind was waking back up from a deep sleep. Vynmark had a warm, windy climate, placed at the southern horn of the continent. Its history of warfare was quite dull, contrary to what one would think given its place tucked in between Sosaldt and Twaryi, but it was probably a pleasant place to be. Peace had a way of creating particularly idyllic lands. Also, Vynmark’s beaches were supposed to be famous. At least, such could be assumed from the amount of postcards you’d seen of it.“Are you thinking of donning a swimsuit?” you asked. Hans had talked about new designs on your trip to Sosaldt, and while there, a few magazines had passed through the hands of troops that hinted at designs becoming ever racier. It was a more polite frame of mind than what was being dredged earlier.“…No.” Maddalyn said uncomfortably, “I don’t know how to swim. And I hate water. I wouldn’t have any reason to.”“More of a countryside person, then?”“Mmhmm.” Maddalyn nodded. “Beyond that…I don’t know. I suppose I’d just like to see what happens…”
“On that subject,” you said, “On my next mission…I’ve been granted freedom to bring whoever I like. Would you like to come with me?”Maddalyn thought for a minute, her face screwing up with contemplation, then regret. “…I don’t think that would be a good idea, would it? I’m no fighter. I’m small, and weak. But at the same time, I can’t get the feeling out of my head, that if I don’t, something awful will happen to you, or your friends, and I’ll be safe somewhere else, when I could have done something about it. But! Also…if we’re going to be married…there’s something I have to take care of. Something I need the books at home to do. If I come with you, I can’t do that…”“The soulbinder books back in your study?” you asked, faintly remembering the place, with the senile, ever sleeping form of the Hermit sitting in his chair, covered with blankets beside the dusty tomes on the wall. “What are you thinking of doing?”Maddalyn withdrew into herself, holding her hands close to her chest and tugging at her fingers nervously. “I…can’t…say…” she said softly, very slowly. “It’s…it’s something that I need to do, that’s all.”Strange that Maddalyn refused to say what the something was, but you had the feeling that pressing the issue was a futile effort. Not that you wanted to at that time, anyways. “So that’s what you’ll be doing while I’m gone? Will you be alright?” you asked instead.“Mm. I’ll be alright,” Maddalyn looked back at you, her big, blue eye wide. “I’ve…lived this long, through so much. As long as you don’t do anything thickheaded, I’ll be able to endure.”“So what’s the probability that I do something thickhea-““One hundred percent.”“Oh.”“Don’t worry, Richter,” Maddalyn put her arms around your neck, “It’s charming…in a way.”“I was thinking of having Hilda be back with you,” you went on, “So you wouldn’t be too by yourself, but she’s kept me alive more often than I can ignore. It wouldn’t be considerate of you to not have her around.” Maddalyn only squirmed slightly in discomfort, and you poked her little nose in some mockery of that. “What do you think of Hilda, anyways?”“She’s odd,” Maddalyn said, “In an interesting way. I think I might have been…too unkind to her in the past. I spoke with her sometimes, while you were holed up in the courthouse. I haven’t found out much about her. I think I like her, but I don’t know if she likes me…she seems uncomfortable when we talk for too long. Like something happened between us. I asked about that, but she wouldn’t say.”You knew what the something was. It was you.
“I’m glad that you’re making friends, at least.” You said. “…I’ve told her about my blindness.” Maddalyn said quietly, “She would always go on about how scary and ugly she looked, but you know what I can and can’t see. So I told her. People say she’s ugly, but I don’t see that anyways. All I saw when I looked at her, was that she was strong, skillful, and…” Maddalyn looked at her chest and put a hand to it, frowning deeply, “…Buxom. Feminine. I looked at her and could never imagine her as being anything but beautiful. I was…jealous. Angry that she was so much more than I. The more I spoke with her, the more ashamed I was that I felt that way.”…Best not to dwell on that. “Oh, right,” you remembered, “Poltergeist is here, after all. I should tell him about the Oblitares Soulbinder I encountered. He should be-““Wait.” Maddalyn coughed. “Don’t summon that creature yet. Before that…” She turned about and straddled you. “I was told that I wouldn’t see you for at least a month, probably more than that. If I’m to be separated from you again for that amount of time, this time, I want to send you off properly.” Her cheeks pinkened, and she looked down, “I want…to do something. I was just thinking of kissing, kissing like we did that one time in the castle, but if you wanted…I mean, if…maybe you wanted, I might consider it, well, up to a certain point, I mean.” Maddalyn stammered as she tried to spit out accommodations. You got the feeling that she only wanted to kiss, but knew that you were likely to throw yourself into danger once more- and felt bad that she didn’t want to do more.>Darling, whatever you want, and nothing else.>I have a request, if you’re alright with it…[Write In?]>This isn’t a very good place for that, is it? It’s rather cramped. Will you be fine with just a peck on your lips?>Other?
>>2722430>Darling, whatever you want, and nothing else.I hope we can trust Richter's feeling. Non-verbal clues play an important role in such matters, and we only have Richter's perception to go by.
>>2722467>I hope we can trust Richter's feeling. Non-verbal clues play an important role in such matters, and we only have Richter's perception to go by.If you want a better feel for the situation, you can always ask for a bit more detail when you should be seeing/hearing something. Of course, Richter isn't experienced with this in the slightest, so I'd be within my rights to withhold information.
>>2722430>>Darling, whatever you want, and nothing else.
>>2722430>>Darling, whatever you want, and nothing else
“Darling,” you put a hand on Maddalyn’s cheek, adjusting both of you so you were sitting against the wall on the cot proper, horizontal against the wall. “Whatever you want, and nothing else.”Did you say something wrong? Maddalyn looked down when you said that, and she looked oddly morose as she found your lips with her fingers, then brought herself forward and touched hers to yours, pushing both of you down as she did. Maddalyn wasn’t a good kisser at the best of times, but here, she seemed…distracted. She didn’t move her lips at all, no tugging at your shirt, no trying to surprise you on your neck; she just seemed to touch and stay, not doing anything after, hands thrown about your shoulders. She wasn’t excited; such was obvious, since she wasn’t drooling all over the place as she usually did. Was there a problem?It wouldn’t be the first time you’d have to take initiative. You raised a firm hand, and spanked her hard on her bottom, raised in the air. She recoiled with a sharp “Eep!” which gave you your chance to catch her again with a kiss of your own, pulling on her lower lip with your teeth before locking her in with your tongue; it wasn’t long before she was salivating in a familiar way once more. Of course, you were on the bottom this time, which meant…well, you’d learned to be careful. This wouldn’t be a good time to have things punctuated by a coughing fit. Though she was still dribbling spit down your chin and all over your jaw; you chose not to think about whether or not you were disgusted by that. Now wasn’t the time for that consideration. This was her time, not yours.Maddalyn’s shirt was, annoyingly, buttoned up. You couldn’t get where you wanted with it in the way; you separated from her, a line of her saliva trailing back with you before falling unpleasantly up your face and almost into your eye. Undaunted, you dove in for her throat, and unclasped another button as you grazed her thin little neck with your teeth. You raised one hand to her back to pull her closer in; the other was doing vital work, its fingers sunk as deep as you could grip into the flesh of her taut rear end, pulling at it, releasing it, sliding down the side before once again running the heel of your palm over its curve, and groping it once more in a circular, perpetual motion. You kissed her next just above her collarbone. As you left it, taking the hand on her shoulder back to unbutton her shirt down to the middle of her chest, you looked at her face, and noticed wet trails down her cheeks.“Dear?” you asked, “What’s wrong?”“Nothing.” Maddalyn sniffed, “…Keep going.”
You picked apart another button, and Maddalyn’s sternum was bared before you, the peak of her camisole underclothing in the way of any further nakedness. Were it that you could pull that off too, but Maddalyn wouldn’t want that, you thought. A barrage of kisses was laid upon her chest, some through her underclothing, the last few with the hand formerly busily unbuttoning her shirt further temporarily abandoning its post in order to try and tug the shift further down for a place you hadn’t given any proper affection. Finally, her shirt was loose enough on her that you could push her shirt off her shoulders and down her back, though this was for little purpose other than to see her in less. Maddalyn’s mouth was returned to, and after a final tantalizing tying of your tongues, such that you felt Maddalyn shiver and her let out a small, sweet “HhNnn..!”, you finally pulled apart once more, Maddalyn’s chest heaving, and drool running down her chin and onto yours.“…Why…why is my shirt open?” Maddalyn asked, blinking. You’d gotten as far as her bellybutton, and treasured that sight for the moment it lasted before she put her top back together again, sitting up on top of you. You took the opportunity to sit up yourself, and give her one more biting kiss on the side of her neck; it was only for a moment, but when you stopped, Maddalyn seemed to have frozen in place, her eye half closed and her mouth slightly parted, before she returned to the world. “Ehm, thank you…” Maddalyn said, obviously thinking you were both finished. You grabbed both her arms by the wrist and raised them over her head, pushing her into the back wall as she let out a surprised “Huh?-“ Once more, you locked lips with her, and you ran one hand into her shirt and trailed it up her ribs and into her armpit, keeping both her hands raised up with your hand wrapped tightly around both her frail little wrists. You assaulted Maddalyn’s mouth until she had turned into mush in your arms, only being held up by where you held her, and when you let her go for real this time, she fell forward into you, breathing in long, loud, uneven gasps.“Was that good?” you asked.Maddalyn didn’t answer immediately. “…Of course it was…I’ll treasure this. My imagination by itself is always so lacking…”“Your imagination?” you asked, raising an eyebrow that Maddalyn couldn’t see.“Uh,” Maddalyn coughed, “Oh, you should call Poltergeist in, shouldn’t you? Ha ha.”“Your shirt’s still open,” you pointed you.“Uh!” Maddalyn looked briefly terrified, “J-just call him down, I’ll be done when he’s down! I’ll just face the other way, you know, and…”
You sighed and slipped out from under your fiancée. The window was opened, and you tilted your head slightly to see if Poltergeist was around, only to feel a tap on your shoulder.“What?!” you turned around in alarm, only for nobody to be there. Poltergeist’s wooden chuckling echoed from out the window, and you turned back around in frustration to see Poltergeist standing on what must have been air from that angle.“Always gets them good.” Poltergeist said. He looked at your face a moment. “Do you need a napkin or something?”“Uh,” you wiped your face on your sleeve; Maddalyn had slimed you really thoroughly this time, and even after your cuff came away soaked, your face was still wet.“You have the look of a man who wishes to tell a tale,” Poltergeist prompted.“What, do you already know?” you asked, trying once more to fruitlessly wipe away Maddalyn’s spit. “And what if I did?”“Then…” you elected to avoid helping Poltergeist be annoying, and instead told him about your encounter with the man who called himself the Hound of the East.“Oh, yes,” Poltergeist raised a finger in recognition, “Him. Your dear friend the Riverman was being chased by him some time ago. It was a good thing I was around to drive off his pursuer. Too bad for us that Dog Boy is good enough to know he couldn’t take me on.”“I could tell you where he is, if you want,” you said.“Ooh, gossip! I love gossip.” Poltergeist leaned in the window, putting his hands on his chin and his elbows on the sill, “Do tell. I promise I won’t use the knowledge for nefarious purposes. Like hunting him down like the vermin he is.”“I told him to go to….er, whatever you soulbinders call that mountain trail down in East Valsten with all the giant living stones. The wander, I think?”“How naughty of you,” Poltergeist said in mock admonishment, “The Oblitares are ill familiar with that sort of ground. He might have gotten lost.”“Then you’ll help him out, won’t you?”“I’ll help him into a grave, yes.” Poltergeist said coyly. “…Oh dear, it seems the conductor might be checking for tickets soon. Tell your fiancée to hurry up and make herself decent again, because in about ten seconds I have to take the little stowaway back off the train before she gets caught.“Ten seconds?” you fumed, “I would have liked a little more-“
“Less talk, more hug,” Poltergeist flicked his fingers and you turned about in place against your own volition, and before you was Maddalyn, still looking a bit ruffled and the top few buttons still open. She threw her arms around you and buried her face in your chest.“I love you…” Maddalyn said into you heart, “I’ll never stop waiting…”You put one hand on her head and the other on her back and held her tightly. “You won’t have to wait long.”It felt like you hadn’t been given enough time when Maddalyn was torn from your grasp and the window slammed shut once more.-----The rest of the trip was a blur. Left with little other than your thoughts, which seemed oddly different now, the trip seemed to end without warning, as you laid down for the final portion of it. As soon as you stepped off the train into distantly familiar Central Strosstadt station, you were found once more by Intelligence Office agents, and escorted into the city. These ones were less impatient than the ones in Holtenberg, and much friendlier. The train ride had only offered meager pickings, being a more economy class trip, so when the agents offered to buy you pretzel wrapped frankfurter from a street stand, you didn’t even consider refusing the offer. The mustard was almost as hot in spice as the sausage was hot in temperature, but you wolfed it down and only noticed the intense heat burning your mouth to ashes after the fact. It was probably the best second degree burns you’d ever tasted. When you idly lamented this, the agents were kind enough to get you a bottle of cola next. Cola wasn’t exactly something you were fond of, but you took it thankfully nevertheless. This hospitality gave you some hope; perhaps you were finally bound for some good things?Being spared the indignity of a blindfold was something new as well, as you were taken to the Intelligence Office’s public building. It was unassuming, but still labeled appropriately. An odd contradiction for such a secretive organization. There was no waiting, loitering or any red tape, you were simply taken around and upstairs, to a lounge decorated in deep red heartwood and fine red carpet and velvet, warmly lit with electric mimics of oil lamps. At a chair behind a desk sat a boss spook himself, the head of field operations, the one who’d introduced himself as Eadvin Willen a week and a half ago.“So,” the shade called Willen put his fingers together as you approached his desk, him smiling his shark’s grin. “You have finally come. Have you given more thought to where you would like to go for your next holiday?”
“No, I’ve been enjoying my court martial too much to think on that much.” You replied sarcastically.The shade only smiled in response, putting his elbows on his desk. “A comedian, such seems to run in the blood, hm? I will remind you of your opportunities…as well as the third one that has opened, as what we’ll default to should you dislike the initial two. You will go somewhere, I assure you. Though, to offer somewhat more a carrot, I assure you that this business will be on a more….official tone. You will not have to suffer the same indignity twice.” His tone seemed to go softer, “Do understand, that it was necessary. Perhaps you do not understand now, but in time, you will come to understand. The world rarely works in a simple manner, and I can tell you that in my line of work, the straightforward approach is often the least suitable for the results we want.”In time? Why can’t I know NOW? Part of you wanted to say. A very small part, that was probably just frustrated and illogical. You simply blinked, and said, “Of course.”“Excellent. So, your destinations.” Willen raised a hand, and with it three fingers. “One is, of course, to the north in Plisseau. A territory has grown disgruntled at their neighbors, and wishes to develop a closer relationship with our fair fatherland, but there are some obstacles that must be dealt with first. Obstacles that require a foreign hand, and a large stick. Some situations require subtlety, others need a hammer blow, and the circumstance here is one that requires both in one. To be more specific, the role we planned was for you to arrive as a mercenary, and to ether unite or crush the disparate factions so that those sympathetic to cooperation end up on top, and with as little opposition as possible. The work that requires shows of force, unfortunately, not shadow games, but you’ve plenty experience with shows of force by now, no?”“I guess.” Were you allowed to call yourself a seasoned fighter now? It certainly felt like you were no longer green, but the amount of time that passed made you unsure; some chroniclers said that all a man needed was a single battle to become a veteran, and you’d certainly had more than that, and yet…
“Perhaps you’d like less spectacle and flash, though? Contrary to what some have concluded?” The shade put down a finger, still holding up two. “A small, relaxing trip to Netilland. They’ve been undergoing quite a large army expansion program, and despite having a divided opponent, the performance of their new formations was rather lacking, so we hear, primarily due to a lack of experienced officers. So! A favor from the Archduchy to the Military Council of Netilland. We put aside some past hostilities, and we send some bright commanders over as advisors, perhaps even interim commanders. After all, while the army of Ellowie may be all but beaten, its people have evidently not been taking their subjugation well. There’s also already reports of unauthorized skirmishing with Twaryian allies, as well…how exciting, hm?”“That sounds like a perfectly normal assignment.” Of course, Netilland was to the east, Ellowie even more east- in the territory the particularly suspect soulbinders calling themselves Oblitares were expanding into the continent from. Though you doubted you would encounter any unless you drew their attention, it still wasn’t a pleasant thought to think of them possibly being a factor.“Doesn’t it? Yet you know quite well that if you are being asked to do so by the Intelligence Office, there is something deeper, yes?”You tried to think on what could possibly be the ulterior motive, but gave up and asked instead. “So what is the real mission?”“To watch, and wait. Opportunity may emerge, in which case, we will draw it to your attention, should you not act upon it yourself. Much like the assignment to Plisseau, in fact. No matter where you go, there will be some time for you to be properly acclimated to your new environs. On that note…” the IO head of operations put down his middle finger, so only one digit remained up. “Your last potential intriguing place of adventure. What do you know of Halmeggia, Lieutenant?”Halmeggia? Not much, admittedly. “I know that it borders the Reich.” Was the summary given. Beyond knowing that it was a country on the western border of the Grossreich, you knew quite little concrete. Despite what some might think was a precarious position, it had led a mostly peaceful existence, a kingdom that had both avoided conquest and war by being on friendly diplomatic terms to the Reich since its inception, even if it was not oft militarily allied. Even before that, it had maintained independence through similar arrangements, and its history was as humble as the country was venerable. Beyond that though, you knew little; precisely because its tranquility made it a dull subject of study in your opinion.
“Did you know that it is the supplier for nearly one third of the Reich’s food, for both grain and fish?” The shade asked. You shook your head. “For its lack of military might, it is quite a fertile place, and with safety ensured under the umbrella of the fearsome Reich, it has been prosperous for years. It was not usually such a heavy provider, but for recently. Tell me, have you heard that the Reich’s farmlands are suffering from a terrible grain blight?” You shook your head again. “Of course you haven’t. The Reich has tried so much to keep that under wraps, but agents can look at trade, as well as harvest counts, easily enough. Yet few will sell to the Reich in the east, and the west is tumultuous indeed, save for their steadfast friend. Do you see a potential problem here?”“Something is going to happen to Halmeggia.” You said, as you were practically told to.“Something is happening to Halmeggia. It merely hasn’t started in full yet. Though I am sure you can figure out what it is. Tell me, what borders Halmeggia, to the west?”“Vitelia.” Vitelians spoke Vitelian, though, not New Nauk. Who knew how many Halmeggians did the same?“And what is happening in Vitelia?”“Civil war between anarchist factions and what is left of the government. Same with a few of the other regional countries, to different degrees.”“Up to date on current events, I see,” the Shade said. Though this wasn’t exactly news. “So what do you expect would give a breath of fresh air to the quagmire of Vitelia?”You had already figured it out, of course, not that it wasn’t an easy conclusion. “Anarchist agitators are going to attempt to depose Halmeggia’s government, putting the Grossreich’s food imports at risk. And the Kaiser will sit back and let this disastrous circumstance simply happen?”The shade called Willen smiled a toothy, predatory smile. “Wouldn’t that be convenient? Yet no.” He laid a hand out palm up. “Do you know how the Reich actually functions? I thought not. It is fair to not know, to presume, considering how much more frightening the Reich looks when you observe the sheer expanse of its territory. Mind you, it is still quite imposing, but…take the Grossreich on a map. The actual direct dominion of the Kaiser is only about one third of that. Said territory is also what borders uh, but alas."
"You see, when the Reich began to shatter apart after Alexander died, the once mighty, massive state was separated into Protectorates. Each had quite a bit of independence back when they were first formed, and in these times? When the Emrean War came to an end, why, the Protectorates may as well be different countries within the Reich, now, they have such independence! We could speak of the Protectorates all day, but to summarize, the Kaiser has to play nicely with the Protectorates. Their motives are complex, some of them mysterious or even inefficient, perhaps foolish, but in short, the western protectorates are not as pliable to the Kaiser’s will as his eastern assets are. Such has been the case since shortly after the death of Alexander.” The Shade finally wrapped up.“So Halmeggia will descend into chaos, and Kaiser Henrik will be obstructed from doing much about it, then?” You asked, “Then I will step into all this and do…what exactly?”“Oh, don’t be so humble, Von Tracht, we know what sort of mischief you’ve been up to recently. Though I hardly expect you to go a-kingmaking. Like the other potentials, you watch, wait, and perhaps seize an opportunity to further our interests in such a fertile circumstance.”“I can see why my defaulting would send me there. Sort of. However…” you glowered at the prospect, “This mission would see me allied with anarchists. Going mad and eating filth would be less disgusting.” Anarchism was an evil that humanity was supposed to have grown out of; from your point of view, those who espoused it would want wanton chaos and destruction while disguising such desire under the veneer of freedom.The shade continued to smile. “There are spectra of such, and there will be plenty of infighting after Halmeggia’s feeble army is either destroyed or absorbed. Plenty of time will be left for you to select your favorite, advance them, perhaps match them more to an ideal you favor.”“A tall order in any case.”“Oh, yes. But this mission will see you garnering the most significant proportion of support. So, then. Your three choices. Which one tickles your fancy the most?”>Plisseau: Time to play at being a proper mercenary, except in a much nicer place.>Netilland: A familiar role, safer environment, perhaps less isolation and peril?>Halmeggia: Out of the frying pan and into the fire with you.>Other concerns?
>>2723781>Netilland: A familiar role, safer environment, perhaps less isolation and peril?As far as I understand our goal is to sabotage Netilland's relations with Twaryi, which is what I can get behind>Other concerns: how long will the operation take?
>>2723781>>Halmeggia: Out of the frying pan and into the fire with you.
>>2723781>>Netilland: A familiar role, safer environment, perhaps less isolation and peril?
>>2723781>Plisseau: Time to play at being a proper mercenary, except in a much nicer place.
>>2723781>Halmeggia: Out of the frying pan and into the fire with you.
>>2723781>Halmeggia: Out of the frying pan and into the fire with you.Becoming a warlord sounds fun
>>2724962I prefer it my way. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7pGs7JU7eM
>>2723781>Netilland: A familiar role, safer environment, perhaps less isolation and peril?It would be nice to actually resume our military duties as an official officer. Also I feel that getting Twaryi and Netilland to turn against each other would help more to keep the Wizard World War from becoming two fronts. Also learning more about the Oblitares may be crucial.Then again I never hated being a warlord.
>>2728327Same DESU. It seems to be a logical extension of what we've done so far in Sosaldt, plus our dealings with Fie and the Oblitares. It also doesn't hurt that we have experience going up against Twaryian armour plus we get to act as an official representative of the Archduchy rather than some merc that can be easily disavowed by the IO.
>>2723781>>Netilland: A familiar role, safer environment, perhaps less isolation and peril?guess we'll be performing a coup
Tanq u alive?
>>2731308Oops also forgot>Netilland: A familiar role, safer environment, perhaps less isolation and peril?
>>2723781>>Halmeggia: Out of the frying pan and into the fire with you.Nothing is more noble then total annihilation. Kill the government, kill the anarchists and kill the rest then kill opportunist neighbors. And surely it's going to be full of soulbinders. What a life.Nah.>Netilland: A familiar role, safer environment, perhaps less isolation and peril?At least we'll be welcome and appreciated.
>>2731308Yeah I'm alive, there was a tie after my game yesterday, then I died again. I'll be updating after my morning rituals of horking down as much coffee as I can and showering.
“I’ll go to Netilland,” you said. It wasn’t Strossvald, but it was at least proper military operations alongside an actual army; something you had come to sorely miss, even if the Netillians had seldom been anything but rivals to your nation. “How long should I expect this mission to last?”“Approximately two months, at least, depending upon the ground.” Willen said, “If potential fortunes are spoiled, you will be withdrawn, though I would rather you make an effort to salvage matters, in such an event.”“Would war breaking out between Twaryi and Netilland count as spoiling potential fortunes?” You asked warily. That wasn’t a particular battleground you wanted to contest.“Au contraire.” The shade wringed his fingers together, “That would be quite an interesting event…and not one you should be expected to linger through, unless you are particularly fond of what would likely be heretofore unseen carnage.”“I may bow out of the chance to witness that in person,” you said drily. “As would be wise. Anyways. Those whom you requested will be following you here shortly,” Willen went on, clasping his hands together once more and smiling broadly, “Your briefing will take place on the way there, but for now, I rather have a treat for you. One of my men will show you the particular support we have gleaned for this mission. After all, what is a tank commander without his iron chariot?” On cue, one of the IO officers appeared beside you. “I will be seeing you later, Lieutenant.” You saluted, turned to the officer beside you, and followed him out.-----A rather ordinary event for most citizens of Strossvald was a fascinating new experience for Anya; she’d never been on a train before. Certainly, there was a railroad that went out of Gusseisenholz, but she’d never traveled on it. The train here was also bigger and tougher looking than any train that dared roll through Sosaldt. She was rather fond of trains in spite of not having seen them much; their bulk, strength, and noise were comfortingly reminiscent of a tank. Though this powerful machine was being used to transport passenger cars, which were comparatively dainty and domestic things. She and some other people had been called onto another train a few hours after Richter Von Tracht had departed in a hurry- she shared a booth with the sole other woman who had been called, a person who Anya had first known as Cranick’s latest romantic misadventure.
Cranick hadn’t been a bad man, by her measure, not as brutish or awful as many of the Death Head’s top brutes, at least. Perhaps not saying much, but he was one of the few men worth following there. Then he was killed and Anya officially had no more reason to stick around, since anybody who replaced him would have been incompetent, irritating, or worse, both. Then she’d come to meet this woman again, and learn her name wasn’t Emma, but rather, Hilda, and even though she’d been chopped up in her past already, when she encountered her again she somehow looked even worse. Anya could tell that in spite of the mask Hilda had taken to wearing. Not that she held it against her. Anya had a giant scar across her own face, one that did absolutely nothing for any delusions of beauty. She remembered when she got it, too; she’d been less upset that she got slashed with a knife, than she had been at the realization that she’d have a scar on her face and that would be ugly. Anya had been an idiotic little girl then. She hadn’t realized yet how a scar made you look like a badass; which was a thousand times better than being pretty. Anya had had a few chances to talk to Hilda, but Hilda tended to be evasive. Not in the way Richter’s fiancée was, where she turned into a colossal bitch, but Hilda would make single syllable responses, if she responded at all, to any attempt at conversation. Anya had heard from a few guys that Hilda was pretty tough, too; she wanted to get to know this woman, see how she ticked. Anya hadn’t met many people of her sex that she could even tolerate outside of the Iron Hogs, after all. The Blue Ribbons were to a woman had been vapid, worthless whores, and they’d been the women she’d (much to her chagrin) been around the most for the past couple of years. God damn, did she hate the hell out of whores. Anya refused to be frustrated by the scarred woman’s antisocial behavior, though; she’d find a way into her head eventually.“Hey.” Anya tried at first. Hilda didn’t even look back over. “You ever been on a train before? It’s pretty cool, I think!” Nothing. “Where do you think we’re going?” Silence. “….Nice weather today?” Nice weather for a lack of conversation, apparently. “You’ve got a pretty nice set of hooters. What’s your secret?”Hilda’s eyes flicked over. “What do you want.”Anya leaned back and mugged a smirk. “Figure you might be bored of looking out the window. The rest of the train’s talking, I’m feeling left out.”“Hm.” Hilda went back to looking out the window, leaning her elbow on the edge. As she adjusted her positioning, flash of chain was briefly visible about her neck.“You got new flash there?” Anya gestured around her neck, “Can I see?”
Hilda thought about it, then pulled the whole thing out of her shirt. It looked like a locket on a chain; just enough gold in it to make it look good while still being cheap. Anya knew the sort from back when she stole them off people; low karat, still pretty. The chain was an ordinary sort, but the locket was a smooth, adorable heart shape. Anya would have liked it a lot, if it was its own thing and not the sort of drippy thing that one would stick a stupid photo in or something, which this one was judging by the clasp on its side.That particular bit of gossip was latched onto. “So who’s inside?” Anya asked, smirking like an assclown. Hilda’s response to that was to nonchalantly conceal the locket again. Anya moved swiftly on, undaunted. “So what’s your story? Why are you following around Hell’s nephew? I’m in it for the adventure, but what about you?”“What do you care.” Hilda said to the landscape outside.“Come on,” Anya griped, “Something at least. Or else I’ll assume it’s cause you’re into Von Tracht, in which case, poor taste. Not saying he’s a terrible guy, just not somebody not nearly worth chasing all over the place, you know? He’s just sort of a prissy bitch boy when you get him out of his steel crate.”“Richter is not a “bitch boy,”” Hilda lost some of her level, dry tone in that statement. “He is a kind and honorable man.” Anya hadn’t been expecting to be right; she’d just been trying to banter, hopefully it was just friendly and not actually what the worst case scenario could be. If it was, then…Judge above, that would be ridiculous.“Alright, alright,” Anya held her hands up. She wouldn’t be probing into that any. “Sure he is. So why tag along?”“Why do you care.”Oh for fuck’s sake. Time for a new tack then.“What sort of guns do you like?” Anya asked innocently. “There’s this, uh, Netillian thing, that we used a lot of back in Todesfelsen. It looks like it’s made of junk and doesn’t handle much better, it shoots too fast and it shakes everywhere, but I just like the thing. It feels good.”“I like my hunting rifle.” Hilda seemed to think a bit more. “And shotguns.”“Oh yeah? What model of rifle is it? Do you know?”“No.”“Oh.” Damn, Anya had almost had something there. “Why?”“Because I’ve used it for years.” Hilda said.
“Alright, so uh, what kind of gun, then? Is it like…” Anya mimed working a bolt. Hilda responded with the appropriate motion; it took Anya a moment to realize the motion was for a lever action. A few groups in Sosaldt still used those, but she didn’t expect some hardass commando bitch from Strossvald to be using that old sort of gun. “Can I see it when we get off?”Hilda looked over, blinked, then looked back out. “…Sure.” Suddenly, her eyes flicked off to the side, like she’d noticed a moth by a lamp, and she said next, “Where’s your favorite place you’ve been.”“Huh?” that caught Anya off guard, not the least because she didn’t have an answer. “Dunno. Been in Sosaldt most of my life, went to Ellowie once for a contract with the Hogs. I guess I liked that place. It has nice air, and since it was in some bowl thing between mountains, it had this fog and mist that stuck around for half the day, with really light rain that felt cold, but in a nice way. Honestly, I’m sort of…excited? Sure, excited, to go a few other places.”“Oh.” Hilda said. She looked back up to the same place as before. “What’s your favorite food.”“…Favorite?” Anya had to actually think about that one. “…Do I have to pick one? I like a lot of things.”“Favorite meat, then.”“Pork. Bacon, sausage, whatever. I’d kill and eat a pig raw I like it that much. It’s best with eggs, though. Eggs, cheese, bacon, pepper…” Anya was making herself horrifically hungry. “Any meat’s great though, really. You don’t get a ton of it in Sosaldt though, unless it’s chicken or some other sort of bird. Whatever big animal ranchers there are don’t like getting near the central territories, so the only thing that’s beef is dried up jerky, which is okay, I guess. I think the only sort of meat I don’t like is Living Stones; things are nasty as they look. Though once you step on one of the digging ones and they tear up your boot, if you don’t eat them, it’s like they won, you know?”Hilda didn’t seem like she was listening, but Anya liked talking about this stuff, anyways. After Anya stopped on the subject of meat, Hilda looked back up at the same space she kept looking at, and asked Anya something odd. “Look up there,” she pointed, “Can you see something there?”Anya looked. “Uh…the ceiling?”“Oh.” Hilda said blankly. “Never mind then.”Weird. Anya was encouraged, though; she was getting actual words out of this broad. Plenty of time during this train trip to dry and drag more out…
-----“In the recent conflict in Valsten,” the officer said as he led you out of the building and towards what looked to be a warehouse, “We procured more than a few interesting pieces of equipment. Vehicles and weapons that were not fully in use yet, as well as what seem to be prototypes that were undergoing field trials. We took what we could, naturally, though we have some types that are redundant, or that we can’t learn much from anyways. So we decided that they’d be best used elsewhere.”“You’ve giving me said types, then.” You surmised.“You were part of Von Blum’s formations, right? These will be a downgrade in that case, but they are capable enough.” The IO Officer explained as he put a hand on the door of the warehouse, having flashed an identification to a bored looking guard. “Most of these are speculated to be potential replacements for the quite aged VPw-5 type light tank. A long needed replacement, of course.”A belated replacement indeed. The VPw-5 was a heavily modified and upgraded variant of an ancient model of Grossreich light tank from all the way back at the conclusion of the Emrean War. That it remained a part of inventories so long was a testament to its quality…and the cost of modernization.“As the Army is looking at phasing out the current model of m/28 from service, there will be an investment of money at some point, whether it is to simply rearm the current models, or to replace them with another model altogether,” the officer went on, “While these prototypes are currently of little use collecting dust, because of your good work, apparently, these models have been released for your use. For the good of collecting field data, of course, as well as themselves not betraying any of the Archduchy’s production secrets that we ill need to give over to one so recently a rival.”Translation; you weren’t allowed to bring your m/32. It didn’t make you feel very good, still, as the protection of supernaturally resilient armor was the sort of thing that one would never, ever want to surrender, but alas. This assignment would probably be much calmer than Sosaldt had been. You hoped. Even if it might bore Anya some.Oh, who were you kidding, something awful would definitely happen. The mission probably counted on something terrible taking place.
You were led into the warehouse, and what you saw was confusing. “Are these all taken apart?” you asked; there were hulls, but the turrets were mostly off, and the tanks were in varying states of disassembly. Their shapes were interesting, in varying shapes, and thicknesses, though for “light” tanks they all seemed relatively large.“Some are as they were found, others have been found to be flexible in potential.” The officer said simply, “These vehicles will be following you to your destination in Netilland…rather, Ellowie, whose land was recently annexed by the former. However, they will be somewhat delayed, which will allow for some preferred modification to take place, if you like.”“Modification..?” you prompted.“To armor and armament.” The officer specified, “Although these tanks were made to be light and fast, if lighter armament is placed on them, more weight can be committed to additional armor. Likewise, heavier armament will mean less potential for improvement of armor. Strossvald’s armory is at your disposal for such. Your use of them does, after all, constitute as a sort of set of trials.”“Right.”“Of course, going through the whole armory right off would be…laborious,” the officer said, “So we will generalize first. Would you prefer armor, or weaponry? Or perhaps you would do a mix of both? I suppose it would depend on your preferences…”>I think I prefer survivability over heavy armament. Have these light tanks turned into something more durable, and tell me what I can mount on them.>These are light tanks, yes? Even if they’re rather large, looking from the size of the turret to be five man crews? They’ll never be satisfactorily armored, I’d like to maximize on punching power.>Can I mix it up? (ratio of how many tanks out of the three you have crews for, as well as two spares)>Other concerns?Doodles will be forthcoming, after lunch.
>>2733026>These are light tanks, yes? Even if they’re rather large, looking from the size of the turret to be five man crews? They’ll never be satisfactorily armored, I’d like to maximize on punching power.Are we expected to fight heavy armor? if so upgun it to the closest thing we can get to a pak44 equivalent. Ideally as some sort of military attache we won't need to use it, but if we do, we can stay back and support the Netillian formations from range.If what were facing is expected to be lightly armored tanks and vehicles like we just saw in Sosaldt, we might as well just equip it with twin or quad Autocannons.
>>2733026>>These are light tanks, yes? Even if they’re rather large, looking from the size of the turret to be five man crews? They’ll never be satisfactorily armored, I’d like to maximize on punching power.If we're going up against stuff like T-15s again I think we'd better make sure we have guns that can penetrate them.
>>2733026>>These are light tanks, yes? Even if they’re rather large, looking from the size of the turret to be five man crews? They’ll never be satisfactorily armored, I’d like to maximize on punching power.I sort of like the autocannon idea. But I think it would be useful for us to be reminded of Richter's knowledge of what kinds of tanks are most common in Netilland and Twaryi before we make any decisions.
I have returned and am getting to work on the stuff.>>2733128>Are we expected to fight heavy armor?You're not particularly expecting anything at this point in time- though the Twaryians do use T-15 tanks which you have experience with as being rather tough unless you go for their weak points.> if so upgun it to the closest thing we can get to a pak44 equivalent.Yeah those aren't a thing yet.>>2733300I'll slot that in with the doodle.
So with the reich facing food shortages, tensions running high and it's internal states pulling in their own directions it's going to crumble and soon. Meanwhile the island's other countries are all in varying states of war now that they know that the reich bogeyman won't blitz them from behind.We're looking at an imminent world war aren't we? The great fear of Alexander is what kept them all in check.Good thing our country is allowed to perform war crimes.
>>2733026>>These are light tanks, yes? Even if they’re rather large, looking from the size of the turret to be five man crews? They’ll never be satisfactorily armored, I’d like to maximize on punching power.>>2733753*doesn't perform. The Archduchy never breaks the law.
“These are light tanks, yes?” you asked. “Even though they’re rather large to be such?” Most “light tanks” weren’t supposed to have a crew of five, so far as you knew. These tanks were rather larger than an m/28, though not particularly in height so much as width and general stockiness; they were all quite low slung vehicles. “If they’re light, despite being this size, they’ll never be satisfactorily armored, so I’d like to maximize their firepower, especially given the possibility of T-15 type tanks. What are my options?”You knew most of your options already; you merely hoped that the IO would inform you of any new arrivals that had come in your absence, because Strossvald’s armory was distressingly short on effective countermeasures to the T-15’s frontal armor. Even the Von Blum model of m/32’s 4.7cm cannon had difficulty, and that was the strongest anti-tank cannon in the arsenal. Anti-armor shells from heavy anti-aircraft guns, as well as from medium howitzers, would likely be effective, but mounting those on these tanks would be…infeasible.“If focus were placed on heavier armament, the options are as such. There is, of course, the 4.7 centimeter cannon you are familiar with, though I imagine that would be quite a hindrance in these turrets due to its size. There is also the more economically sized 4 centimeter cannon of Naukland design, as well as a newly produced and bought 5 centimeter cannon of the same sort, larger bored yet less bulky than the 4.7, though it is slightly weaker. Lower velocity. Then there is the 8 centimeter close support gun, similarly bulky to the 4.7, but likely of more flexible use because of an experimental ammunition type.”Most of the 4.7 cm cannon’s bulk came from its sturdily built back end, as well as the length of the shells themselves. To be truthful, the bulk was likely unnecessary, but that was the way the gun was. The 8cm development intrigued you, though. “Experimental ammunition type?”“Cannon projected High Explosive Plastic shot. Another weapon seized from Valsten. Our technicians had been working on our own similar project, but capturing the work of the southerners vastly refined our program. Its principle is upon nullifying the effect of armor, by transmitting energy through it and compromising its integrity on the other side of the armor, causing large amounts of spalling. Full production is expected to begin in two months, though you will be able to be provided with a limited batch.”
“Interesting.” That would certainly make the 8 centimeter, as well as potential other weaponry operating on the same principle, much more effective against hard targets. However, the 8 centimeter howitzer you knew of was a weapon of rather low velocity, and thus less effective than the 4.7 centimeter, or the new 5 centimeter, in all likelihood.“Also,” the officer cleared his throat, “With the larger armaments…the 4.7 centimeter and upwards, save for the 6 centimeter mountain gun. Their size requires the deletion of the coaxial machine gun. If this is problematic…”“Of course.” You interrupted. No coaxial for heavies, hm? It would leave three of the models rather vulnerable. Two had hull guns; one model with the hull gun that had its turret still had that odd Valsten quirk of the commander’s cupola with a machine gun slung on the side, so that was two. The others lacked hull guns, so stripping their potential coaxials…well, you’d keep that in consideration. “What about the light equipment? In case I want that?”“Well, there are the 13 millimeter machine guns, of course, as well as 2 centimeter automatic cannons…such things could be twinned. There is also the 2.5 centimeter cannon, the 3.7 centimeter cannon, and the 6 centimeter low velocity howitzer. Those and what I mentioned earlier are what could fit simply in a turret of suitable size for these tanks, both those already mounted and any planned for such, though I suppose larger could be placed upon the hulls…theoretically. That would be a rather improvised and haphazard procedure, hardly ideal, I believe, for you.”“We’ll see.” You continued to look the things over.The tanks themselves were of mixed sort; two appeared similar to two others, as far as hulls went, however, as you’d noticed earlier, they lacked turrets. You asked about the circumstances of this to the officer, who explained that they had been recovered without them.“Replacements are being fitted for them, based off of vehicles we have in our inventory.” He said. “Their hulls are proper armor, do not fret. Tests were done for the composition and hardness of their steel. A good thing, too; one of the ones in here at one point was a mild steel prototype, unsuited for battle.”“Spare parts?” you queried.“Available, but limited. If you do end up breaking any vehicles beyond repair, replacements will be available, but they will likely be of Netillian make, or surplus vehicles. Nothing as well made as these.”
That statement made you already wary of even using the things. The m/32s had lasted as long as they had, though, surely your crews could make these last as well? The support would be much better at the very least, than the last mission. The men of the Republic tried their best, but there was so much more an actual army was capable of than they had been back when you were first readying the 1st Republic Armor Battalion. You examined the tanks further. Two looked rather mundane, another two had their turrets (well, one, the other was missing) situated quite far back; explained as the engine being in front. The last had a strange, sheer angled cast hull that made the thing look like a slipper.“A new type. Valsten has not produced fully cast hulls often.” The officer said. Cast armor was not new, but it was flawed. Imperfections would cause it to be weaker on average, but creative engineers could exploit the ability to shape the molten metal however they wanted to create angles impossible to replicate with plate. Of course, this was still a rather light tank, from your understanding. Hopefully the strange shaping would make up for it.Although…“So these are supposed to be classified light tanks, yes? Yet they crew five, are this size, so if their weaponry was heavier, and, or, their armor was thicker, would they not be medium tanks?”The Intelligence Officer stared at you. “It really isn’t my business.”“And if I were to mount light armament on anything…”“It would have weight free to up-armor them, yes.”“Hm.”So you thought about what you’d be encountering. It’d be simple enough if it was just Netilland and Twaryi, but there was a key other factor at play here; both countries were occupying Ellowie, and that was probably where you would be. The likelihood of Ellowian armor still being about was quite a factor. Ellowian armor…well if you went up against Ellowian armor, you either would have to get close or use the 4.7, or an 8 cm with the new munitions. Ellowians were known for building their armor tough, and to a high quality standard; perhaps a tactic that hadn’t served them in the long run, but it made their tanks famously durable and difficult to deal with if they were properly supported.
Netillian armor on the other hand had tended towards light, quick, and cheap, with new theory being to swamp enemies in mechanized formations, a tactic quite helped by Netilland’s vast oil reserves. Few of their repertoire would be resilient to anything heavier than the 2.5 centimeter, but they were also supposed to be your allies; though you supposed captured allied armor was a possibility. Twaryian armor, was something you were theoretically well familiar with, since you’d fought mostly those in your career. A varied mix between quite light, and heavy, often intermixed with one another to support each other. In short, either easily dispatched T-8s, or annoyingly tough T-15s, and who knew if the Twaryians had brought out anything new in the meantime. If they had…well, the 4.7 cm would be the best chance to dispatch those, in theory, but as the officer had said, you would be decreasing your capabilities to deal with infantry by taking such armament.Ah, decisions, decisions. It would depend if you were more focused on being flexible, or on potentially keeping to leaving the grunt work to your future underlings and keeping back to only deal with the most threatening enemies. If you weren’t simply called in to deal with everything anyways.There was also the matter with 4.7 cm cannons...you could fire the hellfire shells out of those, if you were to request for those to be delivered. Would those be needed, though? And did you feel confident in being protected against its blast without the Armor of Fate guarding you? Maddalyn had said being a fair distance away and behind tank armor would protect you...>You have five tanks. You may arm them as you see fit.>Other concerns?Sorry this took so long, I might be being slowed down by being tired, and by having a crick in my neck and arm that hasn't gone away for a couple days. Also probably from trying to design three new tank types on the fly. Which is why I have no picture, I didn't want to delay any further. Maybe next post.
>>2734973Just want to check how readily available ammunition resupply will be for all the guns? The 8cm HESH sounds interesting but a bit risky if we can't get a steady supply of them. Plus the standard round's performance is worse than the 47mm or 50mm right?
>>2735079You'll be able to be resupplied, but the High Explosive Plastic, due to its currently very limited production, will most likely be in quite short supply. You shouldn't expect to fill your stores with them, for example.And yes, the standard shell is worse than those other two, though a high explosive shot may do damage where a solid shot might not, after all.
>>2734973>>2735127Okay then:3x tanks armed with the 5cm gun2x tanks armed with the 8cm gun
>>2733010>Emma coaching Hilda in making friendsAdorable.>>2734973>4x 5cm gun>1x 8cm gunWe only have a limited supply of HESH ammo so let's not split it between two guns.
>>2735250I'll switch to this if it comes to a tie.
What if we go with 3 5cm guns, one 8cm and give the weird shoe tank a twin 20mm to act as a scout/close support dude.Also I just wanted to make sure that the 5cm gun lets us keep the coaxial. Also is there any practical benefit of the 4cm over the 5cm?
>>2735392I was thinking for the coaxials if we can't mount them we could instead mount MGs on top of our vehicles. Of course the gunner will be exposed but at least we still retain a limited capability.
>>2734973Request combat helmets, body armor and flak jackets for the crews and officers. Considering the relative lightness of our mechanized armor, everyone’s more vulnerable now.
Alright, I'm up. Dropping some info then I'll lock in vote in a few hours when I'm properly awake and fit for running, such as it is.>>2735392>Also I just wanted to make sure that the 5cm gun lets us keep the coaxial. Also is there any practical benefit of the 4cm over the 5cm?The 5cm gun will not let you keep the coaxial, the 4cm will. There's not a great deal of difference between 3.7 cm and 4 cm other than that the Netillians use the latter more; a detail I shamefully forgot to include.The deal with the difference between the 5 cm and the 4.7 cm is that the 4.7 is slightly more powerful, but bulky as hell; space would be at a rather serious premium, where the slightly weaker but less overbuilt 5 cm would be more comfortable and ergonomic. Both guns are larger than these tanks were designed for, but one takes up less space.>>2735517Helmets sure (though tank crew aren't issued helmets and infantry helms aren't well suited to the interior) but Strossvald doesn't really use body armor, that would be easier to acquire on site in the future since Ellowie did use respectable quantities of plate. If you wanted them anyways there are commercially available vests and such, but the IO won't buy them for you. That's on your budget.
I think it would be a good idea to have at least one tank capable of firing the Hellfire shells, we are going into an area that will be flooded with Oblitares Wizards and without Maddy we have no real other defense against them or their supernatural bullshit.One of the 5cm guns could become a 4.7 for this purpose Otherwise I support>>2735392We are probably going to want some versatility out there even with the Netilland army backing us up.Make sure to ask them to stock us up with plenty of smoke and flares. I leave it up to other anons if we want a flammenwerfer.>Other concerns?Are there any infantry mortars available? Either that or we may want one tank with the 6cm howitzer. The T-15 we had was fantastic for fixed structures and we want to be able to lob over hills.What kind of aircraft does Netilland and Ellowie, Twaryi deploy? Spotter balloons may be a little much to expect to be available for us, but maybe we can hire a pilot in Netilland.Do we want to keep our spare gold here or bring it with us?
>>2735630>No coaxialThen I vote for1x 8cm3x 5 cm1x twin 20mm autocannon
One more thing:any designations for these prototypes? We should probably give them if there aren't any just for ease of reference.
>>2735882Designate them by the armament caliber.
>>2735882They lack any official nomenclature, as of yet; beside what Valsten called them, all of them being XNmPz- XNmPz C1 and 2, E, and F1 and 2. A mouthful, naturally. This may be changed in the future, unless you'd prefer less clinical names.
>>2735988Maybe to simplify it just XM1-5?
You looked over each tank, thought, then came up with what you thought to be a solid decision. “I want three of them to be armed with the 5 centimeter cannon. One of them I want to have an 8 centimeter howitzer, with as many of the plastic shots as I can get, and one of them I want equipped with twinned 2 centimeter cannons, for the purposes of destroying light vehicles and other soft targets at close range.”The officer wrote all this down on a pad. “Are there other matters?”“Well,” you thought, thinking of the vulnerability a lack of coaxial machine guns posed, “I suppose if I wanted any other weaponry, for example, small arms…”“You would request them from the army proper. The Netillian army, that is. All we will do for you is concerning these tanks.”“I see.” Part of you had been tempted to arm one of the tanks with a 4.7 centimeter cannon, in order to possibly make use of the hellfire shells, which you could have tried to get back. It would be your most effective defense against the Oblitares soulbinders sure to be prowling about, but you decided that the preferable way to deal with that would be to do your best not to provoke them at all. How many could there be over how much area, after all? Maybe you could be lucky enough to not even have one come near you. As for other support, since you were working with an army, after all, you counted on having any gaps in your capabilities filled. Though it would have been nice to have more at your direct fingertips- maybe a mercenary pilot would be about for you to use in Netilland? Mercenary pilots were relatively prevalent in some places, after all; though they usually flew the planes of others rather than flying their own, unless they were a particularly significant (often nation-backed) company. “If there is anything else, submit them later. This assignment isn’t particularly exciting, after all…at least, it’s not supposed to be at first.” The Intelligence Officer put away his notebook. “For now, I will escort you to your temporary quarters. I’ll have a form for you to fill out regarding getting you new clothing. The same will be given to your assembly, when they arrive.”
The Intelligence Office had a vacant house that it apparently used for situations like this, and it would be where you and your people would lounge about until you got carted off to Netilland for this next mission. Of course, you were the only one there, at first, and it was annoyingly free of books…besides old newspapers, dirty magazines and puzzle books whose answers had already been filled in; some generous soul had tried to erase all of the answers, but the indentations of past pencils meant that the numbers and letters were already in all of the boxes. So you picked up a dirty magazine, flipped past some scantily clad women…then the next batch of pages were turned out to have somehow been stuck together. The disgusting thing was transported to the nearest garbage receptacle. Thank you, Intelligence Office, for having such luxurious accommodations prepared. Hopefully nobody had to stay in here for long, you thought as you stretched out on a cushioned bench.Should you take your gold with you on this mission, you wondered. The gold, the shells, and the tank had all been entrusted to Maddalyn and her family, apparently, but maybe you wanted those riches? Just in case? Or would it be better to accept such as a well-deserved reward rather than a resource? Perhaps you’d need it, perhaps you wouldn’t, perhaps something awful would happen to it all if you took it from safe hands…>Request the gold to be sent to you>Keep the gold at home.>Have a portion of gold exchanged for paper money; not as alluring, but still potentially useful. (About how much?)>Other things?>>2736031If you like, though maybe you all could decide what you want to call them. They are, after all, yours, as you were chosen to be their guardian.
>>2737139>>Have a portion of gold exchanged for paper money; not as alluring, but still potentially useful. (About how much?)1/3rd? Of which 2/3s of that is in cash.
>>2737194>>2737139Supporting, it’s good to have money to grease some wheels. Could we liquidate the gold and jewels we looted off the fat officer and his mistress in Todesfelsen or have they already been incorporated into our small nest egg?
>>2737194Supporting as well.
>>2738036As far as I looked back, you didn't loot anything off of Hagan, though you do still have the valuable junk you pocketed from the laboratory back in the Blumlands, which is just as decorative and composed of rare metals. Anyways, writing.
Part and part, you decided. One third of the gold would be delivered, and of that two-thirds would be in paper bills and coinage. It wouldn’t be much trouble to convert to Netillian Kuldr, at least, if those you were going to assist were intending to be of any help whatsoever. A request would be prepared to give to the Intelligence Office; if you were going to be doing a lot of “watching and waiting” anyways, there surely wouldn’t be any rush. In some time, your compatriots for the coming mission arrived, and after you told them all a basic overview of what was going to be happening, and that they’d have to wait, you let them all be. Many found out just as quickly as you had that there was naught to do, especially in the presence of all the others. A few adventurous folk peeked at the girly mags, but they were either too used or not properly grabbing of the attention, or perhaps peer pressure had proved too much, for them to linger long on them.
“Yo. Lieutenant, or whatever I’m supposed to call you.” It was Anya. “I signed the papers that other guy said I should fill out. I’mofficially your hired hand, now.” Anya held out your copy of such documents dramatically. “Not used to filling these out myself, to be honest, so you’d better not be ripping me off with whatever’s here, you got it?”“I’ll match any competing offers,” you said. Though you didn’t really have the sort of money to pay both her as well as Hilda; not that the latter ever asked for any pay. You anticipated Anya not being so tolerant of that. “Yeah. So.” Anya put her hand on her hip and tilted a bit to the side, splaying a leg out. “Since we’re not doing anything here right now anyways. I hear you took on Nash of the Night Beasts in a bar fight. Pretty gutsy. Though you got your ass thrown through a piano. Not so cool.”You frowned. “I suppose not.”Anya clapped her hands and smiled, “So! You really suck at getting down and dirty, and don’t say you don’t, ‘cause I talked to a few people and they all agree you could use a helping hand. And I need a sparring partner. What do you say?”…Anya didn’t seem like that good a match of an opponent. She was a woman, for one, and though she was strong of body she was lithe, not some broad lumberjack’s wife babushka who looked like she could break trees as well as her husband. The top of her head also only came up to just below your nose, as well. She wasn’t nearly as short as Maddalyn, but she was still plenty smaller than you.“Would that be fair?” you put all that briefly, and politely, in a few words.“No,” Anya admitted, with an evil smirk, “I’d have to hold back a whole lot.”“Funny.”“Oh yeah? What, you afraid of having your ass kicked by a girl?” Anya challenged, still looking cocky as hell, “C’mon. Don’t try and weasel out of it. Next guy fixing to kick your ass might not be satisfied with throwing you throw the nearest convenient furniture.”>Fine. But you’d better not complain about it.>You’re right, I do need practice. But I’d prefer to spar with my crew, or perhaps Von Metzeler.>What need do I have to learn to fight with my hands better? I can just shoot everything.>Other?Be picking this up and finishing tomorrow or the day after that; I have a flight to pack for and catch for tonight.
>>2738254>>Fine. But you’d better not complain about it.Step on me
>>2738254>Fine. But you’d better not complain about it.Beat our fucking face in, Anya.
>>2738254>Fine. But you’d better not complain about it.How muffy.
>>2738254>>Fine. But you’d better not complain about it.
>>2738254>Fine. But you’d better not complain about it.
“Fine,” you said to Anya concerning her offer to spar, to “teach” you, “But you’d better not complain about it later."Anya smiled broadly and punched you in the chest, “Yeah, back at you, skinny. Let’s get out on the grass, then.”Anya started leading you out, gesturing impatiently, and you felt the need to ask her a few things. “So, I have to mention, I am a trained soldier…”“Sad, if true.”You ignored the slight. “So, of course, I haven’t seen you actually fight, so how do I know you’re as good as you say?”Anya stopped as you were both just out of the door. “Hey. Who do you think taught me how to fight?”“…my un-““Your uncle, yes.” Anya snapped. “Hell Gitt was a badass, and if you’re thinking of talking down his technique, I’ll sock you. Got it?”“I wouldn’t think of it.”“Good.” With that, Anya pulled her loose white shirt over her head.“Woah, woah, wait!” you threw your hands up, “What in the world are you doing?”Anya squinted at you like you were mentally deficient. “I’m not going to spar in that thing, it’s too loose. Too easy to grab.” Anya pointed to the tight, black undershirt she now wore, pulling a thick shoulder strap to demonstrate how closely fitted it was…not that you didn’t believe that it was tight. Tight over her body, her corded shoulders, cutting off just above her stomach… “Also, I don’t want to tear it. It’s a comfy shirt, and my wardrobe’s not stocked at all, what with…What, haven’t you seen a belly button before?”“What?” you said to Anya’s navel.Anya stepped up and flicked you on the nose, and shoved your chin up. “Hey, numbskull, eyes’re up here. Don’t guys take their shirts off before fighting too?” She put her hands on her hips, but her expression was humored, if anything.“Well, yes, but,”“Then cool off. And take your jacket off, unless you want that even more stained than it already is.”“Right.” You humbly followed Anya to a square of grass in between buildings, after divesting yourself of your coat. “So, er,”
“Take a stance,” Anya said. You did, and she moved around you, pushing you a few times. “Awful. What the hell is this? You’re stiff as a rock. No, don’t give me that look, retard. Let me show you.” Anya knocked aside one of your guarding arms; she didn’t even push very hard, you were just caught off guard; you had hardly anticipated her being so fast. Her other fist blew forward, and stopped just short of your throat. “You know tactics, don’t you? Your body has to have energy just like a formation does. You’re a fighter, not a wall. You’re not nearly hard enough to even pretend that,” Anya pushed her hand into your breast and then your stomach as she said this, firmly poking you.“Well-“ you tried to interject.“Hold on, I’m not done.” Anya put up her own guard, her knees slightly bent, and put one hand under her chin, the other across her body, “Come at me. Try and hit me. Like you mean it.”Anya’s split lip had only just disappeared, and you didn’t particularly want to give her another one, especially since it had only been almost two weeks since she’d been seriously wounded. “Are you sure?” you asked.“I’ve taken a punch from you before,” Anya taunted you, “I think I’ll be just fine.”“Hmph.” You loosed your arm a bit, and then leaned forward and threw a jab, aiming for the right of her chest. Anya ducked back easily and let your strike whiff at air.“What sort of punch was that?” Anya demanded, “Your feet didn’t move, like, at all. You’re not a boulder. Actually try, instead of swiping at me like a pissy housecat.”Alright, you thought, taking a quick suck of air, move, then. Put your body behind your strike. You had been taught that…but no effort had gone into making it stick. Recalling your days in basic, you made another attempt for Anya’s chest. You were fast, powerful, like a train, and you had thought that maybe you’d been too forceful as you threw yourself forward, only for Anya to shift sideways, letting you graze past, before she grabbed you by the side and swung you around, throwing you into the ground.
“Pah!” you let out a gasp, picking yourself off the grass, “Fine, fine. I understand what I did wrong there.”“I’m not a moron, I know you’re bigger and stronger than I am,” Anya said, yanking you back up to your feet, “I put my strengths against your weaknesses though, and suddenly I’m throwing you about. I heard you tried to keep your distance against Nash. But you can’t hit him if you aren’t close, yeah? Just like my arms are shorter than yours, so I need to be well within your reach. Just because the other guy thinks he’s got the advantage, though, you’ve got him where you want him. You get?”You were only half listening, considering instead how you’d show this blonde waif what for this next round. She was right; you were bigger and stronger than she was. If you got your arms around her, could she escape a grapple? Just like Nash had grabbed you and you couldn’t get out, maybe you could do the same here. Or maybe you could swing instead of jabbing, so she couldn’t move out of the strike area as easily…or maybe a feint? Would she-A massive force collided with your shins suddenly, and you cried out a wimpy yowl as you lost balance, before being sent to the ground as Anya leapt forward and rammer her shoulder into your chest. You dizzily looked up at the sky, flat on your back, as Anya stepped up and planted her foot in the middle of your chest. “Hello? Were you trying to figure out how to take me on? Think faster, peanut brain!”That smugness was irritating, and oddly distracting. Though you noticed that Anya’s stance was now uneven…Though still. For some reason, you couldn't shake the feeling that...you were fighting worse than you should have. Like you knew less what you should have been doing. Your brain was turning over more slowly, and you couldn't think of why...>”Thank you, m’am, may I have another?”>Pull Anya’s leg down and try to wrestle her down>Throw yourself up to try and knock her off balance>No tricks; get back up and start again from normal. She got you.>Other?
>>2739662>No tricks; get back up and start again from normal. She got you.
>>2739662Time to think faster guys>Pull Anya’s leg down and try to wrestle her downUse that she's unbalanced. Fights aren't fair.
>>2739662>>No tricks; get back up and start again from normal. She got you.
>>2739662>>No tricks; get back up and start again from normal. She got you.>tfw we lose the skills that were brainwashed into us and it turns out we just suck at everything
A sigh left your lips. “Alright. You got me.” You said, still flat on your back and feeling Anya’s boot pressing ever more firmly into your chest, “Can I get back up now and try again?”“I don’t know,” Anya said mockingly, leaning into you with her foot, “Can you?” She offered no resistance though as you brushed her foot off and sat up. “You aren’t even trying to fight dirty. There’s some people you can’t win against fair and square, you know.”“An honorable route would be preferable, in my opinion,” You put yourself further up, into a squat, balancing on your heels. “Not that I think advantages shouldn’t be used, but there are rules that must be followed, no matter the situation.”“Anyways, I was thinking you would try and grab my leg and pull me down or something.”“If it was that obvious, would it have been smart for me to do it?”“No,” Anya took your arm and pulled you the rest of the way back up, “But it would have been better than lying down and giving up. Like I was saying earlier, if you surrendered and I didn’t want to let you up, what else were you going to do?”“Keep lying down in the grass until you got tired of it, I guess.”“Yeah, I bet, smartass. No, like if it was for real.”“Do you want me to do this like it’s for real?” you asked incredulously. Anya blew her hair out of her face in a loud and vindictive scoff. “I don’t want you to try and kill me, obviously, though at this rate you might end up doing that without meaning. But I need to see you give it your all, or I don’t know how much I can help.”You just stared at her. “…How on earth did my uncle train you?”“I passed out three times in the first training session.” Anya said as if there was nothing wrong with what she’d said.“I’ll have to remind myself to not parent like my uncle did. Oof!” Anya socked you in the side for that comment. “Break time’s over! Come at me again! Like you mean it!”Some of your familiar speed of thought had come back again, maybe because you’d already pondered some routes of attack. Anya squared her guard in the way she had before, one hand high and the other low, and seemed to wait for your attack.>Advance deliberately and try to grabble her; you could weather her strikes as well as she could yours, you wagered, and once you got your paws on her it was over.>She was waiting for you to come at you; why advance at all? Put up your own guard and force a standoff.>Maybe trying to plan things out was wrong; attack furiously and without relenting, you’d either get her or tire her out or surprise her at some point.>Other?
>>2740163>Advance deliberately and try to grabble her; you could weather her strikes as well as she could yours, you wagered, and once you got your paws on her it was over.
>>2740163>She was waiting for you to come at you; why advance at all? Put up your own guard and force a standoff.
>>2740163Sweet baby Jesus that midriff.>>She was waiting for you to come at you; why advance at all? Put up your own guard and force a standoff.Pretend we are still stuck in wall mode, but be ready to jab for a side she's not striking from.
>>2740163>>She was waiting for you to come at you; why advance at all? Put up your own guard and force a standoff.
>>2739650>Richter is a stomach manPatrician taste>>2740163>Advance aggressively, but don't put our body behind the strikes to prevent the repeat of the last time. Do quick jabs at the face to distract her while seeking to enter the grapple with the other hand.
>>2740163>>Advance deliberately and try to grabble her; you could weather her strikes as well as she could yours, you wagered, and once you got your paws on her it was over.She's smaller and faster so we should use our size to our advantage rather than trying to beat her at her own game.
>>2740163>>Advance deliberately and try to grabble her; you could weather her strikes as well as she could yours, you wagered, and once you got your paws on her it was over.
So I'll be out for a lot of today, unfortunately, but I'll post when I'm on my way back.
Alright I'm on my way back, should be writing again in forty five minutes but it's LA roads so traffic is...well about that consistent.
Alright, you managed to finish your plan of attack this time, you were larger than Anya, of course, so you could try and grapple her; you wagered you could take her strikes as well as she could take yours, but if you got you paws on her, your superior strength would triumph. You stiffened, and Anya shifted slightly in response as she anticipated your advance, but you didn’t just charge in like a fool. Instead, you swiped at her face repeatedly; none of the strikes were intended to hit, and it kept Anya dodging- though you noticed as she whipped about, she had her eyes firmly on your own as you grew closer and closer to her- she wasn’t backing away from you, victory was almost yours!You swiped inwards, half expecting Anya to suddenly leap back, but she didn’t; you had your fists clenched around her upper arms. Now, all you had to do was hold her, although…was she just letting you do this?>roll up to 3 sets of 1d100 to grapple, averaged, DC roll under 30
Rolled 69 (1d100)>>2742870
Rolled 48 (1d100)>>2742870
Rolled 89 (1d100)>>2742870
Better hope Richter never has to fight in hand to hand for Real again... he seems as threatening as a teddy Bear
>>2742884That's why we are learning now.So we can be a slightly bit tougher teddy bear.
>>2742884Side note: how good are we with a blade?
>Roll Average: 69Wew LadAnya twisted out of your grip almost immediately, and stuck a palm directly into your solar plexus. Your lungs heaved, but it felt like no air came in, and Anya let you try and grope for her again, this time grabbing one arm and pulling you in. One moment you were upright, the next you were upside down, and then you were on your back again, still gasping as your breathing returned to normal. Anya at least didn’t demean you by stepping on you this time as she yanked you to your feet.“Well that was the wrong thing to do,” she chastised.You glared at her. “What was the right thing to do?”“If I just told you, you wouldn’t learn, would you?” Anya said, still in a fighting stance. She jumped at you and swept you off your feet again with another blow to your ankles, sending you toppling over.“Oof! Hey!” you complained, “I wasn’t ready yet!”Your objection was ignored as Anya took hold of your arm and jammed her knee into your ribs, and before you knew it her leg was over your neck, and her knees were jamming your shoulder bones together as she yanked your arm straight. Your arm felt like it was caught in a tread.“Get the idea?” Anya asked. You did, although all you said in response was a muttered curse. “Grabbing me’s a good idea. Letting me move isn’t. Now are you going to try and get out of this, or are you going to give up again?”>No, giving up sounds like a good idea, at the moment.>Struggle>Bite her>Other?>>2742890The skill amount is 1, compared to hunting (read: shooting) which is a 6. Basically, you know how you're supposed to use it, but you won't be beating anybody other than a novice. If, for example, Von Metzeler took you on, you would have your ass handed to you sort of like you are now. Fencing and CQC were rolled up in the same stat in the skill selection though.
>>2742896>No, giving up sounds like a good idea, at the moment.
>>2742896>>Bite herIf we're going to play dirty must as well.
>>2742896Also out of curiosity can you give us all our skill values?
>>2742896>>No, giving up sounds like a good idea, at the moment.I'm pretty sure there's nothing we can actually do at this point besides flail uselessly so I think we should try and convince her to give us some tips first even if she doesn't want it to go that way.
>>2742896>Bite herHaving our arm dislocated will be a learning experience!
>>2742906Sure.>You took particular interest in studying…>World History-1>Sosalian History-1>War Theories-5>Centerfolds-1.5>Your hobbies were (pick two)>Horseback Riding-2>Hunting-6>Delinquency-0>Fencing-1>Hiking-2>Wargames-4These weren't averaged, they were all counted up from the votes. Messy? Very much so, but it did give desired results.To summarize, though, Richter has a razor focus on war history, tactical theory, and the general art of war, with about as much interest in general studies as he does in pornography. What a guy. He's also really good at shooting, and is generally skilled in field craft and survival skills. Don't ask what delinquency would have done because I'm not actually sure anymore.
>>2742896Bite tomboy thigh and get our arm broken or do the smart thing and reset.Hard call.
The way Anya had said give up again irritated you; a Von Tracht did not merely give up! But what could you do in this situation? Anya had one side of you practically paralyzed, with the crook of her leg over your neck. Inspiration came from instinct though, as you tested your teeth together, and wondered how much this idea would hurt Anya…and by extension, you. You opened your mouth wide and sank your teeth into Anya’s thighs through her trousers.Anya yelped. “Oww!! Ow! What the hell? Are you…are you biting me, you turd?” You said a muffled response with your mouth still full of tomboy leg. Anya responded to that by yanking hard on your arm; an uncomfortable *pop*, and your shoulder felt funny, then it hurt a hell of a lot.“Auugghh…” you groaned as you clutched at your shoulder feebly, letting Anya’s thigh out of your teeth, “Did you…did you just dislocate my shoulder? Why?”“You bit me! Anya complained again, as she stood up and rolled up her trouser leg, “I’m bleeding!”“Yeah, I don’t think I’m responsible for any bleeding on your part. Ow!” Your smarmy comment earned you a sharp kick in the leg. “I don’t see how this was proportionate punishment!” you continued to whine.“That really hurt, but biting somebody’s leg won’t hurt them that much. If this were serious you should have tried to get that big blood vessel in my leg with a knife or something.”“I wasn’t aware that I was trying to kill you.”“No,” Anya said, “but biting is dumb unless it’s something you can bite off or tear out and cause a lot of damage. Unless my leg’s really delicious I don’t think you had a chance of that. Now come on, get up, we’re not done.”“My arm..?” you pointed out.“Oh, don’t be such a baby. I’ll fix it.”“I’d rather a trained medical professional do it.”“Shaddup. Let me do it.”
You tried to wriggle away but Anya nabbed you again and set herself to work pushing your arm back into place. After she got you to hold still, she steadily worked it back into place, and a wave of relief his you as your shoulder was once again whole, though there was still a healthy ache in your joint. You considered asking where she learned to do it…though you expected the same answer as usual, really.“Now c’mon.” Anya pulled you up again, “We’ve got more to do.”“I don’t think we do.”“Just another thing. It’ll be good for you, in case you have to fight hurt that way.” You glowered at Anya, but let her continue. “No throwing, no games, I just want you to try and hit me and I’ll try to hit you. Just beat the hell out of each other. All right?”You sighed. “Fine. If it’s the last thing.”“Awright,” Anya put up a familiar guard, bouncing in place. “Come at me, then.”>Roll 3 sets of 1d100; lower is better. Each one will represent how well one stage of your spar goes for either of you.
Rolled 89 (1d100)>>2742973
Rolled 91 (1d100)>>2742973
Rolled 95 (1d100)>>2742973I hope no one was around to see this.
Rolled 84 (1d100)>>2742973Haha, these rolls are beautiful
You took a few swings at Anya, and she let your strikes graze her, before socking you in the chest a few times. This pattern of you ambling around like an idiot trying to hit Anya while she pounded you continued, and you only got more and more tired, feeling ever more similar to a giant walking bruise. Anya pitied you enough to actually land a few solid hits on her, though it was obvious that she wouldn’t have let you get close if she wanted you not to. Those hits were traded for by a few more hits all over your torso, and you had the mind to just give up and let Anya use you as a punching bag, but when you let your arms fall, Anya hit you even harder, so you went back to properly sparring again, as weary as it made you feel. Ultimately, you lost count of how many more times Anya had hit you than you her, and you certainly felt them more than she must have thought of your strikes.Eventually, after you were sure you were more purple than any other color, Anya held back, her breathing quick and deep, sweat streaming off her. “Alright, that was good…good enough, at least. For you. There’s a long way to go, but we’re going somewhere. Slowly.”“I feel like you just beat me up,” you rubbed your sores, “I hope nobody was watching this.” Anya’s exposed skin was slick with sweat, you noticed. It left gleaming trails down her neck, her shoulders, and her smooth yet hard abdomen…“Man, you’re pretty tired,” Anya noted, “Your face is all red. You need something to drink?”Had she noticed you ogling her or not? Damnation, you didn’t intend to, it just…happened. Oh well, it did nobody any harm to simply look, especially if Anya was going to be shirtless anyways. >There’s water in the house, you could just get that. You’d spent enough time with Anya.>You know what the best medicine for all your bruises was? A cold beer. As long as Anya put her shirt back on.>Other?
>>2742984Was Malachi watching this? This is important information, please respond.Oh, and I guess>>There’s water in the house, you could just get that. You’d spent enough time with Anya.Richter seems like the type to sulk like a child after getting his ass beaten by a girl half his size. Also beer is not a hydrater, and Anya would call you a dipshit for it.
>>2742975>>2742976>>2742977>Richter used punch!>Richter hurts himself in confusion
>>2742984>>There’s water in the house, you could just get that. You’d spent enough time with Anya.
>>2742984>There’s water in the house, you could just get that. You’d spent enough time with Anya.>Think on how to get Maddy to excersize her abs.
>>2742984>You know what the best medicine for all your bruises was? A cold beer. As long as Anya put her shirt back on.
>>2742984>You know what the best medicine for all your bruises was? A cold beer. As long as Anya put her shirt back on.How do you not get a cold beer after all that thrashing?
>>2742984>You know what the best medicine for all your bruises was? A cold beer. As long as Anya put her shirt back on
I find it ironic I've managed to get my Bachelor degree in the meantime and this quest is still going.Keep up the good job, OP
Rolled 2 (1d2)>>2743280I got mine while running this. Good job!Yet I still haven't gotten a job since. Not so good job. Oh well.Anyways since we're tied up here I'll roll off. I already had one thing written, but it shouldn't be too long if it goes the other way.
>>2743299The only correct option won!
“I think I do need something to drink,” you wiped sweat out of your eyes, as you started to walk back around the place, “A cold beer. You want to go get one?”“You don’t drink beer after this sort of thing, you drink water.”“Bars have water,” you said defensively, though you knew well that dehydration was not good to tempt. The entryway to the house was reached, and you grabbed Anya’s forlorn shirt of the railing. “Are you a teetotaler?” “I am when I’m around people I wouldn’t trust drunk.” Anya caught her shirt as you threw it back at her, and you stole a last look at her stomach as she slipped it over her head. Though some part of you tried to say that she looked cuter with the baggy shirt…not as cute as Maddalyn of course, no. You’d seen Maddalyn’s midsection as well, even though she was much shyer about showing it. Did that make it more appealing? Who knew? You wondered how much of an exercise regimen you could put your fiancée through to make her firmer. Maddalyn was so thin, and frail, and while that had its own appeal it was part of why you hadn’t taken her along on this. Though a stitch spell wouldn’t have gone unappreciated with all these new twangs and smolders of pain. “Am I trustworthy?” you asked.Anya squinted at you. “Some guy I’ve known for maybe two weeks, in a country I know dick about, with a whole bunch of his friends? Pardon me for still keeping a bit on my toes when it comes to keeping the stuff between my ears at attention.”“I would have hoped that being a gentleman would have scored me some points,” you grumbled.“Eat me. The closest thing to a gentleman I’ve known for the past couple years was a big guy who didn’t even like girls.” Anya turned out towards the street, “’Sides, is biting a gentleman thing? Does Strossvald have a lot of high society vampires?”“That depends on what family you speak of.” You crouched down and looked a Anya’s leg; you had torn a hole in her pants with your teeth, you noted with some embarrassment. “I’m, er, sorry about that.”“Hey.” Anya said curtly, “Look at this.” She pulled her collar over her shoulder and pointed out a bullet hole, then shifted it over and pointed to the one near her neck, then to the massive scar on her face. “Seriously that bite more pissed me off than anything. Though…I guess I liked it better than I would have liked you giving up.”“You like being bitten.”“Yeah, smartass, and you like having your arm yanked out of its socket.”You rubbed your shoulder again sorely. “Anyways, do you want to go?”
Anya shrugged. “Sure, what else am I going to do? Beat you up more? Look at dirty magazines? I’d try and get more out of that Hilda chick, but she’s not in the mood. Not much camaraderie in the redecorated face club it seems.”That was enough of an acceptance for you. You pointed down the street. “I saw an army bar on the way here that isn’t too far. Let’s go there.”-----Anya’s attention was drawn to Strosstadt’s tall buildings as you both walked down the street, and whenever a motorcar passed by she watched it go as well.“That is a nice car,” she said as one fancy dark automobile scooted on by. “These buildings are so tall, and there were even taller ones further in, yeah? I thought the one at Wossehnalia was big, but there’s a whole bunch of other ones here…”“Strosstadt is the capital,” you said, “it’s the heart of economy and industry for the state. It’s a massive city.” Though you didn’t know as much about its history as you should have, you knew that it had quite humble beginnings, and its expansion into an industrial center had actually been the work of Grossreich investors. “Man,” Anya said with wonder as her eyes remained up in the clouds, “I don’t even know how you build something that big. Everything in Sosaldt is squat and ugly, well, ‘cept for Wossehnalia, and the Southern Cities I hear, not that I’ve been there. Maybe the old Reich forts. The air’s different too.”Strosstadt’s infamous pollution, presumably. “It’s rather smoky in the inner city, yes. The outskirts are better.”“It’s not that bad,” Anya said, looking back at you, “I’m used to getting dust in my lungs, smoke’s not any worse.”You led Anya into the bar you noted; it looked to normally be a jazzy place, but this time of day, business was slow, and the pianist was talking up the bartender as you walked in, door jingling behind you.“Uh, afternoon, er…” the bartender led off.“Lieutenant Von Tracht.”“And, uh…”“Retinue.” You said quickly before Anya could roughly make whatever introduction she would have made. “Aight.”“The hell’s a retinue?” Anya asked you under her breath, “Aren’t I a merc?”“A retainer is more prestigious,” you explained. “Trusted confidants of noble officers. Many a lady whose blood was of Von Tracht could name herself such.”“Huh.” Anya sat down at the same time you did, “So what do they do?”“They serve the officer, usually in combat roles. Women are not allowed in combat duties in the Archduchy’s Army, but there are loopholes for those inclined. The Archduke hardly turns away loyal servants, after all. Many of my feminine relatives were fighters as much as the men were.”
“Hm.” Anya seemed interested, “Any of them up and kicking?”“No.” you said, “They all died, as…well, as my family has a habit of doing. My father and I are the only direct descendants of our bloodline who remain. Although retainers are not officially in army structure, their work is quite dangerous. Many of those who would be my sisters and cousins were I born in another time were slain in battle, in service of the nobility.”“So uh, they were just sticking themselves onto these guys? Sounds to me like they were just thirsty. No offense.”“…There was no romantic inclination, I can assure you.” You said, though there was no way you could be certain of such a statement. “Even in the days of the very first one dubbed Von Tracht, he was a mercenary, and in his company all of his family fought.” Perhaps some would say such was a barbarous way of doing things, but you had always been told that it was honor, and a drive for justice. Helman the Silver Lance may have been a sellsword, but he was a noble one and such had been recognized by the Archduchy in its formation.“Shame they’re all pushing daisies then,” Anya looked over to the bartender. “Think I’d rather be a merc than that from the sound of how it goes, again, no offense. Oi! Coupla ‘a waters to start.” Once they were quickly given over, Anya glugged down three quarters of glass of ice water in one go, and heaved a refreshed sigh. “Damn that’s good. So you’re gonna knock up that ginger bitch eventually, yeah? You gonna keep up family traditions if it’s a boy or girl?”You didn’t know the answer to that. “I haven’t thought that far ahead.”“Well, from the sounds of how things usually go for you people,” Anya finished her water and crunched ice between her teeth, “You’d better have some spares lined up. Hell never mentioned that y’all were basically dead. Sheesh.”“One ginger bitch.” The bartender slid a red cocktail before Anya.“No, I didn’t-bah. Whatever.” Anya pushed it over to you. “Hey, could I get milk?”
“Milk?” the bartender turned and cocked an eyebrow, “…Alright.”“Phew, it’s a relief to not get lip about that for once,” Anya leaned forward, resting her chin on her hands.“Retinue unofficially has rank over most enlisted, depending on the officer’s rank,” you said, “At my level, if you were indeed a retainer you would have authority under my name of at least a sergeant.”“Wow, I’m sure glad to be a retainer,” Anya changed her tune. You had drunk half your water, and ordered a plain light beer, which was placed in front of you in short time. Of course, now that you had Anya locked down with you, what to talk about..?>She was interested in your family, yes? Maybe you could lecture her on that?>Ask how she gets along with the other people in your band. She talked about speaking with Hilda, how was that going?>Tease her and ask if it’s hard to talk to men with her face in two pieces.>Other things?
>>2743314>Ask how she gets along with the other people in your band. She talked about speaking with Hilda, how was that going?
>>2743314>She was interested in your family, yes? Maybe you could lecture her on that?
>>2743314>>Ask how she gets along with the other people in your band. She talked about speaking with Hilda, how was that going?
>>2743314>She was interested in your family, yes? Maybe you could lecture her on that?>>Ask how she gets along with the other people in your band. She talked about speaking with Hilda, how was that going?
>>2743314>>She was interested in your family, yes? Maybe you could lecture her on that?
“So how are you getting along with all the people you aren’t beating up?” you asked, “You said you spoke with Hilda, or tried to, yes? How is that going?”“Eh.” Anya thought while drinking milk, “Your guys are fine. That one guy of yours, the nasty pervert guy, he’s cooled down some. I was waiting for him to touch me again so I could sock him, but he’s disappointed on that front. A few others just get uncomfortable when I chat with them. I dunno, they don’t have much to say I’m interested in. That Hilda though, you know her scars? She looks cool, like, she’s taken all that punishment, and she’s still walking? She has that standoffish attitude, and people I talk to say she’s real hardcore, like, wow. But nah, she doesn’t really talk much. Sometimes it’s like, when she talks to me, she’s talking for someone. It’s weird, but I take what I can get.”“That is strange.” You supposed the person actually asking questions was Emma. When would you have to break the secret of all this supernatural nonsense to Anya? Hopefully, never.“You know,” Anya sipped at her milk again, “I think she’s into you.”“Really?” you feigned ignorance. There was history between you and Hilda that you wouldn’t share, things that were only Hilda’s place to tell about.“Totally.” Anya nodded eagerly, “I talk shit about you, and she starts backing you up. She slips up and says things that’re a bit too weird for just friends, y’know? I was saying how your eyes look weird sometimes, and she started going on about how they were beautiful. I mean, damn, I didn’t say anything about that.”“Hrm.”
“…So, you gonna jump on that?” Anya asked.“What?”“She’s into you, she’s tough, she’s got nice big boobs,” Anya made a rounded shape over her own chest, which was not similarly proportioned, to say the least. “Your bitch fiancée is good and far away. Not seeing any negatives here.”“I can’t believe I’m hearing this. Absolutely not.”“Sheesh, I was kidding,” Anya pouted at you, sticking out her tongue, “Maybe you and redhead are good for each other that way. One time I try to play a little prank and she freaks the fuck out.”Oh, Judge above. “What on earth did you do…” you put your face in your hand.“Oh, come on, it was nothing.” Anya leaned forward, offended, “Listen. While we were sticking around in that city for your trial, we stayed in this hotel thing, yeah? All the time, your fiancée would lock Hilda and I out of the room, with the deadbolt, so even if we had a key we couldn’t get in. She wouldn’t come to the door right away either. I don’t know what the hell she was doing. My opinion, she’s doin’ some of the…” Anya made an extremely rude hand gesture, and you looked away. “C’mon, I’d think you’d be flattered. She likes you enough, I guess. Anyways, all I do is the same thing she’s been doing to us this whole time, after I teach her how to mess with locks so she can break in to your place and see you, I’m so damn nice, I want to build bridges again, and she start’s fuckin’ threatening me. Am I supposed to do anything but tell her to piss off? Like Judge Above, from my view, you’re set to get married to a fucking psycho, and the option’s’re open. What’s the big deal? Just asking. I get it, y’know, like when I shack up with somebody, I certainly wouldn’t want anybody playing around, or trying to get me to friggin’ share or any of that bullshit, but c’mon. Tell me what carrot top’s deal is.”>You just don’t know her. Hell, you dunked her in the water and worked with the slavers who held her captive. I understand her still being sore.>She acts that way around other women. I think she just doesn’t have confidence. She’s really sweet when you get to know her, she’s just…troubled.>What’s there to get? We’re engaged. She will be my wife, and I’ve put quite a bit of effort into ensuring things remain that way. This isn’t a factor of life that I can throw a wrench into even if I wanted to. >She’s an ongoing project. Someday, she will be perfect. Even more perfect, that is.>Other?Lecturing is still to come.
>>2743436>She acts that way around other women. I think she just doesn’t have confidence. She’s really sweet when you get to know her, she’s just…troubled.
>>2743436>>She acts that way around other women. I think she just doesn’t have confidence. She’s really sweet when you get to know her, she’s just…troubled.
>>2743436>She is the "breech to our rammer" if you catch the meaning
>>2743436>She acts that way around other women. I think she just doesn’t have confidence. She’s really sweet when you get to know her, she’s just…troubled.>She’s an ongoing project. Someday, she will be perfectWe MUST make her resemble her mom.
“She acts that way around other women,” you tried to explain.“She acts like a venomous bitch?”A lot of people had referred to Maddalyn as a bitch and you still had trouble hearing it. “She isn’t a bitch.”“Yes she is.”“…She’s really sweet when you get to know her.” You carried on, “She’s just troubled. I think she just doesn’t have confidence in herself.”“I’ll just have to take your word on that then,” Anya swallowed the rest of her milk in voluminous, rude gulps, before slamming the thing back on the counter. “Far as I can tell she has issues. Not normal issues, I’ve seen enough of those to tell what’s what, there’s something really weird and screwed up with that midget that I don’t even know what. You know what she said? Something about hurting me in ways I couldn’t even understand. The fuck even is that supposed to mean?”You didn’t like the thought that came to mind. That that sweet little girl who you cuddled and squeezed and whose rump you pinched when you were feeling mischievous would ever actually use her forbidden knowledge to torture somebody. She crooned like a dove when you kissed her, and went into cute little dazes like she was intoxicated with love, and she liked sweets and longed for affection. No, Maddalyn was just tired, and angry, and said something she didn’t mean. She drooled all over you when you touched lips and you still weren’t sure if you were alright with that or not. Nothing you knew about Maddalyn indicated anything but that she was insecure and lonely, and needed to be treated with constant, overbearing affection.“I’m sure she didn’t mean it,” you condensed your thoughts into one phrase of defense. “She’ll be better as you two know each other longer. She’s an ongoing project, someday, she will be perfect.” The photograph of her mother in the Opal issue came to mind. If you had that…phew.“Oh yeah, I’m sure she’ll come to be my bestest friend ever,” Anya said with utter lack of sincerity, “Probably better for me to stay away. Anyways. Tell me about those bad Von Tracht broads. Hell’ll always be the best, but I want to know about his blood.” Anya looked like she remembered something. “Oh, speaking of. Met his brother. Your dad, right? He’s hot.”Oh, hell no. “Cease such talk this instant.”Anya stuck out her tongue playfully. “Hair trigger on that cannon, huh? Of course I’m joking. Unless you want to start calling me mommy.”The screams of the damned in Hell could not compare to those inside of your head at that moment.
“Magdalene Von Tracht,” you said, “She was one of Helman’s daughters, quick eyed and quick witted. She served as a scout captain, and she was one of the finest riders around, if the family chronicles are correct.”“How many people’d she kill?” Anya asked excitedly. You pulled on your beer. “Three.”“Oh.”“Officially, that is. She never made any claims or counted. She was called Magdalene the Duelist for a good reason. She and the fourth person killed one another in her final exchange of shot. She never suffered her honor to be slighted, not by man or woman. An incredible lady in spite of her being born before our family name was ennobled by the Archduchy upon its formation.”“You ever been in a duel?” Anya asked.“I was challenged to one once. I refused.”“Oh really? Anything happen between you guys after that?”Interesting story, that was. “He’s my second in command now.”“Oh, that guy?” Anya snickered, “Yeah, he would have destroyed you, I don’t even know that much about him and I can tell that.”“Thank you for your valued opinion.” You said bitterly.>Going out to lunch, will finish later, though if you want to bring up or discuss anything you can still add it.
“Well then, who’s next?” Anya prompted you, “On this parade of suicidal nobility?”“Jana Von Tracht was my father’s cousin,” you said, “One of two daughters. Her sister died in childbirth, and the child was stillborn.”“Judge above, you sure you fuckers aren’t cursed?” Anya asked skeptically. “If you don’t get killed you find a way to die on your own.”“You’re starting to sound like my gunner,” you said back, “But no. As I was saying. Jana disguised herself as a man and joined the Grenzwacht as a young woman.” It was easier to keep such things private in more privately managed border footmen; it would have been near impossible to hide in the army proper. “She was active in pacifying the Altossian region after its conquest, when gangs still held much sway, and criminals roamed the lands still without fear. Her and her squad were captured in a failed assault on a syndicate stronghold, and her gender was discovered.”“What then?”“…I would rather not say.” Even though you said this, Anya had already figured it out.“Huh.” Anya looked into her empty glass, “I guess it’s something that you can’t really just pretends doesn’t happen.”“They were all too willing to brag about it. Her father went out to avenge her,” You recounted the sad story, “He was too bold, and was mortally wounded. Two days afterwards, the ammunition store of the place was set on fire, and the loss of supplies as well as casualties from the explosion weakened the syndicate group there enough for the next wave of local forces to sweep them away. Enemy prisoners told them that Jana was the one who managed to sabotage the stores.”“And?”“…She died horribly.” You knew the details. You didn’t want to share them. Suffice it to say, the prisoners were hanged on direct order of the Archduke. That was also the first time, apparently, that the Von Trachts were suspected of extinction, such was the publicity of that story of an entire branch, of only two total, suddenly dying off. They had been wealthier and more famed in court than your father and brother’s branch, and your father said that the story had commanded news reports for a long time. The gruesome details of his cousin’s murder were not something he took pleasure in remembering the accounts of.“She died horribly.” Anya repeated and clicked your tongue, “Seems to be a common epitaph among your kind, huh? You think you’re heading that way?”>It certainly beats dying embarrassingly, if that is to be my destiny.>Dying horribly was not the idea. Dying honorably was, and I would prefer no other death than such.>I think I’d prefer to not die horribly, yes. At the very least, not any time soon. I’ve not even been married yet.>Other?
>>2743816>I think I’d prefer to not die horribly, yes. At the very least, not any time soon. I’ve not even been married yet.
>>2743816>I think I’d prefer to not die horribly, yes. At the very least, not any time soon. I’ve not even been married yet."I think I'm doing alright so far, close quarter skills notwithstanding."
>>2743816>It certainly beats dying embarrassingly, if that is to be my destiny.>>Richter dies in one of those 200% fatality rate surgeries
>>2743816>>Dying horribly was not the idea. Dying honorably was, and I would prefer no other death than such.
>>2743816>>I think I’d prefer to not die horribly, yes. At the very least, not any time soon. I’ve not even been married yet.But if I had to die for a good cause, I would.
>>2743816>>I think I’d prefer to not die horribly, yes. At the very least, not any time soon. I’ve not even been married yet.
>>2743816>Dying horribly was not the idea. Dying honorably was, and I would prefer no other death than such.
“I’d prefer not to die horribly,” you sidestepped Anya’s sarcastic question, “At least, not any time soon. I’ve not even been married yet.”“At this rate you’ll grow old in stuffy halls of justice, I hear, before you reach that point.”“Besides,” you ignored Anya’s slight, “I think I’m doing alright so far, close quarter skills notwithstanding.”Anya thought on that one. “…Sure, yeah. Though whenever you get out of a tank it seems you charge towards the first chance to embarrass yourself. Maybe the tank is alive and in charge and you’re merely stealing its thunder…” Anya’s mock suspicious tone belied that she was purposefully spouting crap, but the m/32B once in your possession was alive, or at least, whatever you call what it was. Haunted? Possessed? At least, the armor was. After all, it was just as inanimate as a normal tank without a crew until something damaged the plating. Maybe it was a decent theory that you were at your apex when in a tank. Certainly, trying to leave it had gotten you shot once. You recalled what you were talking about in the first place. “However, if I had to die for a good cause, I doubt I would hesitate.”“A good cause, huh? Any of what you been doing count as that?”“Well, of course.”“Then I guess you aren’t doing so bad.” Anya shoved your glasses closer to you, “Long as you keep in the can. Now, chug! Don’t be a pansy!”-----A cocktail and a beer wasn’t much alcohol, but the thing that Anya had accidentally ended up with was too fruity for your taste. At least you were healthily buzzed as you took Anya back to the temporary home of whatever you should call your motley crew. You asked Anya about it.“How about the Motley Crew?”You stopped asking Anya about it. Anya divorced herself from you as soon as you made it in, and you sought out Hilda, who was sitting by herself in one of the empty upstairs rooms.“Hello,” you said to Hilda, “Are you well?”“…Yeah.” The scarred woman said. Her mask was down, and she’d let it remain as such as she talked to you. “You’re moving different. Are you hurt.”“How did you…” you started, but Hilda rose and advanced towards you for her own answers. She lifted your shirt and examined your body, running her hand over a few of the more prominent bruises. “Wait, wait, stop,” you pulled away.“Who did this.”
This could certainly be a horrible misunderstanding, so you nipped it in the bud. “I’m not particularly talented when it comes to fisticuffs, so I had Anya start teaching me. She took me around the side here and…well, she sort of beat the stuffing out of me. I might be making progress, though.”“Hmm.” Hilda only just accepted that.“Anyways,” you pulled your shirt down more, even though you weren’t exposed, “The box, do you have it?”“Yes.” Hilda withdrew the brass covered box from a bag, “It opened, and I looked just in case…it’s just a coin. And a letter.”What did it say? You almost asked, but you remembered that Hilda was illiterate. So instead, you reached a hand out, and Hilda placed the box into your grasp. You wondered what strange gift Loch had chosen to give you, though you already had your suspicions, all that remained was for them to be confirmed…You looked, and almost dropped the box in surprise despite yourself. Inside was a golden, round imperial seal, but not one like you’d gotten before. The sort of content wasn’t as surprising as what was emblazoned upon it. It was a hammer and mighty eagle, flanked by laurels, with the crown of Zeissenburg atop it all. This…this was the Kaiser’s seal. Not the Reich’s seal, not some state of it or whatever, but the Kaiser’s himself. For this sort of seal to have made its way to you…you felt queasy, uncertain of what could have transpired. The letter was hastily withdrawn and read. It was scribed in long, flowery loops, but the message itself was quite short.Be a good fellow and don’t lose this one, will you?You couldn’t think of anybody but Loch writing this, but the question of why remained. As did the question of what to do with this thing.>Keep it on your person. It wouldn’t be discovered if you could help it, and you certainly couldn’t throw it away. Loch had told you to keep it for some reason, at least.>Hide it, bury it. Maybe you’d need it later but you absolutely did not need it now. If it turned out for the worse, maybe you wouldn’t need it at all, and could let it stay hidden eternally.>Present it to the Intelligence Office. Loch couldn’t tell you what to and what not to lose.>Other?
>>2745172>>Keep it on your person. It wouldn’t be discovered if you could help it, and you certainly couldn’t throw it away. Loch had told you to keep it for some reason, at least.
>>2745172>Keep it on your person. It wouldn’t be discovered if you could help it, and you certainly couldn’t throw it away. Loch had told you to keep it for some reason, at least.
---Interlude---Maddalyn Von Blum finally returned to her lonely, dimly lit study. Its usual occupant, within the confines of her own home where no illusions had to be kept, never turned on the lights. Nothing was different from how she remembered it save one thing; the Hermit had been moved elsewhere. The near unresponsive old wizard, whose brief moments of consciousness often only produced nonsense, had one been a mighty and eminently intelligent mentor, before age took his wits. For so long he had tried to fight against that, yet he failed. Maddalyn sat in a chair, one for reading in, and put her head in her hands; one of the greatest Soulbinders alive had failed to circumvent the ravages of time, could she do something just as daring herself, in time for her fiancée to return home?Richter had somehow had a document far more valuable than he could have imagined fall into his lap, though, a book whose secret content filled in gaps in Maddalyn’s knowledge. The numerous blood scribed books on the shelf that spanned wall to wall, floor to ceiling, would have to be combed through again, for hopeful spaces in theory, in possibility. Last time she’d tried something like this, it has gone horribly wrong, she admitted, and she had rather hollowly promised herself shortly after that to not meddle in such things again. Yet here she was once more.In exchange for this chance to come back and hide away in her study once more, though, Maddalyn would have to accept that her husband-to-be would remain to be for at least another month, most likely longer. She wouldn’t be able to share a first Langenachtfest with him, something she’d had the idea to look forward to after her rescue. They wouldn’t have a marriage holiday, they hadn’t even been married; that infernal government organ had stripped Richter from her for all his little time that she would have had him again. No time at all had been granted to arrange even a hasty ceremony, and Maddalyn sometimes touched solemnly at her ring finger, wondering dejectedly how long it would suffer being unadorned. For a long time, she had viewed this marriage as an incredible bother at least, a terrible calamity on the horizon at worst. She’d had no say in the matter, her father had offered her hand in exchange for the defense of a more favored son. A older son from a different mother, one whom he had loved less! She supposed it was better that way, her domestic habits meant that it was extremely difficult for a husband to reach her any other way, and…well, it wasn’t so bad, she supposed, considering what sort of man she got.
Yet she despaired. Richter had only known her for just over a month; what if a mere memory of her couldn’t hold his attention for an equivalent amount of time? What if he found a better woman, the sort he appeared to encounter with alarming frequency? What if he decided he fancied one of them rather than a blind, mutilated runt of a woman who refused consummation and withheld secrets, who lied? That possibility terrified her even more than it had when she could remain by his side, and she couldn’t distract herself from it with his embrace now, his kiss, his wandering hands that annoyed her with their baseness yet proclaimed an undeniable message that she was desirable. Now she was back to her room with old books, lonelier than ever. Her father hadn’t greeted her return warmly, though he had offered basic condolences; there had been a tension in his voice that gave her a little bit of hope that Barnabas Von Blum had forgotten her sins during the time apart, but he had sent her away again before she could try and find out better. Mathilda had had enough respect for her new wounding to not appear to torment her, thankfully, even though it would be just as deserved as ever, Maddalyn could just as well do without.Fear, then sadness, and now emptiness as the Von Blum set herself to new labor. She picked up the small box of mice she had had delivered to her, and placed them in a cage. Four females, one male. One male was all that was needed for this experiment, though it needed to be separated for now, just in case. She selected one female, and it bit her hand as she picked it up. Animals hated Maddalyn, and sometimes she wondered if it was just. She recalled that she hadn’t always been regarded with contempt by animals; she remembered a fancy kitten whose fur felt wonderful, that had grown into a cat that been just as pleasant to touch. It had left her too, like everybody else had, and though quite advanced in age for a feline, supposedly still prowled the manor. Maddalyn let the thing sink its teeth into her thumb, she was well used to her hand being bitten, as she used the blood to activate a spell, one that would let her adjust this mouse in a way suitable for the experiment. She actually had good faith this particular part of the experiment would work the way she thought, unlike the episode with the demiphantom, but she kept a spell of nullification on hand just in case, as she pushed a glowing finger into the mouse’s belly and sought out its tiny points of presence pooling.-----I'm going to be out all day again, but the voting open right now will be the last vote of the thread, and the arc, and all I'll be doing after that is an arc conclusion, unless there's specific things anybody wants to take care of.
>>2744993Also hey guys in case you actually wanted to play tanks again go here.
>>2745199Nah, that guy seems like a fag.
>>2745199The level of russiabooing there is disgusting.
>>2745237>>2745245Hilda fags express their opinions>>>/trash/
>>2745468>Hilda fagsNigger what? Being a Hildafag is like wanting to fuck a retarded dog.
>>2745471Imagine being a Hildafag after that bomb.
>>2745476I can only imagine it, but you don't have to.
>>2745491>anon reflectively projects to cover up his complete lack of credible thought.Sure thing pal, keep rocking that Hildashirt. :^)
Pls do not bully wurst girl.
Less waifu wars and more voting thanks.
>>2745606Don't you just want to lick Anya's abs?
>>2745172>>Keep it on your person. It wouldn’t be discovered if you could help it, and you certainly couldn’t throw it away. Loch had told you to keep it for some reason, at least.H-how did he know we had lost the other reich seal, or even had it in the first place?>>2745612Maybe if you replace one of the letters in the word "abs"
>>2745172Catching up, but we should teach Hilda how to read, or at least attempt to
>>2745172>Present it to the Intelligence Office. Loch couldn’t tell you what to and what not to lose.
>>2745172>Keep it on your person. It wouldn’t be discovered if you could help it, and you certainly couldn’t throw it away. Loch had told you to keep it for some reason, at least.It's likely we'll be seeing him again.
You stared at the letter, then at the golden round, at Hilda, then back to the seal, before finally removing it, placing it in the little silk bag that it came with, and slipping it into your pocket. It was just as heavy as its brethren had felt before.“Get rid of this box, and burn this letter,” you told Hilda.“Okay.” Hilda took the things from you, “Is it dangerous.”“Not if nobody finds it.”“I understand.”“Oh, and Hilda?” you remembered something.“Yes.”“You said you could read some Zeelen, right?”“Well,” Hilda scratched at her cheek, “I know what some words look like. I don’t know what the letters mean.”“…Would you like me to teach you?”“…What?” Hilda’s voice cracked.“Would you like me to teach you how to read and write?”“…Y-you’d do that?” Hilda asked, to which you nodded. “I…” Hilda’s cheeks colored, and it was a sad fact that much of her blush was covered with splotches of grey, which had only somewhat eroded with time. “I would like that a lot…”“We’ll probably have a lot of down time while in Ellowie with the Netillians,” you said, “It’ll be a good way to keep my schedule full, along with training with Anya. Though I might want to switch partners up some time…” you shifted your arm up and down resentfully.“Richter?” Hilda asked, her voice still thin, “I just wanted to say...I know I keep doing things I shouldn’t. Feeling things I shouldn’t. It must be so irritating to have to deal with that, but…” Hilda clutched at her chest, “I wanted to thank you for tolerating it. I’ve tried to stop, but you do things to my heart that I…can’t throw away. Once you were the ideal one. Now you’re the only one.” Hilda swallowed hard, still clutching at something under her shirt at the top of her chest, “But I don’t want to ruin anything. I know any chance I might have had is gone for good, has been. I thought I deserved you. Now I know I deserve nothing, but…I’m still not used to that. So please…just put up with my idiocy a little longer.” Hilda let go of her chest. “…That’s all.”Before you could say anything, Hilda pushed past you and left you alone in the room.
You trudged your way back downstairs, though you didn’t see Hilda anywhere; the window at the top of the stairs was open, so Hilda had probably fled to the roof. She could have some time alone there; poor woman. You really didn’t know what to do with her. Maybe all that had to happen was for time to pass and for the scars to vanish. Yet Hilda’s wounds had never faded, you thought idly as you took the last few steps and idled at the bottom. All that had happened since your arrival in her life was the accumulation of new harm, and new scars.You went further on and found Malachi, lounding on the couch and making idle babbling as he leaned over one of the magazines full of women in varying states of undress. Some of it seemed vaguely critical.“Hey, Mal,” you waved, adopting the nickname the rest of the crew used for your driver. “You’re pretty good in a brawl. Do you mind if you teach me a few things sometime?”“Gebeenbadescurhficerl?”“…What?” You asked. Malachi pointed across the room to Anya. “Oh, of course she told everybody. Great. Yeah, you wouldn’t mind giving me some alternative, right?”“Morrashem.”“I don’t mind if it’s more of the same, I’d rather be beaten up by my crew than her, at least some of the time.” That, and you doubted that Malachi’s body would distract you as badly. You sat down on the couch and peered over the magazine your driver was looking at. He pointed at one, and waited for a response. “What, is that one your type?”“Nuh.”“Oh, sorry.” You said. “…Well, what is, then?”Malachi loosened his wrappings a bit and pulled out a lock of dark green hair, and looped it around his finger. “Des.”“I see.” You understood, though you weren’t sure if you could ask about the things you suspected. Malachi wore his masking for a reason, after all, and who were you to try and tear them away? Let him let them down on his own. There’d be plenty of time for such talk, after all, with at least a month of watching and waiting among the Netillians.You threw yourself back. The Intelligence Office should be collecting you all soon, and it’d be off to the grindstone soon enough. At least a little more leave time would have been appreciated for all your work.
-----Seventeen Days Later“My Kaiser.” An officer of the Imperial Army, a messenger, knelt before the ruler of the Grossreich of Czeiss, Kaiser Henrik. Henrik was a lovely man, with long sienna locks and a smile that never seemed to leave his face completely, and laughing eyes. A sort of look that made him popular among a people who had come to despise his unfortunate father. “I have dire news.”“Speak, then.”“The realm of Halmeggia has exploded in a popular revolt against the royal family. Our efforts to quell the winds of anarchism did little to slow these events, but armed conflict has now erupted.”The Kaiser’s warmth evaporated in a rare display, as his mouth flattened. He gestured to one of his attendants. “Call the emergency council.” Then, back to the messenger officer, “Have regional officers been informed?” the messenger nodded. “Their status?”The protectorates of Gepte, Staubentroch, and Westbuchtr still refuse passage to our army. A request for otherwise was denied. Although, my Kaiser…Research and Development immediately had a proposal.”“Let us hear this proposal, then.”“The Luftpanzer Project. Its leaders have volunteered their trial group to…intervene. All they require is your order, and they can be deployed by the next day, so they say.”The Kaiser frowned. “A dangerous testbed for unproven theory and technology. But what choice do we have, if they are ready, and ground troops will not be admitted? Are the Naval Infantry prepared?” “No, my Kaiser.”“Very well then. Inform the Luftpanzer Project that they have my permission to carry out this mission; infiltrate Halmeggia and rescue the Royal Family, on the condition that they accept any and all responsibility for failure. Their opportunity to prove themselves has come, and I will be watching intently.”“Yes, my Kaiser.” -----Arc EndThanks for playing folks, I'll be running a short quest in between now and the next arc, starting in about two weeks, that shouldn't be very long. It'll be more heavily combat focused, and probably won't be more than a few threads, both as a bit of a break from this and to give me some more time to plan out the next arc as well. If you've got any questions, I'd be happy to answer.Also since I'm completely shameless, and there's still some summer left, I'm planning on doing a swimsuit picture of the female characters (Though I won't discriminate on gender). If you've any ideas for what they should wear, then tell me after you finish telling me how awful I am for enabling this nonsense.
>>2746941Thanks for running. Also thank the Judge we're not heading west.
>>2746994What's the matter, afraid of a few Luftpanzers?
>>2746941Malachi in a swimsuit, but he keeps his mask and headwraps on. Also maybe wearing inflatable arm floaties.Poltergeist, but he's wearing everything he's normally wearing, with the addition of a giant hawaiian shirt.The tonk, but somehow wearing tank-sized thong and bikini top.
>>2746941They can wear whatever, just have them be happy on a beach or something.Out of them all, only Anya seems to enjoy life.Pics of Malachi and Metzeler are absolutely requested.
>>2746941Not a picture, but if you want a shitty comic...I'd love to see the guys trying to brag at each other about their muscles by flexing at each other, only for Anya to make them all feel inferior.
>>2747024Lol Imperial SpecOps+support from an organization we don't trust+most of our potential allies being a bunch of anarchists? Give me the Twaryian army any day.
>>2747029>Poltergeist, but he's wearing everything he's normally wearing, with the addition of a giant hawaiian shirt.