To be weak was to be human. You’d learned that quite a long time ago; it was an inescapable truth that eventually, every person would find the wall they could not climb over nor knock down. Even the great Kaiser Alexander could not defeat the Mountains of Nauk, nor illness, nor death. The empire that seemed so grand and eternal then, had crumbled apart within the lifetimes of some who had seen it rise. No, the concept was hardly unusual to see, to grasp, yet despite seeing such, when the world showed you how weak you truly were, it had ever been a shock. When you were quite young, you had had something happen to make you feel powerless, but you had elected to not feel such. You forced yourself to become somebody stronger, larger than life, and it had not felt like long before it felt as though you could cease pretending. Strength, prestige, and victory were intoxicating, and when everything was going well, that former weakness seemed so distant. For the first time in a long while, you felt very, very weak.It was still buried deep down, of course, but unlike other times where the feeling stayed silent most of the time, it now demanded to be recognized. It clawed its way up from the pit to scratch and bang at the trapdoor keeping it down. Whenever your mind was allowed to wander, you could feel it trying to push its way back up. Trying to reclaim its seat in your mind from the one who seemed more fit for the duty, but also one for whom was not nearly misshapen enough to properly sit said throne. The right to said place belonged to an ugly creature indeed, but no matter how much it cried out and gnashed its teeth, it would not-“Captain?” You were brought back to reality by the sound of Lieutenant Covacs’s voice. “Your last transmission cut out. What do you need us all to do?”
Right. You were Captain Reinhold Roth-Vogel, and now…hadn’t been a time to suddenly vanish inside yourself. You could only hope it hadn’t been for too long. Judge Above be thanked for his mercy, you could recall what your plans had been.“Set up positions on our side of the river and start providing supporting fire,” you said, the cadence of your voice not matching that of your thoughts; your confidence was automatic, whether or not it reflected what was inside. Eventually, the difference between the two would disappear once again. “Clear off the bridge first if you can, sweeping it clean’ll keep any more weight from falling on the Duke’s men. I hope to be there by the time we’ve dealt with the last of their assault. Over?”“Understood, Captain.”“Of course.” Fischer said after Covacs. After a small delay, Sergeant Schneider remembered his new position and gave an affirmative grunt.You looked out of the cupola periscopes to the ground ahead; the smoke from the smoldering white phosphorous shells shot earlier still hung over the ground like a winter morning haze, but the concealment was fading; you finally saw up close the evidence of the battle that had been raging in your absence from this front. Of course, the sounds of furious battle the likes of which you hadn’t heard since Felbach was still crashing up ahead and getting closer with every moment. That things would end before you arrived was somewhat facetious; this was the climax of this particular engagement.The battalion net activity light blared its yellow green blinker in the corner of your eye, and the last clinging vestiges of self-doubt were obliterated by the need to stand upright even listening to Colonel Talmeier. You switched sets and cleared your throat. “Bird Dog, this is Griffon Actual. You have something for me?”
“I do. Your actions have been noticed, it seems. The Duke has seen fit to share the radio frequency of the unit nearest to you.”About damn time! You fumbled about for a pad and pencil to write down the coded and enciphered frequency that the Colonel rattled off to you, to be translated later from your code book. You repeated it back to him, and corrected your (few) mistakes before confirming once more that it was correct. “Affirmative. For your information, Raven and Pelican companies are holding well. The enemy has laxed their assaults upon our positions; not that I blame them. They are using irregular troops to attack defending Fallschirmjäger. For them to continue any longer than they did would be madness, but it is vital for you to open the way to the Duke as quickly as possible. Intelligence on the enemy’s precise numbers and disposition is still poor. I would advise contacting your counterpart across the river, stat. Bird Dog, out.”You took no time at all to check the cipher against your codebook and translate the radio code, as well as the officer you would be speaking with. “Lieutenant Alterwald,” you said the name to yourself, “Well then.” You proceeded to turn the dials of the set to the proper frequency, and tuned in to what seemed to be a report coming from your subject.“…There is somewhat a problem. I’m only slightly occupied, of course. With fighting for my life against a tank platoon. When is the Reich going to arrive?” His tone was dry as a desert and infused with the sort of irritable sarcasm that ill fit the situation you heard the Duke’s men as being in. Of course, you made your presence known.“This is Captain Roth-Vogel of the Kaiser Henrik’s 1st Luftpanzer Company. If my bead on your location is correct, then my platoons are directly west of you, across the bridge. We’ve cut off any more enemies from crossing, but there’s still a whole lot on your side of the river. So, here’s what I think you ought to do…”>Move out of the way of the enemies and let them rejoin their people to the south. Both of you have the force to drive them back that way, and it would prevent unnecessary casualties from an isolated and desperate enemy behind the main lines facing south.>Hit the enemies on the bridge with everything you’ve got, with both you and the Duke’s men concentrating on the enemy incursion over the bridge, it would be neutralized in no time, even if it distracted from the southern front.>Sit pretty; all you need them to do is survive while you mop up.>Other?Lieutenant Alterwald is sharing his map intel with you, and you can now see the integrity of units out of your units' vision.----->Past Threads Archive Pastebin (Luftpanzer is at the top): https://pastebin.com/UagT0hnh>twitter is @scheissfunker for updates and announcements. And trashy doodles.
>>2950196>>Hit the enemies on the bridge with everything you’ve got, with both you and the Duke’s men concentrating on the enemy incursion over the bridge, it would be neutralized in no time, even if it distracted from the southern front.
>>2950196>Move out of the way of the enemies and let them rejoin their people to the south. Both of you have the force to drive them back that way, and it would prevent unnecessary casualties from an isolated and desperate enemy behind the main lines facing south.
>>2950196>>Move out of the way of the enemies and let them rejoin their people to the south. Both of you have the force to drive them back that way, and it would prevent unnecessary casualties from an isolated and desperate enemy behind the main lines facing south.
>>2950196>>OtherCan we launch any covering smoke towards the friendly infantry south?We should focus on the enemy armor threatening Alterwald, the infantry can be crushed under trend or shot if they don’t scatter from our advancing armor.
>>2950447>Can we launch any covering smoke towards the friendly infantry south?Any unit with 100mm mortar cannon armed vehicles is capable of doing so, yes, though it's smoke best fired between friends and enemies, if you're using it for cover, since it's smoke generated by blowing White Phosphorous all over the place.
>>2950457>between friends and enemiesMore like at enemy civilians.
>>2950457I should probably qualify this better in that of course you're not really supposed to shoot smoke on top of your allies; that wouldn't be very helpful to them. Though with these smoke munitions it would be much more harmful to anybody caught in the blast and cloud, and the fighting here is relatively close.
Let them run away seems to be the choice.Writing now, with >>2950447 as an extra specifier.
“From what I hear from my people, you’ve got units in between the enemies across the bridge and the Revolutionaries down south, right? Move those guys out of the way, and let the enemies link up with each other.”You waited for a response to your proposal, and it came, shortly after an extremely loud CLAANGHK that stung your ears. “Sorry. I’m being distracted. Did you say that your plan was to strengthen the revolutionaries’ position? I must be hearing wrong.”…This guy. “If they want to attack through a killzone, then they won’t get any objections from me. The route they’d be exploiting would be through ground that we’ve got every gun in the company watching. If they don’t just want to die, they’ll make a break for it, and maybe your friends will stop bouncing shots off your armor too.”“Driver, quarter right and reverse.” A pause. “Sorry. I haven’t been able to keep in contact reliably with my troops. If you say their route of escape is through that zone, then I’ll believe that. I can send up the signal to retreat…though I’ll have some explaining to do later.”What a person this guy must have been to act so put upon while so many people were trying to kill him. The Halmeggian Army apparently hadn’t fought a war or even sent troops anywhere since…maybe the Emrean War, so this guy’s attitude was even more odd than you’d normally consider. He was at least quick to follow commands, though; no sooner had you gotten off the line with him than you saw a yellow flare pop high into the sky, followed by a second green flare. It was good that things were happening right away, however, you were gambling that the enemy wouldn’t take that as a signal to press the attack further. That could have quite bloody results indeed.
Judging from the fact that he was speaking to you on a wireless set, you guessed that this Lieutenant Alterwald was in one of the tanks. Infantry even in the Reich tended to lack access to (quite newly produced) man portable wireless sets, and used field telephones with long cables laid down instead, so you doubted that Halmeggian army people or their allies would have any whatsoever, save for those in vehicles. If that was the case…“Platoon leaders, there’s two groups of armor across the river. I want you to prioritize fire by your light sections on the Revolutionary armor attacking the Duke’s armor. I just got to start talking to them, and if they get taken out we’ll be cut off again. Make sure that doesn’t happen.”“I am first destroying the foe behind first company,” Fischer announced.“If my back is clear, I can get shots off.” Covacs said. “It’s a bit of a far shot. Nothing our gunners can’t do though.”“I will try as well.” Schneider said. By your calculations, that was about four shots going off at the enemy armor. That should have been good enough to wipe them out. As for the rest, Luftpanzer II Ein shells were rather deadly, in multiple ways. It gave you a few ideas.“I’ll leave it to your discretion how to do, but help out their infantry a bit too. Some screening smoke wouldn’t be amiss, just make sure not to splash our guys. From what I hear they’re all pretty close together.” They were also in the woods, according to the simplistic maps; you wondered how a forest fire hadn’t been started yet. Maybe it was too early to make that observation, though.>Roll dice for your units’ attack rolls. Unit attack skill is 70, so hits will be to roll under that. I’ll need 2 sets of 3d100 for 3rd platoon’s attack against the armor remaining behind, and for 1st and 2nd’s attack against the armor across the bridge respectively. 2nd platoon will be firing smoke to support, but the other heavy sections will be firing on infantry targets, so I’ll need 2 sets of 2d100 for them.
Rolled 10, 61, 63 = 134 (3d100)>>2950801
Rolled 76, 2, 87 = 165 (3d100)>>2950801
Rolled 81, 71, 42 = 194 (3d100)>>2950801
Rolled 92, 15, 91 = 198 (3d100)>>2950801
Rolled 2, 2 = 4 (2d3)>>2950936>>29510952d100s, fellas. Though I'll roll for which number gets excluded out of each before I start the silly amount of rolls for the other combats.
Rolled 10, 38, 76, 34, 96, 52, 37, 5, 38, 89, 9, 12, 65, 56, 77, 15, 84 = 793 (17d100)Alright, so, the other rolls.The two southern Halmeggian infantry units are disengaging and repositioning. They'll focus on that so they won't make any attacks, but their enemies firing on them will have a penalty of 15 against their DC to hit them. Alterwald will be shooting at the tanks he's fighting, of course, and the infantry holding near the bridge will have their 3 attacks, for 5 rolls of d100, DCs to hit being for 50 for the first two and 35 for the other three. Meanwhile, the RAGV troops moving off the bridge and south will similarly not be attacking. They will now have penalties to hit them since they are focused on booking it. The tanks will be attacking, though their active subunits have been reduced to 2 so they'll only be making 2 rolls of DC 40. The rest of the RAGV units to the south will be attacking as per normal, but with the penalty of 15 against their single target. They'll have six dice of 30 skill and four of 40, penalized by 15 to be DC 15 and 25. So this'll be 5 and 12.
Rolled 16, 43 = 59 (2d100)Oof. The two south Halmeggian infantry got knocked below half, so testing to see if they hold steady. Their DC to do so is roll under 60. Boosted from 40 due to reinforcements right over there.
When you exited the melting cloud of smoke, you were greeted with the sight of a sudden plume of flame lighting up the night, followed by a colossal Ka-KRRAKH!“The enemy behind has been disposed of,” Fischer said confidently. “Smoke has been laid down,” Schneider said, “I believe I interrupted the enemy assault, but…I had to delay for a proper shot, until our friends had properly retreated.”“Apparently the bridge is an awkward target. My people splashed shrapnel against the side of it. A lot of the enemy on the bridge made it across.” Came Covacs’ report. “Took down one of the tanks on the other side. Their guys took down another, so it’s one left. One of them got hit another time too, though. They’re not looking too great.”That was concerning. You told your people to continue as they were and tried to contact Alterwald.“I heard one of you got hit,” you said immediately, “Are you alright?”“My vehicle has been rendered immobile.” Alterwald replied, sounding no more or less bothered than before, “The enemy vehicles are unable to properly pierce the armor, though. The one left seems to be thinking better of continuing its attack.”“And your infantry?”“Don’t know. They are moving. I’ll get an update from their headquarters once their commanders get on their wires again.”As you finally found your way onto the road once more, another report came in from Alterwald.“The enemy attack has not reduced in fury, though it seems as though the Revolutionaries who crossed the bridge are indeed not seizing the opportunity to strike my flank. What is the next step in your master plan, then? Because holding our current positions doesn’t seem smart.”>Hold them. I’m bringing my people over, we can’t let them think they caught you on the back foot. They need to be driven off.>Go ahead and fall back. We can get fire across the open terrain if they cross it, and it should be enough to simply keep them off the bridge and road.>I’m coming over, but don’t take up a passive stance. I need you to order everything you have to attack, we need to send them running for the hills and not looking back.>Other?
>>2951287>>Hold them. I’m bringing my people over, we can’t let them think they caught you on the back foot. They need to be driven off.
>>2951287>Hold them. I’m bringing my people over, we can’t let them think they caught you on the back foot. They need to be driven off.Hey tanq!
“Hold your position as best you can,” you replied to Alterwald, “I’m bringing my people over, we can’t let them think they’ve got you on the back foot. They need to be driven off, and the best way to do that is to show a strong front and properly fight them back.”“Captain, I-“You didn’t allow Alterwald to properly object. “My mission right now’s to open up this route between your boss and mine. I’m rolling over, don’t leave us in the dust when we’ve helped you out.” You switched back to your company net. “Gentlemen, looks like the enemy won’t block us for longer. Let’s get across that bridge. Fischer, you go first this time. Everybody else, you’re free to act. Barth-er, Schneider, stay across for now, move up once Covacs does to hold our side just in case. Keep an eye north, there’s still enemy contact on our side of the river in this zone.”You heard acknowledgements, and watched as Fischer took up position on the road before sending his platoon across, in a staggered column, to the other side of the river. The haze of smoke shells’ mark on the land, though fading, still obscured the flitting dark forms of the revolutionaries retreating behind it; and they were indeed retreating. Not partial to surrender, it seemed, but hardly so lacking in sanity they didn’t know when to stop attacking and retreat to lick their wounds. They had indeed suffered many wounds, as well; you couldn’t tell how this battle had been going quite yet, since you had to confirm with the Halmeggians under the Duke, but from your point of view despite your own unit’s losses the casualties had been rather lopsided. Hopefully the Duke would recognize such and do something fittingly grateful; like supplementing your force with some of his own people, more than enough to make up for your material losses of two tanks. With enemy armor out of the equation and your next position being one of backing up infantry, you did not anticipate taking any more damage.
The fire had slowed down suddenly as well, like the water of a faucet suddenly being cranked shut, almost eerily, as Fischer’s platoon raced across the bridge. You could only presume that the observant revolutionaries had noticed that, possibly, they were suddenly outnumbered, and were intimidated; less confident, cautious, with wariness leaking into the psyches of those who were motivated by cause, and fear spreading across those who had been conscripted. Since you were closer now, you did notice as you surveyed the surroundings again, the bodies of some rather plain clothed individuals similar to the very first revolutionaries you had encountered, who had been merely conscripted civilians. That they would attack actual army units spoke of persuasive ideology, effective coercion, or perhaps most concerning, the general opinion of the Halmeggian army. If the last was the case, perhaps aid would be…better off not granted. You’d have to know more, to take a closer look.Another thought came to your mind. If the enemy was losing their confidence, perhaps you should allow them to part ways unmolested? It would certainly be a much greater coup to pursue them, to smash what remained of their attack into the dust and turn this battle into a crushing defeat for the enemy, and while part of you very much wanted to do such; demanded to do such, you had to consider your men, and the rather beaten up Halmeggians. Would they fight, and could you afford to risk your men and their Luftpanzers when your most important mission hadn’t even been embarked upon yet? After all, if the enemy felt cornered, they could turn on you, and there were fewer things more dangerous than a cornered enemy.>If they want to run, then let them. But don’t let them leave without being fired upon all the rest of the way. (One more round of fire)>Cease anything more than harassing fire. It might be more effective in a way to show mercy and allow them to leave if they didn’t want to fight anymore. (Ends Combat)>They were weak in composure and in spirit; what better time to attack than now? Crush them! The Duke would surely approve of such when you met with him, though Alterwald and his men may not feel up to following…>Other?
>>2951844>>Cease anything more than harassing fire. It might be more effective in a way to show mercy and allow them to leave if they didn’t want to fight anymore. (Ends Combat)Let's conserve what ammo we have for rescue.
>>2951844>>Cease anything more than harassing fire. It might be more effective in a way to show mercy and allow them to leave if they didn’t want to fight anymore. (Ends Combat)
>>2951844>Cease anything more than harassing fire. It might be more effective in a way to show mercy and allow them to leave if they didn’t want to fight anymore. (Ends Combat)
So, I had an update ready this morning, but right before I finished it, it turns out the modem gave out, so it has to be checked out. Suffice it to say, that update won't be out for a fair bit. Sorry. It's probably because it was long.In the meantime I guess I could take any setting questions or general shit.
>>2952709The western gales, are they just giant wind storms across the continent blocking out everything to the west, or is that just stylistic map boundaries?
>>2952709Are there any other interesting animals in this setting besides giant land crabs?
>>2952709How related are Halmeggians and Vitelians; given that their part of this claimed Greater Vitelia, but most Halmeggians seem to speak Imperial rather than Vitelian.
>>2952709Also in general how do the states west of the Reich compare in power and culture to those in the east? Do the majority of them speak the Kaiser's Nauk as well?
>>2952709What inspiration did you draw in making Hiedler into the best girl?Real shit though. Would you recommend reading Tank Commander Quest? Would doing so spoil the story thus far? If a yes and then a no, do you have a link to thread #1?
Hey, the box got replaced, so now we're connected again. I'll answer these questions than push out the update.>>2952759The former. Huge belts of storms snake all over the world, mysteriously appearing and lasting for decades before vanishing just like they appeared. Such things occur over ocean more frequently, but the great western gales are some of the few that steadily appear and disappear over land; the current system has endured for fifty eight years, and it known to be one of the more "steady" ones; longer, but more predictable in when it begins and ends. Nobody has been able to cross through a great gale while their storms raged, not under nor over, ever. They utterly baffle meteorologists, who can only state that the great gales are not like any other weather on the planet, as they defy any rules concerning such, and even physics and common sense, as the effects of the great gales are oddly lacking outside of their areas where they churn. Nor can such seemingly colossal storms be seen from far off; there is merely a vast bank of thick mist, and the further one goes in, the more a strange and ferocious storm appears to blow from nowhere, over everywhere, from all directions, even and especially from underneath, as the inside of the mist swiftly grows darker to those within, and the skies turn black and striking green. Survivors of expeditions who curiously wandered into such are theorized to have never actually reached the most intense part of the gales.Naturally, wandering into a land based storm is as mysterious and suicidal as going into a seaborne Great Gale, and the scars of the storm on the land are ever prominent when it subsides. The ground is caked dust and white sand, with broken bleached bedrock sticking out of the ground like spears. Superstitions abound about said land, but the connection to the east is valuable enough to quash the fears of the greedy.Perhaps the oddest part of the storms, though, is that they appear to not be that old; younger than recorded history even, as records beyond two thousand years ago (very rare in Vinstraga) seem to indicate that they only began appearing about two thousand years ago, as no mention of them before is made whatsoever before then. Of course, despite being so strange to us, they're simply fixtures of life to the people of this world. If the Great Gale to the south is blocked off, then trade either takes a long route, or if gales completely block it off, then nothing goes in nor out. Complete isolation by gales is rare, but even without them the barriers between seas that are suddenly erected will oft significantly affect geopolitics in self explanatory ways.
>>2953050It depends on what you mean by interesting! The more unorthodox sort of life tends to appear in the mountains or around such, though, and near places where the great gales rip up the seas and earth. (Oddly enough, the seas beyond the gales do not so much as ripple from them, nor does the ground shake anywhere but inside the land gales; at least, from the gales themselves).The giant land crabs have rather mundane cousins, as they are huge relatives of land crustaceans called living stones. Generally, even the oddest creatures will have some relative, with the exception of a few beasts that may as well be legends for how often they are seen. Nearly all said beasts are said to come from underground as well; the same place Giant Living Stones crawl up from.>>2953110They are a blend, but are much more ethnically related to people of the western Reich than they are to Vitelians. "Greater Vitelia" is a..."modern" idea.>>2953244Most of the continent to the east of the Reich tends to speak New Nauk, or as it's properly termed, Imperial, or as you would say the Kaiser's Nauk. To the west, however, the first Kaiser's spread was not so absolute. States such as Halmeggia allied with him, as did other adjacent states, as they saw his growing power and sought to benefit. Beyond Halmeggia, most of the peoples speak some branch of Vitelian, or in the case of the Altskaeg and closeby states, Old Nauk. The mixing of Vitelian and Old Nauk produces fascinatingly ugly bastards of languages.As for their power, Vitelia used to be quite powerful before civil war ripped it apart. Sudvitel was once part of the nation, as were parts of Lindiva. The other states are not as strong, but nevertheless presented a strong front for much of history as they banded against the Reich. The population of the lands west of the Reich is greater, but they aren't particularly militarily or industrially more powerful. Vitelia in its heyday was about as strong as Emre currently is, and Emre is said to be a match for the Reich, at least in the Reich's current state of being broken up into feuding protectorates.The west is also where the Church fled after the Kaiser systematically dismantled it for being a threat to his power. Culturally, they're likely ahead of the east, though a wave of progressivism caused quite huge divides in Vitelia in particular. The Reich is such a monolith though, and Emre so culturally rich and powerful that they withstood domination by such for so long and came back stronger, that the spread of the west's culture has been slow, if even existent. More influential to the East at least is Caelus across the sea, Naukland, and the Reich. Vitelia is the primary cultural force in the west.
>>2953528Historical inspiration.As for the rest, no, and no. Such was when I was fresh off the boat for questing, as well as being far inferior at writing. It wouldn't spoil anything since the changes are drastic enough for very little to really be the same, but it's just not really worth it imo when you have the current version. Also, the drawings got a lot better. And existent.If I didn't answer anything to full satisfaction, feel free to ask further after it. I sort of broke a bit of a rule with a few of these about the main character's knowledge being a factor, largely because Reinhold isn't really concerned with a lot of history and such, so his knowledge of the things asked after would be the setting equivalent of asking the most disinterested of laymen. Without further ado then, though.-----“All platoons,” you sad over the company net, “Save your ammo. Don’t have your men do anything more than harassing fire with machine guns. They look like they’re pulling back; let them go.”“Captain?” Fischer seemed confused, “If they are pulling back and have forces as vulnerable to an attack by tanks as they do, should we not strike them further, and trample them as beasts do to grass?”“Go after them then,” Covacs scoffed, “If you’re so eager.”“Cool it, Covacs,” you said in warning, “They’re pulling back, Fischer. I’d rather keep as much of our ammunition ready as possible. We can’t count on aerial supply working out well for us, we should all know so much from exercises.” While aerial resupply was something well practiced, especially for paratroopers isolated for longer than planned, it could never be relied upon to be precise. A slight misfortune when it came to wind speed and direction could blow vital supplies far off target. ADR deployment of supplies required open terrain, and couldn’t simply be done anywhere. In exercises, half the time, supplies that were vital had blown off course, or worse, into the hands of the opposing forces in the practice skirmish.Thusly, the battle for the bridge ended, with the enemy ever so gradually pulling out, as fire was exchanged up and down the line more out of obligation than in anger. The cacophony of battle dulled, and soon, it quieted elsewhere to, to the east down the line, and once more crickets could be heard. Fischer had been right as far as that attacking a faltering enemy would likely cause them to crumble (or stiffen, if they felt there was no escape), but you had given thought to the possibility of how much more effective a weapon mercy could be towards an ideologically motivated enemy. Perhaps the recent conscripts would lose their stomach to fight, you theorized, if you simply let them run when they no longer wished to fight. That was to say nothing of if the Halmeggians you were aiding would want to help your counteroffensive either; it was quite possible, with the damage they had taken, that they were quite spent.
Remembering Owl 3, you told Covacs to dispatch a pair of tanks to go and retrieve her, as you had business here to take care of. You crossed the bridge and linked up with 3rd platoon, stopping to look at the Halmeggian troops that were nearby the riverbank. Their uniforms looked near identical to soldiers of the Reich, though their colors were quite different; their tunics were green, with dark trousers, and their torsos were crossed with dark leathers from which ammunition pouches hung, more than a few open and emptied. Their round helmets with hanging metal flaps distinguished them as Halmeggians, it seemed, and those were painted the same color as their tunics, though many of the riflemen you saw had oddly taken them off. As you looked over them more, it became clear that these men would not have been able to swiftly attack the enemy and bite at their heels as Fischer wished.Their weapons were not held at the ready if they were clutched at all, and there was a lack of leadership among them, as many seemed to stare at the ground, helms beside them. In the dim moonlight, you saw a few gazing skywards with vacant expressions. A few stared at you, though they appeared to not be observing with much thought. It was an expression you knew, a feeling you’d learned a long time ago. When bullets began to fly and cannons roared, when the ground churned and blood spilled, the mind retreated, and the body knew little what to do besides what training told it. When the smoke cleared and adrenaline went down, all that was left after that first bad fight was the realization of your own mortality, and how close your brush with death may have been. It was never a feeling that followed a big win, or after trouncing an enemy. You had been a glider pilot, but glider pilots were expected to fight alongside the ground troops, not to sit safely behind; paratroopers could ill afford such luxury to anybody. The first time you had shot at an enemy, in your first landing, your first skirmish, in the Fealinn countryside, you’d caught a bunch of Fealinni militia off guard and sent them fleeing, and your squad hooped and hollered in celebration of their first engagement. The second and third went similarly, though those times the enemy had returned fire. You all had laughed when a few bullets cracked by, but missed widely. The fourth fight, you didn’t catch the enemy off guard. As you were scouting out a small barn, you heard a shot, and one of your squadmates grunt, then collapse. Everybody took cover but that one, who still lay on the ground, clutching at his breast while the rest of you snapped your heads about, watching for the sniper.
The bastard was decent; he didn’t stick around, and you didn’t find him, but his aim had also been off; his target survived, though when the lot of you first crowded around him, not caring about the poor tactics of clumping up, you all merely watched in silence as the squad leader was the only one who moved decisively to apply bandaging, your squadmate’s labored breathing and wet coughing the only sound coming out of anybody until the squad leader demanded to know what the hell everybody was standing around for, and ordered you and the machine gun assistant to run back to call for a medic. You had never been so glad to run away.The next time bullets flew at the squad, nobody laughed anymore. In a funny way though, perhaps in a way nobody but somebody like you would describe it, a first bad firefight was like the first time having sex (the less said about your experience of that particular event the better). The first time was strange, and new, and nobody really could say they knew what to do, but each time it became a less scary, more familiar as the lessons of the past accumulated. Every firefight after the first was easier to get used to, every wounding, every death. It took until the next war in Felbach, but eventually, you found yourself laughing at something so absurd as somebody trying to kill you once more.You shared that metaphor with Dolcherr when you’d gone drinking, celebrating your promotion to Captain, and he bluntly advised you to not compare battle and making love. In response, you took him out and introduced him to a well-paid young lady, at your insistence, and forced him to finally be rid of his all too persistent virginity. After almost six years straight of you badgering him over the matter, he finally relented; perhaps two wars, however brief, had worn down his resistance to such matters. After the fact though, he still told you that he didn’t think your comparison was a good one.Dolcherr. A idea crossed your mind as you looked over the hopeless Halmeggians, and you ordered your driver to stop, and hopped out of the tank, stepping widely over to the green garbed soldiers with a canteen in hand. The first one you encountered, you looped around the back of, squatted down, and patted him on the back before throwing your arm around his shoulder.“Hey, kid.” You said reassuringly. You weren’t really old enough to call a lot of people kid despite your rank, but you’d been told you looked older than you were, and this soldier looked to not have been in his third decade yet. “You’re alright. You did good, okay? Buck up, you’ve come this far, it’s not over yet, yeah? Here,” you passed him your canteen, held in your other hand, “You look like you need some water.”
The Halmeggian unscrewed the cap and took a swig from the canteen, not even looking at you despite your wide grin, before closing it once more and passing it back. His expression was still as blank as before, but maybe you helped just a little. You looked back one more time, and it seemed as though the man had started praying.“What was that all about?” Jalsen, your loader, asked as you remounted the Luftpanzer. “They’ve got their own water.”“Everybody has the Judge, choirboy. Do you still pray for other people’s sake?”“Hmph. Not heathens.”“I love you too.”The quick bit of banter with your loader finished with, you thought about how many of these soldiers had had their first firefight; their first battle in which, it looked like, many of their comrades had been wounded or killed. A peaceful country like Halmeggia, how many of them had ever expected to get into a fight like this? How many of their enemies had been just as fearful, just as confused as the two sides fired at one another in this harsh new time of war? The Revolutionary Vitelians were presumably plenty buoyed by their dogma, or perhaps experience, yet how terrifying you and your lot must have seemed to your foe as you swept through the fields and woods killing who knew how many.The second and third groups of Halmeggian infantry were no different to the first in their blank shock, though you didn’t have the time to go out and give a short pep talk to every man. At some point, somebody among them would have to stand up and take leadership, to be the lighthouse in the storm. After all, you didn’t plan to be here long, and it wasn’t your job to care after every soldier whose home suddenly had become very, very far away.Shortly after, you encountered Lieutenant Alterwald. A pair of what Owl 3 had described as Armato Blindare m20/30 sat space apart well, back to back, though one had its crew busily working on it, having broken track. Both were pockmarked and blackened by numerous strikes against their armor, though none seemed to have penetrated the armor itself, scoring and gouging but never seeming to quite punch through. Even in the cold, many of the crew had stripped off their jackets and were working in sleeveless white undershirts. Their commander supervised them, standing oddly apart from them. Not nice of him; he should have been helping his crew, but who were you to question Halmeggian tradition?With a lean out of the turret and a friendly wave, you ordered your tank to stop before jumping out and tromping out towards the man who seemed most likely to be the Lieutenant. If you were wrong…oh well. He’d be with the other tank. As you approached, Alterwald looked up at the tree he stood next to, and seemed to make a signal with his hand, before turning and waiting for you, slightly turned away.
“Lieutenant Alterwald?” you smiled and held a hand out. He was almost as tall as you, though lankier; on closer inspection, he bent his body to and fro in a way that made his height hard to parse; he might have been slightly taller than you had his posture not been so odd. He stared at your hand a second before clasping it hesitantly.“Indeed.” Alterwald said, not shaking his hand with yours. “You must be Captain Roth-Vogel.” After you released your hand, he said, “Rather chipper for just getting through slaughtering Revolutionaries, aren’t you.”“No, just a pretty night,” you said, trying to chuckle, but man did Alterwald look like somebody who had nothing to do but nip after every word sarcastically. Something strange that you noticed immediately after Alterwald spoke felt off, though...he didn’t sound quite right. His accent was almost…eastern. “I’m here to link up with your people, whatever you call yourselves, and the guy leading you. The Duke Di Vitelstadt.”“Yeah. I heard.” Alterwald was unexcited. “We’re with the Aristocratic Union Security Council.”…Aristocratic Union Security Council? Strange. Maybe you should question after that further, then again, maybe you shouldn’t. So long as they were with you in the fight against the Revolutionaries.>Ask whatever questions you want of Lieutenant Alterwald, or whatever plans you want to address besides the main goal of meeting up with the Duke Di Vitelstadt>Aristocratic Union Security Council, huh? Not Royal Halmeggian Army? You look pretty official to not be them, after all.>You don’t sound like you’re from around here. Visiting friends?>So do you talk to trees often, or would you like to introduce me to your friend up there?>Other?
>>2953604All the above questions plus ask him about any idea if he knows anything about the Duke we should know (personality etc.)
>>2953604Oh yeah another thing: If we chose as Richter to come to Halmeggia instead what would have happened with this quest lol
>>2953635There were a few plans. If Richter was smart he'd be laying low for this; I also had a few other short ideas on the line. One was one for being an Ellowian conscript in the war people kept talking about back east. Death or capture would have been the most likely end for that one.
>>2953661Neat.Though given what we've seen of the RAGV Richter would definitely have detested working work them.
>>2953604>Other?Just how much of the country is still with the Bluebloods?>>2953677He'd have hated it, especially conscripting peasants into the meat grinder.
>>2953604>>Aristocratic Union Security Council, huh? Not Royal Halmeggian Army? I seem to be confused, mind clarifying who's fighting who here?
>>2953604>Aristocratic Union Security Council, huh? Not Royal Halmeggian Army? You look pretty official to not be them, after all.Fuck, if the military is split three ways, this might get a whole lot messier before it gets better. I have a sinking feeling the Duke is gonna be more interested in playing war than saving the royal family.
“Aristocratic Union Security Council, huh?” you asked, “Not something like Royal Halmeggian Army?” You looked up and down Lieutenant Alterwald’s uniform. He was different from the others, sure, but his uniform still looked like just that. “You look pretty official to not be them, after all.”“There’s nothing called the Royal Halmeggian Army anymore, not really,” Alterwald said to that, “Nothing legitimate at least. It broke a dozen different ways at least. Turned out that Parliament had much less control than they thought, when it came right down to it.”You felt a drop of sweat on the back of your neck make an oddly cold trail. “Not fans of the government, then.”“Parts of it. Though the parts we were concerned with conveniently tore themselves to pieces, even if order was lost in the process. The Royal Family are the legitimate rulers of Halmeggia, even if the Parliament would have disputed that claim were they able to. Difficult for them now, though.”“So you’d help them out, right?” you said cautiously, “Since they’re in trouble and all that.”Alterwald’s eyes drifted off and settled elsewhere. “We’ll see. I don’t really mind either way, personally. The Duke Di Vitelstadt, the leader of the Council, is quite a good friend of the royal family, but it’s not hard to find somebody who feels different. Happens when you support Parliament instead of the Lords. How magnanimous of the royals to support their own foes.”“I feel like I’m missing some background.”“Plenty.”You didn’t really feel like dragging anything out of Alterwald that he wasn’t willing to share himself, so you moved on, to something more related to him. “You don’t sound like you’re from around here. Visiting friends?”Alterwald’s eyes returned to your own. “You could say that. Do I sound foreign?”“You sound like you jumped over the Imperial Gate.” The Imperial Gate was a name for the mountain passes that separated the Reich from the east of the continent. When Kaiser Alexander first rose up, he took troops over those mountains and conquered the disparate petty dukedoms and city states that squabbled among themselves over the mountains. That territory was called Strossvald now, and they were a long way from when they had first been introduced to the Reich. They should have been thankful, really. Strossvald, you’d heard, was also heavily controlled and influenced by noble families. It would hardly surprise you if somebody from there had come over here, with the connections such families made (you heard), but you wondered if that might throw a wrench into things. Strossvald was infamously paranoid of the Reich, for fair reasons, you supposed, even though really they got the better deal in the end.“Where I’m from isn’t important.”“Int Important sounds like a nice place.”
Alterwald narrowed his eyes. “You’re incredibly witty.” He said as insincerely as it could have been possible to sound.“I’m a man of many talents.”“The Aristocratic Union fights for the future of Halmeggia.” Alterwald went on as though you hadn’t made the smartarse remark. “The Revolutionaries are Halmeggians as well as Vitelians. I enjoy terribly lopsided battles as much as anybody else, but the Duke and the Council believe otherwise.”“You’re all here on pretty short notice, then. Priority flights must be expensive.”“Please.” Alterwald turned his cap and adjusted the headset on his head, “This war has been brewing for some time. Of course precautions were taken well in advance.”The more you found out, the less trustworthy these Aristocratic Union people seemed. They fought the Revolutionaries alongside you, but the motivations of their leaders were quite self-serving indeed. It was as though everybody had wanted to fight a civil war the whole time leading up to this, if the army and police simply fragmented, and the country was swallowed up by factions and independent holdouts. This was quickly becoming less a matter of just teaming up with the good guys, as it were, and more of seeing who you weren’t potentially pissing off with your mission. The primary objective wasn’t to deliver the Halmeggian Royal Family to the Aristocratic Union, after all; it was to extricate them back to the Grossreich. “How much of the country do you fellas have, then?” you asked next, “Roughly. Besides this patch of dirt right here, I mean.”Alterwald didn’t think long on that. “The Aristocrats’ lands are concentrated in the north and the east, so that can reliably be expected to be within the Union’s control, as well as what we have captured by pressing down this far. The rest of the country, I can’t say how that’s going, but the Aristocrats concentrated their power before all of this collapsed. I am of the opinion that they’re in a rather strong position because of that.”So these guys were doing well for themselves, relatively. That was some comfort. It would have been nice to know how much of the country was under whose control for the rest of the lands, though. For all you knew you’d be hitting nothing but Revolutionaries from here to the Royals’ castle.Finally, though, you let your gaze wander up to the tree by Alterwald. “So do you talk to trees often, or would you like to introduce me to your friend up there?” You didn’t actually see anybody; whoever it was had a good friend in the night. “I admit I’ve never been here before. If the trees are conversational I’d like to know.”Alterwald didn’t humor your joke. Instead, he simply said, “Alright. Come on down, seems I blew your cover.”
A rustle from the branches scattered some autumn leaves about before a dark shape lowered itself down from the trees. It carried a carbine and was dressed thickly in a baggy brown long coat, bits of foliage stuck all over a cloak that ran over her shoulders and down to her elbows. It wasn’t until the hood fell back that you realized this person was a short little lady, with a rural look to her, a round face splattered with freckles and sharp, alert green eyes that remained fixed firmly on you as she kept her gun at the ready. Her light brown hair, which fell to her shoulders, was kept back from her face by a thick, woven patterned hairband that dipped behind her ears. “Is this normal as well?” you asked.“No.”“A shame. I was hoping I could rattle a tree and a girl would fall out.” You peered down at the woman. “So who are you then? The lieutenant’s mistress?”The young woman flushed scarlet. “Yes.” Alterwald said blankly.“Erwin!” the young lady hissed, “You’re not supposed to-““It’s fine.” Alterwald cut her off. The young lady seemed frustrated from being interrupted, but slung her weapon over her shoulder and crossed her arms in a huff before turning away from you.“Don’t worry, dear,” you said to her back, “I promise I won’t seduce your man.” Then, to Alterwald, “Do I get an introduction?”“I don’t see why that would be necessary.” Alterwald shut you down immediately. “She is a helpful ward and scout. She’s alright at a few other things not related to fighting, as well.” The woman picked a clod of dirt off the ground and threw it into Alterwald’s back. “Rural folk, I’ve learned, are quite useful, but my huntress isn’t important to your reason for being here, is she? You wish to meet with the Duke Alfonso Di Vitelstadt.”You smirked and nodded. “Yep. Can I get a meeting with him?”“If you are finished asking whatever questions you have of me.”You put a finger on your lip and thought about that. Were you? There was one more thing, actually. “Tell me about the Duke. What sort of guy is he? Should I know anything before meeting with him?”“The Duke Di Vitelstadt is an accomplished socialite. Gregarious, and accommodating. So long as you do not try to fool with him…too much. Besides that,” Alterwald shrugged. “He’s hardly the sort of man I like to be around, but he is well suited for his position.”
“Captain!” Jalsen called out from your tank, “Message on the radio.”“I’ve got to go then,” you excused yourself, “Let’s fight together again sometime, yeah?”“Hmm. Sure.”You clambered back into the turret, and got on the company set. “I’m here.”“Your intelligence agent has been picked up,” Covacs reported. “My light section is returning with her, it shouldn’t be long before we’re all together again.”“And the prisoner?”“There was no prisoner.”…Huh? Hm.>No prisoner? What was that supposed to mean? Demand to talk with Owl 3 about this.>As expected, really. It’s not an issue that there wasn’t any prisoner to pick up.>Other?Also>Delay your meeting with the Duke to wait for Owl 3>Winnifred is plenty paitient, hurry on to the Duke>Any other actions?
>>2954211>>As expected, really. It’s not an issue that there wasn’t any prisoner to pick up.>>>Delay your meeting with the Duke to wait for Owl 3Either she's dead in a ditch or Winnifred let her go.Anyway best to bring her along; maybe the Duke will appreciate having another blueblood around.
>>2954215Second. Too bad about the prisoner but the battlefield is no place to start growing your harem. Unless you're Richter von Tracht I suppose.
>>2954211Nothing can be done about the prisoner, hopefully it was quick or Owl 3 is far more merciful than I’m assuming.Try to mount however many infantry or wounded we can on the tanks while Alterwald replaces his damaged trend. I know they’re sitting ducks on top of our tin cans, but it at least beats hoofing back to HQ. Worst case, we can tow the tank later or sabotage it before linking up with the Duke.
>>2954211>>As expected, really. It’s not an issue that there wasn’t any prisoner to pick up.>>Delay your meeting with the Duke to wait for Owl 3>>OtherAsk Alterwald the last known direction and makeup of that armored element that broke north. Incase we run into it. Their problem though, were not chasing after it as it runs all over their rear areas.
>>2954211As well as supporting the above, I think some questions to ask Owl 3 when we see her again is firstly to follow up on what Alterwald said about the Royals supporting Parliament as well as find out if she's heard of foreign support for the Aristocrats as well.
>>2952709>>2951844That full strength RAGV armored unit icon.What is the line cutting across it supposed to symbolize? Its missing the other cross if its supposed to be mechanized infantry and the cross is on the opposite side if its supposed to be recon armor.>>2954211>As expected, really. It’s not an issue that there wasn’t any prisoner to pick up.Also>Delay your meeting with the Duke to wait for Owl 3
>>2954404>That full strength RAGV armored unit icon.>What is the line cutting across it supposed to symbolize? It's an armored car unit, typically relegated to reconnaissance (and as of recently, urban riot control), strongarmed into other roles though.> the cross is on the opposite side if its supposed to be recon armor.I plead the fifth.
“Alright then.” You didn’t press on the lack of a prisoner; it wasn’t really a surprise, nor an issue. As long as Winnifred didn’t get blood on your jacket. “I’ll be waiting to pick her up down the road then. I want her with me when I meet up with the duke.”“Any reason for that?”“I’ll look better with a lady hanging on my arm.” When that failed to tickle Covacs, you properly justified things. “She’s our intelligence expert, and a blue blood at that. I figure that the Duke might like that better than what the rest of us got.”While you waited for Owl 3 to be delivered to you, you met with Alterwald again. His female companion had started climbing her way back up her tree again, apparently done sulking as she shuffled up the trunk.“Not going to give her a boost?” you asked.“She hardly needs it.” Alterwald replied. “Was there more you wanted with me? A guide, perhaps?”The huntswoman continued to be watched by you. It seemed she would have actually appreciated a boost, since she was short, but maybe she was one of those short people who got annoyed when they had such pointed out to them. “A guide over would help, yeah, but it wasn’t that. One of the Revolutionaries’ tanks that came over the river got away from the fight, and went north from what I saw. Is that going to be a problem?”“I reported that, of course. Barring a sudden attack of mental disability, no, they will not be a problem. Reserve units are already tracking them.”“Alrighty then,” you shoved your hands in your pockets, “So since I’m on my way to your headquarters anyways, right, do you want me to transport any of your wounded? Not much room on top of our tanks, but it’s better than nothing.” Alterwald closed his eyes and sighed. “That won’t be necessary, no. My instructions were to avoid delaying or hampering you and your men in any way. Not that you need my help to get any ideas, apparently. The medical company is coming around the lines to make the rounds, and any who are injured but still able to fight are to remain on the line.”“Instructions?” you asked, “Guidelines. You’re not weighing me down, I’m taking your wounded with me.”“I refuse your offer.” Alterwald said with stiff insistence, “And that is final.”Sheesh. “Fine then. Could I get a guide? I’m waiting for somebody, but since I should be off as soon as possible with little delays…”
“A dispatch rider is supposed to be coming, but if they aren’t here yet…” Alterwald looked over to the tree. “Vivi.” The young cloaked lady paused in her accent and looked over. “The Captain needs a guide over to the headquarters. You remember where that is, don’t you?”“Of course, but…” the short girl called Vivi didn’t seem very comfortable with that request, as she slid back down and took a few steps towards the two of you, eyes on the Lieutenant. “That means leaving you without-““I survived plenty long before we met.” Alterwald said bluntly, “I’m sure I’ll manage to survive.”The girl stood by Alterwald for a few moments, before pushing her cloak over her back and throwing her arms around him; the lanky officer, you noted, did not return the embrace at all.A bit later, the waiting time being filled with you performing checkups on your company; fuel and ammunition, damage, status of minor wounds, the works, when you thought to go and ask Alterwald about his people, Owl 3 was finally given over. A tank rolled up behind, Winnifred Von Löwenkreuz atop it, and when it stopped she stepped down and paced up to you.“Is this your mistress?” Alterwald asked drily.“No.” Winnifred said flatly before you could think to say anything funny. “Captain.”“You’re looking well,” you said to her; your leather, wool lined Luftpanzer crew jacket was still on her, and she’d accepted its stay, judging from how she had zipped it up properly instead of letting it hang on her like you were going to take it back at any moment. “Well, Lieutenant, that’s my cue to go meet with the Duke, so I’ll wish you luck with all this.”“Mm.” Alterwald grunted, but said nothing after as the help he had lent you climbed aboard your tank.“Actually,” Winnifred watched the huntress, “I would prefer to share something in private, first.”You shrugged. “Alright then,” and the two of you went out a bit into the field. “This about the prisoner?” you asked when you thought you were out of earshot. “You do anything to them?”“I did what was necessary.” Owl 3 said.“So they’re…”“Alive? Yes.”That hadn’t been the answer you expected. “I didn’t expect you to say that, I’ll admit.” You murmured, itching behind your ear. “So you let her go?”
“I did, though she likely believes she escaped because I was neglectful. Killing her would have been more secure, yes, but there was…merit, in letting her leave. Information is an invaluable tool, Captain,” Winnifred told you, “It is everything. Having it makes one strong, and not having it means fighting blind. The first step most take is realizing this simple fact, but only the greatest of fools would keep themselves in ignorance. Fools are hardly uncommon, but there is also no shortage of cunning in the world. All it takes to have good information is good senses, but such is not the nature of espionage, of intelligence warfare. The apex of that is to have such control over information that the enemy themselves believe they know everything, while the reality is that they are in the dark.”“So you let her go to spread false information?” you guessed.Winnifred nodded. “It’s possible that that woman was very clever, that she put on a show of ignorance at what I was doing, but that seemed unlikely. People are easy to manipulate when their emotions are running high. It hardly matters that the Kaiser has little love for the nobility, and most old blooded upper class around the world both fear and despise him, that the belief that our alliance with the Duke Di Vitelstadt is anything but a matter of convenience would be quite false because of such. She cared more about her fiction being supported than analyzing its veracity, so I merely told her exactly what she wanted to hear, under the guise of accidental, unintended slips of the tongue.” Owl 3 pulled out her thin, sharp blade and ran her finger along the back of it. “It required little in the way of manipulation. All I did was fan the flames of her hatred, make her willing to give in to emotion, and then feed her charming lies.”It occurred to you then, that you should have been very frightened of this seemingly waifish brunette. Yet you weren’t. Couldn’t be, really, not when the labyrinth of her mind was encased in such a thin, feminine body. Beholding such at the same time as hearing her hint at what dark calculations constantly occurred in her mind dampened any further thought on such. Maybe the fortification of your mind against fear was what drew focus less to the mystery of her mind, and more to her hips and legs, and the pout of her lip.“Captain.”
“What did you tell her?” you looked back into Winnifred’s eye. She had become awfully patient with your sort of nonsense, come to think. “As I said. Exactly what she wanted to hear. As our own intelligence was compromised, the enemy certainly has at the very least an idea of what our intended objective was before the operation began. Let us say that their primary source of information is the traitor you theorized about. What is important at this venture is to begin dissemination of alternative information sources. The Revolutionaries are crude and simple in their dealings with such. If they are as reckless with their trust as they are in other dealings, they may very well value quantity of information over quality. An exploitable weakness.” Winnifred brushed a strand of hair aside, as it drifted over her vision. “Foremost was humoring the improper appraisal of our goals. Second was a generous overestimation of the casualties we have suffered. Finally, an implantation of suspicion within their own ranks. Whomever she shares her newfound information with first will learn that our objectives have changed due to casualties suffered in fighting, and that we seek to join with the Duke’s forces in a bid for survival. However, it will not all be an appealing windfall, as some troubling news will come in that we may have moles within their ranks.”“They won’t be suspicious that she managed to get back?” You presented that concern quickly.“As I said, she does not think she was released. I let her think that she escaped against our intentions.” Winnifred pointed to her wrist, “I ‘accidentally’ loosened her wrist bindings, shortly before I was finished…working. She pretended to faint from my coercion. I pretended to believe she had, and went off to report to you. She escaped in the meantime, most likely. I did not return to check So long as not all of what she reports back is too perfect, the Revolutionaries will at least believe parts of her story. What they do with her after, or if they discover any of the lies to be just that, is none of our business.”“So that’s about the shape of it, then.” You said, “Was there anything else?”“Just that. You seemed to care inordinately for that Revolutionary woman’s health. I will tell you that I did not do anything that would be permanent. As the commanding officer, though, you should also know about my maneuvers too, though. Unless there was anything you wanted to ask me, we can return straight to meeting the Duke.”>Ask anything?>I’d really rather prefer if you told me you were going to do this next time.>Why did you say “no” earlier? (Tease)>Other?
>>2955159>>Ask anything?-The LT just now told me the Royals supported Parliament over the Aristocracy when push came to shove? Care to fill in the background of what happened and will it be a problem if we're talking to the Duke?-Speaking of which, have you heard any rumours of foreign support for the factions here besides us and the Vitelians? That guy Alterwald from earlier sounds like he's a long way from home.
>>2955159Ask her if she has any ideas about how we should handle the Duke, we can trust him to work in his own self interest, so what deals will keep him on our side? Also,>Why did you say “no” earlier? (Tease)All is fair in love and war, we work together so well in war at least, that has to qualify for at least a half-mistress
>>2955308Lol supporting this as well though I guess we all know what the answer will be.
After roughly a century, I am back now. I'll have an update soon, I'm just sick so I've been conked out most of the day.
“There were a few things I wanted to clear up,” you said, “That man over there, Lieutenant Alterwald, he told me that the Royals supported the Parliament over the Aristocracy when push came to shove. I don’t need a history lecture or anything, but if I could get some background on what could be a problem when we talk to the Duke, I’d like that. Speaking of the Lieutenant, though,” you pointed with your thumb back towards him, “Have you heard any rumors of foreign support for factions here besides us and the Vitelians? That guy sounds like he’s a long way from home.”Owl 3 thought about that. “…The latter would be easier to answer first. I’ve only heard a few words come out of his mouth, so I have no idea where this Lieutenant could be from.” “He sounds eastern.”“How so?”“Ehh…” You honestly didn’t know. It wasn’t like you traveled much; you just heard it occasionally. “I don’t know. Just sounds like it.”Owl 3 seemed disappointed by the lack of certainty, but continued without dwelling on it. “Of course there is other support for other factions, it’s how it seems like these soldiers and organizations sprang out of nowhere. They’ve been lurking and preparing for a long time, and now that the bolt’s loosed, even with only a scant bit of preparation, people will cling to any rock in the storm. For all their unpopularity with the lower folk, the Aristocrats made very certain to make themselves secure in an event such as this. For example, the higher officers of the Halmeggian Army are, not by coincidence, linked to the nobility. The nobles have connections all over the world; it isn’t surprising for them to bring in foreign support, even if the amount of directions they could come from is so vast that they’d be difficult to place without more information.”“I’d have thought I’d heard more about this if this place was such a powder keg…” you muttered. “And that we would have done more in advance. Wonder how much the protectorates have a hand in this.”“You had to be flown in here, no?” Owl 3 asked rhetorically.“…Yeah, that sort of wraps it all up neatly, doesn’t it.” You admitted.“For your other question, to explain the conflict between the Parliament and the Aristocracy is difficult to put into few words, but I will do my best.” Winnifred cleared her throat with a thin little cough, which seemed entirely unfitting for her. “Halmeggia only became a constitutional monarchy about fifty years ago. Before then, the aristocracy were directly subordinate to the king."
"The first parliaments, for practical purposes, maintained this hierarchy as votes were counted based off of land ownership. The aristocrats have long dominated the agrarian sector of Halmeggia’s economy; far and away their largest export, of course, even today. However, about twenty nine years ago, there was a coup against this structure; the Equal Voting Act of 1903. I hope I don’t have to explain how this was an upset for how representation was reflected in the Parliament.”“The aristocrats lost power.” You responded; the obvious answer.“But not quickly. After all, the aristocracy still owned ninety per cent of the land used for agriculture and extraction, they owned the people, and their labor. To swing votes in favor of the representatives they picked would be extremely simple. However, the change to today was quite slow, and gradual. What should explain plenty though, is that the latest records before this civil war began showed that the amount of land owned by the aristocracy has fallen from ninety per cent to forty eight percent. Almost all of this is the result of politicking by the Throne, attempting to balance the aristocracy with the clamoring of the common peoples, especially the urbanites and capitalists. Rather than balancing the state, however, it ultimately seems to have had the opposite effect.”“The aristocracy don’t seem to be that unhappy with the royal family, though,” you pointed out.“Their complaints have historically been with the Parliament. Though the Royal Family is what allowed the Parliament to come into its current position, the Royal Family is also whom the Aristocrats claim, at least on the face of things, have the right to rule over them. They are not revolutionists, who want to institute a new power, but reactionaries, who want a return to before. They know well and good that they could not create a state with themselves at the pinnacle; such would drain the common support that they have.”“I think I get it.” This sort of talk wasn’t within your usual realm of interests, of course, but it was probably necessary. “So how should we handle the Duke, then? If he’ll work towards what he wants, then what deals can we give him to keep him beside us instead of in the way?”“We can trust him so long as our goals align,” Winnifred said plainly, “So what are our goals?”“Rescue the Royal Family, kill Revolutionaries?”
“Coincidental that the Duke likely wants the same thing. So as long as we are united by that, I don’t foresee any problems. However, that would probably change in a moment if our objectives were to stray from one another. For example, in how we should accomplish either, or what exactly “rescuing the royal family” means. You do intend to return to the Reich, yes? Your battalion has no shortage of veteran fighters and war materiel, a huge boon for a war, especially one starting out as such is here.”“I’d rather not have to shoot my way out, yeah,” you said to that uncomfortable revelation. “So how do we deal with that?”“By keeping their enemies strong. If we could potentially inflict damage upon them that would leave them open to the Revolutionaries, or any other faction opposing them, then they will not oppose us directly. So, as long as we do not make them able to tower over their competition, we will remain safe from them.” Winnifred tapped on the symbol on your cap. “The Kaiser is not at war with Halmeggia. We have one goal, and it is not to save the whole country. If you accept such, then our options are much more flexible. We share no sides that are not for our own benefit.”“I can’t say I’m very comfortable with letting the Revolutionaries have a free ride, but I can see what you’re saying.” With a groan, you smashed your cap over your eyes, and thought of something that would be fun, to break up the politics. “One more thing. Why’d you say no to what the Lieutenant asked earlier?”“…Pardon?” Owl 3 had seemed to have already forgotten the event you were referring to.“The Lieutenant asked if you were my mistress. You said no. All is fair in love and war, as they say, I think we’ve been working together well enough in war at least, that has to qualify for a half mistress, right?”Winnifred said nothing, cocked her head sideways, and raised a hand to put under her long, wavy black locks and rub the side of her head. “…what?” you asked, “Am I-““I am thinking,” Winnifred said, sounding bored, “On what you’re trying to say. Either you’re making a bumbling attempt to court me, or you’re proposing a role in the beginnings of a passable idea.” She took her hand off her head, and put it in the pocket of her (your) jacket. “Either that, or I’m being inducted into your harem as the first female member, to join your company of men as another half mistress.”Maybe you had set yourself up for that one.>Oh yeah, it was the idea, of course. I mean, it wouldn’t do for me to introduce you to the Duke as a spy, would it?>Depends. Do you think bumbling passes are cute? I’m willing to take some constructive criticism.>Which answer would you prefer?>Other?
>>2957552>>Depends. Do you think bumbling passes are cute? I’m willing to take some constructive criticism.Full speed ahead.
>>2957552> “Either that, or I’m being inducted into your harem as the first female member, to join your company of men as another half mistress.”Wounding.>Other. A little of column A, some of column B."I was unsure how I was to introduce you to the Duke, if you are indeed my consort then you must be quite madly in love with me to follow me into such a warzone. If that is to be our play then you must at least pretend to be warming up to me."Get a few more pounds of dirt out of the way, then we can put down the shovel.
“Well,” you kept your back straight and your arms open, “I was unsure how else I was gonna introduce you to the Duke Di Vitelstadt without it seeming weird. Though if you’re indeed my consort, then you must be quite madly in love with me to follow me into a place like this. If that’s to be our play, then you ought to at least pretend to be a tad warmer, right?”“You’ve assumed I’ve already agreed to this plan.” Owl 3’s said flatly and scathingly, like you didn’t know what you were talking about. “It’s too flawed.”You had grimaced, but it turned back into a smile. “So you’re saying that the role is something you’d play?”“I will be speaking with the Duke with you because of my blood, yes? Then my role should hardly be one of a fawning admirer. Would any noble be impressed with a lady who was merely found, taken, and ready to follow? I think not. It lacks nuance, authenticity. I am not your consort,” Winnifred took two steps forward, and reached up and pulled you down by your collar, running two of her fingers down your chin, “You are my pet.”“I’m debating on whether I like this.” Your grin had turned into some sham of something between glee and fear, like you were tipping over a cliff. Or out of a plane.Winnifred paid no mind to your concern, and her voice had taken a different, sultrier tone into a sort of purr. “I found you because I was looking for a dangerous man. What would I care of a battlefield if that is what I was looking for in a man anyways? Fear, terror, rushing blood and eminent peril; isn’t that erotic?”“Uh…” This wasn’t really something you were used to; it was all for show, you knew, but the body was confused where the brain was not.“Remember that uncertainty. It’ll help sell this.” Owl 3 gave your nose a tap, “Your idea has merit. The Duke will be much less intimidating talking to a military man than to a fellow noble. That familiarity will make him less cautious, more open, and since he will believe he is in familiar waters,” the suddenly quite aggressive waif took hold of your belt buckle and tugged it, and you, towards her, “He will be much easier to control.” She separated herself from you, and you stumbled forward clumsily as she put distance between the two of you once more. “I will let you ask what you will, of course. But it’s all for the better if he believes that out of the two of us, I am the one over you.”“You were being pretty touchy there,” you felt the need to point out as you regained your balance, not as sure on your feet anymore.“Of course. Are you not my plaything?” Owl 3 said innocently.
“Well, I mean,” you looked side to side, “Am I expected to do the same? No trouble if so, just making sure.”“A dead fish wouldn’t be very alluring, would it? I am still a rich and privileged young woman, though. You will touch me when I want it, and at no other time.” Owl 3 said this very matter of factly, the velvet softness of before disappearing, like she’d thrown a veil over herself for those moments. “You ought to know when that is anyways, philanderer that you are.”“Sure, sure.” You said, thought admittedly from your experience such had been more a matter of luck than perception. “Y’know, I know this is all for show, but…you like dangerous men?”“Not particularly.” Owl 3’s voice was plain once more.“Oh.” Was all that tumbled out of your mouth, like you’d dropped it on the ground.Owl 3 peered at you, and you looked at each other in uncomfortable silence before she said, “…Your simplicity is charming.”Simplicity? “That’s not much of a compliment.” You said sorely.“If that’s how you want to look at it.” Owl 3 seemed ever so slightly hurt as she turned to the side, “I am an intelligence agent. Every person is a mystery, and nobody can be trusted. Constantly being in a world of enemies is…” She looked up at the moon, “…exhausting. When I say somebody is simple, you can read their face with a glance, with no chance of a threat hiding underneath, and it’s comforting. Like being alone at night with nobody but the moon.”
With little to say to that, you let Owl 3 stare for a bit, before she looked back at you. “That on your face,” she pointed to the equivalent section of her own, “Is that a dueling scar?”“What, this?” you ran your finger over the old scar on your right cheek, “Oh yeah. This. It’s a dueling scar, yeah. Like the sort they have at military academies. They're supposed to chop at each other with sabers, but for one of these, they stop on purpose and let their opponent nick them. It takes balls, and afterwards, everybody can see it. Y’know? Of course, it’s banned.”“Tell me about it.”…Huh. Well, honestly, you had a dozen different stories for it, and sometimes, you weren’t sure which one was true. You had to strain your mind to get to the one that sounded the most accurate…>You’d arranged your duel with Bartholomeu; both of you wanted scars, after all, except even though he’d given you a good cut, you’d screwed up your slash on him. He’d been pretty forgiving of it at least.>Most places do this sort of thing in secret, but this was even more secret. Somebody felt personally offended by you; that scar wasn’t the sort most got with a friendly duel. The other fellow wasn’t as good a fighter as you though; he’d gotten off poorly.>Truth be told, it hadn’t been a real duel at all; you had conscripted Dolcherr to carve a line in your face. Looking back, maybe it hadn’t been what you would have done given the chance to act differently.>Technically, it wasn’t a dueling scar at all, unless a duel could be with broken bottles. The local toughs and you had a disagreement over if you should be at a place You’d like to say you came out on top, but that wouldn’t be correct at all.If you think of something you think you and the others would like better, feel free to write it in, I won’t stop it.Optionally>I’ll tell you if you show me your other eye.>Other?
>>2958107>>Most places do this sort of thing in secret, but this was even more secret. Somebody felt personally offended by you; that scar wasn’t the sort most got with a friendly duel. The other fellow wasn’t as good a fighter as you though; he’d gotten off poorly.Also ask her why she covers her eye.
>>2958115Supporting, no trade needed, she can keep her secrets if she wishes. She probably needs a minimum of those to qualify as an intelligence agent anyway.
>>2958115Works for me.Although part of me wants the story to involve Linda somehow.
Update soon, right?>>2958115If the patch comes off will she die?
>>2958603Soonish. Depends on how quick I do these lines.Sorry about the delay, it seems I'm working really really slow today.
>>2958619>Soonish. Depends on how quick I do these lines.>Soonish passes>and turns into way lateOk but I actually am pretty close. The writing's all done. I just have to finish the doodle.
Depending on how much you thought of the lady in question, you had a few tall tales for this scar, but it was partially out of knowing Owl 3 could probably read a lie, and moreso out of respect for the lady’s compliment of your nature, apparently, that you did your best to piece together the actual true story.“Well,” you started off, “The way most dueling clubs worked, they do things in secret. Special places to meet, other people’s gear to use, the best place is probably underground saber dueling rings since they’re used to being down low but still have the connections to keep from getting dug up too quickly. You have your fun, you get your scar at some point, but that’s not where I got this one. I got this from a less friendly venue.”“You do seem the sort to unintentionally cause somebody to be quite angry.” Winnifred noted flatly.“Nah, this one was really intentional, believe you me,” you chuckled lightly, “Your big fat folder on me probably already told you this, but I’m friends with the famed Alphonse Falkenstein, the Gold Vengeance. Friends with his daughter too, Linda.” Linda thought of herself as a little bit too good friends with you, but that was besides the point. “It was about six years ago. I had a break from the academy, I knew a good bit of fencing. I’m not that great, but I’m no slouch. I drop by the park to meet up with Linda again after that time at the academy, and I see a trio of sleazeball punks harassing her. Not horseplay shit either, not being typical jerks, they’ve got her against a wall and they’re touching her, forcefully, and she’s got a black eye. Fourteen year old girl having that done to her by a group of eighteen to nineteens. I was…” you took a small breath just from the memory of it, “I was mad as hell. How dare they do that to Linda. I went up and slugged their boss right in the face and told them I’d kill ‘em if I ever saw their faces again. Turns out they didn’t like that much. Linda’d tried shaking them off, I learned later, then she brought a stick to fight them. She’s that sort of girl. Then they beat her up because they were slime. ‘Fore that though, the head dirtbag goes on about who his father is and how I’m gonna pay for hitting him, saying that he wants to duel with swords or he’ll ruin my life. I tell him to put a sock in it and name the time.”“How would he have ruined your life, pray tell?” Winnifred asked, “Considering your relation to Falkenstein. In fact, could young Linda not have reported such to her father?”“You don’t know Linda, she’d never do that,” you said warily, “She’d never, as she’d call it, run crying home to daddy. It’s not the way she does things. As for the life ruining bit, the assclown’s uncle or something was a big cat in some company. He said what it was but I didn’t give a shit.”
“Hardly a threat to a war hero and his acquaintances,” Winnifred mused.“Nah. Didn’t matter. We both wanted to teach each other a lesson, and I was glad to have an excuse to do it.” Dolcherr would have convinced you not to if he had found out, and you knew it. So you hadn’t told him. “I went to the place, didn’t tell anybody I was going. Was dark, two in the morning…”-----A light rain pattered on the pavement; a drizzle light enough to not need an umbrella, but more than a mist. It was a cold spring, and your flatcap had quickly gotten frigid from the dampness. It was a good thing it was raining; despite yourself, you were breaking out in a cold sweat. Was it because you were alone, or because you didn’t have Dolcherr? Rational thought was pushed out and told to stay away; righteous fury was what drove you through the dark, while the sky was just still pitch dark, only a few electric lamps lighting the streets, and a few alleys. One where you’d be having your duel. You didn’t have a sword, of course. You’d been told the other guy would be bringing one. Just in case all of them had swords and there wouldn’t be a duel after all, though, you’d stolen Alphonse Falkenstein’s revolver and had it hidden away in your coat. It wouldn’t be used unless it was absolutely necessary, though.They were waiting for you, all in long coats and flatcaps of their own. The head scum’s two cronies, same ones as before, held the still sheathed sabers. Their scabbards were shiny and flawless; like they were brand new. From the irritated noise he made and the look on his face, the young man had not expected you to actually arrive, but he took the development in stride.“So you finally show up!” He hooted, “I hope you’re ready to be humbled.”“I hope you’re ready to have your balls cut off!” you snarled back, “How dare you assault Linda Falkenstein like that! An insult to her father, and an even worse one to her!” “We was just checking if she was a boy or not, her hair cut that short, huh huh,” one of the backup thugs said. “You trash! I’ll kill you!” You snapped back.
“Trash?” their leader echoed, “You’re the trash here! How dare you attack me! The nephew of the Luftfabrik’s top executive! I don’t care who you are, I could buy your life with money I use to wipe my arse. I’ve every right to do whatever I like with that little tart, but just for you, after I send you home with your tail between your legs, the next we see little Linda she’ll come with us, and we’ll take turns making her a woman to make up for your rudeness. We both know she won’t breathe a word of it to her dear daddy either.”“Enough. Talk.” You snarled, “Give me one of those blades and let’s do this.”“Fine then.” The leader nodded to his sidekick, who tossed the saber and scabbard on the ground with a loud clatter and they laughed as you went forward, bent down and picked it up. The sabre was loosed from its scabbard with a loud ring, and you cast the holder aside and assumed a guard position. As your opponent took his weapon similarly and drew it, it dawned on you what this was. This was no sabre club fencing, with thick padding all over the body, protective goggles and collars, and heavy handguards, all so that only the wounds desired would actually appear on a combatant. This was more akin to the underground fight rings that the clubs shared space with; no protection, well sharpened swords, and every intent for each fight to draw plenty of blood. The only difference was that there were no jeering gamblers shouting for their fighter to win so their bet didn’t go to waste. The closest thing to that would be the two battle buddies this guy had brought, since he apparently couldn’t be alone; and there was no doubt who they’d put their money on in such an event.“On your mark,” your foe was confident as he matched your guard, smiling. That hit your confidence a bit; you had been a decent fencer, but you’d also counted somewhat on this guy being more bark than bite- what if he was better than you?You started with a cut to his flank; an outside cut to the leg. In this context, it’d be the merciful move; a cut to the outside of the leg would hurt, but would be far from fatal. Clingg!
Expecting this, your opponent pointed his sword and intercepted your cut, before carrying over, steel grinding against steel and throwing your sword aside before he made a cut to your chest; you barely dodged back out of the way and heard the sword whistle past you, taking a button on your jacket with it. Thinking your opponent open, your next cut was to the shoulder, opposite the direction he had come at you with, but he ducked under your attack and snapped a cut to the stomach, which you turned away just in time; your swords slid past one another as you maintained contact, backing away from one another.“You know something at least,” the scum said mockingly. The reply from you was to push his blade aside and make a downward cut towards his head, which he guarded with a reversed block, before flipping your sabre down and making a head cut of his own. This time, you were too slow, and his sword ran down your cheek with a flash of pain; you felt your blood squirt and flow, dripping off your jaw within a moment.In a normal duel that would have been it; it was only your surprise that kept you moving, because you had no idea that he hadn’t been finished with you yet. He spun about and cut to your shoulder, then to your flank, to the chest, in a barrage of blows, even though your face was surely running red. Another cut to your shoulder was fended off, but this time, instinct took you over, as you pushed forward and punched your opponent square in the ribs. He recoiled with a gasp; his sword was, for the moment, held limply, and you sensed a chance.You swept the saber over your head, aiming for…>The flank. A simple cut for him to know you got him, and he wouldn’t be able to fight you anymore.>The groin. A slash to the inside of the leg; and the femoral artery. This would certainly end the fight, a cut here could prove fatal without prompt treatment, but did you care?>A slash to the belly. He deserved that pain for what he’d done, and it probably wouldn’t kill…quickly.>Other?
>>2958866>>A slash to the belly. He deserved that pain for what he’d done, and it probably wouldn’t kill…quickly
>>2958866>>A slash to the belly. He deserved that pain for what he’d done, and it probably wouldn’t kill…
>>2958866>The groin. A slash to the inside of the leg; and the femoral artery. This would certainly end the fight, a cut here could prove fatal without prompt treatment, but did you care?Hothead Reinhold is a hothead.
I am alive.>>2958871>>2958899Going for the painful one.Writing.
With a tilt of the wrist, you turned your swipe inwards and ran a cut across the scum’s midsection. It was a classic cut; to butcher somebody in half was not saber fencing; you sliced them open. With a pull of your blade, you heard the ever so slight sound of the blade cutting fabric, and then flesh. Your opponent froze for a moment, their eyes narrowed in the realization, the sudden terror at knowing he was seriously wounded, before his mouth flew open and he shrieked.“YeeeEEeeeeaaghhh!” He squealed like an animal as he doubled forward, dropping his sword as both his hands clutched at his belly, blood seeping up from beneath. His two goons rushed up, standing beside him and not having the initiative to even think of what to do. You pointed your sword at them. “If you get to a hospital soon, he shouldn’t die. I say you go and do that this instant, because whoever’s not the fuck out of here within a minute is going to be the person I duel next.”None stayed to test your thread; the fat cat’s nephew and his parasites ambled out as fast as their legs could carry them, leaving the sword your enemy had used on the ground. As you went forward to pick up the sword, the blood rushing to your head had a chance to cool off and flow elsewhere, and you realized with a sinking feeling what you had done. Dueling was already illegal; what if that punk died? You hadn’t actually tried to kill him, of course, but what if he decided to drag you down with him, taking the both of you to court for dueling, attempted murder?…No, he wouldn’t incinerate himself like that. Part of you had no regrets; best for him to remember this night and cringe in memory whenever he dared stray close to Linda ever again. What a scumbag, he deserved every bit of agony he’d earned tonight. Yet…you were conflicted. Causing somebody great pain had been satisfying, but as you wandered back home, to the Falkensteins’ house where you were staying at, two sabers under your arm, you steadily grew more and more regretful. How necessary could this have been, really? That was the first time you wondered if you were suited for the military, which you were going to academy for, albeit briefly, before you would attend pilot’s school. There was too much conflict between whether you had delivered justice or merely served your own price, two sides trying to overpower one another inside.Quietly stepping inside the hall after unlocking the door with your key, you didn’t hang up your coat, in case it had gotten blood on it. The longer you could hide this, the better. The stairs creaked underfoot with each step, painfully loudly as you tried to go upstairs without notice, and finally you could turn on the light to the guest room, the door closed behind you, the door opened once more.
Linda Falkenstein, short, boyish, and lightly built, let herself in. Her scruffy black hair was cut below her ears, and even though she was fourteen, she was behind in development, and could be mistaken for a young boy at a glance, even though she was certainly not masculine in anything but mannerisms. She wore green and pink striped pajama pants and a matching button down, whose sleeves went past her fingers and terminated in loose cuffs that shuffled off her arms like limp socks.“Where were you?” she demanded, “Going out this late, what’s wrong with you?”“Shouldn’t you be in bed?” you retorted.Lind noticed your face, and her fierce expression fell. “You’re hurt.”“It’s fine.”“No, it’s not!” Linda insisted, thrusting her arms down in frustration, “I’ll get something for it.”To refuse Linda in a situation was this was a futile effort. You sighed haggardly and laid down on the bed while the daughter of your role model snuck off to find treatment for you without alerting her parents. She eventually returned with the first aid kit (Falkenstein was never unprepared) and a wet towel, and didn’t wait for you to accept her implied offer before she got to work.“Awful,” Linda said critically, “How did this even happen? It’s deep.”“I fell and hit my head.”Linda made a face at you. “I’m not stupid, Rein. Do you think I’m stupid? I’ll slug you.”“I was hoping you’d be alright with a tall tale.”“You’re stupid.” Linda looked at you angrily, but when you smiled at her she flushed scarlet and looked away. “You came back with swords. Who were you fighting with?” She stuck a few plasters over the cut on your face after applying a medicinal ointment to the wound. You didn’t answer. “It was those guys from earlier, wasn’t it?” You still didn’t answer. “You didn’t have to do that, you know,” Linda muttered as she sat on the bed beside you, “I can take care of myself.”“They were doing terrible things to you.” You said obstinately.“It’s not worth you getting hurt!” Linda suddenly cried, leaping on top of you and shaking you by your collar, “It might have made me feel weak, and worthless, but I can take that! I can’t stand it when somebody else has to be hurt for something I could have handled! Especially…”
Before she could complain further, you reached a hand out and put it on Linda’s head. “For crying out loud, Linda,” you said, exasperated, “I’m fine. You’re fourteen years old, you shouldn’t be fighting these battles. I can take them fine, and be happy doing it. I don’t want to see you hurt either.”That caught Linda off guard. Her grip on your collar slackened, and she fell off to your side again, sitting down. “…I guess so.” She admittedly softly. “A thank you would have been greatly appreciated.”“I am thankful!” Linda said heatedly, snapping back up to attention, “I really, really am…but…” She looked off to the side, “I don’t feel good just…only saying that.”Linda had tried this nonsense before when she was twelve, and had a couple of times since that, so you were ready for her when she tried to shoot forward, and she rammed her face into a waiting palm.“Mrrmmff!”“Judge above, Linda, you’re fourteen years old,” you said, pushing her head away and her with it to the other side of the bed. "Nobody wants to be smooched by a kindergartener."“You’re supposed to let a girl kiss you when you’ve been gallant for her!” Linda whined.“When she’s an adult, you numbskull,” you hissed, “I told you before and I’ll say it again, knock it off ‘til you’re older, at the very least! You shouldn’t be acting this way with me!” Especially since you weren’t single at that time, even getting around that not only was Linda a child, but child of the man you looked up to the most. You’d been hoping that she’d cooled off from this (she never would); you were just about ready to throw her out the door and lock it.“Just on the cheek, then,” Linda whined, “That’s fine, right? Couldn’t you think of me for this at least? If I do nothing, then it’s just…wrong!”>Fine. Just on the cheek, but if you do anything more I’m throwing you out of the window.>Alright then. How about your allowance? I’m pretty short on cash…>You’ll give nothing and like it. I’ve already got my own reward.>Other?
>>2959894>>Alright then. How about your allowance? I’m pretty short on cash…
>>2959894What's the age gap between Reinhold and Linda again?
>>2959976Four years. In short, "uncomfortable."
>>2959997Considering their "current" age that is. The "present" is much less so.
>>2959894>Fine. Just on the cheek, but if you do anything more I’m throwing you out of the window.
>>2959894>Alright then. How about your allowance? I’m pretty short on cash…
>>2959894>>Fine. Just on the cheek, but if you do anything more I’m throwing you out of the window.
I'm alive.I'll have an update out soon.
”Fine, just on the cheek,” you thought about acquiescing. It wasn’t really anything, after all, and it would make Linda feel happy, but…you couldn’t. This was one thing you couldn’t let her have. She’d find a toehold and she’d feel like she could climb this cliff. Her appetite couldn’t be whetted; not for you, not now, not ever.“Alright then,” you proposed instead, “How about your allowance? I’m pretty short on cash…”The color drained from Linda’s face. “M-my allowance?” she froze, and then thought deeply. “…How much of it?”“I’m not too mean. How about just for the week?”“I’ve been saving it. I have more than a month’s worth saved up.” Linda got up from the bed, “If you need money, I can-““Just the week!” you insisted. “I don’t actually need any.”“…Rein,” Linda turned around and leaned against the door, facing you. “I know you’ve had girlfriends. What’s so bad about me kissing you? Is it because I’m not girly enough?”“Still on that?” You did your best not to be exasperated with her. “No, Linda, I just think you should save such things for somebody worth it.”“But I am.” Linda frowned at you. “Y’know, every time you had a girlfriend, I know you didn’t have one for more than a month. Why don’t you save it for somebody worth it, if all of them weren’t? Are you just stupid?”Then it was annoying. “Alright, get back to bed, young lady,” you said testily, “Or I’ll tell on you.”“Hmph.” Linda stuck her tongue out at you, “Maybe you like getting kissed by boys better!” With that, she stomped out the door and slammed it shut behind her. Good job, Linda, if all your shouting didn’t wake up your father and mother, then that surely did.-----You didn’t waste Owl 3’s time with anything beyond the duel, but in your memory, the part with Linda stood out as much as the rest of it, perhaps moreso. That, however, was when you first realized she was growing up; and you wouldn’t be able to treat her like a child for much longer, especially when you went away again and the next time you’d come back, Linda’s late blooming had finally begun and puberty had hit her like a truck. She’d also started taking flying lessons early; a prodigy as could be expected of the daughter of one of the Reich’s finest aces, but it also meant that she wasn’t around much when you visited; much to your relief.Of course, from Owl 3’s perspective, you had just finished telling her about the duel.
“Your file said nothing about dueling or assault and attempted murder,” Winnifred said, “So I suppose you can be thankful you got off clean.”“As long as you keep this a secret, right?” you made a pointer finger gun at her, “…What is on my file?”“Public indecency.”“God damn it,” you groaned. “So you know one of my secrets. How about we make it a trade?” Winnifred visibly tensed up and you quickly added, “You don’t have to if you don’t want to. I just want to know why you wear your hair like that. Why you’re covering your other eye up.”“Ah. That.” Owl 3 raised a hand to her face, “Of all of my so called secrets…” Without hesitation, she pulled her bangs to the side. You’d been expecting maybe an eyepatch, or a false eye, or some similar reason to cover up the spot, but it was nothing like that. Instead, the twin to that dazzling blue eye was…a perfectly normal eye. A match to the other, save for one aspect, in that instead of an ocean blue, it was chocolate brown. Owl 3’s rather large eyes, even for how her sleepy demeanor weighted them, made the different between the two very pronounced.“Oh.” You couldn’t hide your relief. “For a moment I was expecting an empty socket, or maybe a cursed eye.”“Heterochromia is too distinctive to display frivolously.” Owl 3 continued to hold her hair out of the way, “It can be useful at times as well, though. Specially designed contact lenses can hide it, but those become irritating to wear after a short time. It’s easier to simply do things like this.”“So which one is your father’s?” you asked. Winnifred seemed to hesitate, before pointing to her right eye; the one not obscured by her bangs. “I see. Wouldn’t your brown one be less, as you said, distinctive though?”“Perhaps.” Owl 3 let her hair fall back over her eye. “Unless there was anything else, we should be going. It appears that the person you were speaking with procured a motorcycle, perhaps for a guide’s use.”>Anything else?>That was all, time to see the Duke.Optionally->Do you have a hair pin or something to keep that up with, actually?>Other?
>>2962882>That was all, time to see the Duke.>Do you have a hair pin or something to keep that up with, actually?Just to make us distinctive to the Duke of course.Of course.
>>2962882>>That was all, time to see the Duke.I'm going to say that between the Orange Goblin's demon eyes and the royal families sweet gold peepers, there's like a 20% chance one of those eyes is not the original.
>>2962882>>That was all, time to see the Duke.
>>2962882>That was all, time to see the Duke.
“Do you have a hair pin or something to keep that up with, actually?” you asked, “Distinctiveness can be…a plus.”“I won’t pin it.” Owl 3 stated bluntly.“Oh.” You were a bit disappointed.“Maybe later.”“Oh.” Less disappointed, now. “How many people know that you’ve got two different color eyes?”“Everybody that knew who I was before my family’s properties were seized.” Winnifred told you as you both started walking back to your tank, “It turned out that when you lose everything, there are still those who regard you with spite. When I was younger my uniqueness was a subject of praise, but after I was put onto the streets, my once special traits did nothing but make me easy to find, and to suffer for who I was. It was a bit of time before I learned to hide at least one eye, and move somewhere else far away.”“That’s terrible.” You felt the need to say.“It’s all in the past.” Winnifred said, as though she were merely recalling a day with bad weather.“So uh, you’re not still homeless, right?” you asked.“My work has kept me moving, so I do not visit it often, but I am provided a small apartment. Besides basic necessities, I keep some of my old possessions…” She sounded wistful for a moment, “That I managed to find again and buy.”“Ever have company over?”“No.”Soon after that exchange you were within earshot of Lieutenant Alterwald and his cohorts, so the two of you fell quiet. Alterwald’s companion Vivi was waiting for you impatiently, and kick-started the motorcycle she’d procured to life when you were close.“Hurry up!” she said critically, “If we aren’t moving in one minute I’m leaving you behind!”As you climbed back aboard and Owl 3 started to take her place back on the turret, you called her back over. “Hey, nah, come over here,” you beckoned, “We’re not expecting any fights. It’s more comfortable to sit on the edge here, right?”Owl 3 thought about it, then came over and took the place you advised. In the meantime, just before you hooked your throat microphone back in to the tank’s com systems and gave your driver Corporal Lawrence the command to get going and follow the girl on the motorcycle, you heard the sounds of sparse combat beginning again. Nothing like the hatred that was crashing apart the night earlier; rather than two lines clashing together, this was forward parties, pickets, and patrols taking shots at one another before melting back towards their allies. Battle sounded further away as well, but for now, things were relatively peaceful, only broken up sometimes by a few moments of shooting before the war became comfortably distant once more.
A few more examples of the Halmeggian Aristocrats’ military might displayed themselves as you kept along steadily a safe distance behind the motorcycle puttering in front of you. At one checkpoint, where you were stopped for a bit while your escort spoke roughly with the commander of the thing to let you and her through, there was a heavy armored car nearly identical to the one you had dispatched earlier, but with a proper Halmeggian green paint job. The people staffing the checkpoint you expected to be Halmeggian army like you’d seen earlier, with helmets and green tunics, but they were instead garbed in grey jumpers and floppy caps, though their equipment was the same as the normal army. More militia, presumably. Their uncertainty while looking at your tank was practically audible- We wouldn’t be able to stand a chance! was what their faces shouted, clammy with sweat.“Who are you?” one of the riflemen finally worked up the courage to ask, “where are ya from?”“I’m from the Grossreich of Czeiss,” you pointed your thumb to yourself as you leaned out beside Winnifred, and then pointed to her, “and she’s from Heaven.” Owl 3 only offered an ever so slight Pff in acknowledgement.“Kuh-Zeiss?” the shorter of the two Halmeggians you were speaking with asked, “That’s how you pronounce it? I thought it was like Seiss or something.”“Most just call it the Grossreich.” Winnifred said helpfully, “It isn’t as if there are any others for it to be confused with.”“Oh, yeah.” The militiamen said, not sounding like he was very satisfied.Vivi or whatever the name of Alterwald’s bizarre pet was didn’t seem to be getting through as quickly as she liked, so you took the chance to find out a bit more about these people. “So who’re you, then? You don’t look like people who came from the Halmeggian army.”“We didn’t, ‘s why,” the taller of the two said, “We’s, uh…whaddaya call us, Levy?” His accent was more the sort you’d heard earlier from the Revolutionary militia when you’d first arrived here, where their Imperial was colored by a sort of mix between it and Vitelian dialect.“That’s what the officer said we were, I dunno if that’s really correct…” the shorter one noted.“Whaddeva. See, ways before dis all went tits up, no offense meant to de lady, a lotta da posh folks had dees sorta programs, an’ clubs. You got benefits for bein’ in ‘em. Did hikin’, shootin’, all sorts ‘a fun stuff. Didn’t think mucha it at da time. Suddenly all ‘a dis brews up an’ whaddaya know, buncha guys come up sayin’ Ey, you’s comin’ wid us for the Levy, here’s da fine print ya signed. Den they’s give me a good fifteen pfunds, promise more later, and say if I keep with ‘em there’ll be a few acres ‘a land for my trouble. Good deal, so fars.”
The shorter one wasn’t as sure sounding, but he nodded. “There’s all sorts of good things comin’, sure, and commander said if we’re lucky, we might not even have to fight at all! I think I’d like that, to be honest.” He looked off south, towards the direction of the frontlines, “Y’hear that racket from earlier, all that noise, so many gunshots and bombs an’ all goin’ off,” he looked back down at the rifle he held limply in his hands, “You sorta wonder how much good this little ol’ thing’ll do you.”“Don’t think ehn-ee-body’ll have to fight a thing if da war last’s long as da commandah said it would. A few weeks, mebbe? You came from da battle, right, mister tank man? Whaddaya think?”A few weeks? Your opinion on that was complicated. The Reich when the Emrean War started assumed that the rebellion would be put down in a few weeks. The massacre that was the Battle of Fort Aube was a warning sign, but people still had faith, up until a month in another round of conscriptions dropped, all sorts of reservists being called back into duty, and it became obvious that the army commanders no longer expected such a short and happy war. The Emrean War, which at one point was thought to end in no time at all, ended up being a five year long bloodbath that put the once mighty Reich on its knees, then onto its belly.
On the other hand though, the two wars you had fought in had been the complete opposite. The conquest of Fealinn had taken two weeks and four days, as paratroopers (take a bow) seized vital strategic points while the strongest elements of the Fealinn Armed Forces were smashed to pieces by the combined arms of the Imperial Luftwaffe and the Kaiser’s panzer divisions and then trampled under tread, before said panzers linked up with the paratroopers and mopped up what was left. The victory parade for that war had been one of the highest points of your life; marching down the streets of Zeissenberg, confetti and streamers in the air as the bands played and spectators hollered with joy. It had been a celebration of the rebirth of the Reich’s pride, and you had felt as though you stood head and shoulders above the world, as likely did any of your fellows in that parade.Later was the retaking of Felbach; that had been a rather longer and harder war, as they were tougher and more prepared, but it had still only taken one month and six days for the northerners to capitulate though the bulk of the heaviest fighting was over in the first two and a half weeks. That victory parade had been quite a bit more solemn for you personally, but the cheers were no less loud. Those wars had been the best sorts of wars; quick ones. They had been executed with well trained, well prepared and heavily equipped soldiers fighting with greater numbers against weaker, much less fearsome opponents. Did the forces you saw fighting under the Aristocratic Union seem like such a force, compared to the Revolutionaries, compared to what could be the rest of the country? The answer was obvious, but would you be somebody to tell that to these men?>Tell them that you’re sure they’ll do fine. You fought the Revolutionaries, and they were a bunch of ninnies. This war would be over in no time.>Inform them of their status, and what you think of their frankly feeble and disorganized band. Maybe they’d win; but it would be no quick affair at all, and they would absolutely have to fight not only in one battle just like the one earlier, but likely many.>Say that you don’t know and couldn’t say. It would be for all practical purposes, like saying nothing at all, but that’s what you figured these people needed to hear.>Let Owl 3 answer; maybe she knew something you didn't about this, something more heartening for them.>Other?
>>2963504>Tell them that you’re sure they’ll do fine. You fought the Revolutionaries, and they were a bunch of ninnies. This war would be over in no time.Oh oh oh it's a lovely war
>>2963504>>Tell them that you’re sure they’ll do fine. You fought the Revolutionaries, and they were a bunch of ninnies. This war would be over in no time.Itll be over by Christmas
>>2963504>>Tell them that you’re sure they’ll do fine. You fought the Revolutionaries, and they were a bunch of ninnies. This war would be over in no timeTell them they're here only because their asses are getting kicked in Vitelia proper anyway.
>>2963504>Inform them of their status, and what you think of their frankly feeble and disorganized band. Maybe they’d win; but it would be no quick affair at all, and they would absolutely have to fight not only in one battle just like the one earlier, but likely many.It's been easy for us, but there's no guarantee that the Reich will be staying in this war.
>>2963504>>Tell them that you’re sure they’ll do fine. You fought the Revolutionaries, and they were a bunch of ninnies. This war would be over in no time.
You smiled broadly at the pair of Halmeggian Levy. “I’m sure you’ll do fine. I fought the Revolutionary Army of Greater Vitelia just back a ways, and they were a bunch of ninnies. This war’ll be over in no time, I’d be shocked if it didn’t end before Langenachtfest. They’re getting their asses beaten back in Vitelia where they’re strong, how tough could they be here, this far from home?”The smirk on your mug turned out to be contagious with the tales you were telling, as smiles spread across the mouths of the two Levy as well. “Hah,” the taller one laughed, “Ya know, hearin’ dat from somebody’s who’s seems to got it togetha’ like you makes me feel a lot betta’ about all this!”“Over for Langenachtfest!” the shorter one repeated happily. “The bonus ought to mean I can get something nice for my momma, a good start towards a tractor too, for those acres.”“Hey, Imperial!” You heard Vivi shout from up front, “We’re almost set! Quit yammering with the Levy and get ready!” A lot of spunk in that girl.“You don’t happen to know anything about that woman, do you?” Owl 3 asked the men.“Hmph. She’s unpleasant and she’s close to Alterwald, that’s all I know.” The short one told.“She’s got the sorta attitude broads get when somebody important starts stickin’ it in ‘em.” The longer one agreed irritably, “All ‘a sudden she’s so much betta’ den you. She ain’t no noble, gots no right.”A small bit of that in between the complaints caught Owl 3’s attention. “You seem to be quite familiar with Alterwald, but his unit was to the west, and already of rather large size for a Lieutenant to command. Were there transfers?”“I dunno about how much a Lieutenant can command, but,” the short one said warily, “He’s the Duke’s errand boy. Problem solver and all that. He’s basically been all over the place. I hear he’s a scary foreign mercenary from the east, and I believe that.”“That makes sense.” Owl 3 replied, nodding.It did? You leaned over; “How does it make sense?” you murmured in her ear.“Many of the bodyguards and personal guards that the aristocrats maintain are made up of eastern mercenaries, either from Plisseau or Sosaldt.” Owl 3 muttered back, seeing that you wanted this on the down low, “They are referred to as their Retinue, and usually have much more experience fighting than any man in the Halmeggian Royal Army did.”“Will we know them when we see them?” you asked.“Of course.” Owl 3 replied, “The Aristocracy are fools for status and aesthetic. They model the uniforms of their guardsmen after the Halmeggian Royal Guard. They are quite distinct from any other uniforms you might see around.”
The motorcycle ahead squeaked back to life, and you preemptively warned Jalsen to get ready to move. “Let’s go!” Vivi shouted back, before taking off and not waiting for an answer from you; a Luftpanzer was swift, though, and no attempt to leave it in the dust would succeed no matter how spirited.-----It wasn’t long before you got a good look at the Aristocratic Retinue you’d been told about, as you were led into an impressively entrenched village. Another checkpoint was your last obstacle before reaching it directly, and unlike the Levy at the other checkpoint, the men at this one were steely eyed and lean, more than a few with nicks and scars. Their fear was something that had been hardened, beaten and forged into a weapon of its own by numerous battles. How much experience a typical eastern mercenary had wasn’t something you were familiar with, but you wouldn’t have been surprised if these people were about as good if not a bit better than a typical Grossreich army soldier, which was no small praise. Their dress was quite unfitting of their appearance and demeanor, looking rather like uniforms from the last century, with stiff caps embroidered with decorative thread and a fancy emblem of what must have been something related to the Aristocracy, though it was all in familiar Halmeggian Army green. One of the fellows at the checkpoint was a monster of a man who must have been near two and a third meters tall and built like a bear that had been combined with a freight train, whose comical appearance of having been squeezed into his gaudy clothes was offset by the massive machine gun he hefted, which itself looked like something ripped off of an aircraft rather than anything a man was meant to use (albeit with some modifications clearly made so that it could be wielded as such, though not by any normal sized person), with belts of its ammunition draped over his shoulders. “Look at that guy,” you pointed him out to Winnifred, “What do you think of that? God damn.”“Rather what can be expected of the Retinue, from my knowledge,” Owl 3 was dismissive, “Concerned with looking impressive to the point of silliness.”“Huh. Really? That low of a score?” you asked, puzzled. “The guy’s a friggin’ beast.”“That man is far taller and broader than any man should be.” Winnifred sniffed. It all came together, then.“If such devils walk this earth and fight for our allies,” Jalsen said murkily, “Then I dread what the west may have dredged up for their equals.”The men at this checkpoint must have either been more efficient or more familiar with Vivi, as you were let through much more quickly. On the short way between the checkpoint and the town you passed by a light utility truck whose bed you swore was stuffed with crates of wine and wheels of cheese, though you could have been simply been misidentifying ammunition drums and shell crates in the night.
The town hall, humble though it was, had clearly been appropriated for the noble leaders of the movement for how heavily guarded and fortified it had been; also from what were clearly servants who formed lines coming in and out of the side entrances, which were similarly staffed as the checkpoint by gruff, dark eyed veterans of conflicts far away, dressed to the tastes of their new masters. Vivi escorted you to a place to park your tank, before giving you a curt farewell after you and Owl 3 had dismounted from the tank, leaving your crew to watch after it.“The Duke Di Vitelstadt wants to meet with you. Don’t keep him waiting.”“I’ll try not to run into any more checkpoints.” You retorted, “Oh, and I have a message for Lieutenant Alterwald.” Vivi huffed impatiently, but waited. “Tell him when you get back,” you wrapped your hand tightly around Winnifred’s narrow waist and pulled her close, “That my woman is better than his.”“Piss off.” Vivi said hotly, as she kicked the motorcycle back into life with a spitting sputter, and zoomed off at an unsafe rate of acceleration.“You are my pet,” Winnifred corrected dully as she brushed the dust off of herself, then off of you, “Remember your role.”“Can’t we be each other’s?”“Also, I will be assuming an identity, as would be natural. Refer to me by pet names rather than any true name, I will make sure to speak for you if need be. Though, a brief aside,” Winnifred said, pulling herself away and facing you, “You do not know how to bow and scrape properly, do you?”“Er.”“Bend at the waist, don’t hunch over. Take any headwear you have off; your cap, for instance, and put your hand- here, across your chest.” Winnifred roughly “helped” you make the proper movements. “Draw your foot back across the ground like this. Make sure that whomever you are bowing to, you lower your head below their height. They are nobles and you are common born, so they expect such if you are attempting to be respectful. These are fancy old blooded folk, not Strossvalder pretenders, so they prefer extra flair. If you happen to meet or be introduced to a lady, take their hand, when offered, and kiss it.”“Wouldn’t a salute be enough?” you complained in a low murmur.“Now demonstrate,” Winnifred held out her hand, palm down. “Greet me as you would a noble lady.” You did your best to demonstrate, but when you kissed her hand, she snapped it back and away. “This is courtesy, not a display of lewdness. Only a light kiss.”“Sorry.” You apologized, half sincerely. “So how about the rest of it?”“It is good enough. The mistakes and imprecisions give it roughspun charm, if you will.”“I think I like you better when you aren’t reveling in your past,” you said.
“It is admittedly more convenient. This was your idea, however.” Owl 3 took you by the hand and led you off towards the Town Hall, where the lords of Halmeggia had made their local headquarters; and where the Duke Di Vitelstadt would presumably be waiting. Winnifred was hardly keeping an energetic pace, but you still felt as though you were being dragged along as she took you before the main entrance.“Who’re you.” One of the door guards stopped you, “One ‘a you is Reich, who’s the lass? The Duke only said he wanted to meet with Captain Roth-Vogel who’s comin’.”“This is Captain Reinhold Roth-Vogel,” Winnifred said before you could; she snaked an arm backwards and over your shoulder while pressing backwards into your body, running her other hand down your hip. “And I am Marianne Von Löwenkreuz, the Captain’s keeper. I shall accompany him, I am sure the Duke would understand.” You noticed that Winnifred was using her actual family name; perhaps she was masquerading as a cousin?“Yeah, no,” the doorman said, “The Captain and nobody else, unless there’s gonna be a problem.”“Would you really want to report that you had a problem with a noble, to the Duke?” Winnifred asked slyly, with a new character imbued in her voice that was equally as abnormal as when she had been aggressive and forward; she could be quite emotive when she felt it, it seemed.However, the doorman was a prickly professional, and not so easily intimidated. “I’m sure he’ll live. I wouldn’t care if you were the Kaiser, nobody’s coming in glued on Roth-Vogel.”“My good man, please,” a stout, smallish man dressed in dark green embroidered with silver and gold, decorated with white silk frill and bright yellow and red gems on his buttons and collar approached from inside, a sparkling chain descending from his monocle and over his ear. He had a round, bulging face like a garden gnome’s, with a pointed little beard and oiled mustache. Not a bit of him was not well groomed and made up, every lock of hair terminating in a long, pale coil, tied back into a short ponytail. “Your caution is well appreciated I assure you, but more guests is never unacceptable.” He smiled at you and Winnifred, “I must introduce myself. I am Alfonso Di Vitelstadt, duke of Norleix and Vitelstadt, Count of Heilbrennen.”“Du, uh, milord,” the doorman said uncertainly, “This is-““I know of the Von Löwenkreuz family,” the Duke bowed very slightly to Winnifred, “A tragic tale indeed. It warms my heart to know that your kind still walk this earth. Do come inside, what meager hospitalities we can gather here have been prepared…Come along.”The Duke beckoned, and Winnifred wasted no time in making you follow once more, striding past the now helpless mercenary guard and after the Duke.
“You must forgive my men,” the Duke spoke as you walked, “They are terribly competent but their unfortunate history makes them quite coarse, in a manner they have great difficulty shaking loose. Useful in a fight, as I am told, but somewhat embarrassing for polite company. They do try their best, though.”“I mean-“ you tried to say, but Winnifred cut you off.“Entirely understandable. No offense was taken.”“I thank you,” the Duke moved on, and let you both into a rather impressive space with a central fireplace, surrounded by plush armchairs and dark wooden tables and side tables carved with intricate patterns and covered with shimmering cloths that hung with tassels. For a town like this, the furniture must not have been this extravagant originally; the nobility had made themselves quite comfortable. In the center of the room, he finally stopped and turned around. “Marianne Von Löwenkreuz, and the esteemed Captain Reinhold Roth-Vogel, it is a pleasure to meet you.”“You as well,” Winnifred curtsied, then led you forward; you bowed and scraped as you had been instructed.“I heard that you were instrumental in turning this recent defense of our lines into quite the victory, Captain,” the Duke lavished praise upon you, “Though I did not expect you to arrive in the company of a Von Löwenkreuz, especially given the condition of our fair country.”“When a lady has snagged one such as this,” Winnifred purred, “How could she let him out of her sight?”“She is very persistent,” you laughed.“I am an information analyst,” Winnifred gave a false explanation, but one with enough truth to justify her knowledge, “So it was not difficult to justify my presence here.”
The Duke led you to a set of chairs around a long table, which had been adorned with a pair of trays of hors d’oeurves, and motioned for you to sit. You knew enough of manners to know that you were supposed to let a girl sit first, pull out her chair or whatever, but Winnifred disagreed with such presumptions as she sat you down, and then in breach of any manners that you knew to be polite, parted your legs with her hands and sat between them. She then scooted further up, burying her rear end into your groin, and you couldn’t help but cough in surprise. Blushing maiden you were not, though, so the line of thought quickly shifted from What in the world is she doing? to I could get used to this. So long as you didn’t have to apologize later for how she was making your body react to her pushing.…It was a bit dissatisfying, though, that this was fake. Part of you wanted that amorous grinding to be genuine rather than a show put on to sell a false story. Why complain? Part of you said, It can’t be helped, so indulge. You argued back, that it was the principle of the matter here, though! Maybe it was your skirt chasing instincts, or perhaps it was an attempt to fill a fresh void; such debate had to be put aside, though, as Winnifred drew her fingers down your upper leg, demanding a similar response from you as you squeezed her thigh in your left hand.The Duke Di Vitelstadt seemed to either ignore such flirtatious interaction or regard it as completely typical, as he motioned for a servant to come by and pour flutes of sparkling wine. Hopefully he didn’t see it as juvenile; then again, maybe it was part of Winnifred’s ploy that he would see such. The net of implications and possibilities was perfectly comprehensible to you, it was just not fun to think about.“When my battlefield commanders reported your descent, and then the opening of communications by your superior, I will admit that I was quite surprised, though not unpleasantly so.” The Duke said, crossing his short legs before picking up a flute and sipping at it. “Ah. Halmeggia may be most know for humble grain, but the truly educated know it for wines and beers as well. The better to put an end to this scuffle sooner rather than later, so that the production of such beautiful craft is not damaged, that it does not cease entirely.”“I would love to discuss such matters in better time,” Owl 3 leaned back into you after she had bent forward to lift a wine flute by its stem, her other hand lightly touching above your knee. As she slunk against you, she whispered, “Neck.” You obliged her and began to massage her as per request. “Mmm. Yet there are more important matters, are there not? Such as that of our cooperation towards a common benefit.”
“Ah yes,” the Duke put down his flute and laid his fingers together in front of his face as he settled back into the armchair, “The rescue of the royal family, the noble Von Halm-Aurics. We of Halmeggia’s Aristocratic Union Security Council would be glad to help.” He intersected his fingers, his monocle flashing. “However.” He laid his hands in his lap, “Such is a…complicated affair. You see, our fair Halmeggia has been fractured beyond recognition. Not only do the Revolutionaries rampage, but independent mobs, brigands, and rogue army and police collectives seek to establish dominance, perhaps not over the country as a whole for some, but certainly they look out for themselves rather than the future of the country. We would normally quite gladly charge off to be the salvation of our king, queen, their cousins and the crown princess and prince, yet such would leave us open, vulnerable, and our noble rescue would merely be the instrument of our doom, and with it, in my quite humble yet educated opinion, the best hope for Halmeggia’s future.”“How fortunate our arrival must be, then,” Winnifred casually brought up.“Indeed.” The Duke allowed himself a quick sip of his wine, “And I cannot deny, one which has been very helpful to us, even without consideration of our shared goal. I will consider this help when we discuss the aid that shall be granted to you, which I would prefer to wait until we establish more context, once we have gotten a better chance to know the cards in one another’s hands.”“Of course,” Winnifred lifted her glass to her lips, “I will let the dear Captain speak now, though, as he is the tip of the spear for this mission. I am certain he has many questions for you, and you for him.” She brushed your hands off from rubbing her neck and shoulders, an unspoken command to focus on speaking for now.“Of course,” the Duke’s eyes flicked to you, “Ask anything you will. I am glad to help however I can.”>Ask what questions you want of the Duke Di Vitelstadt, and anything about his faction and armed forces you wish to know, or whatever else in general.>Other Actions may be planned or taken as well.Sorry for the delay! Part of it was the size of this thing, and another was that I had the intent to have more than the one drawing that I was working on last night, but that one took a lot longer than usual for no reason, and the other one I sort of flailed at for too long and it still ended up looking like utter trash. Oh well. I'll try not to delay this long for the sake of cruddy doodles again.
>>2967660A general overview of the war's going from the nobility's PoV would be nice, as well as any updated intel on where the RAGV is. As for assistance as long as its in the general direction of the objective and not more than we can handle I'd say we extend that offer.
">These are fancy old blooded folk, not Strossvalder pretenders, so they prefer extra flair."Are Strossvalder nobility considered less uptight about these kind of things are is this just Imperial bias showing lol
>>2968370Both, really, not only with Strossvald's noble families generally not being as old, but also more than a few being mongrels that had titles bestowed upon them out of favor or bought by wealth. Imperial nobility such as where Winnifred came from look down quite a bit on the nouveau rich, with much of Strossvald's nobility being seen as but another sort of such, no matter what they might think of such. Von Blum is not only Demimperi but also proper old blooded nobility, for example, while Von Tracht is what happened when the Archduke wanted to reward some mercenary and his clan.Reinhold cares little for this, being of common descent.
>>2968529How about the Archduke himself and his family? Were his ancestors also similar to the Von Blums or just powerful local warlords?
>>2967660Also stress that we're kinda short on time as the RAGV knew we were coming; no matter what's happened so far I'm sure no Halmeggian aristocrat wants others to get uppity if the Royal family ends up being lynched by some Revolutionary mob.
>>2968557Reinhold has no clue.However, far off, while being caught in a lock, Richter recalls that the Archduke Strossvald was indeed of an old, but rather obscure and insignificant family before his ancestor successfully led the uprising that broke Strossvald's lands free of the Reich founded the country.
>>2967660>QuestionsGeneral information about the King, what is he likely to do in this situation.The composition of likely enemy forces on the route to the Castle.Information on the Royal Family and how long they can successfully hold out.Any way to contact the Castle, or possible assets located near them we can use for information gathering and combat support.Available manpower/supplies the Duke can provide, especially if we frame the question as a way for him to gain more territory or value as we push forward.>Other?We should be a little careful here, I'm sure the Duke and his buddies would love to get their hands on the Royal Family themselves for their own purposes. tanq, the Duke knows we are here to rescue the King, does he also know we are ex-filtrating them out of the country? And if he doesn't would he react favorably to that knowledge?I'm just not sure what the Colonel communicated to our new allies.
>>2970421>tanq, the Duke knows we are here to rescue the King, does he also know we are ex-filtrating them out of the country? He has not been told such.>And if he doesn't would he react favorably to that knowledge?That is not known. However, Owl 3 has said that they consider the royal family their "right to rule" so to speak, and has theorized that the Aristocrats, without the royal family or a stance of supporting them, would lose much of their support from the lower classes.
Aight, so I'm going to compile all these queries up and write things up now, I'm sure by now anything that was wanted to be asked has been so I'll stop delaying and get on with it.
“To start with, a general picture of things from your perspective would be nice, as far as how this thing’s gone and been going,” you led off, “especially concerning the Revolutionary Army of Greater Vitelia.”The Duke raised an eyebrow. “Especially considering them? Indeed, they are one of the more substantial foes to this country’s future, but they are hardly the only threat. Do you have a particular grievance with them?”Yes. “No. They just seem to be the ones most in the way.”“That they are.” The Duke agreed, “I know little personally about the situation where tactics are part of the matter, but I can request that my more martially inclined fellows share their information with you. As far as this civil war goes, while outright battle has only started recently, it would be deceptive to say that we have not been preparing for some time. Eventually, the situation is such that to not do so would be grossly lacking in foresight. Oh yes, there was hope for some time, but when the line is stepped over, as it was by the Revolutionaries, there can be no more attempts at peaceful settlement of affairs. Army formations sympathetic to our cause moved to territories we held influence over, our levies were made ready, if not necessarily aware, and whatever could be done in short notice was tried at. After much posturing, when the thread was finally cut and the machine began moving, as it did but yesterday, our battle lines were practically already formed, even if the common populace was ignorant of such. That was all prologue. As to how events after have been playing out…” The Duke leaned on a hand, “It is far, far too early to say, but obstacles have appeared in all of the directions we meant to progress. On the other hand, we have not lost anything significant, so the war has gone both wholly dissatisfactory yet not unfortunate either.”In summary; not much. Though again with word of significant preparation before any fighting took place; preparations that led to the Royal Family being besieged in their castle regardless. You considered pressed this point, but you got the idea that such would not lead to anything good; you chose instead to simply suppose that it was impossible to do such for one reason or another, if these peoples’ cause and loyalty to their monarch was genuine. If it wasn’t, though, that would be a serious problem down the line. Another oddity; why come down south to where your people were landing? The Santi Arrofini airfield was important to your operation, but it wasn’t the only large airfield in the country, and it was in a completely different direction than the Royal Family’s castle at Delamil, which you would presume the nobility would prioritize more. Again, though, perhaps this direction was the path of least resistance. It was impossible to come to conclusions now.
“Can you tell me about the King?” you asked the Duke. Little as you knew about outside politics, you at least were sure Halmeggia’s monarch was a king. “What would he plan or do in a situation like this?”“Ah, the King, Marius Von Halm-Auric,” the Duke shut his eyes and leaned back in his chair, “He would remain in his castle, and is known to have done exactly that. He is stoic as a stone, and not the sort to flee, or to appear to flee. He was something of an adventurer early in life, you know. He volunteered to be a soldier the Kaiser’s armies, in secret, of course. Be that as it may, he does care for his wife, children, family. No, the queen would remain by his side and he would accept such, but he would most certainly send his children away. He understands how important the line of succession is, how valuable the tradition, and history of his line is to the people of this nation, whether said subjects acknowledge such at this moment or not.”You thought next about inquiring after the composition of whatever enemies would stand in your way on your trek to Delamil and the castle north of it, where the King remained, but you remembered the Duke’s admitted ignorance of such things, and elected to instead ask his mentioned military men about such, when the time came.“How about the Royal Guard?” you asked, “They defend the castle, right? How many of them are there, and how long do you think they can hold out?”“Ah, well,” the Duke adjusted his monocle, “Castle Delamil is hardly a deliberate fortification. The Royal Guards traditionally number five hundred and fifty, and they are certainly brave and capable warriors, but there are too few of them to fight a war with. I am no expert on such things as war, but I doubt even they would be able to hold out for an extended siege against the numbers that are most likely set against them.”“Can we call the Royal Family?” you asked, “Get into contact with them?” You knew that before the operation at least, command had been able to speak with the Halmeggian royal family and their protectors, but not since then had you heard anything.“There are normally telephone lines to the castle, hidden ones, even,” the Duke mused, “but they as of now have all been severed, even the one that very few were supposed to know of. Sadly, therefore, I know of no ways save for if one were to get in range of one of the Guards’ wireless sets.”“Do you have the frequency for that?”“I do not.”Drat. It seemed you’d be going in practically deaf to your objective. “Any information on anybody nearby, who might be friendly or not?” you asked hopefully.“I am sorry, but I know naught.” The Duke lamented. “Do understand, that in spite of our plans, we know quite little outside of our own lines. There are people in the country who do not even know that their home is a war zone yet.”
“You would share any information were you to come across any,” Owl 3 said lowly, but with sugar in her voice, “Wouldn’t you?”“Of course I would,” the Duke bent forward ever so slightly in a sort of bow, clearly having regard for Winnifred’s lineage, even if she wasn’t precisely the member of it she was claiming to be at the moment. You’d personally never heard of her family before save maybe in passing, perhaps in news stories; how important had the Löwenkreuz family been? For a man in another country entirely to respect them they must have been at least a bit hot stuff.Speaking of hot stuff, as accustomed as you were becoming to having the lean little butt of the Löwenkreuz’s present daughter in between your thighs, you figured you should start to wrap things up here. Winnifred had been considerate enough to not to take any action to distract you (on purpose at least) but at a certain point you just distracted yourself.“So we’re heading for the same thing, right?” you asked, and the Duke’s eyes immediately dulled; this was the sort of negotiation nobody wanted to engage in. Talk was cheap, but war was expensive. “If you can provide anything to help us out, we’d really appreciate it. Manpower, equipment, you know the sort of thing. A nice bare minimum would be a field workshop, gas cans and wrench monkeys and all that. Our own folks don’t get dropped with trucks, you see, so just those would be nice. About five or six should do it. Oh, and I’m sure that I don’t need to say, but I feel I ought to just mention, we’re really short on time. Therefore I’d like to keep haggling to a minimum.”“You have helped my forces,” the Duke said, clasping his hands in his lap, “That much must be acknowledged, but remember what I said about the situation being unknown and precarious. I can hardly provide you with my core troops or significant reinforcement, no matter how much I would want to do so.”“That’s fine,” you said, raising your hands. In truth, you’d fully expected to carry out this mission with your company alone, so anything else in addition would be a boon; so long as it covered your losses you’d taken thus far. “Just tell me what you have available. Oh, and they need to be mobile forces, with trucks or motorcycles or the like. We’re fast moving fighters, and if we’re slowed to the pace of a walking man, we won’t be able to work right.”
The Duke leaned on his hand, and sighed. “We will see what we can do. I will personally ensure you are assigned troops, though the quality and number will depend on your preference. After all, I must either keep sufficient numbers here, or properly efficient troops, so I have been told by my commanders. If you present me a general preference or ratio, I shall consult with my commanders and we will release such to you; we will also ensure that they are motorized and mobile.”>Choose what reinforcement you’d like from the Duke.The Duke will allow you up to 15 RP (Requisition Points) worth of troops; 10 by default, with an extra 5 because you aided his forces at the bridge. Additional assets may be requested, though only for additional RP. Troops will be motorized and thus able to keep up with your mechanized elements.>Aristocratic Levy are the bulk of the Union’s second line and reserve troops. Minimally trained and questionably motivated, they are nevertheless well motivated, though little should be expected from them. One platoon of four squads is 1 RP. Limit four.>Halmeggian Soldiers are proper soldiers, though your experience with them has been less than stellar, as they seem trained and decently equipped but lack experience and will. They are 2 RP each per platoon of four squads. Limit four.>Aristocratic Retinue are hardened, veteran soldiers, both former army men and mercenaries from afar. A step above Halmeggia’s standard troops, they are however fewer in number. 4 RP per platoon of four squads. Limit 2.>PzW m4/26Hs are armored cars that are lightly armed and armored but fast and well suited for reconnaissance, only armed with a machine gun. A section of two costs 2 RP. Limit 2.>ABV m7/28Hs are heavier armored cars more capable of fighting against infantry and armor than their counterparts, equipped with a machine gun and a 40mm cannon. A section of two costs 4 RP.>AB m12/27Hs were the standard tanks used by the Halmeggian Army, though said army’s use of armor does not match the scale of other countries, it still had armored forces. With a machine gun turret up top and a 40mm cannon in the hull, they are armored against up to 20mm fire and most anti-tank rifles from their frontal arc. A platoon of four costs 7 RP.>Leichtepanzer 24H are former Reich armor, bought by Halmeggia. A fair few of them still inhabit the motor pools. They are lightly armored, being resistant to small arms and shrapnel but little else, and armed with a rapid fire 20mm cannon and a machine gun. A platoon of four costs 6 RP.>AB m20/30s are Halmeggia’s heaviest and most modern armor, resistant to 40mm fire from the front and armed with a 40mm cannon and two machine guns, all in its turret. For their superiority they are, of course, scarce, and precious. A platoon of four m20/30s will cost 9 RP.
>Additional RP might be squeezed out with some haggling, but you’ll have to do more than say pretty words; unless the benefit is material, the Duke will likely not budge. He’s already giving quite a lot from his point of view!All of the vehicle choices are things you've seen before in the past threads, with the exception of the AB m20/30s (since you didn't fight them!), though when things are picked out I'll provide unit cards.Keep in mind that infantry radios are not standard equipment throughout most of the world, let alone Halmeggia! Only vehicles have wireless sets, and the best that infantry platoons can do for communication are field telephones connected to a central hq, even if all that necessarily may be is a truck with a bunch of wires heading to it.
>>2971776>Minimally trained and questionably motivated, they are nevertheless well motivated, Typo here, should be "well armed"
>>29717761 Section ABV m7/28Hs1 Section AB m12/27Hs2 platoons Halmeggian soldiers
>>29717801 AB20/30 section1 ABV M7/28H section1 Halmeggian soldier platoon
Also one final question before we go: what other enemies are around that the Duke is concerned about besides the RAGV that may concern us?
>>2971901>what other enemies are around that the Duke is concerned about besides the RAGV that may concern us?I can do this a bit early before doing it in setting and context, but presumably he is referring to warlords and independent militias and communes not associated with his group; a charismatic military leader, for example, would potentially have drawn much power to himself that were he so inclined could prove a huge hassle. The army and police and such didn't just split two ways, after all. Presumably though, he'd be judging by who wasn't in attendance at the big get together right before the fighting went hot.
>>29717761 AB m20/30 section1 AB m12/27H sectionAlso ask if we do manage to achieve a breakthrough towards the castle will their forces advance to move the front beyond this side of the river or do they intend to just sit here.
>>2971776>1 Section ABV m7/28Hs>1 Section AB m12/27Hs>2 platoons Halmeggian soldiersWhile it would be nice to have a some heavy tanks to replace our losses, we also have to consider that these are allies of convenience, and we want to make sure in a tank fight at least we could beat them.>Other equipment?Anti-tank rifles and a few specialists that could use them.Also ask what >>2972081anon said, if he needs more convincing for a little extra on top that we can act initially as breakthrough for the Aristo Army to advance again.
>>2971898Supporting this. Since the Duke isn't really a military man who's actually is the one leading the Aristocracts in terms of the day to day stuff?
Rolled 1 (1d2)Plenty late I know, but I figured a decision like this could sit a while. Since we're at a tie, I'll flip a virtual coin. >11 Section ABV m7/28Hs1 Section AB m12/27Hs2 platoons Halmeggian soldiersMore guys, weaker tonk>21 AB20/30 section1 ABV M7/28H section1 Halmeggian soldier platoonLess guys, thicker tenk>>2972081Will be asked.>>2972561You'll presumably meet with them soon.
>>29742932 platoons of infantry and a clutch of the hull gun tin cans with a couple of fat trucks it is, with the potential addition of anti-tank rifle equipment.I copy pasted the mistake here, these are platoons of tanks for the ABs, not section. 4 instead of 2.I'll write up and get stuff ready for an update tomorrow. Sorry today was empty, and I'll probably be pretty occupied tomorrow as well, but I'll try to get at least this out on tuesday.
You shared your preference with the Duke, and he nodded, before producing a slip of paper. “Give this note to a man called Colonel Von Barztstein, if you ask after him, you should be allowed to see him with this. He will provide to you what you request, in reasonable proportion.”“Is he the commander of your forces here?” you asked as you took the slip; it was a green, white embroidered piece of folded but thick paper, with silver curly letters printed upon it.“That he is.” The Duke nodded, “At least of this local part of them. The overall commander, one General Von Edelheim, resides some ways away from here, at our military headquarters. He must be central to all of the fronts, after all. Meanwhile I am free to travel as I please; though I do not abuse such luxury! Hm hm.”Winnifred rose up, before shortly dragging you up by the hand. “I presume this is where our meeting is cut short by necessity.”“It sadly seems so,” replied the Duke Di Vitelstadt, who did not rise after you. “I do wish you the best of fortune upon your crusade-““A moment,” you cut in, “I’m curious as to, when we make a break for the castle, if your guys will be able to exploit that and move forward.” Such was not something that you’d expected with your own troops in the concept of the original operation; they had to hold the airfield after all, but plans had changed far beyond their initial incarnation.The Duke smiled in a way you didn’t particularly like; it was the look given when you were about to be given an answer that could mean one thing or another entirely at a whim. “I know not, but I will guarantee that we will try our best to take advantage of whatever opportunities present themselves.” As you expected, a complete non-answer, free from the shackles of commitment.“Well then,” you made your best attempt at a bow, having to have your foot kicked back surreptitiously by Owl 3, “I hope we’ll meet again.”“After the Royal Family is safe in our hands,” Owl 3 added.“Oh,” the Duke put his fingers together and smirked, “Yes. We will.”
After you were escorted back out, you asked the nearest fellow who appeared to be in the know where you could find this Colonel Von Barzstein, waving around your party invitation, and were swiftly led over to his field headquarters; which was rather close, of course. Winnifred didn’t bother taking the initiative with being your face here, despite the fact that Von Barzstein appeared almost as concerned with frivolous luxury as the Duke had been, though the surroundings were appropriately scaled down proportionately with the Colonel’s social status. Von Barzstein himself was a fat man in the later years of middle age with a graying beard and mustache, with tiny, watery eyes and a red face; a far cry from your own Colonel Talmeier, who though aged had the intensity and hard edge to be able to split rocks with a glare alone. If Von Barzstein’s softness was any measure for the rest of the army, you’d have wagered that Halmeggia’s officer corps was practically made up of housecats.Evidently, the duke had sent a messenger ahead of you; very closely ahead, as you’d had to wait a bit to actually meet with the colonel, but when you actually did speak with him, he shared with you the forces you were to be granted and their commanding officers’ names; one platoon of tanks, one section of armored cars for scouting purposes, and two platoons of Halmeggian regulars, mounted in trucks, along with extra vehicles for your field workshops and a communications detachment. About all you were missing from being a panzer division in miniature was attached artillery and logistics assets. Thinking on whether you could get a bit more, you asked if said platoons were equipped with anti-tank rifles; they had not been, but the colonel seemed to care little that you asked for them, granting the request immediately. Of note was that, evidently, Lieutenant Alterwald was being attached to you, both in command of the tank platoon as well as nominally the whole of Halmeggian forces that had been granted to you. It was odd that for such a force they didn’t attach a captain. Either they were short on higher officers (unlikely considering the comment made about the nobility being prevalent in army command positions) or there was a special reason they were shoving Alterwald upon you; you didn’t bother to inquire further. It smelled of something you wouldn’t get much answer for anyways.“Ah, do you happen to need a forward observer?” the colonel suddenly asked. “I trust that you have your own, but I doubt they are in our communications.”
“The troops I were provided don’t include any artillery, but I suppose if you’re asking, one wouldn’t go amiss.” You said. You and your officers all had training to coordinate air attacks and artillery barrages, but you weren’t properly meant to call them in, normally. This operation was an exception for such, a gap in organization revealed by combat, as was common apparently in experimental formations. You’d been expected to call in air strikes, if they were necessary, as the battalion’s own forward observers were actually attached to the paratroopers and as could be readily observed, Luftpanzers were ill suited to carrying any passengers into combat situations. Ultimately, it was work you figured you could perform just as well anyways, though without the airfield in your battalion’s hands, the anticipated close air support had been unable to fly over. The only planes with range were long range heavy fighters, which were meant to be providing top cover and not making strafing runs, and lumbering twin engine level bombers whose bombing runs had been found by past experience to be unhelpfully imprecise. “I will have you provided with one, then,” the colonel looked to an aide, “Go and find the one in reserves, the…odd volunteer. You know which I’m talking about? Good, go and get them.” Then, to you. “You will be in range of our artillery batteries for a period of time, after all. I cannot promise that they will not be already occupied, but let it at least be an option.”They certainly weren’t occupied right now. From what you could hear in the distance, while the Fallschirmjäger had certainly not ceased operations, the Reactionaries and Revolutionaries had drawn back from one another still to lick their wounds. From what you knew of Colonel Talmeier, things hadn’t gone nearly bad enough to need to withdraw into your shells. The second wind granted by the arrival of the gliders and pelican company, and by proxy much of the battalion’s heavier weaponry in the form of pack howitzers and basic amenities such as motorcycles and much needed reserves of ammunition and supplies, you near expected Talmeier to already be driving what he could towards the original objective of capturing the airfield; a mission you would unfortunately be unable to join on. Though perhaps the one Luftpanzer that was damaged upon being landed would be made use of in such, unless you were to go and retrieve it. With the road open and the lines being closed between you and the Aristocratic Union, it wouldn’t be a long drive; you planned to drop by anyways briefly to pick up the field workshop section and their tools in the transport you’d procured, after all.
“So where do I meet the merry men?” you asked.“I shall send them after your camp, upon the road over the bridge. They will wait upon the other side of said bridge for some time, until they receive instruction to do otherwise. As for the volunteer I wish to…bestow upon you, they are nearby, so if you could wait for a moment. Ah, speaking of, for our detachment and yours to be in good communication, we would need your wireless frequencies, no?”A hand on your back; you turned sideways. Owl 3 turned her head from side to side.“Nah, it’d probably be better if we just used the ones your guys were using anyways,” you said back.“So be it.”If you were going to be stuck here for a bit anyways, you decided, you may as well ask a few things…>Ask the colonel what you will. Now may be a good time to bring up all the stuff from earlier the duke could not answer, and perhaps some other queries as well.>Optionally, you can try and haggle for more gear if you think you’ve forgotten or thought of anything you would want more. Anything that would be a significant investment beyond what’s been given will likely be refused, however.>Any other actions you’d like to take, or questions you’d like to ask other people like your odd eyed companion, can also be taken.Pretty directionless I know, but I don't want to speed on ahead too far without any thought. Also, this is a good chance to refresh me on anything I might miss from the earlier questioning. I'm a bit sick and thus liable to miss such things, hate to say.
>>2975778Find out how much experience he has; is ur just a purely political pick or does he at least have some grasp on military affairs. Also after they finish licking their wounds any plans from the general or himespef to resume the offensive. Also better discuss with Winnifred and/or the Colonel how we're going to extract the Royals safely without everyone piling on us.
>>2975778Ask if he knows of any happenings before the outbreak of the war that might help us identify who may be friendly or hostile in other ways than them shooting at us. Things like if the crown banned the production of red shoes, polarizing the population of the red shoemakers guild in so-or-such town, or if the police or population of a certain area had a reputation for disturbing the peace. It's not much to go on but I would rather not fight every single splinter group we might find on the way. No news might even be good news, if there isn't a lot of militarism in a certain area we could just skirt around it.
>>2975778Express our thanks for their incredible generosity in supplying these men and materiel for us, and ask if there are any sort of side objectives or additional prerogatives that we could pursue on our way to the royal family that would help the Duke's interests in any way as our way of thanking him. Not that we would actually do any of them, but the colonel might get greedy at the idea of us doing more of his work for him and reveal additional information about what their goals are in the war and what they're up to.
I would have updated again tonight but I am an unwell fuck tonight, chest colds that screw with your breathing just sort of dump on your drive. So sorry about that, but I should be fine by tomorrow if the last time I came down with something like this was any indication; it was only nasty then for an evening.
>>2976661Take care of yourself.
“I’m curious,” you decided to bother Colonel Von Barztstein some more, “How has your career been before now? I’ve always heard Halmeggia’s been pretty quiet. This must be quite the shake up.”“Hm…” the Colonel wasn’t particularly occupied, and decided to answer after he shifted through a few papers on a desk to check something. “I climbed the ladder slowly, and I will be honest, I fully intended to retire without seeing a bit of battle. It was only recently, after all, that we have been isolated from the Grossreich’s protective shadow, but fate seems to have denied me my wishes at a peaceful life.”“You picked a strange career if you wanted a peaceful life,” you couldn’t help but point out.“It was hardly my choice, but that is a long and bothersome story.” The colonel said distantly, “It is hardly so abnormal to wish for peace, is it?”“Not if one stands to gain nothing from it,” Winnifred said coldly. “Anyways, you stepped up and looked over the contents of the desk; it was all fine print material, and they betrayed nothing at a glance. “How’s the war going? Can I ask what your next move is?”Colonel Von Barztstein seemed to consider against this, before his eyes flicked once more to the green slip on his desk. “I suppose it would hardly hurt for you to know. We are still consolidating our lines as of now; the Revolutionaries to the south have ceased their attack, logic would follow that we should attack, but we know little of their strength, nor of the strength of the other fronts. General Von Edelheim has elected to err on the side of caution, a move that I agree with. The members of the Security Council are put ill at ease by anything too ambitious at this early a venture, they believe that would put their holdings under threat, and agitating them is a poor idea, as I’m sure is obvious.”Hamstrung by the very aristocrats that supported them, it seemed. To be fair, it was quite legitimately days, if not hours, into this conflict, but when would the iron be hotter? You decided next to ask, indirectly, about the path ahead. “Has anything happened in the time leading up to this that would help us figure out who’d be a problem and who wouldn’t be? Like say if the King banned red shoes and angered the prodigious red shoemakers’ guild, or if there were certain areas known for having a lot of disturbances of the peace. Places we’d be best off going around or avoiding entirely.” This was probably a question you could ask Owl 3, but if you had a Halmeggian officer here, you may as well ask him; you’d have no shortage of time with odd eyes.
“It would be easier to list those not agitated up until this point,” the Colonel sighed, sitting at his desk; he was now looking for something in particular in the drawers. “Parliament made many unpopular decisions, seeking to please all but satisfying none. In particular, the most frustrated were the military and police. There were numerous times where said organs would not have the resources to do the jobs asked of them, and after being denied said resources or freedom of action by Parliament, they would be blamed for the failures that occurred because of such. On your way in, you must have seen Halmeggia’s newest tank acquisitions, correct?”“I have.” Winnifred already told you the story of how it happened, but you would hear it again.“Impressive, but the way they were acquired was the height of embarrassment for the army, and it was entirely the fault of Parliament. An entire Vitelian regiment comes to the borders, and forces their way in through threats and cajoling. The border troops were unready to fight them, of course, but I remember the storm it raised throughout our commands, even those away from the area in question. Yet Parliament did not allow the commanders to raise their troops, and the Vitelians practically held a small city hostage until they were granted asylum, rather than being driven away by our army. The civil war in Vitelia caused constant streams of refugees and smugglers to enter the country, but Parliament refused to raise taxes to support an army expansion necessary to properly guard the borders. That at the core, I believe, was the true cause of all this; unable to secure our borders, undesirable elements leaked in, and as the police were unable to keep the peace with said influx and no additional financial support, they called upon the assistance of the army, already overstretched; why, it was like a pair of children playing tug of war over a rag, and our finest received all the blame for not doing their jobs. Perhaps there is more nuance than that, but as far as where the most discontent and threat lies, look no further than disgruntled army and police units who have decided to fend for themselves.”“You speak of Major Wolfe,” Winnifred interjected.“Him, yes,” the colonel said with no small amount of disapproval. He noticed your quizzical expression, and added, “A young upstart who was arrested for plotting a military coup. He was liberated, of course, by his own men only a few days ago. He is…rather popular among the rank and file, I’m afraid, despite having quite radical ideas. He has made no secret of his plans to establish a military dictatorship.”A third player, then. “He must be a friendly sort. What does he think of the lot of us?”
“His demands are to either submit to his authority or be considered an enemy, of course,” Coloel Von Barztstein said tiredly, “Classically hardline, but I doubt anybody, even he, thinks that will remain that way. Hs preparations were short and haphazard. He is, however, a much sympathized with figure. The worst thing that could happen is if he were sweet talked by the Revolutionary Army of Greater Vitelia.”“How much more convenient it would be if he were swayed towards the Aristocracy,” Winnifred mused idly.“Indeed.”“So with our luck,” you surmised, “This wolf guy is going to be right in our way to Delamil along with the Revolutionaries.”“The two are fighting over the capital, yes, and around Delamil,” Barztstein said, “Along with quite a few independents, both small communities that want to keep themselves safe, and self-declared warlords seeking to create in miniature what Wolfe wishes to make the whole of Halmeggia. It is near impossible to say what ratio you might encounter them in, but if you run into the former, they are much more open to negotiation, from what I have experienced thus far. If you agree to simply leave them alone, they will not do more than call warnings.”That had been your experience with the policemen in the small village, as well; you wondered if it would be possible to bolster your force even more along the way to Delamil through similar diplomacy, as the policemen had been willing to fight beside you in order to evacuate the village towards the lines of your unit.“It sounds like we’re going to have a rough time of it extracting the royalty with that many enemies about,” you said, looking between the colonel and back to Winnifred, “Any ideas on how to handle that?”“Nothing but to not delay unnecessarily,” Winnifred said immediately, “And to keep our extraction and mission a secret for as long as possible. The royal family’s survival is a problem for nearly everybody involved…we will become the nation’s largest target. Speed and violence of action will be the only reliable ways to escape should our objective be discovered, especially if we are already found to be spiriting them back to our own lands.”“I have to agree with the lady,” the colonel said morosely, “I see no solution unless you were to sway the enemies into friends instead.”“We’ll see, then.” You sighed. “Well, I’d like to thank you for providing all the men and materiel you have,” you grinned, “Though it makes me feel a bit bad to just take them and leave. Say if I wanted to do you and your guys a solid in return, what do you think I could do? Any goals along the way you think I could take on?”
The intent here was to get the colonel to reveal information, though, not to stack more tasks on yourself. The mission was to rescue the royal family and nothing else; as far as you knew, the Kaiser might have actually considered the Aristocratic Union a potential enemy. To that end, though, you would prefer to know more about what they wanted.Either the colonel was naïve or hopeful despite his age, perhaps because of his lack of proper battle experience, so he gleefully shared. “Well…as I said. Major Wolfe is a serious problem, but also a potential asset. You are quite likely to encounter him, I’d say, on your way.”“I am?” you held a hand up, “Really? Wouldn’t he be in a bunker or something?”“He is popular for a reason, Captain,” the Colonel said, “He leads from the front, and is one of rather few who can be said to be an experienced commander, from his service in the border territories. Despite his agitation, he has been decorated in the past, and he is known among those who favor him as Gunmetal.”“And he commanded…”“Armor.” Von Barztstein finished for you, “If I were to say what would help us out most, it would be either to convince Wolfe to join the Aristocratic Union, but I doubt he would accept such. So more likely is the scenario where you encounter him…and capture or kill him. That would significantly weaken an enemy of our cause for, I believe for you, relatively little effort.”“Maybe we can work something out, then, if I meet with him.” You had no intention of meeting this Gunmetal Wolfe; not if you could help it, at least. He was a threat better off avoided.“You have asked me many questions,” the Colonel then said, “I surely would not be amiss in asking you something?”Curiosity compelled you. “And what would that be?”“What is your stake in all of this?” the Colonel asked, “I am leasing my men to you, Halmeggian lives, and I would like to believe that they fight for the sake of their country. The men given are military regulars, who believed in the Aristocracy and their officers enough to aid us. They are given to you in good faith; I merely wish to know what caliber of man the Duke trusts these lives with.”>I have no stake in this, truth be told. I am a good soldier, and I serve the Kaiser and Country by following through with the mission no matter what I think of it.>I prefer all my wars to end quickly. There’s less suffering involved. The quickest way out, as far as I see it, is the best.>I’ve come to really hate the Revolutionaries, believe it or not. It might be my assigned mission to rescue the royals, but I’ve taken plenty of pleasure in destroying these goons of Greater Vitelia and stopping them wherever I can.>My fair lover is of nobility. Perhaps I am simply biased towards the view that the upper class ruled for good reason, and that they know what they are doing.>Other?
>>2978453>I’ve come to really hate the Revolutionaries, believe it or not. It might be my assigned mission to rescue the royals, but I’ve taken plenty of pleasure in destroying these goons of Greater Vitelia and stopping them wherever I can.While this isn't always the case, I think Reinhold has plenty to cause hi. To hate RAGVies.
>>2978453>I’ve come to really hate the Revolutionaries, believe it or not. It might be my assigned mission to rescue the royals, but I’ve taken plenty of pleasure in destroying these goons of Greater Vitelia and stopping them wherever I can."I might like to say that I am just doing my duty to the Kaiser, fulfilling his objectives as efficiently as possible, sacrificing things for the greater good and all that. Truth be told though I'm not the kind to let those sacrifices go unavenged for very long at all if I can help it. If I had to fight Revolutionaries for the rest of my trip I don't think I would complain."
>>2978453>I’ve come to really hate the Revolutionaries, believe it or not. It might be my assigned mission to rescue the royals, but I’ve taken plenty of pleasure in destroying these goons of Greater Vitelia and stopping them wherever I can.
>>2978453>I prefer all my wars to end quickly. There’s less suffering involved. The quickest way out, as far as I see it, is the best.
>>2978453>>I’ve come to really hate the Revolutionaries, believe it or not. It might be my assigned mission to rescue the royals, but I’ve taken plenty of pleasure in destroying these goons of Greater Vitelia and stopping them wherever I can."I didn't have a stake in this other than doing my job, but now they've made it personal."
“Believe it or not,” it was difficult to discuss this subject while keeping the monster shut under the trapdoor; it was not a sociable creature, no matter the accuracy of its feelings on the matter, “I’ve come to really hate the Revolutionaries, believe it or not. I might like to say that I’m just doing my duty to the Kaiser, doing the best I can and sacrificing for the greater good and all that guff. To tell the truth though, I’m not the sort to just let said sacrifices go avenged for very long, if I can help it. If I had to fight Revolutionaries for the rest of this trip I’d hardly complain.” You put a fist into an open palm, “I didn’t have a personal stake in this, but the Revolutionaries changed that. Their mistake.”“I see…” the Colonel said skeptically, “Be that as it may, if you are driven by vengeance, do mind that my men are not caught in it. Maybe that it’s overly sentimental to think in such a way, but I would rather keep even a war such as this free of as much ugliness as possible.”“A bit of confidence, dear man,” you raised your palms up defensively, before tilting them to the sides, “I’ll watch over them as if they were my own babes.”The aide from earlier entered the command post with a hurried stumble. “Sir Colonel Barztstein,” he panted, “He’s at the edge of the south outpost now.”“Good.” The bearded, watery eyed man nodded; he looked more tired by the moment. “If that will be all, Captain, I do have responsibilities to return to…”
The forward observer you were being generously provided were waiting near the checkpoint at a small outpost; it would have been a rather brief walk, but you took the tank over anyways. Both he and his escort met you and Winnifred at the side of a path; they both wore the green uniform and helms of proper Halmeggian army, though the person you guessed was the observer by their binoculars and map case had a nonstandard decoration in the form of a scarlet bola. He was also rather small and slim for a soldier, in your opinion, but hardly unusually so given what you’d seen of Halmeggians. Their physical standards, apparently, were not on par with that of the Reich. “I’ve been told that I’m under your command now,” the observer stated firmly.“Why are you doing that with your voice?” Winnifred interrupted.“Why am I doing what?” the forward observer frowned, before continuing, “I’m Pfc. Eidan, I’m able to-““Pfc. Wolfe,” the escorting other soldier corrected. Eidan’s eyes flew wide, and he turned roughly to the other. “Why are you..?!”“Captain’s orders, and the Colonel’s,” the soldier said, “You’d have to say eventually anyways.”“Damn it all.” Eidan growled, “Yes. Pfc. Eidan Wolfe, if that’s really relevant. I’d like to get going as quickly as possible, if that’s alright.”“My pleasure,” the escort said, walking back over to a motorcycle and sidecar, “If you have any trouble with him,” he called to you as he kicked the engine over, “Call HQ, should keep him from being too uppity.”“…Are we going, then?” Pfc. Wolfe demanded, before the escort had even left.>Hold on, I’ve got a few things I want to ask first. >Sure, we can get going right away.>I can’t trade you in for somebody taller, can I?>Other?
>>2979348>>I can’t trade you in for somebody taller, can I?
>>2979348>Hold on, I’ve got a few things I want to ask first."Any relation to Major Wolfe?""What did you do that made them so eager to pawn you off to me?">pic>He was also rather small and slim for a soldier>“Why are you doing that with your voice?”That's a woman.
With a minute to be excused to consider things, you thought about Winnifred’s abrupt comment; she’d noticed a discrepancy in Eidan Wolfe’s voice. Come to think of it, it did, sort of sound like he was lowering it, giving it artificial scratchiness. It wasn’t something easily noticeable without knowing what to look for, and even if one did know what to look for. Having the suspicion raised, though, you could now detect it; you had spent many years in close proximity to a tomboy, after all. After the first revelation, more piled up, and you began to wonder how you’d been fooled in the first place; the power of presumption, you supposed. Also how loosely Wolfe wore their uniform, it hid any curvature whatsoever. Though it did make you think; did Wolfe’s fellow soldiers know about this, if your deduction was correct? If not, either Wolfe must have been extremely convincing despite their smaller stature, or Halmeggian standards really had slipped to the wayside.“Wait a second, I want to ask a few things first.” You said. One of these wouldn’t be about what was between Wolfe’s legs; the escort had referred to Wolfe as him, so this was presumably something not widely known, or a secret. As far as you knew, Halmeggia was like most countries in that women were explicitly barred from frontline service, and it probably wouldn’t be too clever or cordial of you for the first thing you do around Wolfe to be to blow their cover.“…Do we have time for that?” Wolfe asked irritably. “We’re going to arrive ahead of the other Halmeggians we aren’t dragging along anyways. We’ve got plenty of time for questions, and I don’t have very many.” Wolfe narrowed his eyes at your explanation, but did not object further. “So, your last name. Do you have any relation to the infamous Major “Gunmetal” Wolf?”“No.”“Yes, he does,” the escort was still lingering about, sitting on his motorcycle. “Direct.”“Why are you still here?” Wolfe demanded.“To make sure you don’t tell a lie about that in particular.” He wheeled his way past the lot of you, “Though past that, I don’t think there’s anything else. Take care.” The soldier revved the throttle and sped off, leaving the bunch of you in a cloud of dust.“Cunt!” Wolfe shouted sorely, coughing harshly. “Fine. Sure, I’m Major Wolfe’s son. What about it? Are you going to question my loyalty?”“Nah.” You said flatly; Wolfe blinked, and their face muddled in surprise. “I’ve got an Emrean in my crew. If I went around suspecting everybody I’d never stop looking behind my back, and I hate getting a sore neck.” You rubbed your neck in jest, “So what did you do that made your people so eager to pawn you off on me?”
“I was related to Major Wolfe.” That particular secret made public, Eidan (could Eidan be a girl’s name, you wondered) was very willing to share, though maybe that was to keep from being any more suspicious. Maybe to try and keep from suspecting after something else?“Why didn’t you stay with the Major, then?” Winnifred asked, “Were you coerced?”“No.” Wolfe answered, looking to the side. “I could have stayed, but I didn’t want to. There was…somebody…I had to protect.” Wolfe bit their lip and grunted, “I didn’t get too far with that in case you didn’t notice.”“Snatched up and stuffed behind the lines, unable to protect anything.” Owl 3 summarized.“Yeah. That.” Wolfe said bitterly. “…If it’s fine, I’d like to ask a favor, if we really have so much time. It should be on the way anyways. The person I wanted to look over…I heard their unit was involved in fighting on the bridge to the west of here. I’d like to drop by there and check on them, if that’s fine.”“Who are they?” Winnifred asked.“…Somebody I’m...friends with, alright?” Wolfe said heatedly, “Will you take me there or not?”Such was a thorny subject. The place Wolfe was referring to had been the scene of quite heavy fighting, and the Halmeggian infantry there had suffered terribly. There was a decent chance that the person Wolfe had been hoping to look after, was no longer alive, or was heavily wounded, or otherwise in a state that might be distressing. It would be easy for you to justify not obliging the request. However, you’d allowed Bartholomeu to know about Dolcherr; would it be hypocritical to not allow the same courtesy to Wolfe?>Sure, we can drop by there. Only briefly, though.>No, we don’t have any time for that.>Tell me what they look like; I can tell you if I saw them (Decide whether to say you saw them dead or alive or what) >Other?Also>Inquire after Wolfe being a woman>Keep acknowledging Wolfe’s disguise as a male, don’t accuse anything.>Demand Wolfe take their shirt off; you need to search them.>Other?I'll be at a rehearsal for something I'm a part of for the rest of the evening, not that y'all can't be used to slow updates at this point.
>>2980305>>Sure, we can drop by there. Only briefly, though.>Keep acknowledging Wolfe’s disguise as a male, don’t accuse anything.
>>2980305>>Sure, we can drop by there. Only briefly, though.>Inquire after Wolfe being a woman
>>2980305>Sure, we can drop by there. Only briefly, though.>Keep acknowledging Wolfe’s disguise as a male, don’t accuse anything.We have enough little mysteries on our plate; is heterochromia von Hohenzollern actually a big deal, who sold us out and why, was that barn we torched totally full of great information and we will never know? I’m good with letting this one lie.
>>2980305>Sure, we can drop by there. Only briefly, though.>Keep acknowledging Wolfe’s disguise as a male, don’t accuse anything.>Other?"You'll owe me a favor though."
>>2980305>>>Sure, we can drop by there. Only briefly, though.>>Keep acknowledging Wolfe’s disguise as a male, don’t accuse anything.
Alright, I'm alive. I had to sleep off the resurgence of the chest cold but I think I'm mostly fine now. I guess I should be thankful I don't have something worse though considering what I've seen other QMs go through with. Knock on wood.Anyways, drop by the front, Wolfe is totally a man bro, gonna be writing soon.
The reasons for Pfc. Eidan Wolfe’s disguise of her gender was odd, but for now, it was hardly something mysterious enough to capture your attention and point out. If Eidan wished to be seen as a boy, then a boy she would be; whatever the reason for it, there was simply too much else to deal with for it to be relevant. Though, you would dignify a small convenience for your new companion in dropping by the old battlefield you had come from and letting her (or should you say him, since you were willingly fooling yourself to the disguise? Better not slip up.) look for whomever she was seeking.“Sure,” you granted Wolfe’s request, “We can drop by there. Only briefly, though, and you’ll owe me a favor.”“Really?” Wolfe was surprised; apparently getting her way wasn’t typical. “Thank you, then. A favor though…I can’t really think of what you could possibly want for that.”“We’ll see.” You waved Wolfe’s concern off, “Get on the tank, then. We’re moving right along.”As you got moving again, your Luftpanzer II bearing more and more resemblance to a truck jammed with day laborers as time went on with its increasing amount of passengers, you murmured in Winnifred’s ear as she sat in the turret side hatch.“I’m sure you noticed that that dude’s a lady,” you said just above the sound of everything else, ever so quietly, “We’re going to keep letting that be as she wants. That alright?”“Mm.” Owl 3 hummed a single affirmative syllable. That plan could change should Major Wolfe somehow make himself a factor, though you had no intention on directly confronting him. Even if he got in the way, for now, it seemed much wiser to simply avoid him. Armor was most powerful when exploiting a weak point, when attacking unsupported infantry and breaking through with its power and speed. Purposefully running it up against other armor when such was not in the way of the goal was foolhardiness, and with the Luftpanzer II’s lack of armor, not nearly as favorable a match even with the skill of your men. Say though, if you arrived at Castle Delamil and the Major and his Militarists had gained the upper hand; what would you do then? Perhaps a trade? You hadn’t accepted the forward observer thinking you’d use her as a hostage, but if things came to that…
Lieutenant Alterwald had left his tanks behind, and when you arrived back at the place where he had been commanding, you saw a group of heavy utility vehicles being chained to the damaged medium tanks, getting ready to drag them away. Halmeggia likely didn’t have vehicles capable of dragging away these tanks, which must have been why there was two to each tank, loitering in front like a horse team about to pull a carriage. Wolfe brazenly leaped off your tank and rolled on the ground before you even began to come to a stop, and took off at full pelt to the south.“What the hell?” your gunner, Jalsen, cracked in a surprised outburst. “Is he runnin’ away?”“Nah,” you said, as you popped out the command cupola and watched Wolfe run off; she had seemed unarmed, but she did have a pistol in a holster stuck on the back of her belt; she hadn’t withdrawn it yet as she took off so quickly she nearly tripped and stumbled over numerous pieces of battlefield detritus in the way. “Not in that way. He’ll be back.”A few minutes passed, and you heard the sound of a convoy further up the road coming down; perhaps your reinforcement, or the start of them.“Should somebody go get them?” Jalsen asked you, obviously nominating you for the job. “If he’s coming back he’s taking well beyond his share of the Judge’s time for us to do it.”“Give it time,” you said. This was something you could sympathize with; maybe even to the slight detriment of the mission. The beast down beneath was calming down; it was thinking that it could hear cries just like those it howled into the darkness, and terrible as that was for the other, it was somehow…comforting. A few more minutes though, and you saw trucks from earlier come, and pass by; they weren’t your people though. The people in those trucks were what you’d been introduced to as Aristocratic Retinue, and they were not what had been allocated to you. They passed by as though you were not even there, and continued over the bridge; apparently the actual units granted were running a bit late, as was Wolfe now.“The Pfc. is going to delay us singlehandedly at this rate,” Winnifred pointed out, annoyed. “Perhaps it would be best to go and retrieve them now. We do not have the luxury of time to spend on finding them once again should our rendezvous proceed soon.”>Trust me, they’ll be back soon. Just a bit more time.>You’re right; I’ll go out and look for Wolfe. I was the one who allowed this in the first place after all.>If Wolfe isn’t back by the time we’re moving out, we’re leaving him behind. We don’t need him that badly.>Other?
>>2983278>You’re right; I’ll go out and look for Wolfe. I was the one who allowed this in the first place after all.If it's Alterwald I'ma be hella jealous.
>>2983278>You’re right; I’ll go out and look for Wolfe. I was the one who allowed this in the first place after all.
>>2983278>>You’re right; I’ll go out and look for Wolfe. I was the one who allowed this in the first place after all.
“You’re right,” you sighed and stretched your neck, leaning down and pulling the submachinegun from its slot, “I’ll go out and look for Wolfe. I was the one who allowed this in the first place, after all.” With a tap to her shoulder, you said to Winnifred, “If I could get past ya.”Boots back on the ground, you pulled the submahcinegun’s sling out and hung it over your shoulder before heading off at a pace that would look only a little quicker than leisurely. This was still near the frontlines, after all, and hastily charging ahead could lead to disaster. Not that you liked to admit such, but your life was a bit too valuable to go on and rush off while having a cool head. Shots still cracked off and echoed over the flats; not directly at you, perhaps, and not entirely in what could be called anger, but there was still danger here even if it was of a sort much calmer than there had been earlier. Yet that could turn around in but a moment; and to be caught off guard and out of position when such a deadly turnabout happened was not worth haste. It wasn’t long before you crossed from the road, to the flats, to the woods where the Halmeggian infantrymen would be maintaining their lines.The first thing you did was find the nearest Halmeggian patrol (they made little effort to hide themselves) and introduce yourself, wish them well, and ask after your best description of Wolfe.“I’m looking for somebody who was assigned to me. About this high,” you put your hand about at chin level, “Had binoculars and a map case. He was looking for somebody, he told me, but ran off without. Have you seen anybody like that?”“Uh, yeah,” their fireteam leader said, pointing off to the east, “He was asking after a guy in another squad, a Private Condotti. I told ‘im where to look, over a’dere abouts.”You thanked them for their time and headed off in that direction; they had a dozen questions each on their faces, but they’d have to wait a long time for any answers to those. As you headed off in the direction you were told, you saw a shadow, heard a crack, and pushed yourself under one of the black shadows of the woods’ many trees. There was no doubt that you’d been seen just as you saw the other fellow, but after waiting a few moments, there was a series of quiet shuffles that led away, and when you crept to another tree to get another look, you saw nobody. Satisfied, you made your own readjustment to your route and continued quietly on. After that brief interlude, you found the other Halmeggian squad, and made your presence known calling out to them before approaching. Maybe it was your style of speech that made them oddly accepting of you, and not lack of professionalism. In any case, it made things much easier. Inquiring after Condotti, as well as Wolfe who was looking for them, you received a certain answer.
“When the Revolutionaries were attacking earlier, we had to retreat from the south,” the squad leader explained, “We made it up here, but Condotti was one of the guys who didn’t link back up with us. One of my men who was wounded said he was pinned down and couldn’t move; we tried to stay and get him out, but we had to run. We haven’t been able to go back down south and look, but the person you were talking about said they were going down there, so…they’d both be there, I guess.”So south you went, though this time with the submachinegun firmly in hand, and not nearly so leisurely a pace, as heading into danger became a certainty. Pitch black was now your favorite color and dearest friend, though certainly not one to be trusted overmuch to the point of not looking for enemies within it. Far off speech in Vitelain pricked at your ears, and it was actually more unsettling that your surroundings were quiet while fighting appeared to only pop off far away. Every moment passed by with the expectation that a shot would crack by your head and an ambush would be initiated; the optimistic take instead of the possibility that the shot would crack into your head.Sure enough though your search bore fruit. In a moonlit space between the branches of a clutch of trees, you spied the fallen body of a green uniformed Halmeggian soldier, turned to face upwards; blood had soaked into the front of his uniform, where a single shot had split open the center of his chest; the center of a dark stain that covered their front. Beside the body, shrouded in darkness and invisible save for the silhouette they had from being in front of a large lichen coated stone that practically glowed in the starlight, was a small figure on their knees, hands clutched around one another in front of them, simply staring at the body. As you came closer, Eidan began to speak to you, without looking to see who it was. Her voice was softer, lacking in the bite it held before, but perhaps through force of habit it remained low toned and androgynous. She had taken her helmet off, and the edges of her chestnut hair, cut to a length just above her chin, were highlighted in silver; you couldn’t see her face, but you could imagine what expression it had by the tone of her voice.“You know,” she said wispily, “This was…the whole point of it all. So this wouldn’t happen. I didn’t think I wanted much, but I guess, even that little bit was too much for me to…even be allowed to try. All these different people saying I should do one thing or the other for them, why can’t I do anything for me, huh?” She stayed silent for a few moments. “Go ahead and do what you will. I don’t care.”
“It’s just me,” you said quickly, coming closer. “I’m not about to do anything.” Eidan turned her head ever so slightly to look at you, then went back to looking at the body, letting you come closer. “So this is Private Condotti, then?” you asked as you stepped up next to her and looked down at the body. He was a fair man, though rather thin, and his helm had been stripped off of him, leaving his blonde hair to blow about in the wind, his death mask one of sorrow mixed with sleep. Wolfe didn’t answer you verbally, but her silence said plenty. Maybe it was sad that this wasn’t a foreign experience to you, nor a situation on which you were clueless on what to do or say, or justify. The solution wasn’t considerate, but it was easy. “Come on,” you said to Wolfe, “We have to leave. The woods are crawling with Revolutionaries, and your guys’ lines are way back north from here.”Wolfe didn’t rise. “I thought about how things might happen, you know,” she rambled on, “Ways it could go wrong, ways the both of us could be hurt, but in the end we always got out alive. This…This isn’t right.” She hung her head forward, and in her hands you noticed she was rubbing what looked like a large, decorative hairpin. “I don’t know what to do. Aiden wasn’t strong or brave, and…he wasn’t good at anything a soldier should be, but he always knew what to do, and when he’d tell me what he wanted and why, I always could figure out how to do it. Listening to him, it felt like he had the right of it, but now…” She rolled the hairpin in her hand, “I’m not so sure. It makes me just…want to sit here.”The sound of loud, angered Vitelian speech began to leak from the south. Somebody was approaching. “You can’t sit here,” you said.“What else can I do?” it was a call for help, even if she had voiced it as a bitter and hopeless condemnation of self. You’d been in her position before, though you didn’t know what the relationship between these two was, or if your own experience was equivalent, but when it had happened to you there had been a rock for you to clamber onto to rescue yourself from despair. >There’s a group of Revolutionaries nearby. He fought them and died for it because he thought it was the right thing, right? Let’s get some revenge.>I won’t blame you for wanting to spend more time with him, but not here. I’ll help you carry him back. (This may either slow you down or leave you without the initiative against any enemies who see you.)>I won’t force you to come with me if you don’t want to. I’m going to turn around and leave north, and if you don’t want to follow, then so be it. Do what you want.>Other?
>>2984202>There’s a group of Revolutionaries nearby. He fought them and died for it because he thought it was the right thing, right? Let’s get some revenge.
>>2984202>>I won’t force you to come with me if you don’t want to. I’m going to turn around and leave north, and if you don’t want to follow, then so be it. Do what you want.
>>2984202>>There’s a group of Revolutionaries nearby. He fought them and died for it because he thought it was the right thing, right? Let’s get some revenge.
>>2984214>>2984322>>2984323We have a mission we should be doing. Why are we jeopardizing it like this, for what exactly, so she'll feel better?There will be more revolutionaries along the way, have her take her anger out on them.
>>2984343I'm pretty sure in this case most people are saying let's get revenge on them in general, not that the two of us go take on the entire patrol.
>>2984202>>2984343What >>2984357 said is the impression the revenge option gave me, if it's supposed to mean immediate revenge, then consider my choice changed to >I won’t force you to come with me if you don’t want to. I’m going to turn around and leave north, and if you don’t want to follow, then so be it. Do what you want.
>>2984357Thats fine if thats the case but the impression im getting is an immediate reprisal strike on the approaching Vitelian(s) from this line>The sound of loud, angered Vitelian speech began to leak from the south. Somebody was approaching.
>>2984364I understand but as I said don't think anyone here is seriously contemplating taking on that patrol.